Ben Johnson

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Paul Ryan has solid pro-family record, but marred by vote in favor of ENDA

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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WASHINGTON, D.C., August 13, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the excitement of Mitt Romney’s announcement that Paul Ryan will be his vice presidential running mate wears off, pro-family leaders have begun assessing his record and recommendations for what the Republican ticket means to them. Paul’s record of pro-life activism and his eloquent writings on the topic have won him the enthusiastic support of the nation’s leading advocates for the unborn.

On marriage, too, his record is solid, with one exception – his onetime support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). 

Legislative watchdogs such as the American Family Association and the Family Research Council had warned that ENDA would force religious employers to violate their beliefs about homosexuality (and, in some drafts, gender identity) or face financial ruin. A leaked draft of the 2012 Democratic Party platform officially supports the legislation.

On November 7, 2007, Ryan voted for ENDA, one of only 35 Republicans to do so. However, minutes earlier, he voted with most Republicans to table the bill. The Republican caucus had hoped it would not come up for a full vote; yet once it did, Ryan voted for its passage. 

In the process, Ryan said he “took a lot of grief” for his stance, but he “stopped worrying about it.”

This was the last time ENDA came before the Congress.

Both the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud cited Ryan’s ENDA vote in their positive statements about the veep announcement. The Log Cabin Republicans added that Ryan exhibited “consistent willingness to engage with Log Cabin on a range of issues.”

Ryan’s rhetoric about the condition of homosexual attraction has sometimes justified their praise.

Homosexuals “didn’t roll out of bed one morning and choose to be gay,” Ryan has said. “That’s who they are.” He reportedly added that his support for LGBT people is a “generational thing.”

However, when things turn from talk to action, Ryan has strongly supported a pro-family agenda, especially on the issue of same-sex “marriage.”

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) praised Ryan’s record opposing marriage redefinition. Ryan supported Wisconsin’s marriage protection amendment, as well as a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

Ryan has spoken forcefully on the topic, as he has on the subject of the unborn. “Marriage is not simply a legal arrangement between individuals,” he said. “The institution of marriage is an integral part of our civil society and its significance goes well beyond eligibility for benefits and similar considerations. Its future should not be left to a few overreaching judges or local officials to decide.”

Although he hinted that he might support allowing open homosexuals to serve in the military if military brass approved, he voted against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

He voted against the homosexual “hate crimes” law, and opposed allowing homosexual couples to adopt in the District of Columbia, which constitutionally is under the direct control of Congress

But despite this solid record, some have suggested that Mitt Romney’s choice of Ryan is a sign of Romney’s own moderate position on homosexual issues.

“It is actually somewhat telling that Romney made the decision to ignore the conventional wisdom, that he needed to balance his ticket out with an evangelical social conservative like Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, and picked an ardent follower of Ayn Rand instead,” said Sean Robert Cotter, who writes for the homosexual newspaper the Washington Blade. “Ryan has just enough of a pro-gay background to keep social moderates who admire his economic principles from feeling guilty, and not nearly enough to make progressives who oppose the Ryan Plan feel any remorse about going after him.” 

However, most pro-family leaders have been supportive, even “thrilled,” by Paul Ryan‘s slot on the GOP ticket. 

Romney’s former rival, Senator Rick Santorum, called Ryan “a full-spectrum conservative. He is solidly pro-life, pro-family, and will be an advocate for our military and our national-security priorities.” 

Conservative leader Richard Viguerie has said Ryan’s “zest for intellectual combat” may prove the Romney campaign’s saving grace. 

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, said he looks forward to Romney and Ryan speaking at next month’s Values Voters Summit, “so that the conservative grassroots will have an opportunity to hear more about their agenda on the critical issues facing our country including religious liberty, marriage, the sanctity of human life as well as fiscal responsibility and national security.”

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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