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Ron Paul: Personally opposed to same-sex ‘marriage,’ but….

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By Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, November 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As polls show Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul tied for first place in Iowa, media outlets have struggled to understand his distinctive stance on the issues, including same-sex “marriage.” Sheldon Alberts of Canada’s National Post, for example, wrote Monday that “Paul believes: Gays should be allowed to marry.”

The truth is more complex…and perhaps confusing. Congressman Paul’s view of same-sex “marriage” can best be summed up in one phrase: states rights. Ron Paul believes homosexuals should be allowed to “marry”…in states that legalize the practice.

At the same time, Paul is a lifelong Christian who says he personally believes in traditional marriage. In 2004, Paul said on the House floor, “I oppose federal efforts to redefine marriage as something other than a union between one man and one woman.” In August, Paul repeated, “I think that marriages should be between a single man and a single woman.” 

The Texas Congressman and 1988 Libertarian Party presidential candidate has a consistent record of supporting each state’s right to define marriage for itself: opposing attempts to overturn state anti-sodomy laws on one hand and to implement a federal constitutional amendment protecting marriage on the other.

However, Paul has also taken his libertarian views even further, repeatedly stating that he hopes the state will stop sanctioning marriages altogether.

“I think the government should just be out of it. I think it should be done by the church or private contract, and we shouldn’t have this argument,” he said recently.  “Who’s married and who isn’t married. I have my standards but I shouldn’t have to impose my standards on others. Other people have their standards and they have no right to impose their marriage standards on me.”

“But,” he continued, “if we want to have something to say about marriage it should be at the state level, and not at the federal government.”

In his newest book, Liberty Defined, Paul’s chapter on “Marriage” states, “In a free society…all voluntary and consensual agreements would be recognized.” He adds, “There should essentially be no limits to the voluntary definition of marriage.”

“Everyone can have his or her own definition of what marriage means, and if an agreement or contract is reached by the participants, it would qualify as a civil contract if desired…Why not tolerate everyone’s definition as long as neither side uses force to impose its views on the other? Problem solved!”

As might be expected, his position has not sat well with commentators on the Right. Syndicated columnist Ann Coulter took Ron Paul to task in a June column, writing that if states stop sanctioning marriages, legal chaos will erupt:

“How are child support and child custody issues determined if the government doesn’t recognize marriage? How about a private company’s health care plans - whom will those cover? Who has legal authority to issue “do not resuscitate” orders to doctors?...Who inherits in the absence of a will? Who is entitled to a person’s Social Security and Medicare benefits? How do you know if you’re divorced and able to remarry?”

After hearing Paul’s stance at the recent Thanksgiving Family Forum, Bob Vander Plaats of The Family Leader told the Des Moines Register, “I think he let his libertarian view trump his moral compass.”

On the other hand, the homosexual Republican group GOProud released a statement in May thanking Paul “for rightly making the case that marriage and family laws should be decided at the state level.”

Paul’s conflicted congressional record on homosexual issues reflects his commitment to federalism across-the-board. He voted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after previously supporting the policy. But he also opposed federal “hate crimes” legislation and criticized the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case for overriding state anti-sodomy laws.

In 2004, Paul said on the House floor, “If I were in Congress in 1996, I would have voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, which used Congress’s constitutional authority to define what official state documents other states have to recognize under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, to ensure that no state would be forced to recognize a ‘same sex’ marriage license issued in another state.” The same year, he co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Act, which would have removed judicial challenges to DOMA from federal courts’ jurisdiction.  (The Marriage Protect Act passed the House, but not the Senate.)

Paul’s views are similar to those of two other Republican presidential hopefuls. Fellow Libertarian New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has said, “I support gay unions. I think the government ought to get out of the marriage business.” Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer has agreed, saying, “Each state has a right to determine how it defines a marriage.”

However, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has strongly challenged Paul, saying: “It sounds to me like Rep. Paul would actually say polygamous marriages are OK…We can’t have 50 marriage laws.”

Paul’s position may receive more scrutiny because of initiatives such as a New Hampshire bill that would legalize civil unions between any two consenting adults, including siblings.

Paul views his opposition to same-sex “marriage” as a personal, religious decision. However, he is unfailingly pro-life on abortion. While he believes the Constitution makes abortion a state issue, he believes “being pro-life is necessary to defend liberty.” 

The doctor’s views were solidified after he witnessed a late term abortion. In his 1983 book-length tract Abortion and Liberty, Paul shared Ludwig von Mises’ view that abortion is “egregious and repulsive,” and he continues to believe abortion has been legalized because traditional morality has eroded.

He wrote in Liberty Defined that he considers protecting the unborn “a state-level responsibility.” His 2007 Sanctity of Life Act would have declared “the term ‘person’ shall include all human life” from the moment of conception. He supports the full defunding of Planned Parenthood at home and all “family planning” measures around the world. Paul told LifeSiteNews.com in an interview last February that he would favor a bill that would bar federal courts from ruling on abortion-related matters.

LifeSiteNews attempted to contact the National Organization for Marriage but did not receive a response by deadline.

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for your support. 

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