Dems for Life Calls on Hillary to Open Up Democratic Party to Pro Life People

Photo Source: Wikimedia, by Voice of America. Public Domain.

Photo Source: Wikimedia, by Voice of America. Public Domain.

I know what you’re going to say, so let me say it for you.

Fat chance.

Democrats for Life of America has issued a press release calling for Hillary Clinton to bring back the big tent and open up the Democratic Party to pro life people.

Now, for the response I know many of your are thinking: Fat Chance.

I am aware, in ways that most of the rest of your can only guess at, just how entrenched the pro abortion position is in the upper levels of the Democratic Party. I also am aware, again as I think most of you are not, that this does not represent the thinking of many Democrats.

The Rs and the Ds are alike in many ways. One of the most significant is that the upper reaches of both parties are far removed from the rank and file. In fact, the upper reaches of both the R and the D view the rank and file as rubes to be manipulated and managed.

So, if the upper reaches of the Democratic Party are so entrenched in abortion, is it really a “fat chance” deal to try to change it?

No.

Here’s why.

Somebody changed it in the first place.

The Democratic Party was pro life back in the 70s and early 80s. Again, I know this as most of you don’t. I have what you might call insider knowledge of how these deals came down and how we got where we are. I know because I helped create this monster.

Now, back to Democrats for Life’s call for Hillary Clinton to open up the big tent. I think their target is well chosen. Secretary Clinton is pro choice, no doubt about that. I don’t expect her to change on that, although I have to tell you, I pray for it. But she’s not a Christian-hater like President Obama appears to be. She isn’t a bigot.

Unlike President Obama, who has attacked religious freedom, President Clinton supported and signed laws guaranteeing the free exercise of religion. Both Clintons have been consistent respecters of religious freedom in their public behavior. This isn’t rhetoric. They have a track record.

Of all the Democratic candidates, I think Hillary Clinton is the best bet for opening up the party and allowing Democrats to think and let think once again.

Do not take this post an endorsement for Hillary Clinton. I will not endorse any candidate in the upcoming race. I will not make public statements about how I’m going to vote. I don’t vote straight party. I will say that much, but that is all.

My purpose in writing Public Catholic is not to promote more of the political heresy. It is to get Christians to think past the political heresy and follow Christ. Period.

That means I will step on toes from time to time. When I say that Hillary Clinton — who is the D that the Rs love most to hate — is the best bet for religious freedom within the Democratic party, that’s an honest assessment.

Will it work?

From my experience, calling people to follow their better angels never works in the short term. It is not — ever — a quick fix. But if you’ve got the guts and the persistence to keep doing it, you will find that it always works in the long run.

Not with everybody. There will always be people who cling to their dark side. But people respond to higher calls with incredible courage and power if they come to trust the caller.

I support this call to change the party. I have always supported it, and I imagine that I always will. If we can convert the Democratic Party, we can win this fight for life. If we do not convert the Democratic Party, the fight will never end.

It’s as simple as that.

Here’s the full press release from Democrats for Life of America.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT: Kristen Day
(202) 220-3066

May 7, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – – Democrats For Life of Americais urging presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to open the Big Tent of the Democratic Party to pro-life voters and to support neutrality on the issue of abortion in the Democratic Party Platform. The current platform not only supports abortion, but also supports taxpayer funding of abortion.

“Secretary Clinton once recognized that people ‘have deeply held differences of opinion about the issue of abortion, and she said she respected ‘those who believe that there are no circumstances under which any abortion should ever be available.’  We are asking candidate Clinton to open that door and issue in a new era of respect and inclusion for Democrats who hold these views,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America.  “For the good of the party, we must re-open the big tent to include Democrats who support life from conception to natural death.”

In 1978, the Democratic Party held a 292-seat majority in the U.S. House, which included 125 pro-life Democrats.  Increased partisanship over the pro-life issue—including the rejection of pro-life candidates within the Democratic Party—caused many of the pro-life Democratic districts to elect Republican candidates.  In fact, the number of pro-choice Democrats in the House has essentially remained around 167.  It is the number of pro-life Democrats that decreased from 125 to only a handful, leaving Democrats overall with only 188 members.

“Since the 1992 shunning of pro-life Democratic Governor Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, the Democratic Party has alienated its pro-life base.  Polls consistently show that about one-third of Democrats—that’s 21 million Democrats—oppose abortion,” said Day.  “If we are going to increase our base to win back the majority and keep the White House, our Democratic nominee must recognize the contributions of pro-life Democrats within our party and the diverse position of Democrats on the issue of abortion.”

That diversity of opinion is as follows:

  • 61% of Democrats support parental consent for minors seeking abortion (Gallup, 2011);
  • 60% of Democrats support a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortion (Gallup, 2011);
  • 84% of Democrats support informed consent (Gallup, 2011);
  • 49% of Democrats support an ultrasound requirement (Gallup, 2011);
  • 59% of Democrats support a ban on partial-birth abortions (Gallup, 2011).

