John Jalsevac

Long live Christmas!

John Jalsevac
John Jalsevac
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January 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Sometime in the middle of the afternoon yesterday I was a little taken aback to see the tip of a blue spruce tree bobbing up and down outside my home office window. However, I wasn’t entirely surprised. On Sunday after church my wife Cassidy had suggested, in what I had mistakenly taken to be a joking manner, that we scour the neighborhood and find a Christmas tree that someone had discarded, and set it up at home.

You see, we had been away for two weeks over Christmas in Oklahoma, visiting Cassidy’s family. So far we’ve spent every one of the three Christmases of our marriage in Oklahoma. Because of this we’ve never had a chance to have our own Christmas tree at home.

Cassidy apparently decided that this year would be different. And when I refused to humor what I took to be a whim, she took matters into her own hands. While she was out shopping yesterday, she found a smallish tree on the side of the road, stuffed it into the trunk of our car, and brought it home. She also picked up a couple sets of colored lights at 75% off.

And so last night, as the spicy smell of spruce filled the living room, we unpacked all of our unused tree ornaments and decorated the tree, while singing along to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra’s Christmas albums. Our one-and-a-half-year-old son “helped” with the decorations, while our five-month-old daughter cooed encouragingly from the sofa. And afterwards, we gathered around the piano and sang more Christmas carols, and drank homemade eggnog. It was a splendid evening.

For most of the Western world this is weird. Christmas is over. It happened on December 25. We should just move on. Stop living in the past.

Of course, this is rubbish. Traditionally, Christmas isn’t just a day - it’s a season. It’s the 12 days of Christmas. And it doesn’t end on December 25 - it begins on that day, and ends on January 6, which has been celebrated for centuries as the feast of the epiphany, or the coming of the magi or wise men.

In some parts of the world, January 6 is the big day for giving gifts, as the culmination of Christmastide. Traditionally feasting and celebrations continued through all the twelve days of the season (The title of Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night” is a reference to the revelries held on the evening of January 5).

Cassidy tells me that in Rome, the Vatican keeps their nativity scene and tree up in St. Peter’s square until February 2 - following a tradition that extends Christmastide all the way until Candlemas, or the feast of the presentation of Christ in the temple.

I attribute the widespread depression and related neuroses around Christmas in part to the fact that there is such an enormous build-up to Christmas, lasting multiple months, during which time we are bombarded with advertisements and music priming us for the big day - and then the day comes, and all of a sudden the whole thing is swept away. We wake up on December 26, and there’s hardly a trace that Christmas ever happened - except for a lurking sense of ennui, indigestion, and the after-Christmas sales.

Put this together with the fact that many people no longer remember what Christmas is supposed to celebrate, and no wonder the “Christmas blues” have become a cliché.

We’re not meant to get to Christmas and then move on. We’re supposed to revel in it. We’re supposed to savor the sense of festivity. God came to earth and was born in the form of a tiny baby in order to reunite us with Himself and to offer us perfect happiness. This isn’t the sort of thing that can be adequately appreciated or celebrated in a single day. It takes a season.

So why not gather with your family tonight and sing some Christmas carols, or together read some Christmas poetry or Christmas stories - like the “Gift of the Magi” by O’Henry, or the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - or listen to the Nutcracker? Make some homemade eggnog, gather around the fireplace (if you have one), and put the troubles of work behind you for an evening. Let the Christmas spirit live on.

Long live Christmas!

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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