Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

Estimated 1 million+ march in Paris against gay ‘marriage’ plans

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits
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January 14, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A million. And more. The turnout for this Sunday’s demonstration against French President François Hollande’s move to legalize same-sex “marriage” reached gigantic and even un-hoped for proportions.

Paris was covered with blue, white and pink flags marking grassroot France’s opposition to the unthinkable, as three apparently endless distinct marches converged at the foot of the Eiffel tower.

The triple itinerary was mandated by the Parisian police, and was seen by many as an attempt by the minister of the Interior to weaken the event visually by dividing its forces. It turned out to be a Godsend.

The first demonstrators started leaving the three departure points an hour before intended, at noon, but even so, the last marchers didn't start until 4 p.m. Thousands upon thousands of people slowly covered the three to four mile-long routes, stopping and going as if in a traffic jam because of their sheer numbers.

At half past two, the minister for Social affairs, Marisol Touraine, announced that the turnout was far less than the organizers had hoped. At 5 p.m. official figures were given out by the police: 340,000 participants. That was half their real count: unofficial sources from police headquarters say the “Préfecture” had actually counted 700,000, but had received orders to halve the figure.

However, according to some reports even the 700,000 estimate may have fallen far short of the mark.

The demonstrators kept streaming towards the gigantic Champ de Mars which can hold some 800,000 people, and which was filled to overflowing with a rotating crowd of demonstrators. Many left the march before its destination, discouraged by the melting snow that was falling by then or obliged to catch trains, planes or buses to resume work on Monday.

By 11 p.m. a number of officials at the Préfecture rebelled, according to unofficial sources, and reported estimates of as many as 1.2 to 1.4 million.

The French government has been doing its best to downplay the spectacular success of the “Manif pour tous.” Socialist party members and ministers have been repeating since Sunday that the proposition will not be scrapped, whatever happens.

The government’s official spokeswoman, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, said it was “totally determined” to go on with its reform of marriage, calling it a “historical progress”. The minister for Justice, Christiane Taubira, accused the demonstrators of deliberately ignoring the language of the draft law that bears her name and said it would be sufficient to make its real wording known to the French to dissipate their concern.

The law explicitly allows same-sex “marriage” and adoption by homosexual couples.

President François Hollande’s spokesman also said that the draft law will be presented to the Parliament by the end of January. Socialist majorities both in the Senate and the National Assembly are expected to vote for the text, while a complete review of family law is to be presented in March. Among other things, this will include more widespread access to in vitro fertilization and other procreative techniques claimed by homosexual minorities.

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But who were the million protesters who spent time, energy and money – in an economically depressed time– to come and say “no” to same-sex “marriage”?

Large numbers of elected town and village mayors and counselors - those who would have to celebrate same-sex “marriage” in the event of it being legalized - marched with their blue, red and white official scarves. There were also a number of opposition figureheads, including - strangely enough - Simone Veil, the author and promoter of the French abortion law in 1974.

If Frigide Barjot, the provocative self-appointed figurehead of Sunday’s march is to be believed, many of them were atheists, Jews, Protestants, leftwing voters, and homosexuals who are against gay “marriage.” Those were the only groups she greeted and thanked from the gigantic podium at the foot of the Eiffel tower.

However, Cardinal Vingt-Trois of Paris came to greet the marchers at Denfert-Rochereau. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon also joined the march, condemning the “violence” of the law that would “change the meaning of a word”.

“This law is violently harming a nation. It will not mean progress for France,” he said.

Several bishops came – including Mgr Aillet from Bayonne and Mgr Centène from the south of Britanny – as well as countless priests and religious.

The majority of Sunday’s protesters were Catholics. Old and young, rich and poor, from every corner of France, rural areas and towns, they responded to calls from nearly every French bishop to voice their opposition to same-sex “marriage.” Many large families traveled far and long by car or bus. People who had never demonstrated in their lives discovered the joy of defending their faith and their ideals together.

However, organizers had made clear that any demonstration of faith would immediately be stifled: only approved banners and slogans were allowed.

“One Daddy, one Mommy: never lie to a child!” read one. “Marriage: one man, one woman or nothing,” went another. “We are all born of a man and a woman,” “One Dad + one Mom: that’s elementary,” “Don’t touch the civil code,” “I’m a child, not a right”, “Made in Mom and Dad,” “I need a Dad and a Mom,” read others.

Besides opposing same-sex “marriage,” one of the march’s more controversial objectives was, according to organizers, to fight “homophobia.”

Frigide Barjot, as well as several of the event’s homosexual spokespeople, publicly affirmed when talking to the media that they were in favor of a “civil union” for homosexuals that can be conducted in town halls just like marriages, and which would include all the rights and obligations of marriage except filiation. That is a minority view among opponents of same-sex “marriage,” however, and many are hoping for clarification in the coming weeks.

