Oklahoma Supreme Court Strikes Down Two Pro-Life Laws

Representative Pam Peterson and I filed an Amicus Curiae brief on an Oklahoma Supreme Court challenge to a pro life law in October.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court just handed down their opinion on this case, as well as another one involving the use of ultrasounds in abortions. The Court has ruled against both these pro life laws.

Needless to say, I am disappointed. But I am also not downcast. This is the way things sometimes go in our Democracy. Now, it’s up to those of us who want to protect unborn people to re-tool and re-think.

Other than this, I’m not going to comment on this action at this time. I may have something else to say later. I may not. But for today, this is my only statement. Feel free to express your ideas in the com boxes, however.

I’m going to attach the two rulings in their entirety. They are back to back in the file linked to below. Read them — or don’t — as you wish.

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25,000 Honor Our Lady in Los Angeles Procession

As I told a commenter on this blog, “Don’t count Christians out yet.”

The tales of Christianity’s demise may be a tad bit premature. Witness this beautiful response to the annual procession for Our Lady of Guadalupe in Los Angeles. Twenty-five thousand people joined the procession!

Read, and be heartened.

Archbishop Jose Gomez celebrates Mass after the Marian procession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec 2, 2012. Credit: Courtesy of Victor Alemán / vida-nueva.com.Los Angeles, Calif., Dec 3, 2012 / 08:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).

An outdoor procession for Our Lady of Guadalupe held Sunday in Los Angeles attracted 25,000 participants to venerate the Virgin and to express their Catholic faith.

“We want to learn from the example of faith of our Blessed Mother, as Jesus did. Jesus learned his prayers and the practice of his faith from his Mother and from Saint Joseph,” Archbishop Jose H. Gomez told the crowd assembled for Mass following the Dec. 2 procession.

“This is an example for you, my brothers and sisters! You need to be good teachers, good role models for your children…share the stories of the Gospel and the beautiful apparition of Tepeyac. Teach them how to be generous and to love.”

Despite a rainy day, thousands of people came to process through East Los Angeles from Our Lady of Solitude parish to the Mass at East Los Angeles College Stadium. This was the 81st annual procession, which was started by Mexican Catholics fleeing government persecution in 1931.

“We also remembered the Cristeros as examples, because of the sacrifices they made for their faith, giving up their lives for their faith and for Christ,” Carolina Guevara, associate communications director at the Los Angeles archdiocese, told CNA Dec. 3.

She recounted that a woman whose father was a Cristero martyr participated in the Mass, which was a marker of how Our Lady of Guadalupe “unites us in our faith.” (Read more here.)

Who Me? Are You Serious Lord?

Who me?

I’ve been a feminist for a long time.

The driving force to my feminism is violence against women in all its forms.

I was one of the six original founders of the YWCA Rape Crisis Center here in Oklahoma back in the early 1970s. Violence against women in its many forms led me into a hot-headed pro choice advocacy and ultimately to the position of NARAL Director for Oklahoma.

I’ve passed law after law trying to stop violence against women. I passed the original protective order here in Oklahoma, back in the day when the whole idea was considered radical. I even had opponents of the bill go on television and denounce me as being a Communist for passing it, something which amused me no end.

Year after year, decade after decade, I have worked to end violence against women. I’ve done everything I can. And you know what? It’s worse than ever. Women are sexualized and degraded for comic relief on mainstream television. They are pornified and reduced to objects on other channels. Movie after movie presents us with titillating scenes of women being beaten, raped, sodomized and murdered — all for our entertainment.

Type the word “rape” into your google search engine, and you’ll get page after page of hits on pornographic sites showing women being raped, tortured and murdered for fun.

The major thing that drove me away from any church and straight into my anti-God period was the indifference I saw to violence against women in the churches. I’ve seen horrific things in this regard and they drove me away from both church and God.

I don’t know of course, but I think that perhaps the reason God gave me such a knock-you-flat conversion experience is that I needed it to be able to see Him for Who He was. He poured such love on me, and by doing so, shared His real self with me in a way that wiped away all confusion as to His nature.

