This is the story you didn’t see: The positive story of the March for Marriage in Washington, DC
Deacon Greg Kandra always has the story, and this is no exception. He has also introduced me to someone who is my new hero.
Mike Forbes is a soon-to-be newly ordained Deacon. On April 13, Bishop Joe Vasquez, bishop of the Diocese of Austin, will ordain 11 new deacons, including Mr Forbes.
A former member of the United States House of Representatives from New York, Congressman Forbes was originally elected as a Republican, but switched parties. He had criticized the Republicans for being “tone deaf” to the needs of average Americans. However, the New York Democratic Party Chair, Judith Hope, refused to welcome Forbes into the Democratic Party because he is pro life.
I can certainly identify with this. Pro life Democrats are a beaten, bedraggled crew. Just look at the photo at the top of this blog if you want a taste of how our party supports us. At the same time, the Republicans are tone deaf to the needs of average Americans.
If you try to follow Jesus, you will not fit in with either party. That’s a fact.
Here, straight from the Deacon’s bench, is the story:
Describing himself as a devout Catholic in love with Christ all of his life, Mike Forbes considered whether God was calling him to the diaconate for more than 10 years during a successful career in public service. He held staff positions with the New York legislature and the U.S. Congress, and was elected to three terms in the House of Representatives. Since 2001, he has been president of his own advocacy, public relations and marketing firm.
He and his wife, Barbara, are members of St. William Parish in Round Rock; they have two adult children and two children at home. Forbes credits the example of the four deacons is his parish with motivating him to begin a serious inquiry about formation.
The “street retreats,” in which the candidates spent two days living on the streets with the homeless, and prison ministry were enlightening pastoral experiences. He remains open to ministering wherever God, through the bishop, calls.
And Wikipedia notes:
n 1994, Forbes ran on three ballot lines for the House of Representatives: Republican, conservative, and right to life. He defeated incumbent George Hochbrueckner by six percentage points. Forbes got a seat on the powerful Appropriations committee, unusual for a freshman representative, due to his ties with new House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In December 1996, Forbes announced he was not going to vote for Gingrich for speaker. Forbes voted for Rep. Jim Leach instead. Forbes supported the Clinton impeachment.
On July 17, 1999, Forbes switched to the Democratic Party after chastising national Republicans for being “tone deaf” to the needs of average Americans. While embraced by President Bill Clinton, Democratic leader Dick Gephardt, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. Max Cleland, and other Senate and House Democrats, New York’s liberal Democrats (particularly chairwoman Judith Hope) refused to welcome Forbes into the Democratic Party because he is a staunch pro-life advocate.
Easter isn’t all new clothes, gorgeous masses in stunning church buildings and arguments about red shoes and foot washing.
In some places, Calvary is present in the lives of the people. The Church itself and all its Christian people hang on the cross of persecution.
In other places, such as the United States and Great Britain, society is moving along the continuum toward violent persecution. Christians in those two countries have come to expect and accept that they will be subjected to hate speech against Christians, Christian-bashing on web sites. They are increasingly being forced to accept that they face growing legal discrimination against Christians and moves to force Christian speech and expression out of the public sphere. We are at the “you can go to church all you want, but leave it there,” phase of discrimination, and this discrimination is rapidly becoming government-enforced.
At the same time, Christians in Egypt fear being kidnapped with no police support to stop it. Christians in Bangladesh have their children stolen and trafficked and again, the police do not punish the traffickers. Christians in North Korea are imprisoned and worked to death. Christians in Nigeria are murdered, tortured and their churches are burned.
I could go on. But there is too much of it for one post.
Here is this week’s roundup of Christian persecution in Six Quick Takes.
1. Nigeria: Easter Attacks Kill 80, Thousands of Christians Flee to the Hills
By BosNewsLife Africa Service – “Nigerian Christians appealed for prayers Tuesday, April 2, after Easter season violence in troubled central Nigeria left as many as 80 people dead and displaced some 4,500 others.
At least 19 people were killed since Easter Sunday when gunmen believed to be nomadic Muslim cattle herders attacked the mostly Christian Atakar group in Kaura district, a remote area of Kaduna state, officials said.
Witnesses said the attacks on three communities, including the Mafang and Zilang villages, killed many women and children. Kaduna police spokesman Aminu Lawan told reporters his forces were still investigating.
Ataka Christians live near Plateau state where authorities claimed fighting between cattle herders, who are mainly Fulani Muslims, and Christian villages killed nearly 60 people in recent days.
The area is on the uneasy dividing line between Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north and largely Christian south…
Christians said that following Sunday’s violence, thousands of villagers fled to the nearby hills. (Read more here.)
