John Jalsevac

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Gay students organize campaign to kick out Catholic priest for saying homosexuality, abortion sinful

John Jalsevac
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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Catholic students at George Washington University are rallying to the support of their beloved priest after two gay seniors launched a campaign to kick him out of his post at the university’s Newman Center for preaching that homosexuality and abortion are sinful.

The GW Hatchet, a campus newspaper, reported this week that seniors Damian Legacy and Blake Bergen are spearheading the campaign. The story has since been picked up by numerous other news outlets.

The students say that they will file a formal complaint with the university, release a video featuring ten other students who share their opinion, and hold prayer vigils until the priest is removed from his post. They are also demanding that the university’s Student Association defund the Newman Center, which receives $10,000 a year.

In their letter of complaint the pair will reportedly cite studies showing how being around “homophobic” behavior can lead to loss of appetite and problems sleeping.

The students complain that Fr. Greg Shaffer has spoken out against gay “marriage” and abortion, and has counseled homosexual Catholic students to embrace celibacy. They said they were disturbed when Fr. Shaffer quoted the Book of Romans and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

One of the two students, Damian Legacy, says he spent a large portion of his free time at the Newman Center during his freshman year at the university, including serving at Mass, and that he had hoped to become a priest. However, Fr. Shaffer reportedly disapproved when he found out that Legacy was in a relationship with another male student, and that he and Bergen were both running for offices with the gay rights organization Allied in Pride. 

“To have my faith leader view me that way, just because of one piece of the way that God made me, and to think that one part is responsible for the destruction of my human dignity, it just didn't, I can’t even begin to describe the mental conflict that it creates,” Legacy said. 

The Hatchet reports Bergen was "raised Jewish" and "identifies as agnostic." Legacy has since been ordained in the North American Old Catholic Church, which encourages homosexuals to become clergy.

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Catholic students rally to defense of Fr. Shaffer

Meanwhile, a student at the university has launched a website in support of Fr. Shaffer. Entitled The Chaplain We Know, the site features dozens of glowing testimonies from students about how the priest has touched their lives, and paying tribute to his spirit of service and passion for the Catholic faith.

Several students spoke of the priest’s willingness to meet with them at any time of day or night when they were in crisis or needed support. One described how, overcome with guilt during her freshman year, she had randomly called the priest at 2:00 in the morning on a Friday. 

“I don’t even know why,” she said. “I was a freshman, and I wasn’t even that Catholic yet. I dialed his number because I found his business card in the chapel. And he answered, and I was sobbing like a little baby and he didn’t even know who I was but he met me at the Foggy Bottom metro, and we talked and he got me Confession.”

Another student described how, after he learned that his father was dying from cancer this past Christmas, Fr. Shaffer cancelled his plans and drove nine hours to be with the student’s family. There he celebrated Mass and prayed over the student’s father. 

“I will never forget or be able to truly express my gratitude for the selflessness and charity he showed by coming to be with my family over this past Christmas break,” wrote the student, who said that his father has since defied the doctors’ prognosis and dramatically improved.

Interestingly, one of the gay students who is seeking to oust the priest shared a similar story about Fr. Shaffer’s dedication, telling The Hatchet that he knew the priest would always answer his telephone, even if he called him in the middle of the night. 

Chris Crawford, the student behind The Chaplain We Know, told LifeSiteNews.com that he was motivated to start the site because "Fr. Greg has been an enormous source of strength for GW Catholics."

"He is like a father to many of us. When we need someone to turn to, he is always there to answer our call - even if we call his cell phone in the middle of the night," said Crawford. "Whenever we need him, he is there to help us and to show us love and support. Lately, a false caricature of Fr. Greg has been created by some of the media on campus. This caricature is not in line with the loving, supportive Chaplain that we know. I wanted people to know the loving, supportive chaplain that we know."

Crawford said since the story broke, Fr. Shaffer, GW Catholics, and The Chaplain We Know, have "received an overwhelming outpouring of support."

He said he hopes that the publicity around the campaign from the students will lead people to check out the Newman Center. "If people, even those who expect to dislike us, come to The Newman Center to learn more about us, they will become closer to Christ. The Newman Center is a welcoming place in which everyone is loved. This is like our home away from home."

Meanwhile, he said, he is praying for the two students who have launched the campaign, whom he doesn't personally know.

Archdiocese, other Catholic organizations support Fr. Shaffer

Other Catholic organizations have also stepped up in support of the priest. In a letter to the university, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League described the two students’ complaint as “an attack on the freedom of expression of Catholics on campus to discuss their religious beliefs and practices with impunity.” 

Patrick O’Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic education watchdog organization, told Fox News he found the whole incident “absolutely disturbing.” 

"Chastity outside of marriage has been the Catholic church teaching for more than 2,000 years," he said. "The only discrimination occurring there is trying to silence a priest for trying to teach the Catholic faith."

The Archdiocese of Washington has responded to the controversy with a statement defending their priest. While the GW Newman Center is affililated with the university, it is officially part of the archdiocese.

"Fr. Greg Shaffer, chaplain at the Newman Center on the campus of the George Washington University, shares the teachings of the Catholic Church in a welcoming and joyful manner. His ministry is a vital component of the vibrant faith community on campus," reads the statement.

