Fortnight for Freedom: Defending Religious Liberty on Wednesday, June 25, 2014

LadyJusticeImage

The jury’s out on our religious freedoms.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

We’re all waiting to see what the Supreme Court does to us or for us in their decision on Sebelius v Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. 

The Supremes are going to hand down a decision on this case soon, and the stakes are enormous.

What will the First Amendment mean next month, after they’ve spoken? How much freedom will we have to practice our faith? Will we be forced to make choices between shucking our faith when we step out the door of our churches? Is the Supreme Court going to take a giant step toward pushing faith out of the public square? Or will it uphold the First Amendment rights of Americans to practice their faith in public?

At issue is the question of whether or not the infamous HHS Mandate will be allowed to force Christian employers to provide funds, either directly or indirectly, for abortifacients and abortion. In other words, can the government force people to participate in murder?

On this day, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, I am going to suggest that you participate in the Fortnight for Freedom by following the links here to read about the case and then say a prayer.

From the Christian Post:

healthcare contraceptive mandate birth control obamacare(PHOTO: REUTERS/LARRY DOWNING)

Protesters pray at the steps of the Supreme Court as arguments begin today to challenge the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers provide coverage for contraception as part of an employee’s health care, in Washington March 25, 2014. The U.S. Supreme Court convened on Tuesday to consider whether business owners can object on religious grounds to a provision of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law requiring employers to provide health insurance that covers birth control.

An attorney involved in a Supreme Court case that will determine to what extent privately owned businesses can opt-out of providing certain types of birth control for religious reasons believes there are “‘high stakes” involved in the outcome.

Matt Bowman, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, has served as an attorney for Conestoga Woods Specialties, who alongside Hobby Lobby, have sued the federal government to be exempt from the Health and Human Services’ “preventive services mandate” that requires businesses to cover birth control that can lead to the early termination of a pregnancy.

“The stakes are very high in the Conestoga and Hobby Lobby case,” explained Bowman regarding the First Amendment implications in the lawsuit. “It involves fundamental issues of whether or not religious freedom belongs to every American, and whether the government can redefine freedom to force citizens to buy abortion pills for other people.”

Meriam Ibrahim Freed Again

140623 ibrahim jsw 1121a 3ef7121abdd6d75a2f64605a9ae997df

 

Public Catholic reader Hannah alerted me that this report was premature. Mrs Ibrahim has not been freed, and is charged with a new crime. Go here for details.

 

Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman who was sentenced to hang for refusing to renounce her Christian faith, has been freed once again.

Mrs Ibrahim, who was 8 months pregnant when she was sentenced and who was forced to give birth in prison while awaiting execution, was freed by the court in Sudan on Monday. Then, she and her family were detained on Tuesday while they were at the airport. Now, they have been freed once again.

According to reports, Mrs Ibrahim, her husband and their two children, one-month-old Maya and Martin, 21 months, were surrounded by 40 security agents at and taken in to detention.

“It is very disappointing,” their attorney said, “… they took the family to a NSS detention center. They have not been given access to lawyers.”

The official story, now that Mrs Ibrahim and her family have been freed, is that they were “temporarily detained … over questions related to their documents.”

From LifeNews.com:

Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman who was jailed and forced to give birth in prison in the Muslim nation of Sudan and who was released yesterday after a court overturned a verdict of apostasy, was freed again after she was re-arrested trying to leave the country.

The BBC has more details on the re-release after the several hour detention:

A Sudanese woman freed from death row on Monday has been released again after being briefly detained with her family at Khartoum airport.

Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced in May to hang for renouncing Islam, sparking widespread outrage at home and abroad.

“They were temporarily detained for several hours over questions related to their documents,” Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the US state department, told journalists.

CNN has more details on what initially happened to Ibrahim Tuesday morning and she and her husband and newborn daughter Mara attempted to leave the country:

sudan5A Sudanese woman whose death sentence for refusing to renounce her Christian faith was revoked has been rearrested, her legal team told CNN Tuesday.

Meriam Ibrahim, 27, and her husband, Daniel Wani, were arrested Tuesday at an airport in Sudan’s capital as they were trying to leave the African country, Ibrahim’s legal team said.

Details about why the couple were arrested weren’t immediately available.

