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Parents revolt against Toronto Catholic school board equity policy

LifeSiteNews.com
By LifeSiteNews.com
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TORONTO, Ontario, May 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Over 150 Catholics packed a consultation meeting last week on the Toronto Catholic school board’s draft equity policy.  The vast majority at the April 27th meeting were parents and other concerned ratepayers opposing the policy that trustees are considering prior to a vote in May.

“I see that this is another push of the gay lobby to come into our schools,” said Anne Rooney, a retired teacher from the Toronto Catholic District School Board who attended the meeting.  “It just goes farther forward and farther forward.  These incremental steps by the gay lobby will not be good for our children. … It will confuse them more and more.”

The concerns and recommendations were varied and quite articulate according to attendees.  Many parents also vocally opposed the new anti-bullying clubs for homosexuals authorized and encouraged by Ontario’s Bishops last month.

Meeting attendees were organized into small groups and given time to discuss and critique the draft policy, copies of which were distributed to each attendee. Then a recording secretary was designated for each table to present at the microphone a summary of the comments made by the small group.  Multiple parents confirmed that the sentiment from the vast majority of tables was a profound dislike of the draft policy. 

Just a few of the policy amendments requested by stakeholders included:

  • Gay clubs must not be allowed in Catholic schools. Bullying should be dealt with in a generic sense without labelling any student as “gay” or “lesbian”.  Other forms of support for any type of bullying are already provided for all students and there is no need for GSAs or similar homosexualized clubs.
  • The school board’s equity policy must require the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s sections on homosexuality to be taught during any discussion about sexual orientation, including within the context of support clubs for same-sex attracted students.  One parent read from the open mic the entirety of Section 2357 of the Catechism which states:
    “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”  They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
  • Where the draft policy currently refers to prohibiting “discrimination,” it must be changed throughout the document to reference “unjust discrimination.”
  • Stronger language must be added to protect teachers who give the Church’s authentic teaching on Christian sexual morality. It was expressed that the current policy leaves them open to persecution, even disciplinary action for presenting Church teaching.

Many also expressed their belief that there is no quantifiable evidence to prove that widespread bullying, nor any bullying for that matter, is actually taking place in Catholic schools against “gay” students. One parent said she spoke to a student at her table who identified himself as “gay”, but acknowledged that he himself had not experienced any significant harassment during high school.

While the majority of attendees were opposed to the board’s draft equity policy, there was a contingent of teachers, board administration and high school students who some ratepayers told LifeSiteNews were “stacked at every table in order to counter the parental presence.”  Rooney said that a superintendent sitting at her table commented to her, “We were told to come [by Administration] because the previous meeting had been quite vocal.”

“Wasn’t that what it was supposed to be?” asked Rooney.  “We go to voice our concerns and we should have been vocal.”

Another attendee reported that St. Patrick’s High School brought roughly 30 students to the meeting, and a few also came from Bishop Marrocco High School, which already had a Gay-Straight Alliance before the controversy broke out in the mainstream press earlier this year.  A few of these students spoke in favour of gay-straight alliances.

Some parents felt emboldened to see a much larger crowd of concerned Catholics at this meeting in comparison with the initial April 18th consultation, which drew about one hundred.

Now that community consultations are finished, it is presumed that Administration will compile all the feedback received and present it to the Board Trustees to take into consideration before taking a vote to accept, reject or amend the draft Equity policy.

Catholic ratepayers are being encouraged to express their wishes to:

DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
Anne Perron, 416.222.8282 ext. 2296, [email protected]

PREMIER OF ONTARIO
Dalton McGuinty, Tel: 416.325.1941, Email: [email protected]

See report with videos from the April 18th meeting.

 

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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