Friday, November 22, 2013
SALEM, OR, November 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Sports retail giant Nike has jumped into the fray over same-sex “marriage,” founding a political action committee (PAC) to fund efforts to redefine marriage in Oregon, where the company is based.
Oregon voters approved an amendment to the state constitution in 2004 that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The measure was approved by a wide margin, with 57 percent of Oregonians voting in favor of the traditional definition of marriage, despite the amendment’s backers being outspent 2-to-1 by homosexual activists.
In 2008, the state legislature voted to approve domestic partnerships for homosexual couples, and last month, state officials announced that Oregon would recognize same-sex “marriages” performed in other states.
But that’s not good enough for homosexual activists, who have mounted a petition drive to put same-sex “marriage” on the ballot again in Oregon, asking voters to reverse the ban they enacted just ten years ago.
Now, Beaverton-based Nike has joined the fight, founding “Nike Equality PAC” to support the referendum.
According to the Portland Business Journal, the PAC was launched with $280,000, including $100,000 in corporate contributions and $180,000 in personal contributions from company executives.
“We chose to set up the Nike Equality PAC so that Nike, and its employees if they choose, have a specific avenue to support campaign efforts that are directly related to winning marriage equality in Oregon,” the company said in a statement.
Nike has a long history of supporting homosexual causes both inside and outside the state of Oregon. The company was instrumental in organizing support for Oregon’s domestic partnership law and played a major role in adding homosexuality and gender identity to the state’s anti-discrimination laws. Nike also filed a “friend of the court” brief during the Supreme Court battle over the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), urging the court to force the federal government to recognize gay “marriages.”
In its daily operations, Nike gives preference to homosexual suppliers, and has long extended full “spousal” benefits including adoption assistance to its homosexual employees and their partners, whether “married” or not. The company also covers sex-change operations and related hormonal treatments for employees and their dependents.
In 2012, Nike introduced a line of rainbow-colored, homosexuality-themed shoes and sportswear. Sales of the high-priced line (a pair of rainbow-soled sneakers costs $115) have netted more than $200,000 for the company’s LGBT Sports Coalition, which seeks to “end bias” against homosexuality in sports.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
By Ray LongClout Street
7:01 a.m. CST, November 21, 2013
A Catholic bishop offered prayers of exorcism Wednesday in response to Gov. Pat Quinn's approval of an Illinois gay marriage law, and he suggested politicians are "morally complicit" in assisting the sins of same-sex couples.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki spoke Latin to send the message, "Be gone, Satan, father of lies, enemy of human salvation. Give way to Christ."
The head of the Springfield Diocese delivered his remarks to a large crowd of worshippers in the cavernous Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception only blocks from the Capitol, where lawmakers approved the same-sex marriage legislation two weeks ago.
"I exorcise you, every unclean sprit, every power of darkness, every incursion of the infernal enemy, every diabolical legion, cohort and faction, in the name and power of our Lord Jesus Christ," Paprocki said during the hourlong ceremony 200 miles from the bill-signing celebration in Chicago.
The exorcism performed is known as a minor one in the pantheon of the practice, said Paprocki, who noted similar renouncements of the devil in the acts of baptisms and confirmations.
"I'm not saying that anyone involved in the redefinition of marriage is possessed by the devil, which, if that were the case, would require the remedy of a 'major exorcism,' but all of us are certainly subject to the devil's evil influences and in need of protection and deliverance from evil," Paprocki said.
Afterward, the bishop said he did not expect people to see instant results, restating a point he made during the service that Hollywood had sensationalized exorcisms.
But he noted that the legalization of abortion 40 years ago under Roe v. Wade did not silence the opposition to the practice, and he held out hope that one day the same-sex marriage law would be repealed.
In opening a service titled "Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage," Paprocki said he was speaking with "great reluctance."
"I did not seek to enter any controversy, and I don't relish being part of one," he said. "But I have given this matter a great deal of thought and prayer, which has led me to the conviction that God is calling me to speak out and conduct these prayers."
While protesters stood in the chilly rain, Paprocki told his flock sitting in wooden pews that his position was not that of a "self-righteous saint" but of a sinner.
He warned that "legal redefinition of marriage is contrary to God's plan" in which marriage should be only between a man and woman.
