All articles from February 12, 2018


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Rabbi Dr. Fishel Szlajen
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New Vatican Academy for Life member claims Bible calls for abortion in some cases of rape and disability

Diane Montagna Diane Montagna Follow Diane

ROME, February 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) —  A recently appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life has argued that scripture justifies abortion in cases of rape, or if the unborn child has serious disabilities, a position diametrically opposed to the teaching of the Catholic Church.

In a predominantly pro-life article published in Spanish on InfoBae, on Feb. 11, Rabbi Dr. Fishel Szlajen denounced abortion on demand, describing it as a crime that has been turned into a right. “‘The right to decide what to do with one’s own body’” manipulates and intentionally obscures the fact that we are dealing with “two distinct humans,” he said.

But Rabbi Szlajen also claimed there is one case when scripture calls for abortion.

“In only one case does the Bible call for abortion: when the life of the conceptus [the unborn child] inexorably threatens that of its mother,” the rabbi said. He added that in such cases the life of the mother takes priority.

Rabbi Szlajen based his argument on the Jewish law of the “rodef,” which he said allows people in certain circumstances to kill someone who is endangering the lives of others, “even when he is not aware of it.”

Cases of anencephaly, irreversible degenerative pathologies, and terminal disease in which the conceptus will certainly die are examples of ‘tzorech gadol’ (grave necessity) where “abortion is permitted with severe restrictions in time and form.”

Similar criteria would apply to pregnant women in cases of rape, when continuing the pregnancy would put them at “serious psychophysical risk,” Rabbi Szlajen added. “However, these cases are quantitatively insignificant compared to the 56 million annual induced abortions in the world, the majority of which are unwanted pregnancies because they conflict with personal, family or social interests,” he said.

This latter argument was used to pass the Abortion Act 1967 in the UK.

Some Jewish scholars have suggested that various public figures could qualify as rodfim. The most notorious example is that of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who was assassinated in 1995 for concessions made to the Palestinian Authority in the Oslo Accord. The assassin, Yigal Amir, justified his actions partly on the basis of din rodef, under the assumption that making concessions to the Palestinian Authority would endanger Jewish lives.

Rabbi Fernando Szlajen is from Argentina and serves as the director of the Department of Culture for the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, and a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Letters at the University of Buenos Aires.

He was one of two rabbis appointed by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Academy for Life in June 2017. It is the first time rabbis have been invited to be members of the academy.

Not alone

Rabbi Fishel Szlajen is not the only new member of the Pontifical Academy to believe abortion is permissible in certain circumstances. According to The Catholic Herald, Rabbi Avraham Steinberg, who was appointed to the academy in 2017, has said the unborn child has “no human status” before 40 days. After 40 days, he argues, an unborn child has “a certain status of a human being, not full status.”

The only UK-based member of the academy, Anglican clergyman and moral theologian, Nigel Biggar, has also in the past supported legalized abortion up to 18 weeks.

According to The Catholic Herald, Biggar said in 2011 it is “not clear that a human fetus is the same kind of thing as an adult or a mature human being, and therefore deserves quite the same treatment.”

“It then becomes a question of where we draw the line, and there is no absolutely cogent reason for drawing it in one place over another,” he said.

Biggar, who teaches moral and pastoral theology at the University of Oxford, said: “I would be inclined to draw the line for abortion at 18 weeks after conception, which is roughly about the earliest time when there is some evidence of brain activity, and therefore of consciousness.”

A concerning pattern

Rabbi Szlajen’s claim that scripture calls for abortion in certain cases is the latest in a pattern of public statements from new Vatican-appointed members of the Pontifical Academy for Life that are raising considerable concern.

As LifeSiteNews first reported in early January, Italian moral theologian Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, has argued on the basis of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, that there are circumstances that not only allow but even “require” married couples to use artificial contraception.

His comments were made on Dec. 14, 2017, in a public lecture sponsored by the department of moral theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

In late January, the National Catholic Register also reported that another new member, German moral theologian Gerhard Höver, proposed in a reflection on Amoris Laetitia posted on the Academy’s website, that the term “intrinsically evil” is too restricting, as it fails to account for the complexity of different situations.

Jesuit Father Alain Thomasset, also a new member of the academy since last year, has said he does not believe in the existence of the term.

Founded in 1994 by St. John Paul II, the Pontifical Academy for Life is charged with defending and promoting “the value of human life and the dignity of the person.”

In the past, new members had to sign a declaration of fidelity to the Church’s pro-life teachings, but new statutes implemented last year ended that requirement.

In an interview last year with the National Catholic Register, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, offered reassurances that the new statutes “require a stronger commitment on the part of members to the Church’s pro-life teaching” and that they “promote and defend the principles of the value of life and the dignity of the person, interpreted in conformity with the magisterium of the Church.”

But last summer the archbishop oversaw the selection of new members, including Rabbis Szlajen and Steinberg, Nigel Biggar, Prof. Höver, Fr Chiodi and Fr Thomasset, who clearly have differences with the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life.

Asked if the academy’s leaders were aware of their views before they were selected, the spokesman told the Register “we knew” but added that it was important to provide them “space,” in continuity with “Pope Francis’ preference for dialogue and debate with those holding differing opinions.”

Drawing on Scripture and Tradition, the Catholic Church regards abortion as an intrinsically evil act. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states concerning abortion: 

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.(Cf. CDF, Donum vitae I,1.)

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. (Jer 1:5; cf. Job.10:8-12; Psalm 22:10-11)

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. (Ps 139:15.)

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: 

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. (Didache 2,2)

God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. (GS 51 § 3.)

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Lisa Correnti

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Gov’t report finds overwhelming acceptance of U.S. abortion funding restrictions

Lisa Correnti

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 12, 2018 (C-Fam) – A State Department report released February 8 found wide acceptance of the expanded Mexico City Policy which blocks funding for foreign groups performing or promoting abortion overseas. The report surveyed organizations which receive U.S. funds to deliver health care to vulnerable populations overseas.

The expanded policy, called “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA),” was instituted by President Donald Trump in January 2017 and extends the policy to the $8.8 billion in funds appropriated for global health assistance through Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense (DoD).

Since the announcement last year, abortion advocates coalesced to attack the Trump administration with charges that health care delivery would flag and women’s health would be drastically reduced.

The State Department report contradicts these allegations, however, finding that as grants and contracts have come under review to renew funding nearly all prime partners have accepted the policy. Just four organizations refused to comply with the abortion ban out of 733 awardees.

