Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

,

Italian MPs introduce bill to protect parents’ constitutional rights against ‘gender ideology’

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ROME, April 9, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Italian Deputies Eugenia Roccella and Alessandro Pagano have introduced a bill in Parliament that would establish the rights of parents to make decisions about their children’s education, particularly on moral issues.

The move comes in response to increasing concerns by some deputies, parent groups, and civil rights organizations that the government is being co-opted by organized activists to push the so-called “gender ideology” in schools and other Italian institutions.

The purpose of the bill, Roccella said at a press conference, is to “reaffirm and ensure the fundamental right to educational choice of parents, as set out, inter alia, in the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.” 

Which means in practice, she said, that in all school activities that “relate directly or indirectly to the issues related to relationships, affectivity and sexuality education, and other ethically sensitive issues in general, the parents are informed, who must give their consent in writing to each student.” 

The schools must also provide alternative activities for those who choose not to take advantage of extra-curricular activities, “without giving rise to any form of discrimination.”

Roccella is a former feminist activist and past state secretary for health who has long been a champion of life and family causes in Italy’s Parliament, most recently against the proposed “anti-homophobia” law. She is a deputy with the newly-formed Nuovo Centro Destra party (NCD, “New Centre-Right”).

Recently, she and a group of deputies and others have grown increasingly concerned over the sudden incursions of the homosexualist movement’s ideologies into government institutions, particularly through the Ufficio Nazionale Anti Discriminazioni, (UNAR, National Anti-Discrimination Bureau) a body set up by the government to ensure “equality of treatment and the removal of discrimination based on race and ethnic origin.”  

Roccella took a leading role in a group of deputies that stopped the UNAR from distributing pro-homosexual school pamphlets, though some city-based initiatives have moved forward in Milan, Turin, Venice and Florence at the behest of local homosexualist organizations. 

She explained that the bill is in response to actions taken by the UNAR. Although UNAR’s written prerogatives say that it must act “in full independence of judgment and condition of impartiality,” it has effectively become the strong arm of the gender ideology movement in government, using the law to enforce conformity to a new and alien set of ethics. 

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Roccella explained in an interview with the website Papaboys 3.0, that the UNAR has been co-opted by gender ideologues to press their aims onto Italian society with the force of law. The UNAR accomplishes this with a “working group made ​​up of 29 homosexual associations,” with no other groups represented to “ensure diversity of opinion and judgment criteria.” 

“In this way,” Roccella said, “the UNAR began working independently, to launch the dissemination of brochures such as the ‘Educating for diversity in school,’ which was brought to children without any permission, either from the Ministry of Education, or from the Ministry of Social Policy and completely excluding parents of students.” 

Roccella pointed to two UNAR documents, issued in January this year, that have formed the basis of the push into schools, and an attempt to control the message to the public by censoring journalists. These documents were created through collaboration with gender and homosexual activists at the Council of Europe.

The two documents are part of the “National Strategy for the Prevention and the Fight Against Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (2013-2015),” and “Communicating without Prejudice,” which threatened unspecified professional sanctions, and even possible jail time, for those journalists who portrayed homosexuality or “transgenderism” in anything but a positive light. These two documents together, Roccella said, lay out “a real code of political correctness, which masks the reality of self-censorship and forms a platform of ideological conformism.”

The UNAR’s documents on the schools included their stated intention to “instill” in children “the concept that there is no male and female, mother and father, and that the idea that the family is formed by a man and a woman is the result of a homophobic culture.”

These assertions in the two papers, Roccella said, contradict the constitution in its definition of the family – which calls it a “natural society based on marriage” – and undermine motherhood by supporting the concept of the paid “surrogate mother.” Roccella has been a vocal opponent of the push to legalize surrogacy in Parliament, calling it “uterus for rent.” She said that since the UNAR has started issuing its demands, Italy is now seeing the “paradox” of institutions established by the government attempting to ban expression of the country’s own constitution.

She also commented on the case of now-former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, who was “shown the door by his company” after it was revealed that in 2008 he donated $1,000 to support California’s Proposition 8, a referendum that opposed “gay marriage.” Eich, she said, was a victim of a campaign of “undemocratic blackmail” by organizations that “do not tolerate freedom of thought.”

