When Senators Don’t Read The Constitution

Article VI of the U. S. Constitution states:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line Blog about the confirmation of Brian Buescher to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska.

The article reports:

The Senate today confirmed Brian Buescher, President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska. Readers may recall that Senate Democrats attacked Buescher for his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic service organization. I wrote about this here.

Sen. Kamala Harris was one of the Senators who led the charge against Buescher during his Committee hearing. His other main adversary was Sen. Mazie Hirono, one of the Senate’s dimmest members.

Harris isn’t dim, but she’s a hard core leftist and an incorrigible opportunist. Thus, her suggestion that Buescher’s membership in the Knights of Columbus makes him unfit to serve as a federal judge was over-determined.

The argument was that the Knights of Columbus takes the “extreme” position that a marriage is the union of a man and a woman. But, as Ramesh Ponnuru pointed out at the time, Buescher belongs to two other organizations that consider marriage to be the union of a man and woman (and that also are anti-abortion, another of the Knights’ “extreme” positions). The two organizations are the Catholic Church and the Republican Party.

Do Hirono and Harris think that Buescher’s Catholicism raises problems with his nomination? I assume they do, to the extent that Buescher takes Catholic doctrine seriously.

Buescher declined Hirono’s invitation to resign from the Knights of Columbia as a condition of being confirmed. The Senate confirmed him anyway.

The vote was 51-40. No Democrat voted to confirm Buescher. Harris and the other Senate Democrats running for president didn’t vote.

In September 2017, Dianne Feinstein made the following statement about the Catholicism of  Amy Barrett during the confirmation hearing for the judge:

Why is it that so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling that — you know, dogma and law are two different things. And I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different. And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.

People of faith who have been blindly voting for Democrats over the years might want to take notice of these statements made during confirmation hearings. Again, the Senators need to reread the U.S. Constitution. Faith is neither a qualifier nor a dis-qualifier according to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution.

 

This Warning Applies To All Of Us

The Daily Caller reported today on the 10th annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast held in Washington, D.C., early this morning.

The article reports:

“My message for you today is a somber one,” said Professor Robert George, who lectures on civil liberties at Princeton, to a packed ballroom of Catholics that included failed Virginia Senate hopeful Ken Cuccinelli. “The days of acceptable Christianity are over. The days of comfortable Catholicism are past. …It’s not easy anymore. There are costs to discipleship, heavy costs that are burdensome to bear.”

Soon enough he’d get specific. George stressed that there are “powerful forces and currents in our society that press us to be ashamed of the Gospel. For example, if you believe that marriage is the consensual union between a man and a woman, you’re portrayed as bigoted, even hateful. …If you believe these things, some forces say you are a bigot [who is] against homosexuality [and] you ought to be ashamed.”

This warning applies to all Americans–whether they are Catholic or not. There was a time when we really didn’t pay a lot of attention to what our elected officials were doing–they shared our values and we trusted them. Now, if you are an average American with traditional values, most elected officials can’t hear you. Even if they do share your values, they are so bombarded with a media that has no values and the pressure to be re-elected, they cannot support the values most Americans support. We are in danger of losing our country. The things that we once held dear are not valued by those currently in power in America. Patriotism and faith are considered passe by those in charge of the media and those in charge of our government. If we are going to take our country back, we need to do it one vote at a time. All of us need to get out and vote, and we need to make sure that those people who share our values also vote.

Pay attention. The next two elections will determine whether you remain free to treasure the values you grew up with.

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The Impact Of The “Lie of the Year”

Yesterday CNN posted an article detailing some of the impact of the 2013 Politifact “Lie of the Year.”

The article reminds us of one of the deals made in order to pass ObamaCare:

Lest people forget, passage of the Affordable Care Act happened in part because Obama struck a deal with a single Catholic holdout: Bart Stupak, D-Michigan. Stupak agreed to vote for the bill in exchange for an executive order protecting conscience rights and preserving the Hyde Amendment‘s ban on the use of federal funds for abortion. Stupak had insisted on an amendment. Instead, he took the President’s word.

The President’s promise to protect conscience rights for American Catholics was broken quickly when HHS wrote the mandate that all health insurance policies written under ObamaCare must include coverage for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs.