Two of the non-compliance organizations are global abortion providers Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Both organizations have bilateral USAID grants that would have gone through 2019 for approximately $30 million. USAID will direct the funds to other groups in the same areas, “transition[ing] the activities of those organizations that have not agreed to the PLGHA standard provision to other partners, while minimizing disruption of services.”

USAID also reported 12 sub-grantee recipients that refused to comply. IPPF reports to work in 170 countries with hundreds of affiliated organizations. These foreign affiliates stand to lose funding as sub-grantee recipients from the multimillion-dollar prime grants awarded to U.S. organizations like EngenderHealth, Pathfinder International, PAI, and Population Services International – all publicly opposing the institution of the Mexico City Policy. While the PLGHA abortion restrictions do no apply to U.S. registered organizations it does restrict the funding these organizations award to foreign sub-grantees.

According to the report, the Department of State, USAID, HHS, and DoD “have taken multiple steps to implement the PLGHA policy.” A standard provision was developed which is being included in grants and cooperative agreements for global health assistance including for PEPFAR, the Bush-era HIVAIDs initiative. Training to ensure compliance is ongoing for all stakeholders including interagency government personnel, U.S. Mission staff, and non-government organizations.

Under the standard provision of PLGHA, prime organizations and their sub-grantees are restricted from using any funding whether U.S. funding or an organization’s own funding to lobby “a foreign government to legalize or make available abortion as a method of family planning” or “conducting a public information campaign in foreign countries regarding the benefits and/or availability of abortion as a method of family planning.”

The standard provision requires awardees to agree to oversight and transparency to assure compliance. The recipient must acknowledge the State Department can at any “reasonable time, announced or unannounced” conduct onsite inspections including “independent inquiries in the community served by the recipient.” Violations of PLGHA will result in termination of an award with reimbursement of any unexpended funding to the State Department.

Exempt from PLGHA guidelines is funding for abortion due to rape, incest, or life endangerment of the mother. Also exempt is medical treatment for an induced or spontaneous abortion.

The State Department implementation report acknowledged that “not all existing agreements have received new funding, so the picture on progress and challenges is still developing.” A further review will be conducted by December 15, 2018 when the remaining 500 organizations with current agreements will come under renewal.

Reprinted with permission from the Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam).

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Federal judge: pro-life witness at abortion centers is protected speech

LifeSiteNews.com

February 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On January 29, 2018, a federal judge told the New York Attorney General that leafleting is a “form of really protected speech,” and that sidewalks are recognized as the “quintessential public forum.” The words from the bench underscored the arguments of Thomas More Society Special Counsel Martin Cannon. Cannon is defending a group of pro-life advocates who have been sued by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman in a federal lawsuit that accuses them of threats and violence against abortion clinic patients.

A group of pro-life advocates with Church @ the Rock in Brooklyn has been targeted for ongoing sidewalk counseling, prayer, and protest activities outside of a Jamaica, New York, abortion clinic. The recent hearing was a request by the Thomas More Society for the court to dismiss the lawsuit against the church members involved. 

District Judge Carol Bagley Amon skeptically noted that handing out pamphlets is a form of protected speech and that sidewalks are the quintessential public forum. She questioned Assistant Attorney General Sandra Pullman on the definition of harassment. The state’s interpretation focused in part on the reaction of a person to another’s actions, something that, according to Cannon, did not line up with New York’s harassment law or common sense.

“If harassment is defined by someone’s reaction, you can’t know you’ve committed the offense until after the fact,” Cannon said. Arguing that the New York City harassment law is dangerously vague, Cannon suggested Schneiderman’s lawsuit makes the point. “If harassment is whatever people in power say it is, we are protected only by sentiment, not by law.”

“We expect to be vindicated,” stated Rev. Kenneth Griepp, a defendant in the lawsuit and the senior pastor at Church @ the Rock. “As a voice for the unborn, we are committed to raising awareness about the over 3,500 children who are being murdered every day here in America. We do so as peaceful people of God. Because the Thomas More Society attorneys understand that, they are able to defend us and protect the rights we are guaranteed under the US Constitution and First Amendment, including the freedom to speak out against what we believe to be the grave error of abortion and to offer life-saving alternatives to women and their children.”  

The judge took issue with the prosecution’s reference to what they labelled as “annoying behavior.” Amon commented that if harassment charges could be brought for being annoying, “I could sue all of you here today.”

Cannon added, “The prosecution’s loose handling of a serious charge suggests the case is solely intended to discourage opposition to abortion. There are no instances of the force, threat of force, physical obstruction, following, or harassing that Schneiderman claims to have occurred.”

Schneiderman’s lawsuit, filed in June 2017, seeks an end to what he says is “a weekly pattern of threatening, obstructive, and violent activity by a network of anti-abortion protestors.” He claimed to have received “complaints of the protesters’ extremely aggressive behavior.” He called the church members’ efforts to counsel women considering abortion and to advocate for the rights of the unborn “horrifying” and “illegal.”

Schneiderman’s support of the abortion industry is well publicized. In April 2017, he openly opposed any defunding of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, proclaiming, “I was proud to lead a coalition of attorneys general in filing an amicus brief against the Ohio state law that would defund Planned Parenthood.”

“These pro-life advocates are life-affirming Christians who peacefully counsel women considering abortion. They conduct themselves reasonably and compassionately, offering alternatives and very real assistance to women and couples willing to listen,” stated Cannon. The Thomas More Society is representing 10 members of Church @ the Rock in Brooklyn, who are among the 13 defendants named in the suit. The congregation has been witnessing for life outside the abortion facility nearly every Saturday since 2012.

Read background on the Thomas More Society’s involvement with People of the State of New York v. Griepp et al here.

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Katie Yoder

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Planned Parenthood suggests ‘vagina cupcakes’ for ‘Galentine’s’ Day

Katie Yoder

February 12, 2018 (NewsBusters) – One Planned Parenthood affiliate is asking women to host “Galentine’s Day” parties and fundraise with “safe sex themed Valentines,” complete with “vagina and birth control cupcakes.”

In a “toolkit” obtained by Bustle, the Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) Activist Council insisted that women turn their Galentine’s Day into a “fearless fundraising extravaganza!” Held the day before Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day (a term coined by Parks and Recreation) is about “ladies celebrating ladies.” However, PPNYC urged, “you should feel free to invite folks from any gender identity you choose!” 

“Hosting a Galentine’s Day PPNYC fundraiser is a fun way to celebrate your gal pals AND raise money for sexual and reproductive health access!” the toolkit encouraged. “So grab your waffle maker and get started!”

