FIC Action is a non-partisan, non-profit Connecticut 501(c)(4) social welfare organization
whose purpose is to help make Connecticut as family-friendly as possible.
CT NOW RUNS AWAY FROM ROE V. WADE [Peter Wolfgang]
There is a fascinating discrepancy between what the CT National Organization for Women said about Justice Alito in a press release on Feb. 1st and what CT NOW’s Executive Director said in a Fox 61 panel discussion last night. And that discrepancy shows that the pro-life side is winning.
In its press release, CT NOW accuses Sen. Lieberman of having “turned his back on women” by not supporting a filibuster of Justice Alito’s confirmation:
Senator Lieberman pointed out that he had studied Samuel Alito’s record carefully and so he was aware of the threat Alito poses to a woman’s most basic constitutional right: to control her own body and decide whether or not to bear a child…“What could be a more ‘extraordinary circumstance’ than when a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions is seriously threatened? [emphasis added]”
So “a woman’s most basic constitutional right,” the Supreme Court-imposed legalization of abortion, is “seriously threatened” by the confirmation of Justice Alito, according to CT NOW’s press release.
And yet, during last night’s taping of the Fox 61 panel discussion, the central theme of CT NOW Executive Director Kathleen Sloan’s comments was that Roe v. Wade was “beside the point.” When I responded by saying that Roe v. Wade was, in fact, the most important element of the confirmation and the reason why there was so much passion on both sides, Ms. Sloan could not change the subject fast enough.
This moment marks a watershed in the battle over public opinion regarding Roe v. Wade. It would have been unthinkable in, say, 1992 for a NOW spokesman to publicly describe Roe v. Wade as “beside the point.”
Of course, the NOW press release reveals what they really think. But the press release will be noted and cheered only in such odd places as CT’s left-wing blogs. When speaking to a larger audience, such as Fox 61’s viewers, even NOW is forced to downplay Roe v. Wade.
Last year, NARRAL was publicly shamed into withdrawing an ad falsely implying that Chief Justice Roberts supported violence against abortionists. Last night, a CT NOW official felt it necessary to downplay the significance of Roe v. Wade. These things would not have happened 15 years ago. They are signs that, little by little, the pro-life movement is winning.
Posted at 10:28 AM
VICTORY! [Brian Brown]
On Tuesday Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. was sworn in as the nation's 110th Supreme Court justice, following the U.S. Senate's vote to confirm him. It is a hopeful moment for our nation as the American people, wearied by the Court's embrace of judicial activism, rallied in support of a distinguished jurist with a deep respect for the rule of law and the limited role a justice plays when interpreting that law.
Unfortunately, Senators Dodd and Lieberman, having caved into pressure from the extreme Left, both voted against Justice Alito's confirmation. Sen. Dodd even went so far as to support an attempt by his party's fringe elements to hold a filibuster, which would have denied Justice Alito a fair up-or-down vote.
Following the announcements by Senators Dodd and Lieberman that they would vote against confirming Justice Alito, FIC launched a campaign to persuade Senator Lieberman to vote against a filibuster. While we are disappointed by his vote against Justice Alito's confirmation, Sen. Lieberman did at least vote against the filibuster.
It is because of the phone calls and e-mails from you, our members, that Sen. Lieberman, who has otherwise caved into pressure from the extreme Left, at least voted to allow Justice Alito a fair up-or-down vote! If the filibuster had been successful, Justice Alito's confirmation might not have happened. FIC was the only grassroots pro-family organization in Connecticut fighting to prevent Sen. Lieberman from supporting the filibuster!
While the confirmation of Justice Alito marks a major turning point, the battle to restore our culture and the rule of law is far from over. Even if Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito are true to the judicial philosophy they championed in their confirmation hearings, we still need to replace one more liberal justice on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Reclaiming the U.S. Supreme Court as a place where the Constitution and our nation's Judeo-Christian heritage will be respected is one of the greatest goals the pro-family movement can achieve. We have made incredible progress toward that goal over the last year and FIC has played a key role in it.
Posted at 11:13 AM
ANOTHER TWIST ON A FLAWED CONCEPT [Brian Brown]
We have occasionally noted some of the mistaken conclusions that follow from the flawed notion that "love" alone "makes a family." But the one highlighted in the Republican-American's Jan. 10th editorial, "Marital Fluke," really takes the cake:
To all those homosexual agitators who believe same-sex marriage won't lead eventually to the legalization of incest, polygamy or bestiality, we submit Sharon and Cindy.
Sharon Tendler is a 41-year-old British citizen. Her new husband, Cindy, is a 35-year-old resident of Israel. They got "married" last Wednesday at Cindy's place. Sharon wore white and had pink flowers in her hair, while Cindy came to the nuptials in sleek gray and white. Why not? Cindy was the "groom" and a red-blooded male, though not in the traditional sense of man and wife.
But then again, nothing about this wedding was traditional.
After they were wed, Sharon knelt and gave Cindy a kiss on the nose. The bottlenose, that is. That's right, Mr. Sharon Tendler is a dolphin. (If he had come down with cold flippers before the ceremony, would he have been the chicken of the sea?)
Their "marriage license" is worthless, of course, and this was nothing more than a publicity stunt by an animal-rights wing nut with too much time and money on her hands.
But their "relationship" and the extent to which she went to solemnize it offers a glimpse into a not-too-distant future in which, in Ms. Tendler's words, marrying a dolphin or any other animal is not considered "a perverted thing. ... It's just something that we did because I love him, but not in the way that you love a man. It's just a pure love that I have for this animal."
And there you have it: Interspecies wedlock is just another perverted example of how love makes a family.
Posted at 3:26 PM
STATE SUPREME COURT TO HEAR FIC'S APPEAL IN KERRIGAN CASE [Brian Brown]
Today's New London Day has a story about two town clerks who have withdrawn their motion to intervene in Kerrigan vs. State of Conn., the case brought by activists seeking to force a judicial imposition of same-sex "marriage" on Connecticut. Those who make it to the last sentence of the story will read this:
The Family Institute of Connecticut, another anti-gay marriage group, also has filed a motion to intervene in the case. A superior court judge last year rejected the institute's request, but the group appealed. The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on that appeal Feb. 9.
We will keep our members up-to-date on the results of this important development.
Posted at 10:24 AM
REP. CHRIS SHAYS: MOUTHPIECE FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOOD? [Peter Wolfgang]
In yesterday's Courant, David Lightman uncritically reports Congressman Chris Shays' view that social conservatism is politically "deadly" in the Northeast. In typical fashion, what Lightman does not report is Shays' relationship with an organization that is literally deadly: Planned Parenthood.
From Lightman's Courant story:
The social issues [President Bush] has championed to great
success elsewhere - banning gay marriage, outlawing abortion, promoting prayer
in schools and public places - play poorly in the Northeast.
"The social conservative issues are deadly for our country and those of us who represent the Northeast," Shays said.
From a story in Saturday's Connecticut Post:
WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-4, traveled to Africa this month to learn firsthand the effect of President Bush's ban on federal funding for overseas family-planning services. He got a stark answer in Uganda.
Sitting in a circle outside a crowded waiting room at the Naguru Teen Center, Shays casually asked the Ugandan youths how many of them had lost a parent to HIV/AIDS. The hands of seven out of 11 shot up.
"A parent, not just a family member. It just so dramatically demonstrates how pressing the needs are there," said Susan Yolen, director of Connecticut Planned Parenthood, who hosted the trip with Planned Parenthood Global Partners [emphasis added].
The gist of the article is that--unsurprisingly--a Planned Parenthood-paid trip to Uganda to meet with Planned Parenthood-approved groups leaves one with the impression that abstinence-until-marriage programs are bad and condom-access programs are good.
Leave aside for the moment the fact that Uganda may be the country that most disproves this logic, as Rod Dreher has noted for the last few years. (And let us note only in passing the facts that disprove the premise of Shays' Courant quote: the leading Senate candidate in Pennsylvania is a pro-life Democrat, the Senator in trouble in Rhode Island is a pro-abortion Republican, etc.) The interesting thing, in light of his quote in yesterday's Courant, is what Planned Parenthood is doing with Rep. Shays and why:
Yolen said the trip to Africa had been in the works for at least two years. She said the experience would allow Shays to correct misconceptions in Congress and hopefully head off legislation that could make matters worse...
[Shays] did not publicize the Africa trip, which was paid for by Planned Parenthood, leading some political observers to question his silence.
"He probably didn't play it up because there is no political benefit to doing that," said Scott McLean, a professor of politics at Quinnipiac University. "He would alienate the right talking about Planned Parenthood."
In fact, the trip--"played up" or not--does raise questions about Rep. Shays' relationship to Planned Parenthood and the extent to which that relationship influences his views. But given the MSM's pro-abortion bias, these questions are, of course, relegated to an afterthought in the last sentence of the Post piece:
[Another politics professor] also said paid trips have come under fire as an ethics scandal has intensified the atmosphere for reform.
Posted at 10:26 AM
SENATOR LIEBERMAN CAVES; URGE HIM TO OPPOSE FILIBUSTER [Brian Brown]
Senator Lieberman, having caved into pressure from the extreme Left, said yesterday that he will vote against confirming Judge Alito to the Supreme Court.
Waiting until late in the process to announce his vote and initially putting the word out through an aide, Sen. Lieberman is apparently not proud of his decision--nor should he be. He admits that Judge Alito has the intellect, integrity and background to be on the high court and that his vote against Alito is based on pro-abortion politics.
But the fight is not over for Connecticut's pro-family voters! The state's pro-abortion activists are now pressuring Sen. Lieberman to support a filibuster. Because it looks like Judge Alito already has enough votes lined up for confirmation, a filibuster may be the only way the pro-abortion movement can stop him.
Senator Lieberman needs to hear from each and every one of his pro-family constituents immediately asking him to oppose a filibuster and allow Judge Alito to have a fair and timely up-or-down vote.
Click here to send a pre-written e-mail message to Senator Lieberman.
Calls are also critical:
Senator Joe Lieberman
Hartford: (800) 225-5605
Washington, D.C: (202) 224-4041
Posted at 10:28 AM
RECOMMENDED READING: CAROLE BASS AND POPE BENEDICT XVI [Peter Wolfgang]
Poor Carole Bass! Her first anti-porn piece caused the New Haven Advocate to downgrade her column and for her second one she must now suffer the indignity of being praised by us. What's a self-respecting progressive alt-weekly journalist to do?
Bass' earlier piece celebrating the successful eviction by Bishop Jay Ramirez of a Milford porn shop led her pro-porn paper to change the subtitle of her column from "the Advocate 's Take on New Haven's Quality of Life, Compiled by Carole Bass" to "Carole Bass' take," an apparent withdrawal of editorial endorsement for the views expressed therein. Undaunted, Bass wrote a cover article this week challenging the pro-porn mindset of the alternative press:
We think for ourselves, that is, on most issues. There is no Advocate party line on the politics of gentrification, or affirmative action, or Wal-Mart. Nor do we expect an uncritical embrace of entire genres of pop culture--automatically equating folk music with workers' rights, say, or indie rock with grassroots creativity.
Why, then, do we reflexively pimp for porn? What's so alternative about that?
Why, indeed? Could it be the money? Just how lucrative are the sex-related ads that are such a staple of alt-weeklies? Could the New Haven Advocate, for instance, survive without them or would it go belly-up if it rejected porn-related revenue? And if the latter is the case, then is the alternative press' pro-porn position really based on principle or is "free speech" just a cover for protecting the bottom line?
Bass does not address these questions, at least not directly, but her take-down of alt-weeklies' ideological support for pornography is so devastating that the answers are not hard to guess at:
The pornography industry, overwhelmingly run by men for men, is deeply exploitive. That's well documented, and I won't try to prove it here. It's also a very big and very lucrative industry, driven--like much of capitalism--by greed. So the "alternative" media, champions of the underdog, should at the very least be suspicious of pornography.
Sure, there are women who like porn, including some who make a feminist case for how it's sexually liberating and economically empowering. That's a distinctly minority viewpoint. How many women do you know who think porn is a good thing? How many women do you think get rich and powerful from the porn industry? Are you rooting for your sisters and girlfriends and daughters to choose a career in pornography? With few exceptions, it's an industry run by men, selling images of women to other men.
There is so much logic and clear thinking in Bass' piece that she ends up sounding like someone else who published on a similar topic this week. Here, for instance, is the next paragraph of Bass' article:
And porn is a commodity. It's not a vehicle for art or ideas. Legally it may be considered "speech" or "expression," but that's sort of like referring to a one-night-stand as "making love." There's no love involved. There's no speech. Porn is a product.
And this is from a wire story on Pope Benedict XVI's new encyclical Deus Caritas Est ("God Is Love"):
Physical love, reduced to pure sex, becomes a debased commodity, "a mere `thing' to be bought and sold," the pope wrote; it must be enhanced by spiritual, selfless love for God and for one's neighbor to achieve a higher and full meaning.
Most Advocate readers will probably not be reflecting on the wisdom of Pope Benedict this week. But at least they will be reading Carole Bass.
Posted at 2:31 PM
CONNECTICUT'S FIRST CATHOLIC SAINT? [Peter Wolfgang]
Two pro-family heroes whom we hold in great esteem here at FIC are the subjects of new biographies. One of them, Fr. Michael J. McGivney, may become Connecticut's first canonized saint:
In the 19th century, a young parish priest at St. Mary's
Church in New Haven anguished over the problems that threatened the lives and
health of his immigrant parishioners. Early death, either from disease or
industrial accident, was common in those days. The sudden death of a husband and
father could mean disaster for a family.
Although the Rev. Michael J. McGivney could wind up becoming the first American priest to become a saint, he is not a household name, but the organization that he founded to provide financial support to families after a working man's death is.
McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882, a fraternal Catholic men's organization in New Haven that has grown into the largest lay Catholic organization in the world. Today, with 1.7 million members, the Knights of Columbus raise millions of dollars annually to support the Catholic Church and church activities...
In the era before Social Security, aid to families with dependent children or other safety nets, McGivney "was looking at what happened to families when the father died working in the foundries of the Connecticut Valley and the widow was left trying to raise five or 10 kids on no income," [historian Douglas] Brinkley says. "He created a way through the Catholic Church to help working-class and poor people."...
Born in Waterbury in 1852, McGivney worked as a parish priest in New Haven and later in Thomaston. He died of a respiratory illness in 1890 at age 38, and his remains are in a tomb at St. Mary's.
The other noteworthy biography is of Dr. James Dobson, who founded Focus on the Family and is perhaps one of the two or three most influential evangelicals in the nation:
A new biography of Dobson, Family Man: The Biography of Dr. James Dobson by Dale Buss, presents an in-depth, personal voyage into Dobson's life, ministry and future. Through personal interviews with Dobson's wife, children, friends and associates, Buss offers a comprehensive account of Dobson's immense impact on the evangelical movement...
Today, Dobson's support is sought by any number of congressmen, senators, or any cause that wishes to succeed. His success rate isn't always impressive. He probably loses as many battles as he wins. The opposition is formidable, well financed and controls the media. Yet for two reasons Dobson succeeds and continues to press forward. First, he understands that rejecting decades of decadence and turning the tide back toward godly families will take time, effort, and a long movement with a solid foundation. Second, he recognizes that God, not politics, changes hearts.
We urge our members to purchase both Family Man and Parish Priest, solid biographies on two great defenders of faith and family.
Posted at 4:30 PM
SENATORS DODD AND LIEBERMAN NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU! [Brian Brown]
The U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee voted today by a party-line vote of 10 to 8 to report Judge Alito's nomination favorably to the full Senate, which is set to begin debate tomorrow. Now is the time for every pro-family voter in Connecticut to make his or her voice heard!
Connecticut's anti-family elites are putting enormous pressure on Senators Dodd and Lieberman to vote against Judge Alito. The state's top pro-abortion activists held another event at the state capitol last week designed to influence our Senators' votes:
[Lt. Gov. Kevin B.] Sullivan joined other supporters of abortion rights in calling on Connecticut's Democratic U.S. senators, Joseph I. Lieberman and Christopher J. Dodd, to filibuster Alito's nomination.
Left-wing pressure on Sen. Lieberman in particular--who may face a primary challenge from within his party--is beginning to have an effect:
The prospect of a challenge from Lamont is already changing Lieberman - who's reinvented himself more often than [pop star] Madonna - back into a partisan Democrat. Lieberman even hinted to a group of liberal state legislators last month that he just might vote against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.
Senators Dodd and Lieberman can still be persuaded to do the right thing and vote to confirm Judge Alito. But they need to hear from each and every one of you, their pro-family constituents, immediately asking them to vote "yes" to confirm Judge Alito! Click on this link and also call the numbers below.
Remind our Senators that a panel of the American Bar Association voted unanimously to award its highest rating of "well qualified" to Judge Alito on its criteria of "integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament." Tell them that a vote against Judge Alito is pure pro-abortion partisanship and the voters of Connecticut expect our Senators to be better than that! Here are those numbers:
Senator Chris Dodd
Connecticut: (800) 334-5341
Washington, D.C.: (202) 224-2823
Senator Joe Lieberman
Hartford: (800) 225-5605
Washington, D.C: (202) 224-4041
Posted at 4:12 PM
ABSTINENCE EDUCATION IN CONNECTICUT [Peter Wolfgang]
This informational bulletin from the Connecticut Catholic Conference was received at FIC's office last week:
The ACLU has launched a "Not In My State" campaign to pressure state governments to reject federal abstinence education funds. The State of Connecticut is one of those states. Looking at our State government's poor record on promoting abstinence education, it is doubtful the State will stand up to the pressure. Unlike Connecticut, the State of Massachusetts has just announced the implementation of its Abstinence Education Project, which is aimed at reducing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and lowering the teen birth rate. The program will be using the federal funds that the ACLU wants Connecticut to reject.
Fortunately, in Connecticut Catholic Charities receives substantial federal funds to teach abstinence education in public and private schools. In 2005, Catholic Charities ran programs in eight of Connecticut's major cities. Also, other organizations, such as Carolyn's Place in Waterbury, help provide abstinence education to many public and private school students across the State.
The ACLU, along with other various groups, such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL, advocate for comprehensive sex education. This also appears to be the path supported by the Connecticut Departments of Health and Education. Last year a hearing was held on a bill calling for a study of abstinence education in our State. This bill was killed in committee. Local school districts currently are free to establish their own sexuality education programs. However, advocates of comprehensive sex education are hoping to establish mandatory guidelines and requirements for this type of sex education. The debate over abstinence education versus comprehensive sex education is sure to occur again in the public arena within our State. Many of those opposed to abstinence education call it a "just say no" program. In reality it is much more, addressing and focusing on many aspects of a young person's personality, not just the physical and sexual dimensions. Parents of all school aged children should be aware of this movement within our State, and its possible effects on their child's development. You may wish to study this issue more and discuss it with local school officials and your elected representatives. The emotional and physical wellbeing of our teenagers is at risk.
We will keep our members updated on this issue. For more information on abstinence education click here.
Posted at 9:46 AM
COURANT OWES BRAD DAVIS AN APOLOGY [Brian Brown]
The Courant's lead editorial on Christmas Day chastised Bill O'Reilly and local radio host Brad Davis for defending Christmas against--in the paper's estimation--an illusory war against the holiday. Given recent events in East Windsor, the editors owe O'Reilly and Davis an apology:
EAST WINDSOR -- Santa will be back in the schools next
After they noticed that Christmas decorations were being removed from the schools, a couple of parents approached the schools superintendent, suggesting that his interpretation of a letter sent by the Anti-Defamation League was wrong.
The superintendent now admits the district went too far and said Santa will make an appearance again next year...
In East Windsor, a Christmas tree that had been put up in one of the schools was ordered taken down and [East Windsor parent Anita] LaMonde said the town's park and recreation department was not allowed to advertise its annual Santa Call program. The parks department also was told that an Easter egg hunt couldn't be held at Broad Brook Elementary School because of the concern about religion in public schools, she said.
For years, Christmas decorations had been displayed in classrooms and around the schools. But in recent years, symbols from other religions had been displayed during the holiday season, LaMonde said.
[East Windsor parent Kathy] Bilodeau said although schools have been trying to accommodate the feelings of people offended by displays of religion in public schools, she felt the pendulum had moved too far the other way.
After consulting the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, LaMonde said, they found that federal court precedents do allow such things as singing Christmas carols with religious themes and displaying religious symbols during Christmas. They also learned that teachers can discuss the origins of the symbols in a historical context.
Last month, FIC's Stop the Ban on Christmas campaign convinced three major retailers that operate in Connecticut to restore Christmas in their stores. Our members sent more e-mails in a similar time-span than any previous FIC campaign: over 3,000 in three days. FIC congratulates our members, the parents in East Windsor and Brad Davis for their victories against the War on Christmas in Connecticut.
And we offer some advice for the Courant: before you write next December's inevitable "There is no war on Christmas" editorial, why don't you check out the evidence first?