Ibrahim, 27, was convicted in May by a Sudanese court on charges of apostasy, or the renunciation of faith, and adultery — charges that led to international controversy. Ibrahim was eight months pregnant when she was sentenced to suffer 100 lashes and then be hanged.

Pope Francis: Torture is a Mortal Sin

Pope Francis says that torture is a mortal sin.

For those who might be confused, a mortal sin is a willfully committed transgression against the law of God that deprives the soul of divine grace. In other words, a mortal sin can send you to hell.

YouTube Preview Image

Fortnight for Freedom: Defending Religious Liberty on Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fortnight for freedom logo color

We are in the Fortnight for Freedom.

This annual event is sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It’s purpose is to promote an awareness of the threats to religious liberty in America today, and to encourage Catholics in every walk of life to stand up for our precious freedom of religion.

Freedom of religion is one of the cornerstones in the great American experiment in government of, by and for the people. Without religious freedom, all other freedoms are meaningless.

So.

What one thing can you and I do today, Tuesday, June 24, 2014, to stand for religious liberty?

You are already doing something important by reading this blog post and informing yourself about the issue.

Images

For today’s action on behalf religious freedom, I’m going to suggest that we turn our attention overseas, to a part of the world where religious freedom is considered anathema. In particular, I am asking you to contact the Sudanese Embassy in Washington DC on behalf of Meriam Ibrahim.

Mrs Ibrahim was sentenced to death for the crime of marrying a Christian. She was 8 months pregnant at the time. The Sudanese court freed her yesterday. She and her family were re-arrested the airport today.

Email, call or write the Sudanese Embassy and tell them that you support Mrs Ibrahim and request that the Sudanese government release both her and her family.

You can contact the Sudanese Embassy by email here.

You can contact the Sudanese Embassy by phone or letter here:

Embassy Of The Republic Of Sudan
2210 Massachusetts Ave
Washington DC,20008,
Ph: 202.338.8565
Fax: 202.667.2406

From Deacon Greg: Meriam Ibrahim has Been Arrested Again

Deacon Greg has the story.

Meriam Ibrahim has been arrested again, one day after being freed by the Sudanese courts.

Mrs Ibrahim was sentenced to death for apostasy because she married a Christian. Her father is Muslim, but she was raised by her Christian mother. She and her husband have been married for a number of years and have two children, including the baby Mrs Ibrahim was carrying when she received the death sentence.

Her attorney, Elshareef Ali Mohammed, said that he was at the airport with Mrs Ibrahim and her family when a group of 50 security forces arrested both her and her family.

If you would like to protest this action, you can contact the Sudanese embassy at this phone number and address.

Embassy Of The Republic Of Sudan
2210 Massachusetts Ave
Washington DC,20008,
Ph: 202.338.8565
Fax: 202.667.2406

Saving America: What is a Precinct Meeting?

WillPosterblurred zpsbc9ccac6

A reader asked me to explain what a precinct meeting is, and how it can be used to take back our country.

I haven’t had time to research how this is done in each state. I will write other posts describing each state in detail. But this is the process in Oklahoma.

The two political parties do not get their platforms out of a box of Cracker Jacks. These platforms are voted on by elected party members. Any registered member of a political party can participate in party politics. No one can stop them. All they have to do is begin by going to a precinct meeting.

Here’s how it works in Oklahoma, which is probably not all that different from other states.

Each of the two political parties are divided into territories. These territories fall along state lines. Thus, you have an Oklahoma Democratic or Republican Party, a Texas Democratic or Republican Party, a Michigan Democratic or Republican Party and so on throughout all 50 states. For the purposes of what I asked Public Catholic readers to do yesterday, which is convert the Democratic Party, I’m going to describe the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s process.

State parties are subdivided into territories. In the Oklahoma Democratic Party, these territories fall along the lines of state legislative districts. Thus, the district I represented, District 89, is a district in the Oklahoma Democratic Party, at least for precinct meeting purposes. Each house district is divided into precincts. These precincts are the same ones that the state election board uses to divide voters in order to determine where you go to vote in elections. You can look on your Voter ID card to see your precinct.