For food, PPNYC suggested hosting a potluck as well as backing “reproductive health themed goodies” including “Vagina” and “Birth Control Cupcakes!”

And, if women decided to host such a house party, they should contact the NYC affiliate for a heads up. The toolkit included the following “sample goals”:

  • "Get at least 10-40 people to attend."
  • "Set a specific dollar amount goal."
  • "Ask everyone to ‘donate their age’ in a one-time donation or as a recurring, monthly donation." (Really? Donate your age so a child never gets to?)
  • "Make sure everyone at your event signs up for PPNYC’s weekly email actions."

And the suggested “activities” added:

  • "Send PPNYC safe sex themed Valentines."
  • "Download and color your own resistance coloring pages."
  • "Listen to PP inspired playlists or create your own."
  • "Enjoy fancy, feminist-themed cocktails."
  • "Marathon episodes of Parks & Rec or 'treat yourselves' with homemade face masks."
  • "Do some crafts like handmade cards to thank a health center care worker or abortion provider."

For its part, Bustle contributed by listing additional ideas, including photobooths and gift raffles.

PPNYC Activist Council fundraising group co-chair Alissa Vladimir revealed to Bustle that her group "came up with this idea and developed the Galentine’s Party Toolkit to raise money in a fun, low-key way with friends."

She added that women can also host these parties to support their own local Planned Parenthoods or the national organization.

Speaking of the national organization, according to Planned Parenthood’s most recently published annual report, it performed 321,384 abortions and received $543.7 million in “government health services, reimbursements & grants” for the year 2016 – 2017. Not much to celebrate.

And, in regards to New York City, 1 of every 3 babies are aborted in the country's most populated city.

Reprinted with permission from NewsBusters.

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Poles protest Mary Wagner's imprisonment, Warsaw, Feb. 12, 2018. Przemysław SYCZ / Facebook
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Poles honor jailed pro-life heroine Mary Wagner on her birthday by picketing Canadian embassy

Dorothy Cummings McLean and Lianne Laurence

WARSAW, February 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Just because jailed pro-life heroine Mary Wagner is celebrating her birthday locked-up in a Canadian prison does not mean that she is forgotten.

Wagner's friends and supporters in Poland marked the occasion of the 44-year-old's birthday by picketing the Canadian Embassy in Warsaw from noon until 2 PM today. The event included prayers, speeches, and birthday cards for Wagner. 

Przemysław Sycz of the Polish Right-to-Life Foundation told LifeSiteNews that “about 50” protesters took part in the peaceful demonstration. They carried signs in English and Polish.

One large poster featured a photograph of Wagner praying with the caption, “Mary Wagner, prisoner of conscience, persecuted for saving children; are you not ashamed, Canada?” 

The picket was preceded by a special Mass at St. Alexander’s Church in Warsaw’s Three Crosses Square, where believers offered up prayers for the imprisoned woman.

In January Polish Catholic newspaper Gość Niedzielny (“Sunday Guest”) encouraged readers to send Wagner cards wishing her a happy birthday. 

Wagner, 44, was arrested December 8 at Women’s Care Clinic in Toronto after she and a friend entered the abortion center with red roses and attempted to persuade women to choose life for their unborn children.

Wagner was charged with mischief and two counts of breach of probation. She has been in jail since her arrest because she will not agree to bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion centers.

She will be representing herself at her trial, which has been set for March 5 and March 7, and will be held at 1000 Finch Avenue West in Toronto. 

Wagner has been imprisoned for pro-life witness several times since her first arrest in 1999.  She has been a folk hero in Poland since news of her 2012 imprisonment reached that very pro-life country, and she was given a hero’s welcome there in 2014.  Many Poles find Canada’s laissez-faire attitude towards abortion shocking, and some unabashedly draw parallels between Canada’s abortion mills and the concentration camps Germans built in occupied Poland.

“The official charges laid against our heroine are ‘interfering with business operations,'” wrote journalist Paweł Heliński in Pressmania.pl. “In Nazi Germany, it was possible to find similar paragraphs – for example, when disrupting the process of producing soap from the remains of the bodies of concentration camp victims.” 

Editor's note: Wagner's mailing address is: Vanier Center for Women, 655 Martin St., Milton, ON L9T 5E6

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The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association marches in Toronto's 2014 Pride parade.
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Teachers’ union pressures Catholic school board to repeal pro-life motion

Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

BURLINGTON, Ontario, February 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Ontario Catholic teachers’ union notorious for a leadership that publicly dissents from Catholic moral teaching is pushing a Catholic school board to repeal a motion that upholds the sanctity of human life in a tangible way.

And it might succeed.

Halton Catholic District School Board trustees approved a proposal January 16 to ensure none of its 50 schools raise money for and donate to “any charities or non-profits that publicly support, either directly or indirectly, abortion, contraception, sterilization, euthanasia, or embryonic stem cell research.”

That was too much for the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA).

In a January 22 letter to the board, OECTA representatives Keith Boyd and Nina March objected to the pro-life motion as “needlessly divisive.” And they rebuked the trustees for “taking such a narrow view of Catholic values” and choosing to “interfere” in this way.

“Many of the charities and non-profits that could be affected by this motion do incredible work in our communities and around the world, enhancing health, equity and social justice,” they wrote.

“Our schools often have longstanding relationships with these organizations, and the work of supporting these causes is exactly the sort of contribution that we expect students and graduates to make,” stated the OECTA pair.

OECTA wants the trustees to repeal the motion and, instead, “focus on creating safe, welcoming and inclusive school communities.”

But trustee Anthony Danko says the pro-life motion is needed.

“We have $12 million in school-generated funds across our board, and we know that some of this money is going to charities that are not necessarily consistent with our faith,” he told LifeSiteNews. 

“A motion like this, where we think about where our money’s going and whether it’s consistent with Catholic morality, ought to be standard operating procedure at every Catholic board,” he noted. 

Danko was one of five trustees who voted for the motion, along with sponsor Helen Karabela, Anthony Quinn, John Mark Rowe, and Susan Trites. 

The three trustees who voted against it were Arlene Iantomasi, Paul Marai, and Jane Michael.

The pro-life motion is now in jeopardy because trustee Rowe has asked the board to revisit it at the February 20 board meeting.

Rowe told LifeSiteNews he was influenced by OECTA’s letter “in relationship” to concerns he heard from “four or five” people about the word “indirectly” in the motion. 

They’re alarmed the motion as written will be interpreted to stop students from raising money for local affiliates of sprawling global charities that support abortion, contraception, or euthanasia – but elsewhere in the world, according to Rowe.