Posted at 11:32 AM
AGAINST ASSISTED SUICIDE [Peter Wolfgang]
"The U.S. Supreme Court's decision Tuesday to uphold Oregon's right-to-die law likely will heat up Connecticut's assisted suicide debate," says a story in today's Danbury News-Times. Yet another way in which Connecticut's culture of death pushes forward.
The story quotes three state legislators who favor this development (none who oppose it) and doctors on both sides. And there is this:
Marie Hilliard, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference, said Tuesday she was "extremely disappointed'' by the court's decision because it gave state approval to harm "the most vulnerable'' members of society and sanctions a "slippery slope'' approach to medical care that could lead to state-sanctioned euthanasia.
"We have to be very concerned,'' she said.
Hilliard also said she expects the issue, which has been before the General Assembly in the past, to return in the coming year.
If it does return, Dr. Hilliard will not be alone in that fight. Disability activists, pro-lifers and Connecticut's pro-family movement will all stand with her if this legislature launches yet another salvo at the state's most defenseless citizens under the guise of "rights."
Posted at 10:53 AM
STEM CELL COMMITTEE'S CONFLICT OF INTEREST [Peter Wolfgang]
Last year the legislature and Gov. Rell passed a law committing $100 million of public funds to stem cell research, including embryonic stem cell research which involves the cloning and killing of human embryos. As we noted on this blog over a month ago, and as the Courant reports today, there is a big problem with the procedure designed to disburse those funds:
It is not even clear who will make the decisions about who gets the money. The state stem cell advisory committee is dominated by members with connections to Yale and UConn, the two institutions expected to get the lion's share of the state funds. The committee, which is scheduled to meet today, has asked whether members with connections to the universities may approve grant proposals that could benefit their own schools.
Here is one of "several fundamental issues" that "remain unresolved," according to the Courant:
Should preference be given to scientists who conduct research with human embryonic cells that are subject to federal research prohibitions?
In fact, providing state funding for research that the federal government refuses to fund was the reason this law was passed in the first place. That research involves cloning and killing human embryos, which is why the federal government will not fund it and why our state government should not either.
But in spite of questions involving both conflicts of interest and medical ethics, Connecticut's culture of death is pushing forward:
UConn officials now are considering dumping a $100,000 limit they placed on research proposals because a cap like that could hamstring more ambitious scientific efforts - such as plans by cloning expert Xiangzhong "Jerry" Yang to create human embryonic cells through cloning.
Posted at 11:23 AM
STATE'S PRO SAME-SEX "MARRIAGE" EPISCOPAL BISHOP DEFROCKS PRO-FAMILY PRIEST [Brian Brown]
On this day in which we honor Martin Luther King, Jr.--a true civil rights hero--FIC's prayers are with the Rev. Mark Hansen and all other victims of the self-professed champions of tolerance. From today's Courant:
Hansen and five other Episcopal priests broke with the
diocese last year over Smith's support for the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the
church's first openly gay bishop. The priests stopped paying their dues to the
In July, Smith put Hansen under inhibition, a six-month suspension, claiming the priest took an unauthorized sabbatical and had stopped making payments on a loan for the church's building.
Hansen, who resigned in September, has maintained that he notified Smith about his plans.
In an e-mail to The Courant Sunday, Hansen responded to a request for comment, saying he made a good-faith denial to Smith that he had abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church.
Hanson said the canons of the church call for the bishop to withdraw the notice of inhibition once a good faith denial has been received.
"Obviously, the Bishop did not follow the canons," Hansen said.
The diocese's treatment of Hansen has divided St. John's parish. Some members believe Hansen's opposition to Robinson's consecration in 2003 led to his being defrocked. The action, the final step that an Episcopal bishop can take toward a priest, effectively ends Hansen's priesthood.
Click here and here to follow pro-family Episcopal reactions to the events in Connecticut.
Posted at 11:22 AM
CONNECTICUT AND THE MARCH FOR LIFE [Peter Wolfgang]
A story in the January issue of the Catholic Transcript provides information for state residents wishing to attend the Marches for Life in Washington, D.C. and Hartford. We invite our members to support these events marking the 33rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's tragic decision to legalize the destruction of unborn human life:
In the Diocese of Norwich, buses will leave at 9 p.m. Jan. 22 from the municipal parking lot near the Department of Motor Vehicles (exit 80 off I-395). The bus will make stops in New Haven and Milford. A bus will also leave from All Saints Parish parking lot in Somersville at 10:30 p.m. Jan. 22 and will return at midnight on Jan. 23. Parishioners fund that bus through sales of a discount card that can be used for one year at 27 local businesses.
In the Archdiocese of Hartford, a bus will leave at 7:30 a.m Jan. 22 from Franciscan Life Center in Meriden, arriving in Washington, D.C. at 4 p.m. Another bus will leave at midnight Jan. 23 from the Hartford area. Connecticut Right to Life buses will also leave at 11:45 p.m. Jan. 22 from Sacred Heart Church in Waterbury, and from locations in West Hartford and Enfield/Windsor Locks.
Most buses arrive in Washington, D.C., in time for participants to attend the 8 p.m. vigil Mass for Life Jan. 22 celebrated by Cardinal William Keeler at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Other events taking place at the Basilica are a national rosary for life led by the Mothers of Mary in the crypt church at 10:30 p.m. Jan. 22. Night prayer will follow at 11:30.
Eucharistic adoration led by pro-life seminarians from across the country is scheduled from midnight until 6:30 a.m. in the crypt church followed by morning prayer in the great upper church. A Mass of penance and prayer will follow at 7:30 a.m.
On Jan. 23, Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell will celebrate Mass at 8 a.m. in the Washington Plaza Hotel. A breakfast with the Archbishop will follow. Kathleen M. Gallagher, Catholic Advocacy Network director and director of Pro-life for the New York State Catholic Conference, will be the guest speaker at the breakfast. Those who are traveling to Washington, D.C., but not participating in the march are welcome to attend the breakfast.
An outdoor rally will be held at noon on the Ellipse between the White House and the Washington Monument with the march up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court following. Participants can talk with legislators at the House and Senate Office Buildings...
For more information on attending the march in the Norwich Diocese, including the cost, call Mrs. Rossi at (860) 848-1064 or Margaret Becotte at (860) 822-1362. For more information on the bus leaving from All Saints Parish in Somersville, call Ron Collyer at (860) 763-2914. For more information, including the costs of traveling on a bus leaving from the Hartford Archdiocese or to make a reservation for the breakfast with Archbishop Henry Mansell, which costs $25, call Sister Suzanne Gross, a Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist and Pro-life Ministry program coordinator, at (203) 639-0833. For information on buses leaving from the Waterbury, New Haven and Enfield areas, call Bob Muckle at Connecticut Right to Life at (203) 757-5213...
If you can't make it to the march in D.C. ...
A march for life will also be held at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford beginning at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 22 with a rosary and Divine Mercy prayer gathering for the unborn. Participants will gather in Room 310 afterward to listen to various speakers. Information is available from Mary Timmis at (860) 638-7095 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted at 9:41 AM
ANOTHER PRO-FAMILY CHURCH IN CT TAKES A STAND [Brian Brown]
And here's the kicker: it's Gov. Rell's church. An excerpt from Tuesday's Danbury News-Times:
BROOKFIELD - The sign at the front of St. Paul's Church changed just a little in recent weeks.
It used to read St. Paul's Episcopal, which is the term used in the United States for churches that belong to the worldwide Anglican community.
Now the sign says St. Paul's Anglican Church. Although the change represents only one fewer letter, it means a whole lot more.
It signals the parish's move away from the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, because of its support of the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in 2003 as the first actively gay bishop...
St. Paul's pastor, Rev. Andrew Buchanan, who arrived at the church three years ago, said the new sign was needed anyway and that it broadens the church's identity by helping newcomers from other parts of the world recognize their church in the United States.
"It's our way of identifying with the larger communion," Buchanan said last week. "We have a very close relationship with a bishop in Tanzania and their church is called Anglican."
Buchanan said some see this change as a chance to distance the local church from the diocese, but he said the church has a healthy relationship with the diocesan bishop?
Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who last year signed legislation for civil unions for same-sex couples, attends the church. In July 2004 the Rev. George Crocker of St. Paul's gave the invocation at her inauguration.
Click here and here to follow the conversation among pro-family Episcopalians/Anglicans over the future of their communion.
Posted at 9:19 AM
LIBERAL COLUMNIST GETS IT RIGHT [Peter Wolfgang]
In what may be a first for this blog, I want to call attention to a Susan Campbell column that we liked. In her Jan. 4th piece Campbell aims her trademark scorn at a target that actually deserves it:
Just after the wrapping paper hit the floor on Christmas,
Kendra Toodle-Register was suffering buyer's remorse. She and her husband bought
their 4-year-old daughter, Dejah, a Bratz Big Babyz doll named Sasha. They'd
done so advisedly. They know the Bratz line of dolls are dressed provocatively,
but the Babyz togs are at least a little toned down. In the box, Sasha, with her
perky pigtails and almond eyes, looked adorable.
That's the packaging. Out of the box, Dejah turned the doll over and discovered that beneath the khaki green skirt (and baby bottle attached to a bling chain), Sasha was wearing a thong. That's right. A black mesh one.
Campbell quotes the author of "So Sexy, So Soon" on "how marketers use sex to pitch products to the pigtail set" and then--in a manner that perhaps only an otherwise-liberal columnist could get away with in our politically correct age--decimates the doll company's excuses:
That's laughable. The Bratz dolls' skin tone reflects America better than most dolls, but the clothes are fit for a slut-in-training...Because, seriously: A thong on a toddler? I'm imagining a special place in marketing hell right about now.
Posted at 11:22 AM
THE RELL ADMINISTRATION'S SCANDAL: WHAT THE MSM ISN'T REPORTING [Peter Wolfgang]
Despite Gov. Rell raising $800,000 during the first filing period of her campaign for governor, the Courant makes an ominous comparison in today's article:
It falls short, however, of early fundraising displayed in other campaigns, most notably the $1 million that Democratic gubernatorial challenger Barbara B. Kennelly collected in the 3 and a half months after declaring her candidacy in September 1997.
Why is it that Gov. Rell's early fundraising has fallen short of the doomed Kennelly campaign? And what is the true cause of the scandal engulfing Gov. Rell's chief of staff? Kevin Rennie's Jan. 1st NE Magazine column came the closest of any MSM outlet in telling "the rest of the story:"
There is glee where there should be fear. Republican
activists and officeholders show no signs of regret that Gov. M. Jodi Rell's
chief of staff, M. Lisa Moody, is in serious trouble for distributing
invitations to a Rell campaign fundraiser from her office... Rell and Moody put
themselves in a bind. They set Rell up as the patron saint of reform and virtue
in politics. Rell has cast such aspersions on people who participate in
politics, herself excepted, of course, that she made contributing to campaigns
seem furtive, dirty even.
Her enthusiasm for taxpayer funding of political campaigns left many Republicans infuriated. The woman who says she is the guardian of the public purse bought into a costly left-wing plan for the government to intrude on the fundamental decisions of our democracy.
The law steals traditional rights from many and is likely to be found unconstitutional when challenged. Rell cares not a whit about that. She wanted to be on the side of where she thought the angels were hovering. Rell and Moody, her sole adviser on too may issues, heed one guiding light: follow the love. It is folly to try to keep 80 percent of the public enamored with you. It means you are making no hard decisions, making you prey to the fashions of the moment...
Republican fundraisers report outbreaks of immunity to Rell's fund raising. People who could raise a lot for former Gov. John Rowland without breaking a saunter to mail the invitations find it hard to make their numbers. Reliable troops who give year after year are saying "no" to Rell. Your basic small government, liberty-loving Republican has no incentive to give her as much as a sawbuck. They want to see the lady sweat a little. And she is.
We are not "Republican activists," though we are often described as such (and worse) on web sites where the conventional wisdom of the Left poses as deep thinking. But we, too, had heard the rumors of Gov. Rell's lackluster fundraising results and of the conservative "glee" regarding Ms. Moody's troubles.
Rennie nails part of the reason above but, as a liberal Republican himself, he skips an important part of the story. For the truth is that Gov. Rell's betrayals of what should have been her political base are not limited to "small government, liberty-loving" Republicans. She has also alienated pro-family voters in both parties who might have supported her as a bulwark against the most anti-family legislature in recent memory. As a reminder of the dots not being connected by the MSM, here, in full, is my June 30th blog:
GOV. RELL'S LATEST BLUNDER
Republican Gov. Jodi Rell, who signed the bill legalizing same-sex civil unions and the bill committing $100 million of taxpayer money to the cloning and killing of human embryos, clearly has no love for her party's pro-family majority. According to a front page piece in today's Courant, the feeling is mutual:
Abortion Issue Roils GOP's Fundraiser
STAMFORD -- Internal divisions over the issues of abortion and increased state taxes on the wealthy clouded the Connecticut Republican Party's largest annual fundraising dinner Wednesday, where attendance was the lowest in years [emphasis added].
At the dinner Jennifer Blei Stockman, a co-chair of the pro-abortion group "Republican Majority for Choice," was awarded the state GOP's highest honor. The Courant reports that Stockman, who has led the fight to make the GOP more pro-abortion, "was chosen for the award" by Gov. Rell. Consistent with the usual disregard for truth so common among abortion advocates, Stockman comments:
"Gov. Rell has united the Republicans. We hope the national party can take some lessons from what is happening in Connecticut."
What lesson would Stockman like the national GOP to take from the state GOP? "Abandon the pro-life/pro-family platform that made the GOP the ruling party in Washington and embrace the social liberalism that made it a non-entity in Hartford?"
And if Gov. Rell's decision to honor the pro-abortion Stockman has "united the Republicans," why did the award dinner have the "lowest attendance in years?" According to the Courant, "one Republican insider said the attendance was "pathetic,'" with tables being described as "empty" or only "partially filled." Refusing to believe her own eyes, Gov. Rell described the attendance as excellent, "adding that some people had arrived specifically to see Stockman."
But it seems that many more chose not to attend specifically because of Stockman. It would come as news to this man, for instance, that Rell's choice of Stockman has "united the Republicans:"
But longtime Greenwich Republican Sam Romeo, who has
attended the dinner through the years, said that he boycotted this year because
"For them to honor Stockman is an insult. Mrs. Pro-abortion herself," said Romeo, a conservative who said that he would support [Mass. Gov. Mitt] Romney financially in his next campaign. "She doesn't represent me and a lot of Republicans on her stance."
Romeo said that Stockman is out-of-step with the GOP's national leaders, and that he could not understand why she was being honored by the state party.
"Doesn't this fly in the face of George Bush's conservatism?" Romeo asked. "He's definitely a committed, pro-life president. How could I go, in good conscience, to that dinner?"
The decision to have the state GOP award its highest honor to "Mrs. Pro-abortion herself" is just the latest in a series of anti-family, pro-abortion blunders by a governor who was never elected to the position. Yes, Gov. Rell's approval rating was still high the last time the pollsters checked. But former U.S. Rep. Barbara Kennelly's margins of victory were always high, too, until she faced real competition in a race for governor--then she folded like a house of cards.
A recent interview portrayed Gov. Rell as believing that a likely opponent in the 2006 governor's race, who is considered hard to beat, will turn out to have a "glass jaw." But the governor would do well to consider those empty tables at last night's dinner. They represent not just big donors who chose not to attend, but thousands of pro-family citizens who are deeply offended by the bills she has signed.
If she cannot somehow manage to reverse the anti-family course that she has put her administration on, Gov. Rell may discover that she is the one with the glass jaw.
Posted at 9:30 AM
January 6, 2006
100,000 STATE PETITIONS FOR MARRIAGE PROTECTION; ONLY 11,000 FOR OPPOSITION TO ALITO [Brian Brown]
Do the state's establishment lefties--those professional activists who work tirelessly for the right to kill unborn children and destroy the institution of marriage as we have known it--possess a sense of irony? Here is an excerpt from today's Connecticut Post:
HARTFORD - An umbrella group of statewide union members and social activists on Thursday used the Capitol complex as a rallying point for opposition to the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito Jr. to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Members of the Connecticut Coalition for Judicial Responsibility held a news conference, then delivered petitions containing names of 11,000 residents opposing the nomination to the offices of U.S. Sens. Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman.
They warned that Alito's positions on a variety of issues, including gender discrimination, civil and voting rights, family support, privacy and the separation of church and state, appear to threaten the values of most Connecticut residents. "We have gathered here today to tell you Judge Alito's extensive record has proven that he is not the right choice for Connecticut," said Alice Pritchard, executive director of Connecticut Women's Educational and Legal Fund...
Anne Stanback, executive director of the gay-rights Love Makes a Family Inc., another group in the coalition, said Alito's vow to protect "traditional values" could be an open threat for the rights of many in Connecticut.
Wait a minute. The Family Institute of Connecticut gathered 100,000 petitions from state residents asking the legislature not to legalize same-sex "marriage" or its "facsimile" and to instead pass a Defense of Marriage Act. The state's left-wing activists responded by urging the General Assembly to ignore our petitions. In response to our campaign to "Let the People Decide," Anne Stanback sniffed "that simply is not how we make laws in Connecticut."
But now these same pro-abortion/pro same-sex "marriage" activists want Senators Dodd and Lieberman to heed their comparatively-paltry 11,000 anti-Alito signatures?
This episode proves two things: 1) Our opponents are hypocrites and 2) Judge Alito's respect for the Constitution and for our nation's heritage of faith and family are far more representative of the values of Connecticut than are the values of the special interest groups opposing him.
We urge our members to watch for future FIC e-mail alerts for information on what they can do to help confirm Judge Alito.
Posted at 10:15 AM
KOREA'S STEM-CELL FRAUD: COMING SOON TO CONNECTICUT? [Peter Wolfgang]
From a wire story in today's Courant:
SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea's top university said
Thursday that leading researcher Hwang Woo-suk fabricated all of the stem cells
he said were cloned from individual patients - a shattering blow to the
disgraced scientist's reputation as a medical pioneer.
Korean news outlets also reported that the ongoing probe into one of the biggest scientific frauds in memory had broadened to embrace allegations that government officials - concerned about the shame such revelations could bring upon their country - may have attempted to bribe scientists who were considered potential whistle-blowers.
From a Weekly Standard article by the Discovery Institute's Wesley J. Smith, discussing the embryonic stem cell research fraud perpetrated by Hwang:
This debacle raises several interesting questions: What does it tell us about the thoroughness of the peer review process? Why were younger South Korean scientists able to discover Hwang's missteps when the presumably more seasoned peer reviewers for Science failed? Will the American media take a cue from their courageous counterparts in South Korea, who pursued this story until it cracked, and finally bring skepticism to their coverage of biotechnology? More to the point, will the adult/umbilical cord blood stem cell successes that have emerged one after the other in recent years finally receive the attention they deserve in the mainstream press, which has been so intoxicated with embryonic research as virtually to ignore nonembryonic breakthroughs?
Don't count on it. The pro--cloning political forces, and their media allies, recognize the potential of the Hwang fiasco to damage their cause, so they have quickly regrouped and begun to furiously spin the story. The same voices that not long ago railed against President Bush's stem cell funding policies for supposedly allowing America to fall behind the cutting--edge research in South Korea, now indignantly blame Bush for creating a hyper--competitive atmosphere that led to Hwang's failures. "Ethics can get forgotten as other nations and private companies race to fill the void left by the president's reluctance to fund stem cell research," wrote bioethicists Arthur Caplan and Glenn McGee in the Albany Times Union. "Only a properly funded U.S. stem cell research program will guarantee oversight and the protection of all involved."
The reaction in Connecticut's pro-cloning media was similar to what is described above. But as Smith goes on to explain, scientific fraud is just one of several ethical lapses "associated with the human cloning agenda." Reading Smith's account, one cannot help but think of Connecticut Right to Life President Bill O'Brien's report on the dishonesty surrounding our own state's decision to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to clone-and-kill human embryos (see my Dec. 15th blog).
Could Connecticut's publicly funded clone-and-kill research reach the same level of fraud that we have seen in South Korea? Its proponents would likely say that there are safeguards in place to prevent that from happening. But consider the question posed on the front page of the Dec. 17th Fairfield County Catholic:
The process to expend $100 million in State funding on stem-cell research took its first step on Nov. 29 with the launch of the Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee. Many of the committee members represent groups that strongly support embryonic stem-cell research, which kills innocent human life. Two universities that may seek access to this funding, Yale and UConn, hold 3 of 8 appointed seats. Is this a potential conflict of interest?
Of course it is. This is why Smith's conclusion on where things stand in the clone-and-kill debate may eventually prove true in Connecticut as well:
So where are we in the cloning debate? At this point, we don't know whether human cloning has been successfully accomplished or not. We don't know whether embryonic stem cells have been derived from cloned embryos. We don't know to what depths the dishonesty of the seemingly most successful researcher in the field actually descended.
We do know that cloning proponents in this country are avid in their desire for billions in federal and state money to pay for morally problematic and highly speculative research that the private sector generally shuns. And we do know that some advocates of this public policy agenda are more than willing to play fast and loose with the facts in order to get their way. In short, the human cloning agenda is falling into public disrepute-and for that, proponents of the agenda have no one to blame but themselves.
