Ben Johnson

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Obama’s abortion, marriage views inspire dozens of Democratic politicians to join the GOP

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JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, May 31, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) –  Five months ahead of the presidential election, the Democratic Party is already losing seats to Republicans, as a growing number of elected officials are changing parties over issues like the right to life, the definition of marriage, and the Obama administration’s mandate that religious institutions cover abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans.

Wednesday afternoon, seven local office-holders from three Mississippi counties announced they had voted with their feet.

Each official had different reasons, but Leake County Sheriff Greg Waggoner “specifically said when [Obama] came out in favor of gay ‘marriage,’ that was the last straw,” Brett Kittredge, communications director of the Mississippi Republican Party, told LifeSiteNews.com.

“I’m a Christian, and my first allegiance is to Jesus Christ,” Sheriff Waggoner said. “God established marriage, and He established it between a man and a woman. Those are my beliefs. The Republican Party reflects my beliefs.”

His concerns echoed those of Pennsylvania Democrat-turned-Republican Jo Ann Nardelli. A lifelong Democrat, Nardelli has been active as a pro-life Democrat at the state and local level. As Matthew Archbold wrote, “She met with Hillary Clinton, gave a rosary to Joe Biden, and appeared on the cover of U.S. News and World Report going to Church with then Senate candidate Bob Casey Jr.”

But after seeing Vice President Joe Biden, who is Roman Catholic, endorse same-sex “marriage,” she said she could no longer stand by the party. “I talked to our priest,” she said. Soon she penned a resignation letter citing the party’s conflict with Catholic teaching.

“Due to personal matters and faith beliefs at this time, it is only fair to resign,” she wrote. “It is time to move forward with my life in a direction that is more in line with my faith.” At a press conference, she endorsed Mitt Romney, then switched parties.

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State and local officials are not only ones to defect from an increasingly left-wing party. Former Alabama Congressman Artur Davis, an early Obama supporter who ran for governor in 2010, hinted on Tuesday that he may run for office in his new home state of Virginia. “If I were to run, it would be as a Republican,” he wrote.

“[F]aith institutions should not be compelled to violate their teachings because faith is a freedom, too,” he wrote on his blog, which he refers to as “free opposition research.”

He jabbed the administration for plunging “headfirst into a fight over contraception and Catholic hospitals” in February. “The Ninth Circuit’s ruling on gay marriage prefigures a Supreme Court ruling on the issue…a brief against big government has to also address the overreach of Washington’s pronouncing church doctrine dead.”

A Democrat who voted against the president’s health care reform, Davis said he still thinks the bill “goes further than we need and costs more than we can bear.” Entitlement reform and fiscal discipline play a role in his change of party.

Davis, who is black, also chafed at the president’s “bloc by bloc appeal to group grievances when the country is already too fractured.” He has said he “despises identity politics” and calls Affirmative Action “a racial spoils system.”

That multi-pronged objection shows that many Democrats do not object to Obama but to liberalism, a problem that often sinks down to the state and local party level.

In April, Rick Murphrey, the mayor of Kings Mountain in North Carolina and a lifelong Democrat, changed party registration to the GOP based in part on the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage.” Governor Bev Perdue, a Democrat, opposed Amendment One. Murphrey said that “is one of the things” he and his wife “evaluated in our decision.”

“We believe in the marriage of one man and one woman,” Murphrey said. “That is something we believe in strongly.” 

New party members sometimes become active leaders in the pro-life cause. Georgia State Representative Doug McKillip of Athens – who accepted a $500 donation from Planned Parenthood in 2006 as a Democrat – introduced a bill to limit abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy earlier this year.

McKillip credits his faith with his party change. “I became a Christian in ’09,” he said. “You start reading the Bible, and you realize life begins at conception.”

In March, Texas State Representative J.M. Lozano said he was tired of being “bullied” by Democrats. Like his constituents in Jim Wells County, he cherished “pro-life, pro-business” sentiments in “my heart and my soul.”