Even after all that, I was still so painfully hurt by all that had gone before that I actually prayed and asked God if He hated women. This prayer wasn’t a challenge. It wasn’t an attempt to argue with the Lord. It was an honest question, based on my own life experience.

God doesn’t often answer me directly, but He answered me then. It was one of those full understanding answers where He sort of downloaded a total vision of what women are to Him and how He truly feels about the abuse of women that is misogyny.

That answer was one of the most generous things He’s ever done for me. It was also life-altering. It has informed my walk with Christ and my understanding of what it means to be a Christian feminist, ever since.

Six years ago, when I was in Fatima, Portugal, God gave me another of those downloads. This time, it wasn’t an understanding. It was a commission of sorts, a commission I’ve hemmed and hawed about, that I’ve delayed acting on, ever since.

I was sitting in the cathedral there at Fatima. I wasn’t praying, exactly. I wasn’t not praying, either. I was just drifting in that Presence that saturates the whole grounds. I do that sometimes. It’s kind of like the Holy Spirit is a river, and I’m floating in it, just letting the current take me.

As I was floating in the soft waters of the Spirit, just drifting along, I understood that my life was going to change and I would be doing something different.

I won’t go into the whole of it now because I don’t think it’s time. But I will say that part of it involved writing three books; three books, that for one thing, share with the world that understanding of what women mean to God that He gave me so long ago. There’s more, but that’s enough for me to talk about now.

I’ve been so intimidated by the whole thing that I’ve delayed and put it off for six years.

There have been several times during those six years when the Lord has re-visited me about it. Each time He told me to stop waiting and begin. I’ve joked to friends that I don’t want to die and go stand before the Lord and have Him ask me “What part of ‘Write a book’ don’t you understand?”

But the truth is, I don’t want to die and stand before the Lord and have Him ask me “What part of ‘write a book’ don’t you understand?”

I’m not a kid anymore, and the Lord has given me work that I need to do before I die. So, I guess I’d better do it.

Tomorrow, I have surgery on my foot again.

It’s Advent.

How do those things connect, except by the calendar?

Well, post surgery is a great time for prayer. Thanks to the pain meds, it’s also a great time for falling asleep in the middle of prayer. But I have a number of precious little sins I need to give up. One of them is procrastination about the work that God has charged me with. I’ve been like Moses without Moses’ sanctity, complaining that I don’t have the ability to speak and besides nobody will listen to me and shouldn’t He ask somebody better????

All that over the writing part of what He told me to do. I won’t even go into my total inability to do the rest of it.

I need to repent of doubting Him. I need to repent of not doing what He told me to do. I need to stop listening to the doubting devil and start doing what I’m told.

The reason I’m telling you about this is to ask for your prayers. I need this Advent as a sweeping out, clearing away and facing forward time. I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I’ve needed a penitential season as much as I need this one.

As I said, I’m asking for your prayers. As Leah Lebresco would say, Ora pro me

 

 

It’s That Time Again: Atheist Cranks Put Up Another of Their Annual Anti-Christmas Displays

Who reads the Bible more than the President of the Southern Baptist Convention?

Atheists.

Who talks about Jesus more than the Pope?

Atheists.

Who worries constantly about the fact that somebody, somewhere, might be enjoying Christmas?

Atheists.

Who misquotes the Bible and misapplies those quotes more than Archie Bunker?

Atheists.

In their annual campaign to ruin Christmas for the rest of us, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has somehow or other persuaded the government of Wisconsin to allow them to use the Wisconsin state capitol to promote their bizarro view of the world. The post, Tis the Season: Atheists stage “alternative” Nativity scene, by Deacon Greg Kandra who blogs here at Patheos at The Deacon’s Bench describes one of the many spitballs these folks throw in this annual Grinchfest. The article reads in part:

