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Archive of February 7, 2013

Boy Scouts delay vote on end of gay membership ban

Washington D.C., Feb 7, 2013 (CNA) - The Boy Scouts of America have announced that they will delay voting on the decision to reverse a ban on gay individual and troop leader participation within the organization until May.

“After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization,” said Deron Smith, Director of Public Relations for the organization, “the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy."

Smith noted that committees will continue “to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns.”  

The announcement comes on Feb. 6, the day the 1,400 voting members of the national council were supposed to either re-affirm or overturn the organization’s ban on gay members- including scout leaders. The decision affecting nearly 2.7 million members will now be delayed until May 2013.

In late January, Boy Scouts of America announced that they were considering ending their national ban on gay individuals and troop leaders in the organization following the loss of funding from high-profile donors such as UPS for their policy.

Smith added in a Jan. 28 statement that organizations that sponsor and oversee scouting groups, such as churches, would not be ordered “to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs.”

President Barack Obama has expressed support of an end to the organization’s current policy, which was upheld as a constitutional expression of free speech by the Supreme Court in 2000. “My attitude,” Obama said, “is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does, in every institution and walk of life.”

Family Research Council said it was “encouraged” by the delay in changing the national policy. Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council thanked the Boy Scouts for continuing to maintain their national membership standards and thanked the Scout parents who expressed “an overwhelming outpouring of support for maintaining the Scouts' timeless values.”

Perkins continued, saying that the delay was “not enough,” calling officials within the Boy Scouts of America to “publicly re-affirm their current standards, as they did just last July.” He also warned of “grave consequences,” should the Boy Scouts change their policy and compromise their moral standards in the face of threats from corporate elites and homosexual activists."

Over 40 organizations including Media Research Center, Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, Concerned Women for America, Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty and others have joined Family Research Council in asking Boy Scouts of America to retain the current national rule.

The organizations took out an advertisement in USA Today on Feb. 4, saying that the current rule is consistent with the Scout oath keep oneself “morally straight.” The ad also added that the current policy helps to protect scouts from sexual abuse and helps parents maintain control over their children’s sexual education. “To compromise moral principles under political and financial pressure,” the ad said, “would teach boys cowardice, not courage.”

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Conference aims to impart riches of classical education

Ventura, Calif., Feb 7, 2013 (CNA) - The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education will host its first national conference to help educators to implement a classical and Catholic liberal arts education at their schools.

“The success of this model has captured the attention of bishops, superintendents, administrators, teachers, and parents,” said Dr. Andrew Seeley, the Institute's director.

“As the movement spreads, classical Catholic educators are seeking ways to collaborate, to share their enthusiasm and experience with other pioneers who see in this approach a potential Renaissance for Catholic education.”

The conference will be held July 11-14 at Canandaigua Lake in upstate New York. It will feature speakers, workshops, and discussions, allowing educators to share “best practices” for Catholic schools. The workshops will discuss not only how to form students by curricula, but faculty as well.

Classical education, the institute explained, is meant to help students learn how to think, giving them “the tools of lifelong learning,” rather than merely teaching them “subjects.” The foundation of classical education is a set of three methods of learning subjects, called the trivium, which consists of grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

“By uniting faith and reason across the curriculum, this approach aims to form students in wisdom and virtue,” the institute added. Classical Catholic education is also meant to “form an educational community that is fully Catholic,” rather than being merely “secular schools with a Catholic name and a religion class.”

Speakers at the conference will include Mary Pat Donoghue, principal at St. Jerome Academy in Hyattsville, Md., and Kevin Roberts, headmaster of John Paul the Great Academy in Lafayette, Louis.

Some 40 to 60 Catholic elementary and high schools have adopted the classical model, with many reporting subsequent growth and improved academic performance.

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Denver, Colo. is in its first year of a three-year process of introducing a classical curriculum. By doing so, it has nearly doubled its enrollment.

The school's principal, Rosemary Anderson, told CNA in October that “the classical approach is Catholic, through and through.” She was encouraged in her decision to adopt a classical model by Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, who was at the time auxiliary bishop of Denver.

“We're not necessarily changing the material we're teaching, but how it's given to the kids, which is a step away from dependency on textbooks,” said Anderson.

St. John's Catholic School in Beloit, Kan. has also adopted an integrated humanities program, based on the classical model and meant to revitalize Catholic identity and culture at the school.

