Kathleen Gilbert

Georgia Catholic bishops withhold support from non-binding Personhood ballot question

Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert
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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.”

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Dynel Lane stands accused of numerous crimes, but murdering a baby is not one of them.
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Colorado Democrats vote to allow more deaths like baby cut from her mother’s womb

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By Ben Johnson

DENVER, CO, May 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Constituents and readers around the world were horrified when police reported that Dynel Lane cut a baby out of a pregnant woman's womb, nearly killing the mother and causing the baby to die. But Colorado Democrats voted down a bill that would have classified the crime as a homicide for fear the law could someday be used to challenge abortion-on-demand.

The state House's State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee voted down the Offenses Against Unborn Children Act (SB 268) by a party line vote of 6-5 on Monday.

The proposal would have allowed prosecutors to charge anyone who kills an unborn child with murder but, like bills in 38 other states, it specifically exempts abortion.

“It is a travesty that not a single Democrat voted in favor of this legislation, which would bring justice for babies like Aurora who die in violent homicides,” Colorado Citizens for Life said in a public statement. “At the very least, Colorado Citizens for Life would hope that lawmakers could put aside their partisan differences to pass this common sense piece of legislation.”

State legislators felt a need to plug legal loopholes after Lane allegedly lured Michelle Wilkins to her Longmont home with a phony Craigslist ad for baby clothes on March 18. Police say that Lane spoke with Wilkins for an hour before attacking her in the basement, smothering her with a pillow until she passed out, then using a knife to surgically remove the unborn child.

Lane, who had previous medical training, left Wilkins to bleed on a basement bed, officials say.

Wilkins revived and called 911, and emergency personnel rushed her to a local hospital.

Her unborn child, who was 34 weeks along and who had already been given the name Aurora, did not survive. Lane's husband said he saw the child “gasp” before dying.

Yet cautious prosecutors did not charge Lane with murder, because they feared they could not prove the girl had been “born alive.”

S.B. 268, introduced by Polly Lawrence of Littleton, would have made such a crime a homicide.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Democrats rejected the bill, saying it could be used to prosecute abortionists.

Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado said that “the bill did not explicitly protect access to abortion, putting Colorado physicians in danger of prosecution if they provide care to pregnant women facing complications in their pregnancy or for providing safe abortion services.” The abortion lobbying group also claimed the bill may have “opened the door to prosecutions of women whose pregnancies face complications and tragically end in miscarriage.”

The bill states, “For purposes of a prosecution of a homicide or assault offense, the bill does not apply to an act committed by the mother of her unborn child,” or to “a medical procedure performed by...[any] licensed medical professional at the request of a mother.” It also refuses to prosecute anyone who prescribes or administers any “medication,” such as RU-486 or the morning after pill.

“This has nothing to do with abortion,” Lawrence said, according to local media. “This is about justice for two victims of violent crimes.”

For now, Colorado remains an outlier in the national abortion debate. But Aurora Wilkins' story – and Dynel Lane's alleged ghastly crime – have inspired people across the country to speak out.

"Imagine the love and the bond that Michelle Wilkins had for young Aurora after seven months together, the handful of sonograms that showed the young life, the heartbeats that reinforced those images and the kicking that showed someone raring to come out,” wrote Bob Confer, vice president of a New York plastics business, in the Niagara Falls Gazette. “Aurora was just as real in the womb and her family’s hearts as she would be if she were resting in a bassinet.”

“So many people are afraid to admit what those with respect for life know to be true: It doesn’t matter if someone is seven months or seven weeks pregnant, there is a life in there," he said.

"Life is important no matter the stage. It’s time we treated it like that and punished those who take it,” Confer added.

“Why should we be robbed of the Aurora Wilkinses of the world while those who take them from us can roam free?"

