Wednesday July 22, 2009
- 22,000+ Signed Up for Today’s Emergency Pro-Life Webcast on Obama Healthcare
- Obama: “Let’s Not Get Distracted” over Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Coverage in Healthcare
- Congressman Makes Bid to Strip Planned Parenthood of Title X Funds
- Bishops Distance Themselves from Catholic-Funded, Homosexuality-Promoting Marriage Counseling Group
- Demographic Report Reveals “Unprecedented Global Aging” – Childlessness in US Women at 20%
- Mexican Government Promotes “Morning After Pill,” Condom Use, to 10-Year-Olds
- Gay Activist in Hot Water for Revealing Conspiracy to Promote Homosexuality
- Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, and Other Ex-Presidents Slam Christian Churches for Not Ordaining Women
- Vatican and U.S. Bishops Criticize US Gov’t Plan to Publicly Fund Abortion
- UK Lesbian Couple Wins Fight for IVF at Taxpayers Expense
- Wisconsin Court Rules Religious Schools’ Teacher Hiring Not Subject to Anti-Discrimination Laws
- Conservatives Deny Funding to Montreal Gay Pride
- Homosexual Groups Petition Library Board to Refuse Pro-Family Man
22,000+ Signed Up for Today’s Emergency Pro-Life Webcast on Obama Healthcare
By John Jalsevac
July 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Tonight an all-star lineup of pro-life speakers is set to address the thousands of pro-lifers who have signed up for what promises to be the largest pro-life web even in history. The free Stop the Abortion Mandate webcast is set to begin at 9pm Eastern time.
(To sign up for tonight’s limited space, free webcast click here.)
So far some 22,000+ people have signed up for the online event that will be devoted to informing Americans about the Obama healthcare proposal, which has been called the “silent FOCA” and the “largest abortion expansion since Roe v. Wade” by pro-life leaders.
20 feature speakers, including James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Congressman Chris Smith, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, and many others, will address the dangers of the Obama healthcare plan, which experts say will include taxpayer funded abortion on demand, and could undermine fundamental physician conscience rights – unless concerned citizens take action.
Connie Marshner, a well-known Washington pro-life political organizer, told LSN last week that the Obama healthcare plan “is the biggest issue since Roe v Wade. This is not just about funding. Everyone will be forced to have abortion coverage.”
She encouraged pro-lifers to sign up for the webcast, warning that unless pro-life advocates join together to fight abortion coverage in the bill, the effect of successful passage of the Health Care bill will dramatically change the pro-life movement as we know it, “because every doctor and health care worker will be forced to be involved in abortion.”
(To sign up for tonight’s limited space, free webcast click here.)
During the nationwide event, participants will discover:
– The shocking facts about the sweeping legislation that the political power brokers are trying to ram through before Congress goes on summer recess…
– The devastating implications of the proposed mandates — facts the abortion industry doesn’t want Americans to hear…
– Why respected leaders, national organizations, and pro-life people are joining together in record numbers to challenge this attempted power-grab…
– The exact action steps YOU can take to make a difference at this crucial moment…
Registration for the free online event is accessed at https://www.stoptheabortionmandate.com/. Registration also allows those who are unable to be online at the time of the webcast to later access a recording of the webcast audio.
Obama: “Let’s Not Get Distracted” over Taxpayer-Funded Abortion Coverage in Healthcare
13,000+ registered for “Stop the Abortion Mandate” webcast tomorrow
By Kathleen Gilbert
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a CBS Evening News interview yesterday evening, President Obama dodged a question on his position regarding taxpayer-funded abortion coverage in the healthcare bill, saying only that concerned citizens should not get “distracted” with the contents of the new healthcare’s essential package.
Despite Obama’s dismissal of the issue, the warnings of pro-life groups and lawmakers decrying the “FOCA by stealth” hidden in the healthcare overhaul have spread rapidly across the nation in recent days, and are increasingly attracting the notice of the mainstream media. Many sources are now questioning whether the abortion mandate controversy could play a significant role in the legislation’s ultimate defeat. A giant pro-life webcast on the legislation, scheduled for tomorrow night and featuring an “all-star” pro-life cast, has already seen 13,000+ people sign up.
CBS News anchor Katie Couric posed the question to the President: “Do you favor a government option that would cover abortions?”
Obama answered: “What I think is important, at this stage, is not trying to micromanage what benefits are covered. Because I think we’re still trying to get a framework. And my main focus is making sure that people have the options of high quality care at the lowest possible price.”
“Rather than wade into that issue at this point, I think that it’s appropriate for us to figure out how to just deliver on the cost savings, and not get distracted by the abortion debate at this station,” he said.
Pro-life lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have offered several amendments that would have explicitly excluded abortion from the bill, as well as protect conscience rights of doctors objecting to abortion. All such amendments were rejected.