The article reports:

This came after the President assured Catholics in his commencement address at Notre Dame that he would “honor the conscience of those that disagree with abortion and draft a sensible conscience clause” and after assuring Congress that “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience protections will remain in place.”

…In the words of Stupak, “I am perplexed and disappointed that, having negotiated the executive order with the President, not only does that HHS mandate violate the executive order, but it also violates statutory law. I think it is illegal.”

The President is largely responsible for this invasion into the conscience rights of Catholics and other Americans who do not support abortion, but those in Congress who voted for the bill (without having read it) also need to be held responsible. ObamaCare is bad for the economy–it will be very expensive to implement–and it infringes on the religious rights of Americans. We have a Congressional election coming up in less than a year. I strongly suggest that any member of Congress who voted for and supported ObamaCare be voted out of office. I doubt we can repeal ObamaCare–the President would veto any repeal that reached his desk–but a new Congress may be able to defund it or change it enough to make it palatable to all Americans.

It is interesting to me that CNN,, usually a strong ally of the President, posted this article. There is a bit of a disclaimer at the top of the article explaining that it was written by Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with The Catholic Association and is the founder and editor-in-chief of AltCatholicah, a Web magazine devoted to the exploration of faith and gender. Even so, CNN posted the article.

 

 

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Statement By The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

This is the statement regarding last night’s Vice-Presidential debate issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on October 12:

Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:

“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.

For more details, please see USCCB’s regulatory comments filed on May 15 regarding the proposed “accommodation”: www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/rulemaking/upload/comments-on-advance-notice-of-proposed-rulemaking-on-preventive-services-12-05-15.pdf

 

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A Chance That The First Amendment May Be Upheld

There is a possibility that the First Amendment (free speech, religious freedom, etc.) may actually be upheld in the courts. The Blaze reported yesterday that a Federal court has upheld a lawsuit against the controversial contraception mandate, filed by Catholic-owned employer Hercules Industries.

On Wednesday I posted an article about Hercules Industries and their right to reflect their religious beliefs in their corporate policies. The Justice Department denied them that right and they have appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Colorado.

LifeNews.com reports:

A federal court issued an order Friday that halts enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against a Colorado family-owned business while an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit challenging the mandate continues in court.

…Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys obtained the first-ever order against the mandate on behalf of Hercules Industries and the Catholic family that owns it. The administration opposed the order, arguing, contrary to the U.S. Constitution, that people of faith forfeit their religious liberty once they engage in business.

The decision only applies to the company, and the court emphasized the ruling did not apply nationwide.

This is good news. Federal judges had dismissed two other lawsuits against the contraception mandate. The decision of the Tenth Circuit to hear this case will eventually bring this matter before the Supreme Court regardless of what the ruling by the Tenth Circuit is.

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Do The Bishops Speak For The Catholic Church ?

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted a story today about a recent statement by former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

The article reports:

…CNSNews.com asked Pelosi, who is Catholic, whether she supported her church in the lawsuits it has filed, which argue that the administration’s regulation violates the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment.

“What about the 43 Catholic institutions [that] have now sued the administration over the regulation that requires them to provide contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacients in their health care plans?” CNSNews.com asked. “They say that violates their religious freedom.  Do you support the Catholic Church in their lawsuits against the administration?”

“Well, I don’t think that’s the entire Catholic Church,” Pelosi responded. “Those people have a right to sue, but I don’t think they’re speaking ex cathedra for the Catholic Church.  And there are people in the Catholic Church, including some of the bishops, who have suggested that some of this may be premature,” Pelosi said.

The Bishops represent the leadership of the Catholic Church. Part of their responsibility is to guide the Church and provide direction.That is what the Bishops are doing, and doing it very well. The problem is that what they are doing interferes with Ms. Pelosi’s politics. Is Ms. Pelosi concerned that the religious freedom of her church is under attack? Obviously not.