Atheists, clearly agitated that Christians purportedly “stole” various holiday traditions from pagans, have come up with a solution: A potentially-offensive “natural nativity scene” that removes baby Jesus and replaces traditional Bible characters with some eyebrow-raising alternatives. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is behind the spectacle , which emerged this week as part of a diorama inside the Wisconsin state capitol.
The angel that typically graces the nativity is replaced with an astronaut. And the wise-men – prominent figures in the Biblical account of Jesus’ birth — are replaced with evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin, scientist Albert Einstein, anarchist Emma Goldman and author Mark Twain. The Statue of Liberty is also placed in the alternative nativity to purportedly symbolize freedom.
Rather than including Mary, whom the FFRF dismisses as “a mythical fertility figure,” the display includes Venus, the Roman goddess of love. And forget about Joseph — this depiction has Thomas Jefferson, a figure atheist groups enjoy touting for his purported church versus state views. According to the FFRF, Jefferson “would have disavowed Christian devotional scenes on state property.” (Read more here.)

My first thought on reading this is one I often have when I encounter the antics of these people: They don’t sound like adults.

My second thought is another one that I often have when dealing with them: They are obsessed with what they claim they don’t believe. I don’t know of any other group as obsessive, compulsive, negative and, finally, boring as evangelical atheists. Did I forget rude? Forgive me. I don’t know any other group of people as rude as evangelical atheists.

I don’t believe any saint in history thought about Christ and his Church as much as these people do. Based on their public utterances, they must think about Him 24/7. I would guess that when they aren’t out posting repetitive insults on Christian blogs and dreaming up equally insulting slogans to put on buses and in dioramas at Christmas, they must be perusing the Scriptures, looking for verses to take out of context and use for spears to hurl in their various attacks.

I was never a full and absolute atheist, but I did spend 17 years of my young life in an all-out anti-religion mode. I was probably more anti-God in my way than these people are. The difference is I was good at it. I didn’t spend my days obsessing over God. I didn’t read the Scriptures. I didn’t insult anybody. I just didn’t care. I left Christians alone in much the same way that I don’t now go busting into Free Thinkers’ meetings to razz at them. They’ve got a right to think what they want. And I don’t care.

You see, that’s what unbelief, or in my case, rejection, actually looks like. You don’t obsess over what you don’t believe. These people are odd. And they’re really negative and nasty in the things they say. I’ve said this before, but what they remind me of are adolescents who are searching frantically for significance. I think the reason they spend so much time driving the rest of us bonkers is because it makes them feel special and important.

All I know for sure is that Christmas 2012 is just around the corner, which makes it time for the cable networks to trot out their annual Christmas specials complete with “experts” to dismember the Nativity Story. It’s also time for the various atheist groups to file lawsuits in an attempt to suppress and oppress any ideas but theirs. Along with that they’ll treat us to ridiculous “Christmas” displays like the one in Wisconsin.

As for me, I’m just beginning Advent, which, unlike this nonsense, is a serious spiritual season. I have much to repent of, much to pray about and much to learn during this time. I don’t think I’m going to let the annual atheist attempt to ruin Christmas for everybody else distract me.

Someone’s Coming, and We Need to Get Ready

Today is the first day of Advent. A time when we prepare to meet Our Lord.

I’ve read in books and seen on television a number of first person stories from people who were faced with imminent death. Many of them relate how, when the gun is pointed at their heads or the bear was chomping at their skulls, they asked God to forgive their sins and receive their souls. Then, almost invariably, they say they thought about their families.

Not once in any of these tales of survival in the face of death have I heard anyone say that they were worried about missing a meeting at their office or whether or not they would get their next promotion. Preparing to meet the Lord strips away all the little things that take up our days and leaves us with the stark reality of who we are in light of His justice and who we love in this world. When we are face to face with eternity, eternal things — love and the state of our souls in relation to God — are what matters.

One striking element of these narratives is that these people are, even in the face of their great peril, hopeful. They don’t just bemoan the ugliness of their sins as they compare to God’s justice, they ask, with certainty of His love, for forgiveness. They ask, with expectation that it will happen, for Him to receive their souls. They even ask Him to take care of the people they are going to leave behind.

The reason they have this confidence in God’s love, this hope of His forgiveness and that He will take them home when they die is that God become human in the form of a helpless little baby. That is what we are awaiting in Advent: The hope and the promise of the only One who can save us, the beginning of the end of death.

