Dustin Siggins

SPLC urges army to declare American Family Association an ‘extremist’ group

Dustin Siggins
Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 16 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In response to calls by the Southern Poverty Law Center to have the army declare the American Family Association as an “extremist” group, the spokesman for the AFA has shot back, accusing the SPLC of being the true “hate” group.

“The AFA doesn’t hate anyone,” AFA Director of Issue Analaysi and Spokesman Brian Fischer told LifeSiteNews.com in an e-mail. “The real hate in all this debate is coming from the SPLC and is directed toward people of faith. The real hate group here is the SPLC.”

Last week, the SPLC urged Army Secretary John McHugh to list the American Family Association (AFA) as an extremist group. 

According to SPLC's Josh Glasstetter, McHugh should classify the AFA as an extremist group because, he claims, Director of Issue Analysis and spokersperson Bryan Fischer has said homosexuals are responsible for the Holocaust. He also says Fisher has said Muslims should be deported from America, and wants women, Muslims, and homosexuals disallowed from military service.

Earlier this year, McHugh came under fire after a presentation to soldiers identified the AFA as a hate group in the same category as the New Black Panthers and the KKK. He sent out a memo on October 18 halting the Army's inclusion of the AFA as an “extremist” group after “media reports” showed that the classification was spreading throughout the Army's educational courses. 

McHugh said the AFA does not fall under Army Regulation 600-20, which includes classification of extremist groups based upon federally protected classes of people. The AFA, which is considered an “anti-gay” group by the SPLC and others, did not qualify as an extremist group because homosexuals are not a protected group under federal law, he said. 

Glasstetter also cites Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 1325.6, which says service members may not be part of extremist organizations that attempt to deny civil rights. In e-mails to LifeSiteNews.com, Glasstetter maintained that AFA tries to deny homosexuals civil rights, women the right to serve in the military, and Muslims the right to live in America. 

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“The Defense Department regulation on extremist groups includes organizations that 'advance efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.' We believe the AFA meets this standard. In addition to its vicious anti-gay bigotry, AFA wants to remove women from the military and deport Americans who practice Islam,” said Glasstetter. “SPLC has designated AFA as a hate group because it demonizes and defames gays and lesbians. The group regularly lies about gays, portraying them as pedophiles and predators, and it openly supports discrimination – including criminalizing consensual sex between adults.” 

“This is what separates AFA from other social conservative organizations and makes it an anti-gay hate group. [While] AFA’s speech is absolutely protected by the First Amendment, the military says that '[h]igher and more restrictive standards of conduct distinguish military personnel from their civilian counterparts.'” 

The SPLC considers the AFA a “hate group,” a designation also given to racist and violence-oriented organizations such as the New Black Panther Party and the KKK. This is a very different standard than the one set by the FBI when it comes to hate crimes – the FBI looks at actual crimes committed, whereas the SPLC has its own standards. The FBI has recently drawn criticism for listing the SPLC as a “resource” on its website.

Fischer told LifeSiteNews.com that the SPLC is conflating some of his personal views with those of AFA. “The AFA has taken no official position on women in combat, Muslims in the military, or the repatriation of Muslims. When I speak on my radio program, the ideas I express are my own, as our disclaimer at the end of every program makes clear. The SPLC is simply in error to think that every time I speak, I am reflecting the official position of AFA.”

Fischer also pushed back against the idea that AFA is a “hate group.” “We advocate as an organization for a robust Christian faith among the American people, the public acknowledgement of God, the abiding moral standards of the Ten Commandments, and the central importance of the family rooted in the marriage between one man and one woman. It is ludicrous in the extreme to compare an organization that defends these values with the KKK, the New Black Panther Party, or any other organization that advocates violence. We have never advocated violence. We believe political change comes through ballots, not bullets.”

While he declined to comment on AFA specifically, DoD spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen told LifeSiteNews.com reiterated Department of Defense Instruction 1325.6, which he says “strictly prohibits military personnel from advocating or participating in supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine, ideology, or causes, including those that advance, encourage, or advocate illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin or those that advance, encourage or advocate the use of force, violence or criminal activity.”

“Commanders at all levels take this issue seriously and have the authority to employ the full range of administrative and disciplinary actions against military personnel who engage in these prohibited activities,” said Christensen. “Anything that negatively affects readiness or undermines military values must be dealt with and DoD continues to work closely with criminal investigative agencies to ensure that gang activity in the military is aggressively investigated and appropriately prosecuted.” Christensen noted that each service has its own policies and procedures regarding extremist activity. 

The SPLC has had a growing influence on public policy at the federal level. As LifeSiteNews.com reported in November, it collaborated with the Bush Administration in 2007 and in 2012 a co-founder was invited speak on diversity. The military has also utilized the SPLC for equal opportunity information and data. 

The SPLC has been directly linked to a shooting at the Family Research Council's Washington, D.C. headquarters. The shooter said he found the headquarters on the SPLC's “Hate Map,” and planned to kill people in the building. One guard was wounded in the attack.

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BREAKING: Planned Parenthood shooting suspect surrenders, is in custody: police

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By John Jalsevac

Nov. 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Five hours after a single male shooter reportedly opened fire at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, chatter on police radio is indicating that the suspect has now been "detained."

"We have our suspect and he says he is alone," said police on the police radio channel. 

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers also confirmed via Twitter shortly after 7:00 pm EST that the suspect was in custody.

The news comes almost exactly an hour after the start of a 6:00 pm. press conference in which Lt. Catherine Buckley had confirmed that a single shooter was still at large, and had exchanged gunfire with police moments before.

According to Lt. Buckley, four, and possibly five police officers have been shot since the first 911 call was received at 11:38 am local time today. An unknown number of civilians have also been shot.

Although initial reports had suggested that the shooting began outside the Planned Parenthood, possibly outside a nearby bank, Lt. Buckley said that in fact the incident began at the Planned Parenthood itself.

She said that the suspect had also brought unknown "items" with him to the Planned Parenthood. 

Pro-life groups have started responding to the news, urging caution in jumping to conclusions about the motivations of the shooter, while also condemning the use of violence in promoting the pro-life cause. 

"Information is very sketchy about the currently active shooting situation in Colorado Springs," said Pavone. "The Planned Parenthood was the address given in the initial call to the police, but we still do not know what connection, if any, the shooting has to do with Planned Parenthood or abortion.

"As leaders in the pro-life movement, we call for calm and pray for a peaceful resolution of this situation."

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue and Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also issued statements.

"Operation Rescue unequivocally deplores and denounces all violence at abortion clinics and has a long history of working through peaceful channels to advocate on behalf of women and their babies," said Newman. "We express deep concern for everyone involved and are praying for the safety of those at the Planned Parenthood office and for law enforcement personnel. We pray this tragic situation can be quickly resolved without further injury to anyone."

"Although we don't know the reasons for the shooting near the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs today, the pro-life movement is praying for the safety of all involved and as a movement we have always unequivocally condemned all forms of violence at abortion clinics. We must continually as a nation stand against violence on all levels," said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, based in Washington, D.C.


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Rubio says SCOTUS didn’t ‘settle’ marriage issue: ‘God’s rules always win’

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Surging GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, says that "God's law" trumps the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision imposing same-sex “marriage” nationwide.

The senator also told Christian Broadcast Network's David Brody that the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage is not "settled," but instead "current law."

“No law is settled,” said Rubio. “Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”

“If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called to participate in that process to try to change it,” he explained, and "the proper place for that to be defined is at the state level, where marriage has always been regulated — not by the Supreme Court and not by the federal government.”

However, when laws conflict with religious beliefs, "God's rules always win," said Rubio.

“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio expounded. “We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.”

“I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman," said the senator, who earlier in the fall was backed by billionaire GOP donor and same-sex "marriage" supporter Paul Singer.

Singer, who also backs looser immigration laws and a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, has long pushed for the GOP to change its position on marriage in part due to the sexual orientation of his son.

Despite Singer's support, Rubio's marriage stance has largely been consistent. He told Brody earlier in the year that "there isn't such a right" to same-sex "marriage."

"You have to have a ridiculous reading of the U.S. Constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex."

Rubio also said religious liberty should be defended against LGBT activists he says "want to stigmatize, they want to ostracize anyone who disagrees with them as haters."

