Ben Johnson

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Pro-life leaders: Obama’s FBI is gathering intelligence on the pro-life movement

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Ben Johnson
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Andy Moore, with the bullhorn that inspired a federal investigation.

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 17, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The federal government appears to be making a concerted effort to to gain intelligence on the pro-life movement, according to some of the movement’s most prominent leaders. 

Jill Stanek has revealed that on July 13, FBI agents Conrad Rodriguez and William Sivley paid a visit to her son-in-law, Andy Moore, reportedly pressuring him to expose the inner workings of the right-to-life movement and making veiled threats to separate him from his wife and family through imprisonment or deportation.

The feds questioned Moore after the Southwest Women’s Surgery Center, a Dallas abortion clinic, complained that Moore used a bullhorn on one occasion during a peaceful protest. Upon learning this violated a local noise ordinance, Moore stopped using the bullhorn.

The abortion mill also claimed Moore was “too aggressive” and had trespassed on its property – something Moore denies and which he says the clinic made no attempt to prove. 

Stanek wrote that the agents – who said their department also investigates hate crimes such as those committed by white supremacists – asked “inappropriate questions clearly aimed at intimidating Andy, while also launching into a  fishing expedition about me.”  Agents reportedly asked her son-in-law whether Stanek had inspired his activism, whether she trained him, and if he got his ideas from her.

They also asked, “What affiliations do you have including church groups?”

Stanek said the agents were most interested in getting him to name other pro-lifers who he believes are overly “abrasive or aggressive.”

Moore, who hails from New Zealand and is not a U.S. citizen, could be deported if successfully prosecuted. FBI agents reportedly told him, “You wouldn’t want to be apart from your wife and newborn.”

Stanek questioned why the FBI was involved in the first place, since, “the charges rose to the level of nada to begin with, certainly not above local law enforcement’s pay grade.”

Others in the pro-life movement have received similar visits and probing questions.

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Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, told LifesiteNews.com that during the Clinton-era Violence Against Abortion Providers Conspiracy (VAAPCON) program, federal agents harassed pro-lifers in an attempt to uncover a conspiracy to kill abortionists. “Our mail was rifled through. Our phone lines were tapped. We were followed. I have an FBI file,” Newman told LifeSiteNews. “At the end of the day, they could not find any instance of conspiracy to commit violence against abortion providers. If anything we saw the exact opposite: there’s a conspiracy to commit violence against pro-lifers. That’s never talked about.”

Under Obama, he said the pressure is beginning again.

“I think it’s a lot more subversive with the advent of…warrantless wiretapping of our phones, and our cell phones can be cloned so easily,” he said.

Newman said a source has given him reason to believe the Obama administration is engaging in surveillance of pro-life leaders and organizations.

“It would not be a stretch to believe that every single pro-life leader has his unique ID code for their cell phone tapped into a government computer, and they know where we are and who we’re talking to at every moment,” Newman told LifeSiteNews.

Newman is perplexed why Operation Rescue’s 25 years of non-violent protest landed them as targets of an investigation. “We’re in the process of doing a Freedom of Information Act [request] to get this information directly from them, and we’ll be following that up with possible litigation,” he said.

“The Obama administration is essentially engaging in a witch hunt,” wrote Life Legal Defense Foundation Senior Staff Counsel Allison Aranda. “From the moment the new administration took office, the DOJ has been targeting peaceful pro-life sidewalk counselors.”

In February U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp dismissed a federal lawsuit against Mary Susan Pine for violating the FACE Act, ruling, “The Court is at a loss as to why the Government chose to prosecute this particular case in the first place…The Court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government” and the local abortion clinic.

“It’s not everyday that a federal judge accuses the Justice Department of a full-blown conspiracy,” Pine’s counsel, Harry Mihet, told LifeSiteNews.com. 

A spate of federal studies have painted pro-life, pro-family leaders as potential “domestic terrorism” threats.

The most recent, “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970 to 2008” written by Gary LaFree and Bianca Bersani, concluded that organizations dedicated to a single issue – such as “anti-abortion groups” – posed the most enduring threat to American safety and well-being

An April 2009 DHS report on “Rightwing [sic.] Extremism” identified “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration” and opposition to same-sex “marriage” as “the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.” The DHS later pulled the report.

Yet DHS and FBI agents subsequently attended a terrorism training seminar on alleged pro-life terrorism, hosted by Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and the Feminist Majority Foundation. After equating free speech with violence, organizers distributed a resource guide listing three pages of purportedly extremist websites such as Priests for Life, the American Center for Law and Justice, and the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Civil libertarians, constitutionalists, and those who defend the unborn have also expressed concern that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) could be used to permanently detain pro-lifers, if the president deems them a terrorist threat. A federal judge suspended the implementation of NDAA in May.

The organizations the feds targeted in the most recent sweep say they will not be deterred by the pressure.

“We will continue to pursue peaceful, non-violent intervention on behalf of the pre-born,” Newman said. “We will continue to investigate these abortionists who are providing substandard care to their patients and exposing them when they botch their abortions.” 

He said, while he was disappointed by the administration’s behavior, he had expected a pro-abortion backlash.

“This is nothing new when you consider how this particular administration operates,” Newman told LifeSiteNews. “All you have to do is look at the patterns of history. Despots and tyrants oppress their foes.”

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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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