The article reminds us:

As most Catholics outside of Capitol Hill know and understand, the bishops speak for the Catholic Church, quite literally within their own dioceses, and in every other way when united as a group.  They do not need an ex cathedra declaration to make decisions on public policy (and as I noted above, most of them would go a lifetime without seeing one anyway).   Furthermore, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops unanimously oppose the HHS mandate and have called for opposition to it.  That is speaking with as much unanimity as one is likely to find within the Catholic Church, and while that doesn’t mean that every Catholic has to agree with it, it does mean that every Catholic should at least recognize that the bishops are indeed speaking for the Church in this matter.

I don’t know if Obamacare will be overturned, but any law that can be used to limit religious freedom in this way needs to be overturned.

 

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Why Did The Obama Administration Pick This Fight And What Is It Really About ?

There are three sources for this article–one posted at Hot Air yesterday, one at the American Thinker and one at the Washington Post last week.

Last week 43 Catholic institutions filed lawsuits against the Department of Health and Human Services charging that the ObamaCare abortion pill mandate violates their free exercise of religion rights. 

The Washington Post points out that respect for religious beliefs has always been part of America:

Thomas Jefferson wrote that “no provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of civil authority.”

Indeed, even before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution in 1775 exempting pacifists from military enlistment:

As there are some people, who, from religious principles, cannot bear arms in any case, this Congress intend no violence to their consciences, but earnestly recommend it to them, to contribute liberally in this time of universal calamity, to the relief of their distressed brethren in the several colonies, and to do all other services to their oppressed Country, which they can consistently with their religious principles.

The Catholic church has been clear and consistent in their opposition to abortion (which is what this is really about) and birth control (being used by the press as a distraction). The Obama Administration understood that when they drafted the mandate requiring the church to carry insurance that paid for both abortion and birth control.

The American Thinker points out the attempt in the law to change the definition of a religious organization:

It makes perfect sense, then, that our primary source of irony is not the free exercise clause, but progressive establishment clause dogma.  For starters, the standard HHS uses to distinguish “secular” from “religious” organizational missions would never pass muster in an establishment clause setting.  According to HHS, it’s the organization’s service to, or employment of, non-Catholics that counts, not its affiliation with the Catholic Church or its devotion to Catholic values.  Kathleen Sebelius might as well have grabbed sixty years of progressive establishment clause dogma by the tongue and flicked it inside out.  The Court’s progressives have spent decades beating it into our heads that precious little — if any — evidence of faith is required to establish a purpose to advance religion — but under the HHS mandate, the “secular” mission magically trumps church affiliation the moment a non-Catholic surgeon is hired or operates on a non-Catholic patient.

This is a total power grab by the Obama Administration. It is an effort to redefine the church as limited to the building where worship services occur. Under the definition of a religious institution in this bill, Jesus’ ministry would not have qualified as religious because he spoke to and helped people of different religious backgrounds. If this law is allowed to stand, it represents a threat to all people of faith–not just Catholics.

 

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The Fight For Religious Freedom

The fight for religious freedom is not something that is only happening in the Middle East–it is alive and well in America. The current attack in America seems to be on the Catholic Church and its charities and educational facilities, but the attack is actually on any Bible-believing Christian.

Two stories recently in CNS News illustrate the point. The first, posted yesterday, is entitled, “Archbishop Questions Pelosi’s Logic in Opposing Provision to Protect Military Chaplains from Being Ordered to Act Against Faith.” The second, also posted yesterday, is entitled, “BREAKING: Cardinal Dolan of NY, Cardinal Wuerl of D.C., Notre Dame–And 40 Other Catholic Dioceses and Organizations–Sue Obama Administration.”

Both stories involve the Catholic Church, but their implications reach far beyond that. The article on the military chaplains is summed up as follows:

The House Democratic Leader further said the idea that military chaplains would be forced to perform same-sex marriages against their will is “a manufactured crisis.”

“Nobody is ordering them to do that,” Pelosi said. “I’ve never seen any suggestion that we’re ordering chaplains to perform same-sex—where is that? I haven’t seen it and I’ve been around this issue for a long time.”

But Broglio, the head of the Archdiocese of the Military Services, respectfully but firmly took issue with Pelosi.

“I would suggest that perhaps she’s not very familiar with how the military works,” Broglio said. “While no one might be constrained to act against his or her conscience, you can also have a situation where someone in command makes it very, very difficult for that person, if the command wants him or her to act in a certain way. And I think that the law, the provision in the draft, the provision in the bill, would protect the chaplain from that kind of situation.