Rowe said some people raised concerns that the pro-life motion could affect partners “related to the curriculum.”

The WE Day Movement is a prime example of this, Rowe said, noting that it is “included in the religion program” and has “been very successful and the kids have really embraced it.”

The WE Day Movement, founded by Ontario Catholic school graduates Craig and Marc Kielburger, is an arm of the non-profit WE Charity, which trains children to be agents of change. LifeSiteNews reported previously that the Kielburgers’ Free the Children charity — the forerunner of WE Charity — published fact sheets in 2010 that included abortion as a means of family planning. 

WE Day events for school children often provide platforms to pro-abortion and pro-homosexual politicians and celebrities. The events have showcased pop musicians who have provided sexually charged performances.

Rowe says the trustees won’t be able to amend the pro-life motion at the February 20 meeting, but can re-vote on it.

A tie vote is considered a defeat of the motion, Danko told LifeSiteNews.

OECTA’s letter “doesn’t surprise me,” he added. “But principals and teachers ought to use some discernment as to where monies are going. They need to think with a lens of faith on. And the board looking at this, it is really the board’s purview.” 

Halton Catholic District School Board trustees' contact information: 

Diane Rabenda, Milton Trustee & Chair of the Board
905-632-6314 x. 7185
rabendad@hcdsb.org

Paul Marai, Oakville Trustee & Vice-Chair of the Board
905-842-3826
maraip@hcdsb.org

Arlene Iantomasi, Burlington Trustee, Wards 1 & 2
905-632-6314 x. 7182
iantomasia@hcdsb.org

Jane Michael, Burlington Trustee, Wards 3 & 6
905-802-6258
michaelj@hcdsb.org

Susan Trites, Burlington Trustee, Wards 4 & 5
905-637-7377
tritess@hcdsb.org

John Mark Rowe, Halton Hills Trustee
905-877-9510
rowem@hcdsb.org

Anthony Danko, Oakville Trustee
905-825-9159
dankoa@hcdsb.org

Helena Karabela, Oakville Trustee
289-230-1423
karabelah@hcdsb.org

Anthony Quinn, Oakville Trustee
905-338-3919
anthonyquinn@hcdsb.org

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Notre Dame funds contraception, appeals to Pope Francis’ ‘discernment’

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SOUTH BEND, Indiana, February 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – University of Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins justified the university’s decision last week to fund “simple contraceptives” through its insurance plan by appealing to Pope Francis and the Pope’s call for “discernment.”

“The situation is one that demands discernment—something to which Pope Francis has called the Church in his various writings and addresses,” wrote Jenkins in a February 7 letter to faculty and staff about the decision. 

“Discernment, which has a long history in the Catholic spiritual tradition, is, of course, a process of weighing thoughtfully considerations for and against various courses of action. Yet it also demands prayerful attention to God’s guidance through the prompting of the Holy Spirit,” he added. 

The university had announced in November that contraception would be available to those covered on its insurance plans through a third-party insurance administrator. The decision dismayed alumni, staff and others concerned for the university’s Catholic identity, and also came as a surprise because Notre Dame had been among a number of Catholic institutions to sue over the HHS Contraception Mandate in Obamacare.

Jenkins stated in his letter that third-party insurance also included the "provision of abortion-inducing drugs" which are "far more gravely objectionable in Catholic teaching." Because of this, the university decided to "stop the government-funded provision of the range of drugs and services through our third party administrator."

"Instead, the University will provide coverage in the University’s own insurance plans for simple contraceptives (i.e., drugs designed to prevent conception)," wrote Jenkins

The policy is scheduled to be enacted starting June 1, 2018.

The Catholic Church condemns contraception because it separates the unitive and procreative purposes of the marital act. Chemical contraception also has countless associated health risks. Further, when regular oral contraception fails to prevent conception, some experts say it can actually cause an abortion.

Notre Dame law professor Gerard V. Bradley condemned the university’s decision in an article titled Notre Dame Swallows the Pill published February 8 at the Public Discourse. 

“Now the University is to be sole funder and proprietor of a contraception giveaway, with only the logistics of it delegated by Notre Dame to its plan administrators. What it solemnly declared for years to be morally impossible is, suddenly, the substance of Notre Dame’s free choice,” he wrote. 

Bradley said Notre Dame “has betrayed the Catholic faith,” adding that “Fr. Jenkins and all others involved in making this fateful, gravely wrong choice should be rebuked.”

The law professor said that the decision will cause incalculable harm to “so many persons’ minds, bodies and souls.”

He warned that Fr. Jenkins justification for funding contraception, based on “respecting” those who have decided to use contraception despite Church teaching, “is not only mistaken, but catastrophic for the moral life.”

“Our moral duty to respect others’ choices does not have anything to do with giving them the means to do evil,” he wrote, adding that “one should not respect another’s specific immoral choice at all.”

“Everyone’s immoral choices should be regretted, and their repetition discouraged, and their occurrences criticized appropriately,” he wrote. 

The university did not provide contraception coverage in its insurance plans before the 2012 mandate, Catholic News Agency reports, except when it was prescribed for a medical condition. The Catholic university only allowed contraceptive coverage for staff and students after first unsuccessfully contesting Obama's HHS ‘contraception’ Mandate. Then, in a surprise flip-flop, the university rejecting the offer of a religious exemption to the Mandate by the Trump government. 

Alumni criticized the flip-flop, as did Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Part of the concern was also that Notre Dame’s participation in the lawsuit without the intention of taking advantage of the exemption was a misuse of the justice system.

Bradley criticized Jenken’s for wrapping the university's funding of contraception in the language of “discernment.”

“But the Holy Spirit is not a consequentialist. God does not want us to weigh up pros and cons of adhering to the moral truth. And the greatest respect we can show others is to bear faithful witness to that truth,” he wrote. 

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Trump’s Education Department will no longer accept LGBT student bathroom complaints: report

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WASHINGTON D.C., February 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump Administration’s Education Department told a news agency that it will no longer investigate or take action on complaints filed by transgender students who say they are being discriminated against by being told to use bathrooms corresponding to their biological gender.  

Reports BuzzFeed

For the past three weeks, BuzzFeed News called and emailed Education Department officials attempting to pinpoint the agency’s position.

Finally on Thursday, Liz Hill, a spokesperson for the agency, responded “yes, that’s what the law says” when asked again if the Education Department holds a current position that restroom complaints from transgender students are not covered by a 1972 federal civil rights law called Title IX.

Asked for further explanation on the department’s position, Hill said Friday, “Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity.”

She added that certain types of transgender complaints may be investigated — but not bathroom complaints.

