Georgia Catholic bishops withhold support from non-binding Personhood ballot question
ATLANTA, July 26, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As Georgia Republicans prepare for a primary ballot question on whether human life begins at conception, Catholic Church leaders are withholding key support for the measure, a move that one state pro-life leader says is based on a misguided argument.
Ballot Question 5 will appear before voters in all 159 counties in Georgia’s GOP primary on July 31. The question, essentially a survey of GOP voters, reads: “Do you support an amendment to the Georgia state constitution so as to provide that the paramount right to life is vested in each human being from the earliest biological beginning until natural death?”
Supporters say the non-binding question is designed to act as a weathervane showing state politicians the depth of pro-life conviction among Georgia voters in hopes of impacting the future of legislative policy. Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) reports that polls show support for the question as high as 70 percent.
“Imagine what our state polticians are going to see when their own constituents say they’re pro-life overwhelmingly and that life begins at conception - how that would promote pro-life legislation at all levels,” GRTL president Dan Becker told LifeSiteNews (LSN) this week. “It’s a tremendous tool to be able to move public opinion and impact public policy.”
Unlike the personhood question on general election ballots in states like Colorado and Mississippi, Ballot Question 5 has no legal weight to change the state Constitution or other law.
The state Catholic bishops’ conference, led by the Archdiocese of Atlanta under Archbishop Wilton Gregory, has said it is against supporting the Personhood bid. It is basing its argument against Ballot Question 5 on litigation concerns surrounding HR 536, a 2008 personhood question for Georgia’s general election ballot that had the power to change the state Constitution.
In a July 19 op-ed in the archdiocesan paper Georgia Bulletin, Rev. Douglas Clark described Ballot Question 5 as “tilting at windmills,” and cited the bishops’ conclusion about HR 536 four years ago. “It will do nothing to curb abortions in Georgia and, moreover, may prove a distracting windmill in Atlanta, just when our attention needs to be focused on the ‘ferocious giants’ in Washington,” wrote Clark.
An internal memo to clergy, religious, seminarians, and other diocesan leaders dated July 23 from the Respect Life office and the Georgia Catholic Conference indicated the position of non-support was in line with the policy goals of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, because the national conference has focused on a federal Constitutional amendment. The memo, which the archdiocese provided to LSN, said Georgia bishops, like prelates in other states, would not support Ballot Question 5 because they would not back an amendment “which does not provide a realistic opportunity to end or reduce abortion.” “It is important to clarify that our position is not a disagreement about the fundamental teachings on the right to life. We will continue to work for positive alternatives and solutions that will actually save lives in Georgia,” it concluded.
The memo directs readers to a longer document regarding HR 536, listing constitutional concerns as well as several points under “Potential for Serious Negative Consequences.” One such point states that, should the Personhood amendment be declared unconstitutional, “a void provision does not legally exist, so if Roe were later overturned, the amendment would not spring back into existence and Georgia would have to begin the constitutional amendment process all over again.”
GRTL president Dan Becker told LifeSiteNews.com in a telephone interview this week that the bishops’ arguments against supporting HR 536 don’t apply to Ballot Question 5.
“It only talks about the futility of the Supreme Court challenge. That has nothing to do with a question on a ballot that has a political impact,” said Becker, referring to the Bulletin article. “There’s nothing binding about a political question on a primary ballot.”
“From the standpoint of wanting to communicate to our elected officials how the pro-life voters of the state of Georgia are ... [the bishops] are coming out against that, against the ability to speak to our legislature,” he said. “They’re really aiming at a legal outcome that is years down the road, so they misconstrued the whole exercise here.”
Becker said that he has met frequently since January with archdiocesan officials, among whom are “friends of long standing,” yet still failed to reach common ground. “Obviously we disagree on strategy and on what’s most effective. We’d love to continue to work with them towards common goals legislatively and policy-wise,” he said. Becker, who is a non-denominational Christian, said about half the members of GRTL are Catholics.
When asked for a response to Becker’s comments, the archdiocese provided LifeSiteNews a statement by Respect Life Director Mary Boyert. “Advocates for the state personhood amendment are pursuing their agenda despite being fully informed of the serious concerns raised by the Catholic bishops of Georgia,” it said.