“Faced with so much illiberal violence,” she said, “I want to reaffirm that I am personally opposed to gay marriage, and that in Eich’s shoes I would also have given my support to the battle for the defense of marriage between a man and a woman.”

The intervention of Roccella and other deputies to defend the rights of parents in the nation’s schools is a timely one, said Stefano Zecchi, an author and professor of philosophy at the University of Milan. In an interview with Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, Zecchi said that the extreme left is using these “gender” ideologues to force the public school system to act as a conduit into the minds of young Italians, breaking down foundational civilizational concepts like the family, based on marriage, and replacing them with a foreign, utopian ideology.  

“Today in politics there is great difficulty in making sense of cultural differences, so the secularism of the left has just delivered their ideological arsenal on the theme of the abolition of genders. To say that genders are no longer male and female, but even 56 different types becomes the battle for political identity,” Zecchi said.

“As the original leftists truly believed that Communism would save the human race and recognized in it an irreproachable morality, so today they argue that gender prejudice is brutalization.”  

For this end, Zecchi said, “the school is particularly targeted by these insane ideologies” that are “the result of the demolition of the father figure that comes from the 70s.” These ideologies, he said, are moving politics into the realm of Darwinian “biologism,” an ideology that is totalitarian at its root.  

Ultimately, he said, the logic will lead to the total abolition of any and all sexual restraint in the public sphere: “One day we will come to defend the pedophile – who is after all, a man who pursues his sexual preference – and even incest.”

Zecchi echoed Roccella, saying that under the current law “freedom of education” is a constitutional principle, but that this right of parents to guide their children’s education is coming under direct attack “by a ‘state education’ that would be imposed by the ideologues of gender.” Teachers should be warned that, while they have a duty to stop genuine bullying, “which creates true personal tragedies,” the current push is an attempt to use bullying as a pretext for inserting the “violent ideology” of the extreme left.

“This is becoming a regime and in fact everyone is afraid to fight back, even if only to say that the father is a man and a woman is the mother has become an act of ‘courage.’” 

Truth. Delivered daily.

Get FREE pro-life, pro-family news delivered straight to your inbox. 

Select Your Edition:


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Lisa Bourne

,

61% of Americans don’t want Supreme Court to force gay ‘marriage’ on the states: poll

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

February 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- A vast majority of Americans want the government to stay out of their personal affairs when it comes to defining marriage and how they conduct their work lives or businesses, a new survey says. And a great majority also oppose the idea of the Supreme Court forcing the entire country to accept marriage redefinition.

Eighty-one percent of Americans agree with the statement, “Government should leave people free to follow their beliefs about marriage as they live their daily lives at work and in the way they run their businesses,” according to a survey commissioned by the Family Research Council (FRC) and the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB).

The poll breakdown also showed that 80 percent of even those who never attend church believe the government should leave people alone in observing their faith when it comes to marriage. While the figures were very high across the board in support of allowing Americans freedom to practice their faith pertaining to marriage, it was highest among Hispanics at 89 percent.

Along with profound opposition to governmental tampering with religious freedom, more than six in 10 Americans also agreed with the statement, “States and citizens should remain free to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman and the Supreme Court shouldn’t force all 50 states to redefine marriage.”

That statistic is especially significant given the Supreme Court is set to rule on the constitutionality of homosexual “marriage” this summer.

The survey was conducted by WPA Opinion Research, which polled 800 registered voters from February 2-4.

A majority of Americans, 53 percent, agree that marriage should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman, the survey also found.

The results fly in the face of the presumption for Americans to concede that the whole country accepts homosexual “marriage,” undoubtedly telling a different story than what the media would have everyone believe, said FRC President Tony Perkins.

"It's clear, based on (this) polling, that Americans have not reached a broad social consensus that marriage should be redefined," Perkins told Baptist Press.

A Fox News poll also found last fall that a more Americans oppose legalization of homosexual “marriage” than support, at 47 percent and 44 percent respectively.

A recent Associated Press poll said most Americans favor not forcing the owners of wedding-related business to go against their religious convictions by compelling them to provide services for homosexual “weddings.”

Perkins also disapproved of any effort by the Supreme Court to impose marriage redefinition nationally.

The court "will be at a point of overreach if they impose a one-size-fits-all definition of marriage on the nation by redefining it," he said.

