Christina Martin

What Cecile Richards left out in her history lesson for Republicans

Christina Martin
By Christina Martin

November 16, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - Do you remember learning about Thanksgiving in elementary school? The happy pictures of Native Americans and Pilgrims sharing a fall feast warmed my little heart. But as I grew older, my teachers gave me a very different history lesson than the one I learned as a child.

While I was shocked and saddened to hear about the injustices committed against the Native people, I was grateful to finally know the truth. Even though the truth isn’t always pretty, I’d take it over a lie any day.

Perhaps it’s my love of honest history which made it hard for me to swallow the lesson given by Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.

Richards gave some advice tied in with a history lesson in a post-Election Day interview with the Huffington Post. It’s obvious that Cecile was excited that her choice for president won the election. Planned Parenthood invested lots of money in celebrity-endorsed videos and marketing campaigns to support Obama. After the Democrats won, Cecile thought she’d dispense some words for the Republican Party.

In essence, she urged Republicans to get back to our “roots” by supporting family planning. She told the Huffington Post:

Back in the olden days, the Republican Party was the party that supported people’s individual rights and keeping government out of personal health care decisions, so I think there’s a history they can go back to. A lot of Republicans used to support family planning, and Richard Nixon signed that first federal planning program into law. There’s a clear pathway to [win back women’s support], and it’s to listen to the middle of their party instead of the extreme fringe.

Since I like history, I thought I’d do some reading on the life of former Republican President Richard Nixon. I found out that Cecile was right about his strong stand for family planning.

The Huffington Post reports:

Indeed, back in the 1970s and 1980s, Republicans supported family planning initiatives and took a softer stance on abortion rights. Nixon was so enthusiastic about a federal family planning initiative for low-income women that he declared it a ‘national goal’ in 1969 before signing Title X into law.

Nixon was so enthusiastic about a federal family planning initiative that he declared it a national goal. Reading that could make some assume that Nixon was genuinely concerned about the plight of poor. Richards considers Nixon such an “inspiration” that she also mentioned him in a Feb 10, 2011 Huffington Post article titled, “Don’t Let Them Kill Family Planning!” In it Cecile shared these thoughts:

Richard Nixon may not be the first name most people associate with women’s health and reproductive rights. But as House Republicans ramp up their unprecedented assault on women this week, I’m starting to think of the Nixon era as an age of enlightenment. The Title X Family Planning program, which Nixon signed into law in 1970, is one of this country’s great achievements in public health and social justice. Clinics funded through Title X now prevent nearly a million unintended pregnancies every year. They save women’s lives through cancer screening, immunization and blood-pressure testing. Publicly supported family planning even saves the government money — $3.74 for every dollar invested.

While I don’t agree with her statement about Nixon’s era as an age of enlightenment, I will say my eyes were opened in a new way after reading about our former president.

In 1970, Nixon signed into law the Title X Family Planning Program. In 1973, Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court. Also in 1973, Nixon recorded audio tapes of conversations between him and members of his staff. The tapes, along with 140,000 pages of domestic records, 45 video oral histories, and 2,500 pages of once-classified national security materials, were later released.

As the Washington Post reports, the tapes revealed Nixon’s private feelings towards blacks, Jews, and other ethnic groups. In an excerpt from the article:

During another conversation with his personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, Nixon expresses doubt about the opinion of William P. Rogers, his secretary of state, about blacks.

‘Bill Rogers has got somewhat – and to his credit it’s a decent feeling – but somewhat, sort of, a sort of blind spot on the black thing because he’s been in New York,’ Nixon said. ‘He says, well, “They are coming along, and that after all, they are going to strengthen our country in the end because they are strong physically and some of them are smart.”

‘My own view is I think he’s right if you’re talking in terms of 500 years,’ Nixon said. ‘I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have to be, frankly, inbred. And, you just, that’s the only thing that’s going to do it, Rose.’

Nixon’s racist viewpoints heard through his audio recordings have now become public knowledge. The documentary Maafa 21 shares a series of conversations Nixon had in 1972-73 dealing with low-income minorities and their children. You can watch the clip on YouTube or read the words I transcribed.

White House tape 697/29 March 30, 1972

Nixon: A majority of people in Colorado voted for abortion, I think a majority of people in Michigan are for abortion, I think in both cases, well certainly in Michigan they will vote for it because they think that what’s going to be aborted are the little black bastards.

