Ben Johnson

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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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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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