Georgia Catholic Conference executive director Frank Mulcahy added that the state bishops’ conference “remains committed to working on state and federal initiatives that will truly lead to the protection of all human life.”
Meanwhile, Becker says that the enthusiastically pro-life position of GOP leaders in Georgia can be attributed to the sometimes-controversial Personhood approach, which he called “a return to first principles” of the pro-life movement.
Unlike previous points in the movement’s history, he said, this is the first time enthusiasm for Personhood “has gone beyond the Catholic leadership.” “Both Catholic faithful and evangelicals are joining forces for the first time, and this is where I see the sticking power,” he said.
“The archbishops will be won over by the sheer pragmatism of the outcome. And then once again well have a single voice and a solid voice representing the sanctity of human life.”
Please, enough with the cult of pop stars. Our kids need real heroes.
April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two things happen each time a significant pop culture figure dies: Christians attempt to dredge up some moderately conservative or traditional thing that figure said at some point during his long career, and mainstream media attempts to convince a society thoroughly bored with such things that the person in question was a ground-breaking radical. The two most recent examples are the androgynous David Bowie—a cringe-worthy and possibly blasphemous video of him dropping to his knees during a rock performance and uttering the Lord’s Prayer circulated just following his death--and the pop star Prince.
I’ve had to suppress my gag reflexes many times as I saw my Facebook newsfeed fill up with memes sporting quotes from Prince about his faith and articles announcing that the musician who “embraced gender fluidity before his time,” according to Slate and “will always be a gay icon” according to The Atlantic, was against gay marriage. Sure, maybe he was. But only a Christian community so shell-shocked by the rapid spread of the rainbow blitzkrieg and the catastrophic erosion of religious liberty would find this remarkable. After all, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said the same thing barely one election cycle ago. As one obituary celebrating Prince’s paradigm-smashing sexual performances written by Dodai Stewart put it:
Dig, if you will, a picture: The year is 1980. Many states still have sodomy laws. The radio is playing feel-good ear candy like Captain and Tennille and KC and the Sunshine Band. TV hits include the sunny, toothy blond shows Three’s Company and Happy Days. There’s no real word for “gender non-conforming.” But here’s what you see: A man. Clearly a man. Hairy, mostly naked body…a satiny bikini bottom. But those eyes. Rimmed in black, like a fantasy belly dancer. The full, pouty lips of a pin-up girl. Long hair. A tiny, svelte thing. Ethnically ambiguous, radiating lust. What is this? A man. Clearly a man. No. Not just a man. A Prince.
Right. So let’s not get too carried away, shall we? I know Christians are desperate to justify their addictions to the pop culture trash that did so much to sweep away Christian values in the first place and I know that latching on to the occasional stray conservative belief that may manifest itself in pop culture figures makes many feel as if perhaps we are not so weird and countercultural, but this bad habit we have of claiming these figures upon their passing is downright damaging.
After all, parents should be teaching their children about real heroes, titans of the faith who changed the world. Heroes of the early church who stood down tyrants, halted gladiatorial combat, and crusaded against injustice in a world where death was all the rage. These men and women were real rebels who stood for real values. If we want to point our children to people they should emulate, we should be handing them books like Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by the brilliant writer Eric Metaxas rather than the pop albums Purple Rain or Lovesexy by Prince. If parents spend their time glorifying the predecessors of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus instead of highlighting heroes like William Wilberforce, they can hardly be surprised when their children choose to emulate the former rather than the latter.
The mainstream media’s adulation of these pop stars is equally irritating. The unspoken truth of these obituaries is that the flamboyant antics of Prince and the rest of the so-called rebellious drag queens populating the rock n’ roll scene have been mainstream for a long time already. Want to see dozens of bizarre body piercings? Weird hairdos? Purple mohawks? Dudes with nail polish? Strange tattoos? Easy. Just go onto any university campus, or any public high school without a dress code. With headphones wedged firmly in their ear canals, they can pump the cleverly commercialized “counterculture” straight into their skulls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
More than that, some of these courageous rebels have actually sued their employers to ensure that they can let their establishment-smashing freak flag fly at work, too. An Edmonton woman with 22 visible body piercings complained that her employer was unfair because apparently she was being discriminated against “based on body modifications.” Yeah! The Man must be told, after all. And if he doesn’t agree, we will lawyer up. I wonder what the shrieking rebels of the early days would think about the snivelling children of the current grievance culture.