The only direct statement Obama has made regarding abortion’s role in the health legislation came before he was elected during a July 2007 Q&A session before the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, where Obama called abortion “at the center, the heart of” his healthcare overhaul.
President Obama also noted in the interview with Couric that “we also have a tradition of, in this town (Washington D.C.), historically, of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care.”
Ironically, however, in his budget proposals earlier this year, the president recommended the abolition of a long-standing ban on the government subsidizing of abortion-on-demand in Washington, D.C. Despite strenuous protest from pro-life leaders, the ban was accordingly struck down in the House of Representatives last week.
Pro-life leaders across America are urging constituents to register for and attend the “Stop the Abortion Mandate” webcast tomorrow evening. The webcast will begin at 9 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, and will feature such pro-life luminaries as:
* Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family
* Dr. Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life
* Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
* Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America
* Tony Perkins, Family Research Council
* Peggy Hartshorn, Heartbeat International
* Dr. Richard Land, Southern Baptist Convention ERLC
* Melinda Delahoyde, Care Net
* Jim Sedlak, American Life League/STOPP
* Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life
* Congressman Chris Smith
Organizers say that, with more than 13,000 people already signed up, the webcast is set to become “the single largest pro-life web event in history.”
For more information on the healthcare abortion mandate and webcast
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Congressman Makes Bid to Strip Planned Parenthood of Title X Funds
By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A US Congressman today proposed an amendment that would eliminate millions of dollars in federal funds for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, which has lately come under public scrutiny after numerous employees across the country were caught on camera failing to inform law enforcement of child victims of sexual abuse.
U.S. House Representative Mike Pence, (R-Ind.) submitted an amendment to an appropriations bill funding the Department of Health and Human Services, which would make Planned Parenthood ineligible to receive Title X funds for “family planning” services. The Pence Amendment, submitted to the House Rules Committee, states, “None of the funds made available under this Act shall be available to Planned Parenthood for any purpose under Title X of the Public Health Services Act.”
“According to their last annual report, Title X funds helped over 4.7 million women prevent pregnancy by a variety of ethical methods such as abstinence education and birth control,” wrote Pence on The Hill’s Congress blog. “There are many clinics funded by Title X that offer ethical family planning services – without providing abortions.”
Legally a non-profit organization, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) depends upon $349.6 million in US tax dollars to free up other resources that sustain the financial operation of its abortion facilities. According to PPFA’s financial report for 2007-2008, the abortion provider brought in total revenue of $1.038 billion and posted an $85 million profit.
“When Title X money goes to organizations that provide both abortions and family planning services, even though the money cannot directly fund abortions, it can be used to offset operational costs, freeing up money to promote and provide abortions,” added Pence, pointing out that Planned Parenthood performed 305,000 abortions in its last fiscal year, which was a 5.3 percent increase from 2006-2007.
However Pence indicated that Congress should withdraw Title X funding from PPFA for the simple fact that the organization appears to have an endemic problem with “fraudulent use of Title X funding.” Many of its affiliates, he pointed out, have deliberately failed to report victims of child-rape and have encouraged girls to lie about their age in order to obtain an abortion. These violations of state law have been documented in California, Indiana, Arizona, Kansas, Tennessee, and Alabama.
The undercover sting operation that unearthed these violations, known as the Mona Lisa Project and led by Live Action’s 20-year-old president Lila Rose, has prompted the Tennessee legislature to revoke Title X funding from state PPs, and led the Attorneys General of Alabama and Arizona to launch investigations of PPs for violating their state laws.
California Planned Parenthood affiliates are also currently engaged in a multi-million dollar lawsuit over allegations they bilked the federal treasury by tens of millions of dollars by abusing the Title X program. The suit filed July 8 in federal court by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) contends that the California-based Planned Parenthoods fraudulently marked up the price of a number of birth control drugs far above their actual cost before submitting requests for reimbursement from the government.
In order for Pence’s amendment to have the chance for an up-or-down vote on the floor of the House, the House Rules Committee, led by pro-abortion Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) must first give its approval.
“Regardless of your views on abortion, our nation cannot afford to throw millions of dollars at an organization not only shown to misuse tax funds but one that continually puts the lives of men, women and children in danger,” said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League, which has given its support to the Pence Amendment.
ALL has urged its supporters to encourage their Congressmen to support giving the measure a fair hearing by the full House.
“Planned Parenthood’s agenda is putting our kids in danger from sexual predators on a daily basis,” said ALL President Judie Brown. “The gravity of Planned Parenthood’s crimes transcends party lines. Any American concerned about keeping our kids safe should support the Pence Amendment.”
President Barack Obama has asked Congress to increase funding for the Title X program by $10 million, bringing the program’s total annual budget to $317 million.
