Steve Jalsevac

We must embrace conflict

Steve Jalsevac
Steve Jalsevac

My dear friends,

Only five more days until Christmas, the celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace. And yet, we should not forget that circumstances around His birth and during His life and at the end of His earthy life were anything but peaceful. There are lessons in this related to LifeSiteNews and its mission.

Christ lived and taught and was Love, but that love and teaching were never politically correct. They often involved the saying of hard truths that many did not want to hear.

Christ’s birth was the ultimate sign of God’s love for the human race. And yet He was hated and there were those who wanted to kill Him, even as an infant and later as He healed thousands of diseases and even raised some from the dead. In the end, He was cruelly murdered.

One of the lessons of His life was that true love does not avoid conflict, and true love is often obliged to say things that are not welcomed or that disturb people, although the intent is never to disturb or to hurt. True love involves sticking one’s neck out where others refuse to do so for fear of personal discomfort, loss of worldly respect, or other less-than-admirable reasons.

At the recent International Pro-Life Conference in Ottawa, which was co-sponsored by LifeSiteNews, 14-year-old Lia Mills gave a message well beyond her young years related to all of this. Many of us were astonished how, at such a very young age, she has come to understand what even most adults do not about the battle for life and family.

Lia described the anger she faced after her pro-life speech went viral on YouTube, noting that she even received death threats. But while we’re tempted to avoid conflict, she said, “the truth is that as pro-life people … we cannot avoid conflict, but [we must] embrace it in the right way. … My family and I have learned to embrace conflict.”

What amazing wisdom from such a young girl! Christ embraced conflict, as did all the prophets and saints and most great leaders from the past. When one is acting against great evils, as LifeSiteNews is, attacks or conflict are an inevitable companion. And yet, we are obliged to persevere. And we do.

We have learned to accept that, when our news reports are effective against evils, the conflict that results, and is not sought, is often an affirmation that we are, as an air force military priest chaplain advised, “over the target.”

Austin Ruse, the president of C-FAM, wrote last week, “Where would we all be without LifeSiteNews.com? They cover the life and family issues like a glove. They are often first to report and when needed they cause a lot of trouble in all the right places. I read LifeSiteNews. I salute LifeSiteNews.com”

We “cause a lot of trouble” or “embrace conflict,” not because we like or seek conflict, but simply because we report truth. LifeSiteNews could play it safe and avoid controversy, but then we would have to deny the TRUTH. The birth of Christ reminds us that we cannot do that, no matter how much others protest, or how heavy is the cross that results.

That birth also reminds us that, no matter how charitable and objectively we state certain truths, there will always be those who will rage against that truth, as they did against Christ, the saints and many other great religious or secular leaders.

At this point, we have achieved half of our fundraising goal for the 2010 Christmas Campaign. At $75,000, we are more than grateful for the generosity that’s been demonstrated by our supporters.

But we still need your help in receiving the last half of our necessary $150,000 goal with only 11 days remaining.
(Click here to donate)

It’s not easy working for LifeSiteNews. We’re often accused of insensitivities and atrocities, not only by gay rights activists, but also by the pro-abortion movement, proponents of stem cell research and euthanasia, anti-family organizations, and yes, even some liberal Church leaders.

It can be pretty daunting to see our critics point fingers at us and label us bigots, extremists, and other names I’d dare not share.

Yet, why would we endure such abuse if it were not for love?

Here at LifeSiteNews, we anticipate these struggles. Although we expect our critics to challenge us at every corner, we must shoulder the burden of this work in order to educate and activate society to bring out cultural change.

We are willing to endure hardships for the purpose of defending life family, truth, and love.

The world needs LifeSiteNews. All across the globe, people such as yourselves are struggling as they face the culture of death on a daily basis:

  • Our friends in Ireland are concerned about the European Court claiming the nation’s pro-life laws violate the “right to privacy.”

  • The U.N. Secretary-General demanded greater respect for homosexual and transgender rights, attempting to mainstream the gay agenda while sacrificing freedom of religion.

  • The ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project is targeting Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix, who threatened to renounce a Catholic hospital for performing an abortion.

  • Pro-Life Action League President Joe Scheidler’s house was vandalized by an embittered pro-abortion activist.

  • A Quebec high school distributed graphic pamphlets instructing youth on how to perform “safe” oral sex.

The stories we report can sometimes seem discouraging, but our job is not merely to bring you such updates on the trials and tribulations that we and our friends and allies face. Our job is to report these stories so they may, in turn, encourage our readers and arm them with good information to challenge the anti-life and anti-family agenda.

We provide you, our readers, with the tools necessary to battle the anti-life and anti-family movement.

Now we humbly ask you to give us the tools needed to continue reaching the world with this crucial service.
(Click here to donate)

Our friends and allies strongly affirm their praises of LifeSiteNews:

  • “No one is more on target, no one is more open with the facts than LifeSiteNews.  I’m humbled by the coverage I’ve received from them and I urge all people of good will, pro-life and pro-family, to continue and double and redouble their financial support of this institution so that we should be able to get out the message and fight the moral fight for the glory of God.” Rabbi Yehuda Levin, spokesman for the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the U.S. and Canada

  • “Over the years American Life League has become so dependent on LifeSiteNews.com that we cannot imagine doing our educational work without them. We need them; the babies need them; the world needs them … their brand of no nonsense, unabashedly principled reporting is an asset beyond measure.” Judie Brown, President of American Life League

  • “A lot of us wouldn’t be able to work so effectively if not for the extraordinarily good work of LifeSiteNews, which is the most widely read pro-life news service in the world.” John Smeaton, Director of Britain’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

  • “LifeSiteNews has been extremely valuable to us in our efforts to protect life and family in Latin America. LifeSite’s interest in reporting on key happenings throughout Latin America has been crucial in creating awareness, and very importantly, causing others to act!” Julia Regina Sol de Cardenal, President of Si a la Vida, El Salvador

The battle that lies before us will be long and arduous. That we can guarantee. With you as our allies, we can approach the frontlines with greater hope and fortitude.

Please help LifeSiteNews celebrate life and truth this Christmas through a gift of $5, $50, $100, $1,000, $5,000, or even more.
(Click here to donate)

Thank you for your support of LifeSiteNews.

For Life and Family,

Steve Jalsevac
Managing Director and Co-founder
LifeSiteNews

PS: U.S. donors can donate to LifeSiteNews to reduce taxable income for 2010 when you itemize your tax deductions. So don’t forget to donate before the year’s end!

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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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