"The Catholic Church welcomes everyone. The teachings, however, are not tailored to an individual's personal beliefs," it continues. "Thus, priests have a commitment to educate people in the truths of our faith, regardless of the current cultural trend." 

“Forgive them, Father”

The university has said it is investigating the complaint. Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Terri Harris Reed released a statement saying that the university "strives to embody the spirit of mutual respect and reasoned debate that is essential to our academic mission." 

"We are therefore committed to ensuring that all members of our community are free to express their religious beliefs while honoring the right of others to express theirs," the statement read. 

Fr. Greg has not yet responded at length to the accusations, other than in one quote included in the Hatchet article, in which he said that freedom of religion and freedom of speech are “important rights that play a vital role at a diverse university like GW,” and that they are on his side.

However, in a blog post Wednesday, the day before the story was published in the Hatchet, he posted a photo of Jesus sitting on some rocks, with the words “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

A message left with Fr. Shaffer was not returned by press time. 



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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

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Texas AG to Target: Show me how you’ll protect women and kids from criminals

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

AUSTIN, Texas, May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The latest backlash Target received as a result of its transgender bathroom policy was a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asking the company to provide its safety policies to protect women and children from “those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes.” 

“Target, of course, is free to choose such a policy for its Texas stores,” Paxton wrote in a letter to Target CEO Brian Cornell. He noted the possibility of the Texas Legislature addressing the issue in the future, but said, “regardless of whether Texas legislates on this topic, it is possible that allowing men in women’s restrooms could lead to criminal and otherwise unwanted activity.”

“As chief lawyer and law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, I ask that you provide the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes,” Paxton continued.

More than 1.1 million people have pledged to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms.  Opponents of the policy worry that it puts women and children at risk by emboldening predators, who may now freely enter women’s restrooms. 

Target’s new policy is “inclusive,” the company claims, and they say “everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally.” 

“Texans statewide can no longer be silent on the issue of protecting the safety of women and children,” Texas Values President and Attorney Jonathan Saenz said in a statement Wednesday urging Texans to boycott Target.  This is the first time in its history the pro-family group has called for a boycott. 

“We need all Texans to understand that Target is using this radical change in their store policy to try convince people that our laws should be changed in this dangerous direction as well,” said Saena.  “Our goal with this boycott is for Target to change its dangerous new policy, to raise awareness of the real threats to safety that these policies bring and to help businesses and lawmakers understand the significant opposition to such measures that is growing daily… Texans all across our state must join this Boycott Target effort before someone gets hurt.”

On Tuesday a male allegedly filmed an underage girl at a Frisco, Texas, Target fitting room.  Police are searching for the man. 

There have been numerous incidents of male predators across North America accessing women’s facilities and citing transgender policies as allowing them to do so.  



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Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against a katz / Shutterstock.com
Albert Mohler

Opinion,

Christians, America has reached a crisis point. Are you ready to take up this challenge?

Albert Mohler

May 5, 2016 (Albert Mohler) -- For nearly two and a half centuries, Americans have enjoyed the enormous privilege and responsibility of forming our own government—a privilege rarely experienced throughout most of human history. For most of history, humanity has struggled with the question of how to respond to a government that was essentially forced upon them. But Americans have often struggled with a very different reality; how do we rightly respond to the government that we choose? 

To put all of this in historical perspective, the Framers of the American experiment understood that a representative democracy built on the principle of limited government would require certain virtues of its citizens. These would include a restraint of passions and an upholding of traditional moral virtues, without which democracy would not be possible. As the idea of limited government implies, the citizenry would be required to carry out the social responsibilities of the community without the intrusion of government and, thus, citizens would be expected to have the moral integrity necessary for such an arrangement. The Framers of the American Republic also agreed that it would be impossible to have a representative democracy and a limited government if the people did not elect leaders who embodied the virtues of the citizenry while also respecting and protecting society’s pre-political institutions: marriage and family, the church, and the local community.

Thus, the idea of a limited government requires that society uphold and pursue the health of its most basic institutions. When a civil society is weak, government becomes strong. When the family breaks down, government grows stronger. When the essential institutions of society are no longer respected, government demands that respect for itself. That is a recipe for tyranny.

Much of this was essentially affirmed until the early decades of the 20th century when progressivists began promoting an agenda that fundamentally redefined the role of the federal government in public life. By the middle of the 20th century, the Democratic Party had essentially embraced this progressivist agenda, becoming committed to an increasingly powerful government—a government whose powers exceeded those enumerated in the Constitution. At the same time, the Democratic Party also began advocating for a basic redefinition of the morality that shaped the common culture. By and large, however, the Republican Party continued to maintain a commitment to the vision of America’s founders, advocating for a traditional understanding of morality while also upholding the principle of limited government.

By the 1980s, the two parties represented two very different worldviews and two very different visions of American government. For decades, each party has acted rather predictably and in ways that accord with their fundamental principles. All of that, however, has now changed.