Posted at 12:40 PM
HERE COME THE BRIDES [Peter Wolfgang]
On Oct. 11th I blogged about the low numbers of same-sex couples utilizing Connecticut's new civil union law, noting that "only one trio has entered into a civil union in the Netherlands. But in doing so, they have undermined the understanding of marriage in the Netherlands, just as same-sex civil unions are doing in Connecticut." Now, in a Weekly Standard article that should be a "must read" for every pro-family activist, the Hudson Institute's Stanley Kurtz shows how the Dutch "polyamorous triad" figures into the global attack on marriage:
While Victor, Bianca, and Mirjam are joined by a private cohabitation contract rather than a state-registered partnership or a full-fledged marriage, their union has already made serious legal, political, and cultural waves in the Netherlands. To observers on both sides of the Dutch gay marriage debate, the De Bruijns' triple wedding is an unmistakable step down the road to legalized group marriage.
More important, the De Bruijn wedding reveals a heretofore hidden dimension of the gay marriage phenomenon. The De Bruijns' triple marriage is a bisexual marriage. And, increasingly, bisexuality is emerging as a reason why legalized gay marriage is likely to result in legalized group marriage. If every sexual orientation has a right to construct its own form of marriage, then more changes are surely due. For what gay marriage is to homosexuality, group marriage is to bisexuality. The De Bruijn trio is the tip-off to the fact that a connection between bisexuality and the drive for multipartner marriage has been developing for some time.
Kurtz discusses a plethora of cultural indicators to demonstrate the truth of what he is saying. It is a long article that should be read in its entirety, but I want to focus on a few key points that are particularly relevant to the battle in Connecticut.
Our opponents insist that same-sex "marriage" will not lead to polyamory, that they do not support polyamory, that religious and civil marriage are separate and that what is or is not acceptable in one should have no bearing on the other. But as Kurtz notes, the Unitarian Universalist Church played a key role in the legalization of same-sex "marriage" in Massachusetts and are waiting in the wings to do the same thing with polyamory:
In other words, Unitarians understand that moving too swiftly or openly to legitimize polyamory could validate the slippery-slope argument against same-sex marriage...But the clearest statement of strategic intent came from Valerie White, a lawyer and executive director of the Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund. A founder of [Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness] along with her brother, Harlan White, Valerie White let Bi Magazine know in 2003 that UUPA planned to keep its quest for recognition on temporary hold: "It would put too much ammunition in the hands of the opponents of gay marriage. . . . Our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community are fighting a battle that they're close to winning, and we don't want to do anything that would cause that fight to take a step backwards." In short, the Unitarians are holding the polyamorists at arm's length only until gay marriage has been safely legalized across the nation. At that point, the Unitarian campaign for state-recognized polyamorous marriage will almost certainly begin.
In a letter to the Courant's NE Magazine last month, Trish Galloway asked why Love Makes A Family never discusses the "B" in their GLBT constituency, that is, bisexuals. A few weeks later a self-professed bisexual responded by saying that it is "often" false to suggest that bisexuals need multiple partners to be happy and that she personally has "no need or desire" to see multiple-partner-marriage legalized. In fact, Trish was right to note the curious silence of the "B" in Love Makes A Family's GLBT advocacy. Here is Kurtz on the connection between bisexuals and polyamory:
Yet it is becoming increasingly clear that the polyamorists themselves are the "missing" bisexual liberation movement. Of course, not all polyamorists are bisexual. Victor de Bruijn reminds us that he is "100 percent heterosexual." Yet Bianca and Mirjam are bisexual. And as in the De Bruijn threesome, the "connecting" function of bisexuals seems to make a great many polyamorous arrangements possible. Of all the sexual sub-groups that participate in polyamory, bisexuals are first among equals. In a certain sense, the movement is theirs.
Among those cultural indicators discussed by Kurtz is a documentary playing in "art house" movie theaters:
Three of Hearts is the story of the real-life 13-year relationship of two men and a woman. Together for several years in a gay relationship, two bisexual-leaning men meet a woman and create a threesome that produces two children, one by each man. Although the woman marries one of the men, the entire threesome has a commitment ceremony. The movie records the trio's eventual breakup, yet the film's website notes their ongoing commitment to the view that "family is anything we want to create."
That's "family is anything we want to create" as in "Love Makes A Family."
Few scholars are as articulate as Kurtz on why marriage must be protected. His conclusion, in part:
Yet somehow the idea has taken hold that tolerance for sexual minorities requires a radical remake of the institution of marriage. That is a mistake.
The fundamental purpose of marriage is to encourage mothers and fathers to stay bound as a family for the sake of their children. Our liberalized modern marriage system is far from perfect, and certainly doesn't always succeed in keeping parents together while their children are young. Yet often it does. Unfortunately, once we radically redefine marriage in an effort to solve the problems of adults, the institution is destined to be shattered by a cacophony of grown-up demands...
But let there be no mistake about what will happen should same-sex marriage be fully legalized in the United States. At that point, if bisexual activists haven't already launched a serious campaign for legalized polyamory, they will go public...Just as we're now continually reminded that not all married couples have children, we'll someday be endlessly told that not all marriages are monogamous (nor all monogamists married). For a second time, the fuzziness and imperfection found in every real-world social institution will be contorted into a rationale for reforming marriage out of existence.
The process of "reforming marriage out of existence" has already begun in Connecticut with the legalization of same-sex civil unions. Stanley Kurtz marshals the facts to paint a picture of what the final result will look like--a picture you will not see in the Courant or the rest of the pro-same sex "marriage" MSM.
The good news is that this grim future can be prevented and--if recent pro-family court and electoral victories, as well as opinion polls, are any indication--it will be. Indeed, for the sake of children everywhere who have a right to grow up in a home with both a mom and a dad, it must be.
Posted at 4:47 PM
A WIN FOR DECENCY: PASTOR FORCES MILFORD PORN SHOP OUT [Peter Wolfgang]
Bishop Jay Ramirez, Pastor of Kingdom Life Christian Church and a friend of FIC, has won his battle against the porn shop he was preparing to evict. The "adult" video store plans to close down this week. What a wonderful Christmas present for the families of Connecticut! An excerpt from the New Haven Register story:
MILFORD -- Looks like Video Pleasures never really had a prayer.
The adults-only video store, which has operated in a building owned by a church and has been a thorn in the side of city officials and clergy, will leave the city by the end of the week, officials said.
That news, which comes amid threats by Kingdom Life Church
to evict the store, is a step in the right direction for the revitalization of
the Devon section, officials said.
"The preacher will have his building all to himself," Video Pleasures owner Michael Friend said Tuesday afternoon.
Kingdom Life Christian Church Bishop Jay Ramirez said Video Pleasures on Tuesday began moving its merchandise out of the building the church owns at 116 Bridgeport Ave.
"I'm thrilled," Ramirez said. "We're very pleased. We kept our promise to the community. I hope the building will now be used productively. Devon will now be an adult (bookstore) and porn-free area to live."
Bishop Ramirez' victory against porn in Milford is reminiscent of a similar victory secured earlier this year in Waterbury by Pastor James Lilley and Archbishop Henry J. Mansell. The events in Milford and Waterbury are a reminder of the key role that the state's pro-family clergy must play if we are to make Connecticut as family-friendly as possible. If every clergyman in Connecticut is as pro-active as Bishop Ramirez was in Milford, we can reclaim Connecticut just as he reclaimed the Devon section of Milford.
We salute Bishop Ramirez on his outstanding victory.
Posted at 3:53 PM
CIVIL UNIONS A DUD [Peter Wolfgang]
Carolyn Conrad and Kathleen Peterson desperately want to be uncivilized. In this age of anti-social behavior, that may not seem like news. But five years after exchanging "vows of love and commitment" in Vermont and becoming the nation's first same-sex "life partners" to be joined in a civil union, their messy "divorce," complete with restraining order, warrants the spotlight. Homosexual couples, it seems, aren't always the loving, devoted, way-better-than-heterosexual people that Hollywood, the news media and homosexual agitators make them out to be.
Thus begins "Civil Unions a Dud," a Dec. 24th editorial in the Waterbury Republican-American. As Brian did in his Dec. 12th blog, the Rep-Am notes that a mere 539 same-sex couples in Connecticut (out of the 7,400 counted in the 2000 census) bothered to enter into civil unions in the first six weeks since the law went into effect. Our state government undermined one of society's most precious institutions, marriage, by creating civil unions for a small group of people who don't want it. Our opponents are spinning that dismal result as a reason to legalize full same-sex "marriage." But since same-sex "marriage" will not confer any new rights on the civilly-unioned, their demand shows that what they are really after is not "rights" but the radical redefining of marriage itself.
Posted at 10:49 AM
THE LION, THE STORES, AND THE CULTURE [Peter Wolfgang]
Two of our favorite editorial pages here in Connecticut are approaching Christmas Day in decidedly different moods. Certainly, one can't help but feel a sense of gloom when contemplating the wave of violence gripping Hartford, and the Waterbury Republican-American's editorial diagnosis is bound to resonate with those of us fighting for the family:
As Gov. Rell said, the anarchy is rooted in "the breakdown of the family, domestic abuse, addiction, poverty and a simple lack of hope." But these and its other ills are the consequences of 40 years of government social engineering that have remade the culture into one that has little use for stable, traditional families. So many Hartford children grow up in single-parent homes today because the culture glorifies promiscuity and denigrates fatherhood; think Archie Bunker, Al Bundy and Peter Griffin.
Boys growing up in fatherless homes lack critical guidance, structure and self-control. For most, irresponsibility rules their lives, from their lawlessness to the children they sire out of wedlock. The offspring they abandon careen through the same culture that teaches them they're free to do as they please whenever they please; that addiction to government giveaways and entitlements is preferable to rugged individualism; that education is not something one learns in school, but what one picks up on the streets. They grow up to be victims of the culture and expect to be treated as such by governments ever eager to oblige them.
The daunting challenge for Gov. Rell, her agency heads, Hartford officials and community activists, with their throw-more-money-at-it mentality, is to reverse 40 years of cultural decay. Good luck.
Reversing cultural decay is indeed a daunting challenge, but not an impossible one. Modestly successful attempts at cultural renewal are occurring all across the nation--even in Connecticut. Consider the following editorial from the Dec.17th Fairfield County Catholic entitled, appropriately enough, "Advent Hope:"
This certainly has been an interesting Season of Advent, filled with perhaps a little more hope than usual. This year, we can thank two unexpected sources: shopping and Hollywood.
Catholics who spend much of the year trying (often in vain) to evangelize the horrid secular culture received a few early Christmas gifts. For one, there seemed to be a more vociferous--and effective--effort this year to "Keep Christ in Christmas" and promote the real reason for the season. The Stamford Advocate, for example, published two inspiring front-page articles, one on a campaign to encourage outdoor Nativity displays, another on devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe (making good mention that she is also patroness of the unborn).
A battle has been waged--and won--at the checkout. The attempt by "big-box" retailers to expunge Christmas from advertising and store promotions backfired after the Family Institute of Connecticut spearheaded a petition drive. Kohl's, Sears, and Target reversed their ban in the wake of people power.
Cynics would say the reversal is insincere, motivated by greed to make money, not a statement. Perhaps so, perhaps not. Conversion of heart can take many forms. The important thing is for it to happen, and to take root. And, a change of heart should be rewarded. You now know where to shop.
Another hopeful sign this Advent is on the big screen. The long-anticipated film adaptation of the The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, is here at last, and it is a joy to behold. Can this restrained, elegant, inspiring movie truly be from Walt Disney Company? It is, and should be seen by all. It is a film about love, family, betrayal, forgiveness, and redemption--all good themes to pursue in these final days of Advent.
Narnia is a big movie, with eye-popping special effects and action sequences (and a life-like lion, the mighty Aslan, to boot). But it is also a quiet, intimate film that challenges the imagination of young and old through a sense of wonder and awe. The Christian symbols are all there, as subtle or as explicit as they are on paper. They provoke the viewer into asking big questions and wanting more answers.
Who knew shopping and going to the movies could be so good for the soul?
Restoring our marriage-based culture is not something that can be accomplished overnight. It will take many years of hard work and there will be both wins and losses along the way. But it can be done. "Conversion of heart can take many forms. The important thing is for it to happen, and to take root."
FIC wishes a blessed Christmas, 2005, to all.
Posted at 3:48 PM
MARRIAGE PROTECTION AND THE REFERENDUM PROCESS [Brian Brown]
As has occurred in Connecticut and elsewhere, a lawsuit has been filed in Iowa by a handful of same-sex couples seeking an undemocratic imposition of same-sex "marriage." The suit sparked this reaction:
The court case immediately renewed calls Tuesday to amend the state constitution to include the heterosexual definition of marriage.
"This lawsuit is an attempt to circumvent the will of the people," said Chuck Hurley, president of the Iowa Family Policy Center. "The people of Iowa should decide this issue, not a handful of unelected judges."
Scores of states have already passed Marriage Protection Amendments--indeed, in every state where the people could vote, they voted to protect marriage. But what is especially interesting about Iowa is that it, like Connecticut, has no direct referendum process. American Values President Gary Bauer explains in a recent e-mail:
I have no doubt that the people of the Hawkeye State overwhelmingly oppose the idea of two men getting "married," but, unfortunately, the citizens of Iowa are not allowed to put the issue on the ballot themselves, as has been done in so many other states.
Only the state legislature can put a constitutional amendment on the ballot and the Iowa legislature has deadlocked on this issue. The Republican majority in the Iowa State House has passed a marriage protection amendment, but the Iowa Senate is evenly divided and liberals there are blocking the amendment in committee. Homosexual activists are seizing on this gridlock and hoping to score a quick win in the courts.
The situation in Iowa shows that Connecticut is not alone in not having a direct referendum process and that progress can be made despite this obstacle. Like Gary Bauer, we trust that Iowa will make its voice heard in defense of marriage--and that Connecticut, when given the chance, will do likewise.
Posted at 10:48 AM
VICTORY ON CORD BLOOD RESEARCH [Brian Brown]
As we continue the fight for faith and family here in Connecticut we must bear in mind that we are not alone. Others, too, are fighting the good fight and achieving important victories. Below is a message we recently received from our friends at the Family Research Council:
In the midst of frenzied weekend floor action in Congress, we won a remarkable victory on a bill to fund research on umbilical cord blood stem cells. Cord blood stem cells can be used to treat some 70 diseases--including sickle-cell anemia. The bill was backed by basketball legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving and Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL). Rep. Davis was joined by others from the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Here is our chance to pursue ethical stem cell research with all its life-affirming possibilities. This was truly a bipartisan effort--in the best sense of that term. Our great thanks also go to Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and to our Senate champions--Sam Brownback (R-KS), Bill Frist (R-TN), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The only downside of this amazing story is that this good news was buried in a flurry of press accounts of other end-of-session stories. President Bush has a great opportunity here to highlight his own success on this bill. A White House signing ceremony would spotlight a badly-needed administration win. Let me also praise our dedicated FRC lobbying team. They were tenacious in appealing for this measure. Good work!
Posted at 2:48 PM
MARRIAGE VICTORY--IN NEW YORK STATE! [Brian Brown]
A strong decision for marriage has been handed down in New York State. The case of Hernandez v. Robles resulted in a 4-1 ruling for marriage in a mid-level state court. It is reputedly the Empire State's most liberal judicial panel. Even The New York Times called the win "a ringing defense of heterosexual marriage." The Times said the court "portrayed [marriage] as an important way of ensuring child welfare and social stability." This is a huge victory. The Family Research Council partnered with the Alliance Defense Fund by submitting a "friend of the court" brief in the case. Not only did that court rule appropriately, but it applied the strongest rationale for marriage, which is the proper care of children.
The outcome was not welcomed by New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg, who was re-elected last month on the Liberal and Republican lines, said: "If today's decision is affirmed by the Court of Appeals [New York's highest court], I will urge the Legislature to change the Domestic Relations Law to permit gay marriage." Bad move, Mr. Mayor. The fact that traditional marriage could win in a liberal court in a liberal state shows how truly radical and dangerous is the plan to create counterfeit marriages.
Posted at 4:23 PM
STEM-CELL MEASURE DOES NOT PROHIBIT HUMAN CLONING [Peter Wolfgang]
The Courant has a piece today on a UConn graduate student's petition drive against the school's "cruel" experimentation on monkeys. But the MSM is not covering a far greater cruelty, funded by our tax dollars, which may soon be occurring at UConn and Yale. Bill O'Brien, president of the Connecticut Right to Life Corp, writes in today's Republican-American:
I've been going to the legislature in Hartford for more than 30 years, and I've seen, and excused, a lot of misrepresentation, mistakes and incompetence. But I don't like lies. And when the lies continue, the truth needs to be told.
In September, the Republican-American printed a letter I wrote after I received a constituent newsletter from one of my legislators, Rep. John "Corky" Mazurek, D-Wolcott. In the newsletter, Rep. Mazurek said the stem-cell research legislation that became law this year "bans human cloning."
I wrote that the bill actually allows human cloning and provides up to $100 million in taxpayer funds to pay for it. I wrote that Rep. Mazurek should understand this, since he voted for the bill. I have yet to see him defend or retract his statement.
This week, I got a constituent newsletter from my other legislator, Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Cheshire, co-chairman of the Public Health Committee. More than anyone, he should understand what the bill does.
But he states in his newsletter, "a bill I authored took action to ban human cloning."
Before the vote last spring, I testified at a hearing that this is a "clone-and-kill" bill. These legislators knew, or certainly should have known, that the stem-cell bill they voted for allows human cloning. If they are so proud of voting for this new law, why do they keep misrepresenting it?
If the new law bans human cloning in Connecticut, then why has University of Connecticut researcher Xiangzhong "Jerry" Yang publicly announced plans to clone a human being by next spring? Dr. Yang recently was appointed to the Connecticut Stem Cell Advisory Committee, the agency created by the stem-cell law to dole out the $100 million for cloning and stem-cell research. Dr. Yang will be voting on whom to give the money to, and, I would be willing to bet some of it will go to his own human-cloning program.
When this committee had its first meeting recently, Gov. M. Jodi Rell's office issued a news release that stated, "the law established a ban on human cloning...'We are committed to doing this research in the safest and most ethical manner possible.'" Ethical? Is lying about the research ethical?
If Dr. Yang is going to use this new law and the funding it appropriated to clone a human being, why are the governor, Sen. Murphy and Rep. Mazurek still claiming just the opposite?
I think the people of Waterbury, Wolcott, Cheshire and Southington, and of the whole state, whether they support human cloning, deserve to be told the truth about what the law does.
If the Stem Cell Advisory Committee votes to give Dr. Yang money for human cloning, and the governor and these legislators don't object and stop him, I think their constituents will be justified in concluding they are being lied to, and I'll be writing another letter to the editor.
FIC will continue to keep our members updated on this story and any possible steps we can take in the future to halt this attack on human life. In the meantime, we recommend joining with our friends at Pray Connecticut in praying for the future of our state.
Posted at 10:30 AM
ONE SMALL STEP FOR DECENCY IN CONNECTICUT [Peter Wolfgang]
In the war on family life in Connecticut, it is the proverbial "800 pound gorilla" that no one is talking about. I am referring to the plethora of porn shop advertising that has popped up on billboards all over the state in recent years. Does this trend represent an increase in sexually-explicit businesses in our state or in the advertising for the ones that already existed? Either way, it is bad for Connecticut's families--and our economy.
A wise demographer who was appearing regularly on the Brad Davis radio program made an interesting observation a few months ago. Unimpressed by a recent state tourist campaign targeted at professional women (presumably singles) in New York, he felt that Connecticut's real tourist appeal was to families. He noted that there are large numbers of out-of-state families that drive through Connecticut on their way to vacation in Cape Cod and elsewhere who could be persuaded to spend their tourist dollars here. But on their way through, they are likely to see the large number of "adult" billboards on our roads and conclude that Connecticut is not a family-friendly place. It is those families that our state's tourist policy should be targeting, he concluded, and those billboards are preventing them from spending their money here.
Fortunately, Bishop Jay Ramirez--one of the state's leading pro-family clergymen--has taken one small step to restore decency in Connecticut. His church became the landlord for an "adult" shop and they have begun the eviction process:
"Were trying to have a little bit of grace," Ramirez told the New Haven Register. "We want to do things in a responsible business manner. One way or another, they will be gone before next December. I hope they choose to leave before we throw them out."
We need more of the kind of creative thinking displayed by Bishop Ramirez to end this plague on our state.
Posted at 9:59 AM
MATCHING GRANT UPDATE! [Brian Brown]
God bless all of you who have contributed to our $50,000 Year-End Matching Grant. We have received a number of $50, $100, and even a few $1,000 donations. We have raised $18,200 as we enter the second week of our campaign.
While this is a great start, we still have a long way to go!
Click here to have your tax-deductible contribution to the Family Institute of Connecticut matched!
We have been working harder than ever to be your voice for faith and family. Our Stop the Ban on Christmas Campaign has been a great success. Three major retailers heard our concerns and restored Christmas in their stores!
