Ben Johnson


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

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 13, 2012, ( – 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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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

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By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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