2. Bangladesh: Christian Children Re-Captured By Trafficker
Eleven of the 16 Christian children who were rescued from Muslim traffickers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Jan. 2 have again gone missing. Sources in the Christian community, as well as reports in local newspapers, report that they believe the children were re-trafficked and taken to madrassas, Islamic training centers, where they will likely be forced to convert to Islam and study the Quran.
Eleven Christian children, originally from the Rangamati district of Chittagong Hill Tracts, disappeared for the second time earlier this year after being given back to the custody of their parents. “We were not aware that our child would be taken to a madrassa,” one parent told International Christian Concern (ICC).
The children, along with five others, had been rescued by police from a madrassa in the Abuzor Giffari Mosque Complex in Dhaka. The children had been missing for months. They were returned to their parents soon after their rescue, but traffickers continually threatened the parents until the recent re-disappearance of the children. Local authorities say the children were likely trafficked again to madrassas and are concerned that they will be forcibly converted to Islam.
“The [leader] of the traffickers gives a large sum of money to the traffickers to take the kids to the madrassa,” said an ICC source. “Because of this, they threatened the parents and took their children, again, to a madrassa. It is all because of large sums of money, and because there are no punishments for the trafficker.” (Read more here.)
3. North Korea: Number 1 for Christian Persecution
North Korea is the most hostile place for Christians around the globe, according to the annual “World Watch” list from the Open Doors Organization.
The list ranks the 50 countries where Christian persecution is most severe. North Korea tops the 2013 list, thus holding its ranking for the eleventh year running.
“Christians are classified as hostile and face arrest, detention, torture, even public execution,” the Open Doors report said. (Read more here.)
4. Great Britain: Majority of Church-Going Christians Feel Persecuted and Marginalized
Over two-thirds of Christians in the United Kingdom feel part of a victimized minority, and David Cameron is making that worse by redefining marriage, the Coalition for Marriage says.
In a new poll commissioned by the group, almost eight in 10 said the prime minister’s same-sex marriage plan will lead to those who back traditional marriage facing the sack.
More than two-thirds (67 percent) said they felt part of a “persecuted minority.”
The survey also showed that over half of the U.K.’s Christians who voted Conservative in 2010 would “definitely not” do so again in 2015.
Colin Hart, campaign director of the Coalition for Marriage, said the poll showed “widespread and continued opposition towards David Cameron’s plans to redefine marriage.”
He added: “More worryingly it shows how Christians and those of faith are being treated like illegal aliens in their own country. They are being marginalized and persecuted for their beliefs. (Read more here.)
5. Egypt: Christians Targeted for Kidnappings
MATAI, Egypt (AP) — Ezzat Kromer’s resistance to his kidnappers did not last long. One of the masked gunmen fired a round between his feet as he sat behind the wheel of his car and said with chilling calm, “The next one will go into your heart.”
The Christian gynecologist says he was bundled into his abductors’ vehicle, forced to lie under their feet in the back seat for a 45-minute ride, then dumped in a small cold room while his kidnappers contacted his family over a ransom.
For the next 27 hours, he endured beatings, insults and threats to his life, while blindfolded, a bandage sealing his mouth and cotton balls in his ears.
Kromer’s case is part of a dramatic rise of kidnappings targeting , including children, in ‘s southern province of Minya, home to the country’s largest concentration of Christians but also a heartland for Islamist hard-liners.
The kidnappings are mostly blamed on criminal gangs, which operate more freely amid Egypt’s collapse in security since the 2011 fall of autocrat.
Crime has risen in general across Egypt, hitting Muslims as well. But the wave of kidnappings in Minya has specifically targeted Christians, and victims, church leaders and rights activists ultimately blame the atmosphere created by the rising power of hard-line Islamists.
They contend criminals are influenced by the rhetoric of radical clerics depicting Egypt’s Christian minority as second-class citizens and see Christians as fair game, with authorities less likely to investigate crimes against the community.
Over the past two years, there have been more than 150 reported kidnappings in the province — all of them targeting Christians, according to a top official at the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the police. (Read the rest here.)
6. United States: Pro Life Student Group Banned at Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Md., Apr 3, 2013 / 05:29 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A pro-life student group at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., is appealing a denial of official recognition, saying that it is being discriminated against for its views against abortion.
Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, told CNA that this decision is surprising, given that Johns Hopkins administration and students “pride themselves on being a ‘free speech campus’ – allowing dissenting opinions on campus and allowing a free exchange of ideas on campus.”