The school's high school theology teacher, Andrew Niewald, told CNA in November that the school is giving students “an experience of the faith,” rather than solely intellectual formation.

St. John's principal said, “It is important that we challenge our students not only to grow academically, socially, but spiritually as well, which I believe is the most important component in developing the whole student.”

Online registration for the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education's conference is available at www.catholicliberaleducation.org.

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Theologian calls beauty 'starting point' for faith

Denver, Colo., Feb 7, 2013 (CNA) - Prominent theologian Dr. Michael Waldstein said that despite the modern world's dismissal of the connection between goodness and truth, the beauty of the natural world and human relationships can lead to faith in God.

“Natural beauty and human love are an important starting point. If you take true beauty seriously, you are a far way toward being open to an even greater love,” Waldstein told CNA on Jan. 31.

A professor of theology at Ave Maria University, Waldstein gave his remarks following an address at Denver's Augustine Institute concerning “Faith, Science and Pope Benedict XVI's Regensburg Address.”

He said that “glimpsing Christ's beauty and taking it seriously” is a challenge for modern man because of the tendency to see a “dichotomy between faith and truth.”

Waldstein’s address began by contrasting two understandings of the word “faith.” One, he said, is displayed by individuals such as Richard Dawkins and sees faith as “belief that isn't based on evidence.”

Another understanding of faith, one more compatible with Christianity, is accepting the testimony of a reliable witness, he said, adding that faith understood in this way is necessary for human existence, and the rejection of it is irrational.

Francis Bacon, an important figure in the scientific revolution, articulated the principle that “human knowledge should be for the sake of power over nature,” he continued. That choice led to the reduction of the sphere of knowledge to mere “mechanics” – mathematics and physics, what can be made.

With this choice, Waldstein said, “the good was displaced from reality.” This resulted in a distinction between goodness and beauty – or values – on one side, and truth – or facts – on the other.

Modernity therefore sees science as concerned with objective “facts,” he explained, while values are viewed as a subjective phenomenon divorced from reality.

“Here you see, I think, why Richard Dawkins cannot but judge anything that's not in the very traditional scientific mode, as being unable to refer to something real,” Waldstein reflected.

This separation between truth and goodness, he said, means that “unavoidably, values are seen as imposed on you by somebody else. If everything except the mathematical aspects of nature are simply projections, then that projection came from somebody.”

Waldstein linked this to two current debates in American culture, namely contraception and the concept of gender.

The Obama administration's recent contraception mandate requires employers to offer health insurance coverage of contraception and sterilization, even when employers object to supporting their use on moral or religious grounds.

The dichotomy between truth and goodness “is why it is so difficult in our culture to understand the argument” surrounding contraception and conscience, the scholar said.

When truth and goodness are linked together, he explained, then it is possible to have an intrinsic link ordering the conjugal act towards the resultant good of openness to life.

“That is impossible for our contemporaries to understand, because for that ordering to take place, what you have to focus on is the goodness of the act. Because of that goodness, the act, through a nature in itself, has an orientation to it.”

He explained that when facts and values are separated, then people cannot see why contraception is an objective evil.

“But if goodness is a mere value imposed, then this idea is insensible – you can't make sense of it. You see it as a religious argument, because any value is going to be a subjective projection into the facts.”

Waldstein also explained how the idea of gender, as opposed to sex, represents a worldview in which “our body is a neutral machine with no meaning in itself, but all meaning is projected by us into it.”

“It follows then that men and women aren't, in virtue of their bodies, men and women. As far as gender is concerned, that is not the realm of fact but of value.”

“This,” he said, “is a consequence of the choice of mechanics as the master science – the separation between fact and value.”

Waldstein said that recapturing natural philosophy “plays a central role” in the new evangelization and overcoming the separation of truth and goodness. Natural philosophy's view allows an objective understanding of nature while also keeping goodness and values within the sphere of the objective.

The scholar told CNA that the encounter between persons is a way to help people think again about nature.

“Expression is such an amazing thing. I look at you, and I see you look, and it's fabulous, it's stupendous.” He said that rather than being a “complicated process” of thought and analysis, the encounter of persons can be summed up in this experience: “I see you look.”

“In the Gospel of John, in the prologue, when it talks about the Word becoming flesh, it's interesting that the very first effect of that... is that 'we have seen his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,'” he said. “That's beauty; glory and beauty are very closely related to each other.”