“What this survey tells us is that the American people won't accept the redefinition of marriage by judicial fiat,” he continued in a statement on the findings.

NRB Jerry President described the survey results as "incredible," and also said it is a "slam dunk" for more than 80 percent of Americans to agree that citizens should be free of governmental interference in the practice of their faith, including in their businesses.

"Government has no right establishing speech codes or business codes on marriage and 81 percent of Americans agree entirely," said Johnson.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

The Center for Arizona Policy also welcomed the survey results, further expressing importance of listening to the will of the people.

“It’s clear that marriage matters to voters,” the group’s President Cathi Herrod said in a statement. “Furthermore, the freedom of belief and the freedom to vote for a cause are of the utmost importance.”

“The Supreme Court should not silence the will of the voters,” she said. “What’s more, the government should not penalize people for believing that marriage is between a man and a woman.” 

Herrod decried religious discrimination with the recent examples where Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired from his job and Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman is being sued by the state’s attorney general and the ACLU.

“What should be simple matters of disagreement has turned into government coercion,” said Herrod. “Instead of respecting differences of opinion, the government is now being used to stifle differing beliefs.”

Perkins was confident that Americans will not stand by for the redefinition of marriage to be imposed by the nation’s high court.

“If it dares to redefine an institution as old as civilization itself,” he said. “Like life, the marriage debate will only intensify as the American people realize that they'll be required to surrender their fundamental right to live and work according to their beliefs.

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Cardinal Raymond Burke was one of the principal authors and supporters of the book defending the Church's teachings on marriage that was allegedly blocked by Cardinal Baldisseri.
Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Synod’s chief organizer seized books by top cardinals defending Church’s marriage teachings: report

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White

ROME, February 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Allegations have surfaced this week that the lead organizer of the Vatican’s controversial Synod on the Family in October personally intervened to block the distribution of a book distributed by high-ranking cardinals, including Cardinal Raymond Burke, that defended the Church’s teachings on marriage.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary for the Synod of Bishops, who became the focus of much criticism from bishops at the Synod for allegedly “manipulating” the process, is reported to have ordered that the books be seized, despite them having been posted through the official Vatican City State postal service.

The highly respected Vaticanist Edward Pentin, writing for NewsMax on Wednesday, said “reliable and high level sources” had confirmed that the book, “Remaining in the Truth of Christ,” was “intercepted” on the orders of Cardinal Baldisseri on the grounds that it would “interfere with the synod.” Baldisseri was also said to have been “furious” at the attempt to distribute them.

Cardinal Baldisseri reportedly claimed the books were confiscated because they had been distributed “improperly.” Those entrusted with ensuring the books made it into the hands of the Synod bishops, however, insisted that the books had gone through the regular Vatican postal service, and were therefore legally protected material, Pentin reports.       

The book includes a set of essays defending and explaining the Catholic teaching on the indissoluble nature of marriage and was intended by its authors as a means of clarifying the discussion.

The book was organized and authored by a group of the Church’s highest-ranking prelates – including Cardinal Raymond Burke, then-head of the Vatican’s highest court, and Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – who were gravely alarmed not only at the “proposal” by Cardinal Walter Kasper but at its positive reception among bishops and Catholic laity.

Cardinal Kasper had shocked the Catholic world at last year’s consistory of cardinals by his “suggestion” that the Church change its practice of withholding Communion from people in “irregular unions,” and by his claim that the pope had approved the proposal. The so-called “Kasper proposal” has since become the focal point of a nearly open civil war in the Church in which decades-long divisions between the “liberal/progressives” and orthodox prelates has been revealed by the world’s press.

At the Rome launch on October 6 of a different book opposing Kasper’s proposal, Cardinal George Pell, a member of Pope Francis’ Council of Nine, said that changing the practice or teaching of the Church would be “disastrous.”

Pentin writes, “Those responsible for mailing the books meticulously tried to avoid interception, ensuring the copies were sent through the proper channels within the Italian and Vatican postal systems.” Pentin added that his sources had “strongly” refuted the claim by the Synod’s secretariat that the books had been distributed “irregularly,” saying they had used the normal postal service that is governed according to Vatican state and international law and is known in Rome for its superior service to the Italian postal system.

