Four Presidential Candidates Sign Pledge Promising to Defend Marriage

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Dr Wendy Longo https://www.flickr.com/photos/wtlphotos/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Dr Wendy Longo https://www.flickr.com/photos/wtlphotos/

Four presidential candidates have signed the Presidential Pledge for Marriage that is being promoted by the National Organization for Marriage. The four signatories are Senator Ted Cruz, former Senator Rick Santorum, Dr Ben Carson and Governor Bobby Jindal.

Governor Mike Huckabee, Govern Scott Walker and Senator Lindsey Graham have announced that they will not be signing any pledges.

Most candidates have not responded to requests to sign the pledge. Those not responding are: Governors Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rick Perry, Former Governor Jim Gilmore, Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, private citizens Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump.

The National Organization for Marriage makes no mention of the Democratic candidates for president. Even though all of the big name contenders that I know about have not only made public statements in support to gay marriage, but appear to be vying with one as to who can support it the most vehemently, I think this is a mistake. I’ve always operated by giving everyone an equal chance to refuse.

This is the text of the pledge:

The Presidential Marriage Pledge

I, _____________ _____________, pledge to the American people that if elected President, I will:

One, support a federal constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Two, oppose and work to overturn any Supreme Court decision that illegitimately finds a constitutional “right” to the redefinition of marriage. This includes nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, and appointing an attorney general similarly committed.

Three, conduct a review of regulatory, administrative and executive actions taken by the current Administration that have the effect of undermining marriage and work to restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Consistent with this, prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.

Four, support the First Amendment Defense Act and other legislation that recognizes the right of organizations and individuals to act in the public square consistent with their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman without fear of retaliation from the government.

Five, direct the Department of Justice to investigate, document and publicize cases of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.

There is also a People’s Marriage Pledge. You can go here to sign it. This is the text of the People’s Marriage Pledge.

The People’s Marriage Pledge

I pledge that I will only support a candidate for President of the United States who has pledged to take specific actions to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. This includes:

•Supporting a federal marriage amendment protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

•Opposing and working to overturn any Supreme Court ruling that illegitimately finds a constitutional “right” to redefine marriage.

•Nominating to the US Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, and appointing an attorney general similarly committed.

•Conducting a review of regulatory, administrative and executive actions taken by the Obama Administration that have the effect of undermining marriage and work to restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Consistent with this, prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.

•Supporting federal legislation that recognizes the right of organizations and individuals to act in the public square consistent with their beliefs about marriage without fear of retaliation from the federal government.

•Directing the Department of Justice to investigate, document and publicize cases of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.

I also pledge to support only those candidates for federal office who have taken positions consistent with the above policies.

I’m going to withhold my thinking on the whole question of pledges and opinion polls for a while. I’ll probably talk more about it later.

For now, it’s important to see that of the entire field of candidates in both parties, only four were willing to sign the pledge. While the Ds have taken a strong stand in favor of gay marriage, several of the Rs have waffled on the topic. These four do not appear to be waffling at all.

Read the pledge, think this whole process through, and tell me what you think. We’re going to be dealing with this issue for a long time. We need to consider our overall goals and strategies going forward.

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Research Lab Assistants “Freak Out” at Sight of Baby Body Parts

Photo Source Flickr Creative Commons by Britt-knee https://www.flickr.com/photos/lsuchick142/

Photo Source Flickr Creative Commons by Britt-knee https://www.flickr.com/photos/lsuchick142/

This is the most recent video from the Center for Medical Progress detailing how Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted babies to commercial medicine for research.

StemExpress is a mid-level handler who buys the organs of abortion babies from abortion clinics, including Planned Parenthood, and then re-sells them to researchers. This video shows the director of StemExpress at lunch, discussing the acquisition of the livers, brains, arms and legs of murdered babies for her company.

The thing that I found most interesting in the video is her discussion of how careful she has to be in dealing with the researchers to whom she sells the baby’s body parts. She says that these researchers want the body parts stripped as much as possible of anything that would remind the researcher that he or she is using organs that were harvested from a living child.

She doesn’t put it quite that way, but that is her meaning.

She also comments that lab assistants “freak out” when they see an intact arm or leg with the hand or foot of the child attached. That is, of course, the real value of these videos. They make it clear what is going on here.

I think that if you asked the American public a hypothetical question about whether or  not to allow the use of “tissue” from “the products of an abortion” for “life-saving research” that would “benefit millions and might find the cure for dread diseases,”  and “would be thrown away anyway,” they would say yes. But when you show people sorting through the organs of a dead baby, lifting the tiny arms and tossing aside the empty skull with the vacant eyes, the whole thing takes on another dimension.

