Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

Convicted gay sex offender loses initial bid to muzzle pro-family website MassResistance

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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July 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A convicted sex abuser who has filed a one million dollar suit against the pro-family group Mass Resistance suffered a setback last week when his motion for a preliminary injunction to silence the group was rejected by the presiding judge.

“Maine may not punish, through criminal sanction, an individual’s actions that are protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” wrote District Judge Patricia G. Worth in her decision, signed on July 11.

Meanwhile, a police chief that Adam E. Flanders has repeatedly claimed supported his lawsuit and described his sex abuse charge as akin to “stealing a candy bar” has disputed Flanders’ account of events in a LifeSiteNews (LSN) interview. LSN has also learned that in addition to the sex abuse charge, Flanders has been convicted of assaulting a minor with whom he had a sexual relationship, as well as the boy’s father, with a knife.

Flanders, a Belfast, Maine homosexual who was convicted in 2008 of sexual abuse of a minor and sentenced to three months in jail, has been seeking to force Mass Resistance to remove from its website a copy of a letter Flanders wrote in 2007, accusing a local homosexual “youth group” of facilitating the sexual abuse and exploitation of minors. It also describes Flanders’ own relationships with minors in the group after he had turned 18.

The letter, which was sent to the Maine Christian Civic League and quoted in whole or in part by local newspapers, has been on the Mass Resistance website since 2007 as evidence of the destructive nature of homosexual “youth groups,” which Mass Resistance President Brian Camenker says often facilitate abusive contact between adults and minors.

Flanders’ campaign to remove the letter and all references to him on the Mass Resistance website has included a successful motion for a restraining order against Camenker, granted by the same Judge Worth in June of this year, although Camenker says that he has never seen nor met Flanders, and was not permitted by Worth to testify in his defense. Flanders has also filed suit against Camenker in Maine district court for $1 million for “defamation,” “harassment,” and “stalking” by means of the posts.

While acknowledging the restraining order that she had recently approved against Camenker, Worth was not willing to muzzle Mass Resistance, noting, “An individual’s right to free speech loses its protection when the speech uttered constitutes libel, a true threat, or fighting words,” adding the “Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate ... that the writings rise to the level of fighting words (inciting an immediate, violent reaction). or a. ‘true . ..threat.’”

Flanders claims in his suit that Camenker is exaggerating the seriousness of his sex abuse conviction, which is a class D misdemeanor in Maine, and writes in his complaint that Belfast Police Chief Michael McFadden has called it equivalent to “stealing a candy bar.” He also claims that he has protected minority status in Maine due to state anti-discrimination laws, implies that Camenker is guilty of “hate crimes” against homosexuals, and requests that “Defendants’ online conduct be limited, that the Defendant refrain from further harassment and stalking against individuals based on their sexual orientation…”

Flanders also successfully shut down the Mass Resistance website last month after threatening the organization’s web hosting service, according to Camenker, who has since found a new hosting service that is not intimidated by Flanders’ threats.

In addition to Mass Resistance, Flanders recently threatened Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) with legal action for posting his letter and recounting Flanders’ actions against Mass Resistance. Flanders has also threatened LifeSiteNews with legal action if it does not remove a previous article written about the case and cease to write about the matter.

Belfast police chief distances himself from Flanders

In an interview with LifeSiteNews.com on Monday, Belfast Chief of Police Michael McFadden distanced himself from Flanders’ claim that he had said Flanders’ offense was no worse than “stealing a candy bar,” explaining that police often make such statements in an attempt to elicit a confession from a suspect.

Although he acknowledged that a recording that Flanders has of him making the statement is real, he added that “there could be a lot of things I said in that interview with him that were designed and are used by investigators nationwide to encourage people to talk about certain things. It might not be the way I feel, but it usually works in terms of getting people to confess to a criminal act.”

