Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Roundup: Brits don’t want to fund abortion with taxes, Bulgaria attacks parental rights…more

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Lithuania considers constitutional amendment supporting natural family

VILNIUS - The Lithuanian parliament is considering amending the country’s constitution to confirm the definition of the family as based on marriage or parenthood. After a debate in April, 62 MPs voted yes, 13 voted against, and 13 abstained. Another vote is scheduled for this month, after which a break of 3 months is required to make constitutional changes.

The vote came shortly after the house voted down a proposal from the Social Democrat party to recognise more than one type of family.

Lithuania has been under constant fire from European-based homosexualist groups since 2009 when parliament passed a law making it illegal to promote homosexuality as normal. The European Union, under pressure from organisations like the International lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) has demanded that Lithuanians accept homosexuality, including “gay pride” demonstrations.

The country annoyed homosexualist activists again in 2011 when the government considered a law banning “gender reassignment” surgery.

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Parents have responsibilities but no rights: Bulgaria

SOPHIA – The Christian Post reports that Bulgaria’s government is instituting new family law asserting that while parents have responsibilities towards their children, they have no rights to make educational decisions.

Viktor Kostov, a Bulgarian lawyer and human rights activist, reports that Bulgarian MPs have stated that “parents have only duties, no rights” and “do not hide their negative attitude to the ‘patriarchal family’.” Kostov has called the bill “dangerous and unnecessary” and a hold-over from Bulgaria’s communist, totalitarian past.

“Under the guise of ‘children’s rights,’ the bill contains a radical view of the state having more rights over children than their parents,” Kostov writes.

Among the bill’s provisions is one that allows the state to “protect” any child from “being involved in religious activities”. Parents who do not enroll their children in state schools could be subject to heavy fines. Mandatory sex education, without the right of parents to withdraw their children, will start at age five. The sex education programs will be decided by the state in conjunction with European NGOs.

Under the bill, reporting to authorities any “violence” against children is mandated, but the offence is broadly defined as the “causing of any pain or suffering” and can result in prison terms for parents. The bill also allows for anonymous reports of violence, leaving room for parents to be denounced to the state by anyone.

A statement by a Bulgarian representative of UNICEF, Kostov wrote, sums up the philosophy behind the bill: “We are not against the family; we simply want to give the children to those who can raise them.”

Kostov has worked in Bulgaria promoting religious and conscientious freedom as an advocate and Christian missionary. He is the founding editor of Freedom for All, an internet magazine for “dialogue on the issues of church, state and liberty for the Bulgarian context.”

He warns that should the bill pass, it could be used by state ideologues to quash the religious and political rights of citizens by threatening their custody over their children. Freedom for All Advocates, the Alliance Defense Fund, and the Home School Legal Defense Association have intervened in the debate over the bill, warning that similar measures in other EU countries have resulted in the state having near-total control over families and children.

Homeschooling families, parents who object to state-mandated sex education programs and families with strong religious beliefs have been forced to flee to the US and other countries from Germany and Sweden.

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Majority of Brits don’t want abortion paid for on the public dime

LONDON – A recently published Angus Reid poll showed that 57 percent believe the National Health Service should only fund abortions in the case of medical emergencies. Forty-eight percent support reducing the gestational time limit on legal abortion to less than 24 weeks. Only 33 percent believe that there should be no restrictions.

Forty-two per cent of 2,018 randomly selected British adults said there is “no point in re-opening the debate on abortion; 40 percent thought a public debate in the UK is “long overdue”.

When asked about their personal feeling on abortion, 35 percent want more restrictions; 21 percent would permit abortion only in cases of rape, incest and to save the woman’s life and 5 percent would allow it only to save the woman’s life.

Government statistics show that nearly all of the abortions carried out in Britain are for “social or economic” grounds, with the use of so-called “medical abortion,” that is, abortions using deadly drugs to kill the child and induce premature labor, becoming increasingly popular. The majority of abortions are carried out in private facilities, run by groups like the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes, who contract with the NHS. If the NHS were to cease funding all “social” abortions, these organizations would lose millions in annual revenue.

In 1991, an effort to reduce the gestational time limit for abortions from 28 to 24 weeks was successful, but the votes were bought at the price of allowing all eugenic abortion without any time restrictions. Under the current law, a child suspected of having a disability, including easily treatable problems like a cleft palate or clubfoot, can be killed up to the point of full-term gestation.

