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Will legalization of same-sex marriage result in religious persecution?


(Posted by Bryana Johnson on January 28, 2013)

Earlier this month, 1,067 UK priests, bishops and abbots prompted a significant stir by collectively signing what is being called one of the largest open letters ever produced in British political history. The letter was issued as a warning against the legalization of same-sex marriage. Such a development may spark religious persecution against Catholics, who oppose same-sex marriage based on the tenets of their faith, cautioned the multitude of priests.

The letter comes as British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced his intentions to push through a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the UK by the end of the month.

“The natural complementarity between a man and a woman leads to marriage, seen as a lifelong partnership,”
the clergymen declared in their statement. “This loving union – because of their physical complementarity – is open to bringing forth and nurturing children. This is what marriage is. That is why marriage is only possible between a man and a woman.”

“Legislation for same-sex marriage, should it be enacted, will have many legal consequences, severely restricting the ability of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage in their schools, charitable institutions or places of worship,” they went on to warn. Those who signed the letter make up about one-fourth of all the Catholic clergy in Britain.

Regardless of where we stand on the issue of same-sex marriage, it’s important for us to determine whether or not this statement is backed by evidence and by the collective experience of states and nations that have already enshrined homosexual marriage in law. Surely the rights and religious liberties of the proponents of traditional marriage must be protected even as same-sex partnerships become more widespread and more widely accepted.

Is truth on the side of the UK clergy and should Christian people be taking a warning from their words? Is legalization of same-sex marriage a doorway into an era of universal goodwill and harmony? Or is it merely a sign that a new form of bigotry is at hand – a bigotry of hatred and violence unleashed against the traditional family and its supporters?

The obvious question is, have opponents of same-sex marriage suffered persecution and loss of religious liberty in other countries that have embraced this radical redefinition of marriage? The answer is in no way elusive. Let’s take a look at a little very recent history.

“Tolerance” in Brazil

Last week, members of the Catholic Plinio Correa de Olivera Institute gathered in the Brazilian city of Curitiba to protest abortion and the homosexual ideology and stand in support of the traditional family. Homosexuality has been legal in Brazil since 1830 and enjoys widespread acceptance in that country.

However, the Catholic demonstrators, who marched peacefully and carried signs, were not greeted with tolerance and acceptance. In fact, an angry mob soon gathered around them and began yelling threats and making obscene gestures. The Catholics were spat upon and one of them had an object thrown at his head which drew blood. As he held up his bloodied hand to show the camera, the crowd cheered. These incidents were caught on camera by the Institute and by an onlooker sympathetic to the unruly mob.

In 2007, the Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgender People (ABGLT) filed several lawsuits against opponents of the homosexual movement in Brazil. One of these suits targeted the websites that had just exposed homosexual activist Luiz Mott for his promotion of pedophilia and pederasty.

Another motion was filed against psychologist and therapist Rozangela Alves Justino, who provided counseling and therapy for homosexuals who wished to change their sexual orientation. Because Brazil’s Federal Council of Psychologists prohibited psychologists from performing reparative therapy for homosexuality, the ABGLT asked that Alves Justino’s license be revoked.

Several years ago, Christian pro-life writer Julio Severo fled Brazil after charges were reportedly filed against him for his “homophobic” coverage of Brazil’s 2006 Gay Pride parade. Severo left the country abruptly with his pregnant wife and two small children. At the time, there was still no official law in Brazil criminalizing “homophobic” behavior.

In February of 2009, LifeSiteNews reported that, “the Brazilian government has determined that 99% of its citizens are ‘homophobic,’ and therefore must be reeducated.” According to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, the federal government of Brazil intended to use the data from the study to “plan new policies.” Those new policies were implemented in May 2012, when the senate in Brazil passed a law criminalizing ‘homophobia.’