“We are asking Secretary Clinton and any other Democratic presidential hopeful to embrace a platform that fully represents all Democrats, not just those who support abortion,” said Day.  “In the 2008 election, about one-quarter of Obama’s supporters self-identified as pro-life.  These numbers are not trivial; they exceed many prominent and well-represented constituencies in the party.  Electoral success for the party nationwide will depend on the enthusiasm of all Democrats, including pro-life Democrats.”

-30-

 

Fr Longenecker’s 12 Reasons Not to Debate Internet Atheists, Plus 6 of Mine

 

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by KAZ Vorpal https://www.flickr.com/photos/kazvorpal/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by KAZ Vorpal https://www.flickr.com/photos/kazvorpal/

Fr Dwight Longenecker published a post today giving 12 of the reasons why he never argues with internet atheists.

I’m not as smart as Fr Longenecker. I’ve been drawn into several arguments with internet atheists, both on this blog and a couple behind the scenes. Those experiences have convinced me that discussions with internet atheists are useless. I’ve give a few reasons why I think this down below.

Here’s a sample of Fr Dwight’s thinking on the subject:

1. Most of the internet atheists I’ve come across are ignorant - I don’t mean they’re stupid necessarily, or that they are bad people. I don’t even mean they are uneducated in their particular field, but most of them are ignorant when it comes to religion. By this I mean they just don’t know stuff. I don’t blame them for that, I’m ignorant about rocket science, how to do a brake job on a car, the rules of cricket and micro biology and a pile of other stuff. However, religion is one of the areas I do know something about so it’s difficult arguing with people who think they know it all about religion, but don’t.

Indeed. I couldn’t have said it better.

Now, here are another 6 quick reasons for limiting arguments with internet atheists.

1. Internet atheist arguers have themselves been propagandized. As Fr Dwight said, (only far more elegantly) when they talk about Christianity, they don’t know what they are talking about. What they do is spout talking points and misinformation that they’ve been taught by other internet atheists. They exhibit the fanatical craziness and circular reasoning of cult followers.

2. Internet atheist arguers are like the Hare Krishnas at airports that people used to joke about, only they are rude and aggressive in a way that the Hare Krishnas were not. They have no sense of boundaries. They are usually — with a few exceptions — rude and even abusive with other commenters.

3. Internet atheists are manipulative and insincere in their online discussions with Christians. They demonstrate this openly when they go back to their own venues.

4. Internet atheists are part of a large and organized socio political movement that has as its goal the destruction of Christianity. That is where they get their incentive to behave the way they do, and it is why they are so aggressive and obnoxious in their dealings with Christians.

5. Internet atheists are — as a group — pushing ideas that are anathema to civilization. While individual atheists vary in these things, the group trope is all in support of any murderous social change being advanced. There appears to be nobody, with the exception of death row inmates, whose life they consider sacred. In addition, they support everything from gay marriage, to polygamy, to group marriage to you name it. They attack religious freedom, and seek to limit the free rights of Christians to practice their religion and engage in religious speech in the public sphere. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is an organized and public group, but the internet atheists are the backers and supporters of this movement. Public Catholic is not a forum for these ideas.

6. Internet atheists run the hate blogs that constantly engage in inflammatory Christian bashing. Most atheist commenters on Public Catholic are followers of and believers in that hate-filled bigotry. They come here from those blogs with an agenda of attacking Christianity and turning Christians away from Christ. This is the opposite of what this blog is intended to do.

Despite all this, I allow a lot of internet atheist commenting on this blog. First, if the commenter seems like a sincere person who is capable of individual thought rather than just repeating atheist talking points, I’m happy to allow them to discuss issues. Second, I do it for teaching purposes. Christians need to learn how to deal with these things and I try to provide a controlled environment, without the abuse, for them to do that.

I would actually welcome intelligent atheist conversation. The problem with this is that real atheism, as opposed to the cult-based socio-political movement that we are actually dealing with, is not much to talk about. You don’t believe in God? Okay. Next topic.

It’s a negative. You can’t prove a negative, and, at the end of the day, a negative is, by definition, narrow and self-limiting. Talking about atheism is really a one-sentence discussion.

A genuine atheist, again as opposed to a cult-follower of a vicious and destructive socio-political movement, would be capable of taking a variety of positions on issues concerning the sanctity of life, religious freedom, and social morality. These people cannot do that. They are lock-step dummies who just purvey the group think of their group.

Public Catholic is not a forum for leading people away from Christ. It is a forum for equipping Christians to withstand the bullying, hazing, bashing and mockery that is heaped on them by internet atheists, among others. It is a forum for encouraging Christians to follow Christ in all areas of their lives without reservation.

As I said, I allow a lot of internet atheist traffic on this blog. But I have no problem limiting it when I think it becomes destructive to the purpose for which I write Public Catholic in the first place.

