Ben Johnson

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

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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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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John-Henry Westen / LifeSiteNews.com
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

Pope tells Girl Scouts to oppose ‘ideologies’ against God’s design for marriage

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

ROME, June 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis told Girl Scout and Girl Guide leaders from across the globe last week that it is essential they promote respect for marriage and family according to God’s design.

The pope’s remarks came as both the international organization, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, and Girl Scouts USA face criticism over support for abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, and contraception.

"It is very important today that a woman be adequately appreciated, and that she be able to take up fully the place that corresponds to her, be it in the Church, be it in society,” Pope Francis said in his address on the morning of June 26, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision imposing same-sex “marriage” on the country.

In the face of ideologies that seek to destroy the truths about marriage and family, he said, the formation of girls through Guiding "is absolutely determinant for the future."

"We are in a world in which the most contrary ideologies are spreading to the nature and design of God on the family and on marriage. Therefore, it is a question of educating girls not only to the beauty and grandeur of their vocation of women, in a just and differentiated relation between man and woman, but also to assume important responsibilities in the Church and in society," Pope Francis said.

The pope spoke during a private audience at the world meeting of the International Conference of Catholic Guides (ICCG), which took place in Rome from June 25-30.

Stressing that among educational movements Guiding has played a pivotal role in the faith formation of young women, the pope said, "Education is, in fact, the indispensable means to enable girls to become active and responsible women, proud and happy of their faith in Christ lived in every day life. Thus they will participate in the building of a world permeated by the Gospel."

“To Live the Joy of the Gospel as a Guide” was the theme for the ICCG meeting in Rome, with the stated purpose of reaffirming and strengthening the organization's 50-year-old history within the Catholic Church.

Among the participants at the ICCG meeting in Rome were Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) CEO Anna Maria Chávez and National President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan.

In a statement, Chavez maintained that faith is “at the heart of Girl Scouts, and is woven into everything the organization does to inspire girls to take action to make the world a better place.”

However, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has cautioned that some aspects of the Girl Scouts pedagogy go against Catholic teaching and doctrine.

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A report by the USCCB focused on three issues:

  1. GSUSA's relationship with groups like Planned Parenthood and international affiliate World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS);
  2. GSUSA's views on issues related "to human sexuality, contraception, and abortion";
  3. and various materials and resources GSUSA has that have "inappropriate content."

With regard to WAGGGS, the report notes that while this group claims it does not formally back abortion and "reproductive rights," language on its website leaves no doubt that such support exists, as well as support for contraceptive use.

Numerous pro-life and pro-family groups have organized boycotts of Girl Guide cookies in protest of the organization's embrace of feminist politics and activism.

The pope's address to the ICCG meeting, translated into English by Zenit, is available on the Zenit website here.

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St. Peter Damian
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St. Peter Damian (1049): what Church MUST do in response to rampant homosexuality among clergy

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

June 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The rise of the power and influence of homosexual priests, bishops and cardinals, as well as influential laity, has been a major factor in the growing chaos within Catholicism over the past 60 years. This disorder within the Catholic Church has had a negative impact on the entire world because of the resulting decline in the positive influences that Catholicism has had on civilization for many centuries.

To think that what is happening now is new, however, betrays an ignorance of history. In 1049, when St. Peter Damian wrote his treatise, Book of Gomorrah (Liber Gomorrhianus), to Pope Leo IX, homosexuality and sexual perversion in general were far more openly rampant within the clergy than today.  This horrendous state of affairs is what the Saint addressed in his appeal to the Pope for urgently needed reforms.

We often hear from sleepy, comfortable, cowardly, timid or cultural Catholics, and especially from clergy who are directly implicated in homosexuality, that we should never criticize priests, bishops and especially the Pope. Supposedly, that is a greater sin than that of the heretics and sexual perverts facilitating great personal suffering and sending souls to Hell without anyone doing what is necessary to either convert or stop them.

