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Is Defending Marriage About Defending Religious Freedoms?
By Sam Yousif :: Friday, May 22, 2009 :: 71533 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society

California, USA – Perhaps the older Chaldeans have trouble grasping the threats we face, but the first and second generation Chaldeans know it all too well, says Ann Bodagh.  The Californian community activist says that America’s immune system is under attack.  “American values are our country’s immune system.  Values that teach us that lying, stealing, killing, and adultery are wrong are being torn apart.  Now it is okay to routinely lie, steal worker’s pensions, kill the unborn or elderly, or sleep with anyone.  These sorts of behavior are bankrupting America, financially, morally, and socially.”

Bodagh says you can see the social virus make its way to our countries value centers.  “They have already taken over our public schools and now they want to close churches and silence religious teachers.  America is becoming a socialist communist nation if we don’t fight back.  All the Chaldeans that fled from countries that would not let you speak out when the government is doing something wrong better wise up.  Otherwise you might as well by another plane ticket and choose your next country to run to.”

Bodagh says California is fighting back.  The citizens of the golden state recently voted to cut spending and become more fiscally conservative.  Citizens also voted to amend the state constitution to protect marriage between a man and a woman.  “California has long been considered the land of fruits and nuts sees the writing on the wall.  We are trying to clean-up the moral pollution.  Unfortunately, the pollution is also growing in other states.”

For Bodagh the moral pollution has moved to places like New York, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire where strategies to make same-sex “marriage” legal is the beginning to attacking religion.  The general counsel for the American Jewish Congress, Marc Stern agrees. 

Imprisoning the Faithful

Same-sex "marriage" supporters in New Hampshire proves why Chaldeans who support religious liberty must stand firm.  Recently the state House of Representatives voted 188-186 against protecting religious groups in a bill that would legalize "gay marriage" in the state.  Even though the state’s governor, John Lynch, is a Democrat and said he would not sign the bill unless protections for religious organizations are strengthened he was ignored by his own party. 

“There should be no protections for religious organizations,” said Steve Vaillancourt from Manchester, the openly homosexual state representative Democrat added that the House should not be "bullied" by the governor.

Bodagh says that denying the right of religious institutions not to sanction same-sex "marriage” is the beginning.  “The next step will be arresting and imprisoning rabbis, priests, and imams for teaching moral values.”

 Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for religious and civil rights says, “Radical homosexuals and their heterosexual allies, have become emboldened enough to assault First Amendment religious liberty rights. Two years ago, a lesbian couple in New Jersey sought to have their civil union ceremony in a hall owned by a Methodist church but was denied on religious grounds," he said. "The government sided with the lesbians: The Methodist establishment had its property tax exemption pulled."

If the law is passed in New Jersey churches will come under direct threat for refusing to offer marriage counseling to gay couples because it violates their religious teachings to do so.   Stern cites several examples of how gay “marriage” has nothing to do with tolerance or civil rights, but instead is a way to dismantle and undermine religious centers says Bodagh.

At Yeshiva University, a conservative Jewish university in New York City, was ordered to allow same-sex couples to live in its married student housing. Catholic Charities decided to discontinue adoption services in Massachusetts after they were ordered to place children with same-sex couples. A lesbian couple prevailed in their complaint against a psychologist in Mississippi who refused to counsel them.

Defending Values

A strategic effort to get the America’s capital to accept same-sex marriage the D.C. city council voted to recognize same-sex "marriages" performed in other jurisdictions.  However, Pastor Harry Jackson, who is leading his fellow D.C. area pastors in opposing the council's action is outraged at the back-door dealings of the council. 

The U.S. Congress, which has legislative authority over D.C., has 30 days from the date of the action to review the measure. If Congress does not rescind the decision, the D.C. Council will legalize same-sex ceremonies.

Legislation has been introduced in Congress to prevent the District of Columbia from defining marriage to include same-sex unions.  Rep. Jim Jordan, R.-Ohio and Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, the lead Democratic sponsor of the bill, which has 35 co-sponsors are working to defend marriage and stop the erosion of religions freedoms in America. 

Voters in Maine might get the chance to vote on the traditional definition of marriage if enough signatures can be gathered.  The Maine Marriage Alliance and others are hoping to collect 70,000 signatures or more so the recent law enacting same-sex marriage in Maine can be overturned.