This enrages many atheist internet commenters. Making comments in the comboxes of Public Catholic is not, as some of them have claimed, a First Amendment right. The free exercise of religion, speaking about faith in public venues, petitioning the government and free assembly are First Amendment rights.

Ironically, they argue vociferously against these actual First Amendment rights. The reason? Their hatred of Christianity has made them so irrational that they are willing to burn down their own house.

 

Breaking: Federal Court Forces Notre Dame to Follow HHS Mandate

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Scott Gulbransen https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdunlvrebel/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Scott Gulbransen https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdunlvrebel/

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the University of Notre Dame’s appeal against the HHS Mandate today.

In a brazen disregard for the First Amendment, the Court argued that the “burden” on the government to re-write the HHS Mandate to allow the Catholic University of Notre Dame to follow the dictates of its faith was too high. The court also said that the “burden” on Notre Dame of being forced to violate its faith and abandon the free exercise of religion which is the guarantee of every American was just not all that important.

They didn’t put it in those words, and I am deliberately writing it in purple prose. But that is the essential meaning.

The court ruled that an agency rule written by a back-room committee of abortion industry insiders trumps the First Amendment guarantee of the free exercise of religion. It based this ruling on the bizarre opinion that abiding by the Constitution of the United States placed an undue burden on the government of the United States.

Here is what they said, without my interpretation and in their own little words:

“The very word ‘accommodation’ implies a balance of competing interests,” the court noted.

“And when we compare the burden on the government or third parties of having to establish some entirely new method of providing contraceptive coverage with the burden on Notre Dame of simply notifying the government that the ball is now in the government’s court, we cannot conclude that Notre Dame has yet established its right to the injunctive relief that it is seeking before trial,” the court said.

 

Apple Watch Review: Do NOT Buy

Apple Watch: $349 to $17,000. Religious Freedom: Priceless. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Shinya Suzuki https://www.flickr.com/photos/shinyasuzuki/

Apple Watch: $349 to $17,000. Religious Freedom: Priceless. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Shinya Suzuki https://www.flickr.com/photos/shinyasuzuki/

I’m not buying an Apple Watch.

In fact, as Apple obsoletes the many Apple products I own, I plan to replace them with products from another company. When Apple obsoletes my Mac Pro, my sons and I are going to build a computer. I’ll probably do another post on that decision at another time.

Until Tim Cook took off after my First Amendment rights, I was a fanatic Apple fan girl. I’ve got a desktop, laptops, a phone and a tablet to replace over time. I assume Apple will help me with this with their new Tim Cook method of forcing Apple owners to buy new products by obsoleting the ones they have.

I already have an old Mac Pro and a Gen 1 iPad that ain’t doin’ nothin’ because Apple obsoleted them. I gave the iPad to one of my kids and he tells me it’s unusable because it will no longer run Safari. I also have an obsoleted iPhone out there, somewhere. I donated that, so I don’t know what’s happening with it.

So I know without doubt that every single Apple product I own will take a dirt bath due to Apple obsoleting it, and that will probably happen fairly soon. That alone is reason enough to look elsewhere for replacements. But I’ve been such a fan girl that I allowed the company to do this to me.

Until now. I’ll put up with them ripping me off by maliciously obsoleting my expensive tech stuff. I’ll tolerate Apple Maps, which still sends me on long trips to nowhere when all I want to do is cross the street. I’ve accepted the many different plugs necessary to charge my laptops, and I work around the inconvenience of no cd player on my Mackbook Air. I’ll even tolerate the bizarre and unfixed bug in their operating system that keeps telling me that my computer can’t sync with iCloud and inviting me to open iCloud preferences and fix this.

But using my money to go after my First Amendment rights is a bridge too far. Because you see, it is my money. And yours. All those billions Apple has? That market share that keeps growing? That bounding stock price?

Your money and mine filled those coffers and pushed that stock price.

If you want to spend your money to finance attacks on your First Amendment rights, then go for it. This is America. People can be as politically suicidal as they want. But me and my $$ are going elsewhere.

To begin with, I’m skipping the Apple Watch. If I decide I must have a smart watch, Pebble Watch is ready when I am. Actually, I think Pebble Watch is the cool buy, anyway. Pebble is the number one seller of smart watches. They are the innovators who created the entire smart watch market. They are, in many ways, what Apple once was; a cool, founder-run company innovating itself into our hearts.

If you want to be a herd-follower and donate your dollars to attacks on your First Amendment freedoms, buy the Apple Watch. But if you want to be uber cool, buy the Pebble Watch. Just go to Amazon, type in Pebble Watch, and you’ll see a long list of great choices, all for a lot less $$ than the Apple Watch.

When I first said that I was leaving Apple, a few commenters on other sites said that they “don’t do boycotts.” If that’s true, they’re safe.

This is not a boycott. What I am suggesting is that you make an individual decision as the individual that you are that you will not spend your money in ways that support those who attack religious freedom. That is exactly what I’m doing. This is my decision. It is about me and my $$ and my personal loyalty to the things I believe.