Broglio agreed that Catholic chaplains have not yet been asked to perform same-sex marriages.

I am not sure how much contact Ms. Pelosi has actually had with military command structure, but I think she is wrong to assume that the problem of forcing Catholic chaplains to perform gay marriages would not come up.

The second article deals with the freedom of a church charitable or educational facility to practice their beliefs.

The article explains:

The Archdiocese of New York, headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., headed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the University of Notre Dame, and 40 other Catholic dioceses and organizations around the country announced on Monday that they are suing the Obama administration for violating their freedom of religion, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

The article also reports that the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has established a special website–preservereligiousfreedom.org–to explain its lawsuit and present news and developments concerning it. Since the media will not honestly cover the church’s side of the story, the church will use the Internet to get out their story. That is a very smart move.

The article reports:

“This morning, the Archdiocese of Washington filed a lawsuit to challenge the mandate, recently issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, that fundamentally redefines the nation’s long-standing definition of religious ministry and requires our religious organizations to provide their employees with coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington said in an open letter posted online this morning. “Just as our faith compels us to uphold the liberty and dignity of others, so too, we must defend our own.”

“The lawsuit in no way challenges either women’s established legal right to obtain and use contraception or the right of employers to provide coverage for it if they so choose,” said Cardinal Wuerl. “This lawsuit is about religious freedom.”

“The First Amendment enshrines in our nation’s Constitution the principle that religious organizations must be able to practice their faith free from government interference,” Cardinal Wuerl said.

All of us, regardless of religious affiliation, need to stand with the Catholic Church in both these matters. This is an attack on anyone who believes that the First Amendment allows the free exercise of religion.

 
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Choosing Leaders For A Club

Does an organization have the right to set standards for its leadership? For example, if a school starts a ‘scholarship club’ to encourage students to get better grades, should it require its leaders to be honor roll students? Would it be ok for a “D” student to lead a scholarship club? Would that be the example or the image the club would want to put forward? Does every organization have the right to have standards for its leadership?

That is the question now under discussion at Vanderbilt University. Fox News reported yesterday that the University has a policy that states groups cannot have faith or belief-based requirements for leadership. The logical outcome of this policy is that an atheist could run for president of a Christian group, a Jew for president of a Muslim group, or a non-Catholic for president of a Catholic group. Obviously, this would create more problems than it would solve.

The article reports:

All student groups must register next month. As part of the registration, they must sign a statement of affirmation that they will abide by the nondiscrimination policy.

Vandy Catholic — a student group with some 500 members — has decided it cannot agree to the policy and will be leaving campus in the fall. PJ Jedlovec, the president of Vandy Catholic, says it was a difficult decision, one made after much prayer and discussion. 

“We are first and foremost a Catholic organization,” says Jedlovec. “We do, in fact, have qualifications – faith-based qualifications for leadership. We require that our leaders be practicing Catholics. And the university’s nondiscrimination policy — they have made it clear that there is no room in it for an organization that has these faith-based qualifications.”

The article also mentions that these requirements do not apply to fraternities and sororities on campus.

The article concludes:

As a private university, Vanderbilt is allowed to make rules that might not pass muster at a public institution. In fact, Tennessee lawmakers are working on legislation that would specifically prohibit state universities from extending nondiscrimination policies to student religious groups. 

In another attempt to change the school administration’s mind, other religious groups on campus plan to sign the statement of affirmation, then submit charters that clearly outline a faith-based criteria for leadership.

That will likely provoke another confrontation with Vanderbilt leadership — one that may see more religious student groups leave.

Religious freedom is one of the cornerstones of our country. If it is not taught and modeled in our colleges, we will lose it within a generation.

 

 

 

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Bringing The Issue Back Into Focus

CNS News reported today:

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter on Friday to all the Catholic bishops of the United States reasserting the conviction of the Catholic Church that it will not yield to the Obama administration’s command—issued in the form of a Health and Human Services regulation implementing the president’s health-care plan–that Catholics and Catholic institutions must violate the teachings of their faith by purchasing and providing health insurance plans that pay for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients. 