In the summer of 2012, Julio Severo interviewed Brazilian Christian psychologist Marisa Lobo, who said that the Brazilian Federal Council of Psychology pressured and terrorized homosexuals who were looking for help in overcoming their unwanted same-sex attractions. Marisa was also attacked by the Council when she questioned the “gay kit” that the Brazilian government attempted to distribute to students in public schools for the purpose of fighting “homophobia.” Due to explicit content in the kit and its favorable portrayal of homosexual behavior, the program was eventually suspended by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

“When they learned that [I was] a Christian, they began to persecute me,” Marisa explained, “as a psychologist who categorizes herself as a Christian, and later in the process as a homophobe, because I said on Twitter that I love gays, but I prefer for my child to be heterosexual. And I still don’t understand why having an opinion instigates violence.”

It seems that the range of tolerated activity in Brazil is fairly narrow, despite decades of campaigns by same-sex marriage advocates against “hate” and “bullying” and “harassment.” And it is becoming increasingly evident that Christian family virtues are not included in the group of “tolerable” ideas.

“Diversity” and “Freedom of Speech” in Canada
Canada Day in Ontario last year was marked by a disturbing incident when Rev. David Lynn and a small group of friends attended the Toronto Gay Pride Parade. Setting up a small stand on a street corner with a microphone and a video camera, Lynn preached, held conversations with passers-by, and handed out Bibles and tracts – that is, until Toronto police wearing LGBT rainbow stickers shut him down and forced him to vacate the area. Ignoring the profanity and violent behavior of angry parade attendees and demonstrators who verbally assaulted the group and even doused Lynn and his cameraman with water, police told Lynn he was ‘promoting hate’ and must leave. Videos of the incident are available here and here and here.

It seems only certain forms of free speech are protected in Canada nowadays. Criticism of homosexuality, even peaceful and motivated by loving concern, isn’t one of these.

When the Toronto District School Board revealed their new “anti-homophobia curriculum” in 2011 (Challenging Homophobia and Heterosexism: A K-12 Curriculum), many people were understandably disturbed. Naturally, things only got worse when the news came out that parents would not be able to opt their kids out of the program – not even their kindergarteners. Teachers would also not be permitted to decline to teach the course based on religious convictions.

It seems only certain brands of diverse thought are encouraged in Canada nowadays. Christian family virtues aren’t among them.

The curriculum taught students that “you can’t choose to be gay or straight, but you can choose to come out.” In 3rd grade, it is recommended that students read the book Gloria Goes to Gay Pride.  Students are encouraged to have their own “Pride Parade” in their school.

Unfortunately, most real-life Pride Parades are scarcely suitable for elementary school children.

The disturbing and seemingly totalitarian approach embraced by the Toronto District is but a foretaste of what lies ahead, suggests an education minister in the United Kingdom. Elizabeth Truss, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of the Department for Education, warned in November that school teachers could be punished for not teaching pro-gay topics, should the British government follow through with plans to redefine marriage.

More Instances of Love and Acceptance

The adoption agency Catholic Charities has been systemically shutting down its branches in various states throughout the US, following a series of bitter legal disputes over the agency’s right to refuse to place children with homosexual couples. Similar laws have also forced church-affiliated agencies in Britain, such as Catholic Care, to separate from their churches or shut down entirely.

In January 2012, a New Jersey judge ruled against a Christian retreat house that refused to allow a same-sex civil union ceremony to be conducted on its premises, ruling that the Constitution allows “some intrusion into religious freedom to balance other important societal goals.” Last September, a gay couple filed suit against two Illinois institutions that refused to host their civil union. Christian “Bed and Breakfast” establishments, which are often family-owned businesses, have been especially targeted by homosexual rights activists for this type of harassment.

In Ladele and McFarlane v. United Kingdom, plaintiffs Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane were fired from their places of work for declining to perform services involving same-sex partnerships and counseling. Ladele, a marriage registrar for Islington Council in London, “was disciplined after she asked to be exempt from registering same-sex civil partnerships.” McFarlane was a counselor who was fired after he “declined to unequivocally commit to provide same-sex couples with psycho-sexual therapy.” They appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, but the court refused to hear their case.