Waldstein concluded that “to have a glimpse of that beauty which appears in Christ – glory, the glory of love, giving himself unreservedly, that, according to John, is the real motive of faith.”

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Pope stresses Church's hope in young people

Vatican City, Feb 7, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - “The Church has confidence in the young” and needs their lively participation, Pope Benedict XVI insisted, while also underscoring the threat of youth being pushed to the margins of society by unemployment and the crisis in education.

"Although we are aware of the many problematic situations … we wish to renew our faith in the young and reaffirm that the Church looks to their condition and their cultures as an essential and inescapable” focal point for its ministry, the Pope told the Pontifical Council for Culture on Feb. 7.

The emphasis on young people was brought home by the way the council kicked-off its Feb. 6-9 full assembly on “Emerging Youth Cultures” in Rome. Gathered at the main hall of LUMSA university, cardinals, bishops and lay people attended a concert by the Italian rock band “The Sun.”

The president of the council, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, told CNA before the concert that a university was chosen as a venue because they are centers of youth culture.

The council decided to begin with a rock concert because music plays an important role in youth culture.

“If we simply walk along the streets of a city,” the cardinal observed, “we see the youth and we see that almost all of them are wearing headphones. They listen to music, and this forms a part of their language.”

Pope Benedict received participants in the assembly on Thursday afternoon in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall.

He told the council members that he hopes their discussions will contribute to “the Church's work in the lives of young people, which is a complex and articulated reality” that can no longer be understood using old paradigms.

The Pope then took stock of the current situation youth around the world are living in.

In particular, he is worried about the “widespread climate of instability” that is affecting the cultural, political, and economic areas. Many young people are having difficulty finding work, he noted, and this has psychological and relational repercussions.

“The uncertainty and fragility that characterize so many young people often pushes them to the margins, making them almost invisible and absent from society's cultural and historical processes,” Benedict XVI remarked.

And this marginalization can impact the affective and emotional spheres, he said, giving birth to “apparently contradictory phenomena like the spectacularization of private life and a narcissistic selfishness.

“Even the religious dimension, the experience of faith and membership in the Church are often lived from an individualistic and emotional perspective,” he reflected.

But Pope Benedict also stressed the Church’s confidence in young people.

“She hopes in them and in their energy. She needs their vitality in order to continue living the mission entrusted to her by Christ with renewed enthusiasm,” he stated.

The Pope said that he sees some positive aspects in youth culture today, including an increase in volunteering, profound and sincere faith experiences, and efforts to “build societies capable of respecting the freedom and dignity of others, beginning with the smallest and weakest.”

He finished his message to the council by saying that he very much hopes “that the Year of Faith will be, also for the younger generations, a precious opportunity to rediscover and strengthen the friendship with Christ from which springs the joy and enthusiasm to profoundly change cultures and societies.”

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Doctor says Cardinal Meisner's contraception statement was manipulated

Rome, Italy, Feb 7, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - News stories declaring that Cardinal Meisner will allow the “morning-after” pill for rape victims were the result of his words being manipulated and scientists giving him inaccurate information about the drug, according to a leading physician.

“It seems that the cardinal’s words were manipulated,” Doctor Jose Maria Simon Castellvi told CNA Feb. 7.

“In any case, the morning-after pill works as an anti-implantation product in 70 percent of the cases where the woman is fertile,” said Dr. Simon, president of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations.

Cardinal Meisner of Cologne, Germany was drawn into the discussion about the morning-after pill after a story surfaced in the local press about a 25-year-old woman who walked into an emergency room and told the attending physician that she thought she was drugged and possibly sexually assaulted at a party the night before.

The doctor on call, Irmgard Maiworm, said she called two separate Catholic hospitals that were nearby and asked if they would admit the woman. Dr. Maiworm said that both of them refused to admit her, since the prescribed course of treatment would involve using the morning-after pill, known in the U.S. as Plan B.

The German public reacted strongly to reports about the incident, and Cardinal Meisner issued a Jan. 22 apology in which he said it was shameful for a Catholic hospital to refuse treatment to a rape victim.

Cardinal Meisner subsequently met with medical experts about the morning-after pill and they told him the latest research indicated the drug does not have anti-implantation effects.