"Our prayers at this time are prompted by the fact that the governor of Illinois today is signing into Illinois law the redefinition of civil marriage, introducing not only an unprecedented novelty into our state law, but also institutionalizing an objectively sinful reality," Paprocki said.
He maintained his remarks "are not meant to demonize anyone, but are intended to call attention to the diabolical influences of the devil that have penetrated our culture, both in the state and in the church."
Yet Paprocki also charged that "politicians responsible for enacting civil same-sex marriage legislation are morally complicit as co-operators in facilitating this grave sin."
"We must pray for forgiveness of these sins and deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our church," Paprocki said.
The bishop said the church "stands ready to extend God's mercy to those who confess their sins with true repentance."
There is a "key point which the secularists are missing: They think that stressing God's mercy means that sins are no longer sins. On the contrary, God's mercy is a great gift of grace precisely because sins are sins and they call for repentance and forgiveness," he said.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
BY KIRSTEN ANDERSEN
MONTCLAIR, CA, November 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Los Angeles-area gym is under fire for a transsexual’s claim that he was asked to stop using the women’s locker room after revealing his past life as a man to his personal trainer.
Yanel Valenzuela, 29, told KCAL-9 Los Angeles that a female manager at the Montclair location of the LA Fitness gym chain told him he was no longer welcome to use the women’s changing and restroom area after he confessed to a personal trainer that he had been born a man, but had surgery to remove his male sex organs and replace them with female facsimiles.
According to Valenzuela, he told the trainer his secret because he wanted fitness advice targeted toward his unusual situation. But he claims a manager took him aside later and told him he couldn’t use the women’s locker room anymore.
“I felt hurt because I don’t understand why she did it. She had no reason. She had no complaints from anyone,” Valenzuela told KCAL. He said he showed the manager his California driver’s license, which he had changed to say he is a female, along with a letter from his doctor confirming he’d had the sex-change operation.
Valenzuela insists the manager’s request amounted to disrespect and harassment. “It gave me emotional stress,” he told KCAL. “I don’t think it was fair.” He said he went to the press about the incident to force the manager to think twice before denying anyone else access to the restroom or changing facilities of their choice.
“I hope this never happens to anybody again because it’s not fair for me to be disrespected in front of clients and the members that come here,” Valenzuela said.
LA Fitness told KCAL they are aware of the situation, but refused to comment further. It has not been confirmed whether the gym planned to go through with banning Valenzuela from the women’s facilities; however, that seems unlikely, as California’s anti-discrimination law singles out “gender identity” and “gender expression” as protected classes.
Facilities use by so-called “transgender” people has been a particularly hot topic in California of late, as concerned parents have mounted a ballot referendum to overturn a recently-passed law requiring the state’s public schools to allow students to use the restroom and changing facilities of their chosen – not biological – sex, as well as participate in the single-sex activities of their choice, such as sports teams.
While California’s laws do not specifically address the use of privately owned restrooms, an increasing number of judges and commissioners around the country have interpreted “public accommodation” provisions like the one contained in California’s anti-discrimination law to include access to the bathroom of one’s choice. For example, in Oregon, a bar owner was recently ordered to pay a group of cross-dressers $400,000 after he asked them not to return due to other customer’s complaints about their inappropriate behavior in the women’s restroom.
The Obama administration’s Department of Justice, which has called the promotion of transgender acceptance a “top priority,” has also taken an aggressive stance on the issue, claiming that the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on sex, applies to “perceived” sex as well as real sex. The DOJ has mounted a campaign of legal harassment against schools and employers that fail to allow self-identified transgender people (regardless of biology or surgical status) to access facilities meant for the opposite sex.
A number of schools have been intimidated by the DOJ’s threats, including the University of Arkansas, which changed its bathroom policy after the DOJ sent them a letter threatening legal action if they refused to allow a 38-year old male cross-dresser to use the women’s restrooms, despite the fact that the man – a father of a toddler who had recently divorced his second wife – had not yet had surgery to remove his male organs.