St. Peter Damian was not so foolish as to listen to such nonsense denying God His justice at a time when the Church appeared to be in its death throes. He understood the grave duty to be blunt about the dangers and sinfulness, to not minimize the catastrophe that would come if strong actions were not quickly taken and to demand corrective actions. And yet, he also emphasized that all of this must be done with charity and Christian hope for the persons involved in the moral corruption. Their conversion was above all hoped and prayed for, rather than their condemnation for eternity.

An Italian translated version of the Book of Gomorrah has recently been published. An English version carefully translated by one of our LifeSite journalists will also soon become available.

On Feb. 11 of this year the Rorate Caeli website published excerpts from the introduction by Professor Roberto de Mattei to the Italian version.

Following are some paragraphs from that introduction that I hope will jar awake some of the faithful, especially considering what is going on now in the United States as a result of the mad Supreme Court decision and the moral chaos around the Synod on the Family regarding Church sexual teachings.
 

Excerpts from the Introduction:

St. Peter Damien (1007-1072) Abbot of the Fonte Avellana Monastery and subsequently Cardinal/Bishop of Ostia, was one of the most outstanding figures of Catholic reform in the XI century. His Liber Gomorrhianus, appeared around 1049, in an age when corruption was widely spread, even in the highest ranks of the ecclesiastical world.

In this writing, addressed to Pope Leo IX, Peter Damien condemns the perverted habits of his time in a language that knows no false mercy or compromises. He is convinced that of all the sins, the gravest is sodomy, a term which includes all the acts against nature and which want to satisfy sexual pleasure by separating it from procreation. “If this absolutely ignominious and abominable vice is not immediately stopped with an iron fist – he writes – the sword of Divine wrath will fall upon us, bringing ruin to many.”

There have been times in (the Church’s) history when sanctity pervades Her and others when the defection of Her members cause Her to collapse into darkness, appearing almost as if the Divinity has abandoned Her.

Peter Damien’s voice resounds today, as it did yesterday, with encouragement and comfort for those, like him, who have fought, suffered, cried and hoped, throughout the course of history.

He did not moderate his language, but kept it fiery to show his indignation. He was fearless in voicing an uncompromising hatred for sin and it was precisely this hatred that rendered his love burning for the Truth and the Good.

Today, at the beginning of the third millennium of Christ’s birth, priests, bishops and Episcopal conferences are arguing for married priests; they are placing in doubt the indissolubility of the marriage bond between man and woman and at the same time, accepting the introduction of laws for homosexual pseudo-marriage. Sodomy is not being thought of as a sin that cries to God for vengeance but is diffused in seminaries, colleges, ecclesiastical universities and even inside the Sacred Walls of the Vatican itself.

Liber Gomorrhianus reminds us that there is something worse than moral vice practiced and theorized. It is the silence that should speak, the abstention that should intervene, the bond of complicity that is established among the wicked and of those, who with the pretext of avoiding scandal are silent, and, by being silent, consent.  

Graver still, is the acceptance of homosexuality by churchmen, thought of as a “positive” tension towards the good, worthy of pastoral care and juridical protection and not as an abominable sin. In the summary Relatio post disceptationem of the first week’s work in the Synod of Bishops in October 2014, a paragraph affirmed that:   “homosexual persons have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community”, with an invitation to the Bishops “…are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing them a fraternal space in our communities?”

This scandalous statement was removed from the final report, but some bishops and cardinals, inside and outside the Synod Hall, insisted on the appeal to look for the positive aspects of a union against nature, going as far as hoping for “a way to describe the rights of people living in same-sex unions.”

St. Peter Damian as a simple monk, and with greater reason as a cardinal, did not hesitate in accusing even the Popes of that time for their scandalous omissions. Will the reading of the book Liber Gomorrhianus instill the spirit of St. Peter Damien in the hearts of some prelates or laypeople, by shaking them out of their torpor and force them to speak and act?

Even if abysmally far from the holiness and prophetic spirit of St. Peter Damien, let us make his indignation against evil, ours, and with the words that conclude his treatise we turn to the Vicar of Christ, His Holiness, Pope Francis, presently reigning, so that he may intervene and bring an end to these doctrinal and moral scandals: “May the Almighty Lord assist us, Most Reverend Father, so that during the time of Your Apostolate, all of the monstrosity of this vice be destroyed and the state of the Church, presently supine, may wholly rise up again in all its vigour.”