That dimension is reality. Reality is what the researchers want to avoid experiencing when they ask that hands be removed from the arms of murdered babies that they want to use in their research. Realty is what the lab assistants react to when they “freak out” at the sight of what is clearly the corpse of a murdered human being.

The reality is that abortion kills a living child. That is why it is wrong.

It is also why we must find other solutions for the miseries of misogyny than abortion.

This video is a lesson in dealing with those who face this grisly reality and do not find it difficult, whose conscience does not appear to be troubled by participating in what is in fact mass murder. History is replete with the stories of such people. They are often among the most urbane and “civilized” among us.

They are also a testament to the fact that you cannot judge the soul of another person by their outward demeanor.

People have been fooled for too long about the reality of abortion. These videos change that.

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“Journalists” Receive Planned Parenthood’s Maggie Award Despite Horrifying Videos

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Women's E-News https://www.flickr.com/photos/wenews/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Women’s E-News https://www.flickr.com/photos/wenews/

Planned Parenthood recently recognized 16 publishers for their efforts to promote “reproductive rights.”

These recipients of the Maggie Awards for Media Excellence evidently feel no embarrassment about receiving an honor from an organization that sells the body parts of babies that it has killed.

You can read the whole story at Live Action News, but here’s an unofficial list of those who got the award. Do you see any of your favorite publications?

From Live Action News:

Buzzfeed – via Casey Gueren

Colorlines.com – via Akiba Solomon and Aura Bogado

Cosmopolitan – via Jill Filipovic 

Ebony – via Jamilah Lemieux

Elle – via Laurie Abraham and Leah Chernikoff

Esquire – via John H. Richardson

Mic – via Elizabeth Plank

MSNBC – via Irin Carmon

Pearl of Africa documentary – via Cleo Kambugu and Jonny von Wallström

Salon – via Valerie Tarico

Teen Vogue – via Phillip Picardi

The Nation – via Katha Pollitt

UpWorthy – via Ariel Azoff, Wagatwe Wanjuki and Lori White

Vice – via Fazeelat Aslam

Yahoo! Health – via Jen Gerson Uffalussy

Tai Beauchamp of InStyle hosted the event.

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Why Would a Pro Life Catholic Stay in the Democratic Party?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Daniel Lobo https://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Daniel Lobo https://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/

Why would a pro life Catholic stay in the Democratic Party?

In my case, it was because, when I prayed about it, the direct and clear answer was that I had to stay. I didn’t understand it at the time. It was the exact opposite of what I expected, or at that moment in my life, wanted to hear.

But later on, I saw that God knew what He was doing. I was like a chess piece that someone moved into place for a design play and the play would only work if I was a Democrat.

Maybe God trusted me by leaving me in the lion’s den, trusted me not to cut and run, not to go all rubbery and waffle. Maybe He simply gave me an opportunity to make good the things I’d done wrong in my past. I only know that the way He used me was an extra measure of forgiveness that I did not deserve.

The point is that you can serve God from anywhere. You just have to be willing to do what He tells you, and then take the incoming flak for doing it.

I wrote about these issues for the National Catholic Register.

Here is a bit of what I said:

… That is the cautionary side of the story concerning Arkansas Representative Mike Holcomb. Representative Holcomb split with the Democratic party this week by changing his registration from Democrat to Republican. When you or I change parties, it’s just a matter of changing a letter on the voter ID. But when Representative Holcomb does it, he’s switching his entire House district, right along with himself. The next election will determine how his constituents feel about this.

Representative Holcomb’s reason for doing this this makes a lot of sense to any pro-life Democrat — he can no longer sit on the side of abortion. The Arkansas Democrats’ position on funding for Planned Parenthood is said to have triggered the move.

Arkansas Ds have been quick to announce that, so far as they are concerned, Representative Holcomb’s departure from their column is good riddance to bad rubbish. Their public statements are a classic case of “don’t let the doorknob hit you in the you-know-what on your way out.”

It’s easy for someone like me to read between these broadly-drawn lines to the personal acrimony and anger behind them. One article I read said that Representative Holcomb has been caucusing with the Rs, anyway.

I don’t know of course, but I can extrapolate from my own experience to what seems like an understanding of the name-calling, verbal hazing and threats that led to this situation. It can get ugly inside those caucuses, especially when one member paints a bulls-eye on themselves by refusing to do the due on something as explosive as abortion.

Nobody outside the inner world of elected officialdom can imagine just how personal and ugly the pressure can be on a pro-life elected Democrat.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/political-parties-have-group-think-but-we-have-the-mind-of-christ/#ixzz3jljChyd1

 

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Thousands Protest Outside PP Clinics Nationwide

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Neon Tommy https://www.flickr.com/photos/neontommy/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Neon Tommy https://www.flickr.com/photos/neontommy/

Thousands of pro life people protested at Planned Parenthood clinics around the country. It appears that Congress may have a spot of trouble keeping the lid on this long enough to use it for a campaign issue.