As the largest pro-family activist organization in the state we rely entirely upon you for our support. We are asking you in this time of giving to consider all that we do to be your voice for faith and family. If you believe in our work please double our ability to fight for you by giving today to our year-end matching campaign drive.
CLICK HERE TO MAKE YOUR TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION ONLINE ON OUR SECURE SERVER!
I will keep you up-to-date on the status of our matching grant campaign in the coming weeks. We only have until January 1st to meet our goal. Thank you again for your generous support!
Click here to have your tax-deductible contribution to the Family Institute of Connecticut matched!
Yours for the family,
Brian S. Brown
Posted at 2:07 PM
NO DELUGE OF CIVIL UNIONS IN CONNECTICUT [Brian Brown]
The legalization of same-sex civil unions undermines our shared public understanding of marriage on behalf of a small group of people who do not want it. That is what FIC said prior to the law's passage and now that it has gone into effect there is already evidence suggesting we were right. From today's New Haven Register:
Data from the group Love Makes a Family indicates just 539 gay couples sought civil unions in Connecticut in the first six weeks after the law took effect, compared with more than 3,000 couples in Massachusetts who got marriage licenses in the same period. Though the population of Massachusetts is roughly double that of Connecticut, nearly six times more gay couples were married there than entered civil unions in Connecticut.
As is common with civil union coverage in the MSM, the Register piece is loaded down with the usual misleading anecdotes and propaganda. It opens with a same-sex couple saying they will enter into a civil union in part so they can have hospital visitation rights--rights they already had without civil unions. It quotes LMF's head saying that their push to trade civil unions for same-sex "marriage" is "an issue of basic human rights"--when, in truth, it would not confer any new "rights." The push for same-sex "marriage" is clearly about restructuring one of society's most important institutions, not securing "rights." The Register notes that the federal government does not recognize civil unions but neglects to mention that it does not recognize same-sex "marriage" either.
Underneath all the usual nonsense is the key point in the excerpt above: there is, as the Register headline has it, "no deluge" of same-sex civil unions. And for this our state government was willing to undermine one of society's most important institutions.
Posted at 3:56 PM
MERRY CHRISTMAS, WITHOUT APOLOGY [Peter Wolfgang]
FIC sent an e-mail alert yesterday calling on our members to help stop the ban on Christmas by e-mailing a message to the top seven offending companies that operate in Connecticut. We were amazed by the response. FIC members e-mailed over 1,600 messages in just the first 24 hours and two companies responded so positively that we have already removed them from our list.
Those who holler loudest that there is no war on Christmas frequently help to prove otherwise. It is not unusual for anti-Christian Courant columnist Susan Campbell to substitute a sneer for an argument, but even we were surprised by the disdain dripping from her Sunday column:
Every year for the last five or so, someone publicly
bemoans that store employees are replacing the standard greeting of "Merry
Christmas" with the more generic "Happy Holidays." Couple that with towns'
refusal to display manger scenes on the green, and a certain breed of Christian
starts to get nervous. This year, as he so often does, Brother Bill O'Reilly led
the charge, bolstered by sacred texts like the book "The War on Christmas: How
the Liberal Plot To Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought,"
which I would read, but I think it's all in pictures.
Frankly, all these soldiers of the cross wear on me. They've reduced their religion to the wearing of a small gold token around their necks or the display of religious artifacts in public. They worry that not allowing a creche on the green is akin to attacking the season.
Actually, we worry that not allowing a creche on the green is an example of governmental hostility toward Christianity masquerading as "tolerance." As the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus once put it:
The public expunging of the religious particularity of those who are not privileged to be in a minority is no simple matter... As culture is derived from cultus, so multiculturalism requires many cults. Whatever is sacred in public rituals that are, in the words of the Times, "secular yet sacred" must not be permitted to refer to anything so transcendently sacred as to be capable of constituting a culture. Shards of many sacred stories may be cherished for the pleasures of diversity, but we cannot allow one story to be privileged, lest it attain hegemony and lead simple folk to think that we are, after all, participants in a culture with a definite history and even a name. The Christian West has become the culture that dare not speak its name.
Not only does Campbell get us wrong, she gets the season wrong too:
How lightly they take the season. How little regard they have for the spirit of it, when people who won't darken a church door crowd into the pew for the mystery of Midnight Mass. Where the grumpy old guy down the street volunteers - volunteers, yet! - to play the part of a wise man in the church pageant. Where people who otherwise don't think of it write a check for charity because they know that's right and doing right feels good during the holidays [emphasis added].
Many people do not do good deeds this time of year because of a generic sense of "doing right feels good during the holidays" but because they are motivated by the specific content of the holiday: the angel appearing to Mary, no room at the inn, her Child born in a stable, a heavenly host appearing to shepherds, wise men from the east, all of it. They are motivated by the story of God's great love for us.
To be sure, it is intriguing to read such comments from Campbell as "[Christmas] has nothing to do with symbols. In faith, we don't need a tree, creche or greeting to remind us of the event that got the ball rolling," or "if someone can find a Biblical reference that encourages Christians to display a Christmas tree, I'll eat tinsel." It is a religious opinion of Christmas still held by some people today and, centuries ago, held by many in New England.
In fact, it was the opinion held by our Puritan founders. Despite the constant digs at the faith of her childhood, Campbell remains to this day more influenced by it than she realizes.
However much Campbell may distort the matter it is worth remembering that, yes, our faith must be about more than symbols. Fr. Neuhaus again:
...the best way for Christians to put Christ back into Christmas is to observe Christmas Christianly. Forget about the culture wars for a moment, and fix your attention on God Incarnate. In churches, homes, and, yes, public squares, gather to hear it again. "In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus . . ." This truth is the very heart of the cultus that gave birth to this culture. And when this culture dies, as every culture does -- whether by the treason of those who had the charge of transmitting it to another generation or simply by exhaustion -- this truth will go on to give birth again.
"She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." If there is no longer a place for them in the American public square, there will be other places, for all places are His. Meanwhile, it is within our power, personally and collectively, to let Happy Holidays be again the holy days that they are. For the sake of our souls more than for the sake of our culture, but for the sake of our culture, too.
Posted at 5:11 PM
HYPOCRISY IN HARTFORD [Brian Brown]
So I'm driving into work one morning last week (Wednesday the 30th, to be precise) and there is this car--with the obligatory "Kerry-Edwards" bumper sticker, of course--driving erratically in front of me. As I get closer I see the license plate: "legislative district 6." Sure enough, it was Rep. Art Feltman (D-Hartford) behind the wheel and talking into his cell phone, which he was holding. (The legislature earlier this year outlawed talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving.)
I confirmed it was Rep. Feltman as I was passing him. In fact, he was in the process of pulling in somewhere to make an illegal u-turn while still talking on his cell.
It would have been bad enough for Rep. Feltman to break the law in a non-governmental car. But he apparently feels free to flout the rules he and his fellow legislators set for everyone else while driving a state vehicle. Given this kind of legislative hypocrisy in Hartford, how seriously do our lawmakers expect us to take the new campaign finance reform law being signed by Gov. Rell today?
Posted at 10:58 AM
SAME-SEX "MARRIAGE" LOBBY HITS ROADBLOCK [Brian Brown]
Where things stand in the fight to protect marriage, as viewed by the Republican-American in today's editorial:
Other than their successes in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, homosexual activists have found few states sympathetic to their quest to enact laws sanctioning same-sex marriages or civil unions. They ran into a stone wall in 2004 when 13 states voted for constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriages and reserving marriage for a man and a woman. One of the states that approved an amendment was Oregon, widely regarded a liberal state.
As 2005 draws to a close, the news for homosexual activists isn't improving. In Massachusetts, the first and only state to allow homosexuals to marry, the Massachusetts Family Institute has gathered 120,000 petition signatures -- twice the number needed -- to move a constitutional ban of same-sex marriages through the referendum process. Adoption would reverse a Supreme Judicial Court ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry. The process is tedious, however; the petition has to be approved in two successive sittings of the legislature. But just 25 percent, not a majority, of the members must vote favorably for it to continue. A referendum could come as soon as 2008.
More negative news came with the disclosure by Tony Soltani, chairman of New Hampshire's commission on same-sex marriages, that a recommendation will be forthcoming restricting marriage to heterosexuals. The only concessions made to homosexuals is a proposal to extend official recognition to their unions and a provision for limited rights, such as hospital visitations. No rights would be provided that involve expenditures, such as health coverage for partners.
Some activists dismiss the setbacks, claiming most people support partnership rights for homosexuals through marriage or civil unions. This may be wishful thinking, considering 38 states have acted to curb such rights, either by statute or constitutional amendment.
Finally, the Vatican is readying an instruction to seminaries to bar admission to candidates for the priesthood who practice homosexuality, have deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or support that culture. Exceptions may be made for homosexuals who have practiced celibacy for three years or more.
These developments suggest the homosexual lobby has an inflated perception of its public support and may be harming its own cause by persisting in a quest to refashion society's most venerable institutions.
In his Sept. 12th post on this blog, Peter noted that the media was falsely portraying recent events in Massachusetts as a setback for the pro-family cause. But the truth about the state of the issue in Massachusetts and elsewhere has now come to light. And so, too, will the truth about Connecticut: same-sex unions were not legalized here because people were "sympathetic" to it but because our unaccountable state government imposed it.
Posted at 12:57 PM
THEY JUST DON'T GET IT [Brian Brown]
Just how clueless are the pro same-sex civil union legislators at our state capitol? Consider Journal Inquirer editor Chris Powell's fine column this past weekend on the "worsening social disintegration" in Connecticut's cities:
It was just another weekend in Hartford last month when five teen-age boys were shot in several incidents believed related to high school feuds. People throughout Connecticut were talking about it but from the state's political leadership there was not a peep of concern...
Many of the legislators surveyed [by the JI] offered only the cliches of burgeoning but ineffectual government -- more job-training programs, more after-school activities, more college scholarships, and so on. Only a few legislators seemed to have a clue about the cause of the disintegration, childbearing outside marriage.
"Boys are in fatherless homes that aren't functioning," state Rep. Robert Farr, R-West Hartford, said. "When you have an unstable home life, it's very difficult for school to overcome that."
In fact, it is Rep. Farr's "clue" that demonstrates how clueless he is. Rep. Farr voted for the same-sex civil unions bill--a law guaranteed to produce more fatherless homes. Indeed, while there is always the possibility of fatherlessness as an unfortunate instance of falling short of an ideal, Rep. Farr voted for the first law in state history to uphold fatherlessness as a deliberately chosen good! And yet, here he is lamenting the chaos caused by fatherless homes. Other pro civil union legislators are quoted saying similar things, completely unaware of their role in helping to bring about more of the very thing they lament. Talk about a failure to connect the dots!
What are needed first and what always have been lacking from state government are the capacity for outrage and the resolve that essentially abandoned children from racial minorities are more important than convention centers and other amusements for suburbanites and featherbedding for public employee unions... Then the governor or legislative leaders could summon the General Assembly to examine how government policy has subsidized or otherwise encouraged fatherlessness and how policy could be brought to bear dramatically in the other direction.
Powell is right. The problem is that, far from reversing direction, the state government has greatly increased its encouragement of fatherlessness with the new civil union law. Passing a Marriage Protection Amendment is the most important thing we can do to show resolve that "essentially abandoned children" of all backgrounds will have a state government that supports their right to grow up in a home with both a mom and a dad.
Posted at 2:57 PM
CONNECTICUT POST SMEARS METHODIST DENOMINATION [Peter Wolfgang]
An article in today's CT Post begins with this sentence:
By openly welcoming homosexuals as members of the Mary Taylor United Methodist Church in Milford, the congregation is putting itself somewhat at odds with its denomination's hierarchy.
Really? The United Methodist Church does not "openly welcome" homosexuals as members?
Yes, according to the Post:
[Mary Taylor United Methodist] Church members recently voted overwhelmingly to adopt a new mission statement welcoming homosexuals to full membership. The vote comes on the heels of the United Methodists' Judicial Council ruling that upheld a Virginia pastor who refused membership to a gay man. The council ruling established that local pastors have authority to bar such members.
Really? The United Methodist denomination has ruled that pastors may refuse membership to someone simply because he is homosexual?
No. Here is how the decision describes the facts of the case:
During the latter part of 2004, an associate pastor in a local church in the Virginia Annual Conference advised the district superintendent that the senior pastor refused to receive into membership in the local church an individual who admitted to living a homosexual lifestyle...He further advised that he would continue to meet with him and be in ministry with him but that he could not receive him into membership of the church since the individual would neither repent nor seek to live a different lifestyle...After additional meetings and communicating with the district superintendent, the Elder informed the district superintendent that he could not receive the individual into membership of the church given his admittance of continuing the practice of homosexuality and that his intent not to discontinue the practice [emphases added].
Exactly one year ago today on this blog, Brian wrote: "There's a difference between faithfully upholding the scriptural prohibitions against homosexual activity and forbidding those with such inclinations from entering your church. No pro-family church does the latter. The UCC ad [claiming otherwise] is a slur."
And so is today's Connecticut Post article.
Posted at 12:14 PM
PROTECT CHILDREN: STOP SAME-SEX "MARRIAGE" [Brian Brown]
"As voters see that civil unions don't bring fire, floods or mayhem, perhaps they'll become more amenable to full [same-sex] marriage [in 2007]," is how the New Haven Advocate describes Love Makes A Family's strategy. But pro-family advocates have never claimed that the negative effects of same-sex "marriage"/civil unions would be evident overnight. The full tragic effects of a redefinition of marriage on children will not be known for decades--as was the case with no-fault divorce.
Liberalizing our nation's divorce laws was sold to the public as a reform that would be good for adults and children. It is only now that the awful truth is coming to light. Here is an excerpt from a profile appearing in yesterday's Courant of Elizabeth Marquadt, one of the scholars who recently produced the first national study of children of divorce:
But beneath the veneer, Marquardt says she and other young adults who grew up in the divorce explosion of the '70s and '80s are still dealing with wounds they could never talk about with their parents...
The key findings of the study by Marquardt and Glenn are these:
The grown children of divorce say there is no such thing as a good divorce.
Children of divorce say they spent a lot of time alone and, as a result, found some emotional distance between themselves and their parents.
Even in an amicable split, divorce makes children grow up between the two distinct worlds of their parents, who often have different values and priorities.
Children internalize the conflict between these two worlds.
They say they feel they have to grow up too soon, act like different people
around their parents and keep secrets to preserve the peace.
"Too many people have unrealistic ideas about divorce," Marquardt said. "They think if you do it right, it won't be so hard on the kids. And that's where this `good divorce' idea is so damaging and so seductive, because it basically tells parents a lie.
It is a lie that was sold to our nation some thirty years ago, just as Connecticut is now being sold the lie that children do not need both a mother and a father. We cannot wait another thirty years for studies to reveal what should have been obvious from the beginning. The redefinition of marriage--and the harm it causes children--must be stopped now.
Posted at 10:56 AM
CLERGY SEX-ABUSE: WHAT THE COURANT ISN'T REPORTING [Peter Wolfgang]
The Vatican this week released a new document reiterating Church teaching that men "who are actively homosexual or show deeply seated homosexual tendencies" should be banned from Catholic seminaries and the priesthood. "Seminary Ban Angers Gay Leaders" is the predictable headline in today's Courant. An excerpt:
"God is neither sexist nor homophobic," said Frank O'Gorman of People of Faith for Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights. "Sexual maturity, not sexual orientation, should be the criteria...
O'Gorman said the Vatican's new policy is rooted in a
belief that homosexuality is a disorder and called the instructions "a pogrom"
"The hierarchy is beginning with a false premise regarding homosexuality and the conclusions it reaches are also false," O'Gorman said. He said he believed that the Vatican issued the instructions now because it fears the gains that gays have made in recent years. "People are marrying; they are `out,' and the hierarchy is very frightened of that."
Actually, no, they are frightened of this:
exhaustive review of sex abuse in the priesthood, among the John Jay [College of
Criminal Justice in New York] study's findings was the revelation that the
majority of sexual abuse by clergy took place during the 1960s and '70s, with
81% of the victims being males between the ages of 11 and 17.
[National Review] Board [for the Protection of Children and Young People] member Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, described that finding as "remarkable."
"I'm amazed that this fundamental bombshell has not been the subject of greater interest and discussion," he told the Register. "I'm astonished that people throughout America are not talking about it, thinking about it, and wondering about what the mechanisms were that set this alight.
"If you collect all of the seminary graduates between 1970 and 1973, 10-11% of them abused children," said McHugh. "That's an amazing fact. This behavior was homosexual predation on American Catholic youth, yet it's not being discussed."
The above quote does not, of course, come from the Courant. In fact, it is precisely because of the refusal of mainstream media outlets like the Courant to report on the true nature of the clergy sex-abuse scandals that the true nature of those scandals are not being discussed.
Click here to read the Connecticut-based National Catholic Register's coverage of things you are not hearing about in the Courant.
Posted at 10:51 AM
COMMON SENSE IN SOUTH WINDSOR [Peter Wolfgang]
If, as Brian suggests in the previous post, LMF's strategy depends on eroding the common sense of Connecticut's pro-family citizenry, they could be waiting a very long time. As this letter in today's Courant demonstrates, our state's pro-family citizens know what is and is not good for their children and they are not about to trade common sense for the condescending advice of their "intellectual superiors." In fact, this letter is so good that we are posting the full text:
Doll Boycott Is Common Sense
There is a reason President Bush won the last election: A
majority of Americans hold traditional values. Mona Gable [Other Opinion, Nov.
27, "Christian Right Sets Sights On Doll"] may not like that, but the last
election offered proof.
Gable's article lamented the controversy surrounding the American Girl doll company and its financial support of an organization that promotes abortion and lesbianism to young girls.
Gable's article contained many derogatory comments that we
"on the right" have come to expect such as "I think you're afraid of your
daughters being exposed to other points of view," and "my biggest objection with
the realistic-looking dolls ... was their `stories,' all of which lacked
narrative ambiguity. Perhaps that's why Christian conservatives seemed [before
the boycott] to deem the dolls sacred."
Excuse me, but if Gable is going to call conservatives dimwits, she could have at least supported her commentary with some facts rather than resorting to name-calling that's reminiscent of elementary school.
It's clear that the majority of Americans don't want their daughters encouraged to engage in sexual activity before marriage (even though contraceptive-based sex education programs teach such activity). They don't want their daughters taught about alternative lifestyles by schools. And they don't want their money paying for programs that are contrary to what they believe to be right. Call me stupid (well, I guess Gable already did that), but this is all pretty much common sense. Maybe Ms. Gable's intellectual superiority has usurped her common sense.
Jessemyn E. Pekari
Posted at 12:09 PM
LMF AND THE "RUDDY-FACED" MAN [Brian Brown]
Love Makes A Family had volunteers at several polling places on Election Day as part of their strategy to redefine marriage in Connecticut. The pro same-sex "marriage" New Haven Advocate reports:
There was nothing gay-marriage- related on the ballot this month, in Milford or anywhere else in the state. There were no legislative seats up for grabs that could influence the fate of a same-sex marriage bill; legislative elections are a year away. And there are no plans to introduce a gay-marriage bill in the legislative session that begins in February. That will wait until 2007. So it's a longer-term strategy that Love Makes a Family is pursuing. The past year brought bitter setbacks for the gay-marriage movement in many parts of the country, but great success here. In the 2004 legislative elections, Love Makes a Family backed 26 candidates and saw 21 of them win. Partly as a result of those electoral victories, Connecticut this year became the first state in the country to pass a civil union law--which confers all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, but not the name--without a court order.
In fact--as even some of the state's pro same-sex "marriage" bloggers acknowledge--the results of the 2004 legislative elections were mostly a side-effect of Connecticut's preference in the presidential race.
Our opponents also make much of Connecticut being the first state to legalize same-sex civil unions "without a court order." The truth is that there is a case pending and Gov. Rell has said in interviews that this was one of the reasons she decided to sign the bill.
Indeed, as Pray Connecticut notes, the threat of that case still looms:
Although the legislature is not in session, persons opposed to maintaining the traditional family structure continue to work. The case of Kerrigan v. State of Connecticut is still active and seeks the redefinition of marriage in Connecticut, so as to include same-sex couples. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has now filed a friend of the court brief asking the Superior Court to dismiss the case...
Read the ACLJ press release here.
Meanwhile, in the Advocate story, pro same-sex "marriage" forces lay out their strategy:
Gay-marriage boosters have decided not to introduce legislation in 2006. Facing re-election in the fall, politicians aren't likely to budge from their pro-civil-union, anti-gay-marriage positions. And with civil unions so new, the strategy calls for letting people get used to the changed landscape. As voters see that civil unions don't bring fire, floods or mayhem, perhaps they'll become more amenable to full marriage.
But it's not just a wait-it-out strategy. Love Makes a Family knows that it needs to "build power," as political director Adam Nicholson puts it.
A "wait-it-out" strategy is exactly what it is. Otherwise, why wait until 2007--after the elections--to push a pro same-sex "marriage" bill at the state capitol? Nicholson only tells half the story. The full LMF strategy could more aptly be described as "Build Power, Ignore Voters."