After that meeting, Cardinal Meisner issued a Jan. 31 statement in which he said that if “a medication that hinders conception is used after a rape with the purpose of avoiding fertilization, then this is acceptable in my view.”

His statement was widely interpreted by the press as giving permission for Catholic hospitals to dispense Plan B to rape victims.

But the study presented to the cardinal was one that was coauthored by Kristina Gemzell-Danielsson, who acknowledges at the end of the paper that she “has served on Medical Advisory Boards of HRA- Pharma and Bayer on matters related to emergency contraception.”

In his remarks to CNA, Dr. Simon also pointed out that the manufacturer of the morning-after pill says the drug may prevent an embryo from implanting on the uterine wall.

“So, we cannot accept it, since even a microscopic human embryo is a person with rights, dignity and a son of God,” he insisted.

The German bishops’ conference will be holding its annual full assembly in two weeks in Trier, Germany and plans to discuss the matter further.

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Vatican official rejects claims that he endorsed same-sex unions

Vatican City, Feb 7, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, denounced media assertions that his recent comments show Vatican support for homosexual unions.

The archbishop said he was “very surprised” by reports claiming that some of his recent statements signaled an “openness” on the part of the Church to same-sex unions.

On Feb. 6, Vatican Radio asked Archbishop Paglia about his statements in a press conference two days earlier, in which he had spoken about individual rights of inheritance. Some media outlets interpreted these comments as an allusion to gay couples.

“Obviously I am very surprised by what some of the media reports say,” the archbishop responded. He explained that both his words and intentions were misunderstood and added that   “they were truly, and perhaps deliberately, derailed.”

“If I could use the image of a train track: the train has gone off the rails,” he said. “And I assure you that when the train derails and doesn’t reach the station, it runs the risk of encountering a cliff.”

He stressed that using existing legislation to protect individual rights is different from “approving certain viewpoints” on gay unions.

Speaking about the recent massive protest in France in defense of marriage, Archbishop Paglia told L’Osservatore Romano on Feb. 5, “It is essential to think hard before making decisions that could have tragic consequences. One cannot try to change the culture itself with a law that doesn’t have unanimous support.”

Issues related to same-sex unions should be addressed in the area of private rights, thus ensuring questions related to inheritance as well, he continued, adding that it is not possible to justify marriage based on sentiments that do not correspond to the relationship between man and woman for the generation of children.

In his statements to Vatican Radio, Archbishop Paglia also voiced solidarity with the bishops of England and Wales after the British House of Commons voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

“The doctrine of the Church on this is very clear,” he said. “In all honesty, it is also a centuries-old legal tradition that crosses all cultures: marriage is between one man and one woman for the formation of a family.”

If society departs from this understanding, he continued, it begins traveling down a road that does not lead to stability.

The archbishop rejected any acts of hatred or injustice against gay individuals, who are also children of God. He recalled the words of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI – in 1986: “It is deplorable that homosexual persons are or have been the objects of malevolent words or violent actions.”

“I don’t think it could be said any clearer,” Archbishop Paglia said. “I truly hope that the family, that precious treasure and patrimony of humanity, can be defended, sustained and helped without distorting its meaning.”

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French marriage advocates rally support amid debate

Paris, France, Feb 7, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - A coalition of marriage supporters are rallying support for the institution, organizing conferences, marches, and petitions, as France's parliament continues debate over same-sex marriage.

On Feb. 5, the National Assembly or the lower house of the French parliament, approved adoption by same-sex couples and voted to change the procedure for bestowing surnames on newborns.

Reacting to the news, the group “La Manif Pour Tous,” or “March For All,” said the move defies the will of “55 percent of Frenchmen” who are “are against the adoption of a child by two people of the same sex.”

Three days prior on Feb. 2, the National Assembly also approved a key article of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the nation.

The bill as a whole continues to be debated in the National Assembly this week, after deputies voted in favor of defining marriage as between two persons, regardless of sex, by a margin of 249 to 97.

Same-sex marriage is supported by the ruling Socialist party, and is opposed by the Union for a Popular Movement party.

“We are happy and proud to have taken this first step,” said Justice Minister Christiane Taubira. “We are going to establish the freedom for everyone to choose his or her partner for a future together.”

La Manif Pour Tous held a conference in Paris Feb. 6 featuring “the deputies who heroically lead the fight against this bill...for the opportunity to receive congratulations and encouragement from the public and citizens..”

