Ben Johnson


Honoring Morton Blackwell: The conservative movement’s recruiter and basic trainer

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 18, 2012, ( – On Saturday night, the conservative movement paused to celebrate the life of a man who has helped train nearly 110,000 activists to turn their passion into policy.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins bestowed the Vision and Leadership Award on conservative leader Morton Blackwell at a black tie gala Saturday evening at the Values Voters Summit, held in the Omni Shoreham hotel in the nation’s capital.

Blackwell, who became active as a supporter of Barry Goldwater in the late 1950s, founded the Leadership Institute in 1979. Its 40 classes and seminars have equipped nearly 110,000 conservatives in everything from campaign management, to public relations, to broadcast journalism.

One of his former students, Lila Rose of Live Action, spoke of Blackwell’s influence on her own life during the dinner.

Rose said shortly after arriving as a UCLA freshman, she attended the Leadership Institute and received a grant to expand her pro-life campus publication.

“With that first $1,500 grant from the Leadership Institute, we were able to print almost 5,000 [copies] and distribute them around campus,” Rose said. “Now, six years later, The Advocate is on over 100 high schools and colleges with a circulation of over 200,000.”

As significantly, that’s where she met undercover journalist James O’Keefe, who joined Lila in exposing Planned Parenthood’s willingness to accept money to “abort a black baby” during a series of undercover videos.

In a ceremony hemmed by patriotic performances from the Indiana Wesleyan University chorale, Blackwell, accompanied on stage by his wife, humbly accepted what he called “a great and undeserved reward.”

Blackwell said abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and other moral issues reshaped the political landscape he first encountered in the not-too-distant past.

“What we now call social issues were not political issues,” he said. “In his entire national campaign I believe Senator Goldwater was never asked if he favored making abortion legal. Neither was he asked if he favored making bank robbery legal.” 

“Abortion and monogamous marriage between one man and one woman were among the many settled legal and moral issues of American culture,” he said. “But then the political Left began to bring into politics its hostility to traditional moral principles.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Phyllis Schlafly’s role in organizing the coalition to oppose the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the late Jerry Falwell’s forays into politics changed the makeup of the nation’s two major parties and forged the modern conservative movement, a marriage of moral, economic, and military conservatives, Blackwell said.

“The leftist politicians, content-free Republicans, and the so-called mainstream news media” derided Christian conservatives as “a danger to the Republic – dimwitted, uncouth, and savage people who would destroy the Republican Party.” Yet this force proved a vital part of the coalition that propelled Ronald Reagan to two landslide victories.

Blackwell, who served as a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1981-1984, said, “The greatest lesson that conservatives learned in that period is that personnel is policy. Where the right people are given responsibility, good things can happen.” He credited the administration’s conservative advisers, as well as the president’s wisdom, for making the Reagan administration a success.

He was less sanguine about the current occupant of the White House. “President Obama is the personification of leftist ideology,” said Blackwell, adding that his policies had been “fundamentally ruinous for our country. He must be replaced.”

“Everything is on the line this year,” he said.

While he – and thousands of the activists he has trained – are backing Mitt Romney for president, he felt Romney had to enact a full-spectrum conservative agenda to succeed.

“If Mitt Romney wins the presidency, there will be no shortage of unattached sycophants seeking jobs and ready to do whatever they are told to do,” Blackwell warned. “I pray that he will see to it that his new administration, if it comes to pass, will hire many, many people who have distinguished themselves by long and passionate endeavors for the conservative principles he now espouses.”

This author is a graduate of the Leadership Institute’s Broadcast Journalism School.

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Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

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By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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