Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Crowd of gay activists demonstrate outside Italian archbishop’s house

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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TRIESTE, January 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Earlier this month about two hundred homosexualist activists, including a number of local politicians, demonstrated in front of the residence and offices of the Catholic bishop of Trieste. The bishop later told an interviewer that he spent the afternoon, effectively barricaded in his own house, reading and catching up on correspondence.

Archbishop Giampaolo Crepaldi told the diocesan newspaper Vita Nuova (New Life) he was reading a book by American sociologist, Rodney Stark, titled The Triumph of Christianity, “which analyzes, among other things, the many persecutions suffered by Christians in two thousand years of history”. The book, he said, “demonstrates...that in the end, the persecutors pass and Christians continue, because the persecutions purify them and make them stronger. It’s a book that I recommend.”

His offence was having publicly defended the Catholic Church’s teaching on the nature of marriage in the diocesan newspaper. He said the purpose of the demonstration, a display of political power, was to define any opposition to the political agenda as “homophobia” and a criminal offence. 

Ultimately the goal of the movement, he told a local newspaper, is to “give legal force and criminal significance to ‘homophobia,’ that those who say publicly - as the Catholic Church has always said - that the only real family that founded on marriage between a man and a woman are declared ‘homophobic, intolerant, racist’ and, therefore, subject to criminal prosecution. 

“If you will travel this road,” he added, “anyone who belongs to the Catholic Church and professes its doctrine…will become liable to criminal punishment, even jail.”

The activists outside his door January 12th accused Crepaldi of reviving the “classic racist campaign against gay, lesbian and transgender people” and announced they intend to “prosecute” anyone who opposed their agenda, including churchmen.

Local news reported that two members of the Trieste city council were part of the crowd. Councilors Peter Faraguna and Paul Menis signed a petition “to fight discrimination” against homosexuals and the “promotion of non-discriminatory policies”. 

David Zotti, an organizer of the protest and president of the Rainbow Club, indicated that the bishop should not be allowed to speak on Catholic teaching outside the confines of his church.

“The bishop never misses an opportunity to trample the dignity of people and same-sex families, denigrating their lives and making it clear that there can be no legal recognition,” Zotti said.

The demonstration, he added, was also in response to the homily of Pope Benedict XVI on December 21st in which he identified “gender theory” and the global homosexualist movement as a “threat to the foundations” of western society. It was supported by provincial councilors - Štefan Čok, Gianluca Balbi, Nadja Debenjak, Sandy Klun, Matthew Puppi, Sabrina Morena, Marcello Bergamini, Elena Legiša and Majda Canziani and an extreme-left environmentalist political party Sinistra Ecologia e Libertà. 

Bishop Crepaldi responded that the accusations made against him are “false and serious,” particularly since he has dedicated his life “to fighting racism and has contributed a great pool of international jurists to rewrite the document of the Holy See against racism”.

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The genesis of the demonstration was a public campaign launched by Italy’s leading homosexualist group Arcigay the Christmas season against “homophobia” that involved photos on all city buses of same-sex couples in “intimate family attitudes”. The purpose of the campaign was to demand “equality” in law for “all types of families”.

Crepaldi said that the demonstration had nothing to do with “homophobia” but was intended to promote “same-sex marriage”.

“The ultimate goal of these campaigns is to undermine what is a cornerstone of civilization, the concept of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, equating it to other forms of cohabitation,” Archbishop Crepaldi told Tempi.

He called the homosexualist ideology an “insidious program, disguised as progressive and libertarian, to put a muzzle on all, depriving us of freedom.”

“It is ironic that the Church has given the world the higher conception of the incomparable value of the human person and taught him the duty of respect, equality and fraternity, [and is now] described as ‘racist and discriminating’.”

He called the participation of local politicians particularly “disturbing” and said it “has resulted in a black page for democracy and for the honor of the city's institutions”.

“What credibility can a city government claim when two of its members go around with insouciance to demonstrate against the bishop and the Catholic Church? It is good to know that in this city, since the early centuries of Christianity, is protected by a martyr, San Giusto. The Catholic Church of Trieste has been humiliated and I have been treated as a ‘series C’ citizen.”

He called for a halt to the “ideological conformism and a return to discussion in a civilized and constructive dialogue with a sense of respect for others and to value all assets.”

Crepaldi is close to Pope Benedict and was granted the personal rank of archbishop, though Trieste is not an archdiocese. He is the founder and president of the International Observatory Cardinal Van Thuan, a think tank that provides “reasoned information” and “reflections, evaluations and in-depth studies” on the Church’s social doctrine. In a paper for the Observatory, Archbishop Crepaldi warned of a “colonization of human nature” by an ideology that is spreading from Europe around the world, “gender,” an expression of “a nihilistic culture that intends to overcome completely the concept of human nature.” 

Catholics, he said, are not asked to take refuge in a small enclave to “cultivate traditional values,” but to compete in the world with a vision of the nature of the human being. “There is a huge cultural work to be done to educate this sense of nature and of human nature. And I’m sorry to see that within the Church and among the Christian communities themselves the importance of this point is often overlooked.”

Crepaldi predicted that the “gender-theory” ideology is driving secular society in Europe towards open persecution against Christianity, “and that it will be tough.” 

“There will be the militants, those who seek compromise, those who cheat, will be faithful and there will also be a martyr.”

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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