Once each year, the Democratic Party (and the Republicans, I might add) hold what are called precinct meetings. Anyone who is a registered member of the Democratic Party can attend the precinct meeting for the precinct in which they reside. These precinct meetings elect officers and vote on resolutions which, if they are passed, will be forwarded to the next step in the process for consideration in becoming part of the party platform. The precinct meeting attendees also elect delegates to the next set of meetings, which are county meetings.

Any one in attendance can introduce resolutions about what should be included in the party platform. Any attendee can be elected a precinct officer or delegate. There is no requirement for having been active in the party previously.

Precinct meetings are usually sparsely attended. Many times, they are held in someone’s home. Other times, there will be district meetings at a union hall in the district or something similar. In areas with really low turnout, several districts may meet together. It does not take much to take over a precinct meeting. You can bring a few friends and family members and sweep it. Precinct meetings take a couple of hours. They are held on a Tuesday evening early in the year.

The delegates who are elected at precinct meetings are then able to attend the county meetings. These are usually much more heavily attended. There may be several hundred people there, and most of them will be party regulars. Members of the Oklahoma House and Senate are automatically delegates to the county and state conventions. These meetings usually take most of a Saturday.

County meetings also elect officers and delegates to the next stage of the process, which is the Statewide convention. At this point, it’s more difficult to get elected a delegate. But it is very do-able if you work together with other pro life Democrats from around the state. If you are a firefighter or police officer or member of another union, you can unite that with your pro life beliefs to gain votes. Ditto for other groups. Also, if we manage to get enough pro life Democrats to show up at precinct meetings, we’ll have the votes at the county meetings to elect pro life delegates to the statewide meeting.

At least in Oklahoma, pro life Democrats are a majority in the rank and file, even though they are almost non-existent among the party regulars. That’s not because the pro choice Democrats have been evil about this. It’s because they were the ones who cared enough to show up at precinct meetings.

County meetings also vote on the resolutions that were passed up from the precinct meetings for inclusion in the party platform. There is a Resolutions Committee that vets these, and also writes resolutions of its own. (This part can get a bit nasty when you’re talking about issues like pro life, which is another reason why we need a lot of pro life Democrats there.) All of these resolutions are voted on by the body at large.

There are a lot of tricks involved in these votes. One of the most common is to hold votes on something that the existing county leadership disagrees with until most people have gone home. Another trick is to use a voice vote to say something has won when it has really lost, or vice versa. At this point, pro life Democrats who are newcomers will need the guidance of someone who is both pro life and an old pro at this stuff. There are quite a few of those people. We just need to work together.

The next step is the statewide convention. This is the meeting at which state officers are elected and the party platform is written and voted on. It is also where Democratic Committeewomen and delegates to the National Democratic Convention which nominates the party’s presidential candidate are elected.

I have not been able to attend an Oklahoma State Democratic Party convention for many years because I have been a pro life Democratic elected official who actually passes pro life bills. I have put pro life first, even when it meant crossing party lines or voting against efforts of the party.

As a Democratic member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, I have always had the legal right to attend. I was an automatic delegate. However, I have been picketed at statewide Democratic Conventions and there was a vote at one of them to censure me by the party for passing a pro life bill. That censure came within 50 votes of passing. I stopped going to these meetings because (a) it was too unpleasant, and (b) my fellow elected officials asked me not to attend because my presence made things too unpleasant for them.

I’m telling you this to give you an idea of how hard core the Oklahoma Democratic party officialdom is in support of abortion. On the other hand, the rank and file is heavily — not exclusively, but certainly a majority — pro life. How did this happen?

It happened because of who attends precinct meetings.

Pro choice people have been working on this party for decades now. They organize and get their people to these meetings. We have lost the Democratic Party to the pro aborts by means of the oldest political truth in the books: Bad politicians (or in this case, bad delegates) are elected by good citizens who don’t vote.

We can turn it around by simply showing up. I mean that. It’s really that easy. It’s a matter of one Tuesday evening and two Saturdays, donated to the pro life cause.

Conversion Story: Finding Jesus in Prison

Those who are forgiven much, love much.  Jesus Christ

YouTube Preview Image

Equal and Opposite Reaction: Pro Aborts Fight Back


For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Sir Isaac Newton

Sometimes, the laws of physics sound political. Never is this more true than with Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

This third law states simply that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It is talking about the push-pull of the forces that create motion in pairs of forces.

