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Embattled George Rekers Resigns From NARTH, Offered Legal Aid by Liberty Counsel

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LifeSiteNews.com

By Peter J. Smith

MIAMI, Florida, May 14, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Professor George Rekers, a pro-family leader and expert on homosexuality, who is embroiled in a scandal after he was found to have hired a traveling companion with a profile on a homosexual escort service website, has resigned his membership on the board of National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). He said that he made the decision in order to resolve the allegations made against him through defamation attorneys.

At the same time, a leading Christian legal advocacy group, Liberty Counsel, has offered to provide him their services in the event of legal action. "I think [Mr. Rekers] would have a great case to file a defamation action," Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told the Washington Times.  

Rekers, 61, was caught on camera by the Miami New Times on April 13 returning from a 10 day trip in Europe with a homosexual male escort later identified as Jo-vanni Roman, 20.

Roman at first denied that he had any sexual involvement with Rekers, but later alleged that Rekers paid him $75 a day plus travel expenses in exchange for acting as a travel assistant, translator, and sensual masseur. According to a contract allegedly made between Rekers and Roman, a copy of which Roman showed to CNN, Rekers specifically contracted Roman to provide an hourly massage every day while on the trip.

Rekers, a co-founder of the Family Research Council (FRC) and professor emeritus of neuropsychiatry and behavioral science at the University of South Carolina, has denied accusations that he had sexual involvement with Roman, saying only that he required a travelling companion to help lift luggage because of recent surgery. He has also denied that he contacted Roman through the website rentboys.com, which Roman has claimed was the only way Rekers could have found him.

The embattled pro-family leader, who has seen his career and reputation collapse under the weight of the allegations, has threatened to sue media outlets like the New Times for “defamation.”

Rekers is not without his supporters. "I think it was a completely arranged setup," Liberty Counsel’s Matt Staver told the Washington Times, referring to how staff members of the New Times managed to ambush Rekers and Roman as they made their way through the Miami airport.

The possibility that Rekers is the victim of a set-up owing to his connections with NARTH cannot be completely ruled out. Earlier this year Dr. Julie Hamilton, president of NARTH, revealed that protestors at NARTH’s 2009 Convention had announced they would go after individual members associated with the organization. Hamilton said one journalist in England conducted a sting against two therapists by posing as a client with unwanted homosexual attractions.

But while the Miami New Times revealed Thursday that they did indeed ambush Roman and Rekers, they said Roman was not involved in any set-up. According to their account one of Roman’s friends knew his passwords, got into his email, and gave the newspaper screen shots of Roman’s e-mails and his travel itinerary. The New Times journalists studied the information, camped out at the airport, snapped the photo, and spoke with both Rekers and Roman before breaking the story May 4.

Rekers says he has opted to resolve the matter through attorneys instead of addressing the allegations through the media.

"With the assistance of a defamation attorney, I will fight these false reports because I have not engaged in any homosexual behavior whatsoever,” said a statement from Rekers. “I am not gay and never have been.”

NARTH has accepted Rekers resignation and in a statement said they “would hope that the legal process will sufficiently clarify the questions that have arisen in this unfortunate situation.”

“We express our sincere sympathy to all individuals, regardless of their perspective, who have been injured by these events.”


Rekers Responds to Conflicting Accounts about Finding Jo-Vanni Roman

At this point Rekers may be the only one who can set the record straight; but thus far his explanations have been somewhat thin on the details, especially on the issue of how he found Roman.

The New Times on Thursday stated that Rekers told them that he found Roman through a Google search.

The New Times asked, "Where did you find out about his services as a travel companion? Where were they being advertised?"

Rekers allegedly responded: "I did a Google search for 'travel companion,' and he came up on that. I contacted him."

New Times then said they asked whether Rekers found him on RentBoy.com or not. The newspaper said that after a long silence, Rekers said: "I don't know if it was or not."

LSN contacted Rekers twice by e-mail last Friday to get his version. He wrote in response that Roman was “recommended to me for my travel assistant by an acquaintance I trusted,” an explanation that appears to contradict what he told the New Times, assuming that the Times quoted him accurately.

Rekers added that he regretted “not taking more time to do a more thorough background check” on Roman before hiring him in retrospect.

“When I talked to him before the trip as a possible assistant, when describing his past work experience as a travel companion, he told me that he had recently worked as a companion to a foreign visitor to another state for numerous weeks,” said Rekers. “He further volunteered that it was purely a social companionship and not sexual. In addition to having relevant experience, he was also fluent in Spanish and could serve as an interpreter in Spain.”