"It seems that a religious bar to office has been created, whereby a Christian who wishes to act on their Christian beliefs on marriage will no longer be able to work in a great number of environments,” commented Andrea Williams, the Director of the Christian Legal Centre.

Certainly this is a tragic remark and one that signals a gloomy answer to the question of whether or not the legalization of same-sex marriage will result in a loss of religious liberty. It is, of course, unfair of homosexual activists to expect people of faith to cast away their creeds and their dear, cherished ideals. But these activists make themselves odious indeed to civilized people when they force dissenters to violate their codes of morality and their very consciences by endorsing and promoting a lifestyle they consider abhorrent.

If the aim of legalizing same-sex marriage is, as we are so often told, to eradicate intolerance and bigotry, surely its activists should be alarmed to find that their efforts have been entirely unsuccessful. However, as shocking as it may seem, the advocates of same-sex marriage are proving repeatedly that they only endorse the toleration of one view and only believe in the protection of one speech – their own. 

 
 
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Russian police officer detains man in bridal gown during gay rights protest in Moscow.

New St. Petersburg law bans homosexual propaganda in public places, US State Department bullies Russia

(Posted by Bryana Joy on March 22, 2012)

Controversy erupted last week when a Russian city adopted a new policy designed to protect young people from exposure to propaganda by homosexual rights groups. On March 7th, St. Petersburg Gov. Georgy Poltavchenko signed into a law a bill that will fine individuals up to $170 and companies up to $17,000 for violating a ban on "public actions aimed at propagandizing sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism, and transgenderism among minors.” The new St Petersburg law also includes amendments introducing stricter punishments for pedophilia, which is commonly associated with homosexuality.

The Russian Orthodox Church has applauded the recent legislation and is calling for a similar nationwide ban to be enacted.  Dmitry Pershin, head of the Church’s youth council, praised the St Petersburg law for “
helping to protect children from information manipulation by minorities that promote sodomy,” and said that, “the persistence of sexual minorities and their intention to rally near children’s establishments indicate that this regional law is highly needed and should be urgently given federal status,” referring to homosexualist activist Nikolay Alexeyev’s stated intention to organize rallies near children’s establishments to protest the new law.

Naturally, gay rights groups are unhappy and clamoring for redress against the government in St. Petersburg. The activist organization
All Out, which succeeded last year in getting Paypal to shut down blogger Julio Severo’s account and suspend his funds, is crying foul and calling the law a “gag rule” that “muzzles artists, writers, musicians, citizens and visitors.” They have launched a campaign, We Won’t Go There, and are threatening to boycott travel to the Russian city.

Oddly enough, another institution has joined them in expressing disapproval, the State Department. “
Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights,” states the official website for the State Department, quoting Secretary Hillary Clinton. “We have called on Russian officials to safeguard these freedoms, and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens. We have also consulted with our EU partners on this issue. They share our concerns and are also engaging Russian officials on this. The United States places great importance on combating discrimination against the LGBT community and all minority groups.”

Russia did not take kindly to the US government’s interference. "
We view with bewilderment the American side's attempts to interfere, what's more, publicly, in the lawmaking process," foreign ministry representative for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, told the Interfax news agency, adding that there is “absolutely no discrimination by Russian law in the application of civil, political, social, economic and cultural human rights, including on grounds of sexual orientation.”

Dolgov went on to explain that, “
the legislative initiatives of the regional bodies of authority…are intended to protect minors from the respective propaganda …Of course, the decision took into account the traditional cultural and moral values prevalent in Russian society, considerations of the protection of health and public morality, and the inadmissibility of discrimination through the encouragement of the rights and interests of one social group without proper regard for the rights and interests of others.”

