John Westen

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Ontario Catholic teachers union funds leading gay activist group

John Westen
John Westen
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TORONTO, December 16, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Faithful Catholic teachers are outraged after discovering that the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) is funding Canada’s leading homosexualist organization with dues collected from them.

According to OECTA’s website, the organization represents 45,000 teachers in publicly-funded English Catholic schools in the province.  All the teachers are compelled to pay dues to the organization, which vary according to teaching status, with many having nearly $1000 per year deducted from their paychecks. This gives the union huge financial clout.

In its 2009-2010 Annual Report, the organization Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE), which famously lobbied successfully to legalize gay ‘marriage’ in Canada in 2005, lists OECTA as a partner (See page 3). 

EGALE’s support of same-sex ‘marriage’ often included ferocious attacks against the Catholic Church.  In a 2005 essay two prominent EGALE leaders, Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell, condemned Calgary Bishop Fred Henry for defending natural marriage.

“We predict that gay marriage will indeed result in the growth of acceptance of homosexuality now underway, as Henry fears,” they wrote. “But marriage equality will also contribute to the abandonment of toxic religions, liberating society from the prejudice and hatred that has polluted culture for too long.”  They labeled Bishop Henry a “religious extremist,” and a “bigot,” adding, “It’s good to remember that bishops like him supported Hitler.” 

LifeSiteNews asked OECTA how much money the Catholic organization gave to the homosexual activist group, how it justified such support and if members were aware of the support.  However, OECTA Director of Communications Michelle Despault refused to reveal the sum given to EGALE.

“In response to your questions I am providing you a statement from the OECTA handbook,” said Despault in an email reply.  She quoted a section of the handbook which claims that the organization is pro-life, and sees ‘sexism and homophobia’ as threats to life.

That section states:

the Association affirm the sacredness of all life: of human life created in God’s image and all other forms of life with which we share this planet.  Therefore: the Association reaffirms Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death; the Association denounces all threats to life such as euthanasia, abortion, capital punishment, genocide, racism, sexism and homophobia; the Association is committed to supporting programs and actions which defend and promote the dignity of life.

The Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO) did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.  Neil MacCarthy, Communications Director in the office of Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins, the current President of the ACBO, told LifeSiteNews that there is no official statement at this time, but that the archdiocese would be monitoring the issue closely.

LifeSiteNews spoke with numerous Catholic teachers about the issue; however, most refused to speak publicly for fear of retaliation by the powerful union.  Many expressed their disappointment, frustration and helplessness at being unable to prevent their money from supporting a group that attacks the Catholic Church.  They said they were not surprised by the move, however, given OECTA’s past controversies.

Barry Mombourquette, a teacher in the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board, was willing to speak on record.  Mombourquette noted that $950 is deducted annually from his paychecks to pay his union dues to OECTA.  “As a union paying member for 32 years, I have no problem saying I’m opposed to this,” he said. 

“We as Catholic teachers must uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church and our monies should in no way be supporting organizations or efforts which oppose Catholic Church teaching,” he said.

One of the teachers who commented anonymously explained that he was the sole income earner for his family and could not risk speaking out publicly against the union.  “It’s a kick in the teeth” he said. “Can you imagine trying to uphold the Catholic faith and your leadership both at the board and union level undercutting what you’re doing?” 

“We need the bishops to step up and stop this,” he added. “If we could see support and protection from the bishops then we could speak out. If we stick our necks out without that support that’d be suicide.”

Mary Nicol, a retired teacher who taught for 33 years at St. Maria Goretti in Scarborough, told LifeSiteNews that at one time she was proud to be a member of the Catholic teachers union.  “Now, I’m ashamed of having been part of OECTA. I’m glad I’m no longer involved,” she said.

While OECTA refused to reveal the details of their financial contributions to EGALE, LifeSiteNews did uncover one $1000 donation.  The June 2010 issue of the OECTA publication AGENDA contained a short article entitled “OECTA Supports Egale,” which noted a $1000 donation towards the launch of an EGALE website for Gay-Straight Alliances.