See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
Alabama Attorney General Calls Undercover Video of Planned Parenthood ‘Extremely Troubling’, Seeks Investigation
Undercover Videos Prompt Tennessee Lawmakers to End Preferential Treatment for Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood Faces Defunding in Kansas after Undercover Tape Released
Bishops Distance Themselves from Catholic-Funded, Homosexuality-Promoting Marriage Counseling Group
By Hilary White
LONDON, July 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have issued a statement distancing themselves from a marriage counseling service, partly funded by Catholic parishes and dioceses, which promotes contraceptives and whose chief executive last week endorsed the homosexual “family.” Terry Prendergast, the head of the charity Marriage Care, told a group of homosexualist activists last weekend that same-sex partners can be as successful as heterosexual married couples in raising children and vilified the natural family as “abusive” and the product of “patriarchal” ideas.
A spokesman for the bishops said, “Defining ‘family’ is a notoriously difficult task. Yet the views expressed by Terry Prendergast about the definition of family and marriage are clearly not a reflection of the Church’s teaching, nor those of the Bishops’ Conference.”
Marriage Care’s president is the sitting archbishop of Westminster, currently Archbishop Vincent Nichols, and the Church retains a presence on its board of directors in the person of Fr. Michael Cooley, a priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster. Prendergast told LSN in an interview last week that at least £89,000 of its annual budget of £900,000 comes directly from parish and diocesan donations and that its volunteer counselors are largely drawn from the Catholic community.
Founded in 1946 as a Catholic organization dedicated to preserving Catholic marriages, Marriage Care is listed in the most recent edition of the Catholic Directory, an official list of Catholic services and organizations put out annually by the bishops.
The bishops’ spokesman said, “Responding to the needs of children is also complex. The Church’s vision is that the crucially important quality of stability in family life needs gender complementarity and role modelling too.”
The statement did not refer to the funding of Marriage Care by the Catholic Church or whether Archbishop Nichols intended to sever the connection between the group and the bishops of England and Wales.
Prendergast was invited to speak last weekend at the annual conference of Quest, a “gay rights” group that pressures the Catholic Church to change its “policies” on homosexuality. Speaking of “sacred desire and the presence of God in same-sex relationships,” Prendergast said, “Traditionally we have talked of the sacrament of marriage and I hope that today you have been able to consider that we might be able to talk about the sacrament of partnerships or relationships.”
In his talk, Prendergast disparaged the family as the seat of “rampant abuse.” “We have to remember that most violence, and murder as the extreme of that, happens in families. Abuse is rampant, if one can use that term within families yet there is a massive unconscious process that we engage in to deny this.”
“There is an image of the lone paedophile, for example, preying on children and whilst these do exist, most sexual abuse of children happens in what we call a family.” He added, “We have to remember that family is dominated by patriarchy, or has been, and that marriage itself was about male power and property rights.”
Prendergast slammed the Christian image of the Holy Family, of Mary and Joseph and Jesus as the product of “evangelical, right-wing religious thought” and questioned the “helpfulness” of the image for formulating their ideas about the family.
Marriage Care has produced a manual for teachers entitled “Foundations for a Good Life,” which, in the section titled “safe sex,” gives extensive information on artificial contraceptives, including male and female condoms, diaphragms and caps, and abortifacient drugs. The group also provides links to organizations that offer abortions and contraceptives, including the Family Planning Association, one of Britain’s busiest abortion advocacy groups.
At the end of its section describing different contraceptives, the group offers the disclaimer, “In providing this information, it should not be assumed that Marriage Care is recommending the use of contraception.”
To contact the Archbishop of Westminster with concerns:
London SW1P 1QJ
Phone: (+) 020 7798 9033
To read the full text of Prendergast’s talk:
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Catholic Church must “Rethink” the Family: Head of Church-Funded Marriage Counselling Service to Homosexual Activists
Demographic Report Reveals “Unprecedented Global Aging” – Childlessness in US Women at 20%
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski and John-Henry Westen
BETHESDA, MD, July 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A report by the US National Institute on Aging (NIA) says that the average age of the world’s population is increasing at an unprecedented rate and that “within 10 years, for the first time in human history there will be more people aged 65 and older than children under 5 in the world.”
The report entitled “An Aging World: 2008,” examines the demographic and socioeconomic implications of this trend and contains detailed information on life expectancy, health, disability, gender balance, marital status, living arrangements, education and literacy, labor force participation and retirement, and pensions among older people around the world.
Childlessness among European and U.S. women aged 65 in 2005 ranged from less than 8 percent in the Czech Republic to 15 percent in Austria and Italy, the study noted. Twenty percent of women aged 40-44 in the United States in 2006 had no biological children. The study suggested that these data raise questions about the provision of care when that group of women reaches advanced ages.
“The world’s population of people over age 65 is growing rapidly, and with it will come a number of challenges and opportunities,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D.
The number of people worldwide age 65 and older was estimated at 506 million as of midyear 2008; by 2040, that number will be 1.3 billion. Thus, in just over 30 years, the proportion of older people will double from 7 percent to 14 percent of the total world population, according to the report.