Rekers then said that he “searched his name on the Internet (with Google, Facebook, MySpace, etc.) and did not find any negative information about him before the trip.”

In an e-mail sent to LSN today, Rekers addressed the apparent conflict between the Miami New Times account and the one he gave to LSN.

Rekers said that before the scandal broke in the media, the New Miami Times reporter, “called with a very accusatory tone, and asked me about how I found my travel assistant. He seemed to have his mind made up, and did not give me time for a full explanation, before interrupting and ending the call with insufficient time for me to respond fully."

“I had started to try to explain that I made multiple attempts to find an assistant including making a Google search and asking others, and never had the chance to complete my thoughts. He did not give me time to complete my response that my Google search ran into several dead ends in terms of finding someone in my needed time frame. The Miami New Times reporter never interviewed me at any length and terminated that call prematurely before I could make full explanation.”

LSN had requested that Rekers speak to us on the record, but he responded: “Because this has become a legal matter concerning defamation, I have been advised not to grant the interview you requested to more fully explain at this time.”


See previous coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

FRC Responds to Reports of Pro-Family Leader Accused of Affair with Male Escort
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/may/10050610.html

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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

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Pope Francis eases forgiveness of abortion for Jubilee Year of Mercy

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By John-Henry Westen

ROME, September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- In an announcement today, Pope Francis said that he is enacting an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy from December 8, 2015 through November 2016. As part of the Jubilee, the pope has allowed priests to forgive the sin of abortion, which St. John Paul II taught in Evangelium Vitae (paragraph 58) is “murder.”

The statement marks the most extensive remarks on abortion that Pope Francis has made during his pontificate. Rather than downplaying the seriousness of abortion, as some media contend, in the statement the pope encourages the millions of women who have aborted their children to go to confession and seek God’s forgiveness.

In the Catechism, the Church calls abortion a “criminal” practice, and imposes the penalty of excommunication on those who do it -- essentially, removing those who commit abortions from the Church. In the past, typically re-entry into the Church for those who have separated themselves from it by excommunication can only be undertaken by a bishop. However in much of North America priests have already been given standing permission by their bishops to forgive abortion.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput explained in an email sent to LifeSiteNews today, “For many years now, parish priests have been given permission to absolve the sin of abortion here in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.” The Philadelphia archbishop, who will play host to Pope Francis during the pontiff’s visit later this month added, “But the practice has not been common in various other regions of the world.”

“This action in no way diminishes the moral gravity of abortion,” concluded Chaput. “What it does do is make access to sacramental forgiveness easier for anyone who seeks it with a truly penitent heart.”

The pope declared that all priests may forgive the sin of abortion for “those who have procured it and who with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.'"

The pope says in his letter that abortion is a “tragedy” wherein “extreme harm” takes place, and calls it “profoundly unjust.”  He admits however, as does the pro-life movement, that it is an “agonizing and painful decision” and many women “believe that they have no other option.”

In order to be forgiven by God of such a serious offence, the pope says the one who has procured the abortion must be made aware of the “gravity of the sin committed” and be truly repentant. They must come, says Francis, with a “contrite heart, seek forgiveness for” the abortion and hoping for “reconciliation with the Father.”

The full statement from the Pope on the matter of abortion follows:

One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe they they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured itand who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfil this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.

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TLC stars Kody Brown and his four "wives"
Fr. Mark Hodges

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Surprise, surprise: New suit says gay ‘marriage’ ruling laid ground for legal polygamy

Fr. Mark Hodges
By Fr. Mark Hodges

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – When "The Pill" was made available to the public in 1964, Christians warned it could lead to promiscuity and disassociation of sex with marriage and children.  They were ridiculed as religious fanatics.

When abortion was made legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy in 1973, Christians warned that it would not save women's lives, but would instead lead to devaluing all human life, especially children's lives. They were dismissed as moral-legislating hate-mongers.

When euthanasia was legalized in Oregon and other states, Christians warned that the non-terminally ill and eventually the mentally handicapped, or simply the unwanted, would be killed in the name of mercy. They were mocked as right-wing crazies.

When sodomy laws in Texas and elsewhere were stricken from the books in 2003, Christians warned that societal approval of that harmful practice would lead to an increase in disease and further perversion. They were ignored and vilified.

When DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell) rules for the military were reversed, Christians warned that the epidemic of rapes in the armed services would increase, not decrease, and that combat readiness would continue to diminish. They were called bigots, their words "hate speech."

And so on. Recent history is rife with examples of conservatives warning against societal degradation being vilified as "slippery slope" straw man creators, who want only to legislate morality.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

That's how those who warned that the Supreme Court's same-sex "marriage" decision would lead to legalization of any and all kinds of "marriage," such as a man and several wives or vice versa.

And, as in every case cited above, what Christian conservatives warned is exactly what has now happened.

In a U.S. 10th Circuit court filing, reality TV polygamist Kody Brown and his wives point to the U.S. Supreme Court's historic ruling on same-sex marriage to buttress their pro-polygamy case.

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, summarized to LifeSiteNews, "The left's chaotic cultural agenda knows no boundaries. Once 'marriage' could be redefined to accommodate sexual perversion, it would be impossible to stop other perversions from being recognized." 

The American Family Association's Ed Vitagliano told LifeSiteNews, "It has been clear for decades that sexual radicals in America have been targeting the God-ordained institution of marriage for destruction. Toss in a handful of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, beginning in 2003 (Lawrence v. Texas), and ending with this summer's debacle (Obergefell v. Hodges), and we are on the verge of seeing the secularists succeed." 

The AFA executive vice president concluded to LifeSiteNews, "We have no doubt that the polygamists will be next to step into the federal courts."

Indeed. Brown and his four wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn, have asked the court to uphold a judge's ruling striking down part of Utah's law against polygamy. To prove their case, they cite precedents involving same-sex marriage (United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges), and a case that struck down a ban on sodomy (Lawrence v. Texas).

"From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence, to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to ... punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions," Brown's filing states. "This case is about the criminalization of consensual relations."

LaBarbera told LifeSiteNews that the move to legalize polygamy is no surprise. "Once the argument for homosexual so-called 'marriage' became 'Love Is Love,' it was only a matter of time before multiple-partner activists would start defending the 'right' to have THEIR [perversion of] 'love' legitimized by state-recognized 'marriage.'"

The Browns, who appear on the television show "Sister Wives," sued the state of Utah over its ban on polygamy, which Brown calls "plural relationships." They argue that the law violates their right to freely practice their religion and their right to equal protection under the law.

Specifically, Brown is challenging the state's assertion that polygamy is harmful to societies that condone it.

Brown argues that the state should not have "the right to impose criminal morality codes on citizens, compelling them to live their lives in accordance with the religious or social values of the majority of citizens."

LaBarbera concluded, "Social conservatives and Christians must work to overturn Obergefell, just like homosexual activists worked to overturn the Supreme Court's Bowers v. Hardwick decision in 1986 that allowed anti-sodomy laws. Otherwise, we are guaranteed to lose more and more freedoms as 'gay' power grows, using legalized 'marriage' as leverage."

Arguments in the Brown polygamy case could take place before the 10th Circuit Court in Denver before the end of the year.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, MD, on March 6, 2014. Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Sen. McConnell: GOP won’t push Obama on Planned Parenthood defunding

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Planned Parenthood won't lose its funding for at least 18 months, says America's top senator.

Speaking on WYMT TV, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said, "The president’s made it very clear he’s not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood, so that’s another issue that awaits a new president, hopefully with a different point of view about Planned Parenthood."

“We just don’t have the votes to get the outcome that we’d like,” he said. “Again, the president has the pen to sign it. If he doesn’t sign it, it doesn’t happen. But, yeah, we voted on that already in the Senate, we’ll vote on it again, but I would remind all of your viewers the way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it and the president has to sign it.”

McConnell's comments came despite pressure from Senators and Representatives alike, as well as pro-life groups, who want Republicans to make defunding a priority.

"If the president of the United States and Harry Reid think it's more important that Planned Parenthood get your tax dollars than to pay our troops, then they are shutting down the government,” Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan, R-OH, told CNN last week.

Jordan and others have pushed GOP leaders to attach defunding efforts to must-pass pieces of legislation, such as a highway bill earlier this summer and the upcoming Continuing Resolution to keep the federal government running. GOP leaders have generally opposed this strategy, which has created a schism within the party.

Conversely, Democrats have been largely united. Leaders and rank-and-file members in both parties have generally supported taxpayer funding of the abortion giant, despite the possibility of illegal abortions being done to illegally harvest fetal organs and other body parts.

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