But Randy Thomasson of Save California believes the DOJ is wrongly interpreting the law. Attorney General “Eric Holder needs to reread the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and find out that civil rights are based on an unchangeable, immutable characteristic,” Thomasson said, after the DOJ forced a Los Angeles area high school to allow a ninth grade girl to use the men’s facilities. “You cannot change your genes or your gender. You have chromosomes and they are either XX or XY.”
Laurence Vance, a policy adviser at the Future of Freedom Foundation, goes even further. Vance argues that governmental attempts to force private property owners to accommodate the whims of those suffering from gender confusion highlights a fatal flaw within the nation’s anti-discrimination laws.
“From a private property standpoint, the growing trend of making accommodations for ‘transgender’ people should be opposed root and branch, but not because this concerns anyone's sexual orientation or gender identity,” Vance told LifeSiteNews via e-mail. “All anti-discrimination laws are an assault not only on property rights, but on freedom of thought and freedom of association.”
“In a truly free society,” Vance stated, “all business and property owners would be free to discriminate against anyone, for any reason, and on any basis. And it goes without saying that they would be free to make their own restroom policies. But even without going this far, all federal anti-discrimination laws should still be opposed simply because the federal government has no authority under the Constitution to make them.”
Monday, November 18, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the U.S. Senate considers a national 20-week ban on abortions, issues of life and family have remained in the forefront of state legislatures across the country, as well.
This week, California’s Secretary of State granted permission for pro-life activists to attempt to place a measure on the ballot to require abortionists to notify the parents of underage girls who wish to have an abortion.
If it became law, the proposed ballot measure would require a 48-hour waiting period after parents are notified by a medical professional. There would be exceptions for medical emergencies, parental waivers, or verification of parental abuse. Judges would also be granted flexibility to act in the girl’s best interest. The measure requires 807,615 signatures from registered voters to be submitted by April 14. California voters have turned down similar measures three times in the last decade.
A judge has upheld the state’s gay “marriage” law, citing a loophole in the state’s constitutional amendment against same-sex “marriage.” The language reads: "The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples."
According to Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto, the amendment allows the legislature a great deal of flexibility when it comes to who can and cannot wed. The amendment is at the center of a challenge by a Republican lawmaker against the law signed by governor Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday and passed in a special session of the Hawaiian legislature last week. Republican legislator Bob McDermott says the state’s citizens should be allowed a direct vote on the issue.
Hawaii Family Advocates president Jim Hochberg said that the new law will lead to organizations and individuals who support traditional marriage being accused of discrimination. He also said “the new law includes special protections for homosexual couples that opposite sex couples will not enjoy with respect to divorce, annulment, or legal separation.”
After a bipartisan deal over the creation of a new procedure to authorize specialty license plates fell apart, the Wisconsin Assembly voted to create “Choose Life” license plates. Money from the plates will go to a pro-life corporation that sends money to adoption centers.
According to Pro-Life Wisconsin Director of Legislation Matt Sande in a public statement, if the new plates are allowed they “will provide a wonderful opportunity for Wisconsinites to express their pro-life beliefs and facilitate and encourage adoption as a positive, life-affirming choice for women with unplanned pregnancies.” Pro-Life Wisconsin reports 29 states have allowed “Choose Life” plates since 2000, and have raised $17 million for adoption centers.
Governor Jay Nixon announced on Thursday he supports same-sex “marriage,” citing how he is “starting to see…and think differently about things like discrimination.” Shortly before this announcement, Nixon said the state would – by Executive Order – accept state tax returns jointly from same-sex couples “married” in other states. He said at the time the issue of tax returns was distinctly separate from his personal opinion on homosexual “marriage.”
On Thursday, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee thanked Iowa governor Terry Branstad for his attendance at the Informed Choices of Iowa fundraiser in Des Moines. Huckabee, who said he “got into politics because I’m pro-life,” reminded listeners that governors are able to accept a fraction of invitations they receive, and most do not participate in pro-life events. Because of this, Huckabee said “it matters” when a governor shows up to a pro-life event.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
HONOLULU, November 13, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Although teeming crowds of thousands, perhaps the largest in the history of state politics, opposed it, the Hawaiian legislature passed a bill redefining marriage.
In a signing ceremony today, Governor Neil Abercrombie said the bill furthered “fairness, justice, and human equality” in the state. "Today, we celebrate our diversity defining us rather than dividing us," he said, after calling a special session of the legislature to pass the bill.
