Thaddeus Baklinski

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European convention defining gender as social construct condemned as “rape” of Polish society

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski
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WARSAW, July 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Poland’s Bishops’ Conference and numerous pro-life and pro-family groups have denounced a Council of Europe convention that purports to address violence against women but has been criticized as an ideological attack on religion, tradition and culture. The organizations are urging the Polish government not to ratify the convention.

“The Presidium of the Polish Episcopal Conference notes with great concern the announcement of the Prime Minister that the Polish government will sign without reservation the proposed Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. This is in contradiction to the earlier announcement of the Prime Minister, that a public debate is needed on the Convention and the consequences of its signature and ratification,” the Polish bishops said in a statement issued last week.

The convention redefines gender as a social construct, rather than as a distinction grounded in biology, and suggests violence towards women is systemic with roots in religion and culture.

According to the “Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence” which was publicized in April, 2011, gender “shall mean the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men.”

This new “social construct” definition is at odds with the definition in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court - which this new convention cites.  The Rome Statute states that, “For the purposes of this Statute, it is understood that the term “gender” refers to the two sexes, male and female, within the context of society. The term ‘gender’ does not indicate any meaning different from the above.”

“The Polish Episcopal Conference supports the protection of women against violence, but does not agree with the ideological assumptions of the Council of Europe Convention,” the Polish bishops declared.

“It should be emphasized that the Convention, although it is devoted to the major issue of violence against women, is built on ideological and false assumptions that are in no way acceptable. It suggests that violence against women is systemic, and its source is religion, tradition and culture,” the bishops wrote, noting that Article 12 of the convention obliges signatories to “dismiss the achievements of civilization,” which are considered “as a threat and a source of violence.”

“A particular concern,” the bishops continued, “is the imposition of the signatories’ obligation to education (in Article 14) and promotion of “non-stereotypical gender roles,” meaning, therefore, homosexuality and transsexualism. Linking the legitimate principle of preventing violence with a dangerous attempt to interfere with the educational system, and the moral values professed by millions of parents in Poland, is a very worrying sign.”

The bishops also point out that Polish legislation already has sufficient tools to deal with violence, including violence against women, and that the government should focus on initiatives to “strengthen the role of families, improve health care for women and girls, support the professional education of women, to pursue educational programs, based on mutual respect and cooperation of both sexes, including the preparation for life in the family.”

“Undertaking such measures,” the bishops concluded, “rather than signing the controversial Convention, it can actually prevent and help combat all violence, even that against women.”

Pro-family groups in Poland have issued numerous statements calling on the government not to ratify the convention.

A spokeswoman for the right wing “Solidarity Poland” party, Marzena Wróbel, issued a statement saying, “The convention of the Council of Europe, which PM Donald Tusk and the Civic Platform party want to ratify, is yet another attack on family and its values.”

Wróbel equated the convention with the promotion of homosexuality and transsexuality, saying it makes the definition of manhood and womanhood relative and independent of biological facts.

“In the light of this convention, every person who wants to be a woman, can be a woman. This is against reality,” Wróbel stated.

She also pointed to Article 12 of the convention, which says that culture, heritage, religion, tradition or “so called honor” must not be “used as justification of any acts of violence as defined by this convention.”

“Poland’s tradition has always been that violence against women is unacceptable and, in accordance with our culture, a woman is always given special respect. Poland was, after all, one of the first countries in the world to give women the right to vote,” Wróbel said.

In an open letter to the government, the authorities of Centrum Służby by Rodzinie (Center for Service to the Family), an organization based in the city of Łódź that helps families and victims of domestic violence, and runs Poland’s largest non-state-funded home for single mothers, said, “The Convention would introduce into the Polish law a definition of sex based on the ideology of “gender”. The Convention has a characteristic pejorative attitude to culture, tradition and the heritage of nations. It seems that the authors of the convention must have realized that it would raise controversy.”

“Sadly, the Convention in its present form seems to be a social and political manifesto, and not an instrument for the protection of victims of violence. In this document, women have become a tool of hidden interests, once again they have been objectified and abused. Let us not connect the protection of abused women with the need to adopt the gender doctrine, or any other ideology.”

Mariusz Dzierżawski, founder of the Warsaw-based PRO foundation and one of Poland’s most prominent and active pro-life leaders, told LifeSiteNews he believes the Polish prime minister is being pressured by radical feminists to sign the convention.

“The feminists are pushing for a quick ratification of the convention by Poland. The Prime Minister is yielding to the pressure,” Dzierżawskii said.

“The convention itself contains articles suggesting that it is the traditional view on family and gender issues that actually causes violence against women. So, there are reasons to suspect that the convention will be used as a tool to deconstruct family and destroy moral norms.”

“The convention’s advocates are using moral blackmail,” Dzierżawski observed, “implying that if you are against the convention, then you must approve of violence against women. They can’t see (or maybe they just pretend no to see) that it’s the family and moral norms that really protect the dignity of women. A hundred years ago a similar kind of project was implemented in Bolshevik Russia. I haven’t heard about women being too happy about it.”

Joanna Najfeld, a Polish journalist and pro-life commentator, noted the complicity of the liberal mainstream media in Poland in promotion of the convention that she labelled “ridiculous beyond belief.”

“Nobody in this country, or in any other sane, democratic society, would agree to it if it was being introduced through democratic channels, like a popular vote or a referendum,” Najfeld told LifeSiteNews.

“The mainstream liberal media silence, downplay, or manipulate the subject totally, so it can be ratified quietly by those in power in Poland now, and soon used against the Polish nation. The European Union uses the back door to impose these absurd, and extremely dangerous ideas on us.”

“We are a traditional nation,” Najfeld declared. “Traditional, meaning sane, rational and conservative.”

Comparing the imposition on Poland of the Council of Europe’s gender ideology to Communist oppression, Najfeld said, “the liberal ‘elites’ use lies, coercion, and supranational powers to perform yet another - excuse my strong language - rape on our society. Communism oppressed us and now European institutions are a new oppressor.

“What they are doing is abuse on our nation. We are like a beaten woman, abused by somebody stronger, in her own home,” Najfeld asserted.

Contact information:

Polish President Bronis?aw Komorowski
E-mail: via website

Prime Minister Donald Tusk
E-mail: [email protected]

The Polish Conference of Bishops
E-mail: [email protected]

The Parliamentary Committee for Social Policy and Family
Online form

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

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Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

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And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

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