White House tape 700/10- April 3, 1972

Nixon: As I told you, we talked about it earlier – that a hell of a lot of people want to control the negro bastards.

White House tape 700/10- April 3, 1972

Nixon: And you know what we’re talking about – population control.

Unidentifed Staff: Sure.

Nixon: We’re talking really – and what John Rockefeller really realizes, look the people in what we call our class controls – their populations. Sometimes they’ll have a family of six, or seven, or eight or nine, but it’s the exception.

Unidentifed Staff: Sure.

Nixon: People who don’t control their families are people in – the people that shouldn’t have kids. Now that’s…

Unidentified Staff: The black population in the city of San Francisco has gone from 3,000 – right after World War II – to where they represent 30 percent of the population of San Francisco.

Nixon: What?

Unidentified Staff: Yes, sir.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Nixon, like Rockefeller, was part of a wealthy elitist group that bought into the lies of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. It seems that Nixon’s enthusiasm towards “family planning” was just a guise to further support the eugenics-driven agenda of Planned Parenthood. Nixon, like Supreme Court justice Ruth Badger Ginsberg, admitted that he saw abortion as a means to controlling a population whose growth he feared.

Ryan Bomberger, founder of Too Many Aborted, wrote about the Cecile/Nixon connection:

Richards was a history major at Brown University. Certainly she’s aware of the easily discoverable and irrefutable historical facts surrounding Nixon and his racist advocacy of Population Control. But like Sanger and hundreds of other eugenists, she willfully divorces herself from the truth in order to press forward in her crusade to exalt the culture of birth control. These public audio recordings (revealed in Maafa21 and online for all to hear) show the vile racism with which this disgraced former President viewed black people. His solution to the problem of the ‘negro black bastards’ was to systematically eliminate them through birth control/abortion. By signing the Population Research and Family Planning Act of 1970 into law, Nixon solidified the government’s embrace of the eugenics movement backed by billions of tax dollars since the Title-X funding legislation passed.

Is this the history Cecile believes Republicans should get back to? Is Nixon someone we should seek to emulate? I for one won’t be following in his footsteps. The truth is that this tragic history of eugenics-motivated family planning has continued to repeat itself for forty years. Nixon’s agenda and Richards’ are one and the same. Cover it with pink paint or spin it with celebrity endorsements if you will, but the agenda of Planned Parenthood hasn’t changed.

If I want to get back to the “roots” of the Republican Party, I’d much rather follow the example of leaders in the mid-1800s who championed the anti-slavery movement. The Republican Party was once known for its commitment to abolishing slavery and fighting for the dignity and rights of black Americans. If I’m looking to taking advice from someone, I’d rather it be leaders who fought to save the lives of my people rather than destroy them. If I’m looking for an accurate history lesson, it won’t be from Cecile Richards.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

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Drew Belsky

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ACLU sues Kentucky clerk for refusing marriage licenses to all couples

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

July 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Four Kentucky couples are suing a clerk of the court in their county for refusing to grant them marriage licenses.

The clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan (pronounced "rah-win") County, declared that her faith prevents her from complying with the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision, issued in late June, which legally redefined marriage to include same-sex couples.  She is withholding licenses not only to same-sex couples, but to everyone – in fact, two of the couples suing Davis, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), are sexually complementary.

"It is my deep conviction and belief that God ordained marriage between a man and a woman," Davis told Kentucky station WYKT.  "I can't be a part of this."

"My Kentucky Constitution that I took the oath to uphold in January stated that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that is the constitution that I have vowed to uphold."

Laura Landenwich, an attorney with the ACLU, said that "Ms. Davis has the absolute right to believe whatever she wants about God, faith, and religion.  But as a government official who swore an oath to uphold the law, she cannot pick and choose who[m] she is going to serve, or which duties her office will perform based on her religious beliefs."

The ACLU's complaint avers that "Plaintiff and Plaintiff Class have suffered and continue to suffer irreparable harms, including harms to their dignity and autonomy, family security, and access to the full spectrum of benefits conferred by the state upon others."

Davis, a Democrat, is appealing to Kentucky's Bill of Rights, which states that "no human authority shall, in any case whatsoever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience."  Moreover, she told WSAZ reporter Kaitlynn LeBeau, "My Kentucky Constitution that I took the oath to uphold in January stated that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that is the constitution that I have vowed to uphold."

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, has ordered all clerks in the Bluegrass State to comply with the Supreme Court's decision.