“Aging is affecting every country in every part of the world,” said Richard Suzman, Ph.D., director of NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research. “While there are important differences between developed and developing countries, global aging is changing the social and economic nature of the planet and presenting difficult challenges. The fact that, within 10 years, for the first time in human history there will be more people aged 65 and older than children under 5 in the world underlines the extent of this change.”
An important aspect of the report deals with aging population in developing countries, but the research does not identify the causes of the burgeoning imbalance of old to young, such as China’s coercive one child policy, or the world-wide population manipulation policies of the UN.
A UN report on aging a decade ago warned of economic consequences from the aging problem, predicting dire implications in terms of social support for elderly people. “The potential support ratio, which indicates the dependency burden on potential workers, is falling,” said the report.
“Between 1999 and 2050, the potential support ratio will decline from 5 to 2 working age persons per older person in more developed regions and by an even larger fraction in less developed regions, from 12 to 4, thus affecting social security schemes, particularly traditional pay-as-you-go systems where current workers pay for the benefits of current retirees.”
The full text of the report “An Aging World: 2008” is available at www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p95-09-1.pdf
See the UN report from 1999 here:
Mexican Government Promotes “Morning After Pill,” Condom Use, to 10-Year-Olds
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent
MEXICO CITY, July 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Mexican government is distributing millions of pamphlets to children and adolescents in public schools, informing them of their “right” to receive the abortifacient “morning after pill,” after sexual intercourse.
Mexican children between the ages of 10 and 19 years are receiving medical “passports” containing their vaccination records from the Secretariat of Education, which contain two pages of material advocating the drug.
“If you had unprotected sexual relations and no more than 72 hours have passed, you can request emergency contraception. Protect yourself, it’s your right!” the passport states.
“Emergency contraception,” also known as the “morning after pill,” can cause abortions by preventing the implantation of the newly fertilized human life in the uterine wall of the mother.
The pamphlets also tell the children how to obtain and use condoms. Sexual abstinence until marriage, the only certain way of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, is not mentioned.
In addition to the school campaign, the Secretariat of Health is also running radio public service announcements encouraging teenagers to use condoms.
In one spot, an adolescent enters a pharmacy and asks for condoms. The pharmacist gives him the condoms and thanks him, and is joined by an elderly woman, an adolescent girl, and others. “Because by taking care of yourself, you care for everyone,” the narrator says.
In another, a young male enters a nightclub and is searched by the bouncer. “Let’s see, what’s this, a cell phone, fine, a wallet…what is this? What is this, kid?” the bouncer says, revealing several condoms.
“But they’re just some condoms!” the adolescent protests.
“Well I only need to tell you thanks,” says the bouncer, who is joined by others thanking the young man.
Eusebio Rubio, the ex-president of the World Sexual Health Association and the current Director of the Mexican branch of the organization, cheered the government’s school initiative in an interview with the Mexican newspaper Reforma, and said that he believes 10 year olds are capable of understanding sexual topics.
“An understanding of what happens in the sexual life of adults has almost been reached in the majority of cases,” Rubio told Reforma. “It’s something that begins to be concretized from the age of 8 years, and intellectual development permits them to integrate the complexity of the sexual life, which does not convert them into efficient and capable individuals who can experience the complexity of human sexuality, but yes to comprehend it.”
However, the National Parents’ Union (UNPF) is denouncing the campaigns.
“The National Health Passport contains affirmations that are not only worrisome, but also promote anti-values, and create health risks instead of protecting health,” said the organization’s National President, Guillermo Bustamante Manilla.
Bustamante Manilla also denounced the Secretariat of Health’s pro-condom campaigns, accusing the organization of promoting the transmission of venereal diseases. Condoms have a 10% failure rate according to the United Nations Organization.
“Language is used implying that from the age of 10 years old, they [the children] will be making their own decisions, without taking their fathers or mothers into account. The family is not taken into account,” said Bustamante Manilla. “The distribution of contraceptive methods implies genital relations, this is what they are promoting.”
Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
Governor of Mexican State Files Supreme Court Challenge against Federal Rule Mandating Abortions in Public Hospitals
Gay Activist in Hot Water for Revealing Conspiracy to Promote Homosexuality
By Hilary White
LONDON, July 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A British journalist and activist has come under fire from a homosexualist activist for revealing the names of key figures involved in a deliberate long-term plan that resulted in the success of Britain’s “gay rights” movement. Nicholas De Jongh, a theatre critic, playwright and homosexualist activist, accused journalist Matthew Parris of “blowing” the confidentiality enjoyed for four decades by a small cadre activists who brought the movement to its maturity in late 1980s Britain.
