Patrick Craine

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Pro-abort ex-Bloc Quebecois leader drops support for D&P

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

MONTREAL, Jan. 24, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, a long-time proponent of legal abortion who has been described as an "anti-Christian bigot" for his harsh criticism of conservative believers, has pulled his support from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P) as the agency struggles to convince the faithful of its Catholic identity. 

The Montreal politician, who stepped down as leader after 15 years in 2011 when he lost his seat in the House of Commons, made the announcement Jan. 11th in a short post for Le Journal de Montréal.

But one pro-life leader is questioning how the bishops’ official development agency was ever able to win his support in the first place.

“The only reason I could see that Duceppe could accept to donate to D&P for so many years is that in all that time D&P never did anything that would distinguish it as being particularly Christian,” said Georges Buscemi, president of Campagne Québec-Vie. “It may even be that D&P's approach to alleviating poverty corresponded to Duceppe's Marxist, materialist outlook."

Buscemi noted that during his tenure as leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Duceppe consistently whipped his caucus to vote against pro-life measures whenever they came up.

In his post, Duceppe says he has supported D&P “for years” but stopped this year because the organization has too closely aligned itself with the Vatican’s moral stance on contraception and abortion, and the Harper government’s “ideological obsession” that is “inspired by a certain religious right.”

“The orientation imposed recently on this group by the Harper government and Canadian bishops no longer meets the needs of the population of countries that received assistance up until now,” he writes. “The question of family planning is at the centre of this change in orientation. These fundamentalists can't accept the right to abortion as a last resort as being an integral part of family planning.”

“The Vatican’s policy goes farther: all methods of contraception are unacceptable!” he continues. “How can we oppose the use of condoms in Africa, for example, where there is rampant extreme poverty and child mortality? How can we preach religious principles that have nothing to do with faith in countries that face the AIDS epidemic?”

“I find this behavior not just inhumane, but downright criminal. I will therefore no longer support a movement that aligns itself with such orientations,” he concludes.

The separatist icon joins a growing list of defectors from D&P in recent months as the organization walks a careful line between calls for an improved Catholic identity from Canada’s bishops and demands to maintain the status quo from long-time activists.

After the agency delayed its fall education campaign after complaints from bishops that it was too politically-focused, both its In-Canada Program Director and a member of the theology committee announced they were resigning, and the Francophone youth wing called a boycott of the upcoming Share Lent fundraising campaign.

The pressure on the organization intensified in March after the federal government announced it was cutting the group’s federal by 65%, meaning a loss of $34 million in the period up to 2016.

D&P executive director Michael Casey told the Catholic Register last week that the loss of funds “puts more emphasis on our support from the Catholic community.”

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has been guiding the agency through a process of renewal since 2010 and the current CCCB president, Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, has insisted that the bishops “would not have patience for one minute to be supporting any partner that would in any way be pro-abortion.”

Yet researchers continue to uncover D&P partners that advocate legalized abortion.

In September, LifeSiteNews reported that the agency was funding the NGO Forum on Cambodia, a consortium of development NGOs in Cambodia that has called for greater access to “safe abortion” and joined a coalition that promotes a pro-abortion interpretation of the UN’s Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Last March, LifeSiteNews reported that D&P is funding a Haitian woman’s group, named APROSIFA, that openly hands out free contraceptives and has produced literature on how to obtain abortions.

it is unclear whether or not the funding has remained in place, but both groups are still highlighted on D&P’s website. Neither Development and Peace nor the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has commented on the funding relationships.

The pressure on the group to clean itself up is expected to mount all the more as the Pope himself entered the fray in December, issuing a formal legislative document, called a Motu Proprio, insisting Catholic charitable agencies must act in complete compliance with Catholic teaching.

He re-emphasized the point on Saturday, insisting in an address to the Pontifical Council Cor Unum that Catholic charities should refuse partnerships that even indirectly support acts opposed to the faith. “We must exercise a critical vigilance and at times refuse funding and collaborations that, directly or indirectly, favour actions or projects that are at odds with Christian anthropology,” he said.

The papal intervention came after Vatican officials expressed concern over several years that the Caritas network of Catholic charities, in which D&P represents Canada, needed to strengthen its Catholic identity.

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Lisa Bourne

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

Lisa Bourne
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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