Homosexual activists have promoted such school clubs as providing ‘safe’ environments in schools for homosexual students.  Critics argue, however, that the groups encourage the normalization of the homosexual lifestyle.

Campaign Life Catholic, which opposes GSA’s in schools, told LifeSiteNews that opposition to OECTA’s radical departure from core Catholic moral teachings is long overdue. 

Over the last decade OECTA has promoted bizarre sex conferences featuring talks on drag queens and sex toys; used their own conferences to feature leading dissident Catholics and abortion supporters; seriously mulled the official promotion of homosexual ‘marriage’; and even sought to intervene in a court proceeding against a Catholic school which was being sued by a male student for refusing to permit him to bring his gay ‘boyfriend’ to the school prom.

“Parents who send kids to Catholic schools assume naturally that our Bishops provide religious education for teachers,” said Suresh Dominic, spokesman for Campaign Life Catholic. “That’s not the case whatsoever.

“OECTA provides much of the religious education for teachers and principals through workshops and seminars. Many of these deal with ‘sexual orientation’, ‘sensitivity training for LGBTQ issues’, ‘transgender issues’, ‘homophobia’, etc.” 

He concluded: “Given that OECTA is an official partner of EGALE, shouldn’t the Bishops take back the religious formation responsibility from OECTA? Or at the very least, ensure that guest speakers and presenters are hand-picked by the Bishops, not by OECTA?”


To make your voice heard:

Archbishop of Toronto
http://www.archtoronto.org/arch_offices/archbishop.html

Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association OECTA
[email protected]

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Newsbusters Staff

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Disney ABC embraces X-rated anti-Christian bigot Dan Savage in new prime time show

Newsbusters Staff
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March 30, 2015 (NewsBusters.org) -- Media Research Center (MRC) and Family Research Council (FRC) are launching a joint national campaign to educate the public about a Disney ABC sitcom pilot based on the life of bigoted activist Dan Savage. MRC and FRC contacted Ben Sherwood, president of Disney/ABC Television Group, more than two weeks ago urging him to put a stop to this atrocity but received no response. [Read the full letter]

A perusal of Dan Savage’s work reveals a career built on advocating violence — even murder — and spewing hatred against people of faith. Savage has spared no one with whom he disagrees from his vitriolic hate speech. Despite his extremism, vulgarity, and unabashed encouragement of dangerous sexual practices, Disney ABC is moving forward with this show, disgustingly titled “Family of the Year.”

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell reacts:

“Disney ABC’s decision to effectively advance Dan Savage’s calls for violence against conservatives and his extremist attacks against people of faith, particularly evangelicals and Catholics, is appalling and outrageous. If hate speech were a crime, this man would be charged with a felony. Disney ABC giving Dan Savage a platform for his anti-religious bigotry is mind-boggling and their silence is deafening.

“By creating a pilot based on the life of this hatemonger and bringing him on as a producer, Disney ABC is sending a signal that they endorse Dan Savage’s wish that a man be murdered. He has stated, ‘Carl Romanelli should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope.’ ABC knows this. We told them explicitly.

“If the production of ‘Family of the Year’ is allowed to continue, not just Christians but all people of goodwill can only surmise that the company Walt Disney created is endorsing violence.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins reacts:

“Does ABC really want to produce a pilot show based on a vile bully like Dan Savage?  Do Dan Savage’s over-the top-obscenity, intimidation of teenagers and even violent rhetoric reflect the values of Disney?  Partnering with Dan Savage and endorsing his x-rated message will be abandoning the wholesome values that have attracted millions of families to Walt Disney.”

Dan Savage has made numerous comments about conservatives, evangelicals, and Catholics that offend basic standards of decency. They include:

  • Proclaiming that he sometimes thinks about “f****ing the shit out of” Senator Rick Santorum

  • Calling for Christians at a high school conference to “ignore the bull**** in the Bible”

  • Saying that “the only thing that stands between my d*** and Brad Pitt’s mouth is a piece of paper” when expressing his feelings on Pope Benedict’s opposition to gay marriage

  • Promoting marital infidelity

  • Saying “Carl Romanelli should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope.”