I am capable of taking a stand all by myself.

Are you?

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HHS Mandate Loses Another Round with the Supremes

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons. By Ed Uthman. https://www.flickr.com/photos/euthman/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons. By Ed Uthman. https://www.flickr.com/photos/euthman/

The United States Supreme Court issued an order yesterday that will block the federal government from enforcing the HHS Mandate against a whole range of religious organizations. This follows similar injunctions granted to the Little Sister of the Poor, Hobby Lobby, Wheaton College and Notre Dame.

It is important to remember that this is not a Supreme Court ruling. It is a court order. It requires the government to file a brief with the court defending its position that these organization should be forced to obey the Mandate.

The Obama administration has taken the idiotic position that Catholic Charities and the Little Sisters of the Poor are not “religious employers.” This is a clear attempt to restrict First Amendment Protections to clergy and behind church sanctuary doors. It is in line with the thinking of atheists and militant secularists who have stated that their purpose is to destroy religious influence and religious voices in the larger culture.

I believe that the HHS Mandate could very well become the legacy of the Obama Administration. Whatever else he does, he will always be remembered as the president who waged war on religious freedom.

From LifeNews.com:

The Supreme Court issued an order today preventing the Obama administration from forcing religious groups in Pennsylvania to obey the HHS mandate that requires them to pay for abortion-causing drugs for their employees. This is the fifth time the Supreme Court has rebuked the Obama administration and prevented it from making such a mandate.

In an order issued last night, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito prevented the federal government from enforcing its contraceptive mandate against a range of Pennsylvania-based religious organizations including Catholic Charities and other Catholic schools and social service organizations connected with the Diocese of Erie and the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The Supreme Court has previously protected the Little Sisters of the Poor, Hobby Lobby, Wheaton College, and the University of Notre Dame.

According to the Becket Fund,  Justice Alito’s order is similar to the preliminary order Justice Sotomayor provided to the Little Sisters of the Poor on New Year’s Eve in 2013. The group said order requires the government to brief the Supreme Court next week on why it should be allowed to fine these organizations for refusing to distribute abortion-inducing drugs and devices and other contraceptives.

Lori Windham, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told LifeNews: “How many times must the government lose in court before it gets the message? For years now the government has been claiming that places like Catholic Charities and the Little Sisters of the Poor are not “religious employers” worthy of an exemption.”

I Repent of My Macbook Pro

Photo Source: Wikimedia by Valerie Marchevy http://www.flickr.com/people/27244079@N02

Photo Source: Wikimedia by Valerie Marchevy http://www.flickr.com/people/27244079@N02

I didn’t know that the money I spent on my computer would fund an attack on my religious freedom.

If I had known, I would have bought elsewhere.

I’m a mac. Big time.

I own a Macbook Pro, a Macbook Air 11″, iPad, iPhone, and a Mac Pro.

I’ve also got a couple of old iPods lying around that I don’t use much anymore. I’ve passed along my old hardware to family members. The Apple logo dots my family landscape like a bad case of measles.

I’ve put down a bit of personal coin, buying Apple. But if I had known that my gadget dollars would end up funding an attack on the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, that it would go to fuel Christian-bashing bigots who talk about burning down small businesses, I would have put my coin in another slot.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, says that Apple is “boycotting” Indiana. I don’t know exactly what this “boycott” means. Are they closing the Apple stores in Indiana? Or will they refuse to ship their goodies to Indiana? Are they turning off iCloud for Hoosiers? Or, is this just a public flexing of the corporate political muscle, a coded way of saying “we’re going to buy more obedient politicians?” I’m guessing that it’s the latter.

I suppose if Mr Cook does the unthinkable and lowers corporate profits by closing up shop in Indiana, the good people of that state will have to muddle through with pcs and Androids and such. I can tell you for a fact that Dropbox has iCloud beat like a drum. Intolerable as losing the next new Apple thingy might be for fanboys and girls, they will soon learn that life goes on, even without a local Apple store.

Mr Cook says that “Apple will never tolerate discrimination.”

This, from a guy who does not flinch about building his products in China, does business with the liberal and gay-loving governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates. I guess the death penalties for homosexuality in those countries, not to mention the horrible misogyny, don’t constitute “discrimination” for Mr Cook and his Apple, because it appears that they they can certainly tolerate it.

Of course, it might just be that there’s money to be made in those places, and, well, Apple’s intolerance of discrimination can be expected to only go so far.

All I know is that I repent of ever having bought a Mac. I am sorry, oh so sorry, that I accidentally put money that I worked for into the coffers of a corporation that thinks it is my moral teacher instead of my gadget manufacturer.

Because, you see, I don’t think that any of our big multinational corporations have skirts clean enough to give a lecture on morality to anybody, not even a room full of serial killers. These corporations have bought our government and are running this country into the ground while they stuff their own pockets by draining every last bit of cash out of the economy.