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Scots police ordered by homosexual police group to refuse Gideon bible gift

EDINBURGH – Scottish Police have been instructed, on the insistence of the Gay Police Association (GPA), to refuse the proffered gift of free bibles featuring the badge of the force, being offered by the Gideons International. The GPA issued a statement saying that the bible is “homophobic” and demanding that the police not involve themselves in the scheme.

The Gideons wanted to offer the Bibles as a “valuable guide to life,” saying they can “be offered to all members of the individual force, both serving police officers and civilian staff,” the Christian institute says.

The statement from the GPA said that their members had “contacted us expressing concern that their Force is officially endorsing a religious book containing text which condemns homosexuality.”

“The GPA does not feel that a public service, such as the police, should be seen to be endorsing, by their active involvement, any particular religion over and above any other religion or non-religion.”

If the Bibles were to be offered, “surely this can be done without the actual involvement of the police force concerned”.

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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

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Pope Francis eases forgiveness of abortion for Jubilee Year of Mercy

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By John-Henry Westen

ROME, September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- In an announcement today, Pope Francis said that he is enacting an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy from December 8, 2015 through November 2016. As part of the Jubilee, the pope has allowed priests to forgive the sin of abortion, which St. John Paul II taught in Evangelium Vitae (paragraph 58) is “murder.”

The statement marks the most extensive remarks on abortion that Pope Francis has made during his pontificate. Rather than downplaying the seriousness of abortion, as some media contend, in the statement the pope encourages the millions of women who have aborted their children to go to confession and seek God’s forgiveness.

In the Catechism, the Church calls abortion a “criminal” practice, and imposes the penalty of excommunication on those who do it -- essentially, removing those who commit abortions from the Church. In the past, typically re-entry into the Church for those who have separated themselves from it by excommunication can only be undertaken by a bishop. However in much of North America priests have already been given standing permission by their bishops to forgive abortion.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput explained in an email sent to LifeSiteNews today, “For many years now, parish priests have been given permission to absolve the sin of abortion here in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.” The Philadelphia archbishop, who will play host to Pope Francis during the pontiff’s visit later this month added, “But the practice has not been common in various other regions of the world.”

“This action in no way diminishes the moral gravity of abortion,” concluded Chaput. “What it does do is make access to sacramental forgiveness easier for anyone who seeks it with a truly penitent heart.”

The pope declared that all priests may forgive the sin of abortion for “those who have procured it and who with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.'"

The pope says in his letter that abortion is a “tragedy” wherein “extreme harm” takes place, and calls it “profoundly unjust.”  He admits however, as does the pro-life movement, that it is an “agonizing and painful decision” and many women “believe that they have no other option.”

In order to be forgiven by God of such a serious offence, the pope says the one who has procured the abortion must be made aware of the “gravity of the sin committed” and be truly repentant. They must come, says Francis, with a “contrite heart, seek forgiveness for” the abortion and hoping for “reconciliation with the Father.”

The full statement from the Pope on the matter of abortion follows:

One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe they they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured itand who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfil this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.

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TLC stars Kody Brown and his four "wives"
Fr. Mark Hodges

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Surprise, surprise: New suit says gay ‘marriage’ ruling laid ground for legal polygamy

Fr. Mark Hodges
By Fr. Mark Hodges

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – When "The Pill" was made available to the public in 1964, Christians warned it could lead to promiscuity and disassociation of sex with marriage and children.  They were ridiculed as religious fanatics.

When abortion was made legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy in 1973, Christians warned that it would not save women's lives, but would instead lead to devaluing all human life, especially children's lives. They were dismissed as moral-legislating hate-mongers.

When euthanasia was legalized in Oregon and other states, Christians warned that the non-terminally ill and eventually the mentally handicapped, or simply the unwanted, would be killed in the name of mercy. They were mocked as right-wing crazies.

When sodomy laws in Texas and elsewhere were stricken from the books in 2003, Christians warned that societal approval of that harmful practice would lead to an increase in disease and further perversion. They were ignored and vilified.

When DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell) rules for the military were reversed, Christians warned that the epidemic of rapes in the armed services would increase, not decrease, and that combat readiness would continue to diminish. They were called bigots, their words "hate speech."

