Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

French police brutality against Catholic demonstrators

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits
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PARIS, France, October 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A group of Parisian Catholic students was beaten by riot police during a protest in front of a theater during the premiere of a blasphemous play by Italian playwright Romeo Castellicci, on Thursday evening.

On the Concept of the Face of the Son of God is a scatological representation of an old man wracked with diarrhea whose son wipes and cleans him repeatedly on stage under a large reproduction of a Face of Christ by Antonello da Messina. Brown feces fill the stage - synthetic odor included -, the two actors leave the stage, then a dozen children carrying schoolbags make their appearance and throw plastic grenades at the image of Christ. The image later appears to crack up and a dark liquid similar to the feces seen earlier invades the face which is then covered with the words, “You are not my shepherd”.

For the first night at the publicly subsidized “Théatre de la Ville” in Paris on Thursday, several unrelated groups organized public protests. One group had bought tickets and disrupted the show with stink bombs before climbing on the sage with banners proclaiming “Cathophobia : we’ve had enough”. Riot police entered the theatre to move out the protesters, some of whom were arrested.

Another group of young activists of the historic French royalist movement, l’Action française, chose to organize a peaceful demonstration in front of the theatre. A few dozen young French Catholics chained themselves to the railings of the theater under the noses of three vanloads of riot police (“CRS”) who quickly closed in to dislodge them. Heavy-handedly using their bats and teargas, the armored police forces beat up the young people, handcuffed them and forced many of them flat on the ground.

One young man who was lying handcuffed, with part of his body on the street, unable to move, was injured at this point when a police van backed into him, riding over his foot. The injury appeared to be severe as he was in great pain, and he was quickly evacuated by emergency services to the nearby “Hôtel-Dieu”, the historic Parisian hospital near Notre-Dame. As it turned out there was only a severe flesh wound. A complaint is being lodged against the police force responsible for this brutality.

Seventeen other young demonstrators were arrested and kept in police custody for 24 hours, at the end of which three of them were charged with “rebellion”. One of the young men has also been charged with “theft” as one of the police force’s caps was missing…

At the beginning of the week the rights defense group AGRIF (Alliance against racism and for the respect of French and Christian Identity) used an emergency procedure to obtain an order to block the showing of On the Concept of the Face of God. The request was rejected on the ground that some scenes were undoubtedly offensive and violent, but that they were susceptible to many contradictory interpretations.

The judge, Emmanuel Binoche, made clear that there is no anti-blaspheme law in France.  Although the judge was correct, anti-hate-crime laws nevertheless make it an offense to dishonor and ridicule believers through the most sacred aspects of their faith. Still Binoch ruled that AGRIF must pay the “Théâtre de la Ville” 1,200 euros in costs.

The judge’s stance aided by the fact that a few priests have been applauding Castellucci’s play for its thoughtfulness and insight.

On the other hand, a growing number of French bishops have publicly voiced their dismay at the rising number of anti-Catholic shows and plays: cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris and the spokesman of the French bishops’ conference, Mgr Bernard Podvin, both called on French Catholics to make their indignation public and to question public funding of the shows.

In December, Paris will be hosting a Hispano-Argentinian play called Golgota Picnic which outraged Spanish Catholics when it opened in January this year in Madrid. Like Castellucci’s work, it is obsessed with the image of Christ and heaps insults and accusations on the Church. Typically, it accuses the traditional representations of the Crucifixion of planting the seeds of pedophilia within the priesthood.

Another Catholic group which launched a petition (defendonslecrucifix.org) against these plays, “Civitas”, received support from a French bishops including Mgr Aillet of Bayonne and Mgr Aumonier of Versailles who encouraged Catholics to react against these “insults to our faith”.

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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.

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

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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