They do their deals with slavers, murderers and tyrants from pole to pole. They go to places where they can do whatever they want to the environment and the people and do deals that enrich themselves and their counterparts on the other side. They love Communist nations with their slave labor. They are not offended by countries that execute homosexuals for being gay. Beheadings, kidnapping, human trafficking, needless but highly profitable wars, slavery and misogyny so deep and ugly that it scars the human soul to witness it, are all in a day’s profit to our corporate masters.

These corporations who are lecturing us about morality are not immoral. They are amoral. They are like huge vacuums, sucking up all the wealth and power until they have drained everything else utterly dry and dead.

And now they’ve decided that the money lies in beating down Christianity. The reasons behind this have nothing to do with “homophobia” or that little law from Indiana.

Christianity is the last wall standing between corporatists and total domination of this once great country. Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI, St John Paul II labeled this particular form of facism “corporatism.” Bishops such as Oscar Romero, priests like Father Stanley Rother, nuns such as the four murdered nuns of Nicaragua and Sister Dianna Ortiz, have all shed their blood for being loyal to Christ in corporatist countries.

The Catholic Church, with its insistence that human life is sacred and human beings matter, is the one voice capable of standing against corporatism. That is why their minions in the media were so quick to attack Pope Francis and try to label him — of all ridiculous things — a Communist.

That was particularly rich, coming as it did from people who are the mouthpieces for corporations that built Communist China into the industrial power that it has become.

“Homophobia” as it is being used in attacks about the Indiana religious freedom law, is just a ruse for attacking Christianity. It is another ploy in the on-going and utterly ruthless game of driving Christian thinking and Christian voices from the public square.

Those who are so eager to support this drive need to think carefully what they do. If they succeed, who will be left to defend them when they and their cause becomes unprofitable, as well?

I repent of the Macbook Pro on which I am typing this blog post. I wish I had never bought the thing.

I don’t have the money to throw everything out and start over. But when replacement time comes, I will remember.

I’m going to start in a couple of weeks with the Apple Watch. That’s several hundred dollars I can save.

I’m not sure how I’ll spend the money I save by not buying an Apple Watch. Maybe I’ll use it to organize a bigots-be-gone demonstration at the local Apple store. Or maybe I could go to Indiana and buy some pizza.

Whatever I decide, I will do my best to put it somewhere so that it won’t come back at me later as a political bullet, aimed at my Constitutional Rights.

 

Are Gay Marriage Activists Too Needy to Take Yes for an Answer?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kreg Steppe https://www.flickr.com/photos/spyndle/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kreg Steppe https://www.flickr.com/photos/spyndle/

They’re going to keep going until they lose this war they’ve won.

Gay marriage is knocking over barriers everywhere. After a long, hard fight, it appears that gay marriage proponents are winning. If they were smart, they’d take “yes” for an answer and pick up their winning marbles before people start changing their minds.

But gay marriage proponents may be among the worst winners in political history. I’m beginning to think that, for whatever reason, they are just too dumb to take “yes” for an answer.

Maybe the reason is that it was never about marriage in the first place. It was always about affirmation.

It’s beginning to look like this whole debate over marriage was and is about forcing everyone, everywhere, to affirm to gay people that they are ok human beings. The trouble with that is that people who are that hungry for approval and affirmation from other people are also usually shot through with emotional holes that no amount of affirmation and acceptance will ever fill.

You can’t love people like this enough for them to feel lovable. You can’t accept them enough for them to feel good about themselves deep down where nobody’s looking. And you can’t affirm them enough to satisfy the gnawing empty spot in their souls.

The serious part of this is when, as so often happens in America, people with holes in their souls try to fill those holes with political action. That is one solution that, believe me, ain’t never gonna work.

Politics is never the place to go for affirmation, love or spiritual healing. Politics is the cold, cold world of power and more power. People who go into that world with some cockamamie need for affirmation hanging out are going to get used and abused and left in the dumpster when the users are through with them.

That’s as true of big-name preachers as it is of gay rights advocates. Politics is no place to find yourself. It is, rather, one of the deepest pits in which to lose yourself.

Gay rights advocates have played a mean, hard game, winning this fight to change the legal definition of marriage. They’ve enlisted many of the power players in our society, including the media and much of the corporate world in their column. They’ve resorted to personal attacks, public vendettas and character assassination. It has worked for them because they got the backing of the power players in the media in doing it.

But it would be a mistake bigger than Texas to think that these power players share an agenda with anyone based on touchy feely things like human rights, much less hungers for affirmation and acceptance. Those things are opportunities for manipulation and exploitation to power players. Nothing more.

They have their own agendas and those agendas are always about power and money. This current fight to restrict and entomb the First Amendment freedom of religion in a behind-church-doors coffin is at base about power and money and eliminating opposition to the agendas of those who hold power and money.

So long as the gay rights people, or the nitwit atheists, or any other group, serves the purposes of the power brokers — in this case weakening the one remaining societal force with the voice to challenge their hegemony — they will be bestest friends. But friends like that will leave you alone on a dirt road with a storm coming anytime it suits their purposes to do so.

