Johanna Dasteel

The terrible injustice of same-sex ‘marriage’: my story

Johanna Dasteel
Johanna Dasteel

SAN DIEGO, CA, March 26, 2013 ( - I saw an “ALL love is equal!” graphic posted up and down my news feed on Facebook this morning.  It’s designed to strike a chord with a person’s sense of justice and compassion, of course; quick and manipulative slogans are the fodder of politics – and fools.  My liberal arts-educated mind kicked in immediately, screaming, “No it isn’t!”  Deliberately disregarding the intended purpose of the graphic, I lectured my computer screen, “There are filial, agape, eros…”  

But, more to the point, although love is most certainly a prerequisite for marriage (these days, at least), it certainly is not the only one.  It is not enough.   Marriage is life-giving.  It is procreative.  It involves children.  Is it not more honorable to care for the wellbeing of children above the love – whatever love it might be – between adults?  Does society not have a greater responsibility to uphold laws that protect children?

Though I write pieces on the marriage debate for, I don’t usually jump into the debate of my own volition.   I live in the state of Prop 8 and in a culture that doesn’t value arguing as an avenue to discovering truth; instead, disagreement is a personal attack.  

My whole extended family on my father’s side is for redefining marriage and against anyone who thinks otherwise.  I qualify that with “my father’s side” because it is the loss of my father that makes my story just as relevant to the debate as that of the woman wanting to marry her girlfriend.

He passed away in 1997 suddenly – a ski accident.   I was thirteen; my brothers were eight and four.  We were devastated, of course.  And, although the youngest was too young at the time of our loss to remember or miss our dad, he joins the rest of us in suffering the absence of a father.  Not just a parental unit, a father.  Another mother - even two more - would not have remedied what we lacked; we needed a man. 

My mom did a great job, but she’d be the first one to say that it isn’t a slight to single mothers to say that fathers are needed.  Any time she attempted to assume a fatherly demeanor, it backfired.  We would either talk back or laugh at her, clearly lacking a healthy fear of “when Dad comes home.”  I have a vague memory of what that means, but I’m convinced my brothers have no point of reference. 

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Equally, children need mothers.  Mothers and fathers compliment one another in the raising of children.  The absence of one or the other (or both) has a devastating effect on children.  That is why “ALL love is equal” slogans really rub me raw.  Children are poised to suffer a severe injustice – one that I suffered - for pithy slogans and the idea that adults have a right to children. 

It’s the other way around: children have a right to a mother and a father.  If either is absent, the child suffers. 

My brothers suffered the absence of a father most noticeably in their transition into adulthood. No boy looks to his mother as an example of how to be a man.  And we live in a society typified by men running from fatherhood for most of their lives only to be trapped by it.  It is very uncommon for men to step into fatherhood for another man’s children. So, how does a boy become a man without a guide?  He struggles.  He looks to his peers.  My brothers did this.  What else were they to do? We had to move my youngest brother across the country to save him from his peer-fathers. 

While I still had the feminine example of my mother to learn how to become a woman, I lacked the unconditional love - and discipline - of a father.  As an adult, I lack the confidence - with men - that comes from the experience of a father expressing that unconditional love.  In the same vein, I am acutely aware of my discomfort with the fathers of my peers, even my own uncles.  I don’t know how to behave, how to relate.  I never had a guide.

Now, it must be said, many Christians will chime in at this point, “God is your father,” and specifically Catholics, “St. Joseph can be your adoptive father.”  Of course, being Catholic, I’ve relied on them.  But, spiritual fathers are not enough.  God placed us on this earth in families.  He designed us to beget children by the complimentary physical, emotional and spiritual natures of man and woman, giving children mothers and fathers.  

God is perfect, he can love the unlovable.  What I lacked was a fallen man - who is not so inclined to love the unlovable - loving me unconditionally anyway.  Girls need that assurance.  Any memory of that experience from my early childhood is too distant to help me now.  I know I am lovable by my intellect, but I don’t have the experiential knowledge of unconditional love.  Girls need their fathers for this, if for nothing else.  

With the debate going on about redefining marriage and rarely any mention of how this will affect the children, I’ve come to a realization about my own family.  Remember, my father’s family is convinced that to uphold the current definition of marriage is discriminatory and, as I’ve interpreted their rants, back-woods hillbilly bigoted.  They don’t know people who would challenge them on this whom they don’t already categorize as ignorant.  

I’m convinced they know my position by the fact that they don’t raise the topic with me.  I just might be an anomaly to them: the one person they know and love who challenges them on their ideas colored by the popular politics of “gender is a construct” and “ALL love is equal.” 

I’ve wondered for most of my life why they didn’t step in and make more efforts to be near my brothers and me after our loss.  But, perhaps I can now appreciate their consistency. I’ve come to suspect that my father’s family doesn’t see my father’s absence as an injustice for my brothers and me.  I’ve told them the effects of his loss on us, but they don’t seem to engage or validate our suffering.  Maybe to do so would put a crack in their advocacy for the redefinition of marriage, if they are to remain consistent. 

Not enough people are hearing the stories of the children raised without a mother and a father.   It is a serious story with consequences much more devastating than that of same-sex couples not being able to marry or adopt. 

Throughout history, the human child has been born to a mother and father.  It is our design and the means by which human societies have grown and flourished.  Therefore, it is an injustice of our fallen world that any child should lose a parent while young, but to say that this loss is no loss at all compounds the damage.  This is what redefining marriage does.  

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Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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