Ben Johnson

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Obama calls homosexuality one of our ‘fundamental freedoms’ in statement slamming Ugandan bill

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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WASHINGTON, D.C., February 17, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – President Barack Obama has elevated the right to have sex with a member of the same sex to the level of universal “fundamental freedoms” in a new presidential statement criticizing Uganda. But critics say his promotion of homosexuality in a continent that overwhelmingly opposes that behavior amounts to a form of liberal “cultural imperialism.”

Obama wrote on Sunday that he opposed a proposed bill in Uganda that would criminalize same-sex “marriages” and impose life imprisonment for repeated homosexual acts, among other provisions, because “as a country and a people, the United States has consistently stood for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights.”

Obama said the bill represents “a serious setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice, and equal rights.”

He added that he had “conveyed” the message that “enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda."

His reaction came after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said last Friday that, after nearly two months deliberation, he would sign legislation that makes conducting a same-sex “wedding” punishable with seven years in prison. Infecting others with AIDS, having sex with minors, or repeated homosexual acts may earn life imprisonment. An earlier version of the bill called for the death penalty, but the provision was removed.

According to a spokesman, Museveni decided to sign the bill after scientists told him "there is no definitive gene responsible for homosexuality.” He added that homosexual prostitution is “what the president wants to prevent,” especially after Presidential Adviser on Science Dr. Richard Tushemereirwe said that all homosexuality had “serious public health consequences.”

American observers said, while they may take a different approach than Museveni, President Obama's remarks are an act of cultural hubris.

“His arrogance is breathtaking,” Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, director and senior fellow of Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute, told LifeSiteNews. The “president repeatedly insists that his personal values and beliefs are equated with the nation's values and beliefs. When he insists that those controversial ideas constitute a human right, the president is saying that the deeply-held religious beliefs of many Americans are irrelevant.”

He is also disregarding the views of most Africans, they say. An estimated 72 percent of all African nations have passed or are in the process of passing laws restricting public homosexual behavior.

Crouse told LifeSiteNews that President Obama's actions are a form of “cultural imperialism – exporting the sexual crusade of a very small minority of Americans with outsized influence,” who have tried “to tear down the moral foundations of our nation as well as the rest of the world.”

Museveni's spokesman, Ofwono Opondo, said, “This bill is very popular both within the parliament and Ugandan society,” something they see “as a measure to protect Ugandans from social deviants.” Opposition to homosexuality is a pan-African concept held by Christians and Muslims.

"Obama of all people should realize how offensive his position on homosexuality is to devout Muslims,” Dr. Crouse told LifeSiteNews.

President Obama has frayed relations with African leaders before. During his $100 million African trip last summer, President Obama provoked a clash with the president of Senegal, Macky Sall, over whether gay “marriage” should be legal. In August, Obama told Jay Leno on The Tonight Show that nations like Russia, which forbid same-sex “marriage,” “are violating the basic morality,” adding that he had “no patience for countries” that do not affirm “gays or lesbians or transgender persons.”

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Just last month Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan for signing a bill that imposes a 14-year prison sentence on anyone involved in a same-sex “wedding,” as well as prohibiting public displays of homosexual behavior.

President Obama put his bully pulpit, and the full weight of the U.S. government, behind promoting the homosexual agenda worldwide. In 2011, Western nations withheld nearly $350 million from Malawi because the nation banned homosexual activity. Wikileaks revealed the Obama administration coordinated with homosexual activists to promote the LGBT agenda in Sierra Leone.

African leaders have responded with sometimes pointed criticism of the president and, sometimes, the United States.

In April 2012, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh said that his people would “rather eat grass than accept this ungodly evil attitude,” even if it meant foregoing Western aid.

Last summer the deputy president of Kenya, William Ruto, rebuffed Obama by saying his nation is “sovereign and God-fearing,” and Obama's promotion of homosexuality “goes against our customs and traditions.” Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi, said that those, like President Obama, “who have already ruined their society ... let them not become our teachers.”

“It is unseemly for an American president to dictate to other countries what their cultural, moral and religious traditions ought to be,” Dr. Crouse told LifeSiteNews. “And it is hypocritical for him on the one hand to say America is unexceptional and bow to other national leaders and then on the other hand, seemingly from a position of moral superiority, tell other nations that their beliefs are inferior to his supposedly enlightened, exalted views.”

“The homosexual activists are not content with acceptance and respect as human beings,” she said. “They, and now our president, are forcing the world to approve and mainstream their homosexuality.”

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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
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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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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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