Patrick Craine

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Senior U.S. Bishops’ official helped elect abortion lobby’s new ‘national hero’ to Texas Senate

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine
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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Texas state senator has emerged as a “national hero” and “rising Democratic star,” in the words of mainstream media outlets, after she carried out an eleven-hour filibuster this week that paved the way for the failure of a sweeping pro-life bill. Pundits are musing about Sen. Wendy Davis’ chances at taking on Gov. Rick Perry in the state’s 2014 gubernatorial contest, and some zealous media supporters are even charting her path to the presidency.

But amidst the abortion lobby’s love fest with Davis, some Catholic bloggers and pro-life activists are pointing out that a senior official at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) played an official role in getting her elected to the Texas State Senate in the first place.

Ralph McCloud, director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, an arm of the USCCB dedicated to combatting domestic poverty, served as the treasurer on Davis’ campaign team in her bid for the State Senate in 2008, in which she unseated a pro-life incumbent, Republican Kim Brimer.

McCloud’s role on the campaign was first revealed two years ago by the blog Creative Minority Report amidst revelations, still ongoing, that the Catholic agency was involved in funding dozens of groups that advocate for abortion, same-sex “marriage”, contraception, prostitution, and other evils condemned by the Church.

McCloud responded at the time that he was not aware of Davis’ position on abortion and that his role on the campaign was minimal.

But critics pointed out that Davis’ stance on abortion was clear even then. Her campaign was strongly backed by Planned Parenthood and the pro-abortion PAC Annie’s List raised hundreds of thousands of dollars on her behalf while McCloud was serving as treasurer.

McCloud had served with Davis on the Fort Worth City Council from 1999 to 2005. In his response, he said Davis was a “friend and colleague” who had asked him to serve as treasurer in an “honorary role” and that he was “unaware that she subsequently took a position on abortion that conflicted with my own strong pro-life convictions.”

“We had never discussed or worked on issues related to protecting the unborn or abortion. At the time I gave my permission to serve the honorary role as treasurer, Ms. Davis had taken no position on abortion nor accepted any campaign funds,” he said.

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“I am deeply and consistently pro-life, beginning with protecting the lives of unborn children, the most vulnerable in our midst,” he said. “More importantly, CCHD is fully and completely committed to upholding the teaching of the Catholic Church on the life and dignity of all. I am proud of my role as Director in insuring that CCHD abides by these principles and am working to strengthen them in carrying out the review and renewal of CCHD.”

During his tenure as head of CCHD since 2007, McCloud has been charged with overseeing a review and renewal of the organization launched by the bishops. He has been involved in defunding several grantees after investigations by independent pro-life researchers, earning the organization much scorn among left-wing activists and media.

But the organization has also strongly lashed out at faithful Catholic critics, and has continued to fund numerous problematic groups without addressing concerns raised by investigators.

“Regardless of whether or not Ralph McCloud knew just how pro-abortion Wendy Davis is, she was able to filibuster a legislative restriction on abortion because McCloud helped her win a senate seat,” said Michael Hichborn, director of American Life League’s Defend the Faith project.  “In part, he must own responsibility for that filibuster."

"The real problem here is that McCloud had an obligation to know where Wendy Davis stood on moral issues before he gave her a ringing endorsement and agreed to be her campaign treasurer, but he didn't even ask,” said Hichborn. “If he is unable to discern where a colleague he's worked with for six years stood on abortion, then how on Earth is he going to be able to determine which organizations are worthy of Catholic funds? It would seem that our findings over the past four years speak for themselves."

"Last summer, we proved to McCloud that the Gamaliel Foundation was lying directly to him over their membership in a pro-homosexual organization, and that was when he cancelled our meeting and stopped communicating with us,” Hichborn added. “Perhaps with Wendy Davis' recent activities, he will realize that hiding from the facts will only get him into trouble."

LifeSiteNews.com contacted McCloud by phone and e-mail but did not hear back by press time.

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Lisa Bourne

‘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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