Advent is a door opening on our eternal salvation. It is the pathway that leads us to eternal life.

Someone’s coming. And we need to get ready.

Like everyone who knows that someone’s coming to their house, we need to sweep up the dust, straighten the pillows and stock the fridge with goodies. Only in this case, the house He is coming to is the real and eternal us: Our souls. Instead of a vacuum cleaner, we need confession.

All this is somewhat symbolic, of course. Jesus is already born. He has already suffered, died, been buried and rose again. The promise of Advent is reality for us already. But at the same time, this promise is also coming and on its way. We are battered, buffeted, chip, stained and pitted by the battles of our daily lives. We are embittered by our losses, defeated by our failures and enthralled with our victories.

We are, in short, too much of this world to be ready to receive our King. We need to pause and take stock of ourselves and we need to do it now. To paraphrase a soft drink commercial, we need that pause of humility and honest self-examination that refreshes. We must, if we are to be any use to Him at all, acknowledge our sins, look honestly at our failings and turn to Him for forgiveness and conversion of heart.

We are His instruments in this world. But before an instrument can be used, it must be cleaned, tuned and brought into good working order. After this election season and its many evils, after the struggles of our lives these past few months, we need this cleaning and tuning up.

We must prepare our eternal houses, our souls, to receive our Lord once again. That is what Advent is all about. If you would be His servant in this world, it is imperative that you not miss it.

I’m Going to Buy This Advent CD

Take a look at this beautiful YouTube video and enjoy. I am going to buy a copy of this CD for myself this Advent.

Have a blessed Sunday.

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Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions for December 2012

December 2012

General Intention: That migrants throughout the world may be welcomed with generosity and authentic love, especially by Christian communities.

Missionary Intention: Christ, light for all humanity. That Christ may reveal himself to all humanity with the light that shines forth from Bethlehem and is reflected in the face of his Church.

Giving Up the Fight: Should Republicans Drop Pro Life; Should Evangelicals Give Up on Traditional Marriage; Should Everybody But the Catholic Church Run Away?

Losing. Sucks.

There has been a spate of articles and interviews, including one with no less a personage than former Presidential Candidate John McCain, expressing the hand-wringing dismay of defeat that many right-wing politicos and even some socially conservative Christians seem to feel because they got slam-dunked in the November 7 election.

I’ve ignored most of this, for three reasons.

1. It’s natural to go a little nuts after you get beat in an election. It’s a humiliating experience all around and it makes anyone who goes through it a little bit crazy for a while.
2. I’ve never taken the Republican position on social issues all that seriously in the first place. I know there are many sincere people who have an R on their voter ID card who believe in traditional moral values right down to the ground. But I have thought for quite some time now that these people are being tolerated, patronized and used by the party power structure. I think the Republican Party is really all about corporatism and is just using social issues to get votes to push for corporatism once it gets power. I’m basing this on what they’ve done when they do get power.
3. I’ve assumed that after the clothes-tearing, ashes on the head, woe is me, I wuz robbed, post getting beat emotions pass that most people will settle down and go back to thinking more carefully again.

One of the miseries of the internet is that it makes it too easy for people to pull down their own pants in public. There was a time when we confined our crazy grief from the getting whupped times in life to the safety of our homes, families and close friends. We kept our embarrassments within the circle of people who would never tell on us, and who, out of the blindness of love, would soon forget it as if it never happened.

Losing. Sucks.

But the internet makes it all to easy to spew out a bunch of hyped up, grief-ridden angst onto the screen and then, by hitting send, memorialize all our crazy stinkin’ thinkin’ for the ages.

My totally unsolicited advice and equally unsolicited but sincere admonition to all these woe-is-me sayers is to calm down, slow down, take a breath and wait. Give yourself the space to feel and think this through before you jump in there and start saying things you’ll have to explain away later.

If, for those of you this may happen to, somebody sticks a mike in your face and asks what you think, tell them you’re still too close to it to have thought it through and you’ll get back with them. They may argue. They may accept it. But who cares? The press doesn’t have subpoena powers. You don’t have to talk to them if you don’t want to, and my advice is that when you’re feeling as shook up as a lot of people appear to be about this election, you shouldn’t want to.