“Where students, including transgender students, are penalized or harassed for failing to conform to sex-based stereotypes, that is sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX,” Hill said. “In the case of bathrooms, however, long-standing regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”

BuzzFeed reports that this is the "first time officials have asserted this position publicly as an interpretation of law," adding that "no formal announcement has been made."

Last year, the nascent Trump administration rejected guidance on transgender bathroom use issued by the Obama White House which had directed schools to allow students to use whatever bathroom they choose according to their perceived gender identity. 

While a formal announcement has yet to be made, BuzzFeed News reports that an Education Department spokesperson has confirmed that the Trump Administration will carry that decision to its logical conclusion.   

The news comes amid conflicting court decisions concerning the issues of transgender usage of school restrooms and locker rooms. The Obama Administration asserted that Title IX protections against sexual discrimination also applied to gender identity. 

Two federal appeals courts, following the Obama Administration lead, have ruled in recent years that Title IX is ambiguous, and that the ban on discrimination “on the basis of sex” does indeed include gender identity.  

Other lower courts have been divided on the issue.

Last month, a Wisconsin case which was headed for the United States Supreme Court was settled before the case could advance.  

The 7th Circuit said in May 2017 that a “policy that requires an individual to use a bathroom that does not conform with his or her gender identity punishes that individual for his or her gender non‐conformance, which in turn violates Title IX.”

Further, the court dismissed the school’s appeal to male students’ privacy as based on “sheer conjecture and abstraction.”

In July 2016, Wisconsin high schooler Ashley Whitaker sued her school. She said she suffered from depression and anxiety and that her life was miserable – not because of her gender dysphoria, but because George Nelson Tremper High School didn’t acknowledge her as a "boy" and allow her to use the boys’ bathroom. 

Rather than let the case proceed, the Kenosha Unified School District dropped its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and paid a $800,000 settlement to the young female who says she is a “boy,” citing the prohibitive cost of litigation.  

The school district’s attorney Ron Stadler said that the district would likely have succeeded at the Supreme Court, but that the monetary and insurance risks weighed heavily.

The New Civil Rights Movement, an organization whose goal is to “galvanize a community of progressives to help advance civil rights for LGBT people,” complained in a statement that the Trump Administration policy change was “made secretly with no public statement or opportunity for public comment.” 

“Catherine Lhamon, who led the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights during the Obama administration, said the new school-restroom policy is legally dubious,” according to the BuzzFeed News report

“Until now, the official position of the Department has been that Title IX protects all students and that they were evaluating how that protection applies to the issue of bathroom access,” said Lhamon. “This new categorical bar of civil rights protection for transgender children required to attend schools every day ignores the text of the law, courts' interpretation of the law, the stated position of the Department to date, and human decency.”

Parents, however, who have had to fight school boards so that their daughters will not have to shower with biological boys who think they are 'girls' will likely welcome the news. 

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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

News,

‘Hateful content’? Twitter bans Christian radio interview opposing transgenderism

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

February 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has banned an ad promoting an interview about transgenderism with Heritage Foundation scholar Dr. Ryan T. Anderson.

Issues, Etc., a Christian talk radio show, attempted to run an ad on Twitter highlighting its February 7 interview with Anderson, the author of When Harry Become Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement. Issues, Etc. was unable to do so because the interview allegedly violated Twitter’s policy against “hateful content.”

“Twitter prohibits the promotion of hate speech globally,” it says. This includes “hate speech or advocacy against a protected group or an individual or organization based on based on, but not limited to” factors like “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

Anderson pointed out the irony of leftist companies not wanting to promote messages with which they disagree given their support of forced speech for cake bakers.

Amazon has also stopped shipping Anderson’s book, he tweeted.

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Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

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Evidence shows Pope Francis is a ‘principal in a cover-up’ of clergy sex-abuse in Chile: Expert

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Those familiar with Jorge Bergoglio in Argentina before he became Pope Francis say it is a “classic” move of his to provide “mercy” to clergy who are sexual predators while asking everybody else to simply “move on,” said attorney and child advocate Elizabeth Yore on an EWTN show last week. 

“I think this is a misplaced mercy. It is mercy for the predator priests,” she told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo on the February 8 episode of World Over. 

“There are many people who know the Pope from Argentina who have said this is classic Bergoglio to provide mercy to the predators and ask everybody else to move on,” she added.  (See original The World Over program segment on this issue that begins at 47 seconds into the video below)

Yore, who has handled child abuse investigations and clergy abuse investigations throughout her legal career, was commenting on the latest sexual abuse case to touch the Francis papacy, in this case where the Pope appointed a bishop with a history of complicity in child sex abuse. The Pope’s claim that he had never received any victim testimony regarding the complicity of Chilean Bishop Juan Barros in child sex abuse has proven to be false

“The Barros case is putting the Pope, for the first time, in the middle as a principal in a cover-up,” Yore said during the interview.  

Yore said that not only is it now known that the Pope received a letter from one of the victims, but it is also now known that he was “told from the moment he appointed Bishop Barros in 2015 that this was a bad decision.”

“The Chilean Archbishop conference told him to revoke this appointment. He received petitions and letters and calls, yet, ignored them all,” she said. 

As details continue to surface, the pontiff’s professed empathy for abuse victims has come into question as well.

Yore called the child sex abuse case involving infamous Chilean priest abuser Father Fernando Karadima and Bishop Juan Barros “a scandal of epic proportions.” 

The scandal signals that the Church under Francis is slipping backwards in its handling of abuse, said Yore.

Yore called the example Pope Francis set in the way he handled the abuse information “extremely dangerous.”

“But it is extremely dangerous as the head of the Catholic Church — you know, the last appeal — that this is the kind of behavior that is going to be mimicked around the world by bishops, [who will say] ‘Well if the Pope is not going to intervene and impose zero tolerance, why should I?’”

Reports say Pope Francis personally received the eight-page letter from the Chilean victim graphically detailing the alleged abuses by Karadima and linking Barros as having witnessed and covered up the abuse. The alleged abuse took place decades prior to Francis’s 2015 appointment of Barros to the Diocese of Osorno in southern Chile.

Pope Francis received the victim’s letter in 2015, its author and a member of Francis’s sex abuse commission have said, contradicting the Pope’s recent insistence that no victims had come forward in the matter and no evidence had been produced.

Francis encountered protests in Chile over his defense of Barros during his visit there last month, calling the accusations against the priest “calumny.”

While Francis later apologized, he persisted in defending Barros, denying that he had received any testimony himself and restating that such unproven accusations are “slander.”