Last week the defeated UMP party of Nicolas Sarkozy’s introduced an amendment that would create a “civil union” aimed at the homosexual community.

This author joined a small group of demonstrators – a number of priests, Catholic journalists, a group dedicated to defending Christian’s rights (AGRIF), Christians converted from Islam, Oriental Christians and families – who decided to make their position clear on Sunday, wearing stickers that read: “For Christians, it’s NO to Taubira’s law, full stop.”

Volunteers for the march tried to make these demonstrators remove the unauthorized slogans, in vain. On Saturday evening, that same group had met with Brian Brown, the president of the U.S. organization National Organization for Marriage (NOM), who came over for the march.

Another march took place on Saturday at the call of Civitas, a civic association close to the Catholic traditionalist movement of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X, which was joined by a large number of the more traditional Catholic movements and associations. Its slogans were pro-life and pro-family (“La famille, c’est sacré” – “Family is sacred”) and more confrontational than those of the mainstream “Manif pour tous”, such as: “No to the decadence of society.”

One of Frigide Barjot’s main worries was to avoid confusion between the two marches. Civitas’s march was presented as “extremist” and accused of hate-mongering because of one slogan seen at its previous demonstration on November 18th when a radical right-wing group joined its ranks with a banner proclaiming “France needs children, not homosexuals.” This time round no such banners were shown.

Many joined the 40 or 50 thousand-strong group in order to mark their disagreement with the ambiguous stances adopted by some of the organizers of the “Manif pour tous.”

Civitas, however, would never have been able to put one million people on the streets of Paris. And that million represents a force that the government cannot pretend to ignore, even if it does minimize it with the help of most of the mainstream media.

Those million marchers have brought proof that same-sex “marriage” is very widely rejected, whatever the polls say, and that they have been seething to make themselves heard since the proposal to legalize it has been put forward. They have also shown the enduring influence of the Catholic Church in France, and particularly of its bishops, who have made their voices heard on the marriage issue after decades of laying low on moral issues in the public square.

Whatever the failings of the organizers of the “Manif pour tous”, they have allowed opposition to same-sex “marriage” to score a major victory. This reporter saw the tail end of the Denfert-Rochereau walking past on Sunday evening at 7:10 p.m, with still over half a mile to go before reaching the esplanade at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Marchers were still shouting, waving flags, smiling, and dancing on the parade trucks accompanying their progress, oblivious of the long night’s travelling that awaited many of them.

Proud to be there, and proud to be French!

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TLC pulls ‘19 Kids and Counting’ from schedule following Duggar molestation allegations

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By Ben Johnson

SPRINGDALE, AR, May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The television network TLC has removed the Duggar family's reality show, “19 Kids and Counting,” from its schedule, at least temporarily.

Multiple news outlets have confirmed that the show, featuring the large and expanding evangelical Christian family, will not be on the air until the network makes a final decision about the program's fate.

The network had previously removed “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” from its network after “Mama June” Shannon had been seen associating with convicted child molester Mark McDaniel, possibly exposing her children to a sexual predator. Shannon has told the entertainment news outlet TMZ that she would sue the network for unfair and inconsistent treatment.

TLC has not made a final determination as of yet and aired a Duggar marathon Thursday evening as the controversy brewed.

Friday's move comes after media outlets obtained police records showing Josh Duggar, as a young teenager 12 years ago, inappropriately touched as many as five girls, often while they were sleeping. The police records show the incidents began in March 2002, the month the oldest Duggar child turned 14. He admitted the incident to his parents that July, but another incident took place in March 2003. At that time, the family sent him to a program that required counseling and hard physical labor.

Three years later, a letter containing details of the molestation was found, and its recipient notified police, who launched an investigation.

One of his victims told police, after Josh returned in July 2003, he had clearly “turned back to God.” No further incidents have been alleged.

Duggar's wife of six-and-a-half years, Anna, said Josh revealed the painful episode to her two years before they got engaged.

Since the allegations have been made public, Josh Duggar admitted his long ago wrongdoing, calling his teenage actions “inexcusable.” He also resigned his job at FRC Action, a pro-family lobbying organization.

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Some figures have offered the Duggars their reassurance that, whatever sins Josh committed as a teen, he can be – perhaps has been – forgiven by God.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now a presidential hopeful, said that Josh “and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story.”

He said those who leaked the story were motivated by “insensitive bloodlust” to destroy the Duggar family. “There was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past, and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed—not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims.”

God, Huckabee said, forgives all sins.

“In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption,” Josh wrote.