Lozano, McKillip, Waggoner, and others join a growing exodus of centrist or right-leaning former Democrats. Two dozen state officials changed registration from Democrat to Republican in the first three months after the 2010 midterm elections.

Kittrege estimates that more than 50 Democrats in Mississippi have joined the Republican Party since January 2009. 

“They cannot be affiliated any longer with the Democratic Party because of the Obama administration, and all the leaders of the Democratic Party – Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, on down the line,” Kittredge told LifeSiteNews.com.

“There is no center-right in the Democratic Party,” Davis explained to Fox host Neil Cavuto. “There is in the Republican Party.”

In response, some Democrats are asking for a less liberal abortion plank in the 2012 Democratic Party platform. Former President Jimmy Carter has publicly stated party leaders should “limit [abortion] only to women whose life are in danger or who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest.” Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, promises pro-lifers will lead a public witness at the convention.

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told LifeSiteNews.com that abortion “is killing the Democrats in the South. Jimmy understands this. He understands the reason they lost the South is not the civil rights movement; it’s the abortion movement.”

Increasingly, it is also the marriage redefinition movement. Yet four former party chairmen and 11 state parties have called for the Democratic Party to include support for same-sex “marriage” in the party platform this summer during their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

The ongoing defections show many are giving up on efforts to carve out a pro-life, pro-marriage niche in the party of Jefferson and Jackson. “I thought I could make a difference to change our party,” Nardelli said. “It didn’t work.”

“The national Democratic Party, and to a certain extent the Mississippi Democratic Party, has made it easier for us,” Kittredge told LifeSiteNews. “They almost do the work for us.”

 

 

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The first pro-abortion Republican enters the 2016 presidential race

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By Ben Johnson

EXETER, NH, May 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The large and expanding field of would-be Republican presidential candidates grew by one today, as George Pataki became the first GOP presidential hopeful this election season to openly support abortion-on-demand.

The 69-year-old long-shot candidate also has a history of supporting homosexual legislative causes.

In the weeks leading up to his formal announcement, George Pataki took out TV ads asking Republicans to refrain from talking about abortion and gay “marriage,” branding them “distractions.”

“In 12 years [as governor], I don’t think I talked about that issue twice,” he once said of abortion.

On same-sex “marriage,” he says, “I think, leave it to the states. I don’t think it’s a role in Washington.”

However, Pataki has a long history of enacting the homosexual political agenda as governor of New York from 1994-2006. He signed a “hate crimes” law that added the words “gay” and “lesbian” to New York state law for the first time.

He signed the Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination Act (SONDA), which prohibits business owners from “discriminating” against homosexuals in housing or hiring, with an exemption only for religious institutions.

He also added sexual orientation to state civil rights laws, alongside such immutable characteristics as race and sex, in an apparent quid pro quo for a gay activist group's endorsement in his last run for governor. The New York Times reported that, under pressure from Pataki, then then-Senate Majority Leader “shifted his position on the bill as part of what is tacitly acknowledged, even by Senator [Joseph] Bruno's senior aides, to have been a deal to win an endorsement for Governor Pataki from the state's largest gay rights group, the Empire State Pride Agenda.”

After the LGBT activist group endorsed Pataki in 2002, citing a long list of his service to the homosexual political cause, Pataki personally lobbied senators for the bill's passage, then signed it into law that December.

Coupled with his stance on gun control, environmentalism, and other issues, he stands well to the left of the Republican mainstream.

The three-term governor of New York, who belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, took his own advice by largely avoiding social issues today. The closest he came was his vow, “I'd repeal oppressive laws like ObamaCare and end Common Core.”

He added that he would “fire every current IRS employee abusing government power to discriminate on the basis of politics or religion. That is not America!”

Otherwise, Pataki's announcement speech hewed to stand pat Republican issues like reducing taxes, shrinking the number of federal employees, increasing military spending, and supporting entrepreneurship.

