Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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EU roundup: gay activist says orientation not fixed; Russian city to outlaw promoting homosexuality

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent


St. Petersburg legislature set to outlaw promotion of homosexuality

The municipal government of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city and cultural centre, is set to pass a bill prohibiting promotion of homosexuality.

The bill, which prohibits “public activities promoting homosexuality,” is being denounced by homosexualist activist groups as “anti-gay” and it is being vocally opposed by the U.S. State Department.

The bill proposes to outlaw the dissemination of information “which could cause damage to the health or moral and spiritual development of minors, including by inducing them to form warped perceptions that traditional and non-traditional married relations are equally socially acceptable.”

If passed it would impose fines on individuals or groups promoting homosexuality, pedophilia, or “transgenderism” to minors.

The U.S. State Department deplored the plans, saying, “As Secretary Clinton has said gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights. We have called on Russian officials to safeguard … freedoms [of speech and assembly], and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens.

“We have also consulted with our EU partners on this issue. They share our concerns and are also engaging Russian officials on this. The United States places great importance on combating discrimination against the LGBT community and all minority groups.”

But the bill’s author, United Russia deputy Vitaly Milonov, has denied it will infringe on civil rights and freedoms. “We are only talking about propaganda as this information about sexual deviations affects our children,”  he said.

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Leading UK homosexualist admits the condition neither genetic nor fixed

Peter Tatchell, one of Britain’s most vocal advocates of the homosexualist political movement, has admitted that sufferers of same-sex attraction are neither “born with” nor stuck with the condition.

Much of the argument upon which the promotion of homosexuality as a “legitimate lifestyle choice” is founded is the paradoxical assertion that it is not a choice at all, but a fixed state of being, probably determined by genes. This is the basis of the claim that opposition to homosexual activity is “homophobia” and tantamount to racism.

But Tatchell, writing last month in an article in the Huffington Post, titled, “Future Sex: Beyond Gay and Straight,” cited the notorious Alfred Kinsey, the researcher often called the grandfather of the sexual revolution, denying that “gay and straight” are distinct categories.

Kinsey’s research, Tatchell said, “was the first major statistical evidence that gay and straight are not watertight, irreconcilable and mutually exclusive sexual orientations.”

“He found that human sexuality is, in fact, a continuum of desires and behaviours, ranging from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality. A substantial proportion of the population shares an amalgam of same-sex and opposite-sex feelings - even if they do not act on them.”

He claimed that homophobia in the developed world is waning and wonders what the world will look like “as future societies eventually embrace a post-homophobic culture.”

“If human civilisation evolves into a state of sexual enlightenment, where the differences between hetero and homo no longer matter, what would this mean for the future of same-sex desire and same-sex identity?” Tatchell mused.

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Hungarian Prime Minister says “If the Church were stronger, the nation would be stronger.”

While his country withstands a conflagration of international outrage at its proposed new constitution, the Hungarian prime minister has stood fast and openly described Hungary as a Christian nation.

Speaking in German to a Polish journalist, Viktor Orban said that the lack of respect for human life is a relic of the Communist regime, which hold people and life in contempt.

“If we had a strong Church, then the nation would be much stronger.” Orban said that with the Constitution and other legislative changes, he is “in the process of attempting an alliance with politicians, for whom Christendom and traditional values are important,” the German language Catholic news site Kreuz.net reports.

The new Constitution, strongly supported by voters, declares that human life must be protected from conception and says that marriage can only be contracted between a man and a woman. This has infuriated European Union secularists who are issuing threats to try to force a change back to the EU’s standards.

Orban said that factions in the EU and elsewhere are angered that the Hungarian government is distributing the EU funding to the promotion of adoption instead of abortion.

On the long tradition of prayer in Central European culture, he said, “For me this tradition has great significance.” Orban, a Protestant, said that people praying for him has been “a great power and help for me” in his political life.

“I would like to thank you for this talk and wish God’s blessing on every single citizen of the Polish nation.”

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Vladimir Putin pledges to protect persecuted Christians abroad; Egyptian Copts hounded out of their homes by Muslim extremists

The Russian Prime Minister and Presidential candidate, Vladimir Putin, has told media that he wants to protect persecuted Christians abroad. While reports of anti-Christian violence continue to pour out of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Putin made the promise on Wednesday in Moscow at a meeting of members of various Christian denominations.

Putin was quoted by he Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, saying it is important that the “various confessions” continue to cooperate internationally.

Putin was responding to a statement by Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Illarion, that “every five minutes a Christian must die for his faith”. A recent study has shown that around the world, even in first world countries, the great majority of religiously-motivated violence is aimed at Christians, mostly by Muslims and by governments of Communist nations like China, North Korea and Viet Nam.

The Director of the Foreign Office of the Moscow Patriarchate, said persecutions are “especially noteworthy” in Muslim-dominated countries like Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and India. The Christmas day bombing of Catholic and other Christian churches in Nigeria by Islamic group Boko Haram has become almost an annual ritual.

Friday’s headlines from Egypt highlight the plight of the Christian Copts as the “Arab Spring” demonstrations have resulted in the ascendancy of a radical Islamist-led government. Sixty-two Coptic families have reportedly been driven out of their homes in a village, Kobry-el-Sharbat, outside Alexandria. 

Local Muslims burned homes and shops with the acquiescence of local police. The violence was said to have been triggered after a Coptic tradesman allegedly took photos of a Muslim woman with his cell phone.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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