An estimated 10,000 people from the various islands that compose the state attended a marriage preservation rally at the capital of Oahu on Monday, October 28. Another 24,000-plus written comments were sent in on the topic.
Some 5,184 citizens signed up for the opportunity to testify before the state Senate's public hearing for two minutes each, later reduced to one minute. A total of 1,800 showed up, but only 425 were allowed to testify before State Senator Clayton Hee cut the meeting off. Those who got to speak complained that lawmakers were checking their phones instead of listening to their voices.
The final vote confirmed it. The state Senate passed the bill on Tuesday 19-4, with two abstentions. The senate's only Republican member voted no, as did three Democrats.
“The amount of public input that rose strongly against this bill is both monumental and historic and we are strongly disappointed that this legislature ignored the overwhelming voice of the people,” said Jim Hochberg, president of Hawaii Family Advocates.
President Obama praised their work, saying in a statement, “I've always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today's vote makes me even prouder.”
The signing ceremony completed the revolution begun 20 years ago, when the state supreme court ruled that denying marriage licenses to homosexuals constituted discrimination. As the case wound its way through the court system, the 50th state became the first to restrict marriage between members of the opposite sex, passing Amendment 2 in 1998.
Soon, a wave of states acted to protect themselves from judicial overreach on the issue of marriage.
However, Hawaii's amendment said, “The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.” Although voters believed they had restricted marriage to nuclear families, the state attorney general argued 15 years later that the amendment merely gave the legislature theoption of preserving marriage – an option it could decline.
State Representative Bob McDermott has promised to appeal.
Despite the constitutional amendment, the first state to ban same-sex “marriage” became the 15th state to redefine marriage.
The new definition will go into effect on December 2, barring court intervention.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
BALTIMORE, November 13, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The archbishop who leads the U.S. bishops' fight against same-sex “marriage” says the U.S. Supreme Court’s June rulings on marriage has renewed the bishops' determination to defend true marriage.
In an address at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) annual General Assembly on November 11th, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco lampooned the Supreme Court’s twin decisions of June 26th that ruled unconstitutional the definition of true marriage in the Defense of Marriage Act, and found the Prop. 8 backers had no standing to defend the California law.
According to Cordileone, who chairs the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, the rulings were "the most significant judicial decisions on marriage this country has ever experienced.”Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone speaks to the U.S. Bishops in Baltimore on Nov. 11, 2013.
“By advancing redefinition, the decisions harmed marriage and harmed our society,” he said, noting they produced negative effects "almost immediately."
"At the same time these decisions have renewed our determination to witness to the truth that marriage can only be the union of a man and a woman,” he continued. “We know that our teachings on marriage and family reflect the life-affirming message of the Gospel, and we know that strengthening a marriage culture serves the common good of our country."
"We are no doubt at a critical point in this country when it comes to the promotion and defense of marriage in the law,” he said.
The language of the DOMA decision was “particularly disheartening” and sets “troubling precedent for increasing efforts to redefine marriage,” he said. The decision “is now being used to challenge marriage laws in more than a dozen states that still recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
On the Prop. 8 ruling, he lamented that the measure’s backers were left to defend it because the state refused. "Increasingly we are witnessing public officials placing their opinions over the laws they are charged to defend,” he said. “In the area of marriage this has happened in a striking way with DOMA, Proposition 8, and in other jurisdictions with respect to marriage laws."
In the question and answer period after his address, Bishop Felipe Estevez asked Cordileone how to address the fact that while young people are trending pro-life they are also turning against belief in true marriage.
In response, Cordileone suggested we may eventually experience a similar change on the marriage issue as we have on the pro-life front.
“At the time of the Roe decision, everyone thought the whole country was going to go toward a pro-abortion way of thinking and that all the young people were on board with that. But over time when we saw the devastation that has been done, the young people have turned around,” he said.
“We're in a similar moment with regard to marriage, and I think in time people will see the decimation of family life that's been going on for a long time,” he continued. “We can challenge them to think things through thoroughly as the generation before them did on the pro-life effort.”