Otherwise, why don't our opponents put the redefinition of marriage they seek up for a referendum? They like to claim the people are on their side with civil unions, so why did they oppose Letting the People Decide? They claim the public will support their goal of full same-sex "marriage" so why do they, even now, still refuse to Let the People Decide?
Because they know that this man speaks for the average Connecticut voter:
"Being a family man, I'm not real sure," said a ruddy-faced man in a yellow windbreaker. "We have to maintain family values. Children today are growing up like wild people. Go into the school system--you'll see. They've got enough on them, with divorce and all." He didn't sign [the pro same-sex "marriage" pledge].
Most state voters, like the Advocate's nameless "ruddy-faced man," know that same-sex "marriage" is wrong, that it is bad for children and even that the push for it is related to other societal ills plaguing the family, like divorce.
And therein lies the question that is at the heart of LMF's true strategy: How long will it take them to erode the "ruddy-faced" man's intuitive understanding of the truth about marriage and his basic common sense?
Posted at 10:48 AM
A CONNECTICUT THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION [Peter Wolfgang]
In 1936 Connecticut Governor Wilbur Cross, noting that "it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver," issued the following Thanksgiving Proclamation.
A Connecticut Thanksgiving Proclamation
State of Connecticut
By His Excellency WILBUR L. CROSS, Governor
Time out of mind at this turn of the seasons when the hardy oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year. In observance of this custom, I appoint Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November, as a day of
for the blessings that have been our common lot and have placed our beloved State with the favored regions of earth -- for all the creature comforts: the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives -- and for all those things, as dear as breath to the body, that quicken man's faith in his manhood, that nourish and strengthen his spirit to do the great work still before him: for the brotherly word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow and so as freely enjoyed; and for the crowning glory and mercy of peace upon our land; -- that we may humbly take heart of these blessings as we gather once again with solemn and festive rites to keep our Harvest Home.
Given under my hand and seal of the State at the Capitol, in Hartford, this twelfth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and thirty six and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and sixty-first.
Wilbur L. Cross
By His Excellency's Command:
C. John Satti Secretary
The Family Institute of Connecticut thanks God for our many blessings over the course of our organization's existence and especially in this last year. We are especially grateful to you, our supporters, donors and volunteers. Without you, we would not exist. It is because of your generosity and God's blessings that FIC can fight to preserve the Connecticut heritage of reverence for faith and family that is so evident in Gov. Cross' proclamation and that is under so much attack by the anti-family elites of today.
Posted at 11:26 AM
COURANT POLL DODGES THE ISSUE [Peter Wolfgang]
Pro same-sex "marriage" activists often claim that Connecticut voters support the civil union law. But in a recent Courant/UConn poll on issues of top concern to state residents, the Courant did not even bother to include a question about civil unions--even though the paper itself considers the new law to be one of the biggest things to come out of the last legislative session.
Why? Was the Courant afraid it might find a significant number of state residents who oppose civil unions, thus discrediting the liberal narrative of increasing state support for same-sex "marriage"? Or was the Courant's oversight a result of the built-in bias that I wrote about in my Oct. 5th post--that is, since the Courant itself supports civil unions it did not even occur to the paper to ask in its poll whether anyone opposes it?
Either way, while the Courant neglects to ask state residents what they think about the legislature's decision to undermine marriage, evidence is piling up regarding the answer: the people of Connecticut don't like it.
According to an article appearing Friday on the New London Day's website, Most Stonington Justices Refuse to Perform Civil Unions:
Out of 50 justices of the peace in Stonington, all fully qualified to perform civil unions, only 17 agreed to perform the ceremony, a rift that parallels the nationwide opposition to gay marriage.
According to a 2004 Gallup Poll, the nation opposes legally recognizing same-sex marriages 2-1. Last year, 11 states outlawed same-sex marriage; Texas joined them on Election Day this year.
Actually, Texas brings to 42 the number of states that have passed some type of law banning same-sex "marriage" since four judges imposed it on Massachusetts (see our Oct. 27th post). The article also falsely implies that the legalization of same-sex "marriage" by Connecticut would be recognized elsewhere--except for Massachusetts, it would not.
Still, the article scoops the Courant by providing a window into the true bipartisan state sentiment regarding civil unions. It quotes two justices of the peace (JPs), both Democrats:
Selectman Peter Balestracci opposes civil unions, and while eligible to perform marriages he has opted out of performing civil unions.
"I don't believe in it," said Balestracci, a Democrat. "I'm a Catholic and that's the way I was raised."
Former Democratic First Selectman Donald Maranell agrees.
"It's a religious decision," Maranell, also a justice of the peace, said. "Marriage is a sacrament and until I'm comfortable with the institution I have that choice."
It was a small-but-significant victory for the pro-family cause that the final version of the state's civil union law allows conscientious objection for JPs like the ones quoted above--an option the JPs in Vermont do not have. But the big victory will be the story the Courant won't cover until it has to: how true public sentiment regarding civil unions leads to its repeal and to the restoration of traditional marriage to its proper place of respect in our laws.
Posted at 9:43 AM
THE PROBLEM WITH THE COURANT [Brian Brown]
The Courant plans to show 25 employees the door, according to the AP:
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The Hartford Courant is eliminating about 25 positions through attrition, voluntary buyouts, layoffs and leaving open jobs unfilled, according to a memo distributed Thursday.
In an e-mail to Courant staff, publisher Jack Davis said a similar step toward reducing expenses for 2006 was taken in early October. Fourteen employees were affected.
"However, given ongoing competitive media pressure and disappointing financial results, we need to achieve additional expense reductions if we are to remain as strong as possible in 2006 and beyond," Davis said in the e-mail.
Last December, the Courant eliminated 10 newsroom positions in Washington and Hartford, citing a budget crunch. Those layoffs came on the heels of the newspaper's reduction of 19 newsroom positions through attrition since June 2003.
Tribune [the Courant's parent company] reported this week that its consolidated revenues for the period ending Oct. 23 were down 3.5 percent, from $455 million to $439 million.
That's a total of 68 positions eliminated at the Courant in just the last two and a half years because of declining revenue. So, what is the problem? The problem is that the Courant is very far from being a family-friendly paper.
True, the paper did publish an outstanding op-ed yesterday, No Such Thing As A Good Divorce, by Elizabeth Marquardt of the Institute for American Values. But articles like Marquardt's--that support, rather than attack, the family--are few and far between in the pages of the Courant.
Instead, when Connecticut's families gather around their breakfast tables and open their copy of the Courant, it is more likely that they will be exposed to the kind of values on display in Pat Seremet's Nov. 8th Java column (WARNING: OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL INCLUDED IN EXCERPT BELOW):
You know something is going to be different at a party when you see a man in a tuxedo and two other men dressed in evening gowns and wigs--all leaving the same men's room at the Hartford Marriott in Farmington (which for this night was renamed "Trans-Inclusive Restroom")...
Never saw anyone in a tiara before at a urinal? Believe it!
There's always an extra element of the fun and the unexpected at parties given by the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective, and the Saturday night bash called the 1 Big Event ranks with the best of them.
[Noted performer and darling of the gay and lesbian scene Varla Jean Merman, also known as Jeffrey Roberson] was in high gear, curvaceous in a lime-green sparkling gown and matching elegant evening gloves, and characteristically outrageous.
"I've performed on countless pool tables from here to Northampton,' she told the crowd of 375...
Merman brought the house down when she perched herself on the piano and sang "Talk to the Animals" from Dr. Doolittle,--except in her version, the lyrics were: "If I Could Talk To the Genitals."
Hers was more like a trip down mammary lane, with lots of assonance. No body part, male or female, went uncelebrated. Merman wished that she could give an "ovation to the ovum," "go screaming to the scrotum," "argue with an anus" and "have lunch with a testicle."
It was so wildly naughty and funny that there was nearly a stampede to the Trans-Inclusive Restroom after her performance.
Sexually-explicit versions of children's songs sung by "drag queens" may pass for humor in certain circles but it is not what most people want to read about in a family newspaper. It is because of the steady stream of anti-family items like the one above that business has been so bad for the Courant that the paper has been forced to eliminate 68 positions in the last two and a half years. Connecticut families will not continue to buy a paper that repeatedly insults and offends their values--particularly when new technologies like the internet make it so easy for them to get their news elsewhere.
When will the "powers that be" at the Courant--and throughout the liberal media, most of whom face the same slump as the Courant--realize this and clean up their act?
Posted at 3:53 PM
IN BRIDGEPORT: A LOSS...AND PROGRESS [Brian Brown]
Edna Garcia, the pro-family petitioning Democrat candidate, lost her bid to succeed disgraced state senator Ernie Newton in last night's special election in Bridgeport.
But while she did not win, the election points to hopeful signs for the future of the pro-family cause and lessons we can learn to make those hopes a reality.
In a 6-way race, Edna soundly outpolled a sitting state representative as well as the endorsed Republican Joseph Borges and Michael Singh.
Edna's vote tally represents a respectable showing, especially in light of the Democratic party machine apparatus that she was up against in the person of Ed Gomes, the endorsed candidate and last night's winner.
One big lesson from this race is that the pro-family vote
must not be split. If pro-family Rep. Lydia Martinez had not chosen to enter the
race late in the game, Edna's vote total would have been much higher.
We know what unity can bring. Rep. David Aldarando's defeat of pro-same-sex "marriage"/pro abortion Democrat Americo Santiago is but one example of what we can do if we are united. More recently (and we will have more to say about this in another post) pro-family forces narrowly failed to defeat Dan Malloy as Mayor of Stamford. Malloy, a vocal supporter of same-sex "marriage", only managed to get 51% of the vote, throwing his gubernatorial hopes into jeopardy.
The volunteers who did so much to help Edna Garcia's race were outstanding. You all went above-and-beyond the call of duty. Indeed, that Edna ran as outstanding a race as she did--even outpolling a state rep. who has had Edna's old seat for the last five years--is a victory in itself.
Connecticut is heavily populated by adherents of pro-family
churches. But unless the pro-family citizens of this state are willing to put
the same money and manpower behind their beliefs as those working to undermine
the family, we will end up with same-sex "marriage" and further attacks on life,
marriage, faith and family. It is that simple.
Connecticut's pro-family movement has had some great victories and some defeats, but one thing is clear. For too long, we have not been in the fight at all. We have now begun to organize and fight and we are dedicated to being there and increasing our unity in the years to come. We are in this for the long haul.
Posted at 1:22 PM
VICTORY FOR WATERBURY...AND THE PRO-LIFE CAUSE [Peter Wolfgang]
Waterbury Mayor Michael J. Jarjura was re-elected last night through a historic write-in campaign after having lost the Democratic primary. Jarjura's defeat in the September primary was good for the pro-life cause. But so was his victory last night.
Two months ago there was much media speculation as to why, despite the advantages of incumbency and plenty of campaign cash, Jarjura lost the primary to Democrat Karen Mulcahy. FIC Action Committee--a legally separate entity--responded by noting in an e-mail alert one reason that had not been covered by the media: Jarjura's own pro-life base had turned on him.
As a state representative, Jarjura had been an outstanding pro-life Democrat; in fact, he was one of FIC's two legislative liaisons. But as mayor he endorsed pro-abortion candidates over pro-lifers in some key races. Those endorsements caused a rift between Jarjura and his pro-life base, leading many of them to provide Mulcahy with her slim margin of victory over Jarjura in the primary.
After a version of the e-mail alert appeared as an op-ed in the Waterbury Republican-American, Jarjura asked an intermediary to set up a meeting between himself and Waterbury's pro-life leaders--and specifically requested my presence (I was the author of the e-mail/op-ed and am also a Waterbury resident). The mayor had begun a write-in campaign and wanted to address the issues raised by my op-ed article.
Both the pro-life candidates--Jarjura and Mulcahy--addressed the pro-life activists present at the Oct. 28th meeting and took questions. Jarjura reminded the audience of his strong pro-life/pro-family record in the legislature and said that he considered himself "on the cutting edge" of pro-life advocacy. "What matters is legislation," he said. Both candidates disavowed support for their fellow Democrat, Rep. Chris Murphy, who played a key role in passing the law spending $100 million to clone and kill human embryos.
Following the meeting, many of the Brass City's longtime pro-life activists remained firmly committed to Mulcahy. But other Waterbury pro-lifers--including my wife and me, as well as a group of Catholic homeschoolers--eventually decided to vote for Jarjura.
Either way, Mayor Jarjura's request to hold this meeting was a victory for the pro-life cause in Connecticut. I am not aware of another big city in the state where the top candidates for mayor would request a meeting with local pro-lifers in order to seek their support.
Waterbury's election was also a victory for the pro-life cause. The top two vote-getters, Jarjura with 38% and Mulcahy with 27%, were both pro-life. This means that in a six-way race for mayor, 65% of Waterbury voters chose a pro-life candidate.
And Independent Alderman Frank Caiazzo--who made national news earlier this year with his effort to pass a proposal declaring Waterbury an "abortion-free zone"--received more votes than any member of his party. According to today's Republican-American, Alderman Caiazzo even outpolled his party's pro-abortion mayoral candidate.
Yesterday's election was good for the pro-life cause and good for Waterbury. In the course of his write-in campaign Mayor Jarjura reaffirmed his commitment to the pro-life/pro-family cause. And now, thanks to his historic win, he has a mandate to continue the good work he has done to put the city on a sound financial footing.
Posted at 2:33 PM
RECOMMENDED READING: COURANT PROFILE OF FIC [Peter Wolfgang]
A major cover story profiling the Family Institute of Connecticut and our executive director, Brian Brown, appeared yesterday in "NE," the Sunday magazine of the Hartford Courant.
Courant reporter Joel Lang spent several hours interviewing Brian on the need to protect marriage in Connecticut and attended recent public events where Brian was a featured speaker. We are pleasantly surprised by the result: the best, most even-handed story about FIC ever to appear in a mainstream media outlet.
Joel Lang reported on FIC's views accurately and fairly:
Over and over, Brown said the point of marriage is to
guarantee children both a "mom and a dad," an impossibility in same-sex
marriage. "Why do we even have a binary structure of marriage?" he asked. "To
have a child you need a man and a woman. [Throughout history] you're not going
to find parenthood being divorced from marriage. That's something we are doing
in this generation."
The dangerous shift is fostered by ideas of "modernity" that treat truth as a construct rather than an absolute and that put individual relationships ahead of marriage. Just as the ideal of romantic love justifies divorce of heterosexual couples, it also, Brown said, "leads to the attitude that `I'm a man and I love a man and therefore I should have that love fulfilled in marriage.' " The mistake, he said, is treating marriage "as something that we create subjectively."
The core question to be asked about same sex couples marrying is not whether their civil rights are being violated, but rather "is there a right to redefine marriage?" he said. "Viewing marriage as a bundle of rights for the state to confer at will is not what marriage is."
The other side's attempt to frame the debate as a fight for equality, he said, is part of a strategy to make gay rights a civil rights movement. "They want to make the issue about equality and not homosexual acts," he said. "Their goal is to achieve not tolerance but approbation. Tolerance is not enough, so their strategy is to make opposition unthinkable."
To read the whole article, click here.
In another surprise, the story also plugged this blog, with specific reference to our criticism of the Courant:
On its website, www.ctfamily.org, the institute maintains a blog called Connecticut in the Crosshairs that frequently counter-attacks media bias. A top offender is the Hartford Courant. After the spate of coverage that accompanied the arrival of the civil-union law, Peter Wolfgang, the institute's public policy director, posted an extended critique of the Courant. (It's recommended reading for anyone dissatisfied with the paper.)
Critiquing the mainstream media (MSM) is one of the main purposes of blogs. Having one of your MSM subjects mention the critique--and recommend it--is a significant breakthrough. You can read the critique of the Courant recommended by the paper itself by scrolling down to my Oct. 5th post.
Posted at 12:55 PM
LIEBERMAN'S "LIKELY" LITMUS TEST [Peter Wolfgang]
Connecticut's own Sen. Joseph Lieberman may be the key swing vote in deciding whether Judge Alito will have a fair up-or-down vote or be filibustered by the Senate's pro-abortion minority. According to today's Connecticut Post
Lieberman and other centrists who spoke with reporters said they affirmed their agreement to allow an up-or-down vote on Alito unless extraordinary circumstances are found to warrant a filibuster.
But what qualifies as "extraordinary circumstances?" The Post reports:
Lieberman would likely join a filibuster if he were convinced Alito would vote to overturn the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
Did Sen. Lieberman actually say this or is the reporter making assumptions? It's not clear from the article. But if Sen. Lieberman does have a pro-abortion litmus test for deciding whether or not to filibuster, it would be a betrayal of his earlier promises to support up-or-down votes for qualified judicial nominees.
Sen. Lieberman's pro-family constituents will be following his role in the Alito confirmation closely.
Posted at 12:25 PM
BLOGOSPHERE UPDATE [Peter Wolfgang]
This site is now among the 125-plus state blogs that can be found at Connecticut Weblogs. By providing a single free site for viewing the latest posts from Connecticut's blogs, CT Weblogs is performing a wonderful public service for our state.
Blogs can be a great source for information and commentary that you won't find in the mainstream media. Recent posts from some of our favorite state blogs include Blogmeister USA's take on liberal crank Molly Ivins' talk at the Shubert Theater, Connecticut Conservative's advise for New Haven mayoral candidate Gary Jenkins, Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes from a Blue State's thoughts on the political demise of Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan and Pray Connecticut--a site designed to promote prayer--wondering aloud if there is any point in praying for the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.
Our own blog is now over a year old and big changes are in the works--including a possible name change and new URL. We will keep our readers updated. Those wishing to suggest changes--including a new name for our blog--may do so by clicking on the "feedback" button above.
Posted at 1:55 PM
BILL HAMZY RESIGNS [Peter Wolfgang]
With President Bush's choice of Judge Samuel Alito for Supreme Court Justice, the national GOP has--virtually overnight--reversed its declining fortunes among its pro-family base. The state GOP, alas, continues its trend in the opposite direction:
William A. Hamzy resigned Monday as Republican state chairman, leaving the GOP with a key vacancy to fill in the early weeks of Gov. M. Jodi Rell's campaign for governor.
Hamzy, 39, a state representative from Plymouth, said he will step down Dec. 2, less than a year after Rell installed him in the job...
The party organization showed some independence under Hamzy,
issuing a resolution and a press release at odds with Rell on civil unions for
Hamzy and the GOP state central committee urged lawmakers to define marriage as between a man and a woman - a position shared by Rell. But Hamzy in a related press release broke with the governor by equating same-sex marriage with civil unions.
"We should stop the parsing of words - this is gay marriage pure and simple," Hamzy said.
Rell later signed the civil unions bill into law.
The resignation of its pro-family chairman is a major loss for state Republicans. Rep. Hamzy, who struggled mightily to halt his party's headlong plunge into almost-total political irrelevance, was one of the few state Republicans who seemed to grasp what FIC's Brian Brown was saying in his Dec. 6th blog on this site:
[Kevin] Rennie, a former Republican legislator from South Windsor, writes: "Worrisome for the GOP is that in the North, Bush increased his share of the vote while other Republicans were losing." Yes, but why? Rennie doesn't tell us.
That's too bad, because it was the most important sentence in the entire "Last Word" issue [of Northeast magazine]. The GOP in New England tends to distance itself from President Bush's pro-family positions out of the belief that those positions will hurt them here. But if the main difference between Bush and the New England GOP is Bush's pro-family stance, and Bush did better in New England than the local party, what does that say about local GOP reluctance to embrace the pro-family cause?
Unlike the national party, Connecticut Republicans suffered significant losses last month. If the state party had been as firmly committed to protecting marriage as the national party--and ran explicitly on that commitment--the results would have been different. Instead, the state GOP has dug itself into a hole by its reluctance to fully embrace the pro-family cause. It's time for them to reconsider.
Posted at 7:13 PM
INTELLIGENT DESIGN "INVADES" CONNECTICUT [Peter Wolfgang]
They finally got their wish. For the last several months, the Courant has been running an inordinate amount of items attacking "intelligent design" on its editorial and op-ed pages. This was in spite of the fact that there was not a single board of education in Connecticut's 169 towns where ID was an issue.
But now there is one. From the Oct. 26th Danbury News-Times:
BROOKFIELD -- The national debate over intelligent design, an alternative to the theory of evolution in explaining how the universe formed, came to town Monday.
The occasion was a candidates' forum in the Brookfield High School library for anyone running for election next month. It was sponsored by the Brookfield League of Women Voters.
While candidates for the board of education did not claim to have the answers about how life began, most have an idea what they want students to be taught.
Candidate Belinda Samuel thinks intelligent design should be considered for the science curriculum.
"It would foster a lot of creative thinking from students," Samuel said. "Darwin's theory was first met with being banned. Some are greeting intelligent design the same way..."
Intelligent design is based on the belief that DNA molecules and the Earth's structure are too complex to have simply evolved with time. While it does not argue biblical creationism, the theory says an intelligent designer had to be involved. That is contrary to the theory of evolution advanced by Charles Darwin in 1859...