"Each clerk vowed to uphold the law regardless of his or her personal beliefs," Beshear said in a statement.  "I appreciate the clerks who are fulfilling their duties, issuing licenses to all couples, and I would expect others to execute the duties of their offices as prescribed by law and to issue marriage licenses to all Kentuckians."

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Davis's decision brought protesters to her office in Morehead last Tuesday.  The crowd comprised both opposition and supporters, bearing signs with messages including "Morehead = Equality," "Leave Religion out of your GOVERNMENT job!," and "We stand with you Kim."

Davis refuses to speak on camera because of an intensifying tide of threatening hate mail.  One man told her by e-mail that she needed to be killed.  She has received gratitude and support as well, including from states outside Kentucky.

"This is a battle," Davis told one reporter by phone, "nationwide, that I think is vital to every person who holds near and dear to their heart the word of God."

Resistance to Obergefell is not limited to one Kentucky county.  All three staffers at the county clerk's office in Decatur County, Tennessee resigned following the decision.  Decatur County commissioner David Boroughs told a local paper that he is "proud of them that their faith is so strong and well-rounded that they feel they can do that."

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Matthew J. Franck

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Obergefell is so awful that it makes Dred Scott look like a piece of lawyerly precision

Matthew J. Franck
By Matthew Franck

July 6, 2015 (ThePublicDiscourse) -- When the blow finally fell, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges—holding 5-4 that every state in the Union must license same-sex marriages—seemed somehow less crushing in its impact, less hurtful and wounding, than one might have expected from a decision that is so thoroughly a defeat for the truth about marriage and the truth about the Constitution.

Make no mistake, the harms from the Court’s appallingly illegitimate decision are many, and gravely serious. But the good news for a cockeyed optimist like me is that Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion is so incompetent, so gossamer-thin as an exercise in legal or constitutional reasoning, so unpersuasive even in political terms, that it renews my zest for carrying on the battle of persuading my fellow citizens and turning the country around on this issue.

I should have known he would do this for us, as well as to us. For Kennedy began to travel this road nearly twenty years ago in Romer v. Evans (1996), in which a 6-3 Court denied to the people of Colorado the authority to amend their state constitution to prevent their elected state and local legislators from adding “sexual orientation” to the list of “identities” on the grounds of which discrimination by public and private actors alike is forbidden.

Is Anyone "Demeaning" Others' "Dignity"?

Yet at least in Romer, the word “dignity” had not yet appeared in Kennedy’s reasoning. In Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which overturned state laws that criminalized homosexual sodomy, Kennedy turned away from the equal protection clause and to the textually and historically ungrounded jurisprudence of “substantive due process.” This meant, in Kennedy’s hands, the judicial protection of a free-ranging, judicially defined notion of “liberty” invoked to overturn any conduct-regulating statute that trenched on the “dignity” of persons whose wishes and desires tugged at the judges’ heartstrings.

In Romer, at least, Justice Kennedy had labored to produce something that resembled a competent account of the equal protection clause—though his attempt failed. But Lawrence was something else. Lawrence was a moment of real self-liberation for Kennedy. That can be seen in his quotation of what were probably his own words from the joint opinion he co-authored with Justices O’Connor and Souter in Planned Parenthood v. Casey: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” This “mystery passage” was already in 2003, and remains, the most widely lampooned bit of pseudo-reasoning of the last half century, but Kennedy sensed the cultural and political power that it represented, and in Lawrence he set it on course to colonize our constitutional law entirely. His opinion was also liberally salted with references to “dignity” (three times, including another line quoted from Casey), and to the idea that laws resting on negative judgments of homosexual conduct “demean” those who engage in it (four times).

United States v. Windsor, the Defense of Marriage Act case from two years ago, gave us more of Kennedy’s free-floating jurisprudence of “dignity” (ten mentions including “indignity”), condemning laws that “demean” (three mentions). Obergefell rests explicitly on this fragile, groundless rationale, with Kennedy mentioning the connection of marriage to “dignity” nine times, while three times saying that it “demeans” same-sex couples when a state limits marriage to one man and one woman, and twice invoking the matter of “identity.”