She added that there is a need for “upholding freedom of speech that isn’t popular.”
Voice for Life, a pro-life organization that is trying to re-start on the Johns Hopkins campus after several years of dormancy, has been rejected multiple times by the university’s student government, despite receiving clearance from the necessary committees as having met all campus requirements. (Read more here.)
I stand with the bishops and the Catholic Church on the HHS Mandate.
If you stand with the bishops as well, look at the alert below and take action!
It’s time for every brainless knee-jerk Planned Parenthood supporter to line up and recite “right wing lies.”
A Planned Parenthood lobbyist (I’m leaving her name out because she’s just one of many) spoke against a bill requiring that infants who are born alive after abortions be given medical care instead of just dumped in the trash and allowed to die.
Planned Parenthood has opposed bills to protect the lives of infants who survive abortions every time I’m aware of. What’s different is that the Florida lobbyist seems to be a political amateur. Planned Parenthood’s lobbyist here in Oklahoma would never do anything this stupid. Their Oklahoma lobbyist knows how to play for-real political hardball.
Unfortunately for Planned Parenthood, their too-honest and far-too-inept Florida lobbyist got drawn out in question and answers, and the testimony ended up on the internet.
That’s how Planned Parenthood jumped the shark.
Here’s the video:
It turns out not everyone supports the Planned Parenthood position about killing babies after they are born. In fact, there was widespread public outrage, including allusions to this video by members of Congress in calls to defund Planned Parenthood. Anyone who has ever dealt with Planned Parenthood knows that they are all about funding.
That’s when Planned Parenthood started to blame the shark.
First they issued one of their usual we-didn’t-say-what-we-said statements on April 1 (which is an appropriate day for it.) When that didn’t work, they moved to Plan B (pun intended.)
They issued another statement, claiming that their only concerns with the bill were “health and safety issues” in some of the bill’s language and that “biased media reports reported our position inaccurately.” They then go on with the standard Planned Parenthood women’s-health-our-great-services boilerplate. You can follow the links to read both their statements if you want, but I warn you: It’s political schlock.
This business of jumping the shark and then blaming the shark for having been jumped is becoming a standard Planned Parenthood two-step. I don’t know about you, but I could write their shark-blaming statements for them.
Their trouble isn’t biased media. It also isn’t inept lobbyists who don’t know how to kill a bill behind closed doors the way their Oklahoma lobbyist does. Their problem is that they are lying. They keep getting caught out in their lies because they are telling lies.
Their real position seems to be simple and straightforward: A baby’s life is forfeit from conception through post abortion. The woman’s right to kill her child at any time during pregnancy, including after pregnancy if the baby survives an abortion, is absolute. If a baby survives an abortion, it must be killed because the baby’s mother has already decided to kill it.
I believe that what’s at stake here is not the life of the child, or even the mother’s “right to chose” so much as Planned Parenthood’s determination to fulfill its contractual obligations. If a woman contracts with them for an abortion that results in a dead baby, then she’s entitled to a dead baby, even if that means killing the baby after the abortion itself.
Do you get that?
The life of the child appears to be a non sequitur to Planned Parenthood. What seems to matter to them is that they told the woman they’d kill her baby, took her money with the promise they’d kill her baby, and they are going to Kill That Baby. They may be liars to the general public, but in this grisly instance, they keep their word.
When they get baited out into an excess of truth-telling and almost admit this as their lobbyist did in this video, they resort to obfuscation, lies and the use of their well-oiled media/political/social support machine to blame the shark they just jumped for their predicament.
I haven’t written about this story before because I’m so tired of it. It’s tough for me because I have to argue with these numbskull lies all day at work. I’ve been doing it for years and I am bone-weary with the lies.
However, I want you to understand this because I think it’s important for everyone, including Planned Parenthood’s supporters, to understand one simple thing: They are lying. Their lies are so obvious that it makes my teeth ache to read them.
The next time Planned Parenthood jumps the shark and then blames the shark for having been jumped, just turn down the volume on your television, click over onto another page on the internet. No need to hear it/read it again. It’s always the same.
That’s the problem when you create a sociopath-producing society. You end up having to hermetically seal the whole population to try to keep these monstrous few from going into movie theaters and schools and killing people. Instead of punishing the guilty, you end up using police state tactics on everyone.
It doesn’t surprise me that the proposed gun control legislation raises questions about privacy rights and civil liberties. Anyone who’s ever thought about it for longer than five minutes knows there is no way to have effective gun control without doing exactly that. While I realize that other countries have gun control, I would wager that their citizens do not have the Constitutional guarantees of individual freedoms, including the freedom to bear arms, that Americans do.
