Kirsten Andersen

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‘I never said that.’ Pro-abstinence speaker accused of ‘slut-shaming’ speaks out (LSN exclusive)

Kirsten Andersen
Kirsten Andersen
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CHARLESTON, WV, April 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – Liberal pundits have been slamming pro-abstinence speaker Pam Stenzel over remarks a young girl claims she made at an assembly at George Washington High School in Charleston last week.

GW Senior Katelyn Campbell told the West Virginia Gazette that she planned to file a complaint with the ACLU after Stenzel engaged in what Campbell called “slut-shaming,” including offensive remarks like ‘If you take birth control, your mother probably hates you’ and ‘I could look at any one of you in the eyes right now and tell if you’re going to be promiscuous.’

But Pam Stenzel says none of that ever happened.

“I never in my life said that,” Stenzel told LifeSiteNews in a phone interview.  “I say the same thing over and over again, you can go listen to it yourself.  My talks are all over YouTube.  What I said was that if you are on birth control, you are at a greater risk of becoming infected with an STD.” 

Stenzel doesn’t deny that the GW presentation was “a little tough.”  She said the crowd contained a lot of upper-middle-class kids who “are used to doing whatever they want.”  But she said most of the students received her message well.  “About eighty percent of the kids were fine,” she said.  “It was maybe twenty percent who had a problem with what I was saying.”

One of those was Katelyn Campbell, who told the Gazette that she thought Stenzel was trying to “scare students into abstaining from sex.”

“Stenzel’s overall attitude was that any type of sex will guarantee the contraction of an STD or an unwanted pregnancy,” Campbell told the paper. 

But George Washington principal George Aulenbacher told the Gazette he attended the program and “didn’t hear anything like that.” 

“Anytime you talk about sex with any teen student, it can be uncomfortable,” Aulenbacher told the Gazette. “The only way to guarantee safety is abstinence. Sometimes, that can be a touchy topic, but I was not offended by her. The intent was to educate and talk to kids about making good decisions.”

Stenzel is unapologetic about speaking in frank terms about the risks of promiscuity to her teen audience.  As a former crisis pregnancy center director, she has seen firsthand the effects of teenage sex.  She calls young sexual activity “a perfect storm” of risk for pregnancy, poverty, incurable diseases, future infertility, and even death, in part because developing bodies are more prone to injury and infections, but also because of ignorance of the risks. 

“Having worked in pregnancy centers for nine years,” Stenzel told LifeSIteNews, “girls would tell me, ‘Nobody told me this!  I didn’t know!  If I had known that infertility was a risk, that chlamydia could cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can make me infertile, if I would have known that out of the 30 major STD’s we’re dealing with, 26 of them primarily damage women?’”

“What does that mean?” Stenzel asked.  “It means the boy has very little to lose, and she has everything to lose.”  

Stenzel said that most people who condemn her talks do so because they see her as an “anti-choice” speaker for sharing her personal history.  Stenzel was conceived in rape and placed for adoption by her fifteen-year-old mother at a time when abortion was legal.  She is grateful to her mother for that choice and tells students at her talks that she “didn’t deserve the death penalty for my father’s crime.” 

Because of her outspokenness about the issues surrounding rape and abortion, she is seemingly on the watch list for pro-abortion groups who object to her message being shared in schools.

Stenzel said that certain people in the community seemed to have been tipped off that she was coming.

She says that when she arrived at GW High School to give her presentation, she was standing in the office when a woman called demanding information on the assembly.  When a school administrator informed the woman that Stenzel was the speaker and the focus of the talk would be abstinence, the caller became angry and said she would be outside picketing.  The woman was not a parent of a student at the school.

Likewise, the Gazette reported that George Washington parent Cheri Callaghan considered protesting the assembly with free condoms for students.   Callaghan, a realtor in Charleston, took to Facebook to complain about the pro-abstinence speaker, writing: “The nurse at the school is not even allowed to talk to the girls about the specifics of birth control in a class setting. Rumor has it that the assembly today is on safe sex and STDs. I thought, ‘Wow, now we’re getting somewhere.’ Come to find out it’s ‘a motivational speaker’ on abstinence.”

The Gazette also quoted school board member Becky Jordon as saying that many of the students who left the assembly “complained before they even heard [Stenzel] speak.”  

Stenzel’s talk was sponsored by Believe in West Virginia, a Christian group that brought Stenzel to Charleston to speak at a local church and offered to pay for her to speak at two public high schools while she was in town.  The other high school was Riverside High School, where Principal Valery Harper reported there have been no complaints.

“[Stenzel] shared a message that expresses her opinion, and it’s one that we were in support of,” Believe in West Virginia executive director John deBlecourt told the Daily Mail. “It's not a particularly religious message. Her message is that abstinence is the safest.”

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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