But there is something else quite new in Obergefell. Kennedy, somewhat defensively, mentions twice that defenders of conjugal marriage might believe redefining the institution to include same-sex couples “demeans” marriage itself. Since no one opposed to same-sex marriage actually speaks this way, this is a curious characterization, but perhaps an important one. In Kennedy’s mind, the Constitution has been converted into a great Dignity Document. The role of the Supreme Court is to adjudicate whose version of Dignity it embodies, which can be decided by pondering who is made to feel worse by having his strongest convictions “demeaned.” Victory will go to the one who can appeal successfully to strong feelings about his “identity.” As Chief Justice Roberts said in dissent, “The majority’s driving themes are that marriage is desirable and petitioners desire it.”

A Constitutional Crisis

Confronted by such a string of sentiments masquerading as constitutional principles, why then should I feel heartened by the new phase of the struggle into which the Obergefell ruling has just pitched us? The reason is that Kennedy is so terribly bad at his chosen profession of judge that he has now unmasked himself, and his four silent colleagues who joined his opinion for the Court, as imperial rulers with no regard for the Constitution, for the forms of reasoning that give the law its real vitality, or for the rightful authority of the people to govern themselves within the bounds of a Constitution they understand and respect.

Moreover, while noting all the manifold ways in which the marriage debate has been played out over the last two decades—just as he was attempting to shut that debate down—Kennedy evinced no understanding of what the arguments about marriage really are, not even grasping the arguments on the side he favored. In so doing, he showed himself to be, if not one of the least intellectually honest persons ever to come to that debate, then one of the least well-informed. His opinion is an act of the most breathtaking argumentative carelessness in the history of the Supreme Court. Roe v. WadeLochner v. New York, and Dred Scott v. Sandford—all rightly invoked by the dissenters in Obergefell as the true models for Kennedy’s reasoning—are closely reasoned works of lawyerly precision by comparison.

As a legal opinion, Obergefell is an utter failure. What the late John Hart Ely, who was politically in favor of abortion, said of Roe v. Wade, we can say of Obergefell: “It is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” But Obergefell is also embarrassingly bad as a contribution to the political and social debate on marriage. From this I take heart that the battle can be rejoined, with the making of better arguments—each side offering its best against the other’s best—in a struggle that will continue for years to come.

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But wait. Isn’t the debate over? Isn’t that what a Supreme Court decision on the Constitution means? Well, frankly, no. The movement for rescuing and restoring marriage in our country will not be made to vanish by so transparently political a holding of five justices of the Supreme Court. The movement for defending the sanctity of life in our law, forty-two years after Roe v. Wade, waxes rather than wanes in strength. As the pro-life movement was joined, so the marriage movement will be joined, by defenders of the authentic Constitution so blithely traduced by the Court’s majority. The Roe decision has often made pro-life converts out of people who actually read it—I know, because I was one of them—and the Obergefell ruling, in time, will do similar work in adding strength to the ranks of marriage’s defenders.

A constitutional ruling so shoddily reasoned, so completely and, one may say, easily dismantled by the four justices who dissent from it, must paper over a cause that cannot ultimately win in an open democratic debate, and that therefore seeks the shelter of powerful friends in the judiciary. This is just what many young people will come to see for themselves simply by reading the decision, just as many have done by reading Roe. The twin discoveries, that a great constitutional wrong has been committed to give cover to a great moral wrong, will come together.

We may take heart, then, from Justice Alito’s observation that “even enthusiastic supporters of same-sex marriage should worry about the scope of the power that today’s majority claims.” Indeed they should, for the debate is not over; it has only entered a new phase. That phase will necessarily include some sober deliberations regarding what can be done about a Supreme Court with (at least) five members who believe that they can rewrite the Constitution at will in order to transform fundamental institutions of our society. For Alito’s very next sentence is, “Today’s decision shows that decades of attempts to restrain this Court’s abuse of authority have failed.” Indeed, they have, and so it is back to the drawing board. When even the chief justice complains of “the majority’s extravagant conception of judicial supremacy,” it is time to do some hard thinking about meaningful institutional reform of the federal judiciary.

In the Meantime

While we prepare for hard work on many fronts in the battles for marriage and for the Constitution, we should recognize and immediately try to mitigate the great harm the Court has done. Despite Kennedy’s pat denials, marriage has been grievously wounded as an institution, and we must do what we can to bind up its wounds, in our own families, communities, and churches. After all, every future generation is at stake. We must never tire of saying: every child deserves a mother and a father—preferably his or her own biological parents. That, as the dissenting justices recognized, is what marriage has always been about, in every age and culture, and it is why marriage has always been understood as the union of a man and a woman.