[Board of Ed candidate Rob] Gianazza said the theory should be a part of a science class, if it is taught at all. "It wouldn't work in a theological class," he said. "It's a point of view about how did cells . . . become human beings?"
Gianazza said since intelligent design is not part of the current curriculum, considerable community input would be needed for the board to consider it in the future.
Click here to read all of "Intelligent design theory invades forum among board of education candidates."
Posted at 4:17 PM
NEW HAVEN ADVOCATE: "WHAT'S WRONG WITH POLYGAMY?" [Brian Brown]
It was bound to come to this. A column in this week's New Haven Advocate tries to paint the pro-family arguments made by Atty. Mark Dost and me in a recent debate as "illogical" and "untrue." Instead, he proves our point:
This is what it has come to for gay- marriage foes. They're forced to co-opt the opposition's central argument in a desperate attempt to use it against them. Civil unions are a threat to civil rights?...
It's no surprise, really; desperation tactics are common among players on any losing team. And with Connecticut now permitting civil unions for homosexuals, opponents are indeed losing. Knowing this, they're grasping at anything that can halt, even reverse, what panelist Michael Lawlor, a Democratic state representative from East Haven, called the "inevitable" march toward the acceptance of gay marriage in the state.
First, same-sex "marriage"/civil unions as a threat to civil rights is hardly hypothetical. It is already happening. In Boston, a father of a 5 year old spent a night in prison because he was trying to protect his son from being taught about same-sex "marriage" in the child's kindergarten class. In Canada, the Knights of Columbus are being sued by a lesbian couple for not renting a hall to them for their "wedding" reception. In Sweden, a Pentecostal minister was sentenced to thirty days in prison for preaching against homosexual activity. In Vermont, justices of the peace and others have been threatened with fines if they do not cooperate with civil unions. All this and more will be coming to Connecticut unless the people of this state make their voices heard.
Second, same-sex "marriage" in Connecticut or anywhere else is far from inevitable. Consider this news item which appeared in the Courant on Tuesday:
CONCORD, N.H. -- A state commission on same-sex unions dealt a series of defeats Monday to proponents of gay marriage.
The panel voted [by 10-2] to urge state lawmakers not to allow gays to marry, not to recognize out-of-state same-sex unions and not to set up a domestic partner registry for couples who cannot legally marry...
Since Massachusetts last year became the first state to allow same-sex marriage, 41 others have passed laws or constitutional amendments banning it.
Third, the Advocate columnist lets the cat out of the bag:
Brown, in his remarks, took several tacks, including the slippery slope argument: gay marriage today, polygamy tomorrow. "If you accept that limiting marriage to a man and woman is de facto discrimination," he says, "and then you turn around and say, 'Well, of course, we don't want polygamy'" then are not proponents of same-sex marriage themselves discriminating against those who want plural marriage?" He cited a civil union granted to a man and two women in the Netherlands, but never explained why polygamy among consenting adults is so wrong. Is it just a given [emphasis added]?
To the concern that same-sex "marriage" will lead to polygamy, this writer essentially responds, "so what?" Pro same-sex "marriage" activists still claim in public that they believe a child should have two parents. But it is pro same-sex "marriage" writers like this Advocate columnist who reveal the logical destination of their movement.
Posted at 3:10 PM
THE EDGE OF PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANITY? [Brian Brown]
Like other liberal mainline communions, the Episcopal Church has lost thousands of members over the last four decades and has seen its influence shrink proportionately. The Connecticut Diocese seems determined to accelerate that trend, according to a news item that appeared over the weekend:
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Members of the Episcopal Diocese of
Connecticut passed a resolution Saturday urging Bishop Andrew Smith to allow
priests in Connecticut to preside at civil union ceremonies.
The resolution passed overwhelmingly at the diocese annual meeting, church officials said?
There should be "full inclusion" of all people, said the Rev. James Cooke of Meriden, who serves as a chaplain at Bridgeport Hospital. "This is what puts us on the edge of progressive Christianity."
By "progress," the reverend means "continually jettisoning every last vestige of Christian teaching until our tiny clique of 'progressives' are the only Episcopalians left."
In fact, if wishing to preside at civil union ceremonies is "on the edge of progressive Christianity," does that mean Bishop Smith--who said in a debate last year that he "yearned" for the day when same-sex "marriage" liturgies can be celebrated by his church--has gone off the edge?
Posted at 12:45 PM
SOCIAL LIBERALISM NO "BOON" TO STATE ECONOMY [Peter Wolfgang]
In last year's elections, pro-family candidates enjoyed significant victories on the national level while suffering setbacks here in Connecticut. Dan Haar, the Courant's liberal business columnist, wrote a piece back then claiming that "the nation lurched to the right on Election Day" while "Connecticut moved hard the other way," and predicting that this would be good for the state's economy:
Eventually, progressive-minded folks would settle or choose to stay in Connecticut and other like-minded states. Since socially liberal people tend to be well educated, the ranks of technology workers and creative types could swell here.. And, that, clearly, would be a boon for the state's vibrancy and prosperity.
It has been almost a year since Harr's column appeared. So, how is the state's social liberals-generated economic boon going, you ask?
Not well, according to today's Republican-American:
"Connecticut ranks 50th in the creation of new business establishments," Jeff Blodgett, vice president of research at the Connecticut Economic Resource Center said, adding, "it is the only state in the country to post negative growth."
In its benchmark report released at the State Capitol, the nonprofit research group identified lack of business and job growth, an aging and shrinking population, and urban-suburban disparities among the top concerns for the state economy...
The "bigger picture" economists use to compare states shines a harsh light on Connecticut's performance. There has been no net job growth here for the past 15 years, according to the report, titled "Benchmarking Connecticut's Economy: A Comparative Analysis of Innovation and Technology."
Between 1990 and 2003, the Northeastern and Midwestern states lost almost 700,000 technology sector jobs, while Southern and Western states gained 690,000 jobs, the report states. Over the past 15 years, Connecticut has lost more than 45,000 jobs in the technology sector alone; in the same period, the aerospace sector lost 29,000 jobs.
Note how much the information above confirms Brian's initial reaction to Haar's column, which was posted on this blog on Nov. 15th:
Never mind the bigoted assumption that religious conservatives lack education and creativity. If Haar's thesis was true, we would have seen it by now. Yes, the Republicans gained seats in Congress while losing seats in the Connecticut General Assembly in 2004. But it also happened in 2002. In fact, in happened in 1994, the year a pro-family majority took over Congress.
So by Haar's standards, Connecticut and the nation have been on opposite ideological tracks for a decade now. The result? Connecticut's population growth was so slow that we lost a seat in Congress.
If Dan Haar is the kind of thinker that the state's business elites turn to for advice, it's no wonder our local economy isn't in better shape.
Posted at 3:15 PM
NATIONAL PRO-LIFE LEADER IN SPRINGFIELD ON SUNDAY [Peter Wolfgang]
Rich Kendall, New England representative of the National Clergy Council and a friend of FIC, has sent us the message below. We encourage our members to attend this event and lend their support to our pro-family friends in Massachusetts.
DEAR NEW ENGLANDERS:
Attention friends and supporters of Faith and Action and the National Clergy Council!
FAA/NCC President Rev. Rob Schenck will be preaching two services this weekend at the dynamic St. John's Congregational Church in Springfield, Massachusetts this SUNDAY, October 16. St. John's is the largest inner city Congregational Church in New England and is ministering in a powerful way the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the greater Springfield area.
Rev. Schenck will be speaking at the 8:00 am and 10:00 am services, in which he will discuss the very latest on the ministry's efforts in Washington, D.C. Please make sure to invite your friends and family to join Rev. Schenck in one of his last trips to New England in 2005!
Location: St. John's Congregational Church, 643 Union Street, Springfield, MA 01109-3618
Ph: (413) 734-2283 (Please call for directions).
Time: 8:00 am first service, 10:00 am second service.
*Joining Rev. Schenck will be NCC New England representative Rich Kendall. Rich Kendall (203-380-0651) is the NCC's official liaison for the New England states and has been a part of numerous ministry initiatives and events both in his home state of Connecticut and Washington, D.C.!
Posted at 12:09 PM
THE MINDSET OF OUR OPPONENTS [Brian Brown]
On Oct. 6th I took part in a debate hosted by the Connecticut Historical Society entitled “Civil Unions in Connecticut: Where Do We Go From Here?”
After the debate I was approached by Beth Kerrigan, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed by several same-sex couples asking the courts to impose same-sex “marriage” on the state of Connecticut by judicial fiat.
“How many children do you have?” she asked me. I answered her question. “Which one is the boy?” “The two-year-old,” I replied. She then looked me in the eye and said this: “How would you feel if your son was gay and he grew up and committed suicide and you knew it was your fault because you disapproved of his homosexuality?”
I do not mention this exchange to embarrass Ms. Kerrigan. No doubt, she has been hurt in the course of her life and we should pray for her.
But it is important that our supporters know about this exchange because it is indicative of the mindset of our opponents. Some pro same-sex “marriage” activists really believe that if anyone disagrees with homosexual activity it is because they hate homosexuals.
We know this is false, but that is the mindset we are up against. Let us continue to keep our opponents in our prayers.
Posted at 2:05 PM
STATE RABBINICAL COUNCIL: CIVIL UNIONS UNDERMINE FAMILY VALUES [Peter Wolfgang]
This evening marks the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. To honor one of the high holy days of the Jewish people, we share with you the statement by the President of the Rabbinical Council of Connecticut on same-sex civil unions. The statement was issued on Oct. 1st, the day the civil union law went into effect.
Civil Unions and Public Policy
By Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht
President – Rabbinical Council of Connecticut
(The Rabbinic organization of ordained orthodox pulpit rabbis serving Synagogues in the Nutmeg State)
The Rabbinical Council of Connecticut is deeply pained that Civil Unions are being implemented and recognized by the State of Connecticut.
We believe it is wrong to have society encourage the concept of Civil Unions which is being touted by its supporters as “marriage” with a different name. We believe as the Family Institute of Connecticut that Civil Unions is but a step away from the implementation of Same Sex Marriage.
The opinion that we advocate is not one of personal preference but rather reflects values and morals that are derived from the Torah which is a higher source of wisdom revealed to humanity at Mount Sinai by the Creator of heaven and earth and of all humanity.
It is the Torah (the five books of Moses) and the traditions recorded in the Talmud that informs us that all people are created with a soul and with the capacity of free choice and are responsible to observe the seven Universal Laws given to Noah. Among these laws is the proscription of homosexual unions. It is for this reason we find it most objectionable that the documents offered by municipalities to those entering into Civil Unions are practically identical to marriage certificates which perforce indicate the State’s acquiescence to something not condoned by biblical tradition and universal principles of moral conduct.
With moral clarity comes blessing and strength to the institution of family and community. Civil Unions as presently construed undermines society’s criteria of Family Values.
We hope that society’s moral compass will not be taken hostage by the gay lobby and their egocentric desire for power and empowerment to “wholly transform the definition of family in American culture” thereby allowing them to play final arbiter of what is moral and ethical.
We appeal to all men and women of conscience to do the right thing and that is to reinforce the principles upon which we are not only comfortable with but we are told to uphold as human beings who are entrusted and empowered with a knowledge of the will of a Higher Being, the Creator of us all.
Posted at 10:40 AM
“ACTIVISTS SURPRISED BY LIGHT RESPONSE TO CIVIL-UNION LAW” [Peter Wolfgang]
Brian blogged last week about a New Haven Register report on the low turnout of same-sex couples seeking civil unions in Connecticut. In a column in the Waterbury Sunday Republican (not available online) Lee Grabar noted the same phenomenon:
Considering the long struggle it took to get civil unions on the books, it was expected lines would form at city and town halls the day it took effect. In Hartford, city officials hung a rainbow flag at City Hall entrance and set up a table with refreshments. They were prepared for hundreds of couples. They got just 26.
A downstate newspaper’s check of town halls showed four licenses in Guilford, three in Old Saybrook, four in West Haven and one in Shelton. Some towns had no applicants, among them Ansonia, Seymour, Derby and North Haven.
Yesterday’s Republican-American notes the same result in its own part of the state:
Town and city clerks throughout Greater Waterbury and Northwest Connecticut have not been inundated with requests for licenses since a new law legalized civil unions nine days ago.
No one made any predictions about how many same-sex couples would register for civil unions, but in the first week 52 licenses were issued in 43 cities and towns surveyed by the Republican-American.
That surprised some clerks who thought more people would apply as soon as they had the chance.
"We were prepared. I had every bit of information we could have. We have our computers ready so we could index them as a separate certificate. We were ready, and then nothing," said Sheila Sedlack, town clerk in Winsted.
Sedlack was among 21 clerks who issued no licenses the first week. The busiest was Sheila M. Anson, the town clerk and registrar of vital statistics in Washington, Conn., who gave out six.
This result is one of the things FIC warned about during the civil union hearings. By legalizing civil unions, the legislature has created a separate structure—a special status—for a small group of people who don’t want it.
And yet it will be taught in our schools and forced on unwilling companies. This further undermines our shared public understanding of what marriage is, on behalf of a small group of people. To date, only one trio has entered into a civil union in the Netherlands. But in doing so, they have undermined the understanding of marriage in the Netherlands, just as same-sex civil unions are doing in Connecticut.
And those civil unions will likely lead to still-further redefinitions of the institution of marriage. In one of the clearest examples of our opponents’ disdain for democracy that I have yet seen, for instance, Anne Stanback is explicitly cited in the Fairfield County Weekly saying that they are waiting for the 2006 election year to pass before continuing the push for same-sex “marriage” in our legislature.
Posted at 11:15 AM
NATIONAL PORN SUNDAY [Peter Wolfgang]
Today’s Courant has a good piece on an upcoming event designed to combat one of the greatest threats to the family in our time:
Pornography, usually kept in a brown paper wrapper and away from the pious, will be a topic of sermons and discussion groups in nearly 100 churches across the country this weekend. "National Porn Sunday" is intended to bring out into the open the issue of pornography in people’s lives, even in the lives of people who regularly attend church.
XXXChurch.com, a Web-based ministry founded by two youth pastors in California, is devoted full time to the issue of pornography and is sponsoring National Porn Sunday. The Internet has made pornography readily accessible, even to people who would never buy a magazine at a store or rent X-rated adult videos.
"The churches have been silent on this for so long — a year ago, you couldn’t have gotten five churches willing to do this," Craig Gross, a co-founder of XXXChurch.com, said in a telephone interview. "But churches have been getting a wake-up call, because we have seen it ripping apart families."
St. Paul’s Collegiate Church in Storrs will continue its own Porn Sunday program this Sunday and next Sunday at 6 p.m. in the great room of the Alumni House on UConn’s campus. For more information, see the web site mentioned above.
Posted at 12:21 PM
STANBACK’S “SUCCESS” [Brian Brown]
Hardly anyone bothered to get a civil union on Monday, the first full business day after they were legalized, according to Tuesday’s New Haven Register (“Gay civil unions legal, but towns see few couples”):
There wasn’t a rush on civil union applications on the first full business day that the state’s new law recognizing same-sex unions went into effect, observers said Monday…
Perhaps they have already gone to Vermont or perhaps they are waiting for full marriage," said Anne Stanbeck, president of Love Makes a Family, a statewide advocacy group that has been pushing for gay marriage for five years.
"We’ve had success, because we put a human face on this issue," she said.
Success in achieving what? The only thing pro same-sex “marriage” activists have accomplished is to undermine our shared public understanding of marriage on behalf of a very small group of people. Most of their own constituents don’t want civil unions and even in jurisdictions where full same-sex “marriage” has been legalized, only a minority of homosexuals “marry.”
Not that our opposition cares. According to the Fairfield County Weekly, civil union legalization has emboldened them to fight for more non-success “successes:”
Ann Stanback, feels strongly that, with the overwhelming support of several Connecticut lawmakers like state Sen. Andrew McDonald of Stamford and state Rep. Michael Lawlor of East Haven, they will eventually achieve their goal of seeing gay marriage become state law. She anticipates that 2007 will be the year for this to happen. They’re waiting to give Connecticut residents time to adjust to same-sex unions, and for the election year to pass.
Posted at 12:13 PM
MEDIA BIAS, THE COURANT & US [Peter Wolfgang]
In my Oct. 3rd blog, I took issue with the Courant’s coverage of FIC Action’s Reclaim Connecticut Protest. In an e-mail to me yesterday, David Funkhouser, the reporter, politely disagreed with my characterization of his article.
David makes it clear that he did not intend to imply any connection between us and a group of white supremacists who arrived as we were leaving. He says he quoted our opponents making that connection because he wanted to convey “how people look at each other and respond to each other.”
I responded to David in an e-mail this morning. What I want to discuss here are the bigger issues raised by my exchange with him—specifically, what our thoughts are regarding the Courant and what we do and don’t mean when we speak of a liberal bias at the paper.
For starters, we’re not conspiracy theorists. No one at FIC thinks Courant reporters and editors work together to deliberately slant news coverage towards the cultural left. Nor do we think (in most instances) that they deliberately do so as individuals.
In fact, nearly every personal experience I’ve ever had with the Courant’s staff has been positive. In 1998, for instance, I was interviewed for an article on Feminists for Life that was scheduled to run on the 25th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Before the article went to press, Garrett Condon, the reporter, called and read all my quotes back to me to make sure they were accurate.
I’ve seen the same level of professionalism from Frances Grandy Taylor, who has had occasion to quote me at religious events, and Daniela Altimari, whose reporting on FIC’s effort to defeat the civil union bill was fair and balanced. Indeed, I was a recipient of Courant hospitality earlier this year when my wife was honored for writing one of the year’s best letters-to-the-editor. The Courant’s writers were gracious and charming hosts.
Second, we’re not hostile to the Courant as an institution. It’s the paper I grew up with—and I come from a family where we take our newspapers pretty seriously. My grandfather, Reggie Pinto, was a photographer for the old Manchester Herald for 40 years. Articles, columns and photos in the morning paper have been known to spark spirited debate around his kitchen table for hours—but it is out of a love for the medium.
So, if we don’t think the Courant is a liberal conspiracy, or that individual reporters deliberately skew their coverage, and we are not hostile to the paper as such, what is it about the Courant that we find unfair and biased?
About five years ago the Courant published a letter—oh, how I wish I had saved it!—from a woman in New Hartford responding to someone who had complained of liberal bias. Her argument was, basically, that when the news skews towards the left, it’s not bias. It’s just the truth.
That’s a pretty good summation of the problem at the Courant. It’s not that there’s a conspiracy or that writers and editors intentionally insert their agenda into their reporting. It’s that many of them come to their jobs with a certain worldview—that they don’t even realize they have, they think it’s just “the truth”—and it is reflected in their work: what they choose to report and not report and how, where the article appears, what the headline says, what photos run where, what the first few paragraphs of the article say, what’s buried inside the article, etc.
What are some examples? Just off the top of my head and in no particular order:
The problem at the Courant is not that they have staff with unacknowledged liberal worldviews. The problem is that those folks seem to make up the entire staff. There is no ideological diversity at the Courant. All the columnists are social liberals (yes, even Larry Cohen). Stan Simpson might not be, but religion, abortion, same-sex “marriage” and related issues aren’t really his beat.
Is there any columnist at the Courant who worships at a conservative evangelical church? Who homeschools her children? Who is opposed to the legalization of abortion and same-sex “marriage?” Who is opposed to contraception and practices natural family planning? Who belongs to a conservative Catholic lay group like Opus Dei or Regnum Christi? Who believes sex outside of marriage is sinful and something society ought to discourage?
The above paragraph describes an awful lot of people in Connecticut—more than you think. We know, because we work with them all the time. They form the backbone of the movement to protect marriage. And their voice is not represented in the pages of the Hartford Courant.
If the Courant could do one thing—just one thing!—to address its bias problem, I recommend this: hire a social conservative columnist, one who can answer “yes” to the questions I listed above. Break the liberal monopoly that has a stranglehold over your staff of regular columnists. I don’t mean someone who will appear occasionally on the op-ed page. I mean someone who will appear in the paper as often as Helen Ubinas or Susan Campbell.
There are entire worlds-within-worlds of the Connecticut experience that readers of the Courant are not being exposed to. A social conservative columnist plugged into those worlds would do the paper—and the state—an immense amount of good.
I know from conversations with several Courant personnel that the bias is not intentional, but it exists nonetheless. The paper could go a long way toward ending it by that one simple step of hiring someone who can shine a light on—and speak for—those not being heard in its pages.
Posted at 4:35 PM
HARRIET MIERS: WAIT AND SEE [Brian Brown]
On Monday, President Bush named White House counsel Harriet E. Miers as his choice to replace pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court.
President Bush has long made it clear that his choices for the U.S. Supreme Court would be in the mold of conservative justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. We have no reason to believe he has abandoned that standard. However, our lack of knowledge about Harriet Miers, and the absence of a record on the bench, give us insufficient information from which to assess whether or not she is indeed in that mold.
Connecticut’s pro-family community can take encouragement from some of the information we do have about Miers:
But Miers’ personal opposition to abortion and her work to make the ABA abortion-neutral does not, by itself, assure those of us who do not know her that she has the conservative judicial philosophy that Justice Hecht says she has.