The book can be found in Italian here. 

(Note: the name of the saint is spelled Damian in English and Damien in Italian and French. In Fr. Mattei's quotes is it spelled Damien)

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Phil Lawler

So now is it ‘hate speech’ to deplore the Obergefell decision?

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

June 30, 2015 (CatholicCulture.org) - The ink was barely dry on last week’s Supreme Court ruling when Father James Martin, SJ, began scolding Catholics who were, from his decorous perspective, too strident in denouncing the decision.

"No issue brings out so much hatred from so many Catholics as homosexuality," Father Martin told his Facebook followers. He repeated the same message several times throughout the day, warning commenters that they must not indulge in “homophobia” and suggesting that someone who questioned whether we were all expected to sing “Kumbaya” was illustrating his point. So is sarcasm now prima facie evidence of hatred?

In my own surfing through the internet, reading scores of posts on the Obergefell decision, I can honestly say that I did not see a single message, a single comment, that struck me as hate-filled. Perhaps Father Martin’s email traffic is qualitatively different from mine. Or perhaps—far more likely, I’m afraid—he sees “hatred” where I see only vehement disagreement.

Is it possible to be angry about the Obergefell decision, to consider it a travesty of justice and a betrayal of the Constitution, without being viewed as a hater? Wait; let’s turn that question upside-down. Is it possible to see all serious disagreement with the decision as hate-speech, without celebrating the outcome of the Obergefell case?

I ask the latter question, you see, because if Father Martin was upset by the Supreme Court ruling, his dismay did not show through on his Twitter feed. He recommended three columns reacting to the decision: one by a fellow Jesuit, recounting how his grandmother could not marry her lesbian partner; another by the gay New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, celebrating the decision; the third by the gay activist/blogger Andrew Sullivan, also celebrating.

The recommendation for Andrew Sullivan’s piece was particularly striking because of the title: “It Is Accomplished”—an explicit reference to the words of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Father Martin, who was horrified by so much of what he read on Friday afternoon, let that blasphemous headline pass without comment. His demand for the use of temperate language, and for avoiding comments that others would find offensive, was applied to only one side of the post-Obergefell debate.

And that’s likely to be the party line for politically-correct Catholics in the wake of this momentous decision. We are allowed to disagree with the Supreme Court, politely, but not too forcefully. Any strident denunciation of the ruling or its logic might be interpreted as hate-speech, which of course is unacceptable. As the secular left clamps down on religious expression—and we’ve already been served notice that the crackdown is coming-- the Catholic left will worry aloud that, yes, some strong public expressions of religious beliefs are distasteful.

The influence of this approach, with its keen anxiety to avoid provocation, has already been evident in the statements released by some American bishops in response to the ruling. Archbishop Gregory says that he disagrees with the Court, but if you don’t know why he disagrees before you read his statement, you’re not likely to be any better informed when you’re finished. Cardinal Wuerl reminds us that we must hate the sin but love the sinner; he neglects to mention what the sin is. And Archbishop Cupich gives no indication at all that he disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling.

We have a long uphill struggle facing us as we seek to restore a proper understanding of marriage, to revive appreciation for the natural law, and to undo this wretched judicial decision. We cannot expect success if we go into the battle unarmed. If we begin the debate by saying that we must not offend our adversaries—even after our adversaries have declared our most fundamental beliefs to be offensive—we are doomed to failure.

We already know how the battle will unfold, because the campaign to crush resistance to same-sex marriage is already underway. The militant left will choose vulnerable targets—a pizza-parlor here, a baker there—and vilify them as “haters.” People who been trained to see “hatred” in any firm disagreement will nod in solemn approval as the alleged offenses are harshly punished. And so juggernaut will keep rolling, gaining momentum, until it reaches us.

There is an alternative. We can speak the truth. Yes, certainly we should avoid making unduly provocative statements. But since we are trying to provoke reactions, we cannot pull all our punches.

More to the point, if we’re going into battle—and we are—we need to know who’s on our side, and who’s working against us.

This article was originally published on CatholicCulture.org and is re-published with permission.

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