In a June 27th article in the Times of London, Parris described the “strangely clandestine atmosphere” surrounding meetings of a group of activists who organized in 1988 to oppose Section 28 of the Local Government Bill. That bill for a short time outlawed the “promotion of homosexuality” as “a kind of pretended family relationship.” In addition to De Jongh, Parris named the actor Ian McKellen and financial baron and politician Peter Mandelson as key figures in this group.
Later, the group that was to become Stonewall, one of Britain’s most influential political lobbies, “put gay equality and homosexual law reform on to the mainstream national agenda” Parris wrote.
“Two decades on we British have overtaken the Americans. After successive reductions in the age of homosexual consent until an equal age was reached, after the Civil Partnerships Act, and after a long and remarkably steady shift in not only the rules but social and media attitudes too, nobody would dispute the success of this slow-burning, 40-year-old crusade.”
Parris wrote that contrary to the usual homosexualist doctrine, the movement did not start with the infamous “Stonewall riots” in New York in 1969, staged after police raided a popular homosexual nightclub in Greenwich Village. Instead it was started and nurtured by “valiant, patient, ‘respectable’ pioneering organisations” and individuals who had “been plugging away for decades.”
In a letter to the editor on June 30th, De Jongh, who organized the meetings in the late 1980s, complained in the Times that Parris’s characterization of the group as a conspiracy was “inaccurate and lurid.” Despite, this, however, De Jongh, wrote “Our meetings were off-the-record, since some of those present were closeted. Confidentiality was maintained for years until Parris, without consulting anyone, blew it.”
The success of the movement can be judged by Peter Mandelson’s appointment by the Labour government as First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord President of the Council. Mandelson (one of those “conspirators” named by Parris) – along with former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Gordon Brown – is regarded as one of the key figures in the “New Labour” government that has brought in unprecedented legal changes favoring homosexuals.
Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, and Other Ex-Presidents Slam Christian Churches for Not Ordaining Women
By John-Henry Westen and Patrick B. Craine
July 12, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A grouping of twelve ex-world leaders convened by billionaire Richard Branson and Nelson Mandela who refer to themselves as “The Elders” has attacked the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and any other religious tradition that refuses to permit women to become ministers, priests, or bishops. In the media campaign for the new initiative, former US President Jimmy Carter notes that he left the Southern Baptists because women are “prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.”
“We believe that the justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable,” says a statement by The Elders.
The group describes itself as “an independent group of eminent global leaders” who work together to promote peace and the “shared interests of humanity,” and to fight human suffering. In addition to Mandela and Carter, “the Elders” include ex-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan; former Irish President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson; Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who serves as chairman; former Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Brundtland; former Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, and others.
“We especially call on religious and traditional leaders to set an example and change all discriminatory practices within their own religions and traditions,” says the release.
Carter has been the most prolific on the matter. Writing a column for the UK Observer which has since been republished elsewhere, Carter claims: “During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.”
Carter ties in the refusal to ordain women to the priesthood with abuse of women, saying that the decision to restrict ministry to men “provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.”
But Carter’s claims are “ridiculous,” says John Paul Meenan, Professor of Theology at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Barry’s Bay, Ontario. Asked about Carter’s claim that women were ordained in the early Church, Meenan told LSN, “There’s absolutely no evidence of that,” adding that there is also no evidence that at any point the Church decided to “not allow” women clergy, as Carter claims. “So Jimmy Carter would have to provide evidence that there were female bishops, priests, and deacons in the early Church, and I can tell you that that’s never going to happen because there is no evidence.”
“What we see in Scripture is that Christ only ordained men to the priesthood, the Apostles. And even in the post-Gospel writings, … especially St. Paul, but the other writings, the overwhelming evidence of Scripture is that only men were priests. There was never any evidence that women were priests or deacons, and never mind bishops. That’s just ridiculous.”
Many of “the Elders” have spoken out against what they consider religious discrimination against women in videos produced for the campaign. Former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso says in his video, “the idea that God is behind discrimination is unacceptable.”
Mary Robinson, further, describes what she perceives can be the effect of religion and tradition on women’s lives. “They are submissive,” she says. “To be well thought of by God they must accept their role.”
Meenan, however, contests the notion that a male priesthood “discriminates” against women. “There’s nothing discriminatory about [God choosing men to act as priests],” he said. According to the Church, “The priesthood is sort of a supernatural analogy of [the] male/female distinction. That’s not discriminatory, it’s just a natural and a supernatural distinction, what it means to be male and female.”
Meenan explained that the Church views the priesthood as “a continuation of Christ’s incarnational work in His humanity” and “since Christ came as a male we continue the priesthood in the male line.”
The Roman Catholic Church has been one of the most steadfast and vocal proponents of the male priesthood, but the Church also maintains that her teaching in fact promotes the dignity of women, in that she is handing on the religious tradition passed down by Christ.
According to Professor Meenan, Christianity ought to be credited for promoting the dignity of women. “It is the Church that invariably improved the lot of women in the lands that were converted and Christianized,” he said. “Disorders that crept in (subjugation of women, etc.) were just that: disorders, and never part of Church teaching.”