National Catholic Reporter accuses Cordileone of ignoring Pope Francis' message
At the National Catholic Reporter, a leftist newspaper that uses the name “Catholic” in defiance of its local bishop, Michael Sean Winters accused Cordileone of not falling into line with Pope Francis’ “pastoral vision.”
“+Cordileone is still at the barricades in the culture wars,” wrote Winters, who attended the plenary on behalf of NCR. “This summer the pope, when asked about a gay monsignor, said, ‘who am I to judge?’ This was widely reported. Apparently, albeit unreported, the Holy Father intended to leave judgment to +Cordileone.”
At a press conference Monday after Cordileone’s address, Winters accused the bishops of favouring the Republican Party in its "Call to Prayer" campaign, which focuses on promoting a culture of life, marriage, and religious liberty through various spiritual initiatives.
"A cynic would notice that those are three issues that in the public discussion line up conveniently with the Republican Party platform, and wonder about the absence of, say, immigration reform,” said Winters. “Wednesday's the nine month anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. Was there any consideration to adding poverty to the list, and if not, is its absence not somewhat concerning?"
In response, Cordileone denied any partisan motivations and insisted that they are focusing on life, marriage, and religious liberty because these are “foundational” issues.
"First I would say, if they line up with the Republican platform, it's inconveniently, not conveniently,” he said.
“Our Catholic vision of life would certainly include issues of immigration, issues of poverty, issues of religious persecution,” he continued. “We're not approaching this from a political perspective because if you take the full range of issues that are being debated on the political table, we're across the spectrum on those issues. We see these issues as foundational, understanding life not in a narrow perspective, but including a lot of issues, affirming human dignity from conception to natural death and every condition that people find themselves in.”
Friday, November 8, 2013
BY BEN JOHNSON
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 7, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – This afternoon the Senate approved a bill that could force business owners who adhere to traditional values to hire homosexuals, bisexuals, and those who do not dress in accordance with their biological sex or face litigation.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed following a bipartisan 64-32 vote.
John McCain voted yea
Supporters say it would forbid “workplace discrimination” against homosexuals and transgender employees and job-seekers. But critics say, like the HHS mandate, its religious exemption is unduly narrow and would force employers – including Christian schools and nurseries – to violate their consciences.
Its protections for “transgender” workers would allow a biological male who self-identifies as a female to use the company's women's restroom or locker room. It would also allow employees to sue if they believed they had faced “discrimination” on the job, experienced a hostile work environment, or had not received a job because of their sexual preference or cross-dressing habits.
All Senate Democrats voted for its approval except Pennsylvania's Bob Casey, who did not vote.
Ten of the chamber's 45 Republicans also voted yes, including John McCain, Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, and Lisa Murkowski.
Only one senator spoke against ENDA on the Senate floor, Dan Coats of Indiana.
President Obama hailed the bill's speedy passage. “Today’s victory is a tribute to all those who fought for this progress ever since a similar bill was introduced after the Stonewall riots more than three decades ago,” he said, adding that the bill is backed by a number of “corporations” and “faith communities.”
While the bill exempts churches and houses of worship and some affiliated institutions, it does not include many overtly religious nonprofits or business owners. The New York Times called these protections “unduly broad.” But the Becket Fund called the bill's religious exemption “manifestly inadequate."
This morning the Senate adopted, by voice vote, an amendment offered by Republicans Rob Portman and Kelly Ayotte that religious institutions protected by the act would not lose federal funding or other government partnerships if they opposed homosexuality. The Family Research Council'sDavid Christensen, said the amendment did nothing to change the fact that ENDA “removes the ability of non-profits, para-church ministries, and individual business owners to make their own decisions about appropriate conduct in the workplace.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid candidly told the homosexual newspaper The Washington Bladethat he believed the amendment was merely “an effort by them to have a reason for joining the bill.”
Senators rejected an amendment from Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey to apply the bill to businesses “in whole or in substantial part owned, controlled, or managed by a particular religion or by a particular religious corporation, association, or society.” Toomey also supported the final bill.
The bill's broad reach threatens faithful business owners, its critics say. The Catholic bishops conference (USCCB) warned ENDA could “punish” those who hold traditional religious views, including Catholics and evangelicals.