And we must do all that we can to institute safeguards for religious freedom in our country, which will now come under attack as never before. It was strangely gratifying to see Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas, in their dissents, give this matter their lengthy and considered attention. Thomas foresees “potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty” in this invention of a new “right” of same-sex marriage, and Roberts noted how telling was the way in which Kennedy shrugged off such potentials:

The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. . . . The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.

The protection of religious freedom may rapidly become our most urgent legislative business, both in Congress and in state legislatures. But win or lose in legislative assemblies, the faithful and their pastoral leaders in the many religious communities devoted to the truth about marriage must prayerfully muster the courage to act, and to live as their faith informs their consciences, as well as to “advocate” and “teach.” As Alito notes, “those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent” on the marriage question will be ready to exploit the Court’s decision. Look at your social media feeds: That is already happening.

In our response to our counterparts in this great constitutional, political, and moral debate that now begins anew, we can start by preaching and practicing a truer, fuller understanding of dignity, in our families and churches, than the one about which Kennedy so vainly prattles. And we can fix our eyes on the prize of restoring, through real democratic debate and persuasion, the great goods of constitutional self-government and justice to individuals and families.

Thank you, Justice Kennedy, for giving us this opportunity. I know you didn’t mean it, but thank you nonetheless.

Reprinted with permission from The Witherspoon Institute

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Lisa Bourne

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US Episcopal Church faces backlash after approving gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- The bishops of the U.S. Episcopal Church gave the green light last week for clergy to perform same-sex “weddings,” in a heavily-debated fundamental change set to come in the door incrementally.  

As of November 1 of this year homosexual couples will have the right to be “married” in the church, the result of new liturgies for same-sex couples approved Wednesday at the denomination’s General Convention in Salt Lake City.

The bishops also accepted changing the church’s canons (rules) governing marriage, to make them gender neutral, thus replacing the terms “man and woman” with “couple.”

Episcopal clergy however, will be allowed to refuse to perform a homosexual “marriage” with the promise they would not be penalized, and individual bishops were also given the right to refuse to allow same-sex ceremonies to take place in their diocese.

The compromise is angering Episcopalians on both sides of the issue, with liberal factions potentially trying to block the plan and insist on the immediate introduction of same-sex “marriage” with no way for dioceses to opt out, and conservatives likely to reach out to overseas leaders in the wider Anglican Communion for help in getting the church to stop.

The leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church, released a statement expressing his “deep concern” over the U.S. Episcopal Church’s resolution to change the definition of marriage.

“Its decision will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships.”

Blessings for homosexual unions were first approved at the denomination’s 2012 convention, along with acceptance of transgender clergy. The Episcopal Church still maintained at the time that marriage was an exclusive life-long covenant of one man and one woman, as held in the church’s Book of Common Prayer.

While several Episcopal bishops defended the Biblical definition of marriage at this year’s convention, the majority of bishops argued that the provisional and trial rites would expand the traditional teaching about marriage, without changing the church’s underlying text or doctrine of marriage.

Retired Episcopal Bishop Vicky Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, was among those at the convention who said homosexual sexual intimacy was morally acceptable and should be blessed in faithful covenanted relationships, stating, “I think it is time for us to do this.”

Robinson, whose 2003 elevation to bishop was a key factor in the denomination’s later split, said, “Gays and lesbians are living out their lives in holy ways,” and changing the church’s rules on marriage “allows us to recognize this,” to “declare how far we have come.”

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In response to an inquiry for comment on the Episcopal bishops’ resolution accepting homosexual “marriage,” the Anglican Church in North America directed LifeSiteNews to the church’s recent response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing homosexual “marriage,” which said in part, “The Anglican Church in North America only authorizes and only performs marriages between one man and one woman.” 

Leaders of the Anglican Global South, a grouping of 24 of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion, issued a statement criticizing the U.S. Episcopal Church’s resolution as another unilateral decision taken without consideration for the Anglican Communion, ecumenical and interfaith relations and the mission of the church worldwide.

“This Resolution clearly contradicts the Holy Scriptures and God’s plan for creation as He created humankind as man and woman to complement each other physically and emotionally,” the Global South statement said.

“The church is intended by its Lord to be the holy leaven to shape society by its spiritual and moral values in line with God’s design,” it continued. “But sadly, by this action of (The Episcopal Church), the church gives way to the society to alter and shape its values. In other words the church is losing its distinctiveness as salt and light in this world.”

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