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Savita’s husband won’t cooperate with investigation; other EU life and family updates

Hilary White
Hilary White
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Savita update: three Galway docs dropped from probe; family demands independent inquiry

DUBLIN – The inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar is running into difficulties out of the gate. Savita’s widower, Praveen Halappanavar, has said that he and the family will not cooperate with the government’s probe because it is being run by the same government agency that he alleges caused his wife’s death. The Health Services Executive has been refused access to the young woman’s medical records, a decision that will cripple the investigation.

In addition, three senior medical consultants from Galway have been dropped from the group of seven physicians conducing the inquest. Mrs. Halappanavar’s family had objected to them on the grounds that no doctor from the Galway University Hospital where Savita died should be included. Despite the removal of the doctors, Mr. Halappanavar said, “I will not be co-operating with the inquiry in any way.”

Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny told Parliament that Health Minister Dr. James Reilly had removed the doctors from the panel to ensure the investigation would be completely independent.

Ireland’s Minister of Public Spending, Brendan Howlin, told the state broadcaster RTE that the government wanted the investigation to provide answers “speedily, thoroughly and comprehensively” and opposed the family’s demands for an investigation independent of the HSE. “We don’t want a tribunal that goes on for ever more,” he said on RTE’s Morning Ireland.


Don’t use marriage as ‘political football’ : Westminster Archbishop

LONDON – The Catholic archbishop of Westminster has warned politicians not to use the institution of marriage as a “political football”. Vincent Nichols warned Chancellor George Osborne that “same-sex marriage” might not be the vote winner the Conservative Party is looking for. Nichols says he detects “deep unease” over the issue.

“This is not simply a redefining of marriage to accommodate a few, it is a redefining of marriage for everyone and therefore all marriages, if this bill is introduced, will be different.

“It is a different reality for everybody and that is a very serious matter and one to which we are very strongly opposed and will remain strongly opposed,” Nichols told reporters this week.

Nichols called marriage “a very important building block in society” and said it is “very foolish” to propose to alter its definition when, “as far as we can see there is not a specific identified problem that that change is supposed to be addressing”.

“My own sense is that many people feel deeply uneasy about this move, it was not in any election manifesto, it has not in that sense been put to the country.”

Referring to the majority of negative submissions to the government’s consultation on the matter, Nichols added, “That is why the strength of opinion expressed in the consultation ought not to be hidden and that’s why we want the full disclosure of the results of that consultation.”


Church of England votes both for and against female bishops

LONDON – At yesterday’s meeting of the General Synod, the decision-making body of the Church of England made up of separate houses for bishops, clergy and laity, voted down a proposal to start ordaining women as bishops. The proposal was accepted by a wide majority of votes in both the houses of the bishops and clergy, but was rejected by the laity.

The bishops voted 44 for, three against with two abstentions. The clergy voted 148 for, 45 against, with no abstentions. The laity voted 132 for, 74 against and no abstentions. The proposal could only pass by gaining a two-thirds majority in each house.

The issue will now rest for the time being. The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, said, “The motion having been lost ... we do not proceed any further.” Others feel that it is only a matter of time before the change passes. Christina Rees, a Synod member and former chairman of the advocacy group Women and the Church, told Reuters, “Women bishops will come, but this is an unnecessary and an unholy delay.”

Women are already ordained as bishops in the Anglican churches of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.


List grows of EU member states rebelling over EU’s iron budget grip

BRUSSELS – With the virtual buy-out of Greece, Ireland and Spain by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, Euro-scepticism is growing among Europe ministers from member states. The European Union has imposed a series of harsh “austerity measures” on Greece that have created widespread unemployment and reduction of public services that has resulted in riots. Several EU states are starting to balk at EU attempts to impose centralized control over national budgets.

Thus far, Latvia, Italy, Portugal, the UK, Denmark, France, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain and Poland have all objected in various ways to attempts by Brussels to impose limitations on national budgets. Some countries, including economic powerhouses Italy and the UK, have said they are prepared to veto the European Union’s seven-year budget plan if better deals are not hammered out. Leaders of the 27 EU states are due to meet in Brussels later this week to debate the budget for 2014-2020.

Today Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said that his government is prepared to veto the budget unless it gets a better deal on agricultural subsidies. “If our interests are completely ignored, we don’t exclude that possibility (of a veto),” Dombrovskis told the Latvian television.

Italian Europe Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi has said Italy is “ready to use its veto” if it considers that the next long-term EU budget is “harmful for the country and burdensome for the Italian taxpayer.” Italy’s previous government was removed by pressure from EU chiefs and replaced by a hand-picked, unelected government, made up of EU loyalists, in November last year.

Fatwa issued against Welsh opt-out organ donation plan

CARDIFF – The Association of Muslim Scholars UK) has issued a fatwa, or Islamic ruling, on the proposal by the government of Wales to start a presumed-consent organ donation plan that would assume everyone in the province is an organ donor unless specifically stated otherwise. The plan is being called “deemed consent” and would automatically declare as organ donors everyone living in Wales more than six months old, including prisoners tourists and students.

The ruling calls on Muslims to oppose strongly “this unjust, unislamic, inhumane bill by all legal and peaceful means”.

The ruling said, “Our organs and our bodies belong to our Creator: ALLAH. We are ordered in Islam to protect all our organs from any harm like alcohol and smoking, and to allow them to be satisfied physiologically with all their needs and as ALLAH wanted. We do not own any of our organs and no one has the right (Muslim or non Muslim) to take any of our organs especially at time of death.”

The fatwa says that Muslims who wish to donate are free to do so, but this should be voluntary and include written consent. This consent must be obtained only after the person is made aware of details of the surgical procedure, including the possibility of organs being taken while the patient is still alive and the heart is still beating or pain is still felt, and any possible harm to the donor when he/she is still alive.

There must be no “interference with the natural moment of death as fixed by ALLAH Almighty and not by doctors,” the ruling continued. “There should not be any interference with the natural moment of death.” This is defined in the ruling as the moment when both the “heart and respiration (and all brain activity) stop naturally and normally the soul leaves the body after natural death”.


Slovakia removes haloes from saints’ images on Euro coins

BRATISLAVA – In a move that is being criticized as kow-towing to secularists, the government of Slovakia has removed the haloes from the images of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, pivotal figures in the country’s history.

The images are on the design for the €2 coin issued to commemorate the 1,150th anniversary of the arrival of the missionary saints in Moravia. The Euroskeptic website Euractiv notes that EU member states are allowed to mint commemorative coins once a year but the design on the back must be “accepted by the remaining eurozone members and the European Commission”.

The Greek Cyril and Methodius were brothers of the 9th century, who became missionaries to the pagan Slavic countries to the north and are regarded as the founding fathers of Slavonic Christianity. They created the Cyrillic alphabet, based on Greek letters, in order to have the Bible and other texts translated into Slavic languages.

One Byzantine Catholic priest commented, calling the decision to remove the haloes an example of “anti-historical and ideological manipulation.”


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

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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.

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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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