In the days to come, Harriet Miers will have the chance to demonstrate such a philosophy. We will be watching closely as the confirmation process begins, and we urge Connecticut’s families to wait and see if the confidence we have placed in the President’s commitment is justified by this selection.
Posted at 1:03 PM
MEDIA AGENDA IN CIVIL UNION COVERAGE [Peter Wolfgang]
Judging by the way it was covered in our state’s print media, one would think the civil union law that went into effect on Saturday was met by near-unanimous celebration throughout Connecticut, except for an FIC Action rally of “about 50” people. Actually—as some TV news shows correctly noted—we had about 90 attendees, and organizations such as the Rabbinical Council of Connecticut joined us and many others in lamenting the anti-family law going into effect that day.
While the AP treated our protest as an afterthought, it did at least allow me this quote:
"We’re here to offer a public witness against a state-mandated undermining of the institution of marriage," said Peter Wolfgang, the institute’s director of public policy. "Oct. 1 is a tragic day because it’s the first day a law goes into effect that states a legislative belief that children don’t need both a mom and a dad."
I said the same thing to the Courant’s reporter, but my comment didn’t make his piece. Perhaps because he was more interested in writing about a group of white supremacists who showed up just as we were leaving. In fact, he slowed our departure in order to get a quote from me that he chose not to run.
I’d like to think it wasn’t deliberate, but his article, while making sure to quote Brian saying “We have nothing to do with them,” flowed in such a way as to give the impression that we do. Here at last, it seemed, was the storyline that the press had been waiting for. On one side, pro same-sex “marriage” activists speaking of love and peace, on the other, white supremacists spewing vitriol and hate.
In fact, it is the pro-family side that is multicultural and interreligious. Many of our most supportive members are African-American and Hispanic evangelicals.
As Brian told the Courant, we have nothing to do with that group that showed up as we were leaving. (Indeed, at first glance, I thought they were one of the pro same-sex “marriage” groups that occasionally show up at our rallies to harass us.) They don’t represent anyone. So why did the Courant devote such a large amount of its article to them?
By way of comparison, consider the person who was arrested earlier this year for making a death threat against CT Catholic Conference executive director Marie Hilliard because of her work against same-sex civil unions. Imagine if the Courant wrote a piece quoting Anne Stanback saying “we have nothing to do with him,” but then devoting much of the article to that person, quoting his opinions on civil unions—as if he were a reputable source—and then allowing people on our side un-rebutted quotes to the effect of “He endorses what we’re against and we think that’s very telling.”
The Courant would never do that to our opponents. But that’s what the Courant just did to us.
Posted at 2:02 PM
SAME-SEX CIVIL UNION MEDIA COVERAGE [Peter Wolfgang]
There has been a lot of coverage in the state media this past week about the civil union law set to go into effect tomorrow. Two stories deserve special mention. As usual, the Waterbury Republican-American had the best article on our Wednesday press conference:
HARTFORD — The end of the traditional family is near, say opponents of the new same-sex civil union law that goes into effect Saturday, and they are gearing up for a battle.
In a press conference Wednesday, members of pro-family organizations said the law passed by the state legislature in April is the final assault on the institutions of marriage and family…
Family Institute executive director Brian Brown said his organization will work for a referendum for a Constitutional amendment protecting marriage.
"Legislators who voted for this law thinking it was a compromise that would put an end to the discussion legalizing marriage between same-sex couples were profoundly wrong," said Brown.
Acknowledging there is work to be done to bring about that referendum, Brown also said his group, through political action committees, would work to have legislators who supported the law voted out of office during the next election cycle…
Brown had earlier referred to Oct. 1, the day the law takes effect, as "tragic," claiming the law is essentially a legislative belief that children do not need both mother and father and that the negative impact of the law on children, schools, parental rights, religious freedom and society itself will be felt for decades to come.
It was the reporters who wanted to talk politics and their questions were entirely about the governor’s race. The focus of FIC’s Action Committee—a legally separate entity—has been on the General Assembly races. Also, Ed Dzitko ends his otherwise-excellent article by noting that we “expect thousands” at tomorrow’s rally. We don’t. Anything’s possible, of course—particularly if the Women of Faith turn out in large numbers during their lunch break. But the aim of tomorrow’s protest is to offer a public witness against a state-mandated undermining of marriage similar to the counter-protest FIC held on May 17, 2004—the day same-sex “marriage” became legal in Massachusetts.
Also of note is the article on civil union employee benefits that ran on the business page of the Sunday Courant (Sept. 25th). It’s the most informative piece on this topic to be published so far. As the article notes—and contrary to the obfuscation of legislators who supported civil unions—small and medium-size companies are more likely to be covered under state insurance law rather than the federal ERISA and therefore will have to pay for the benefits of those who are in same-sex civil unions with their employees, if they do the same for married couples. Indeed, it is not even clear if ERISA trumps state anti-discrimination laws. Atty. Gen. Blumenthal and others are reduced to throwing up their hands and saying a judge will have to decide the matter—not comforting words to those fighting the judicial usurping of democracy.
When pro-family forces at the legislature tried to introduce a conscience clause into the civil union bill last April to protect religious organizations from being forced to pay civil union benefits, Rep. Michael Lawlor (D-East Haven) said it was unnecessary because these issues are covered under ERISA. That is not necessarily true, as the Courant piece makes clear. But why did the Courant wait until Sept. 25th to let the public know the truth?
Posted at 10:03 AM
BREAKING…ROBERTS CONFIRMED AS CHIEF JUSTICE [Brian Brown]
Pro-family Judge John G. Roberts has just been confirmed as the next chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. We heartily endorse the comment just posted at the National Review blog Bench Memos:
As has been discussed in Bench Memos, though we’ve known for awhile John Roberts would be confirmed, it’s no small thing that this supposed "extremist" "Neanderthal" has been confirmed. Not in Ginsburg numbers — and there is little doubt she is an extremist. But even in this insanely heated partisan Senate, he got 78 votes. It’s a real victory for the Bush administration. And if my good feelings about John Roberts are right, so I think it’s a victory for America.
It is also a victory for our state’s pro-family movement. As the Courant reported earlier this week, both Senators Dodd and Lieberman said they were voting for Roberts. All of our work—all of your e-mails and phone calls—has paid off. But be prepared: we will have to do it all over again, and soon, for President Bush’s second nominee. And if the frustration that is boiling over on the Left is any indication, the next battle will be considerably more heated.
Posted at 11:58 AM
PRO-FAMILY DATES TO REMEMBER [Brian Brown]
The same-sex civil union law passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Rell last spring will go into effect on October 1st. As a result this will be one of the Family Institute of Connecticut’s busiest months ever, standing up for marriage in Connecticut. Below are the key dates for upcoming events. We invite as many of our supporters as possible to attend these events.
Posted at 3:59 PM
A MODEST PROPOSAL [Peter Wolfgang]
I hope he’s prepared for the feminist outrage. At the risk of braving the usual disingenuous cries of misogyny, humor columnist Bill Dunn says some things that needed to be said:
Look, I freely admit I’m an old fogey. I understand there are certain immutable laws of the universe, one of which states: If you are lucky enough to reach middle-age, you are required to become a cranky complainer who regularly uses the phrase, "Kids these days have no respect!"
I understand that’s part of the deal of life. But come on! Have you seen the way some girls dress nowadays? The clothing is ridiculously tight and skimpy, leaving nothing to the imagination. And that’s just while they’re going up for Communion at church…
Click here to read “Teen girls often dress like tarts.”
Posted at 11:13 AM
“A THINKING PERSON’S HOLY ROLLER” [Peter Wolfgang]
Bishop Jay Ramirez, one of Connecticut’s most prominent pro-family leaders, is hosting a convention of thousands in Milford this weekend, according to today’s Conn. Post:
MILFORD — Attendees will begin arriving today for the largest convention the city has ever hosted.
Nearly 2,000 people from Africa, South America and all over the United States are coming for a three-day conference convened by the Kingdom Life Christian Church in Milford.
Bishop Jay Ramirez said that as Kingdom Life and its K-Net network of affiliated churches grows, the city will see a large economic benefit.
The approaching conference inspired New Haven Advocate writer Carole Bass to investigate Bishop Ramirez and his church. She arrived with some questions:
What brings 2,500 people a week to this non-denominational house of worship, making it one of Connecticut’s few megachurches? What moves them to contribute enough money to enable Kingdom Life to buy roughly 25 properties in the Devon section of Milford, worth an estimated $20 million? What inspires them to volunteer hours each week to help run the ever-expanding church?
And found some answers:
Like many megachurches, Kingdom Life dispenses with traditional liturgy and ritual, aiming instead for an easy, comfortable experience that’s accessible to people from a wide range of Christian backgrounds. Unlike some megachurches, though, Kingdom Life asks a lot from its members. Money, yes. But Ramirez also asks them to change their lives—and the world—for the better.
The conservative-crusader stereotype comes closest to fitting Ramirez. In the past two years, he has become one of Connecticut’s most visible anti-gay-marriage clergymen. He has asked the Milford Board of Education to "audit" books for sexual and occult content and complained about in-school Halloween celebrations (because of the holiday’s Pagan roots). Most famously—or infamously—he spurred the church to become landlord to a neighborhood porn shop, so that it can evict the shop when its lease expires in December 2006.
At the same time, Ramirez says, he abhors abuse and harassment of gay people and (reluctantly) accepts Connecticut’s new civil union law, which gives same-sex couples all the legal rights and protections of marriage without calling it that. He also calls himself an environmentalist and a feminist, telling stories about how he has butted heads with other evangelical ministers about the way their churches stifle women.
And he sat with me for nearly four hours in his office, answering tough questions. Never once did he become hostile. Never once did he criticize the Advocate for promoting sex, drugs and profanity. Never once did he try to proselytize me.
Call him a thinking person’s holy roller.
There is, of course, some of the usual back-and-forth between Bishop Ramirez and Bass on same-sex “marriage,” which Bass supports. But I am struck by how much Bass “gets it” in her lengthy report on the bishop and his ministry.
At one point, she wonders aloud (or in print) whether the bishop is “spinning” her. But what comes across in her piece is the pastoral nature of the man—the key to his success—and the willingness of Bass to convey it honestly.
There are some things on which we may never see eye-to-eye with Bass, but she has written a solid, fair profile on a pro-family leader that deserves a wide readership. It can be read by clicking here.
Posted at 10:50 AM
WOMEN OF FAITH: COME TO FIC ACTION’S OCT. 1ST PROTEST! [Brian Brown]
Many of our sisters in faith who are planning to attend the Women of Faith Conference in Hartford on Oct. 1st are asking about FIC Action’s Reclaim Connecticut Protest, also scheduled for Oct. 1st at noon.
It is a brief walk from the civic center, where the conference is being held, to our protest at the state capitol. Conference attendees are welcome to join us during their 12:45 lunch.
We would love to see thousands of godly women descend upon the state capitol to stand firm for the protection of marriage and the family!
Posted at 9:50 AM
JOE FITZGERALD’S CIVICS LESSON [Brian Brown]
How often have we heard the ridiculous claim that believers are violating the separation of church and state if they dare to act on their faith in the public domain? But when the state oversteps its proper role, churches must fight for their faith—not only because it is their right, but because failure to do so actually harms the state!
Boston Herald columnist Joe Fitzgerald sums up the reasons so well and so succinctly in his recent column that we are posting it in its entirety, below:
Churches finally find voice on gay marriage
By Joe Fitzgerald
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
The news that churches throughout the commonwealth are finally planning to flex their muscles in resistance to gay marriage ought to be welcomed by anyone with an understanding of civics, to say nothing of American history.
That, of course, leaves out those activists who, shamefully abetted by lily-livered politicians, have had remarkable success in squelching opposition by demonizing anyone who dares to utter a word of disagreement.
Talk about turning the tables: Tolerance was once their rallying cry, remember? Who is intolerant now?
According to this crowd, if you don’t enthusiastically endorse a lifestyle that flies in the face of what many faiths hold dear, you’re hateful, ignorant and unenlightened, all of which is rubbish.
Americans, as a whole, are none of those things, and yet every time they’ve been given an opportunity to voice their feelings on the issue, gay marriage has been soundly rejected. The only reason it exists here in Massachusetts is we have been prohibited from participating in the process, denied our right to have a say in how we shall be governed.
Our democracy was hijacked. It’s as simple as that.
But now a broad consortium of churches, crossing ethnic, racial and denominational lines, is stepping up to the plate, hoping to mobilize disenfranchised parishioners by having them sign petitions demanding to have their voices heard at the ballot box.
They’ve identified Oct. 2 as “Protect Marriage Sunday,” the official kickoff date, setting a goal of acquiring more than 100,000 signatures.
Not surprisingly, gay marriage activists are appalled, though they’re quick to welcome the support of sympathetic churches, which aren’t hard to find. We’re living in times when you can choose any lifestyle and find a theology to embrace it.
And those churches certainly have a right to cater to any congregations they choose.
But churches clinging to traditional values have just as much of a right and perhaps even more of a responsibility to step into those same streets where these battles are being fought, especially if they sense a moral vacuum has been created by an impotent political establishment.
A popular bumper sticker from the ’60s sums it up well: When the people lead, the leaders will follow.
Conservative clergy have too long abstained from the political process through a fallacious rationalization that the church has no business in the affairs of the state.
History begs to differ.
Etched into granite above the entrance to the Cambridge City Hall annex are these words: “God has given commandments unto men. From these commandments men have framed laws by which to be governed. It is honorable and praiseworthy to faithfully serve the people by helping to administer these laws. If the laws are not enforced, the people are not well governed.”
Imagine suggesting that in Cambridge today?
But it was once commonly understood.
“Things are different now,” Dr. Martin Luther King noted in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” “The contemporary church is often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent sanction of things as they are.”
He wrote that 43 years ago.
So here’s hoping these churches, no longer lukewarm but aroused by righteous indignation, will shake up that structure at last.
It’s late, but better late than never.
Posted at 1:37 PM
CATCHING UP WITH THE COURANT [Peter Wolfgang]
My list of Courant-related items that I’ve been meaning to address in this space is getting long, so it’s time to go through them. In a Jul. 15th blog, Brian made some observations and offered a suggestion:
Perhaps you saw the recent piece in the Courant’s “Life” section mocking virginity? No? Well then, did you catch the article on the joys of wedding-inspired one night stands? The ditzy “dating” column chronicling one woman’s series of sexual relationships? How about today’s piece by a male writer agreeing with a “gay” web site on the physical attractiveness of a particular movie actor? Or maybe you still recall the Valentine’s Day “Life” section of a few years ago that provided a how-to guide on adultery? … If the Courant still considers itself a family paper, it can prove it by cleaning up the dirty joke that is its Life section.
To our surprise, the Courant did clean it up—or at least, it took a step in that direction. Without ever mentioning it, the paper seems to have dropped the “dating” column Brian referred to. Its space—the bottom of page 3 in the Wednesday Life section—is now filled by pro-family psychologist John Rosemond’s column (he used to appear toward the back of a Sunday section). Kudos to the Courant.
Speaking of Sunday sections, the Courant’s Northeast magazine on Aug. 28th had a long cover article on the intelligent design debate that was notable for its evenhandedness. And a week earlier it ran a cover article by Joann Klimkiewicz on the struggle she faced as a Polish-American reporter covering the story of a Polish priest in New Britain accused of sexually assaulting a young girl. The facts of that story—the city’s Polish Catholic community closed ranks around the priest who, in fact, was guilty—are easy fodder for anyone looking to take a cheap shot at the Church. But Klimkiewicz never did that. Instead, she approached a delicate subject with the sensitivity it required, in the process producing one of the best pieces of writing I’ve ever seen in the Courant.
The Courant’s editors endorsed John Roberts for Chief Justice today, saying they hope he will surprise his critics. We hope—indeed, we are confident—that he won’t. But we are glad he has the Courant’s endorsement.
Courant reporter Mark Pazniokas once made the ludicrous error of describing Love Makes A Family as “the most visible opponent” of civil unions. Perhaps in reparation for that howler, he ends today’s article on Atty. Gen. Blumenthal’s legal opinion by noting that “The Catholic Church and the Family Institute of Connecticut led the opposition to civil unions.”
The Blumenthal opinion helps illustrate the principles at stake in the Roberts confirmation. If Connecticut’s judges stick to their proper role of interpreting the law, Blumenthal’s opinion should help the state’s position in Kerrigan because it emphasizes that state law has explicitly rejected same-sex “marriage.” But if the judges choose to usurp the law-making power of the legislature, the concerns Brian raised in yesterday’s blog about the opinion aiding the plaintiffs comes into play. This is why it is so important, on both the state and federal level, to have judges who interpret, rather than make, law.
Posted at 5:26 PM
BREAKING…ATTY. GEN. BLUMENTHAL SAYS OUT-OF-STATE CIVIL UNIONS LEGAL IN CONNECTICUT [Brian Brown]
This just came in over the wire:
Connecticut will recognize civil unions and domestic partnerships from other states but not same-sex marriages from neighboring Massachusetts when a new law allowing civil unions takes effect here Oct. 1.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Tuesday that Connecticut will not recognize same-sex marriages because the legislature has defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.
“Civil unions performed in other states are entitled to full faith and credit in Connecticut, and cannot be repeated here. Out-of-state same-sex marriages have no legal force and effect here,” Blumenthal wrote in a legal opinion requested by the state’s Department of Public Health, which administers marriage licenses.
Atty. Gen. Blumenthal is creating a legal morass. What if the civil union laws of foreign jurisdictions—both Vermont and outside the U.S.—are different than Connecticut’s? In our state, for instance, a person under 18 cannot enter into a same-sex civil union unless he is an emancipated minor. What if there are lower age requirements elsewhere? Blumenthal’s “full faith and credit” language suggests that he would expect Connecticut to accept the lower threshold of another jurisdiction.
If other jurisdictions allow for different “rights” than Connecticut, it will present a massive legal problem. There will be a multitude of conflict of laws questions—which will play right into the hands of the plaintiffs in the Kerrigan case. “Wouldn’t it be easier to just legalize same-sex ‘marriage?’” they will ask. “Why the ‘rights,’ but not the name?”
All of this should have been expected following the legalization of same-sex civil unions by our legislature. It is further evidence that we need a marriage protection amendment in our state constitution to limit the courts.
There are essentially two questions here: the courts and the attorney general’s opinion. Blumenthal’s opinion is not binding on the courts, but it does potentially undermine his own position in Kerrigan, which is to defend the state’s law that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
Blumenthal’s opinion makes clear that Connecticut needs a marriage protection amendment and that the people need to vote directly on the question, rather than leave it to a few judges to decide. Especially when civil unions was sold to the public as a supposed compromise.
Posted at 4:06 PM
NAUGATUCK MAYOR MISLEADS THE YOUNG [Peter Wolfgang]
A popular dodge by pro-abortion Catholic politicians is the “personally opposed, but…” position. That is, while they are “personally opposed” to abortion, they say they cannot “impose” their personal belief on a pluralist polity that does not share it.
It is an illogical position, but then it wasn’t designed to make sense. It was designed to help pro-abortion politicians out of a jam. Their hope is that voters who are pro-life but otherwise inclined to support them will hear the “personally opposed” part and be fooled while “pro-choice” voters will understand the “can’t impose my personal belief” part for the wink in their direction that it is.
To be sure, not every moral belief that a politician holds should be codified into law. But some issues are bigger than others. Why, for instance, are people “personally opposed” to abortion? They are opposed because it is the taking of innocent unborn human life. The “personally opposed, but” politician, therefore, is saying “I am personally opposed to killing people, but because my view is not universally held, it would be wrong of me to stop others from killing people.”
On no other issue of such importance is a politician expected to treat his morality as some quirky religious belief that he must not impose. This double standard sometimes achieves comical proportions. Such as during the 2004 presidential debates, when Sen. John Kerry—who had spouted the usual stuff on not “imposing” his religiously-motivated opposition to abortion—cited his Catholic faith as his motivation for passing bills to improve the environment and help the poor. Or when it inspired one wag to note of Ted Kennedy, “He considers his religion so private that he refuses to impose it on himself.”
But the “personally opposed, but” position is such a serious matter that the Vatican is considering a formal policy of denying communion to politicians who employ it. This makes it all the more disturbing that the mayor of Naugatuck persuaded a middle school student running for class representative—in a Catholic school, no less—to adopt it.
Here is an excerpt from the Republican-American’s Sept. 15th article, “7th-grader puts San Angelo on spot during school forum” (not available online):
NAUGATUCK—Mayor Ron San Angelo’s breezy lecture to St. Hedwig School students about the role of government hit a silent patch Wednesday after seventh-grader Julia Daubney asked a question that can knock the wind out of any politician.
“What is your opinion about abortion?”
As 45 Catholic school students in the fifth through eighth grades squirmed quietly in their metal chairs in the school’s auditorium, San Angelo paused for about three seconds. History teacher Luann Dunnuck called out from the back row that he could just say “no comment.”