The Pope later said he would send Malta Archbishop Charles Scicluna – the former top Vatican abuse investigator - to Chile to investigate the matter.

Expectations were high in 2014 when the Pope created the abuse commission. And while he has continually condemned clergy sex abuse throughout his pontificate, some have argued his actions in some serious cases don’t match his tough stances on abuse.

Four members of the commission had met with Cardinal O’Malley in 2015, conveying their objections to Francis’s 2015 appointment of Barros as bishop of Osorno. 

It was at the meeting with O’Malley that the abuse commission representatives reportedly gave the letter to the cardinal to deliver to Francis, and O’Malley later confirmed to a commission member that he had in fact personally delivered the letter to the Pope. 

Yore explained that the Pope has been told from the moment he appointed Barros in 2015 that it was a bad decision, between the Chilean bishops’ conference, petitions, letters and calls, that were all ignored. Further, a Chilean judicial inquiry found all the victims who testified — including the letter’s author Juan Carlos — to be credible, and that there was a major cover-up of the abuse by Father Karadima. 

Arroyo spoke with Cruz as well, who said he was “incredibly frustrated” when Barros was going to be appointed. He’d testified about three bishops who had witnessed abuse, he said, but Barros had special significance for him because Barros’ part went beyond witnessing the abuse, to violating his seal of Confession with Karadima and psychological abuse through intimidation.

Cruz recounted how he and other victims had been dismissed or slandered by local Church hierarchy for numerous attempts to be heard. And he spoke about holding out hope that there would be a different response from the Pope, discussing specifics of getting the letter to the Francis via Cardinal O’Malley.

Cruz told Arroyo he was really hurt and felt betrayed by the Pope’s comments that the accusations were slander, and there were no witnesses or evidence.

“To hear him talk about us that way,” Cruz said, “calling us slanderers, it was terrible because it set the clock back for so many victims.”

Scicluna will be meeting with Cruz, who said he hopes other abuse survivors will be heard as a result of his case coming more to the forefront.

“This leaves us with very strong evidence that the Pope was, in fact, aware of what has happened,” Yore said. “Here we have victims 10, 15 years after their abuse, begging the Pope, having to take pictures of a letter that’s handed to a cardinal to ensure that there is evidence that the Pope is receiving this information.”

The whole of Latin America, including Argentina, was well aware of what was happening when this case broke in Chile in 2010, Yore noted, and yet the Pope continues to shrug his shoulders and say he has no information. This was precisely what he’d been saying when he was cardinal and archbishop in Buenos Aires, she said, that no one ever came forward with information, and there were never any cases of clerical abuse in the entirety of the two-million-plus member Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.

“This isn’t just simply a cover-up of a predator priest,” Yore stated. “This is Barros present, in the room when the abuse is ongoing with these young minor boys.”

She said she would argue as a child advocate that Barros was involved in sexual exploitation of children. 

“So I don’t think this is simply just a case, as bad as it is, of a cover-up of an abuser,” she said. “This is also sexual exploitation of children in a grooming gang, a predator priest. This is why it is so heinous.” 

Yore said that given the Church’s sex abuse crisis, one would have thought going into the 2013 conclave (which elected Francis) that an obvious priority in vetting candidates for the papacy would have meant a serious look at their history of handling abuse allegations in their previous sees.

There are more cases out there just like Barros that have been covered up, Yore told Arroyo, maybe even some even worse than the Barros case. 

“Those cases are going to be haunting this papacy and really causing a rift in the major protection of children that Pope Benedict had worked very hard to really build up,” she said. “Trust within the faithful and to put in a system that was going to root out the predators. And I think that has just been blown up and I think we are back to square one in the Vatican."

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‘Climate change’ alarmism results in anti-baby madness. Here’s why

Steven Mosher Steven Mosher

February 12, 2018 (Population Research Institute) – The New York Times, that purveyor of “fake news,” has come up with yet another reason that everyone should stop having children: Global Warming.

In a February 5th article entitled “No Children Because of Climate Change?” Times writer Maggie Astor interviews a dozen women who have decided not to bring children into a world they wrongly believe is on the verge of environmental collapse.

Women like Allison Guy, who explained, “I don’t want to give birth to a kid wondering if it’s going to live in some kind of ‘Mad Max’ dystopia.”

“Mad Max,” of course is the classic Mel Gibson movie about a world teetering on the brink of societal anarchy.

It was Guy’s angst over Global Warming that drove her to use birth control in the first place. “If it weren’t for climate change,” the Times explains, “she would go off birth control tomorrow. ‘But scientists’ projections, if rapid action isn’t taken, are not ‘congruent with a stable society,’ said Ms. Guy, 32, who works at a marine conservation nonprofit in Washington.”

Now I can list a number of countries where rational women might want to delay having children. 

Those who live in socialist “paradises” like Venezuela and Zimbabwe, for example, where people are starving to death because of government mismanagement of the economy, might reasonably take a pause from procreation. 

Muslim countries like Afghanistan or Syria, which are in the grip of brutal, sectarian civil wars, probably do not seem particularly family friendly to their inhabitants at the moment either.

Then there is China where, because of the lack of environmental controls by corrupt officials, the air in major cities is often barely breathable. 

The Times article recounts how another woman, Cate Mumford, was so horrified by the pollution in China that it soured her on having children of her own. “I’m so glad I’m not going to bring a brand-new baby into this world to suffer like these kids suffer,” she told the Times.

Of course, unless for some strange reason she suddenly decides to emigrate to China, she won’t have to watch her children choke on smog.

But for young American women like Misses Guy and Mumford, who are living in the most stable, prosperous, and environmentally conscious democracy the world has ever seen, to decide that “Global Warming” means going barren is bizarre.

Yet such is the corrosive effect of climate change propaganda on the minds of otherwise sensible people.

So we find College Freshman Elizabeth Bogard telling the Times that, while she would like to be a parent, “it’s hard for me to justify my wants over what matters and what’s important for everyone.”

She reminds me of the Mills University valedictorian of 1969, who declared, “Our days as a race on this planet are numbered . . . I am terribly saddened by the fact that the most humane things for me to do is to have no children at all.”

This young woman, who was heavily influenced by Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb, entitled her address, “The Future is a Cruel Hoax.”

But the only hoax in question was Ehrlich’s myth of Overpopulation, itself the precursor of the current myth of man-made Global Warming.

It is a safe bet that the disappointed Miss Bogard above has spent a lot of time in school agonizing over pictures of cuddly polar bear cubs facing extinction, deserts on the march in North Africa, and beautiful atolls being submerged by rising ocean waters.

