Patrick Craine

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Ontario Catholic school survey says being ‘against homosexuality’ is ‘extremely homophobic’

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

LONDON, Ontario, May 1, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic high school in London is under fire after distributing a survey to students that says being “against homosexuality” is “extremely homophobic.”

LifeSiteNews.com obtained a copy of the “attitudes” survey, which was handed out last week at Regina Mundi Catholic College, from a parent who was outraged that such a survey would be given to her child at a Catholic school and without her permission.

“Not only were my parental rights, religious beliefs and moral values infringed upon, this ‘Attitude Survey’ was inappropriate for the students,” said the mother, who wished to remain anonymous. “It was not ethical to provide a survey to all staff and students without first thoroughly checking for suitability through all channels.”

A copy of the survey can be downloaded here.

A representative of the London District Catholic School Board says the survey was spearheaded by a student-led group that formed in response to Bill 13, the Ontario Liberals’ controversial “anti-bullying” legislation.

The mother says she was given the survey by her child, who is in grade 12 at the school but who believes it was distributed to classes throughout the school after hearing grade 10 students discussing it in the hallway.

The survey presents students with a series of leading statements on homosexuality that appear designed to prompt students to question Catholic sexual teaching. Students are asked to check off whether they “agree” or “disagree” with the statements. 

Examples of the statements include: I think homosexuality is abnormal (i.e. against the laws of nature); I think homosexual people should have the same civil rights as heterosexual people (i.e. spousal benefits); I think homosexual couples can be good parents; People who are extremely homophobic (against homosexuality) are insecure of their own sexual orientation; Love between people is what matters, not whether you are gay or 'straight'; I believe that homosexual people deserve the same respect and love that all humans do."

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The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and the inclination to homosexuality is “objectively disordered,” even though it is not sinful until acted upon. The Catechism also urges that people who are same-sex attracted be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” and condemns unjust discrimination against them.

News of the survey comes amidst heightened concern among faithful Catholics that Ontario’s Catholic school system is opening its doors to homosexual activism. After last year’s passage of Bill 13, the Liberals’ controversial “anti-bullying” bill, Catholic school boards across the province have launched gay-straight alliance clubs under the guise of a “safe school” agenda.

Tamara Nugent, a superintendent acting as spokeswoman for the school board, said the survey was vetted by the principal, but not the school board, and came as a result of Bill 13 and the bill’s provision mandating that schools allow student-led homosexual clubs.

“This survey was actually an extension of that by a student-led group,” she said. “It was in response to some of the issues that were surfacing in the schools relative to how students were engaging one another, and the type of language they were using, just the very fact that they were not respectful interactions.”

She said the schools conduct frequent climate surveys, and this one was part of that initiative. “Really we’re looking at the sociology of what is actually happening, and then the next step will then be to deal with the morality, which is what ought to be happening,” she explained. “We are at all times guided by our faith. I mean this is really about the fundamental Catholic social teaching, which is rooted in the respect and dignity for all people. So it’s in order to create safe, welcoming, inclusive school environments.”

“That’s really what this is in response to, and connected to a larger initiative in our board which is about the theme of belonging,” she added.

The survey was intended to help the student-led group, working with teachers, to “better understand what are the attitudes and beliefs in our school communities so that they could more carefully structure their awareness activities and response in our school community,” said Nugent.

When LifeSiteNews questioned Nugent on the labeling of Catholic teaching as “extremely homophobic,” she said it was only “an initial survey.”

Staff advisors have a high level of responsibility to ensure that our young people are educated in the Catechism and understand the Catechism,” she said. “I can appreciate what you’re saying about the wording of the survey. Is it ideal? Perhaps not.”

“We would never be doing something contrary to our Catholic teaching. Our work with our students at all times is rooted in the Gospel and Church teaching,” she said.

However, she admitted in response to a question about the seemingly leading nature of the questions on the survey that, “ideally … the survey may have been worded differently,” but again affirmed its intent to gather information on student opinion.

Nugent indicated there was no plan to inform students about the problems with the survey, but said students are taught in the school curriculum about Catholic doctrine on the immorality of homosexuality. She also suggested there would be clarity about the Church’s moral teaching within the student-led group, but was not specific about how that would occur.

The mother said the survey had nothing to do with bullying or the safety of schools. Instead, she said, it “contained homosexualist propaganda wording intended to influence the student's personally-held beliefs and attitudes while labelling any religious beliefs or moral opposition to homosexuality as homophobic.”

“After reading and answering the questions, one would be easily led to believe there was only one right answer for each question,” she said.

She also offered a warning to other Catholic parents. “This ‘Attitude Survey’ could be distributed at your child's Catholic school without your knowledge or permission, despite the age and grade level of your children,” she said.

LifeSiteNews.com contacted the Diocese of London but did not hear back by press time.


Contact:

Most Rev. Ronald Peter Fabbro, C.S.B., Bishop of London 
Tel: (519) 433-0658 #224
Fax: (519) 266-4353
E-mail: [email protected]

Find contact information for London Catholic District School Board trustees here.

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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, the 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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