Despite all the misdirections we have heard this week about Rush Limbaugh’s comments and contraception, this is the issue. Do Catholics, other people of faith, and various people with moral convictions have the right to live out their beliefs?

The Cardinal’s letter stated:

We have made it clear in no uncertain terms to the government that we are not at peace with its invasive attempt to curtail the religious freedom we cherish as Catholics and Americans,” Cardinal Dolan wrote his brother bishops.

“We did not ask for this fight, but we will not run from it,” he said.

“Since January 20, when the final, restrictive HHS Rule was first announced,” Cardinal Dolan wrote, “we have become certain of two things: religious freedom is under attack, and we will not cease our struggle to protect it.”

In the vernacular of the day, “He gets it!”

The article further reports:

Cardinal Dolan then said that the so-called “concession” President Obama had offered in February—that he would order insurance companies working with Catholic institutions to provide sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients to the workers at those institutions for free—did not solve the problem.

“For one, there was not even a nod to the deeper concerns about trespassing upon religious freedom, or of modifying the HHS’ attempt to define the how and who of our ministry,” wrote the cardinal.

“Two, since a big part of our ministries are ‘self-insured,’ we still ask how this protects us,” he wrote.  “We’ll still have to pay and, in addition to that, we’ll still have to maintain in our policies practices which our Church has consistently taught are grave wrongs in which we cannot participate.

“And what about forcing individual believers to pay for what violates their religious freedom and conscience?” he wrote. “We can’t abandon the hard working person of faith who has a right to religious freedom.

“And three,” he said, “there was still no resolution about the handcuffs placed upon renowned Catholic charitable agencies, both national and international, and their exclusion from contracts just because they will not refer victims of human trafficking, immigrants and refugees, and the hungry of the world, for abortions, sterilization, or contraception.”

This is a battle for religious freedom, and all churches need to take part. Otherwise, none of us will be free to live out our faith in the public square.

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Comments By Cardinal Francis George

Cardinal Francis George is the archbishop of Chicago and former head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). His comments on President Obama’s recent ruling on contraception coverage at Catholic Institutions were posted at CNS News yesterday.

The bottom line on his comments:

He continued: “What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life. 2) Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable. 3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government. 4) Close down.”

This is an intentional effort to take the voice of religious people out of the public square. When you consider that the basis of the American legal system is the Judeo-Christian ethic, this is a rather amazing step by our government.

The Cardinal further stated:

“Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship,” says the cardinal. “Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship — no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society.”

It is my opinion that all Christian churches in America need to stand with the Catholic Church on this issue. The church (other than the Catholic church) stood quietly while the Catholic adoption agencies in Massachusetts were shut down due to Biblical standards upheld by the Catholic church on homosexuality. We can’t afford to stand quietly now as Catholic hospitals are denied their rights to be Catholic hospitals.

 

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Hard Questions And Weasel Words

I apologize for the length of this post, but I think the information here is important.

I watched Chris Wallace interview Jack Lew this morning on Fox News Sunday. I am posting a few quotes from the transcript. Questions were never answered directly, there was nothing but talking points, but please note where Mr. Lew says the government gets the authority to tell a company what they must sell and a consumer what he must buy. There is no way that can be constitutional. Here are some quotes:

WALLACE: Before we get to the president’s new budget and I promise we will, I want to clear up some lingering question about the president’s revised policy about providing health insurance coverage for birth control to the employees of religious institutions. The president now says that Catholic institutions don’t have to provide the coverage but the insurance companies do.

The question — where does the president get the power to tell a private company they have to offer a product and offer it for free?

LEW: Well, Chris, just to be clear — the president has the authority under the Affordable Care Act to have these kinds of rules take affect. And the issue with this being for free is quite an interesting one. If you look at the cost of providing health insurance, it actually doesn’t cost more to provide a plan with contraceptive coverage than it does without.

The discussion then continued as Mr. Wallace asked how the insurance companies could offer the coverage for free. What is not said directly is that it is cheaper to prevent a child from being born than to provide healthcare for that child. Have we reached the point as a society where that is a consideration?

The discussion continued:

WALLACE: But here’s my point and here’s the concern that some religious institutions have. The reason that you’re going to get these, quote, “savings” is because of avoided pregnancies from artificial birth control, which is the practice that these religious institutions find objectionable and, in fact, sinful in the first place.

