Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Stop Catholic schools from distributing ‘homophobic’ literature: leader of UK’s largest union

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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LONDON, February 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The government is allowing “homophobia” to be promoted in religious schools, in the form of a booklet distributed to students at some Catholic schools in Lancashire, says the UK’s largest trades union. In a letter to Education Secretary Michael Gove in December, Brendan Barber, head of the powerful Trades Union Congress, (TUC), wrote, “Schools now have a legal duty to challenge all forms of prejudice. Such literature undermines this completely.”

At issue is the booklet titled, “Pure Manhood: How to become the man God wants you to be,” by American chastity speaker Jason Evert. It says that “homosexual attractions” may “stem from an unhealthy relationship” with a man’s father, “an inability to relate to other guys, or even sexual abuse.”

Reiterating the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the booklet went on to say, “The homosexual act is disordered, much like contraceptive sex between heterosexuals. Both acts are directed against God’s natural purpose for sex – babies and bonding.”

Barber has demanded that Gove enforce the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits “discrimination” against people based on their “sexual orientation.”

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Minister Gove responded to the accusation, saying that the provisions of the notorious “Sexual Orientation Regulations” of the Equality Act 2007 do not apply to the curriculum taught in “faith schools.” Gove said the provisions “do not extend to the content of the curriculum. Any materials used in sex and relationship education lessons, therefore, will not be subject to the discrimination provisions of the act.”

“If a school conveyed its beliefs in a way that involved haranguing, harassing or berating a gay or lesbian pupil or group of pupils then this would be unacceptable in any circumstances and is likely to constitute unlawful discrimination.”

The response infuriated TUC which said it showed “lack of concern.” Barber said, “Having written to the education secretary to express our worry about the distribution of homophobic literature in faith schools, his lack of concern is very alarming.”

A spokesman from the Department of Education was quoted by the Guardian newspaper saying, “Any school engaging in the promotion of homophobic material would be acting unlawfully.”

Since its passage, the Equality Act, with its Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs), has had heavy repercussions on the ability of Christians to live according to the tenets of their beliefs in Britain. In countless cases, homosexualist activists have used the SORs to launch suits and complaints against Christians in a wide range of occupations and there are fears that the letter from TUC is a form of warning to Britain’s Christian schools.

A London parish priest and professor of theology, Fr. Timothy Finigan spoke with LifeSiteNews.com. He said that the SORs have created an atmosphere of anxiety in Catholic schools.

“The SORs have changed things in that everyone is now treading on eggshells,” Fr. Finigan said.

School officials and teachers are living in fear that “they might be accused of homophobia if they give voice to Christian teaching concerning the homosexual condition or homosexual acts.”

And the situation has not improved with the change of government. “It is not only a New Labour pet subject: there are plenty of Conservatives who have jumped on the bandwagon, including David Cameron who has now publicly committed his party to legalising gay marriage.”

Fr. Finigan said that Catholics have largely been undermined by their own bishops, leaving the hard work of defending Christianity in the public sphere to the Evangelical Protestants who have taken up the challenge.

“The Bishops have said that the Church is opposed to gay marriage, while recognising the reality of civil partnerships. Many Catholics consider that this sends out a mixed message,” he said.

Since the SORs came into effect in April 2007, there has been a steady stream of clashes between homosexualist activists and Christians in the courts. Falling afoul have been teachers, civil servants, nurses, psychological counselors and therapists, bed and breakfast owners and even property managers, who have all had their livelihoods threatened after speaking out against homosexuality or refusing to cooperate with the homosexualist movement’s agenda.

Immediately after the SORs came into effect, all of Britain’s Catholic adoption agencies in England and Wales were forced to either close or sever their ties with the Catholic Church over the requirement that they consider homosexual partners for adoption. Christian foster parents have been struck off for refusing to teach their charges that homosexuality is normal and acceptable. In 2009, Schools minister Vernon Coaker said that as of September 2010 all schools will be legally required to report all “hate incidents” no matter how small, and keep records on offending children.

In nearly every case, these clashes have resulted in court rulings against the Christian parties, and religious leaders and some politicians are starting to worry out loud about the future of the country’s ancient civil liberties. While the Catholic bishops have for the most part remained silent, Evangelical legal activists have warned that Christianity is being consciously shoved out of the public sphere by anti-religious zealots.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, head of the Christian Legal Centre, said, “Secularism, according to this scheme, is not neutral. It punishes dissenters.” Equalities laws, she said, promised a utopia of peaceful coexistence, but the reality is “in fact leads to the beginning of tyranny.”

TUC, the largest umbrella organisation of trades unions in Britain, has adopted promotion of both the abortion and homosexualist movements as part of its formal mandate. In 2008, TUC demanded that the government sack Joel Edwards, the director of the Evangelical Alliance, from the Equality and Human Rights Commission because he had defended the rights of Christians who disagreed with the homosexualist political agenda.

The same year, TUC declared that abortion is a “fundamental right” and demanded that the Labour government totally de-restrict abortion. The group wanted the government to remove the requirement for two doctors to sign permissions, to oppose any mandatory “cooling off” wait period for abortion and to force the 1967 Abortion Act to be adopted in Northern Ireland.

 

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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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