He began by thanking his supporters, in English and Spanish.

Smiling, his head pivoting between twin teleprompters, he said, “Let me tell you some of the things I'd do right away to get oppressive government off the backs of Americans.”

He would institute a lifetime ban on congressmen acting as lobbyists after they leave office. “If you ever served one day in Congress, you will never be a lobbyist,” he said. He favors forcing Congress to live under the laws it passes, so there will be “no special rules for the powerful.”

He cited his history of cutting taxes, reducing welfare rolls, and leaving his state with billions of dollars in surplus. “That's what our policies can do,” he said. “I know we can do the same thing for the United States.”

In recent weeks, he has called for a more interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East. Today, he reminded his audience that he was governor of New York in 9/11. “I will not fear the lesson of September 11,” he said. “To protect us, first we must protect the border,” he said – an unexpected phrase, as Pataki supports amnesty for the at least 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States.

“We will stand with our ally, Israel, a democracy on the front lines of terror and barbarism,” he said.

Like former Sen. Rick Santorum, who announced he is running for president yesterday, Pataki agreed that “if necessary, American forces will be used to actually defeat and destroy ISIS on the ground – although he promised not to become “the world's policeman.”

Some of his campaign promises drew skepticism, such as seeking to develop self-driving cars and to cure Alzheimer's disease and cancer within the next decade.

The speech's venue was chosen deliberately by Pataki, who considered entering the presidential race in 2000, 2008, and 2012. The town of Exeter, New Hampshire, claims to be the founding place of the Republican Party. (Ripon, Wisconsin, makes a similar claim.)

More importantly, the first-in-the-nation primary skews more libertarian on social issues than evangelical-dominated Iowa and South Carolina, so Pataki has essentially staked his candidacy on doing well in New Hampshire. Fellow pro-abortion Republican Rudy Giuliani made a similar bet in 2008, banking on a good showing among transplanted New Yorkers in the Florida primary. He left the race after finishing a distant third.

Short of a stunning upset in the Granite State, Pataki has little chance of breaking through the pack this year. A Fox News poll ranks him dead last among 16 announced and potential candidates. Holly Bailey of Yahoo! News said, “George Pataki would never say this, but you do have to wonder if he's sort of, maybe, gaming for vice president.”

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Pataki is not the first “pro-choice” Republican to run for president.  Giuliani (who supported partial birth abortion) and Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (another potential 2016 candidate, who supports abortion during the first trimester) ran in 2008. Twelve years earlier, both California Gov. Pete Wilson and Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter supported abortion-on-demand. Arlen Specter later left the party and became a Democrat.

In 1988, General Alexander Haig opposed a human life amendment to the U.S. Constitution. So did Texas Gov. John Connally in 1980.

George H.W. Bush supported abortion and voted for Planned Parenthood funding early in his career but changed his position by the time he ran for president the second time, in 1988.

President Gerald Ford was the last Republican nominee to proclaim himself “pro-choice.” 

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Ireland ‘defied God’ by voting for gay ‘marriage’: Cardinal Burke

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By Pete Baklinski

OXFORD, May 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Cardinal Raymond Burke lamented how formerly Catholic Ireland has gone further than the pagans in the pre-Christian days of old and “defied God” by calling homosexual behavior “marriage” in the referendum last week.

“I mean, this is a defiance of God. It’s just incredible. Pagans may have tolerated homosexual behaviours, they never dared to say this was marriage,” he told the Newman Society, Oxford University’s Catholic organization, in an address Wednesday about the intellectual heritage of Pope Benedict XVI. The Tablet, Britain’s liberal Catholic newspaper, reported his remarks.

On Friday, 1.2 million Irish people voted to amend the country’s constitution to say: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.” A little over 734,000 people voted against the proposal. 

Burke said that he could not understand “any nation redefining marriage.”