The late Pope John Paul II affirmed the Church’s teaching on male ordination, but in so doing also championed what he called the true fullness of the dignity of women. In his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, on the male priesthood, the late Holy Father John Paul II declared that “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women,” because this tradition was given by Christ Himself.
In limiting the priesthood to men, he wrote, Christ “exercised the same freedom with which, in all his behavior, he emphasized the dignity and the vocation of women, without conforming to the prevailing customs and to the traditions sanctioned by the legislation of the time.”
“The presence and the role of women in the life and mission of the Church,” he writes further on, “although not linked to the ministerial priesthood, remain absolutely necessary and irreplaceable.”
See Carter’s article:
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Vatican and U.S. Bishops Criticize US Gov’t Plan to Publicly Fund Abortion
By John-Henry Westen
WASHINGTON, July 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A day after the US Bishops publicized their message calling on Congress not to fund abortions with taxpayer dollars, the President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) also criticized the proposal.
Writing on behalf of the bishops as chairman of their Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, NY, told Congress, “we strongly oppose inclusion of abortion as part of a national health care benefit.” The letter, sent July 17, but only made public July 21, added: “No health care reform plan should compel us or others to pay for the destruction of human life, whether through government funding or mandatory coverage of abortion. Any such action would be morally wrong.” The letter included opposition to funding contraceptives and other ant-life life technologies. “We would also oppose inclusion of technologies that similarly fail to uphold the sanctity and dignity of life,” it said.
Meanwhile in Rome today, the Archbishop Salvatore (Rino) Fisichella, was interviewed on Vatican Radio speaking against public funding of abortion. “(I)t appears that there may be, in the United States, a further increase of public money in support of abortion,” said the PAV President. Fisichella noted that especially in a time of economic crisis, such measures cause confusion for all those concerned with true develepment, which is open to life.
After citing protections from public funding of abortion in U.S. law, Bishop Murphy added, “Health care reform cannot be a vehicle for abandoning this consensus which respects freedom of conscience and honors our best American traditions. Any legislation should reflect longstanding and widely supported current policies on abortion funding, mandates and conscience protections because they represent sound morality, wise policy and political reality.”
The full text of Bishop Murphy’s letter can be found online at: www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/2009-07-17-murphy-letter-congress.pdf
UK Lesbian Couple Wins Fight for IVF at Taxpayers Expense
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
UK, July 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An anonymous lesbian couple have won the right to in vitro fertilization (IVF) paid for by the National Health Service (NHS) after a legal battle with their local health trust, which initially refused them the service because they were of the same sex and the child would by fatherless.
The health trust withdrew their objection to funding the treatment for the lesbians, which was based on U.K. regulations that recognize the child’s need for a father, because of a new regulation which takes effect in October that says couples will only need to demonstrate “supportive parenting” when requesting IVF.
The new rule is part of a general overhaul by the Department of Health of the rules governing IVF and related reproductive technologies. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, passed in 1990, required IVF facilities to include the welfare of the expected children in considering whether to go ahead with treatment. The act also stressed the importance of fathers to children.
But some critics of that law have said that restricting in vitro and other artificial methods of procreation to families with fathers was offensive and discriminatory to “unconventional families.”
Ruth Hunt, of the homosexual advocacy group Stonewall, said: “The changes in the law should mean that no infertile lesbian is refused NHS fertility treatment on the grounds of her sexual orientation.
“We have just published a guide on how to get pregnant for lesbians in response to lots of queries. This is a hot topic for us at the moment,” Hunt said in a Times report.
The new regulations, put forward by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), make it possible for women to name friends and acquaintances, as well as their lesbian partners, as a child’s second parent, and muddle the identity of a child even further by ruling that women who conceive using their lesbian partner’s eggs will still be listed as the mother of the child.
“If you give birth to a child, you will be that child’s mother, whether the eggs used are your own or your partner’s,” say the new rules. In such a case the lesbian partner would be automatically considered the “second parent.”
The Times reports that while lesbians now have the right to fertility treatment paid for by the government, many heterosexual couples continue to be denied IVF by the NHS. Only 27% of trusts offer heterosexual couples three cycles of IVF which the report says costs about £3,000 per cycle, as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the NHS guidance body.
Critics of the new regulations point to the escalating problems of broken families in British society and question the wisdom of encouraging, at taxpayers expense, parenting options that will lead to an exacerbation of these problems.
Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe criticized the regulations, observing, “Every child has got a right to a father and this bill for the first time quite deliberately creates a situation where children are born without a father.
“A father plays a unique role in a child’s life. The effect is quite simple. You’re going to deprive a child from the outset.”
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith agreed with Widdecombe, saying, “The present Government seems not to care a damn about families.