None of which is actually happening. In the real world—unlike the imaginary world of environmental apocalypse—polar bear populations are robust, any warming that occurs will bring more rain to the Sahel, and low lying island chains, like the Maldives, are doing just fine, thank you. 

Fears about a future apocalypse are not confined to American progressives, of course. The Times article also quotes a woman living in Cairo to the effect that she will probably decide to never have any children.  

“I know that humans are hard-wired to procreate,” Maram Kaff says, speaking as if her own species was some kind of alien invasion, “but my instinct now is to shield my children from the horrors of the future by not bringing them to the world.’”

Read that sentence again: This women proposes to protect “her children” from “the horrors of the future” by preventing them from being born. How, one asks? By aborting them? By contracepting them out of existence altogether?  

She might as well have said that she would strangle them in their cradles.

Such is the kind of anti-people, anti-baby madness that is being produced by the climate change alarmism.

Environmental radicals in the U.S., Europe, and at the U.N. have even been known to refer to babies as “carbon emitters.” This is surely one of the least charming ways to refer to newborns ever invented.  

It is deeply dehumanizing.  

And that which the radical, abortion-minded environmental movement wants to destroy, it first dehumanizes.

Editor’s note: Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia. This article first appeared on Population Research Institute. It is reprinted here by permission of the author. 

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Blogs

The New Winter Olympics: praising gays and glamorizing murderous regimes while bashing America

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, February 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Ripping a page from the NFL playbook, the Winter Olympics have gotten off to a rocky start as organizers, participants, and the media have used the games to bash Americans who love both their country and sports more than they want to celebrate LGBT diversity or idolize leaders of North Korea’s barbaric regime.

Like the NFL, the Winter Olympics have become politicized, used to promote progressive political ideology.  

It should come as no surprise that television viewership has taken a bad hit compared to recent Winter Olympics: Day 1 coverage was down 15% over 2014 and a whopping 20% over 2010; and Day 2 coverage was down 6% over 2014 and 11% over 2010.

This is despite the fact that the Olympics had almost no competition on other networks on Sunday, according to entertainment trade publication Hollywood Deadline.

Gay Olympians: “Eat your heart out, Pence”  

Two gay U.S. Olympic athletes have used the games to pick a very public fight with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who is at the Games leading the U.S. delegation.

Mike Pence doesn’t really stand for anything that I believe in,” said figure skater Adam Rippon.  The skater said he would turn down an invitation to the White House because he thinks he wouldn’t be “welcome” because he is gay.   

Snowboarder Gus Kenworthy said that Vice President Pence is a “strange choice” to lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympics.  

“To have somebody leading the delegation that’s directly attacked the LGBTQ community, and a Cabinet in general that just sort of stands against us and has tried to do things to set us back, it just seems like a bad fit,” Kenworthy told Ellen Degeneres.  

“I feel like the Olympics is all about inclusion and people coming together,” continued Kenworthy, adding that Vice President’s presence is “not really doing that.”

The lesbian talk show host piled on, saying, “I agree with you.  I think it’s a weird choice.”  

Yet Pence has never taken a stand against gays.  As Governor of Indiana, Pence fought to protect religious liberty in the Hoosier State––an act incorrectly interpreted by the LGBT world as “anti-LGBT.”

In a taunting instagram posting accompanying a photo of the two gay men embracing each other, Kenworthy said on Friday: “The Opening Ceremony is a wrap and the 2018 Winter Olympic Gaymes are officially under way!  I feel incredibly honored to be here in Korea competing for the US and I'm so proud to be representing the LGBTQ community alongside this amazing guy! Eat your heart out, Pence.”

LGBT-sports news outlet Outsports reports that this year there are a “record 14 ‘out’ LGBT athletes” participating in the Winter Olympics.  Of the fourteen cited, 10 are females and four are gay males, including skier Kenworthy and three male figure skaters.

American media infatuated with murderous North Korean dictator’s sister   

North Korea’s Kim Yo Jung, Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, grabbed the spotlight in Pyeongchang for the first three days of the Olympics.

“Kim Jong Un's sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics,” blared a CNN headline, while The New York Times trumpeted, “Kim Jong-un’s Sister Turns On the Charm, Taking Pence’s Spotlight.”

The Washington Post and others called her “North Korea’s Ivanka Trump.”

The backlash against the left-leaning media giants was fast and furious.

“‘She’s North Korea’s Ivanka Trump!’ if Ivanka Trump oversaw prison labor camps, tortured & starved citizens & ordered a few hundred executions, totally,” tweeted  Stephen Miller.

Kim Yo Jung is North Korea's director of the Department of Propaganda and Agitation, occupying a powerful political position in her brother’s murderous regime. 

“She's literally the deputy director of the ‘Propaganda and Agitation Department’ for one of the world's most repressive regimes,” said Jesse Lehrich in a tweet.  

Frank Luntz noted, “CNN has had harsher coverage of Trump than they have of Kim Jong-Un.”

Kim Yo Jung is North Korea's director of the Department of Propaganda and Agitation, occupying a powerful political position in her brother’s murderous regime.  

Within its fawning coverage, CNN admits that it allows Kim to serve as “a foil to the perception of North Korea as antiquated and militaristic.”

“But as North Korea's brutal dictator,” continues the CNN report, “Kim's brother has ruled with an iron fist since coming to power, operating Nazi-style prison camps, repressing political opposition and even executing senior officers and his own family members in an effort to consolidate power.”

A 'rainbow of political correctness'

When Fox News Executive Vice President John Moody penned a now-deleted opinion piece titled, In Olympics, let's focus on the winner of the race – not the race of the winner, he may or may not have been prepared for the swift backlash which followed.  

Moody said, “Unless it’s changed overnight, the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger.’  It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee would like to change that to ‘Darker, Gayer, Different.’”

“If your goal is to win medals,” he added, “that won’t work.”

“If someone is denied a slot on a team because of prejudice, that’s one thing,” he continued.  “Complaining that every team isn’t a rainbow of political correctness defeats the purpose of sports, which is competition.”

Moody’s assertion that the Olympic games are about sports competition and not diversity horrified the LGBT world and progressives who issued a stream of hyperbolic statements.

National Center for Lesbian Rights deputy director Catherine Sakimura told The Hollywood Reporter that Moody’s commentary is “racist and homophobic sentiment demeans our U.S. Olympic athletes.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, told the Reporter Moody’s comments represented “vicious anti-LGBTQ and biased rhetoric.”