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The cardinal also emphasized the important role that parents play in protecting their children in a culture increasingly hostile to God’s laws. “The culture is thoroughly corrupted, if I may say so, and the children are being exposed to this, especially through the internet,” he said. One practical piece of advice that he offered families was to put computers in public areas to prevent children from “imbib[ing] this poison that’s out there.”

During the same Oxford visit, but during a homily at a Mass the day before, Burke called marriage between a man and woman a “fundamental truth” that has been “ignored, defied, and violated.”

Burke warned during the homily of the dangers of “various ideological currents” and of “human deception and trickery which strives to lead us into error.”

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Why young Christians can’t grasp our arguments against gay ‘marriage’

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By John Stonestreet

May 28, 2015 (BreakPoint.org) -- For five years, Dr. Abigail Rine has been teaching a course on gender theory at George Fox University, an evangelical school in the Quaker tradition.

At the beginning of the semester, she tells her students that “they are guaranteed to read something they will find disagreeable, probably even offensive.”

Writing at FirstThings.com recently, she related how five years ago it was easy to find readings that challenged and even offended the evangelical college students “considering the secular bent of contemporary gender studies.”

But today, things are different. “Students now,” she says, “arrive in my class thoroughly versed in the language and categories of identity politics; they are reticent to disagree with anything for fear of seeming intolerant—except, of course, what they perceive to be intolerant.”

And what do they find “intolerant”? Well, in her class, an essay entitled “What is Marriage?” by Sherif Girgis, Robert George, and Ryan Anderson, which was the beginning of the book “What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense.”

In their article, Girgis, George, and Anderson defend what they call the conjugal view of marriage. “Marriage,” they write, “is the union of a man and a woman who make a permanent and exclusive commitment to each other … that is naturally fulfilled by bearing and rearing children together.” They defend this view against what they call the “revisionist view” of marriage, which redefines marriage to include, among other things, same-sex couples.

“My students hate it,” Dr. Rine wrote. They “lambast the article.” “They also,” she adds, “seem unable to fully understand the argument.” And again, these are evangelical students at an evangelical school.

The only argument for conjugal marriage they’ve ever encountered has been the wooden proof-texting from the Bible. And besides, wrote Rine, “What the article names as a ‘revisionist’ idea of marriage—marriage as an emotional, romantic, sexual bond between two people—does not seem ‘new’ to my students at all, because this is the view of marriage they were raised with, albeit with a scriptural, heterosexual gloss.”

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As Rine points out “the redefinition of marriage began decades ago” when “the link between sexuality and procreation was severed in our cultural imagination.”

And if marriage “has only an arbitrary relationship to reproduction,” then it seems mean-spirited to Rine’s students to argue that marriage by its very nature excludes same-sex couples.

And where do students get the idea that marriage “has only an arbitrary relationship to reproduction”? Well, everywhere—television, church, school, their homes, in youth groups.

Rine writes, “As I consider my own upbringing and the various ‘sex talks’ I encountered in evangelical church settings over the past twenty years, I realize that the view of marital sex presented there was primarily revisionist.”

In other words, once you say, “I do,” you get “the gift” of sex which is presented as “a ‘gift’ largely due to its [erotic], unitive properties, rather than its intrinsic capacity to create life.” Even in the Church, children have become an optional add-on to married life rather than its primary purpose.

What can we do to win back our children, our churches, and the culture? In our recent book “Same Sex Marriage,” Sean McDowell and I lay out a game plan. We offer strategies for the short-term and the long-term, with the ultimate goal: re-shaping the cultural imagination towards what God intended marriage to be, starting with the church. Come to BreakPoint.org to pick up your copy.

As Chuck Colson once said in a BreakPoint commentary about marriage, “We Christians are very good at saying ‘No.’ But we’ve got to get better at saying ‘Yes’: showing how God’s plan for humanity is a blessing. That His ways, including faithful, life-giving marriage between one man and one woman, lead to human flourishing physically, emotionally, and spiritually.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Reprinted with permission from Break Point.

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