“Teenage pregnancy is on the increase, abortion is on the increase, family breakdown is at record levels and we have got a growing number of dysfunctional children that are the product of broken homes. The lesson seems to be loud and clear to me that fathers are required.”
The “need for a father,” as well as a stable mother/father relationship as the best basis for the healthy nurturing of children has been well studied and documented.
For example, a massive study undertaken in Sweden and published last year in the peer-reviewed journal Acta Paediatrica, found that active father figures in a traditional mother/father home play a key role in reducing behavior problems in boys and psychological problems in young women.
The review looked at 24 papers published between 1987 and 2007, covering 22,300 individual sets of data from 16 studies. 18 of the 24 papers also covered the social economic status of the families studied.
“Our detailed 20-year review shows that overall, children reap positive benefits if they have active and regular engagement with a father figure” said Dr Anna Sarkadi from the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health at Uppsala University, Sweden.
“For example, we found various studies that showed that children who had positively involved father figures were less likely to smoke and get into trouble with the police, achieved better levels of education and developed good friendships with children of both sexes.
“Long-term benefits included women who had better relationships with partners and a greater sense of mental and physical well-being at the age of 33 if they had a good relationship with their father at 16.”
See related LSN articles:
Massive Study Finds Active Fathers are Essential for Well Adjusted Children
“Any” Person Can Be Listed as “Second Parent” for IVF Children: New UK Regulations
Fathers Not Necessary for Family – UK Health Minister
Wisconsin Court Rules Religious Schools’ Teacher Hiring Not Subject to Anti-Discrimination Laws
By Kathleen Gilbert
MADISON, Wisconsin, July 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Wisconsin Supreme Court yesterday ruled that religious schools have a First Amendment right to dictate who teaches in their schools, free from anti-discrimination requirements.
Coulee Catholic Schools, now called Aquinas Catholic Schools, had fired Wendy Ostlund and eight other teachers in 2002 as part of a downsizing. Ostlund, who is 53, filed a complaint with the Equal Rights Division of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, saying she had been the victim of age discrimination.
In a 4-3 decision, the court reversed and remanded the rulings of two lower courts in favor of the fired teachers, saying the schools were allowed to freely control Ostlund’s employment.
The ruling by Justice Michael Gableman stated that the Free Exercise Clause as well as the Freedom of Conscience clause in the Wisconsin constitution “preclude employment discrimination claims” under Wisconsin law “for employees whose positions are important and closely linked to the religious mission of a religious organization.”
“In the case at bar, Ostlund’s school was committed to a religious mission – the inculcation of the Catholic faith and worldview – and Ostlund’s position was important and closely linked to that mission,” Gableman wrote. “Therefore, Ostlund’s age discrimination claim under the WFEA unconstitutionally impinges upon her employer’s right to religious freedom.”
The plaintiff’s lawyers had argued that, because Ostlund’s specific duties were largely non-religious, the ministerial exemption should not apply. But the Supreme Court decided that the test for the “ministerial” character of a position should depend on a more holistic analysis of an organization’s religious mission, along with its proximity to the employee’s function.
Ostlund’s lawyer, Dawn Harris, argued that the ruling unjustly ignored precedent set by similar cases. Harris said Ostlund “just can’t believe the amount of precedence that was in our favor over a seven year process could just be negated.”
One of the dissenting justices, Judge Patrick Crooks, criticized the broad scope of the ruling, saying that the majority’s conclusion “effectively extends a free pass to religious schools to discriminate against their lay employees.”
Attorney James Birnbaum of the Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse, however, told the Associated Press that no age discrimiantion had taken place in the first place, and that, in his view, “This case does not represent any type of denigration of the importance of civil rights legislation.”
“What it does is it recognizes the constitutional pre-eminence of religious freedom. It trumps even the fair employment laws.”
Conservatives Deny Funding to Montreal Gay Pride
“It appears that the portfolio is now in more experienced hands,” says pro-life leader.
By Patrick B. Craine
MONTREAL, Quebec, July 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Montreal’s gay festival, Divers/Cité, has been denied a grant under the Conservatives new tourism stimulus program, a decision that is being connected to the harsh criticism levied by concerned citizens against the Tory government last month over its nearly $400,000 grant to the Toronto Pride festival.
The Montreal festival promotes homosexuality through art and music, advertising lewd drama and drag queen performances, and is scheduled this year for July 26 – August 2. The organizers of the $2 million event applied to Industry Canada for a $155,000 grant under the new $100 million Marquee Tourism Events Program, which was to be put towards performers and promotion.
The event’s Director of Government Relations and Marketing Paul Girard said that he had been told by Industry Canada that they had met all the criteria for the grant, and that their application had been sent up to Industry Minister Tony Clement for his final approval.
Clement took over the tourism file about two weeks ago from junior minister Diane Ablonczy following her decision to fund the Toronto Pride event.