Gay rights leaders need to consider carefully what they are doing by broadening and continuing this fight for what they said all along they never wanted, which was to force people to violate their religious beliefs and participate in gay marriage against their wills.

They need to consider it, because it does not advance their cause of gaining public support. In the long run, this kind of behavior will raise up an opposition against them that is unlike anything they have ever encountered before.

They also need to consider that the freedoms they are attacking keep them free as well as everyone else. They are seeking affirmation by attacking the basic freedoms on which they have been able to advance their own cause.

It would be a mistake of mammoth proportions to assume that the same power brokers who have aided them in this fight and who are gleefully using them to attack the one institution that speaks with force against the evils of corporatism are their friends. Gay rights leaders and these power brokers have been using one another.

But if gay rights leaders think the power in question is actually theirs, they are mistaken. If they also believe that this same power will not turn on them when it suits, they are naive to the bone.

When that day comes, these freedoms which they are now attacking may very well be the only thing that stands between them and whatever evil their erstwhile allies seek to visit on them. Tyranny is not the way to achieve freedom. Violating other people’s human rights is not the way to ensure your own human rights.

Crushing a few small business owners under the government heel will not assuage the gnawing hunger for affirmation that drives gay people in this fight. It will instead weaken the ability of all the people, everywhere, to defend themselves against the increasing hegemony of power brokers that seek to use all of us.

When gay rights no longer is useful to those in power, they will turn on gay rights. They’ll do it because corporate interests do not and will never act in moral ways. They are amoral and nihilistic to the core, and they always follow the money.

My advice to gay people is to take yes for an answer and be happy. Live your lives and try to heal those wounds inside you that won’t be filled. Find your solace in living and loving, not hating and attacking.

Politics based on coercing other people will not heal you. It will only wound you further. It also stands a very good chance of raising up a long-term and principled opposition that will reverse the things you have accomplished.

 

 

Religious Freedom is the Right of Every American. Sincerity Doesn’t Enter Into It.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ed Uthman https://www.flickr.com/photos/euthman/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ed Uthman https://www.flickr.com/photos/euthman/

Indiana passed a law a couple of weeks ago with the purpose of allowing religious freedom.

I’m going to write several posts this week dealing with the many questions surrounding this law. The drama its passage has created brings all the pigs to the trough.

On the one hand, we have Christian bashing by a biased and bigoted media. On the other hand, we have corporatism, flexing its muscle and openly demanding that government pass laws to suit its true masters.

We have social Christians who are doing their usual drop kick of Christian teaching in favor of what’s happening’ now by coming out in full force against religious freedom. Sandwiched between these groups we have the uncomfortable Christians who are trying to parse the debate to the satisfaction of everybody concerned, twisting and turning like atonal wind chimes, blowing in a gale.

Meanwhile, most people, including most Christians, are going about their daily lives, pretty much ignoring the whole thing. They don’t know that this little drama is about them, their freedoms and whether or not they will be able in the future to practice their faith without government bullying.

Today’s post on the Indiana law will be a simple one. I want to address the stupidest argument in favor of doing away with First Amendment protections of the free exercise of religion that I’ve heard in all my long life.

This argument, which has come from some surprisingly intelligent people, is based on the fact that human beings, no matter their beliefs, are inconsistent. Let me repeat that: People are inconsistent.

We are not mathematical formulas that always perform in a set pattern. We are, whether we will admit it or not, random. No human being, not one, is consistent.

However, the argument is being leveled at Christians that they must be absolutely consistent in how they live their faith. Otherwise, they should forfeit their First Amendment rights as American citizens and allow the government to coerce them into violating the 2,000-year old constant teaching of their faith concerning marriage.

The application of this bogus line of reasoning goes something like this:  If a baker bakes a cake for a wedding in which one or both of the participants has been divorced, then they are being inconsistent when they say they will not bake a cake for a gay wedding. Thus, they have no right to First Amendment protections of their religious liberty.

The things I’ve read don’t put it quite that crudely, but that is their reasoning.

Let’s take that argument and look at it in all its absurdity.

Constitutional Rights are not based on things like sincerity and consistency. No one asks, even in this age of gun control, if a gun buyer sincerely believes in the right to bear arms. There is no requirement for those who write letters to their elected officials or who seek redress in the courts to be consistent and sincere in how they live their convictions.

The idea that the First Amendment right of the free exercise of religion should be subjected to a consistency and sincerity test designed in parlor discussions by those who oppose these rights is obvious — absolutely obvious – twaddle. It makes me wonder what people are smoking that anyone takes this stupidity seriously.

I could easily raise serious questions about the underlying theology of the argument being advanced, based on teaching that even I, with my total lack of theological training, “get.” But I’m not going to muddy the water with that discussion.

The point here is simple. It is straight forward. It is, as I said, obvious.