Rejecting Ms. Dunnock’s suggestion that he demonstrate political cowardice to her students, Mayor San Angelo opted instead for political sophistry, saying that as “a representative of voters, sometimes a politician’s private views take a back seat to constituents’ desires.”
“On a personal level, I don’t believe in abortion,” he said, looking Julia in the eyes. “When I served in the legislature…more people supported abortion than were against it….I voted to allow abortion only in the first trimester.”
Mayor San Angelo’s talk had this effect on the student running for class representative:
“I wouldn’t want to compromise on something like abortion,” said Chris, who said he was against its legalization, “but I guess I’d have to.”
Chris is a young man. There is still plenty of time for him to recover from the bad example set for him by the mayor of Naugatuck. In fact, he could begin by listening to Julia, the 7th grader who asked the mayor the abortion question and saw right through his answer:
Julia took away a different view than Chris on compromise.
“I learned from the talk that it’s important to stand up for what you believe in,” she said, “no matter what other people say.”
Posted at 11:28 AM
REALITY INTRUDES ON THE SOON-TO-BE CIVILLY UNIONED [Peter Wolfgang]
FIC has said it all along. Whether the state calls it same-sex “marriage” or civil unions, it is a redefinition of what has always existed: marriage as an institution that unites the two sexes. As we approach Oct. 1st, the day the civil unions law goes into effect, that simple truth is becoming even more obvious. According to a front-page piece in today’s Republican-American, the new civil union certificate will abolish the words “bride” and “groom”:
Forms for couples seeking official union used to say “bride” and “groom.” The new terminology will be “Party 1” and “Party 2,” with a box to check for the proper sex.
The language may lack a certain romance, but that’s what city and town clerks throughout the state are being told to expect as they gear up for Oct. 1, the day when the law allowing civil unions in Connecticut goes into effect…
Connecticut will become the second state, after Vermont, to allow civil unions between same-sex couples. The law grants the same rights as marriage without using the word marriage, because the state has agreed that marriage can only take place between a man and a woman. Only Massachusetts has a law allowing marriage between people of the same sex.
To read the whole article, click here.
Posted at 12:54 PM
ATTEND THE RECLAIM CONNECTICUT PROTEST ON OCTOBER 1ST [Brian Brown]
On Saturday, October 1, at 12:00 noon on the steps of the state capitol in Hartford, FIC Action will hold a Reclaim Connecticut Protest to hold accountable those legislators who voted to undermine marriage. We invite as many of our supporters as possible to attend!
Last spring well over 3,000 pro-family citizens from every walk of life united in a rally at the state capitol to express their outrage over the decision by our legislature and Gov. Rell to legalize same-sex civil unions. The Courant’s article on the rally quoted a man who captured well the sentiment of those present at that time:
“What they [the legislature and Gov. Rell] did was, they said, ‘We think we know better than the people of the state,’” said Roger Cropper of Bristol. “This is supposed to be the Constitution State, not the dictator state. Let the people decide. I hope the people of Connecticut finally stand up and say enough is enough.”
That is precisely what we intend to do. We are rallying on October 1st because that is the day that the civil union law goes into effect. Like the counter-rally FIC held on the day same-sex “marriage” was legalized in Massachusetts, our purpose on Oct. 1st is to provide a public witness against the government-mandated redefinition of marriage.
The pro-family movement’s #1 goal leading up to the 2006 election is to Reclaim Connecticut! At the Oct. 1st protest, we will be letting people know what they can do politically to take back their state from the anti-family legislators who voted to undermine marriage.
While passage of same-sex civil unions is bad enough in itself, the next step of same-sex “marriage” proponents is clear—use the courts to force same-sex “marriage,” name and all, on our state. Without a state constitutional amendment protecting marriage, the courts may likely do exactly that. We need legislators who understand the importance of this issue and a public that knows where their legislators stand.
The battle to protect marriage in Connecticut has reached a pivotal moment. Either we get active and organize now or we face full same-sex “marriage.”
Posted at 12:30 PM
DANBURY NEWS-TIMES PROFILES MOPS [Peter Wolfgang]
It’s the sort of thing you don’t forget. My wife, in addition to her normal daily routine of caring for our two daughters—just shy of 2 and 4 years old—had just given birth to our son. Upon hearing of it, an old friend from Manchester —not someone we see regularly—took the hour-long drive to our home just to cook us a nice meal.
She was a member of MOPS, a group dedicated to help Mothers of Preschoolers. Today’s News-Times has a nice profile on this wonderful group:
MOPS International is a non-profit organization that provides support to mothers of preschoolers.
Brookfield resident Linda Frame has been a member of the Ridgefield chapter for 10 years.
During the early and cold months of 2005, she received nonstop support from many of the group’s members when she broke her leg after falling in a parking lot. She was in a wheelchair for six weeks.
“They all came to my house. They took me to the doctor, they brought me meals, and they watched my kids,” Frame said.
That’s the kind of group it is, said Mary Borges of Brookfield , a mother to three young boys….
MOPS groups are communities that strive to meet the needs of every mom with children from birth through kindergarten.
To read the whole article, click here.
Posted at 12:23 PM
WHY DID MAYOR JARJURA LOSE? [Peter Wolfgang]
That is the question being explored all morning—even as I type this—by radio host Brad Davis. The Waterbury Republican-American offered its own answer yesterday:
Mayor Jarjura did not lose the primary because he proposed a forthright, controversial approach to the pension problem. He lost because he had plenty of campaign cash but apparently did not take Mrs. Mulcahy as seriously as he should have, given his failure to exploit his war chest and the advantages of incumbency. He angered residents of the Town Plot and Country Club neighborhoods by supporting development projects many residents opposed. There also was a perception, never proved, that he was taking advantage of his position to advance his own development projects.
I share Brad’s high opinion of Mayor Jarjura and the work he has done to put Waterbury on the right path. Indeed, the mayor has been one of two “legislative liaisons” FIC has proudly listed on our letterhead since his days as state representative.
But while Jarjura’s pro-life, pro-family record in the legislature is unassailable, as mayor he has made some endorsements that have raised eyebrows among those who share his commitment to the protection of marriage and of the unborn.
In 2002, he not only endorsed but campaigned vigorously for pro-abortion candidate Chris Murphy against pro-life Rep. Ann Dandrow for an open senate seat in a district encompassing parts of Waterbury, Cheshire and Southington. After defeating Dandrow, Sen. Murphy played a key role in passing the bill that will use $100 million of our tax money to clone and kill human embryos.
Now, in fairness, Jarjura was a Democrat backing a fellow Democrat against a Republican. One might say “That’s politics.”
But then, what about Waterbury’s 75th district? In 2002, Jarjura backed a pro-abortion, pro same-sex “marriage” challenger—who was not even from Waterbury—in a primary against his pro-life Democratic colleague, incumbent Rep. Tom Conway. Conway narrowly won, thanks to the strong support of pro-life Catholics who came out for one of their own.
But why did Jarjura back an out-of-town challenger whose views were the opposite of his own against a Democratic incumbent who shared his pro-life convictions? Why would the most prominent pro-life Democrat in Connecticut work to make himself even more of a minority in his own party?
And it happened again in 2004. That same candidate—with the backing of both Love Makes A Family and Mayor Jarjura—ran against David Aldarondo. Aldarondo defeated him, becoming the first Hispanic state representative from Waterbury and one of the last pro-life Democrats still in the legislature. Indeed, Aldarondo spoke before a crowd of more than 3,000 people at our April 24th rally in defense of the family.
But Aldarondo’s supporters never forgot Jarjura’s opposition. As far back as eight months ago, they expressed their anger to me, saying that there will be a primary and that they were organizing to defeat the mayor.
To be sure, other factors—including the ones listed above by the Republican-American—had something to do with the primary results. But a sense of abandonment by the Brass City’s pro-lifers played a key role in Jarjura’s defeat. Not only did Aldarondo’s supporters—who are not limited to the 75th district—make good on their vow, but every pro-lifer I spoke to in Waterbury—many of them still incensed over Jarjura’s 2002 endorsements—said they were backing Karen Malcahy.
Mayor Jarjura was one of the better politicians in a state not known for producing great public servants. He will be missed.
But his demise should serve as a cautionary tale for Connecticut’s pro-life, pro-family politicians. In a state where they are currently a minority and despised by the political and media elites, pro-life/pro-family politicians must support each other and work to increase their numbers in both parties and across party lines —in fact, they can’t afford not to.
Otherwise, they will have the unpleasant experience—as Mayor Jarjura did this week—of rediscovering the truth that Benjamin Franklin expressed to this nation’s founders: “We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately.”
Posted at 9:34 AM
PRO-LIFE SPEAKER AT YALE MONDAY [Peter Wolfgang]
The notice below is from Deborah Bedolla, the head of Yale’s pro-life student group. Dr. DeMarco, who teaches at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell and writes columns for the CT-based National Catholic Register, has been a pro-life leader for decades. This is a great opportunity to hear one of our most eloquent spokesmen.
Dear Mr. Wolfgang,
Eminent philosopher Dr. Donald DeMarco will be addressing a group of students, faculty and community members on the question, “When does human life begin?” DeMarco is being hosted by CLAY: Choose Life At Yale.
The talk is part of the Women’s Truth Campaign (WTC), a campus-wide initiative to challenge the accepted notions about abortion. DeMarco will explore the widely debated issue of human personhood at life’s beginnings on Monday, September 19th from 7:00 to 8:00 PM in Street Hall, Room 268, allowing for questions at the end. The abortion issue has been on the forefront of campus dialogue, both in the recent Yale Party of the Right abortion debate and in April 2005’s Respect Life Week.
The event promises to be informative for people of all beliefs and opinions. We hope that you will be able to share this with members of the Family Institute of Connecticut and that many will benefit from this opportunity.
Posted at 3:57 PM
PRO-FAMILY VICTORY IN NEW HAVEN [Brian Brown]
Congratulations to Joyce Chen, a pro-family Democratic New Haven alderman who defeated a challenger in a primary yesterday.
Joyce was one of several aldermen who voted against a proposal to legalize same-sex “domestic partnerships”—a watered-down version of civil unions—in New Haven. Although a majority of aldermen defeated the proposal, Joyce was the only one to be targeted by anti-family forces for her opposition to it.
Joyce also faced the full fury of Mayor DeStefano’s political machine, which came out in force for her opponent. (Mayor DeStefano supports same-sex “marriage,” but since he has been out stumping for governor he has been curiously quiet on the subject.)
As yesterday’s primaries show, the passage of civil unions has not caused pro-family sentiment in Connecticut to dissipate. If anything, it is growing and it is beginning to have an effect at the polls.
Posted at 9:18 PM
PROGRESS IN MASSACHUSETTS [Peter Wolfgang]
The headline and first few paragraphs of an AP story appearing on the front page of today’s Courant gives the misleading impression that the pro-family cause has suffered a recent set-back in the Massachusetts legislature. In fact, I was just in Boston Thursday for the Pastor’s Breakfast organized by the Love Won Out conference and morale was high among our pro-family peers in the Bay State. Not until the 6th paragraph of the AP story does the reader learn why that is:
A graver threat to gay marriage may come from a newer and stricter proposed amendment. Because that measure is on a different procedural path, it requires less support from the legislature. But the proposal, which has just begun moving forward, would not reach voters until 2008.
The reasons for the collapse of the older amendment the legislature narrowly approved last year are rooted in the language of the measure. It seeks to broker a compromise between foes of same-sex marriage and supporters of gay rights by outlawing gay marriage, but enshrining civil unions.
The compromise ultimately had an opposite effect, alienating foes of gay marriage by creating civil unions and offending gay rights supporters by banning gay marriage…
Many foes of gay marriage, who supported the amendment in the hopes of preventing gay marriages from happening, are drawn to a second, much stricter alternative amendment that would ban gay marriage without granting civil unions…
Supporters of that amendment must still collect the signatures of 65,825 registered voters and win approval for it in two sittings of the Legislature. But because the amendment begins with citizens, only a quarter of lawmakers — a much lower threshold — must approve it before it can go on the state ballot.
As I drove up to Boston Thursday morning, the news on the radio reported that the attorney general in Massachusetts had certified the effort to enact the stronger marriage protection amendment and the governor of California had said he would veto his legislature’s attempt to impose same-sex “marriage” on a public that had already voted to reject it. It was not a good day for the pro same-sex “marriage” cause.
Posted at 3:15 PM
STATE’S PRO-FAMILY CHURCHES AID KATRINA VICTIMS [Brian Brown]
Many are the organizations and individuals that are doing good work to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Today’s Connecticut Post reports on one effort by our friends at the Bridgeport Rescue Mission and Black Rock Congregational Church:
The church wants nonperishable foods, coffee, powdered milk, bottled water, diapers and baby wipes, feminine-hygiene products, bleach, toilet paper, generators, tarps, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, battery-powered radios, first-aid kits, nylon rope, matches, cots, flashlights and batteries.
“Many people want to give us clothing and blankets. We’ve been told specifically not to collect that,” said Terry Wilcox, mission director.
Items may be dropped off at the Women’s Home of the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, 1150 Fairfield Ave. and Black Rock
You can read the whole article here. We urge our members to support this effort.
Posted at 12:05 PM
CALIFORNIA PRO SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” VOTE DEFIES DEMOCRACY [Peter Wolfgang]
As Stanley Kurtz notes in the post cited by Ken below, yesterday’s vote in the California legislature sheds light on our opposition’s disdain for democracy. I would add that it also sheds light on what happened in Connecticut.
When our own state legislature legalized same-sex civil unions last April we said that they ignored the will of the people. Our opponents reacted with derision. “It was a legislative vote, not a court order,” they said. “How can you say it was undemocratic?”
Here’s why, from my May 10th blog:
In a poll conducted by Harris Interactive, 78% of CT voters said that marriage is between one man and one woman and 76% said they wanted to vote in a referendum on the issue. The legislature ignored them. Thousands of CT’s pro-family citizens called their legislators about the bill—so many, in fact, that we shut down their switchboards for days. But several senators began their speeches by saying that, while most of their constituents opposed the bill, they will vote for it anyway. In 2004, 78% of our legislature ran for re-election unopposed or in gerrymandered districts where they won in a cakewalk. The bill, which moved through the legislature at an unbelievably quick pace, was signed hours after it was passed because Gov. Rell asked the senators to suspend the normal rules of procedure. And the most sweeping change to hit CT’s family life in decades was signed into law by a governor who was never elected to the position. In light of all this, how “democratic,” really, was the passage of civil unions in CT?
If further proof was needed that a legislative vote for same-sex “marriage”/civil unions does not represent the will of the people, California provided it yesterday. As even the New York Times notes, “Californians voted overwhelmingly in 2000 for a ballot measure, Proposition 22, that defined marriage as between a man and a woman” but their legislature, like Connecticut’s, simply chose to ignore the will of their own constituents:
But several Republicans derided the parliamentary maneuver to resuscitate the bill and said Democrats who represented districts where voters approved Proposition 22 had no moral authority to subvert that vote.
“We damage the moral fabric of our society, that’s what’s damaged here,” said Assemblyman Dennis L. Mountjoy, a Republican from Southern California.
Assemblyman Jay La Suer, a San Diego Republican, chided his colleagues for sending the wrong message about same-sex marriage, saying that no matter “how you candy coat it,” it is wrong.
“You are not leading, you have gone astray,” Mr. La Suer said. “History will record that you betrayed your constituents, and their moral and ethical values.”
History will also record it of Connecticut’s legislature. In both states, the legislature did not represent the will of the people. Instead, both the courts and the legislature are increasing kowtowing to radical anti-family elites and, in the case of legislators, voting against their own constituents.
Only a marriage protection amendment to our state and federal constitutions will put a stop to this attack on the family and on democracy itself.
Posted at 2:31 PM
CALIFORNIA’S LEGISLATURE SURPASSES EVEN CONNECTICUT IN ITS BRAZENNESS [Ken Von Kohorn]
“Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We’ve all heard Lord Acton’s observation many times. The latest evidence of this timeless truth comes from California which, like Connecticut, suffers from one party (in both cases the Democrats) too long in the majority. California’s legislature voted yesterday to allow gay “marriage,” even though (or because?) the state’s voters overwhelmingly rejected gay “marriage” in a statewide referendum. Stanley Kurtz, writing in National Review’s Corner weighs in on the implications of the California vote:
Why do liberals keep pushing same-sex marriage on a country that clearly doesn’t want it–especially when this is so obviously disastrous for the national political prospects of the Democrats? Why would California’s state legislature blatantly countermand a decision by the people of California, who expressed themselves by a 61 to 39 percent majority only five years ago? The proximate answer is that the legislature wants to head off yet another state referendum, this one likely to write marriage as the union of a man and a woman into California’s constitution. That measure may still pass, but the legislature is trying to put facts on the ground now, in hopes that these will sway the public against a state constitutional amendment.
Of course the deeper reason for the political madness of California’s Democrats is their belief that same-sex marriage is a simple question of basic civil rights. However sincerely this belief is held, it is badly mistaken. For a brief response on the substantive question, see the first section of my “Deathblow to Marriage.”
Governor Schwarzenegger now has a serious no-win political problem on his hands. He’s likely to veto the bill. But if he signs it, the gay marriage issue will be supercharged on the national level. In contrast to Massachusetts, California has no law prohibiting marriage to out-of-state couples if those marriages would be illegal in their home states. That would likely mean a flood of marriages of out-of-state couples, and a series of legal challenges to marriage in states across the nation. The pressure for state constitutional amendments will escalate massively. Gay marriage would move to the front burner of the nation’s politics directly in advance of the next election.
Gay marriage in California would also highlight the importance of the Supreme Court. Given Anthony Kennedy’s position, it’s unlikely that even confirmation of John Roberts and a conservative replacement for Justice Renquist would, by themselves, prevent the Supreme Court from nationalizing same-sex marriage in the wake of California induced chaos. Only a Federal Marriage Amendment would do that. So same-sex marriage in California would likely supercharge the movement for a Federal Marriage Amendment. One way or another, sooner or later, like it or not, this country is headed toward a national showdown on same-sex marriage.
Posted at 12:50 PM
ROBERTS PICKED TO BE CHIEF JUSTICE [Brian Brown]
With the death of pro-life Chief Justice William Rehnquist, President Bush has now picked Judge Roberts to replace him. You can read the New York Times coverage of this development here. The confirmation hearings, originally set to begin today, will start on Monday.
FIC is fighting for Judge Roberts to be confirmed in a fair and timely manner. You can contact Sen. Lieberman on behalf of Judge Roberts by clicking here.
Posted at 4:35 PM
CALIFORNIA’S SENATE VOTE [Brian Brown]
In the wake of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks, Planned Parenthood’s New York branch responded…by offering free abortions. Now, in the wake of the unprecedented devastation wrought on our nation by Hurricane Katrina, the California state senate has responded by…voting to legalize same-sex “marriage”:
Opponents decried the vote as a repudiation of the will of the electorate, which five years ago passed Proposition 22, declaring that California would recognize only marriages between men and women. They said that legislators cannot undo a law passed by 61% of the public without putting it before the electorate again.
“How can God bless California when our lawmakers do this?” asked Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families, which is collecting signatures for one of several initiatives that would amend the state Constitution to outlaw gay marriage. “The Democrat-controlled Senate has completely overturned the people’s vote on marriage.”
Even in the midst of some of the greatest tragedies our nation have ever faced, the attacks on the family in America—and the disrespect for the will of the people—continue without the slightest pause.
Posted at 12:35 pm
“LOVE WON OUT” CONFERENCE IN BOSTON ON OCT. 29TH [Brian Brown]
On October 29th, 2005, Focus on the Family will be holding a Love Won Out Conference at Tremont Temple Church, 88 Tremont Street in Boston, MA. A complimentary Pastor’s Breakfast will be held Sept. 8th from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Tremont Temple Church for clergy wishing to learn more about the conference.
With Connecticut’s same-sex civil union law going into effect one month from today, pastors, parents and other concerned citizens will be increasingly forced to face issues relating to homosexuality. The Family Institute of Connecticut, therefore, strongly recommends that our members attend Love Won Out in Boston.
At the conference, you will hear from nationally known experts who have firsthand experience with the seldom-told side of the homosexual issue. You’ll learn how to minister to a loved one who’s dealing with homosexuality, respond to misinformation in our culture, defend biblical beliefs and prevent your child from embracing this destructive way of life.
Ministers who attend the Sept. 8th Pastor’s Breakfast will be Focus on the Family’s guests for a complimentary breakfast and morning seminar that will equip them to more effectively convey the truth about homosexuality, compassionately without compromising. Three of Love Won Out’s keynote speakers will share their testimonies and address specific topics.
To learn more about Love Won Out conferences, click here. To attend the Sept. 8th Pastor’s Breakfast or the Oct. 29th Love Won Out conference in Boston, contact Linda Allison at email@example.com or by calling (719) 548-5770.
Posted at 3:48 PM
HURRICANE KATRINA [Peter Wolfgang]
Connecticut’s pro-family community joins with the whole nation in praying for and providing assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Donations may be sent through the Red Cross by clicking here and through the Salvation Army by clicking here.
Posted at 3:42 PM
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