The vote roll call was:

No:
Rep. Su Ryden (D) 303-866-2942 [email protected]
Rep. Joe Salazar (D) 303-866-2918, [email protected]
Rep. Mike Foote (D) 303-866-2920, [email protected]
Rep. Susan Lontine (D) 303-866-2966, [email protected]
Rep. Dianne Primavera (D) 303-866-4667, [email protected]
Rep. Max Tyler (D) 303-866-2951, [email protected]

Yes:
Rep. Steve Humphrey (R) 303-866-2943, [email protected]
Rep. Patrick Neville (R) 303-866-2948, [email protected]
Rep. Jack Tate (R) 303-866-5510, [email protected]
Rep. Dan Thurlow (R) 303-866-3068, [email protected]
Rep. Yeulin Willett (R) 303-866-2583, [email protected]

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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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UK Green Party is ‘open’ to legalizing polygamy

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

May 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- The leader of the UK Green Party, Natalie Bennett, said she is “open” to considering legalizing "marriages" between three or more people.

She made the comment in response to a question posed by a reader of the homosexualist news service Pink News, who asked, "As someone living with his two boyfriends in a stable long-term relationship, I would like to know what your stance is on polyamory rights. Is there room for Green support on group civil partnerships or marriages?"

The radically pro-homosexualist Green leader replied that while her party had no specific policy on the subject, she was "open to further conversation and consultation" about polygamy.

"At present, we do not have a policy on civil partnerships involving more than two people," she said.

"We are, uniquely in this country, a party whose policies are developed and voted for by our members. We have led the way on many issues related to the liberalization of legal status in adult consenting relationships, and we are open to further conversation and consultation."

Speaking later at the launch of the Green Party's "LGBTIQ manifesto" in London's Soho district, Bennett said, “What I said was, we’d listen to the evidence on any issue, we believe in evidence-based policy-making. I have no personal view on this at all. This is the first time the question has been put to me so what I’m prepared to do is always listen to evidence.”

Bennett added, “LGBTIQ rights have come a long way since the millennium but there’s still an awful long way to go, as our manifesto sets out. Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia are still too common and too many people fear their impact in the workplace, in their schools and on the streets.”

Critics of “marriage equality” for homosexuals have long warned that the redefinition of marriage to include couples of the same sex will eventually extend that redefinition to polygamous relationships.

Michael Cook, editor of MercatorNet, said that while "activists for same-sex marriage have always insisted, that it will not lead to polygamy or polyamory, 'never, ever, ever,'" their denials are a crucial aspect of the homosexualist agenda because "if they were to concede that same-sex marriage would ultimately lead to polygamy and more imaginative forms of marriage, they would prove that there is a slippery slope. So they are forced into vehement denials."

“It’s like this,” explained Stanley Kurtz in a 2006 National Review article. “The way to abolish marriage, without seeming to abolish it, is to redefine the institution out of existence. If everything can be marriage, pretty soon nothing will be marriage. Legalize gay marriage, followed by multi-partner marriage, and pretty soon the whole idea of marriage will be meaningless.”

In Canada, defense lawyers in the 2010 trial of Winston Blackmore and James Oler of Bountiful, British Columbia, in fact used the country’s same-sex “marriage” law as justification for polygamy.

Blackmore was charged with marrying 20 women, though he openly claimed to have had 26 wives and more than 108 children. Oler was charged with marrying two women.

Blackmore's lawyer Blair Suffredine said his client had "a very strong case" in light of Canada’s legalization of homosexual "marriage."

"If [homosexuals] can marry, what is the reason that public policy says one person can’t marry more than one person?" Suffredine said at the time.

The charges in that trial were stayed when the BC Supreme Court was asked to examine the constitutionality of polygamy.

In 2011 the Court ruled that the law against polygamy was constitutional, which allowed a newly appointed BC Special Prosecutor, Peter Wilson, to continue to investigate potential criminal activity of Bountiful residents.

Gwen Landolt of Real Women of Canada, commenting on the federal government's 2014 Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Practices bill, which would strengthen the Criminal Code provisions against polygamy, told LifeSiteNews that “polygamy is harmful to women because it allows them to be abused, treating them as chattels at the discretion of a few men. They are not treated as equals and their children do not get proper parenting.”