The 2016 presidential campaign has developed in an entirely unpredictable manner and, in many respects, represents a crisis in American democracy. This crisis is not limited to either party. Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, has won several stunning victories in the primary season over presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. While it is still extremely likely that Clinton will become the Democratic nominee, Sanders support among voters represents a populist flirtation with Democratic Socialism. This pattern is something few Democrats could have imagined just one year ago. What this foray into Democratic Socialism represents, then, is a radical adjustment of the Democratic Party’s basic economic principles. Thus, even if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee, the process will likely drag her even further to the left, eventually redefining the Democratic Party before our very eyes.

But if it is remarkable to see what is happening in the Democratic Party, it is absolutely shocking to see what is happening among Republicans. Traditionally, the Republican Party has established its reputation by standing for the principles advocated by the American Founders—limited government upheld by the health of society’s primary institutions such as marriage, family, and community. Yet Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against. Clearly, both political parties are now redefining themselves. What is not clear is where each party will ultimately end up. What is also not clear is whether the American experiment can survive such radical political change.

As already noted, the American experiment in limited government requires that the citizenry and those who hold public office honor certain moral virtues and respect the institutions that are crucial for a society to rightly function. Yet, we now find ourselves in a situation where the three leading candidates for president show little to no respect for such institutions in their articulations of public policy.

This fundamental redefinition of the American political landscape requires Christians to think carefully about their political responsibility. Make no mistake; we cannot avoid that responsibility. Even refusing to vote is itself a vote because it privileges those who do vote and increases the value of each ballot. In truth, we bear a political responsibility that cannot be dismissed or delegated to others. Every Christian must be ready to responsibly steward his or her vote at the polls.

To put the matter bluntly, we are now confronted with the reality that, in November, Hillary Clinton will likely be the Democratic nominee and Donald Trump the Republican nominee. This poses a significant problem for many Christians who believe they cannot, in good conscience, vote for either candidate. As a result, Christians are going to need a lot of careful political reflection in order to steward their vote and their political responsibility in this election cycle.

Headlines from around the world tell us that other representative democracies are at a similar moment of redefinition. Political turmoil now marks the United Kingdom and also nations like France and other key American allies. Perhaps democracy itself is now facing a crucial hour of decision and a crucial season of testing. It is no exaggeration to say that democracy is being tested around the world; it is certainly being tested here at home. Yet if this is a moment of testing for democracy, it is also a crucial moment for Christian witness. This election cycle is going to be a particular test for American Christians—and we are about to find out if Christians are up to this challenge.

Reprinted with permission from Albert Mohler.



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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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‘Sick and twisted’: Scientists keep embryos alive outside womb up to 13 days for experimentation

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two teams of scientists have announced that they have been able to keep human embryos alive outside the womb for 13 days for the purpose of conducting scientific experiments. Some call the announcement the onset of a “Brave New World,” while others are petitioning lawmakers to lift sanctions that would keep scientists from experimenting on newly conceived babies even longer.

Researchers from Cambridge University, King's College, and Rockefeller University said in two separate reports that they stopped at 13 days only to avoid violating an internationally accepted law. At least 12 nations restrict the amount of time a newly conceived child may be kept alive in a laboratory to 14 days, the point at which scientists believe “individuality” begins.

The newest development allows scientists to observe newly conceived human beings after the point at which implantation in the womb would have occurred.

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, one of the studies' lead researchers, said her team's breakthrough could advance embryonic stem cell research and “can improve IVF success.”

Some scientists have called on the international community to extend the amount of time such experimentation can take place.

“If restrictions such as the 14-day rule are viewed as moral truths, such cynicism would be warranted,” three experts – Insoo Hyun, Amy Wilkerson, and Josephine Johnston – wrote in a commentary published yesterday in Nature magazine. “But when they are understood to be tools designed to strike a balance between enabling research and maintaining public trust, it becomes clear that, as circumstances and attitudes evolve, limits can be legitimately recalibrated.”

Pro-life experts said the experimentation destroys human life and could lead to grave ethical dilemmas by extending the research.

“No human being should be used for lethal experimentation, no matter their age or stage of development,” said Dr. David Prentice, a professor of molecular genetics and an Advisory Board Member for the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center. “The 14-day rule is itself arbitrary, and does not assuage those who believe life begins at the moment of sperm-egg fusion. Moreover, allowing experiments on human embryos beyond 14 days post-fertilization risks the lives of untold more human beings, because it further encourages creation and destruction for research purposes.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, called the experimentation “sick and twisted.”

“Science has undeniably proven that a new human life, with unrepeatable DNA, begins at conception,” she said. “There is no reason for experimentation on that human life and science itself should not be heralding thae fact that a tiny human being can survive now for two weeks outside of the womb, all for the sole purpose of experimentation.”

Dr. Prentice noted that embryonic stem cell research “has yielded no benefit thus far,” leading even its most vocal advocates, such as Michael J. Fox, to admit it has not lived up to its promise.

“If this research does not stop at 14 days, where does it stop?” asked Prentice. “This is a risky step which could encourage further eugenic attitudes and actions.”

Dr. Prentice encouraged Congress “to have a full and open debate on the issue of human embryo research before the research community moves further without oversight.”



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