  • Telling Bill Maher that he wished Republicans “were all f***ing dead”

  • Telling Dr. Ben Carson to “suck my d***. Name the time and place and I’ll bring my d*** and a camera crew and you can s*** me off and win the argument.”

Reprinted with permission from Newsbusters

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Jacqueline Harvey

Ending the end-of-life impasse: Texas is poised to ban doctor-imposed death by starvation

Jacqueline Harvey
By Jacqueline Harvey

AUSTIN, Texas, March 30, 2015 (TexasInsider.org)  After five consecutive sessions of bitter battles over end-of-life bills, the Texas Legislature is finally poised to pass the first reform to the Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA) in 12 years. An issue that created uncanny adversaries out of natural allies, and equally odd bedfellows, has finally found common ground in H.B. 3074 by State Rep. Drew Springer.  

H.B. 3074 simply prohibits doctor-imposed euthanasia by starvation and dehydration.

Since H.B. 3074 includes only those provisions and language that all major organizations are on record as having deemed acceptable in previous legislative sessions, there is finally hope of ending the end-of-life impasse in the Texas Capitol.

Many would be surprised to learn that Texas law allows physicians to forcibly remove a feeding tube against the will of the patient and their family. In fact, there is a greater legal penalty for failing to feed or water an animal than for a hospital to deny a human being food and water through a tube.

This is because there is no penalty whatsoever for a healthcare provider who wishes to deny artificially-administered nutrition and hydration (AANH). According to Texas Health and Safety Code, “every living dumb creature” is legally entitled access to suitable food and water.

Denying an animal food and water, like in this January case in San Antonio, is punishable by civil fines up to $10,000 and criminal penalties up to two years in jail per offense. Yet Texas law allows health care providers to forcibly deny food and water from human beings – what they would not be able to legally do to their housecat. And healthcare providers are immune from civil and criminal penalties for denial of food and water to human beings as long as they follow the current statutory process which is sorely lacking in safeguards.

Therefore, while it is surprising that Texas has the only state law that explicitly mentions food and water delivered artificially for the purpose of completely permitting its forced denial (the other six states mention AANH explicitly for the opposite purpose, to limit or prohibit its refusal), it is not at all surprising that the issue of protecting a patient’s right to food and water is perhaps the one point of consensus across all major stakeholders.

H.B. 3074 is the first TADA reform bill to include only this provision that is agreed upon across all major players in previous legislative sessions.

There are irreconcilable ideological differences between two major right-to-life organizations that should supposedly be like-minded: Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Right to Life. Each faction (along with their respective allies) have previously sponsored broad and ambitious bills to either preserve but reform the current law (Texas Alliance for Life’s position) or overturn it altogether as Texas Right to Life aims to do.

Prior to H.B. 3074, bills filed by major advocacy organizations have often included AANH, but also a host of other provisions that were so contentious and unacceptable to other organizations that each bill ultimately died, and this mutually-agreed-upon and vital reform always died along with it.

2011 & 2013 Legislative Sessions present prime example

This 2011 media report shows the clear consensus on need for legislation to simply address the need to protect patients’ rights to food and water:

“Hughes [bill sponsor for Texas Right to Life] has widespread support for one of his bill’s goals: making food and water a necessary part of treatment and not something that can be discontinued, unless providing it would harm the patient.”

Nonetheless, in 2013, both organizations and their allies filed complicated, contentious opposing bills, both of which would have protected a patient’s right to food and water but each bill also included provisions the rival group saw as contrary to their goals. Both bills were ultimately defeated and neither group was able to achieve protections for patients at risk of forced starvation and dehydration – a mutual goal that could have been met through a third, narrow bill like H.B. 3074.

H.B. 3074 finally focuses on what unites the organizations involved rather than what divides them, since these differences have resulted in a 12 year standoff with no progress whatsoever.