Shortly after news of the Toronto Pride grant broke, Conservative Saskatoon MP Brad Trost had created a stir when he expressed his disappointment over the decision to LSN and indicated that the gay pride funding was not supported by a majority of the Tory caucus. He hinted, further, that Ablonczy had lost the file over the matter, though the government has claimed there is no connection between Ablonczy’s funding decision and the file transfer.
Disappointed with the government’s decision in his case, Mr. Girard commented, “We knew that anybody that was to be refused and didn’t meet the criteria got a quick No. … As time advanced, we became more and more confident.”
But when Girard phoned on Tuesday, days before the beginning of their event, he was told by a government official that there had been so many requests for funding that they had to make a choice.
The festival’s director, Suzanne Girard, Paul’s sister, said they were completely shocked by the government’s denial. Two weeks ago, following the criticism over the Conservatives funding Toronto Pride, Girard had defended them, indicating that their government funding had been more stable under the Conservatives than under the Liberals. At the time, she said, “Personally as an organization, we have been treated very fairly and on an even footing with everybody else.”
But now she says she feels betrayed. “We met all the criteria — this is a democracy,” said Girard. “They changed the rules as they went along. I feel like I’ve been had.”
The Montreal festival has been funded by the government for years. In 2004 alone, they received half a million dollars from various municipal, provincial, and federal government programs.
The shock of the Montreal event’s organizers may be understandable, not only given their history of government support, however, but based on the Conservatives history of funding homosexual initiatives. On July 9th, The National Post’s David Akin revealed that since taking power in 2006, the Tories have funded numerous homosexual activities.
Campaign Life Coalition’s Mary Ellen Douglas said she is pleased with the government’s decision in this case. “I think it’s good news that the Conservative government has taken a stand against funding the Montreal festival,” she told LSN. “These events always seem to have alternate funding, and it’s not justified to spend taxpayer’s money on these festivals.”
“It appears that the portfolio is now in more experienced hands,” she said.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Homosexual Groups Petition Library Board to Refuse Pro-Family Man
By Alex Bush
EGANVILLE, Ontario, July 15, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ken O’Day, a pro-family advocate who is applying to fill a vacancy on the Bonnechere Union Public Library Board in Eganville, Ontario, is being opposed by homosexualist groups for holding positions that “condemn gay and lesbian people in the area of social acceptance, legal rights, and education.” The accusations come from a petition signed by 33 people, including the local provincial NDP candidate, which says that O’Day “has publicly stated that his personal agenda is to condemn members of the gay and lesbian community.”
The woman who started the petition, who wishes to remain anonymous, commented to LSN, saying that O’Day’s potential admittance to the board caused her to let the township know that “there is gay and lesbian community that would be very concerned.”
“The reason they would be concerned is not only because of Mr. O’Day’s fundamentalist Christian attitudes but that he has also made it very clear that he condemns the gay and lesbian lifestyle and he is quite aggressive about that viewpoint,” she said.
“The board should represent a diversity of philosophies and attitudes,” she commented, while admitting that the board generally consists of those who adhere to “inclusive liberal philosophies.”
Furthermore, she said that she does not have a problem with expressing one’s beliefs on the board as long one doesn’t attempt to push an “aggressive agenda.”
“It’s more his strident aggressive tone than what he believes in,” she said.
However, O’Day said that “her fears are based on conjecture.”
“What the board is looking for is to have things run the way they have been,” he commented, saying that at the meetings he has attended he has seen plenty of aggressive behavior coming from those who support the homosexual lifestyle.
“It’s funny that the woman who started the petition accuses me of being aggressive when the present librarian and the chairwoman are very aggressive themselves,” O’Day said.
“I think it’s pretty standard now right across Canada since same sex ‘marriage’ was voted that you can bully any Christians, and in my case a Catholic Christian into not applying.”
“What they’re saying,” he said, “is, if you’re Catholic then don’t apply for the job because you can’t be a faithful Catholic and work on the board at the same time.”
The petition was signed by the local provincial NDP candidate, Felicite Stairs, and the former federal Liberal Party president of the Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke Riding Association.
O’Day said that he applied for the position because he noticed that the library had added a pornographic movie, causing him to argue with the librarian and eventually being thrown out of her office. He also said that the librarian has filled the library with other feminist literature. He decided to take a stand and apply to fill the spot on the library board, saying that “If nobody is going to take a leadership role, then somebody has to.”
The head librarian, Jennifer Coleman, refused to comment on the matter.
O’Day told LSN that four of the six members of the board agreed with what the librarian has done.
He also said that if he is prevented from joining the board because of his beliefs he would be willing to take legal action. “I’m a knowledgeable Christian as well as firm in my beliefs, I’m not going to waiver, I’m not going to give up. I’m going right through to the end on this,” he said, “When they make this decision I want them to make a careful decision and weigh everything.”
Contact Information for North Algona/Wilberforce Council:
Email: [email protected]