Think about it.

You use your legs to kick when you are a swimming. Every time you kick, you “push” against the water. But — and here’s the reaction — the water is also pushing back against you. That’s why you can go from one end of the swimming pool to the other. It’s also why you make waves while you’re doing it.

8 1 1 protest

In politics, this action-reaction thing gets a little more vocal. Here’s a for-instance. Pro abortion people managed to get the Supreme Court to legalize all abortions from conception to birth by judicial fiat. Pro life people reacted by pushing back with laws that regulate the abortion industry.

Now, the pro aborts are reacting to that reaction and bringing out laws of their own making the regulations illegal. These laws, which are being introduced at both the state and federal level, put an ironic lie to the old pro abortion claim that they want abortion to be safe, legal and rare.

Pro abortionists consistently oppose any and every law that seeks to regulate the abortion industry. They do this to the point that I have personally seen women who are pro choice — as opposed to pro abortion — begin to get a bit antsy about it.

I’ve even seen pro choice women come out in favor of pro life laws because they see both the sense and need of them. For some reason I don’t quite get, this is not as true of pro choice men. I would guess — don’t know, just guessing — that this difference has something to do with the different perspectives men and women have of abortion.

The all-time King Daddy of this new opposite reaction from the pro abortion people is S 1696. The pro abortion folks have mis-named S 1696 the Women’s Health Protection Act. What makes S 1696 so special is that it’s not a state law. With S 1696, the pro abortion people are, quite literally, making a federal case out of it. They know, to use another tired old canard, that the way to shut down abortion clinic regulation in all 50 states is to use an Act of Congress.

1365053294126 cached

Federal law differs from state law in several ways, but the most obvious is that federal law affects the entire country, while state law affects only the states in which it is enacted. It’s a lot easier to change Congress than it is to change the legislative bodies of all 50 states. Plus — and this is also huge — Federal law seeps into every crack of state governance. The primary method of transmission is federal money.

S 1696 is, as I said, the all-time-King-Daddy of opposite reactions to efforts to regulate the abortion industry on a state-by-state basis. If S 1696 becomes law, and the Court upholds it, it will supersede any and all local authority in the regulation of the abortion industry.

The language of S 1696 is among the most specific I have read in any proposed statute. It reads like a laundry list of thou shalt nots, aimed specifically and without any attempt to hide it, at state statutes that the authors of S 1696 disagree with. As such, it’s not a proposed law as such things are generally regarded. It is, instead, a specific and deliberate overturning of a large number of state regulations in order to protect the laissez faire practices of one industry. It is special interest legislation at its most crude and obvious.

This whole thing is so rife with irony that it is, despite its seriousness, comical.

What we have with this King-Daddy of pro abortion bills are regulation-prone Democrats, fighting to completely deregulate one industry, while deregulation-prone Republicans are fighting to regulate it. To top that off, the bill’s authors have chosen to name this woman-endangering bill the “Women’s Health Care Protection Act.” The irony in that is obvious. This proposed legislation would erase any and all protections for women who undergo abortions and allow corporate, multi-state abortion chains to do with and to women as they please. It’s the opposite of women’s health care protection.

To steal a line from the movie Apocalypse Now, “Sometimes it gets so thick, you need wings to stay above it.”

Right now, S1696, which was authored by Senator Blumenthal, is languishing in the United States Senate, where it’s been since it was first filed in 2013. There are not enough votes to pass it. Even if it got out of the Senate, it would be deep-sixed in the Republican-held House.

Waac

That doesn’t mean the bill is doomed. It just means that it’s an idea whose votes have not yet been elected to power. Power goes back and forth in this country. Look at Congress today and know that what you see now will change radically in the future. The Rs may take over for a while, or the Ds may get control of both houses. Whatever is not, or whatever happens next, it will change. Eventually, everybody gets a turn at play.

There is no way this kind of legislation or this fight is going to go away so long as we continue to tolerate the two-party two-step on this issue. We can delay passage of S 1696, but we can’t stop it. Not with the tactics we’ve been using.

I’ve talked about the Republicans and corporatism quite a bit lately, and I’m going to do more of it as time goes by. But for today, let’s look at the Democrats and their love affair with all things libertine. The Democratic Party was once staunchly pro life. In my usual contrarian way, I was pro choice back then. Now that the party is staunchly pro choice, I’m pro life.