H.B. 3074 is progress that is pre-negotiated and pre-approved.

It is not a fertile springboard for negotiations on an area of mutual agreement. Rather it is the culmination of years of previous negotiations on bills that all came too late, either due to the complexnature of rival bills, the controversy involved, or even both.

On the contrary, H.B. 3074 is not just simply an area of agreement; moreover, it is has already been negotiated. It should not be stymied by disagreements on language, since Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Right to Life (along with their allies) were able to agree on language in 2007 with C.S.S.B. 439. C.S.S.B. 439 reads that, unlike the status quo that places no legal conditions on when food and water may be withdrawn, it would be permitted for those in a terminal condition if,

“reasonable medical evidence indicates the provision of artificial nutrition and hydration may hasten the patient’s death or seriously exacerbate other major medical problems and the risk of serious medical pain or discomfort that cannot be alleviated based on reasonable medical judgment outweighs the benefit of continued artificial nutrition and hydration.”

This language is strikingly similar to H.B. 3074 which states, “except that artificially administered nutrition and hydration must be provided unless, based on reasonable medical judgment, providingartificially administered nutrition and hydration would:

  1. Hasten the patient’s death;
  2. Seriously exacerbate other major medical problems not outweighed by the benefit of the provision of the treatment;
  3. Result in substantial irremediable physical pain, suffering, or discomfort not outweighed by the benefit of the provision of the treatment;
  4. Be medically ineffective; or
  5. Be contrary to the patient’s clearly stated desire not to receive artificially administered nutrition or hydration.”

With minimal exceptions (the explicit mention of the word terminal, the issue of medical effectiveness and the patient’s right to refuse), the language is virtually identical, and in 2007 Texas Right to Life affirmed this language as clarifying that “ANH can only be withdrawn if the risk of providing ANH is greater than the benefit of continuing it.”

Texas Right to Life would support the language in H.B. 3074 that already has Texas Alliance for Life’s endorsement. Any reconciliation on the minor differences in language would therefore be minimal and could be made by either side, but ultimately, both sides and their allies would gain a huge victory – the first victory in 12 years on this vital issue.

It seems that the Texas Advance Directive Act, even among its sympathizers, has something for everyone to oppose.

The passage of H.B. 3074 and the legal restoration of rights to feeding tubes for Texas patients will not begin to satisfy critics of the Texas Advance Directives Act who desire much greater changes to the law and will assuredly continue to pursue them. H.B. 3074 in no way marks the end for healthcare reform, but perhaps a shift from the belief that anything short of sweeping changes is an endorsement of the status quo.

Rather, we can look at H.B. 3074 as breaking a barrier and indicating larger changes are possible.

And if nothing else, by passing H.B. 3074 introduced by State Rep. Drew Springer, we afford human beings in Texas the same legal access to food and water that we give to our horses. What is cruel to do to an animal remains legal to do to humans in Texas if organizations continue to insist on the whole of their agenda rather than agreeing to smaller bills like H.B. 3074.

The question is, can twelve years of bad blood and bickering be set aside for even this most noble of causes?

Reprinted from TexasInsider.org with the author's permission. 

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Only 3 Days Left!

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By John-Henry Westen

I can’t believe how quickly our annual Spring campaign has flown by. Now,with only 3 days remaining, we still have $96,000 left to raise to meet our absolute minimum goal.

That’s why I must challenge you to stop everything, right now, and make a donation of whatever amount you can afford to support the pro-life and pro-family investigative reporting of LifeSite!

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For 17 years, we have relied almost exclusively on the donations of our growing army of everyday readers like you: readers who are tired of the anti-life and anti-family bias of the mainstream media, and who are looking for a different kind of news agency.

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I want to thank the many readers who helped bring us within striking distance of our minimum goal with their donations over the weekend. 

But though we have made great strides in the past few days, we still need many more donations if we are going to have any hope of making it all the way by April 1st.

In these final, anxious days of our quarterly campaigns, I am always tempted to give in to fear, imagining what will happen if we don’t reach our goal.

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