To combat the lobby efforts of Same-sex marriage interest groups a new group founded in 2007 called The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) formed a mission to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.  The organizaton was founded in response to the growing need for an organized opposition to same-sex marriage in state legislatures, NOM serves as a national resource for marriage-related initiatives at the state and local level. For decades, pro-family organizations have educated the public about the importance of marriage and the family, but have lacked the organized, national presence needed to impact state and local politics in a coordinated and sustained fashion.

NOM’s website offers research and educational information on the importance of traditional marriage.  The group has also released various online campaigns to bring awareness to the marriage debate.  Most recently the group has been criticized for using actors to help expose the agenda of the same-sex lobbyist groups in their Dark Storm campaign. 

In response to news outlets like NBC and CNN claiming the examples used in the video did not occur, NOM now includes the "Gathering Storm" background facts.  The facts detail each case whereby a person or group have been harassed, sued, charged, or arrested.  Examples used include, the California doctor who was sued because of her referral of a same-sex couple to another fertility clinic, in the court case of North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group v. San Diego Superior Court, 44 Cal. 4th 1145 (2008). 

The other cases can be found on the NOM’s website of video facts. 

Efforts to silence the outspoken organization on defending marriage continue.  "Lawsuits, television rejection of advertisements, personal attacks, and refusal to air their side of the debate ironically proves the point that America's constitutional rights are under attack," says Bodagh. 


Mar Addai Church, MI USA

Mar Addai Chaldean Catholic Church
24010 Coolidge Hwy.
Oak Park, MI 48237
Tel: (248) 547-4648
Fax: (248) 399-9089

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Founding Pastor:
Rev. Stephen Kallabat

Current Pastor:
Rev. Stephan Kallabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Fadi Habib Khalaf

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Sulemina Denha


Rev. Stephen Kallabat

Fr. Stephan Kallabat was born in Telkaif, Iraq.  After completing seven years of scholarly work for the priesthood in Mosul, Iraq Fr. Kallabat was accepted at the prestigious university in Rome.  There he spent six additional years of scholarly work in the areas of philosophy and theology and an additional four years in scriptural studies. 

Ordained a priest in 1966 by Pope Paul VI he returned to Iraq to serve the Holy Family parish until his departure to Michigan, U.S. in 1979 to serve the growing population of Chaldeans.  Fr. Kallabat was appointed assistant pastor, then pastor of Mar Addai Parish in Oak Park, Michigan. 

Hitting the ground running, Fr. Kallabat is credited with raising the necessary funds to provide Chaldeans in the local area a church and community center of their own.  Fr. Kallabat continues to serve the parish and Chaldean community as their pastor.   

Rev. Fadi Habib Khalaf

Fr. Fadi Habib Khalaf was born in Baghdad May 10, 1974.  Fr. Khalaf graduated from Baghdad University in 1997 and soon after joined the Chaldean seminary in Baghdad.  While there Fr. Khalaf earned a scholarship to attend the Urbanian Pontifical University in Rome.  There he earned another bachelor’s degree in theology and was ordained deacon in Rome on May 8, 2004. 

Fr. Khalaf then returned to Baghdad where he was officially ordained as a priest.  Afterward Fr. Khalaf returned to Rome to further his studies.  In 2006 Fr. Khalaf was appointed to serve Chaldeans in the United States.  

In the summer of 2006 he arrived to the Chaldean diocese of St. Thomas the Apostle and was cardinated into the Diocese and elected to serve at Mar Addai parish on March 15, 2007 as the Parochial Vicar.

Rev. Suleiman Denha

Rev. Suleiman Denha was born in Telkaif, Iraq.  He began his priestly studies in 1951 in Mosul, Iraq and was ordained in 1959.  Fr. Denha taught in Telkaif until 1961, when he was appointed pastor in Basra, Iraq in 1966. 

After immigrating to the Unite States in 1979, he was appointed to serve the Chaldean community in Virginia.  A year later, Fr. Denha was recruited to assist the much larger population of Chaldeans in Detroit. 

Upon his arrival Fr. Denha assisted Fr. Yasso at Sacred Heart Church.  In 1982 he was asked to temporally assist St. Joseph Church in Troy, returning a year later Sacred Heart. 

In 1991, he was appointed to Mar Addai Church in Oak Park, Michigan as the Parochial Vicar, where he still serves the community today.