Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Two more gay men sue owner of another UK Christian Bed & Breakfast

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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LONDON, January 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Just a week after Christian guesthouse owners in Cornwall were ordered to pay compensation to two homosexual men turned away over a married-couples-only rule, two more homosexuals are suing the owners of an upscale bed and breakfast on the Thames.

Emboldened by the recent win for the homosexualist lobby, Michael Black, 63, and John Morgan, 58, are claiming sexual discrimination by owner Susanne Wilkinson after they were turned away from the Swiss B&B in Cookham, Berkshire, last March.

“The legal situation is that breaking the sexual discrimination act is not a criminal offence so there would be no consequences for the B&B owner unless we took legal action,” Black told media. “These cases reinforce the fact that discrimination of any kind is wrong, both legally and morally.”

The Daily Mail reports that the two men booked their room online but when they arrived Mrs. Wilkinson told them “it is against my convictions for two men to share a bed’, adding ‘this is my private home.” Wilkinson returned their deposit and asked them, politely, to leave.

“She said she was sorry and she was polite in a cold way and she was not abusive, so we asked our money back and she gave it to us,” Black told the Mail.

Black implied that the solution is for people with traditional British Christian moral values to stay out of any business or employment that would bring them into contact with the public.

“If anyone thinks that providing a public service may conflict with their religious beliefs they should question whether that is a suitable business for them.”

The first institutions to disappear under the recently passed Sexual Orientation Regulations of the Equality Act, installed under Tony Blair’s Labour government, were the nation’s Catholic adoption agencies. All of them were forced either to close or sever their ties with the Catholic Church upon being instructed that they must consider homosexual partners as prospective adoptees.

In debates in the House, some British parliamentarians had also warned that the Equalities laws would create legal conflicts between homosexuals and conscientious Christian hoteliers like Peter and Hazelmary Bull, the owners of the Cornwall guesthouse who were ordered by a judge last week to pay £3,600 to Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy, homosexuals in a registered civil partnership.

The Bulls appear to have been set up as a test case by the homosexualist activist group Stonewall. The two men, according to court testimony, attempted to book a room in the Penzance guesthouse by registering as “Mr. and Mrs. Preddy” a month after the Bulls received a threatening letter from Stonewall.

The Bulls, who are appealing last week’s ruling, say they are being driven out of business by a “hate campaign,” and have received abusive phone calls and bogus negative reviews of their hotel have been posted to a travel website. Several homosexual men have called and demanded rooms, threatening legal action if they are refused. Mrs. Bull told the Daily Telegraph, “One told me I was an abomination and would go straight to hell. These people know nothing about my lifestyle, and I’ve been astounded by their cruelty.” 

Following the Bulls’ court ruling, Stonewall director Ben Summerskill penned a column in the left-leaning Guardian newspaper ridiculing the idea that Christians are being targeted by homoseuxalists or are suffering from any kind of persecution for their beliefs.

But the Bulls’ case has attracted international attention. It was cited specifically in a report by an EU watchdog group on religious freedom as an example of a growing “totalitarian” secularism targeting Christian believers who dare to try to live their faith in the public realm. Gudrun Kugler, director of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, said that Christians in Europe are heading towards a “bloodless persecution.”

“Christians are increasingly marginalized and are appearing more often in courts over matters related to faith,” Kugler said in an interview this week.

This week, former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe defended Christian hoteliers, writing in the Daily Express on Wednesday, “There is a difference between discriminating against somebody because of what he is and refusing to promote or facilitate what he does.

“If the Bulls ran a grocery shop which refused to serve homosexuals then that would be discrimination but to refuse to facilitate their activity or that of an unmarried heterosexual couple by providing a double bed is not. It is the once lawful exercise of conscience against particular deeds.”

Robert Leitch, a homosexualist activist in the Tory party, agreed, writing on the ConservativeHome blog, “The reaction to this somewhat traditional yet harmless policy has been remarkable.

“Mr. and Mrs. Bull have been tagged as homophobes, taken to court, forced to justify their literal interpretation of the Bible, told by the judge involved that their views are out of date and, finally, given a punishment which will place significant strain upon their business’ finances.

“In the end, the penalty for holding a diverse viewpoint has been extreme.”

Michael Portillo, a former cabinet minister, commented to BBC Radio 4 yesterday that the case is an example of the danger Britain faces of turning into a “secular theocracy.” He said, “I am not a religious person. But I can easily conceive of how I could be on the receiving end of some future legislation.”

On the same program Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, expressed concerns over the erosion of traditional liberties. Such decisions mean that Christians are “allowed to have those views but they’re not allowed to do anything with them.”

“I mean it basically makes a mockery of religion if that’s the case; it’d be kind of religion-lite. You can think that in the privacy of your bedroom, as we in fact used to say, but certainly you can’t do anything about it.”

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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
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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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