Asked if he regarded the actions of Flanders in the sex abuse case as morally equal to stealing a candy bar, McFadden answered: “Absolutely not, holy cow, no, but if I start my interview and say ‘what you’ve done is heinous, and horrible, and how could you?’ do you really think I’m going to get this person talking to me about it? No, of course, not. So you try and minimize these things as an investigator.”

McFadden also denied the claim made by Flanders in his suit that McFadden had said that he was “attempt[ing] to find some way to criminally charge Brian Camenker,” or that he had advised Flanders to sue, and noted that restraining orders such as the one imposed by Judge Worth don’t generally apply to people in other states.

“I can tell you that, I had a conversation with Adam Flanders, and if those are the things he quoted out of that conversation, not only has he taken what I said out of context, but he also misquoted me,” said McFadden, who also stated that “Adam Flanders is not a paid or unpaid spokesperson for the Belfast police department. He’s got no inside information.”

Although McFadden said his department has a strict policy of not verifying the existence or non-existence of investigations, he noted violations of restraining orders do not include activities in another state.

“You can’t have contact with someone long distance, unless you’re calling them on the phone I guess would be one way, emailing them, but you know if its happening in a different state, I don’t know that our protection orders would give us jurisdiction in another state, to curb the activity of someone in a different state,” he said, and affirmed that “to my knowledge there has been no violation of this particular [restraining] order” against Camenker.

McFadden says that he has received “threatening emails here at the police department, and very unflattering emails” in response to his perceived support of Flanders in his actions against Camenker, which he attributed to Camenker’s statements about him on his website, adding that “I don’t think those statements are fair or accurate.”  He said he was not taking sides in the dispute between Flanders and Camenker.

Flanders’ extensive criminal record revealed

LifeSiteNews has also learned that Flanders has a long list of convictions for which he expresses little remorse, and is seeking to erase from his record as he finishes a degree in biology.

In addition to his 2007 conviction for sexual abuse of a minor, which earned him a three-month jail sentence and put him on the state’s sex offender registry for ten years, Flanders was also convicted of assaulting one of the boys with whom he had had a sexual relationship at the youth club exposed in his letter, as well as the boy’s father, in 2008.  Flanders assaulted both victims with a knife, although the severity of their wounds is not clear.

According to the Bangor Daily News, Flanders was convicted on a host of counts related to the case, including “two counts aggravated assault, jail five years, all but nine months suspended each count, probation three years; two counts criminal threatening with dangerous weapon, jail nine months each count; protective order from harassment violation, jail 90 days; two counts violating condition of release, jail 90 days each count; tampering with witness, informant, juror or victim, jail two years six months, suspended, probation three years; two counts violating condition of release, jail two years six months each count, suspended.”

In toto, Flanders received over twelve years of jail time, all of which apparently was suspended except for nine months, of which he says on his blog that he only served part due to good behavior.

The Daily News also reports that Flanders was convicted again in late 2011 on two counts of violating the terms of his release and sentenced to yet another two-and-a-half-years in jail, which was also suspended in favor of probation.

Flanders claims that his convictions were due to the withholding of exculpatory evidence and says on his weblog that he is appealing the convictions. He refused to talk to LifeSiteNews when an interview was requested of him, and instead threatened LifeSiteNews with legal action, in a “CEASE AND DESIST notice to refrain from further publications about me.” He also indicated that he had contacted LifeSiteNews’ s Internet service provider in an apparent attempt to shut down its website.

“I demand that you remove the current publication about me,” wrote Flanders. “I will pursue litigation if you do not remove the offending material and/or continue to publish material about me. You are in violation of your web host’s Terms of Use and I have already been in touch with them concerning this matter and they are currently investigating your organization’s harassment and defamation. They indicated that your contract will likely be terminated and your website be removed in its entirety due to your violations.”

LifeSiteNews.com has been advised by legal counsel that nothing that LifeSiteNews has written regarding Flanders is actionable under American defamation law.

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for your support. 

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