If pro life people — who are a big part of the majority party’s electoral base — continue pushing, Congress might actually have to do something more than hold hearings and speechify.

From the Washington Post:

Thousands of antiabortion activists descended upon Planned Parenthood clinics on Saturday to participate in a nationwide protest aimed at cutting off federal funding for the controversial health-care organization.

The demonstrations unfolded at about 320 clinics around the nation, according to organizers, with some gatherings drawing a few dozen protesters and others drawing hundreds and perhaps thousands more.

 

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Swiss Catholic LGBT Money Targets African Bishops Ahead of Synod

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Marcel Grieder https://www.flickr.com/photos/thegrid-ch/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Marcel Grieder https://www.flickr.com/photos/thegrid-ch/

Ka-Ching!

Politics of any sort runs on money, and the Church has its own politics. That’s a given.

The scandal — and it is scandalous — is that Catholic bishops are reported to be using monies raised from the faithful as part of Lenten almsgiving to put pressure on other bishops to accede to gay rights. I have said repeatedly — and I meant it — that I have no problem with homosexual priests. However, I have a major problem with insincere priests who do not hold an authentic faith in and followership of Christ.

It makes no difference to me if the priest is homosexual or straight. But they must be priests first.

I hope more details about this emerge quickly. If the Swiss bishops are mis-using alms in this manner, they need to be brought to heel. If they are truly engaging with outside groups to pressure other bishops to accede to external, secular, political agendas that run counter to Church teaching, that needs to stop, as well.

We need leadership in these times. This has the earmarks of self-serving misuse of power and mis-appropriation of funds that violates the trust of those who have given money to the Church. It also raises real questions as to whether the Swiss bishops are following Christ and teaching the Gospels, or attempting to lead the Church away from Him and His Word.

From The Catholic News Agency:

.- The Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund and a major U.S. foundation have helped fund an LGBT activist project intended to counter West African bishops at the Catholic Church’s Synod on the Family.

The Netherlands-based European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups originally planned to make a documentary film of self-identified LGBT Catholics in Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon.

“Reacting to the extremely negative influence from bishops from Western Africa on the final document of the Family Synod 14, we found it important to bring the voices of LGBT Catholics from this region to broader attention,” the European Forum said in its 2014-2015 activity report.

The forum’s activities report said the project was funded by the Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund Fastenopfer and the Arcus Foundation. The wealthy U.S.-based foundation has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to LGBT activist groups to target the synod.

But Fastenopfer is a Catholic development organization. It traditionally raises its funds during Lenten almsgiving. Its Italian-language name is Sacrificio Quaresimale, which means “Lenten Sacrifice.”

Bishop Felix Gmur of Basel, Switzerland is president of the Lenten fund’s foundation council, which oversees the NGO’s directors group. Two of the nine members of the foundation council are named by the Conference of Swiss Bishops, with the rest being named by a separate body.

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Converting the World, Ending Abortion, the Jesus Way

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Koshy Koshy https://www.flickr.com/photos/kkoshy/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Koshy Koshy https://www.flickr.com/photos/kkoshy/

Mama is scheduled to come home from the hospital today. It’s a new reality. Most of what she could do before last week, she can no longer do.

I’ve enlisted the help of hospice, and they’ve already been great. They brought over a hospital bed, oxygen, and all sorts of helpful equipment. But I am concerned about my physical ability to do the lifting and such. I’m asking for your prayers.

In the meantime, I wrote this post for the National Catholic Register about the need to pray for those we would like to hate. I’m talking about pro choice politicians, in particular those who voted against the attempt to defund Planned Parenthood last week.

We can lose our souls while we’re trying to serve God if we become instruments of hate instead of love. Scripture tells us that God is love. So, if we do not love, including those we feel are the most unlovable, then we have no part in Him.

Remember that Jesus is God, and He showed us a new and history-changing dynamic. Jesus died for us, and we are not the least bit lovable by the yardstick we use to judge others. We are, if we will admit it, full of angers, petty grudges, lies, selfishness and greed. That is the best of us, those who do not commit the wrongs we read about on the internet or see on the news.

But He died for us. He came down from heaven and became human, with all its aches and pains, loneliness and hardship, and He did it for us.

That is an example of loving someone who doesn’t deserve it that goes beyond our understanding or capacity for understanding. We can try to approach it by thinking on the wholly human side of Jesus, that part of Him that understands us because He consented to be one of us. But we can not begin to understand what it meant to give up heaven, to go from being God to become a helpless baby and on through dying as a criminal, hanging on a cross.

We can’t comprehend that, but we can know that it calls us to more than just genuflecting and crossing ourselves and the showy stuff of empty piety. It calls us to emulate this divine love as best we can when we are given the opportunity.