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Rebecca Kiessling of Save the 1 - United States Steve Jalsevac/Vatican City
Rebecca Kiessling

I told her I was conceived in rape. She told me to prove I shouldn’t have been aborted.

Rebecca Kiessling
By Rebecca Kiessling

(Savethe1) - Why should I have to prove my worth and my right to life? When I first learned at the age of 18 that I was conceived in rape, I instantly felt targeted and devalued by our society because I’d heard what people said about pregnancy “in cases of rape.” Right away, I felt I was in a position where I would have to justify my own existence – that I would have to prove to the world that I shouldn’t have been aborted and that I was worthy of living.

I’ve since found my own value, identity and purpose in Christ, being created by God, in His image, and for a purpose, so I no longer feel I need to prove my worth to others in order to feel worthy. Instead, I share my worth out of gratitude for my own life being spared and in order that others may see the value of those who are still at risk – those who are in harm’s way as yet unborn and being targeted for abortion in the clinics, in legislation, and in people’s hearts and minds.

Whenever I speak, I share this aspect of my journey, but people are shocked to hear that I actually do get challenged to prove my value, to demonstrate my positive contribution to society and to justify my right not to have been aborted. This recent e-mail is a case in point. It was a tough inquiry to receive, but you’ll see my hopefully patient (and prayerful) responses below, and the ultimate outcome of the exchange:

I’m feeling sad and skeptical about rape babies.  I’d love to consider myself pro-life due to biblical reasons, but I just don’t really see what good can ever come out of a rape baby. I still think that it sometimes furthers the victimization of a rape victim. And it’s also because I’m very sad and disturbed by your blog.

I just think sometimes that it would be better if these babies never existed -- that every single one would naturally be miscarried by God’s will, so no one could bully them for their skeleton in their closet. Like I said, the subject manner disturbs me to the point where I vomit. I wish that every child was conceived in love and not violence because that's the way it should be. And I'm sad to say that the only way I could fully believe all of you rape mothers and children is if you were to pray for the peace of God that transcends all my futile understanding and my volatile, overly-sensitive emotions. 

There is no story in the whole world that can fully change my mind. The only way I could ever is if I were to befriend a victim or become the Bride of a man whom was the product of abuse. I'm so sorry to be brutally honest; it's just that my heart grieves to the point where I feel the struggle to overcome the sin of prejudice. I'm so angry at God that he allows this to occur.

Dear __, I appreciate you going to our blog and taking the time to reach out to us.  Your concerns are the most common, but research shows that rape victims are four times more likely to die within the next year after the abortion vs. giving birth. Dr. David Reardon's book Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting From Sexual Assault explains this.  So it's a myth which gets perpetuated -- that a rape victim would be better off after an abortion, that her child would be a reminder of the rape, and that she would even see her child as a "rape baby," as you put it.

I understand a lot of what you're saying.  You would definitely feel differently if you knew someone personally.  I wished I wasn’t conceived in rape, but I do believe now that God definitely brings good out of evil, and uses tragic situations to bring healing.  He doesn't intend the evil of course, but his trademark is redeeming really awful situations.

-- Rebecca

Her reply (again, challenging for me to read, but I think she candidly articulates a lot of what most people really wonder or think):

What has God done in your life personally besides this blog that has made your tragic family life worth the pain? Tell me what you have been doing: like marriage, dating, children, jobs, friendship, volunteer work; any of that. I am curious to see how God has given your life joy and purpose. I'm sorry if I have ever been difficult to handle. I'm emotionally impulsive when I hear something sad.

First of all, my birthmother and her husband legally adopted me 3-1/2 years ago because my adoptive family was really screwed up (long story of abuse and abandonment.) My own adoption by my birthmother was our fairy-tale ending.  She says I'm a blessing to her, I honor her and I bring her healing! I love adoption -- my two oldest are adopted (very open adoption,) and we adopted a baby with special needs -- Cassie -- who died in our arms at 33 days old. It was an honor to take care of her and was definitely one of the most important things I'd ever done in my life. She died because of medical malpractice.

Married for nearly 17 years, we have 5 children now – two adopted sons and our three biological daughters.  Here's my son's story. He wrote it last September at 12 years old.

Besides being the president and founder of Save The 1, I also co-founded Hope After Rape Conception. I'm a family law attorney, though I closed my law practice to have my children and to home school until 2-1/2 years ago.

I make baby quilts which I donate to pregnancy resource centers and I give to moms in unplanned pregnancies. My birthmother taught me to sew! I also taught my children to quilt, as well as many of my friends and their children. I've volunteered with orphan care, Sunday school, feeding the disadvantaged, free legal work, volunteer work for a maternity home, and helping in various ways with pregnancy resource centers. I changed the hearts of Gov. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich on this issue during their presidential campaigns!