“ENDA would lead to a form of reverse discrimination,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said this afternoon. “Anyone who expresses or promotes a view of family or morality that can be interpreted to be a disapproval of homosexual or transgender conduct will be subject to retaliation and discrimination.”
The group referred lawmakers to numerous lawsuits and complaints of alleged “homophobia,” some costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The potential to harm business owners convinced House Speaker John Boehner to come out against the bill, saying it will not enjoy a vote in the lower chamber. President Obama has hinted he may sign an executive order including the bill's provisions if it is not adopted into law.
In this afternoon's vote our senators, including one Democrat, did not vote today.
Republicans who voted yes include Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Dean Heller of Nevada, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
You may view vote results here.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
BY JOHN JALSEVAC
SPRINGFIELD, IL, November 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Illinois is poised to become the 15th American state to legalize same-sex “marriage” after the House of Representatives voted 61-54 this afternoon in favor of S.B. 10.
The gay “marriage” bill will now go to the desk of Governor Pat Quinn, who has promised to sign it into law, making marriage redefinition all but a done deal in the Prairie State.
Governor Pat Quinn has promised to sign the bill into law, making marriage redefinition all but a done deal in the Prairie State.
"Today the Illinois House put our state on the right side of history," Quinn said in a statement after the vote. "Illinois is a place that embraces all people and today, we are an example for the nation."
President Obama also issued a statement praising the vote. “Tonight, Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours,” he said.
The successful attempt to pass the legislation comes after the bill failed to come up for a vote last legislative session, with inside sources saying at the time that supporters of marriage redefinition lacked the necessary votes.
Debate over the bill today raged for over three hours.
Democrat Rep. Mary Flowers lambasted arguments equating the fight for gay “marriage” with the civil rights movement.
“When I was discriminated against, it is not because of who I love, but because of the color of my skin…Homosexuality has nothing to do with race,” she said. “Even if the legal definition of marriage was changed, those two people will never be married in God’s eyes.”
"This issue is not just about two adults and their emotional relational and financial commitment to another," said Republican Rep. Tom Morrison. "Redefining marriage has far reaching implications in our society."
Former House minority leader Rep. Tom Cross (R-Plainfield) joined two other Republicans, Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) and Rep. Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein) in breaking with the party platform and supporting the bill.
Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage said in a statement that "the losers will be the people of Illinois who will see that redefining marriage will unleash a torrent of harassment toward those who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman."
He also warned that the bill lacks adequate religious protections.
“Once the law goes into effect in June of next year, we will see individuals, businesses and religious groups sued, fined, brought up on charges of discrimination and punished simply for holding true to the traditional view of marriage,” he said.
Earlier this year Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society in Chicago had warned that SB10 “would make Illinois the most hostile state in the country to the religious freedoms of people of faith."
The Catholic Conference of Illinois also issued a statement saying it is “deeply disappointed” that representatives “chose to redefine what is outside of its authority: a natural institution like marriage.”
The vote “not only goes against the common consensus of the human race – which understands that nature tells us that marriage is the union of one man and one woman – but it also undermines an institution that is the cornerstone of a healthy society,” said the conference.
The statement also expressed concerns “about the very real threats to religious liberty that are at stake with the passage of this bill.”
The vote came less than two weeks after an estimated 4,000 people descended upon Springfield supporting the definition of marriage as being between one man and woman on October 23rd.
In the lead-up to today’s vote, a group of black pastors had vowed to up their efforts to ensure that politicians who voted for the bill would be unseated.
“I think that they will feel the crunch,” said Bishop Larry Trotter, of Sweet Holy Spirit Church in Chicago. “I think that they cannot take for granted that they can come to the church; and get the church’s sanction, and votes, and signatures; and then go to Springfield, and don’t speak what the people want them to speak. And so now, if that’s how we have to be heard, we will be heard.”
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
BY BEN JOHNSON
Tue Nov 05, 2013 13:14 EST
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 4, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A bill to forbid “discrimination” against homosexuals and transgender employees could “punish” those who hold to traditional views about sexuality and biology, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) warns.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would penalize employers accused of discriminating against gay, bisexual, or transgender employees. But the Catholic bishops and other Christian critics of the bill say its enforcement could go well beyond opening doors to hard-working and aggrieved workers.