Throughout the Synod, rumors circulated broadly among the assembled corps of journalists that the highly anticipated books had failed to reach the bishops and had in fact been confiscated on the orders of the Synod’s leadership. At the time, although this strange story had spread widely, none of the principal parties involved in the book’s publication or distribution were willing to come forward.

That rule of silence appears to still be in place; today none of the book’s authors or editors were willing to speak with LifeSiteNews “on the record” to confirm what had happened, and attempts to reach the Synod office went unanswered. It is public knowledge, however, that only a handful of bishops had been able to obtain a copy during the Synod itself.

Edward Pentin reported yesterday that the story has not stopped circulating in Rome since the Synod, despite having been dismissed at a December press conference by Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi. “Since then the allegations have become more widely known and have been corroborated at the highest levels of the church,” Pentin writes, saying that his sources believe the seized books were likely destroyed.

It is notable that the accusation could have a potential of a criminal liability for unlawful seizure of posted materials. The Vatican City State postal service is a member of the Universal Postal Union, a body under the auspices of the UN, which regulates the postal service practice of 192 member states. One Vatican source told LifeSiteNews today that a first attempt had been made to stop the books being sent by the Vatican Post Office, but that the postal workers had refused to cooperate, saying that it would be “unethical” to tamper with the mail.

Baldisseri, appointed as a permanent Secretary of the Synod of Bishops by Pope Francis, has become a public spokesman for the Kasper Proposal and he was heavily criticized during the Synod by many of the bishops themselves, who complained that the process was being strictly controlled to produce a particular outcome.

At a conference in Rome last month, Baldisseri told delegates that “dogma can evolve” and that the purpose of the Synod was not merely to restate Catholic teaching. He also confirmed that the documents of the Synod, including the highly contested “mid-term Relatio” that had called for the Church to “accept and value” the “homosexual orientation” had been read and approved for publication by Pope Francis. 

Advertisement
Featured Image
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

,

Chen Guangcheng contradicts Hillary’s version: Obama admin abandoned him, caved to ‘hooligans’

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Chen Guangcheng, the blind lawyer who exposed the brutality of China's one-child policy, is again questioning the official party line – the Obama administration's account. This time he is contradicting Hillary Clinton's story of his escape from home captivity in a new memoir.

Hillary, who was Secretary of State at the time Chen fled his captors and sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy, has steadfastly denied she lobbied Chen to leave the premises, despite tense negotiations with the Chinese. But Chen writes that he felt so pressured and abandoned by U.S. officials, he was “overcome by sadness and wept.”

Chen so angered Chinese officials by uncovering the corruption and coercion of the nation's forced abortion regime that he was imprisoned for years. After his release, he and his family were held under house arrest inside a garrisoned village.

But on April 22, 2012, Chen scaled the wall and ran, on a broken foot, for miles. After going through a series of safe houses, a car took him to Beijing, where he sought sanctuary in the U.S. Embassy.

Hillary and Chen agree on that much – but the rest of their tales diverge.

Hillary spent chapter five of her memoir, "Hard Choices"  “Beijing: The Dissident” – discussing Chen's plight. The light-selling autobiography claims that Hillary got a call on the yellow phone on April 25, telling her about Chen's plea. “I said, 'Go get him,'” she wrote, adding that it “wasn't a close call.” She later told the Council on Foreign Relations that she authorized some “James Bond-ish kind of activity” for his rescue.

But Chen's escape came just days before Clinton was to arrive in China for a diplomatic visit. Chen and those close to him have always maintained that Chen faced coercion to leave the U.S. Embassy – and that U.S. officials broke their word after he complied.

The State Department passed along threats that, if Chen did not leave the Embassy for a Chinese communist-controlled hospital, his family would face repercussions from government officials. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, while denying any wrongdoing, admitted that “U.S. interlocutors did make clear that if Chen elected to stay in the embassy, Chinese officials had indicated to us that his family would be returned to Shandong, and they would lose their opportunity to negotiate for reunification.”

But in "Hard Choices", Hillary says U.S. officials were so considerate of Chen that the then-ambassador to China, Gary Locke, and State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh “spent hours sitting with Chen, holding his hand, soothing his fears, and talking about his hopes for the future.”

Hillary maintained, “we had done what Chen said he wanted every step of the way.”

Chen tells a much different tale in his newly published memoir, "The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man's Fight for Justice and Freedom in China", portions of which were published by Canada's National Post.