While Green’s Natalie Bennett is "open" to considering polygamy, with its inherent possibility of a huge number of children begotten by just a few people, a longstanding member of the Green Party and one of the British government’s past advisors on environmental policies is on record for saying that if Britain is to be made "sustainable," its 60 million-plus population must be cut in half, by instituting China's model of population control.

Jonathon Porritt, a patron of the Optimum Population Trust (OPT), said that in order to reduce "pressure" on the world’s ecosystems, Britain must halve its population to 30 million inhabitants.

"Each person in Britain has far more impact on the environment than those in developing countries so cutting our population is one way to reduce that impact," Porritt told the 2009 OPT annual conference.

However, a number of media wags responded to the suggestion of mass population reduction, blithely saying that if Porritt was so enthusiastic, he was welcome to be the first volunteer.

Don Surber, a columnist for the Charleston Daily Mail, wrote, "He can go first." "This Jonathan Porritt is stuck in 19th century thinking. He said the Britons are worse on the world than people in developing countries. It is a combination of Malthusian logic and white man’s burden that I find amusing," Surber said.

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Lisa Bourne

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Nigerian bishop: Hillary must think she’s a ‘god’ if she wants us to abandon our pro-life values

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

May 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- An African Catholic bishop has said he thinks Hillary Clinton believes she is a god, someone who doesn’t value others’ morals, and he hopes Americans will wake up to what sort of people are running to be their president.

“I believe there are three groups of people in this world,” said Bishop Emmanuel Badejo. “Those who believe in God, those who do not believe in God, and those who think they are gods.”

“Hillary Clinton I think is one of those who thinks she is a god,” he said. “And I’m not obliged to believe that.”

In an April 29 interview with the Catholic website Aleteia, the Nigerian bishop was asked about Clinton’s recent statements at the Women in the World Summit, where she said, “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” to give women access to “reproductive health care and safe childbirth.”

In addition to Clinton’s disregard for other people’s principles, Bishop Badejo remarked that she was pandering.

“My personal opinion of Hillary Clinton is: She is seeking election in America so you can expect that, like most politicians, she will say just about anything to pander to the thoughts of whatever audience she is speaking to,” he said. “So I really think that Hillary Clinton is just speaking for votes, rather than speaking for reason.”

Clinton can’t be bothered with God, he said.

“From the way she spoke, people like herself very clearly don’t want to hear anything about God,” the bishop said. “Even if they say they believe in God, they really don’t.”

Her language makes her approach evident, said Bishop Badejo, and he thinks she’s become too wrapped up in technology, losing sight of the fact that people have their own values, including African people. 

“We talk about the dignity of life, the sanctity of life, etc. Is she saying they ought to be changed?” he asked. “Well, I don’t know what she is talking about. What are human beings going to change to?”

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Bishop Badejo has in the past criticized the cultural imperialism exhibited by some groups by way of foisting population control efforts and the homosexual agenda on African nations, and said that life is sacred for the African people.

In his most recent Aleteia interview he said God created the people of Africa this way in his infinite wisdom, “which I think might be a little bit more than Hillary Clinton’s.”

God did this to add to the beauty of his creation, he said, and those who push for such things to be imposed across the board don’t know the meaning of beauty, “which is found in variety, in color,” he said.

Those who don’t get this shouldn’t get to make the rules for others, the bishop said.

“If these values are not precious to Hillary Clinton,” said Bishop Badejo, “I think she has no right at all to call for a change in religious values and religious beliefs.”

He remarked how Clinton’s agenda of not respecting people’s values was evident despite her choice of language. 

“She also called them ‘structural biases.’ Again, that is a misuse of language,” he said. “‘Biases,’ to many people, are the things that make them who they are.” 

“So that’s as much importance as I attach to Hillary Clinton’s statement about cultural beliefs,” Bishop Badejo concluded. “It is my desire that the American people open their ears and their eyes and know exactly what kind of people are running to be the next President of the United States.”

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