“ENDA could be used to punish as discrimination what many religions – including the Catholic religion – teach, particularly moral teaching about same-sex sexual conduct,” the bishops wrote in a letter sent to all U.S. senators on October 31. The letter was signed by three bishops: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco; Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore; and Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California.
The bishops expressed concern that ENDA makes no distinction between same-sex attraction and homosexual acts, which they said could lead to faithful business owners, and perhaps religious institutions, being sued, fined, or harassed by the federal government. While the Catholic Church urges Catholics to treat homosexuals with compassion, it also holds all sex outside marriage to be sinful.
The bill's religious exemption is too narrow, the bishops say, adding that “recent experience also shows that even exempted employers may face government retaliation for relying on such exemptions.”
A provision related to “gender identity” could force female employees to share a restroom, locker room, or shower facility with a biological male who says he “identifies” as a female.
Speaking delicately, the bishops write that this clause “fails to account for the privacy interests of others, particularly in workplace contexts where they may reasonably expect only members of the same sex to be present.”
This law, they say, differs from laws based on immutable characteristics like one's skin color.
ENDA legislation would give homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender people greater civil rights than those discriminated against based on religion or national origin, the letter says, because the bill lacks a “bona fide occupational qualifications,” an exemption allowing an employer to refuse to hire a person of a certain background when job requirements demand it.
Aside from these defects, the bishops say the bill presents a warped view of human identity, sexuality, and will be used as further justification for judicial activists to redefine marriage.
“ENDA’s definition of 'gender identity' lends force of law to a tendency to view 'gender' as nothing more than a social construct or psychosocial reality, which a person may choose at variance from his or her biological sex,” they write – something that strikes at the heart of the Christian worldview of man.
A law dedicated to homosexual interests would mainstream sex outside marriage, the USCCB wrote. “Sexual acts outside of marriage serve neither these goods nor the good of the person and society as a whole,” they wrote.
ENDA, which has been consistently defeated since it was first introduced in 1994, passed a Senate vote yesterday to restrict debate and clear the way for its passage.
Senate contact information.
Friday, November 1, 2013
The pro-family movement and its allies are demanding full prosecution, if it has not been carried out.
The pro-family movement and its allies are demanding full prosecution of the IRS employee who leaked the documents, if it has not been carried out.
In March 2012, an unnamed Obama administration employee turned sensitive tax documents from NOM – including its full donor list – over to the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual activist group. The president of HRC, John Solmonese, went on to be a national co-chair of Obama's 2012 campaign. From there, the documents were printed onThe Huffington Post and picked up by numerous mainstream media outlets.
During Congressional hearings in June, John Eastman, the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, accused the IRS of “illegally using confidential information that must be filed with the IRS to facilitate the intimidation of donors.”
“The Supreme Court ruled in the landmark 1958 case National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama that organizations like NOM have the right to keep their membership and donor lists private,” Eliana Johnson wrote in National Review. Breaking the law is a felony that could result in up to five years in prison.
Yet months after the fact, NOM still could not learn whether justice had been served in its case.
“Stonewalled in its attempts to discover on its own the source of the felonious conduct against it, NOM has also received no satisfaction from the law enforcement authorities of the United States, whose duty it is to prosecute felonious disclosure of confidential tax returns,” Eastman said in June.
The Republican-controlled House Ways and Means Committee launched an investigation and has identified the leaker.
Chairman David Camp, R-MI, told Johnson the guilty party worked for the IRS Exempt Organizations Division. The group, which until just months ago was led by Lois Lerner, singled out pro-life, evangelical Christian, Catholic, Tea Party, and other conservative organizations for additional scrutiny before granting tax-exempt status. The allegation furthers deep suspicions that the Obama administration has politicized every agency of the federal government to reward its friends and punish its foes.
However, the same IRS code that makes it illegal to reveal taxpayers' documents also makes it illegal to reveal the outcome of internal investigations – including whether the employee was fired or reprimanded, or is still toiling away in the division.
In an unsigned editorial, Investors Business Daily called for prosecution in a criminal court of law.
“Eastman, a constitutional lawyer, believes Eric Holder and the Department of Justice could still bring an indictment and lift the veil of secrecy,” IBD wrote. “But then, we thought that about Fast and Furious, too.”