“FOX News: How can we prove we're racist and homophobic in the quickest way possible?  John Moody: Hold my beer,” said deadpool in a tweet.  

Actress Mia Farrow, who played the mother of Satan’s offspring in Rosemary’s Baby,  chimed in, saying “This Fox News executive, John Moody, is DISGRACEFUL.”

Progressive messages sominate, obscuring real news out of Pyeongchang

As progressives continue to use the Winter Olympics to advance pet causes, far more pressing issues are being dealt with, invisible to politically correct social justice warriors.

While gay American athletes might think that attacking the Vice President is the most important story coming out of South Korea, Mike Pence has had to bravely face down the North Korean regime.  Somehow, as a news story, the Vice President having to contend with a couple gays with hurt feelings pales in comparison.

Before leaving South Korea, Pence said, “We’ll continue to seize every opportunity to ensure that North Korea does not use the powerful imagery and backdrop of the Olympics to paper over an appalling record of human rights and a pattern of developing weapons and conducting the kind of missile launches that are threatening our nation and threatening neighbors across the region.”

In response to the fawning coverage of Kim Jong Un’s sister, Salena Zito, a Washington Examiner reporter who has her finger on the pulse of heartland America like no other reporter, said, “I am deeply saddened by how my profession has normalized and glamorized this murderous regime. And then we wonder why no one trusts us.” 

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Young people don’t need ‘porn literacy’ classes about Fifty Shades: Porn must simply be banned

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February 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On February 7, the New York Times published a long essay describing something that those of us who do anti-porn work are very familiar with: The socialization of an entire generation by Internet pornography, and how young people have taken their cues on sexuality from the porn that they begin to consume at an increasingly young age.

The young man the Times profiled, whom they refer to as “Drew,” was eight years old when he first encountered pornography. That is unfortunately extremely common. 

Drew recounts how pornography pervaded both his perception of the opposite sex, his interactions with them, and his expectations about sexuality. Many times, Drew and his peers found themselves confused—like with the Fifty Shades of Grey craze, for example. Was it okay to hit girls? Was inflicting pain on girls permissible, even desirable? Where was the line?

And of course, the girls were also being socialized by what they consumed—and were equally confused. What do the boys expect from us? Is this sexual violence thing normal? Do we have to do that?

Some of Drew’s peers related that they would “just do it” when it came to common porn practices like anal sex, because that’s what the guys in porn did. The guys in porn were rough and demanding, and that seemed to work for them.

Others, like Drew, were confused—and had the sinking feeling that maybe there was something wrong about it all.

In response to the ubiquity of porn, some schools are now piloting a “Porn Literacy” course, which helps young people interpret pornography and understand that it is not real life. That, apparently, is the best “sex educators” can do when trying to combat the influence of porn on sex.

Pornography is actually quite a bit more dangerous than the Times essay lets on. Geoff Rogers, the CEO of the US Institute Against Human Trafficking, announced earlier this month at a Justice Department Summit on Human Trafficking that he believes that pornography is partially responsible for driving the demand for human trafficking. While buying sex and trafficking girls and women is nothing new, Rogers noted, “the increasing insatiable desire for sex with children in our society is something new, and it’s running rampant in our society.” 

Rogers noted that a comprehensive approach to combatting human trafficking must, in his view, also include a strategy to keep porn out of the hands of boys and girls.

Reported The Epoch Times:

Rogers said the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has collected evidence from numerous studies that prove that pornography and our hypersexualized culture are driving the insatiable desire for sex and the purchase of sex, including that of children.

“Societally, we need to shift. We’ve got to grab hold of this and understand that as a society it is not OK that we have an entire young generation of kids growing up with ready access to hardcore, deviant, violent pornography,” Rogers said. “I heard one expert say it best—that pornography is one of the greatest unchecked social experiments that our world has ever seen.”

Rogers is correct.

One poll indicated that 56% of young men admitted that their porn tastes had become “increasingly extreme or deviant,” with only 21% of them saying that this fact bothered them. As children access porn at a younger and younger age, it begins to impact their development:

Again, from The Epoch Times' report:

"The perfect storm is here, where we have a young generation of kids that have access to hardcore, violent pornography on their cellphones at age 9, 10, 11,” Rogers said. “They’re growing up addicted to pornography; that’s shaping their sexual template. And at some point, they’re moving from visualization to actualization.”

It is high time that our culture dealt with pornography in a real and meaningful way. There is virtually no one who is claiming that pervasive Internet pornography is having a positive impact on our culture. When I debated a pro-porn professor on the radio on this subject, even she admitted that the vast majority of pornography was deeply damaging. The impact on the first generation to grow up with pervasive pornography is already beginning to manifest itself in sinister ways, and it is clear that we need to do far more to protect children from this material than we currently are.

But “porn literacy” courses are a castrated way to approach the problem.

Pornography is the problem, not porn illiteracy. Pornography is not going to be part of the solution. Banishing pornography from childhood will be the only effective antidote.

And so I think that the radical proposal of Ross Douthat—which is currently incurring outrage across the Internets—is a much better one. In the wake of the #MeToo movement and the growing mountain of evidence that porn is having a harmful impact on society, “Let’s ban porn,” he suggested in his New York Times Sunday column:

So if you want better men by any standard, there is every reason to regard ubiquitous pornography as an obstacle — and to suspect that between virtual reality and creepy forms of customization, its influence is only likely to get worse.

But unlike many structural forces with which moralists of the left and right contend, porn is also just a product — something made and distributed and sold, and therefore subject to regulation and restriction if we so desire.

The belief that it should not be restricted is a mistake; the belief that it cannot be censored is a superstition. Law and jurisprudence changed once and can change again, and while you can find anything somewhere on the internet, making hard-core porn something to be quested after in dark corners would dramatically reduce its pedagogical role, its cultural normalcy, its power over libidos everywhere.

That we cannot imagine such censorship is part of our larger inability to imagine any escape from the online world’s immersive power, even as we harbor growing doubts about its influence upon our psyches.

But in this sense porn also presents an opportunity to reconsider the tendency to just drift along with technological immersion, a chance where the moral stakes are sharpened to prove we don’t have to accept enslavement to our screens.

Feminists should take it. We should all take it. It is not only decency but eros itself that waits to be regained.

Exactly. Here is common ground that feminists, Christians, and people of common sense who don’t think that women getting choked or subjected to violence is healthy for the soul or for society, can set up camp on.

There is nothing good to be said about pornography, and there is no porn user who is better off for his or her habit. Let’s start treating porn like the cultural cancer it is, and having a discussion on how to root it out.

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