LEW: But let’s just be clear: every woman has a right to access all forms of preventive health, including contraception. Religious institutions, churches, are not covered by this. So, they don’t have to provide.

Note that he is saying that every woman has a right to contraception. He is requiring church charities to allow their employees to take part in something that is against their doctrine and saying it is okay since they are not paying for it.

The discussion continued:

WALLACE: You say it’s consistent. The Catholic bishops are clearly not satisfied with it — if I may, sir. They have issued a statement that says that they view the decision by the president, the revision, with grave moral concern.

Let’s put up their statement on the screen.

“Today’s proposal involves needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion — government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions.”

And, sir, they call on Congress to block the president’s policy.

LEW: No, I think the president’s policy does not do that. It does not force an institution that has religious principle to offer or may for benefits they find objectionable. But it guarantees a woman’s right to access. We think that’s the right solution.

There are others who opposed women’s access to contraception. They have different views than we do. I’m not going to speak to the motives of any of the parties. But it’s quite significant that a range of Catholic organizations has embraced this.

We didn’t expect to get universal support of the bishops or all Catholics. I think that what we have here is a policy that reflects bringing together two very important principles in a way that’s true to the American tradition. And that’s what the president is trying to do.

There are others who want to have a clash over it. We want to bring these two principles together

He is admitting that the Obama Administration did not expect the Bishops to go along with the supposed compromise. The birth control controversy is a small taste of surprises to come from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Based on Mr. Lew’s statement, the act pretty much allows the government to do anything it wants to in regard to providing healthcare to Americans–whether it is constitutional or not!

 
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A Backlash From The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church has come out strongly in protest of the recent ruling announced by Heath and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on January 20.

As I previously reported (rightwinggranny.com):

The Health and Human Services Department recently announced it will require all employers (with few exceptions) to provide health insurance to their employees which includes subsidized contraception, sterilization and coverage for abortion-inducing drugs.

This meant that religious institutions, like Catholic colleges and hospitals, or other Christian institutions would  be compelled to violate their conscience by cooperating with that which they believe to be wrong. Currently many of these institutions purchase health-insurance plans which do not provide free coverage of these services. 

This ruling matters to you even if you are not Catholic–everyone’s freedom to practice (or not practice) the religion of their choice is now under attack.

CNS News reported today that Representative Nancy Pelosi has stated:

Pelosi: “First of all, I am going to stick with my fellow Catholics in supporting the administration on this. I think it was a very courageous decision that they made, and I support it.”

The Catholic Church has released a statement stating:

“In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing do). The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

“We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law.”

Nothing this political happens by accident. I can’t help but wonder what the motive of the Obama Administration is in starting this fight at this time. I know that many Catholics do not agree with their Church on the subject of birth control, but many Catholics share the Church’s believe on abortion. This needs to be watched–there may be more coming that will impact other people of faith.

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The Catholic Church Stands Up For Its Rights

On Sunday the Business Insider posted a copy that was read Sunday in almost every Catholic Church in America.

This is the letter:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

 I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just been dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people — the Catholic population — and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.

 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers,

including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.

 In so ruling, the Obama Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Obama Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

 We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture,

only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.

 And therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience,to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Obama Administration’s decision.

 Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Alexander K. Sample                                                                                                         Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample                                                                                 Bishop of Marquette

If you are not a member of the Catholic Church you may be wondering how this matters to you. It does! First of all, this provision to require the Catholic Church to provide medical care that violates its conscience is not the result of an actual law that was passed through Congress–this was enacted by the Department of Health of Human Services–unelected people not accountable to the voters. That alone is unconstitutional. Secondly, the law violates the right of the Catholic Church to freely practice their faith. The Catholic Church provides adoption services (now eliminated in some states due to being forced to allow homosexual couples to adopt children–against the Catholic faith), hospitals and many other charities. All the employees of those organizations will be included in this law.

The attack on the Catholic Church by the Obama Administration will spread to people of other faiths who believe in the Bible. If you are one of those people, it’s time to pay attention–your right to practice your religion is about to be violated.

 

 

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