Chen said he was “pressured to leave” after the State Department accepted an “absurdly inadequate deal” with Chinese officials, essentially trusting them not to harm Guangcheng and his family on their honor.

“I hadn’t expected so many people on both sides would be working so hard to get me to leave, without guaranteeing my rights or my family’s safety,” Chen wrote. “No one seemed to be putting pressure on the Chinese Communist Party; instead they were dumping shipping containers of weight onto my shoulders to get me to do their bidding.”

Ultimately, he left the Embassy, filled with “disappointment and despair.” He said he “was overcome by sadness and wept.”

“What troubled me most at the time was this: when negotiating with a government run by hooligans, the country that most consistently advocated for democracy, freedom, and universal human rights had simply given in,” he said.

Those who were involved with the events as they unfolded agree that Hillary's account is off-base.

“I completely support Chen Guangcheng's account,” Reggie Littlejohn of Women's Rights Without Frontiers told LifeSiteNews. “In sharp contrast to Hillary Clinton's self-glorifying version, the actions of the U.S. government were a great disappointment to Chen and to the human rights community.”

“Why did U.S. officials pressure Chen to leave by May 2?” asked Littlejohn, who met Chen's plane when he finally landed on U.S. soil on May 19. “This was the very day that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was to arrive in Beijing for trade talks. To all appearances, the State Department under Hillary Clinton was willing to sacrifice one of the great human rights activists of the world in order to conduct unimpeded trade talks.”

Littlejohn and others familiar with the events have told the same story since it occurred.

“The State Department likes to say now that they played some kind of a heroic role,” Littlejohn told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive video interview at the time. “I would dispute that characterization of their actions.”

Bob Fu, the president of China Aid and a longtime associate of Chen, said at the time that Chen Guangcheng said that “he was under enormous pressure to leave the Embassy. Some people almost made him feel he was being a huge burden to the U.S.”

After Chen left for a hospital, he said the State Department did not keep its promises to protect him.

Chen said U.S. officials were not taking his calls, nor had they accompanied him from the embassy to the hospital, as they promised. “The Embassy kept lobbying me to leave and promised to have people stay with me in the hospital,” where his room was surrounded by at least 10 plainclothes guards, he said. “As soon as I checked into the hospital room, I noticed they were all gone.”

“Nobody from the (U.S.) Embassy is here. I don’t understand why. They promised to be here,” he said.

President Obama refused to comment on the matter on April 30.

Days later, Congressional Republicans called a hearing, where Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, and then-Congressman Frank Wolf pressured the Obama administration to fix the “scandal.” Chen telephoned the May 3 hearing, and Bob Fu translated as Chen spoke to him: “I want to meet with Secretary Clinton. I hope I can get more help from her,” he said. “I really am afraid for my other family members’ lives.”

Chen specifically thanked Congressman Smith and other Congressional leaders in his book.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also criticized the Obama administration's handling of the affair.

“Eventually, as a result of efforts on many fronts, the Chinese authorities had no choice but to allow me, my wife and my children to leave for the United States,” Chen wrote last year. He arrived on U.S. soil on May 19 and is now a fellow at The Witherspoon Institute.

This is not the first time Chen has criticized Hillary's book. He disputed Clinton's assertion that Chinese Communist officials had been “scrupulous” about living up to their commitments in a June 24, 2014, op-ed for The Washington Post.

“Not only has the Chinese government relentlessly persecuted members of my family since my departure, it also never investigated its prior abuses, as it committed to do. And it imprisoned my nephew, who remains in jail today,” he wrote. “Clinton and her staff were keenly aware of the attacks on my family.”

Despite the fact that Chen's account undermines a major part of Hillary Clinton's autobiography – and calls into question her judgment and commitment to human rights – it has made few ripples in the U.S. media. The two primary stories have been in Canada's National Post and the Telegraph of London.

“I bet that most of you have never heard about any of this before,” Moe Lane wrote at RedState.com. “And it’s largely because Hillary Clinton is a Democrat, and Chris Smith is a Republican.”

The America Rising PAC, a Republican political action committee, commented, “while Clinton hides from the press potentially through the summer, no one will have a chance to ask her why Chen’s account flatly contradicts her own – a story she directly profited from by including it in her book.”

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook