Gala revealed a lot about who we are
Recalling the April 28 LifeSiteNews gala still brings to mind many fond memories from that amazing ‘family’ event. It revealed a lot about who we are and the passion and love of life and family that we share with each other, many leaders, and our supporters. Today, the first day of our summer campaign, I want to tell you more about that wonderful day and evening.
LSN staff and our US and Canadian boards of directors are spread around internationally. One benefit of the gala was that it gave a rare opportunity for most of us to meet each other in person, many for the first time. We are mostly a virtual organization, with staff usually hired over the phone and by email, board members and staff usually meeting only by conference calls or on Skype, and some of us never having actually met in person. Most of us work from our homes.
We were therefore thrilled to actually be together at a joint board/staff luncheon and a meeting during the afternoon before the gala. The meeting was serious and productive business, but it was also a special occasion of joy for the LifeSiteNews team.
Part of the meeting involved discussions with Jean-Yves Cote, our lead defense lawyer in the Gravel lawsuit against LifeSiteNews, and Peter Breen, Executive Director of the US Thomas More Society. They both came to the meeting and gala from Montreal, Quebec and Chicago, Illinois respectively.
The first evening event was the pre-dinner VIP reception at which Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli gave a punchy, unabashedly pro-life, pro-family talk. He was introduced by LSN US board of director Dan McConchie, VP of Government affairs for Americans United for Life.
Cuccinelli, who will be running for Virginia governor in 2013, gave a live witness that it is possible to be a very competent elected official and be thoroughly, openly, pro-life and pro-family.
Gala attendees told me they were moved by having personally met and talked to so many leaders that they have been reading about on LifeSiteNews. It was difficult getting everyone into the dinner room later on because of all the excited interaction going on in the halls.
LSN US board member and dinner emcee, Brad Mattes, did an outstanding job during the night. Brad, Executive Director of Life Issues Institute and the host of the award-winning Facing Life Head On weekly television series, helped to make it a classy yet warm evening for all.
Famed Canadian novelist and artist Michael O’Brien gave the opening invocation, as well as some revealing comments about the LifeSiteNews team and the depth of our mission. He was an especially big hit with dinner guests who are fans of his novels. Keynote speaker Abby Johnson said she “had the best night tonight getting to sit by Michael O’Brien and chat it up” and that “it was the highlight of my year.”
Patrick Novecosky, Editor-in-Chief of Legatus magazine, gave the introduction to Abby, stating, “Abby represents everything we hope and pray for those who work in the abortion industry.”
Abby’s spirited talk was a natural fit for the night. Being pregnant at the time and having some complications related to the pregnancy, Abby had to cancel other speaking engagements. We were very grateful, therefore, that she was still able to make that long trip from her Texas home to be our keynote speaker.
The former abortion center manager said, “I really believe in pro-life media and what LifeSiteNews is doing.” She told about her new ministry, And Then There Were None, that reaches out to abortion clinic workers. In only its first four months, Abby revealed, they had “17 abortion clinic workers leave and convert on the issue of abortion.”
Facts, “not emotions, not yelling, not telling them they are a bad person,” are the key item that gets those workers’ attention Abby stressed. She related, “I kinda have a bank of articles that I use from LifeSiteNews that I can send to women and men who are considering leaving that abortion industry. Those facts, those articles, that is part of their conversion.”
After Abby’s talk there were lots of introductions – the LifeSiteNews US and Canadian boards, many leaders present and the LSN staff. This is our ‘family,’ and it seemed that by the end of the evening all felt that kinship and the joy that goes with it. John-Henry and I made a point of emphasizing that the people in that room are our heroes and that we see our role as one of being of service to all of them and their personal or organizational efforts.
We were very privileged to have in attendance Julia Holcomb, her very supportive husband and one of her sons who had all flown in from Texas for the Gala. Julia, who is now active with Silent No More Awareness, had donated two paintings for auction at the gala that were more awesome to see in person than any photos of them that we could have posted. The paintings were successfully auctioned off and many supporters had the opportunity to meet and chat with this gracious lady.
Then we premiered our 15-year anniversary video which blew away the audience. We will be unveiling that on LifeSiteNews soon!
That was followed by Deal Hudson, former adviser to the Bush administration, who expressed his strong admiration for the work of LifeSiteNews. His task was to encourage donations from the dinner guests. We were humbled by his glowing endorsement and conviction in supporting LSN. He said, “I’m in”, and at the podium put his check for $200 in an envelope and then asked, “how many of you are also in? Put your hands up.” We were amazed at how many did.
At the end my son John, our assistant editor and invaluable jack-of-all-trades, was moved to spontaneously approach the podium and thank John-Henry and myself for all that we had done in starting and leading LifeSiteNews. John especially wanted everyone to realize that we strongly encourage all staff to maintain a solid prayer life while doing this difficult work.
The program ended at about 10 p.m., but a proof of the success of the night was that many guests lingered for over an hour longer, wanting to chat about what went on and socialize further with the exceptional people who were there that evening. New relationships were struck that night.
There is much more that could be written about April 28. I think this report gives you a good idea of the spirit and significance of the day and evening, and hopefully a better sense of the importance of LifeSiteNews’ mission and the many influential persons who work closely with us.
To continue that mission we rely almost entirely on financial support from our readers. There is no large benefactor behind this organization, as some readers assume from time to time. It would be really helpful, but I can assure you that is presently not the case. We just get by from quarter to quarter with the generous donations that you, our readers, are able to send us at those times.
And of course, we are blessed by those key supporters who make recurring donations each month to keep us going as campaign funds are used up. These recurring donations are vital to our operation.
It is now time for our Summer Campaign. As Deal Hudson asked our guests at the Gala, “Are you in?”
During our Summer Campaign,
will you donate to this mission for truth?
(Click Here to Donate)
Our annual operating expenses now add up to about $600,000. For this campaign we have set a not-unreasonable goal of $100,000.
You can play a crucial role as a member of the LifeSiteNews family by sending a gift for our much-needed work TODAY!
Please send us your gift today – for life, for truth.
P.S. Abby Johnson ended her keynote address by saying, “When you are asked tonight to make a contribution to LifeSiteNews, I hope that you will remember the lives of the children and grandchildren and kids in your life who you love. Because I want to tell you, we have to sacrifice. As much as you can.” We hope you take her words as seriously as we do.
Please, enough with the cult of pop stars. Our kids need real heroes.
April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two things happen each time a significant pop culture figure dies: Christians attempt to dredge up some moderately conservative or traditional thing that figure said at some point during his long career, and mainstream media attempts to convince a society thoroughly bored with such things that the person in question was a ground-breaking radical. The two most recent examples are the androgynous David Bowie—a cringe-worthy and possibly blasphemous video of him dropping to his knees during a rock performance and uttering the Lord’s Prayer circulated just following his death--and the pop star Prince.
I’ve had to suppress my gag reflexes many times as I saw my Facebook newsfeed fill up with memes sporting quotes from Prince about his faith and articles announcing that the musician who “embraced gender fluidity before his time,” according to Slate and “will always be a gay icon” according to The Atlantic, was against gay marriage. Sure, maybe he was. But only a Christian community so shell-shocked by the rapid spread of the rainbow blitzkrieg and the catastrophic erosion of religious liberty would find this remarkable. After all, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said the same thing barely one election cycle ago. As one obituary celebrating Prince’s paradigm-smashing sexual performances written by Dodai Stewart put it:
Dig, if you will, a picture: The year is 1980. Many states still have sodomy laws. The radio is playing feel-good ear candy like Captain and Tennille and KC and the Sunshine Band. TV hits include the sunny, toothy blond shows Three’s Company and Happy Days. There’s no real word for “gender non-conforming.” But here’s what you see: A man. Clearly a man. Hairy, mostly naked body…a satiny bikini bottom. But those eyes. Rimmed in black, like a fantasy belly dancer. The full, pouty lips of a pin-up girl. Long hair. A tiny, svelte thing. Ethnically ambiguous, radiating lust. What is this? A man. Clearly a man. No. Not just a man. A Prince.
Right. So let’s not get too carried away, shall we? I know Christians are desperate to justify their addictions to the pop culture trash that did so much to sweep away Christian values in the first place and I know that latching on to the occasional stray conservative belief that may manifest itself in pop culture figures makes many feel as if perhaps we are not so weird and countercultural, but this bad habit we have of claiming these figures upon their passing is downright damaging.
After all, parents should be teaching their children about real heroes, titans of the faith who changed the world. Heroes of the early church who stood down tyrants, halted gladiatorial combat, and crusaded against injustice in a world where death was all the rage. These men and women were real rebels who stood for real values. If we want to point our children to people they should emulate, we should be handing them books like Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by the brilliant writer Eric Metaxas rather than the pop albums Purple Rain or Lovesexy by Prince. If parents spend their time glorifying the predecessors of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus instead of highlighting heroes like William Wilberforce, they can hardly be surprised when their children choose to emulate the former rather than the latter.
The mainstream media’s adulation of these pop stars is equally irritating. The unspoken truth of these obituaries is that the flamboyant antics of Prince and the rest of the so-called rebellious drag queens populating the rock n’ roll scene have been mainstream for a long time already. Want to see dozens of bizarre body piercings? Weird hairdos? Purple mohawks? Dudes with nail polish? Strange tattoos? Easy. Just go onto any university campus, or any public high school without a dress code. With headphones wedged firmly in their ear canals, they can pump the cleverly commercialized “counterculture” straight into their skulls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
More than that, some of these courageous rebels have actually sued their employers to ensure that they can let their establishment-smashing freak flag fly at work, too. An Edmonton woman with 22 visible body piercings complained that her employer was unfair because apparently she was being discriminated against “based on body modifications.” Yeah! The Man must be told, after all. And if he doesn’t agree, we will lawyer up. I wonder what the shrieking rebels of the early days would think about the snivelling children of the current grievance culture.
So these days, the media’s eulogizing about aging culture warriors who went mainstream a long time ago rings a bit hollow. After all, most rock n’ roll stars these days look tame compared to what shows up in the children’s section at Pride Week. Freaky is normal now. Normal is radical. Welcome to 2016.
When Christians are posting nostalgic tributes to the rebels who helped inoculate their children against the radical views of Christianity in the first place, you know that the victories of the counterculture are complete and Stockholm syndrome has set in.
Target boycott climbs to over 1 million
April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Over 1 million people have signed a pledge to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms.
The American Family Association’s Boycott Target petition gained traction immediately, reaching the one million mark in only nine days.
“Corporate America must stop bullying people who disagree with the radical left agenda to remake society into their progressive image,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “#BoycottTarget has resonated with Americans. Target’s harmful policy poses a danger to women and children; nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy. Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable. And it’s clear now that over one million customers agree.”
Target defended its policy in a statement saying that it believes everyone “deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally” and earlier this week, a Target spokeswoman defended the policy as “inclusive.”
The AFA said that unisex bathrooms are a common-sense alternative to allowing men unfettered access to women’s bathrooms.
“Target should keep separate facilities for men and women, but for the trans community and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone, a single occupancy unisex option should be provided,” the petition says.
The AFA warned that Target’s new policy benefits sexual predators and poses a danger to women and children.
“With Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?” the petition asked.
There have been numerous instances of predatory men accessing women’s bathrooms and intimate facilities in the wake of “transgender” bathroom policies allowing them to do so.
“We want to make it very clear that AFA does not believe the transgender community poses this danger to the wider public,” said Wildmon. “Rather, this misguided and reckless policy provides a possible gateway for predators who are out there.”
Amazing new video captures the flash of light the moment life begins
CHICAGO, April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Life begins with a spark – literally.
Researchers at Northwestern University have documented the striking event in a new video that accompanies a study published this week.
At the moment of conception, the egg releases massive amounts of zinc, which creates a spark that can be seen with the aid of a microscope.
“It was remarkable,” said Teresa Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's medical school. “To see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.”
The research team had noted the zinc sparks before in mice eggs but had never observed the process in human beings.
“All of biology starts at the time of fertilization,” Woodruff said, “yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”
One of the researchers, Northwestern chemistry professor Thomas O'Halloran, explained the science behind the process in 2014.
“The egg first has to stockpile zinc and then must release some of the zinc to successfully navigate maturation, fertilization and the start of embryogenesis,” he said. “On cue, at the time of fertilization, we see the egg release thousands of packages, each dumping a million zinc atoms, and then it's quiet.”
“Each egg has four or five of these periodic sparks,” O'Halloran said. “It is beautiful to see, orchestrated much like a symphony.”
Since the amount of zinc in an egg correlates with successful implantation and birth, the Northwestern researchers are highlighting that their research may be used to assist in vitro fertilization.
But that raises concerns given the grave moral issues with IVF, which involves creating numerous embryos that are either killed or frozen. Moral theologians also emphasize that IVF is an injustice even for the children who are born as a result, as they are created in a lab rather than in the union of man and woman.
The study may have far-reaching consequences the research team did not intend, such as strengthening public belief in the longstanding scientific consensus that life begins at the moment of conception/fertilization.
Many of those who saw the Northwestern video said it testifies to the beauty of life and the shallow lies that buttress the argument of abortion-on-demand.
“I saw this, and I was blown away by it,” said Rush Limbaugh on his nationally syndicated radio program Thursday afternoon. “For anybody in the mainstream media to openly admit that life begins at conception” defies arguments that an unborn child is only “tissue mass.”
Researchers released a separate video of the zinc spark taking place in a mammalian egg more than a year ago:
The paper, which is entitled “The Zinc Spark is an Inorganic Signature of Human Egg Activation,” was published by Scientific Reports on April 26.