Peter Baklinski

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Pledges to help unborn children not counted by organizers of Atlantic Canada leadership contest

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, February 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-lifers voting for Tara Brinston in the ACTIVE-8 Atlantic Canada leadership competition that closes tonight at midnight may be wondering why their votes and pledges to help the young woman with her goal of improving the rights of persons with an intellectual disability have been rejected. It is because organizers behind the event have decided not to count pledges that bear any mark of being pro-life.

Last week, Matthew Falman of Saskatchewan Youth LifeGroup voted for Brinston with the following pledge:

“I pledge to support my own brother and others with Down Syndrome. I pledge to spread awareness that all Down Syndrome children have the right to live out their beautiful lives. I pledge to end the statistic that 9 out of 10 Down Syndrome children are aborted because of the myth that their’s is a lesser quality of life!”

But Falman’s pledge was rejected. He contacted the organizers of the competition, The Atlantic Council for International Cooperation (ACIC) and asked them why is pledge was not approved.

Rena Kulczycki, Member & Public Engagement Coordinator for ACIC responded as follows:

“Last week Tara was put in the middle of the pro/anti-choice debate without her consent. Once this was brough (sic) to her attention, she indicated to us that she would not welcome any reference to abortion in the list of pledges made on her behalf, which is why your pledge was not accepted. We would welcome your resubmission of a pledge that does not in any way refer to the abortion debate.”

The ACIC, a coalition in the Atlantic region working to achieve what they call “global sustainability encompassing social justice, human dignity, a healthy environment and participation for all” states on the website of the competition that they will review each pledge to ensure that they are “actual commitments to make a positive change in the world”.

“We retain the right to reject pledges that are offensive, harmful or irrelevant to the spirit of the campaign,” they say.

Falman responded to Kulczycki that he was “truly sad” that his pledge would not be honored.

“Like Tara, I have been inspired to support the intellectually disabled with the best gift we can give them, the gift of life where they know that they are valued, beautiful, and worth every breath they breathe! I stand firm with my pledge.”

Falman pointed out the incongruity of ACIC’s “abortion debate” criteria for acknowledging pledges. Front runner Kandace Hagen and her ambition to bring abortion to Prince Edward Island has more than one hundred pledges where the word “abortion” appears. “To support and promote the work and views of a candidate like Kandace is really asking for a debate to happen,” he said.

“Please understand,” continued Falman “that from my perspective, and that of others whose pledges were not approved due to references to abortion, the current results are not only innaccurate (sic), but unfair, as the free voices of young Canadians have been shut out.”

“While Kandace’s voice is loud and strong, my voice is silenced.”

Kulczycki told LifeSiteNews that it is against the spirit of the campaign to “pledge for one of the other ambassadors in an attempt to sabotage what Kandace is doing. Undermining the campaign of another person … is not something we support”.

Alissa Golob, Youth Coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews however that as a Youth Activist in Canada, she finds it “disgraceful that the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation, along with the candidate herself, have chosen to ignore the voice of the people who have pledged to make a difference in the lives of all people, including people with disabilities in and out of the womb.”

Golob believes that pledges such as Falman’s should appear in the final tally.

“The contest description says this campaign is for young Canadians who are an ‘inspiration for all of us who dream of a better world’. To deny pledges that promise to defend human life, all the while counting votes that pledge to destroy it, goes against the ACIC’s very motto for the contest.”


Contact the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: (902) 431-2311

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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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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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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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