It turns out that Dolgov has been well-informed. As shocking as it may seem to Secretary Clinton, Russians, by and large, don’t
like public displays of homosexuality and many believe homosexual acts to be immoral and unhealthy. A 2010 poll by the independent Levada Center in Moscow found that 74 percent of Russians regard homosexuality as a result of bad moral choices. Is it right for our State Department to pressure the Russian government to go against the will of its people? 

If the Russian government were, in fact, violating human rights, the answer would certainly be yes. However, the bottom line is that while freedom of speech, property rights, the right to a fair trial, freedom from unwarranted violence, freedom from involuntary servitude, etc. are human rights, freedom of sexual expression in public thoroughfares and in the presence of children is not, and categorizing it as such is a trivialization of the real human rights abuses and injustices enacted every day across the globe.


“Keep the government out of the bedroom!” has become a favorite slogan of pro-choice and gay rights activists, who are irritated by what they see as excessive legislation of sexual activity. The Russian government has obliged and has withdrawn from the afore-mentioned bedroom. Now, however, these activists are no longer content with confining their controversies to the bedroom, but continue to insist on dragging them out for public display. The issue is that much of what they wish to flaunt is not at all suitable for public display in the first place.


Are gay rights human rights? Only insofar as they are the same rights afforded to everyone else.

Thus, while the rights of gay people to be given equal protection under law are human rights, their “rights” to put on sexually explicit parades in public places or to indoctrinate children against the wishes of their parents, are not rights at all.


(First posted in Bryana's column over at The Washington Times Communities)

 
 
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Brazilian blogger Julio Severo



the sinister significance of Paypal's decision to freeze Julio Severo's personal funds due to pressure from homosexual activist groups


(Posted by Bryana Joy on October 01, 2011)


(If you don’t know about the Julio Severo saga, you can read about it at LifeSiteNews here)

I’m a big fan of those boldly-lettered signs that hang in thrift stores and restaurants out here in my part of the country, stating unequivocally that the owner reserves the right to refuse service to anyone and everyone that he or she should not take a fancy to. I get warm, fuzzy feelings inside whenever I see these placards of freedom posted ambiguously in places of business, and one thing that really riles me up is stories of small business owners being sued for exercising their "rights to discriminate."

Therefore, I want to start off by asserting my opinion that Paypal ought to be able to shut down any account they want to. No, I mean it. In spite of my unapologetic and wholehearted support and sympathy for Julio Severo, I really do want to uphold Paypal’s right to refuse service to anyone for any reason whatsoever. Paypal is a privately-owned business and I enthusiastically defend their right to make their own policies and terms.

That said, I am, nevertheless, angered and disappointed by their decision and will refuse to patronize them unless they restore all of the accounts they have shut down due to pressure from the homosexual activist groups. I will vehemently disagree with them and will talk, post and write negatively about their choice whenever I have the opportunity to do so. I am shocked and alarmed that Paypal has accused Severo of encouraging “hate speech,” when he is merely an individual expressing his opinions in the form of a blog. He does not incite violence, nor does he preach hatred. He is a married man with four little children. All of these facts taken together give me a queasy feeling about this apparently very unjustified decision of Paypal’s.

However, as Voltaire is famously supposed to have said, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” and this is how I feel about Paypal’s choice -- because I think about all of those little thrift shops and restaurants in my town and I don’t want anybody coming in and taking down their brave little signs.

Where Paypal really infuriated me was in their arbitrary and indefensible decision to freeze Severo’s personal funds for six months. I feel that this kind of action is both immoral and unjust and should not be permitted. After all, the money is Severo’s and Paypal has no rights whatsoever over a private individual’s funds. If Paypal feels that it is justified in setting itself up as arbitrator on the scene of the homosexual controversy - or any other controversy, for that matter - and in punishing individuals with whom it disagrees by depriving these people of their own money, it is clearly not a trustworthy solution for my financial needs.

If you also feel this way and wish to support Julio Severo by asking Paypal to restore his account, please take a minute to sign this petition. Every little bit helps.  


 

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