Go figure.

But I remember quite clearly when the legislation supporting the pro life cause came from the Ds. The switch began in the 1980s and was fueled, ironically enough, by the Moral Majority and its supporters. For reasons of their own, they decided to demonize the Democratic Party and cast it into the role of pro abortion. They lied — a lot — about Democratic candidates. I’ve seen some of the outrageous lies that were put out against pro life Democrats at that time, claiming they were pro abortion, pro beastiality, Communists and whatever else it took to beat them in elections.

This ended in pro life people leaving the Democratic party and the pro life Democrats who hung on becoming friendless political waifs. They were attacked by the religious right for being pro abortion, even when they weren’t, and shunned by their own party.

The result is the mess we have now: Two polarized parties, elected puppet people that only care about going at one another and carrying water for their party’s special interests, and a badly damaged country.

Senate Bill 1696 and its total subservience to the abortion industry is a symptom of this. The fact that it will, in time — years in the future, but it will — become law is a direct result of this silo approach to the pro life issue.

You can not create a culture of life with half the people.

Resolute

The solution — and it’s an obvious solution — is to convert the Democratic Party on this issue.

If that sounds tough, it is.

But it’s far from impossible. In fact, based on the scanty attendance at most precinct meetings, it’s highly do-able. It’s been done before.

What’s lacking is the direction. Pro life people are being led to keep on doing what they’ve always been doing. Forty-one years in, maybe we should think about trying something new.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That dictum holds true in physics without us doing anything. But in human relations, especially in politics, we’ve got to supply a bit of the gas to make those equal and opposite reactions happen. We have to be that equal and opposite reaction. 

We’re pro life enough to pray Rosaries for Life in front of abortion clinics. We’re pro life enough to go to Washington and San Francisco and points in between to march.

That means we’re pro life enough to go to a precinct meeting. We just need to know how.

Which, my friends, is why I’m here.

Stay tuned. We’re going to talk more.

25649823 sf

Sudanese Court Orders Release of Meriam Ibrahim, Who was Sentenced to Death for Her Christian Faith

Images

SUNA, Sudan’s official news agency, says that the Court of Cassation in Khartoum has canceled the death sentence against Meriam Ibrahim. The court has also ordered her release.

Miss Ibrahim, who has a Muslim father, was raised by her Christian mother. She was convicted of apostasy for marrying a Christian and given a death sentence. She was 8 months pregnant at the time.

For more details, go to Fox News.

Salutorian Puts Jesus in His Graduation Speech, In Spite of School Censorship

Photo Source: Desert News

Brooks Hamby’s high school graduation speech got kicked back three times. The reason? He persisted in talking about his faith.

Evidently, Mr Hamby eventually submitted a draft that was approved. But it turned out the censorship was all for naught. When I watched the video below, it sounded to me like Mr Hamby gave the first couple of lines from his approved speech, then shifted to remarks the administration knew nothing about.

“I presented three drafts of my speech,” he said, “all of them denied on account of my desire to share with you my personal thoughts and inspiration to you: My faith in Jesus Christ.”

You can hear a murmur from the crowd and sense consternation on the dais behind him as he continued.

Rumors have evidently circulated that the school denied Mr Hamby his diploma, but according to an interview he gave the Desert News, this is not true. But he did say that the school and their attorney’s told him they would shut off the microphone if he gave a speech mentioning Jesus.

Here is the text of the letter the school district sent him before he gave his speech. This letter is a lot of force to bring down on a graduating high school senior. I think Mr Hamby showed remarkable courage. How many of us would have the guts to do the same?

Based on District legal counsel opinion referencing two 9th Circuit Appellate Court cases, any aspect of a graduation speech that makes reference to Jesus and prayer is inappropriate and violates prevailing legal standards. The first and second draft speeches proposed oppose government case law and are a violation of the constitution. The District is advising you that reference to religious content is inappropriate and that the two drafts provided will not be allowed. If you choose to move forward with a differentiated speech that interjects religious content, the sound will be cut off, and a disclaimer to the entire audience must be made explaining the District’s position.

For more details, check out the Desert News.

Here is the video:

YouTube Preview Image

 


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X