And so on. Recent history is rife with examples of conservatives warning against societal degradation being vilified as "slippery slope" straw man creators, who want only to legislate morality.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

That's how those who warned that the Supreme Court's same-sex "marriage" decision would lead to legalization of any and all kinds of "marriage," such as a man and several wives or vice versa.

And, as in every case cited above, what Christian conservatives warned is exactly what has now happened.

In a U.S. 10th Circuit court filing, reality TV polygamist Kody Brown and his wives point to the U.S. Supreme Court's historic ruling on same-sex marriage to buttress their pro-polygamy case.

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, summarized to LifeSiteNews, "The left's chaotic cultural agenda knows no boundaries. Once 'marriage' could be redefined to accommodate sexual perversion, it would be impossible to stop other perversions from being recognized." 

The American Family Association's Ed Vitagliano told LifeSiteNews, "It has been clear for decades that sexual radicals in America have been targeting the God-ordained institution of marriage for destruction. Toss in a handful of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, beginning in 2003 (Lawrence v. Texas), and ending with this summer's debacle (Obergefell v. Hodges), and we are on the verge of seeing the secularists succeed." 

The AFA executive vice president concluded to LifeSiteNews, "We have no doubt that the polygamists will be next to step into the federal courts."

Indeed. Brown and his four wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn, have asked the court to uphold a judge's ruling striking down part of Utah's law against polygamy. To prove their case, they cite precedents involving same-sex marriage (United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges), and a case that struck down a ban on sodomy (Lawrence v. Texas).

"From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence, to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to ... punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions," Brown's filing states. "This case is about the criminalization of consensual relations."

LaBarbera told LifeSiteNews that the move to legalize polygamy is no surprise. "Once the argument for homosexual so-called 'marriage' became 'Love Is Love,' it was only a matter of time before multiple-partner activists would start defending the 'right' to have THEIR [perversion of] 'love' legitimized by state-recognized 'marriage.'"

The Browns, who appear on the television show "Sister Wives," sued the state of Utah over its ban on polygamy, which Brown calls "plural relationships." They argue that the law violates their right to freely practice their religion and their right to equal protection under the law.

Specifically, Brown is challenging the state's assertion that polygamy is harmful to societies that condone it.

Brown argues that the state should not have "the right to impose criminal morality codes on citizens, compelling them to live their lives in accordance with the religious or social values of the majority of citizens."

LaBarbera concluded, "Social conservatives and Christians must work to overturn Obergefell, just like homosexual activists worked to overturn the Supreme Court's Bowers v. Hardwick decision in 1986 that allowed anti-sodomy laws. Otherwise, we are guaranteed to lose more and more freedoms as 'gay' power grows, using legalized 'marriage' as leverage."

Arguments in the Brown polygamy case could take place before the 10th Circuit Court in Denver before the end of the year.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, MD, on March 6, 2014. Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Sen. McConnell: GOP won’t push Obama on Planned Parenthood defunding

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Planned Parenthood won't lose its funding for at least 18 months, says America's top senator.

Speaking on WYMT TV, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said, "The president’s made it very clear he’s not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood, so that’s another issue that awaits a new president, hopefully with a different point of view about Planned Parenthood."

“We just don’t have the votes to get the outcome that we’d like,” he said. “Again, the president has the pen to sign it. If he doesn’t sign it, it doesn’t happen. But, yeah, we voted on that already in the Senate, we’ll vote on it again, but I would remind all of your viewers the way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it and the president has to sign it.”

McConnell's comments came despite pressure from Senators and Representatives alike, as well as pro-life groups, who want Republicans to make defunding a priority.

"If the president of the United States and Harry Reid think it's more important that Planned Parenthood get your tax dollars than to pay our troops, then they are shutting down the government,” Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan, R-OH, told CNN last week.

Jordan and others have pushed GOP leaders to attach defunding efforts to must-pass pieces of legislation, such as a highway bill earlier this summer and the upcoming Continuing Resolution to keep the federal government running. GOP leaders have generally opposed this strategy, which has created a schism within the party.

Conversely, Democrats have been largely united. Leaders and rank-and-file members in both parties have generally supported taxpayer funding of the abortion giant, despite the possibility of illegal abortions being done to illegally harvest fetal organs and other body parts.

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