So these days, the media’s eulogizing about aging culture warriors who went mainstream a long time ago rings a bit hollow. After all, most rock n’ roll stars these days look tame compared to what shows up in the children’s section at Pride Week. Freaky is normal now. Normal is radical. Welcome to 2016.
When Christians are posting nostalgic tributes to the rebels who helped inoculate their children against the radical views of Christianity in the first place, you know that the victories of the counterculture are complete and Stockholm syndrome has set in.
Target boycott climbs to over 1 million
April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Over 1 million people have signed a pledge to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms.
The American Family Association’s Boycott Target petition gained traction immediately, reaching the one million mark in only nine days.
“Corporate America must stop bullying people who disagree with the radical left agenda to remake society into their progressive image,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “#BoycottTarget has resonated with Americans. Target’s harmful policy poses a danger to women and children; nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy. Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable. And it’s clear now that over one million customers agree.”
Target defended its policy in a statement saying that it believes everyone “deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally” and earlier this week, a Target spokeswoman defended the policy as “inclusive.”
The AFA said that unisex bathrooms are a common-sense alternative to allowing men unfettered access to women’s bathrooms.
“Target should keep separate facilities for men and women, but for the trans community and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone, a single occupancy unisex option should be provided,” the petition says.
The AFA warned that Target’s new policy benefits sexual predators and poses a danger to women and children.
“With Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?” the petition asked.
There have been numerous instances of predatory men accessing women’s bathrooms and intimate facilities in the wake of “transgender” bathroom policies allowing them to do so.
“We want to make it very clear that AFA does not believe the transgender community poses this danger to the wider public,” said Wildmon. “Rather, this misguided and reckless policy provides a possible gateway for predators who are out there.”
Amazing new video captures the flash of light the moment life begins
CHICAGO, April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Life begins with a spark – literally.
Researchers at Northwestern University have documented the striking event in a new video that accompanies a study published this week.
At the moment of conception, the egg releases massive amounts of zinc, which creates a spark that can be seen with the aid of a microscope.
“It was remarkable,” said Teresa Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's medical school. “To see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.”
The research team had noted the zinc sparks before in mice eggs but had never observed the process in human beings.
“All of biology starts at the time of fertilization,” Woodruff said, “yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”
One of the researchers, Northwestern chemistry professor Thomas O'Halloran, explained the science behind the process in 2014.
“The egg first has to stockpile zinc and then must release some of the zinc to successfully navigate maturation, fertilization and the start of embryogenesis,” he said. “On cue, at the time of fertilization, we see the egg release thousands of packages, each dumping a million zinc atoms, and then it's quiet.”
“Each egg has four or five of these periodic sparks,” O'Halloran said. “It is beautiful to see, orchestrated much like a symphony.”
Since the amount of zinc in an egg correlates with successful implantation and birth, the Northwestern researchers are highlighting that their research may be used to assist in vitro fertilization.
But that raises concerns given the grave moral issues with IVF, which involves creating numerous embryos that are either killed or frozen. Moral theologians also emphasize that IVF is an injustice even for the children who are born as a result, as they are created in a lab rather than in the union of man and woman.
The study may have far-reaching consequences the research team did not intend, such as strengthening public belief in the longstanding scientific consensus that life begins at the moment of conception/fertilization.
Many of those who saw the Northwestern video said it testifies to the beauty of life and the shallow lies that buttress the argument of abortion-on-demand.
“I saw this, and I was blown away by it,” said Rush Limbaugh on his nationally syndicated radio program Thursday afternoon. “For anybody in the mainstream media to openly admit that life begins at conception” defies arguments that an unborn child is only “tissue mass.”
Researchers released a separate video of the zinc spark taking place in a mammalian egg more than a year ago:
The paper, which is entitled “The Zinc Spark is an Inorganic Signature of Human Egg Activation,” was published by Scientific Reports on April 26.