"I believe, as do a significant percentage of Americans, that the institution of marriage, an institution that existed before government, that existed before laws, that institution should remain in our laws recognized as the union of one man and one woman," he said.

Rubio also hired social conservative leader Eric Teetsel as his director of faith outreach this month.

However, things have not been entirely smooth for Rubio on marriage. Social conservatives were concerned when the executive director of the LGBT-focused Log Cabin Republicans told Reuters in the spring that the Catholic senator is "not as adamantly opposed to all things LGBT as some of his statements suggest."

The LGBT activist group had meetings with Rubio's office "going back some time," though the senator himself never attended those meetings. Rubio has publicly said that he would attend the homosexual "wedding" of a gay loved one, and also that he believed "that sexual preference is something that people are born with," as opposed to being a choice.

Additionally, days after the Supreme Court redefined marriage, Rubio said that he disagreed with the decision but that "we live in a republic and must abide by the law."

"I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman," he said. "People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

Rubio also said at the time that "it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood…"

“I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.”

The Florida senator said in July that he opposed a constitutional marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution to leave marriage up to the states because that would involve the federal government in state marriage policies.

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Former The View star Sherri Shepherd and then-husband Lamar Sally in 2010 s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Steve Weatherbe

Court orders Sherri Shepherd to pay child support for surrogate son she abandoned

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Sherri Shepherd, a Hollywood celebrity who co-hosted the popular talk show The View for seven years, has lost a maternity suit launched by her ex-husband Lamar Sally, forcing her to pay him alimony and child support for their one-year surrogate son LJ. The decision follows an unseemly fight which pro-life blogger Cassy Fiano says has exposed how surrogacy results in “commodifying” the unborn.

Shepherd, a co-host of the View from 2007 to 2014, met Sally, a screenwriter, in 2010 and they married a year later. Because her eggs were not viable, they arranged a surrogate mother in Pennsylvania to bear them a baby conceived in vitro using Sally’s sperm and a donated egg.

But the marriage soured in mid-term about the time Shepherd lost her job with The View. According to one tabloid explanation, she was worried he would contribute little to parenting responsibilities.  Sally filed for separation in 2014, Shepherd filed for divorce a few days, then Sally sued for sole custody, then alimony and child support.

Earlier this year she told PEOPLE she had gone along with the surrogacy to prevent the breakup of the marriage and had not really wanted the child.

Shepherd, an avowed Christian who once denied evolution on The View and a successful comic actor on Broadway, TV, and in film since the mid-90s, didn’t want anything to do with LJ, as Lamar named the boy, who after all carried none of her genes. She refused to be at bedside for the birth, and refused to let her name be put on the birth certificate and to shoulder any responsibility for LJ’s support.

But in April the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, and now the state’s Superior Court, ruled that Shepherd’s name must go on the birth certificate and she must pay Sally alimony and child support.

“The ultimate outcome is that this baby has two parents and the parents are Lamar Sally and Sherri Shepherd,” Shepherd’s lawyer Tiffany Palmer said.

As for the father, Sally told PEOPLE, “I'm glad it's finally over. I'm glad the judges saw through all the lies that she put out there, and the negative media attention. If she won't be there for L.J. emotionally, I'll be parent enough for the both of us.”

But Shepherd said, “I am appealing the ruling that happened,” though in the meantime, Sally will “get his settlement every month. There’s nothing I can do.”

Commented Fiano in Live Action News, “What’s so sickening about this case is that this little boy, whose life was created in a test tube, was treated as nothing more than a commodity…Saying that you don’t want a baby but will engineer one to get something you want is horrific.” As for trying to get out from child support payments now that the marriage had failed, that was “despicable.”

Fiano went on to characterize the Shepherd-Sally affair as a “notable example” of commodification of children, and “by no means an anomaly.” She cited a British report than over the past five years 123 babies conceived in vitro were callously aborted when they turned out to have Down Syndrome.

“When we’re not ready for babies, we have an abortion,” she added. “But then when we decide we are ready we manufacture them in a laboratory and destroy any extras. Children exist when we want them to exist, to fill the holes in us that we want them to fill, instead of being independent lives with their own inherent value and dignity.”

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