What I find surprising is that the ACLU is willing to say it. After the HHS Mandate, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that the ACLU is in the bag for politics, rather than defense of the Bill of Rights.
While this interview is a long way from an official ACLU position, it still surprises.
From Daily Caller:
As Senate Democrats struggle to build support for new gun control legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union now says it’s among those who have “serious concerns” about the bill.
Those concerns have the capacity to prove a major setback to Sen. Harry Reid’s current gun bill, which includes language from earlier bills introduced by Sens. Chuck Schumer and Barbara Boxer.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, a top lobbyist for the ACLU announced that the group thinks Reid’s current gun bill could threaten both privacy rights and civil liberties.
So … what happened at the March for Marriage last week?
If you know, you must have been there because the various news media enforced a near-total blackout on the event.
Let’s think about that for a moment.
Gay marriage is what you might call a “big” story. The Supreme Court was hearing two cases that have the potential to upend 2,000 years of teaching, law and culture concerning the fundamental unit on which all of Western civilization is built. That makes it an important story. Public conversation about this issue is focused and combative. That makes it a ratings grabber. The March for Marriage was the “other” side of the argument finally getting its act together and stepping up to public protest, which made it a man bites dog story, providing a new twist to a story that had already been done to death. That makes it interesting.
So. We have a story that gives a new angle to an important topic, that draws widespread public interest at a time when public interest is already focused on the issue. Sounds like a win-win-win for the media. All they had to do was cover it.
Which they did not.
I repeat: What happened at the March for Marriage last week? I would not be surprised if most of the coverage of that event that you saw was right here on Public Catholic and other Christian blogs and web sites. You may have, as I did, had to go to the Facebook page sponsored by the March for Marriage organizers to get any news of the event.
This was the news story that wasn’t. Because the media is promoting gay marriage. They are hard-selling it. And this march ran counter to their true objectives, which appear to be not so much to inform the public as to propagandize the public.
There are a number of reasons why public support for gay marriage appears to be reaching a tipping point in favor of it. The continuous, completely biased and often inaccurate media propaganda in favor of it is one of them.
From The World Tribune:
What the Court says in questions does not necessarily reflect how they will rule.
However, two days’ of questioning concerning Proposition 8, which was heard yesterday and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which was heard today, seems to form a consistent pattern. The justices have remarked twice now on the fact that marriage has always been a state issue.
I don’t know if that’s an indicator of how they will rule, but I sincerely hope so. I think it would be disastrous for the Court to wade into this explosive issue that the states are actually handling through the electoral process with a judicial fiat. There is no reason that I can see for the justices to silence the voice of the people with thunder from the Court.
No one knows, but questions for the justices themselves seem to echo this sentiment. Justice Kennedy questioned whether the Court should be hearing these cases at all. On the other hand, Justice Gader-Ginsberg commented that DOMA reduced gay marriages to “skim milk” marriages.
I honestly don’t know what a “skim milk” marriage would be, but I assume that the question was meant to support gay marriage. I could be wrong, but that’s my guess.
From the Wall Street Journal:
By EVAN PEREZ, BRENT KENDALL and JESS BRAVIN
WASHINGTON—Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday questioned whether the federal government has the right to define marriage, a role traditionally reserved for states, in the second day of Supreme Court arguments on gay marriage.
The comments by Justice Kennedy, seen as holding a key vote on the court, came after several justices sharply challenged the Obama administration’s handling of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Some questioned whether the court should be hearing the case at all.
Former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger tells WSJ’s Jerry Seib that arguments in the Supreme Court suggest justices may be seeking a narrow ruling that clears the paths for state action on gay marriage, rather than a sweeping ruling to settle the issue.
The arguments concluded shortly past noon Wednesday, a day after the justices heard a case on California’s gay-marriage ban.
Former Solicitor General Paul Clement, defending the 1996 federal law, said it merely defines marriage for the purposes of the federal government and doesn’t bind states, regardless of whether they want to approve gay marriage.
Justice Kennedy, however, jumped to express concerns with that argument, questioning whether the federal government was intruding on the states’ territory. He said the Defense of Marriage Act ran the risk of conflicting with states’ role in defining marriage.
Liberal justices joined Justice Kennedy in questioning the law. Justice Elena Kagan said it raised red flags, while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the federal law diminished same-sex marriages to “skim milk” marriages. (Read more here.)
Click here throughout the Year of Faith, as the Catholic Channel at Patheos.com invites Catholics of every age and stripe to share what they are gleaning and carrying away from this gift of timely focus.