The bill faces a final vote in the National Assembly Feb. 12. The Senate is due to review the bill beginning March 11.

La Manif Pour Tous is planning a march in Paris to be held March 24. Their online petition protesting the bill has already gathered over 276,000 signatures.

The group held a Parisian march Jan. 13, which – according to Bruno Dary, the former military governor of the city of Paris – drew between 1.3 and 1.5 million people.

Demonstrators included wide range of participants, many with no reported religious affiliation. Numerous gay individuals took part in the event, with slogans including “We're more gay without marriage.”

Attendees also included French gay city mayor, Jean Marc, who is outspokenly opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage, as well as members from the organization HOMOVOX, which stands for “one voice for homosexuals.”

Those within the Muslim community, of which many had voted for president Francois Hollande for his immigration policies, were also at the event in disapproval of his plans to legalize gay marriage.

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Bishops call new mandate proposal insufficient

Washington D.C., Feb 7, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The U.S. bishops said that the Obama administration’s suggested revisions to the federal contraception mandate fail to address the major religious liberty concerns they voiced last year.

While the federal government has indicated “that it is open to dialogue,” there are still “serious issues that remain” in its most recent attempt to respond to the grave concerns raised by many Americans, said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The cardinal explained in a Feb. 7 statement that the government’s new proposals to modify the contraception mandate fall short of offering the necessary protections for religious freedom.

On Feb. 1, the Obama administration announced a plan to modify a federal mandate that requires employers to offer health insurance coverage of contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can cause early abortions.

The regulation has faced harsh criticism and is currently the subject of lawsuits from more than 130 plaintiffs, who claim that it violates their constitutional right to religious freedom.

Faced with a wave of criticism, the administration promised to change the religious exemption that protects some employers from the mandate and to offer an “accommodation” for the religious freedom of others.

Responding to the announcement, Cardinal Dolan turned to the bishops’ statement last year, entitled United for Religious Freedom.

That statement, created by the bishops’ administrative committee and adopted by the entire body of bishops, voiced concern over the “exceedingly narrow” definition of “religious employer” included within the mandate.

In its original form, the mandate offered a religious exemption only to nonprofit religious groups that exist for the purpose of inculcating religious values and that serve and employee primarily members of their own faith.

Under the new proposal, these requirements would be dropped and an employer would qualify for the exemption if it fell under Internal Revenue Code, Section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii), which “refers to churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches, as well as to the exclusively religious activities of any religious order.”

The administration said that this “would primarily include churches, other houses of worship, and their affiliated organizations,” giving the examples of a parochial school or a soup kitchen run by a house of worship.

The proposal “would not expand the universe of employer plans that would qualify for the exemption” beyond what was originally intended in the mandate, it explained.

Therefore, religious institutions that are not affiliated with a church – such as many Catholic health care, education and charity institutions – do not appear to be covered by the exemption. These groups still appear to be given “second-class status” that is not deemed worthy of a religious exemption, Cardinal Dolan said.

By dividing employers into difference classes, he explained, the administration is maintaining an “inaccurate distinction among religious ministries” and failing to accept “the fact that these ministries are integral to our Church and worthy of the same exemption as our Catholic churches.”

Rather than an exemption, these non-profit religious organizations will be given an “accommodation” under which their employees receive free contraceptive coverage “through separate individual health insurance policies.”

These separate policies would be provided by the organization’s health insurance issuer, or in the case of a self-insured organization, a third-party administrator working with an insurance issuer.

According to the Obama administration, this coverage can be offered for free because the cost of the contraceptives would be offset by the “tremendous health benefits” that women enjoy from using contraception, along with the fewer childbirths that will result.

Critics have voiced doubt over these claims, arguing that the coverage will ultimately be funded through the premium payments of the objecting religious groups.

Cardinal Dolan explained that due to “gaps in the proposed regulations,” which are still in their early stages, “it is still unclear how directly these separate policies would be funded by objecting ministries” and what exact role the ministries would have in arranging them.  

“Thus, there remains the possibility that ministries may yet be forced to fund and facilitate such morally illicit activities,” he said, stressing the need for continued analysis and engagement with the government as it finalizes the regulation.

He also noted that the new proposals would appear to require all employees in the accommodated ministries to carry the contraceptive coverage under a separate policy, leaving them no option to opt out for themselves or their children.