Constitutional Rights are not predicated on ephemeral personal attacks about whether or not an American citizen is “sincere” or consistent in how they use that right. The First Amendment is the right of every American citizen. They may use it, or not, as they chose.

If Americans want to lobby their government, they can. If they don’t want to do that, they don’t have to.

If Americans want to speak freely about the issues of the day, no one can stop them. If they don’t want to do that, they can stay silent.

If Americans do not think it violates their religious faith to bake a cake for a gay wedding, they can bake cakes until their oven melts down. But if their faith has taught for 2,000 years that marriage is between one man and one woman and it violates their deepest conscience and the straightforward, well-known teachings of their faith for them to participate in a gay wedding, they are — or they should be — free to not participate in a gay wedding.

Attempts to create false parallels between gay marriage and the black Civil Rights movement do not hold. There is not and never has been a 2,000-year teaching in favor of segregation. In fact, there is a considerable body of Scripture that speaks against such practices. Civil Rights laws did not violate religious freedom for the simple reason that, no matter how strongly individual segregationists might have tried to deify their sins, segregation was not a religious practice. It was a matter of secular law.

Marriage, on the other hand, is defined as between one man and one woman in the first chapters of the Bible and was specifically sanctified as between one man and one woman by Our Lord.

That has been the constant teaching of Christianity for 2,000 years. It is the teaching of the vast majority of Christian religious leaders today.

Americans do not have to accept this teaching for themselves or believe in Christ to know that the First Amendment guarantee of the free exercise of religion should allow Christians to follow this teaching in their own practices. It is tyranny of the first order to use government to coerce people on penalty of losing their livelihoods to violate their faith in order to bake cakes and make floral arrangements.

The business owners in question do not turn away any group of people, including gay people. They simply do not want to participate in one type of ceremony because that particular ceremony violates their faith. The sheer hubris involved in bringing this kind of massive force against them in order to break them down and force them to violate their faith commitments is mind boggling. It is evil.

For years now, advocates of gay marriage have used the slogan “If you oppose gay marriage, don’t get gay married.”

They have legitimately exercised their First Amendment rights to lobby for gay marriage, to participate in the electoral process to work for gay marriage, and to petition the government through the courts to gain the legal changes to allow gay marriage. All of this, I might add, was based on their personal moral beliefs.

Now, they want to take the same rights that they used away from those who disagree with them. Even worse, they seem determined to use government force to bend everyone in the nation to their will.

They appear to be willing, even eager, to destroy the same First Amendment freedoms that empowered their cause in order to achieve the Pyrrhic victory of forcing people who do not want to participate in their weddings to do so against their will and in violation of their deeply felt religious beliefs.

This activity makes that slogan I quoted into a sham.

Was it a lie all along?

I don’t know. All I know is that it has become a lie today.

I also know, and I will repeat one last time, that Constitutional Rights are not subject to a sincerity or consistency test.

If someone advances this inane argument to you, tell them that.

 

 

Church Turns to Congress for Relief from Attacks on Religious Freedom

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ed Uthman https://www.flickr.com/photos/euthman/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ed Uthman https://www.flickr.com/photos/euthman/

The city of Washington, DC has passed two laws that directly attack religious freedom.

The first is the ironically titled Human Rights Amendment of 2014. According to Catholic News Agency,

… the Human Rights Amendment of 2014, forces religious schools to recognize persons and groups who might conflict with their stated mission and allow them use of their facilities and benefits. For example, a Catholic school would be forced to officially recognize an openly-gay student group and could not deny them use of its facilities.

The second is the equally mis-titled Reproductive Health Non-Discrmination Act of 2014. Again, according to Catholic News Agency,

… the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act of 2014, prohibits all employers from discriminating against employees over their “reproductive health decision making.” Thus, a Catholic or pro-life group could not make employment decisions based on their employees’ decision to act contrary to the mission – such as procuring an abortion, for example.

Both of these two laws are direct attacks on both religious liberty and First Amendment freedoms. That is why I say that their titles are ironic. They do not guarantee human rights and freedom from discrimination. These laws themselves are attacks on the basic human right of religious liberty and freedom from discrimination of religious believers.

To read a fact sheet on the two laws, go here.

There are two resolutions in the United States Senate which would overturn these laws. Congress has 30 days to review the bills, which are slated to become law on April 17. As noted in the Catholic News Agency article,

The Archdiocese of Washington supports these two resolutions, which, they say, “subjugate the Church’s moral teaching to the moral views of the government” and “result in discrimination against religious believers.”

The Knights of Columbus, the United States bishops’ conference, the Catholic University of America, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention have joined the Archdiocese of Washington in the call to pass the resolutions.

I do not know if Georgetown University has joined the opposition to these laws. If they have not, I would like to know why.

Congress clearly has the power to overturn these laws. The question, as always with Congress, is will they use their power for the purpose it was given to them, or will they set this up as another partisan fight in order to align voters for the ’16 elections?

