John-Henry Westen is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the first life and family issues news service operating on the internet: LifeSiteNews.com. A veteran journalist and commentator, he is the author of thousands of articles on life, family, faith and public affairs, and his LifeSiteNews articles have appeared in hundreds of publications worldwide. A board member of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, he also chairs the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference. He is married and the father of eight children.
John-Henry was the keynote speaker at the 2013 PROLIFE Across AMERICA banquet and began by reminding listeners that Canada “led the way on abortion” – permitting legal abortion several years before the United States. So too, “in the area of gay rights, Canada was first to pass legislation allowing gay marriage.”
Since then, vocal opposition to active homosexuality is viewed as “discriminatory” and punishable by law. “As a result, some, including priests and bishops who have spoken out publicly against homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage, have received threats of heavy fines or imprisonment.”
But before going into specifics on legal abortion or gay marriage, he told of his own “conversion” back to Christianity and the Catholic faith after years of living what he freely referred to as an atheistic lifestyle.
John-Henry grew up in a Catholic home but came to see his father as a “religious nut – always praying, etc”. When his mother divorced his father and left the family, he and his siblings began a spiraling life downward and away from the faith. It wasn’t long before John-Henry convinced himself he did not believe in a God. From there began a continual roller-coaster ride of girlfriends, gambling, pornography, heavy drinking, and multiple warrants for his arrest for DWI and speeding. Only after hitting rock bottom did he turn his life around.
Regarding his fall from Christianity he said:
• “Prayer goes out the window once a person begins to embrace a life of loose living, drinking, gambling, and pornography.” Pornography is addicting – gambling is also. “It has control over you – not you over it!”
• There is no room for prayer or living the way God calls us to live, once addictions take hold. “And so, I told myself – ‘God does not exist.’”
• “When we rebel against God’s laws, there is an internal pain inside it’s always there – it’s called our conscience which reminds us of the truth.”
• He firmly believes his re-conversion would not have happened if his father had not prayed for him and told him the truth. It was his father’s deep faith and unconditional love, in spite of his atheism and troubled life. It was this love that became the only beacon of truth and hope when he was at his lowest.
• “My life changed so much some people who knew me before, thought I even looked different.”
Pro-Life Highlights from John-Henry:
• Several years before the United States Supreme Court Decision of January 22, 1973, Canada had legalized abortion – legal to live birth.
• Canada funds contraception, abortion and sterilization as part of its “nationalized health care.”
• Since abortion became legal in Canada – wrongful birth lawsuits skyrocketed (parents suing physicians for a child born with disabilities). “This has cost the Canadian Health system dearly.” For fear of lawsuits, and because of the need for heavy insurance, there are fewer OBGYN specialists in Canada.
• The move toward euthanasia (“mercy killing”) is becoming more acceptable for the elderly or chronically ill – an “economic necessity”, since most health care expenses occur in the last years of a person’s life. “Sixty percent of health care dollars are spent the last three years of life.”
• “Like many European countries, (France, Spain, Italy, Germany etc.), Canada no longer has an openness to life.” The population is at 1.5 – below replacement level – and rapidly declining. “Who will be here to take care of the health care needs of others when there are fewer children being born?”
• “Over population is lie.” The Population elitists, such as Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb, have been spouting these lies for decades. The Culture of Death is based on these lies.
• Christians must stand for Truth and witness to the sacredness of marriage and human life beginning with our own openness to God’s gift of life.
John-Henry’s presentation indeed offered words of wisdom and warning and the lesson to all Catholic parents is obvious: the role of the father, as a man of God and deep faith leaves a compelling impression on a child – even when all appears to be lost.
What is your impressions of John-Henry’s warnings and wisdom? Share in the comments below!