A large part of what I do is helping others to understand their value, identity and worth because lots of people struggle with these issues -- not just those conceived in rape. I hope this helps!  -- Rebecca

Her final response – from someone who said “there is no story in the world that can fully change my mind”: 

Dear Rebecca, thank you so much for your time to straighten out my emotional acting out -- I'm really glad you told me about your life. I really think I'll be okay now. I still wish that men wouldn't rape, but at least the world knows a lot more than they used to and I can say that I'm pro-life to my college professors without paranoia or anxiety. I even talked about helping people like you with my mom and dad. They told me I'm too sensitive in personality to be involved directly in domestic politics; yet, I'm praying about being a free English tutor for troubled families as well as being an anti-pornography informant or activist. After all, the porn industry has been statistically linked to the sexual violence pandemic. I'm so glad that you are living life well and to the best of your ability; keep telling people that just because your birth father was an evil scumbag doesn't mean that you are. Thanks Rebecca, you have really touched and strengthened my heart. With much sincerity.

 

BIO: Rebecca Kiessling was conceived in rape and nearly aborted, but legally protected by law in Michigan pre-Roe v Wade.  She's an attorney, pro-life speaker and blogger, and President of Save The 1. Her own website is www.rebeccakiessling.com

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Boy Scouts president: We need to allow open homosexual leaders

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By Dustin Siggins

May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Boy Scouts of America president Robert Gates says the youth organization must change with the times and allow open homosexual men to serve as Scout leaders.

Gates, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA Director, said in a speech at the 2015 Boy Scouts of America (BSA) National Annual Meeting Thursday that the Boy Scouts would have to adjust to "the social, political, and juridicial changes taking place in our country -- changes taking place a pace this past year no one anticipated."

According to Gates, the way to balance the religious affiliations of "some 70% of our scout units" and avoid "a broad [court] ruling that could forbid any kind of membership standard" is to offer individual troops a flexible membership policy. 

"For me, I support a policy that accepts and respects our different perspectives and beliefs, allows religious organizations -- based on First Amendment protections of religious freedom -- to establish their own standards for adult leaders, and preserves the Boy Scouts of America now and forever."

"I truly fear that any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement," said Gates, who said that BSA should "seize control of our own future, set our own course, and change our policy in order to allow charter partners -- unit sponsoring organizations -- to determine the standards for their Scout leaders."

This is not the first time that Gates, who led the military to end its two decades-long Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, has supported gay Scout leaders. Last year, he said that he "would have supported having gay Scoutmasters, but at the same time, I fully accept the decision that was democratically arrived at by 1,500 volunteers from across the entire country."

In 2013, BSA allowed openly homosexual scouts for the first time. That policy reads: "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” and took effect on January 1, 2014.

A year ago, Gates said he "was prepared to go further than the decision that was made" to allow gay Scout members, but decided that "to try to take last year's decision to the next step would irreparably fracture and perhaps even provoke a formal, permanent split in this movement - with the high likelihood neither side would subsequently survive on its own."

This week, though, Gates said that "events during the past year have confronted us with urgent challenges I did not foresee and which we cannot ignore."

"We cannot ignore growing internal challenges to our current membership policy, from some councils... in open defiance of the policy," said Gates. 

However, Gates' remarks may have come too late to prevent internal challenges from splitting BSA. Due to the 2013 vote, a number of Scouting alternatives launched, including the organization Trail Life USA. The latter group says it aims "to be the premier national character development organization for young men which produces Godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens." 

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In January, Trail Life USA said it has "over 540 Troops in 48 states and the registration of nearly 20,000 adults and boys..."

Furthermore, the decision by BSA to allow gay scouts has led to criticism from people on both sides of the debate. Homosexual activists say the group did not go far enough, whereas many Christian parents and organizations say BSA is bowing to public pressure from homosexual advocates to affect its membership, despite its Christian roots.

Corporate pressure has also been aggressive. Last year, Walt Disney World threatened to not allow employees to volunteer for BSA as part of its VoluntEARS program in 2015 if the organization does not allow gay Scout leaders. Diversity Inc. reports that Merck & Co., Ernst & Young, Major League Baseball, and AT&T are just some of the other companies that have pressured BSA to further change its policies.

LifeSiteNews asked BSA whether Gates' comments indicated support for a totally flexible scout leadership policy, or just related to gay scout leaders, as well as whether BSA would take a stand against state and local laws that deny First Amendment rights to people who oppose same-sex "marriage."

BSA declined to comment, telling LifeSiteNews in a statement: "Dr. Gates’s remarks speak for themselves. ... It is important to note that no decisions were made during the National Annual Meeting. A decision is expected no later than the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board meeting in October."

A video of Gates' remarks is below. The comments about membership standards begin at 8:40.

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