Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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English Catholic congregation shocked as gay activist disrupts Mass with video cam

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ROME, March 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A homosexualist activist disrupted a Mass held in a parish in Teignmouth, Devon, with a video camera last week as a priest prepared to read a letter from the country’s bishops conference opposing government efforts to legalize same-sex “marriage.” The incident has prompted concerns that anti-Christian activists are becoming more bold and aggressive as the Church continues to oppose same-sex “marriage.”

A video, posted to YouTube, shows the priest hesitating after announcing that the letter would be read out on the request of the bishops conference. The priest, dressed in Mass vestments and standing in the pulpit, faces the camera and asks, “What’s that for?” The activist replies, “Do go on. It’s a record of what you’re about to say.”

The priest asks the activist to sit down, but when he hears that the video is to be posted on the internet, declines to read the letter for fear of further disruption. After the priest offers to have the letter available after the Mass instead of reading it publicly, the activist pans the camera over the congregation and says, “OK, we’re all happy with that? Yeah? You don’t want to hear it? Good.”

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One parishioner is heard to day, “Sit down,” and the activist assures the surprised congregants that he will be “leaving in a moment” but wants to know if any of them “feels as uncomfortable as I feel” about the Church’s opposition to “gay marriage.” He says he feels “really, really uncomfortable with you making judgments about my lifestyle of which I have no choice.”

One parishioner’s voice is heard saying, “You’re making judgments about us.” He replies, “Yeah, I am making judgments about you, because you’re making judgments about me…by supporting the Catholic Church and its attitude towards me.”

He suggests that parishioners “examine your conscience” and “if you feel uncomfortable with this statement that your preacher is too scared to read out about me then maybe you’d like to join me in walking out of the church.” The video was altered so that parishioners are not identifiable.

Calling himself a “gentle, courteous, caring person” the activists claims on the YouTube page that he decided to disrupt the service “less than an hour” before its being held, and had never before conducted any similar activism on behalf of the homosexualist movement. He writes that he had not intended to “upset or offend anyone.”

“By the time I was sat in the pew, my intention was simply to video the priest reading out the letter, then post the video on YouTube to stimulate discussion,” he wrote.

With the decision not to read the letter, “the preacher” he said, “rather cleverly took the wind out of my sails.”

The video has received hundreds of comments on YouTube, some by commenters whom appear to know the activist personally. One wrote, “Sorry David, whilst I fully support same-sex civil marriage, and strongly disagree with my Archbishops; I think you have only hurt your reputation and your cause.”

The commenter, identified as “rerum2novarum” continued, “The priest was not going to read out the letter anyway. Many members of the congregation (including someone who is gay) were very upset, and you caused grave offence. I know you are kind, caring man and may have acted in the heat of the moment.”

The video was featured last week on the popular blog of US priest Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. The priest consulted well-known barrister and religious discrimination expert Neil Addison who pointed out that the priest had recourse to the law. It is an offense in England and Scotland to disrupt a religious service or intimidate or harass ministers of religion. Although Addison said that such laws were mainly drafted in the 19th century, and are widely “regarded as obsolete today” they can still be prosecuted as “religiously aggravated” public order or violence offences.

The Places of Worship Registration Act 1855, states that a person commits an offense if he “shall molest, let, disturb, vex, or trouble, or by any other unlawful means disquiet or misuse any preacher duly authorised to preach [in a church], or any clergyman in Holy Orders ministering or celebrating any sacrament or any Divine service, rite, or office in any cathedral church or chapel, churchyard, or burial ground.”

The letter opposing the imposition of “gay marriage” in Britain has become a magnet not only for homosexualist activists but also for increased anti-Catholic activity on the part of secularists. It was prompted by the announcement that the coalition government, led by the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, has opened its 12-week public consultation into how to go about legalizing same-sex “marriage” this week.

Legal experts have pointed out that existing civil partnership rules allow the same rights and privileges to homosexual partnerings as marriage, only without the name. But even before the last election, Prime Minister Cameron, and a number of his Tory ministers made it clear that their plan has been to introduce total legal equivalence to same-sex partnerings as to natural marriage.

The government has made it clear that some form of legalized “gay marriage” will be inevitable; the public is only being asked how exactly the change will be made. The list of proposed topics for the consultation includes questions on whether to allow same-sex couples to marry in a register office or other civil ceremony; whether to retain civil partnerships for same-sex couples and allow couples already in a civil partnership to convert it into a marriage; whether to allow people to stay married and legally change their gender and whether to maintain the legal ban on same-sex couples marrying in a religious service.

Under the current law, churches are not required to conduct homosexual partnering ceremonies, but some senior churchmen have warned that with officially sanctioned “gay marriage” the churches could face legal harassment if they continue to refuse.

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Lisa Bourne

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

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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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