Finally, the cardinal said, even with the proposed changes, the mandate still creates a “third class” of individuals seeking to live according to their faith and moral values in their day-to-day actions.

“This includes employers sponsoring and subsidizing the coverage, insurers writing it, and beneficiaries paying individual premiums for it,” he observed.

The proposed revisions offer no protection to for-profit businesses owners who have religious or moral objections to the mandate. Nor do they cover non-profit groups that have no specific religious affiliation, such as many pro-life groups around the country.

The new announcement confirms that the administration “has no intention to provide any exemption or accommodation at all to this ‘third class,’” Cardinal Dolan said.

“In obedience to our Judeo-Christian heritage, we have consistently taught our people to live their lives during the week to reflect the same beliefs that they proclaim on the Sabbath,” he continued. “We cannot now abandon them to be forced to violate their morally well-informed consciences.”

The U.S. bishops remain firm in their resolve to work with the administration towards an “an acceptable solution” that is in keeping with their “changeless values,” affirming “any genuine progress that is made,” while supporting those who are seeking relief from the mandate in court, the cardinal stressed.

“Because the stakes are so high, we will not cease from our effort to assure that healthcare for all does not mean freedom for few.”

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FRC shooter's plea renews criticism of 'hate group' label

Washington D.C., Feb 7, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Following the guilty plea of the man who shot a security guard at the Family Research Council last summer, pro-family organizations are renewing their calls for an end to the label “hate group.”

“For far too long, media outlets and reporters have allowed activist groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center to label opponents of same-sex 'marriage' as 'hate groups,'” said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, in a Feb. 6 press release.

“But words have consequences,” he continued, and the use of such terms “can lead to harassment and even violence against members of those organizations.”

Brown was one of several prominent marriage defenders who reacted to the Feb. 6 hearing of Floyd Corkins II, a Virginia man who admitted to planning a mass shooting at an organization that opposes efforts to redefine marriage.

Last August, Corkins entered the Family Research Council's headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he shot and wounded a security guard before being wrestled to the ground and disarmed.

He pleaded guilty to transporting a firearm and ammunition across state borders, armed assault with intent to kill and an armed act of terrorism.

According to the plea agreement, Corkins told FBI agents that he wished to “make a statement against the people who work in that building ... and with their stance against gay rights.”

He acknowledged during the hearing that he intended to “kill as many people as possible” in the August shooting. He had planned to target other pro-family organizations if he was not arrested, reported CBS News.

In addition, Corkins said that he wanted to smear Chick-fil-A sandwiches in the faces of his victims to make a point. He had been carrying 15 sandwiches from the fast food chain on the day of the attack.

Shortly before the shooting, the president of Chick-fil-A had attracted media attention by stating his support for the biblical view of marriage. Family Research Council had once received a donation from fast food chain.

Corkins also confirmed in his plea agreement that he had picked the Family Research Council as a target based on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s label of the organization as a “hate group.”

According to its website, the law center gives the designation of “hate group” to organizations that “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Family Research Council as a “hate group,” asserting that it is “anti-gay.”

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins responded in a statement by saying that “while Corkins was responsible for the shooting, he had been given a license to perpetrate this act of violence by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center which has systematically and recklessly labeled every organization with which they disagree as a 'hate group.'”

The law center “can no longer say that it is not a source for those bent on committing acts of violence,” Perkins said of Corkins’ plea and admission of motive.

“Only by ending its hate labeling practices,” he said, will the Southern Poverty Law Center “send a message that it no longer wishes to be a source for those who would commit acts of violence that are only designed to intimidate and silence Christians and others who support natural marriage and traditional morality.”

Brown added that media outlets should also consider their use of such labels, which he termed “deplorable.”

"(S)tanding up for traditional marriage does not make anyone 'anti gay,'” he stressed, and such designations can be dangerous.

He called it “reckless for news reports to allow the charge of 'hate group' to be applied to any organization because their beliefs affirm a traditional Judeo-Christian view of marriage and sexual morality,”

“We hope that media organizations will seriously reflect on these issues knowing that irresponsible 'hate group' charges nearly led to a massacre at the Family Research Council,” he said.

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August 2, 2014

Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

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Gospel of the Day

Mt 14:1-12

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First Reading:: Jer 26: 11-16, 24
Gospel:: Mt 14: 1-12

Homily of the Day

Mt 14:1-12

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