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‘The thing that frightens our opponents most’ is ‘an evangelical-Catholic alliance’

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, March 22, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Politicians usually calculate every action to maximize their popularity among future voters, especially during an election year. But a prominent leader of the nation’s second largest denomination says President Barack Obama’s HHS mandate has the potential to unite Catholics and Protestants into a coalition that will turn him out of office in November.

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said, “The thing that frightens our opponents the most is the specter of an evangelical-Catholic alliance – because they can count.” He told listeners of his radio program, Richard Land Live, “You take evangelicals, and you take Roman Catholics, and you are over 50 percent of the population of the country.”

Land said, while two-thirds of Baptists voted for “born again” candidate Jimmy Carter in 1976, the vote began to turn against Democrats in the 1980s.

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Meanwhile, evidence continues to mount that Catholic voters are turning against the president as the election nears.

On Thursday Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, cited a new poll from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that found the number of white Catholics who saw the Obama administration as “hostile” to religion climbed from 17 percent in 2009 to 31 percent. In a press release e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com, he said, “It is not hard to fathom why the Obama administration is having a hard time with Catholics.” In addition to the HHS mandate, “the administration recently denied funding to a Catholic social service agency that helps women and children merely because it is pro-life.”

Looking ahead to the election Donahue said, “Everyone knows that Protestants vote Republican, and Jews vote Democrat. It’s Catholics who are up for grabs.”

Exit polls show in 2008, 78 percent of Jewish voters supported Obama, and 73 percent of evangelical Christians voted for John McCain. Meanwhile, 54 percent of Catholics cast their ballots for Obama. In 2004, they narrowly favored George W. Bush over fellow Catholic John Kerry. 

Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 10,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, told LifeSiteNews.com that Southern Baptists tend to vote for candidates who share their convictions about life and faith, not because of anything their church is doing, but because more conservative people are drawn to evangelical churches.

“Frankly, I’m disappointed that more pastors in the Southern Baptist church don’t encourage their members to get out and vote,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Our primary mission is to win people to faith in Jesus Christ, but we’re also called to be salt, preservatives in our society to prevent a premature collapse of our society.”

For generations, Christians saw politics as something dirty or beneath them. Pastor Jeffress disagrees. “Politics simply means to be influencing the culture in which you’re living,” he said. “I believe as Christians we are called to influence our culture.”

He dedicated a chapter in his book Twilight’s Last Gleaming to ministers, entitled “For Pastors Only.”

“I believe pastors need to boldly stand, not for partisan politics, but for Biblical issues like the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage, and encourage their people to vote for those who uphold those Biblical standards,” he told LifeSiteNews.com.

Signs of a burgeoning evangelical-Catholic alliance against the secular state are multiplying. In February, members of the Southern Baptist Convention sat side-by-side Catholic Bishop William Lori in a House Oversight Committee hearing to defend religious liberty.

Land’s comments came during an interview promoting the new book Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It’s Too Late by Southern Baptist televangelist James Robison and Roman Catholic scholar Jay Richards. 

Former Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee told the CPAC convention in Washington, D.C., “We are all Catholics now.”

It is unclear how important such an alliance will be to the president’s re-election prospects, let alone future Democrats’ electoral fortunes. Strategists say Obama will be the first president to entirely write off white working class voters. If unaddressed, changing demographics will marginalize the shrinking white vote as they have other decreasing ethnic groups.

Jeffress, who caused a controversy when he endorsed Texas Governor Rick Perry in the Republican presidential primaries last October, said preachers need to regain a sense of their prophetic ministry to the broader culture.

“In the Bible, prophets didn’t just speak to their own people, but they actually confronted ungodly cultures and ungodly leaders,” he said.

 

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‘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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