Congress needs to hear from their constituents as to why they are not doing any of the things that got them elected in the first place.

The Archdiocese of Washington issued the followed press release concerning the resolutions in Congress on March 18:

Religious Freedom at Stake

U.S. Senate Must Stand for Religious Freedom in Nation’s Capital

March 18, 2015

WASHINGTON – Today the Archdiocese of Washington, along with a large and growing coalition of religious institutions, faith-based organizations, and pro-life advocacy organizations within the District of Columbia, welcomes the introduction of two resolutions disapproving the unprecedented attack on religious freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of association in the nation’s capital through the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA) and the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA).

HRAA, by removing conscience protections in the law, would prevent religious educational institutions from operating according to the tenets of their own faith with regard to human sexuality, and RHNDA would force religious institutions and other organizations to hire or retain employees who publicly act in defiance of the mission of their employer. Both laws subjugate the Church’s moral teaching to the moral views of the government, violating the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and result in discrimination against religious believers.

The Archdiocese of Washington has long respected home rule for the District of Columbia and, therefore, advocated for our religious rights with the D.C. Council throughout the legislative process. Despite this, the Council passed these acts. The archdiocese’s appeal to Congress to restore these constitutional rights is the only legislative recourse that remains. The Council of the District of Columbia transmitted the new measures to Congress on March 6, initiating a thirty-day congressional review period.

The archdiocese is grateful for the resolutions introduced today in the U.S. Senate and is hopeful for swift action in both chambers of Congress within the remaining days of the congressional review period.

###

 

 

 

Representative Kern Gets Gay Marriage Bill Out of Committee

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Representative Sally Kern. Photo Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Representative Sally Kern’s HB 1599 passed out of the Oklahoma House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee this week. The vote was 5 to 3 in favor of putting the bill on the House floor.

If it becomes law, HB 1599 would have four effects. I am going to put my comments in bold to help you follow the thinking on this.

1. HB 1599 would prohibit the expenditure of state monies for “any activity that includes the licensing or support of same-sex marriage.”

The Oklahoma legislature clearly has the power to determine how state monies will be apportioned. There is a real possibility that this part of the bill would survive court challenge. 

2. HB 1599 requires that any Oklahoma state, county or city employee who takes actions that would “officially recognize, grant or enforce a same-sex marriage license” would lose “their salary, pension, or any other benefit” that is funded by Oklahoma tax monies.

This is broader than just state-appropriated monies. It takes in any funding for salaries, pensions or other benefits that come from local taxes, as well. The legislature has the power to determine how Oklahoma tax monies may be spent. Whether or not it has such sweeping powers to determine how local tax monies may be spent is questionable.

The legislature also has the power to allocate salaries, pensions and benefits to state employees. The question that will almost certainly arise if this bill becomes law is whether or not this particular use of that power is discriminatory. 

3. HB 1599 requires that state courts dismiss challenges to the “any portion of the Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act (HB 1599) with an award of costs and attorney fees to defendants.”

In my opinion, this is a violation of the separation of powers on which our government is built. I also think it is a violation of the First Amendment right to petition the government. 

4. HB 1599 mandates that judges who violate “this act” will be removed from office.

5. This is not an effect of HB 1599, but it is important to note that it has what is called a “severability clause.” A severability clause means that if the courts strike down one portion of the bill, the rest of the statute will still stand.

Now that HB 1599 is out of committee, it is, in legislative parlance, “on the floor,” referring to the “floor” of the full House of Representatives. The next step in its passage will be to get it on the House agenda where it can be brought to a vote of the full House.

Whether or not Representative Kern will succeed in getting this bill onto the floor agenda and then getting it called up for a vote is a matter of internal House politics. This has a great deal to do with the push and pull of what is happening with other legislation and how the various members align themselves on this issue. It is an internal, out-of-sight bit of legislating.

If HB 1599 comes to a vote of the full House, and if it passes the full House, it will then go to the Senate, where the Senate author will have to put it through the same process, all over again. If it passes the full Senate without amendments (unlikely) it will go to the governor, who has the power to veto it.

If it is amended in the Senate, it must come back to the House and, unless Representative Kern accepts the Senate amendments, would go through a conference process. If she accepts Senate amendments, HB 1599 would be voted on again by the full House. If the bill goes to conference, it has a lot of hurdles to get over before it can be voted on again. A lot of bills die in the conference process.

If it gets through the conference process, it must then be put back on the agendas of both houses, and be brought to a floor vote in both houses. If it survives all that, it still has to go to the governor, who can veto it.

Each of these steps is more complex than it sounds here. Each step has more variables than I can discuss in a blog post.

It is no small accomplishment that Representative Kern succeeded in getting this bill out of committee. She is a determined, hard-working legislator who does not attack or harm her colleagues.

If HB 1599 does not come to a vote of the full House before the end of the legislative day on March 12, it can not be voted on this year. That does not mean the bill is dead. It can be brought up for a vote next year.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few weeks.


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