Jesus told us without any equivocation to go out into the world and teach what He taught, to convert sinners and baptize them in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This was His commission to us. The mission statement for all of Christianity, everywhere.

He also told us to pray for those Who hurt us. Then He modeled that for us from the cross.

I applied that commandment from Our Lord directly to the political situation we are facing now. Here’s what I said.

From The National Catholic Register:

I was once one of them. The pro-aborts, I mean.

After my conversion, when I began to understand that abortion was wrong and, worse for me at that time, when I felt the Holy Spirit calling me to change, the major obstacle for me was pro-life people. I had been the Oklahoma Director of NARAL. I had been a pro-choice legislator who used my position to kill pro-life legislation.

I had made speeches, organized and worked for abortion rights with all my little heart. I was as sincere and committed in my pro-choice advocacy as anyone could be. Pro-life people in Oklahoma counted me as the enemy. And they came after me.

The trouble was, they made it into a personal fight against me instead of advocacy for the babies. Instead of speaking for the humanity of the unborn, they tried to hate me to death. They said I was a communist, a prostitute, a lesbian, a whore and a slut. They claimed all sorts of political positions for me that I did not hold, and that ultimately were proven lies by my actions.

These lies hurt me as a person and as a woman. They wounded me, and they hardened me in my pro-choice resolve. They also enraged people who know me and who knew full well that the pro-life people were telling creepy, hate-filled, low-life lies about me. What they did not do was convert anyone to the pro-life cause. To the contrary, they tempered all of us into pro-choice steel.

After my conversion, when the Holy Spirit began urging me to change on abortion, I was reluctant and fearful precisely because I didn’t know one single pro-life person who I thought was sane, much less trustworthy and nice. If God had asked me to jump into an active volcano, I could not have found it more dreadful.

I believe this same dynamic is at work with pro-choice politicians today.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/we-can-stop-abortion-only-with-christs-weapons-not-the-devils/#ixzz3iW2d3N1r

 

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Center for Medical Progress Releases Another Planned Parenthood Video

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/

This is the latest video by Center for Medical Progress.

I found two videos, one edited and another unedited version of a second situation. The second video talks about public reaction and says that “this is the first step in stem cell research,” meaning embryonic stem cell research.

I can tell you from personal experience that the medical establishment has been highly successful in using business interests to shut down legislation banning embryonic stem cell research. Sad to say, Republican leadership and a good bit of pro life advocacy leadership cooperates with them in this by actually killing pro life legislation. This is all done in back rooms, without the public knowing about it. The press never covers it, and even if they did, they wouldn’t understand it.

Living in this environment was one of the most painful things I’ve experienced as a legislator. I’ve experienced more than a bit of that again, with the votes in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood. I know too much, and that can be hard to bear.

For that reason, I’m going to take the rest of today for prayer. I need time with God.

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Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood: How Did Your Senator Vote?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Anna Levinzon https://www.flickr.com/photos/anyalogic/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Anna Levinzon https://www.flickr.com/photos/anyalogic/

The Associated Press has published a list of the members of the United States Senate and how they voted in today’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.

The vote was not a vote on the bill. It was a vote on a motion for cloture. Cloture would have limited debate and stopped the potential for a filibuster. Cloture needs 60 votes.

According to the Associated Press story, the final breakdown was 2 Democrats and 51 Republicans voting “yes,” and 42 Democrats, 2 Republicans and both Independents voting “no.” The “nos” carried, which effectively killed consideration of the bill.

To see the Associated Press vote tally and how your senator voted, go to ABC News. 

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Senate Vote to Defund Planned Parenthood Falls 7 Votes Short

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by kambodza https://www.flickr.com/photos/49507393@N08/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by kambodza https://www.flickr.com/photos/49507393@N08/

Today’s United States Senate vote on defunding Planned Parenthood fell 7 votes short.

Sixty votes were needed to pass cloture, which would have cut off a filibuster. The final vote on cloture was 53-46. Congressional Republicans vow to fight on throughout the rest of the session. One idea that is being floated is to attach an amendment to the budget bill. This action would most likely result in a shut-down of government.

The Senate has not posted the roll call on this vote yet. When they do, I’ll post it for you.

From The Washington Post:

Senate Democrats on Monday blocked a Republican-backed effort to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood following the release of undercover videos raising questions about its practice of harvesting tissue for research from aborted fetuses.

The procedural vote on a bill that would immediately halt funding to the group fell short of the 60 needed to proceed. Democrats vowed to filibuster the bill, and Republicans were unable to peel off enough support to counter it. The final tally was 53-46.

But GOP leaders have made defunding Planned Parenthood a centerpiece of their agenda going into the summer congressional recess, and some Republicans have said they are willing to force a government shutdown in October if federal support to the group is not severed.

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