As to the questions I posed in the title, Should Republicans drop pro life; should evangelicals give up on traditional marriage; should everybody but the Catholic Church run away, I have an answer for you.

No.

If you believe it, and you know it’s right, then why would you be dropping out and giving up and changing course?

If, right now, you’re too frazzled and frizzled and just plain scared to face the fight head-on, take a breather. Tomorrow is Advent. Go say your prayers. Take an honest look at yourself. Go to confession. Get right with God.

And also, clean up your house, hug your kids, tell your spouse how much they mean to you, go to a movie, read a good book, and spend an evening with your friends.

Losing. Sucks. Life is beautiful anyway.

Live. Breath. Get over it.

After the New Year is plenty soon enough to start gearing up for the next political war. I know that the boys and gals in DC are already threatening to push the whole country and the entire world along with it into economic catastrophe. If you’re going to do one political thing, I would advise you to send your Congressman and Senators an email telling them to stop show-boating and just do their jobs, at least until after Christmas. The New Year is soon enough for them to start whamming each other.

There. I’ve said my say.

If you’ve got any thoughts on any of this, feel free to chime in. I’ll even allow wailing and moaning and we wuz robbed complaints just this once.

Christian Persecution: Lawsuit Filed to Allow Christian Students Equality in Use of California School Facilities

This article from Charisma News describes a lawsuit filed by the American Center for Law and Justice to gain equal rights for Christian students in California to free assembly and free speech. The text of the lawsuit may be found here. The article, by Nicole Lange. reads in part:

The fate of after-school Bible clubs in California may rest on the outcome of a lawsuit filed Monday in United States District Court. The suit filed by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) argues that Orange County’s Buena Park School District unconstitutionally rejected a Christian youth club’s request to meet in district facilities on equal grounds with similar, nonprofit, nonreligious youth organizations.

The “Good News Club,” a local affiliate of the international, Bible-centered organization Child Evangelism Fellowship, provides school kids with extracurricular educational programming and recreational activities that teach about life from a biblical perspective.

Child Evangelism Fellowship’s West Orange County chapter was denied a request to use district facilities free of charge, despite California Education Code allowing nonprofit, youth-oriented groups to use public school facilities at no cost. Similar nonprofit groups have historically been permitted to meet after hours without charge at Buena Park schools.

“This selective application of policy speaks ill of the Buena Park School District’s respect for and understanding of the Constitution,” said David French, ACLJ senior counsel. “Freedom doesn’t stop at the schoolhouse door. Child Evangelism Fellowship has every right to equal treatment and access to public school facilities for its after-school events.” (Read more here.)

Christian Persecution: Chinese House Church Christian Sentenced to “Re-Education Through Labor”

One way the Communist government in China attempts to control Christianity is by confining it to government-approved churches. The government then picks the bishops, priests and preachers who work in these churches. That places these “official” churches and their message under government control.

One way Christians in China try to get around this is to worship in “house churches” which are basically underground churches where people can worship the true Jesus found in the Gospels. The government attempts to suppress these house churches by use of criminal punishments, including sentencing people to labor, which is probably just another name for slave labor.

I don’t know, but I wonder if any of these prisoners work in American factories, making the gifts we put under our Christmas trees.

The following article from Worthy News describes the sentencing of Mao Henfeng to “re-education through labor.” Mao Hengfeng is a house church in Shanghai. The article reads in part:

BEIJING, CHINA (Worthy News)– A high profile house church Christian in Shanghai who has been continually targeted for government harassment was just handed an extra-judicial sentence to a forced labor camp.

Mao Hengfeng was sentenced to 18 months of “re-education through labor” for “disrupting public order,” the third such sentence for the 50 year-old Mao, who is in poor health with high blood pressure.

Labor camp sentences were also handed down to others who joined Hengfeng in seeking redress from the Communist government; recently many petitioners have disappeared into official custody, been criminally detained or had their freedom of movement curtailed in the days leading up to the November 8 opening of the 18th Party Congress.

ChinaAid President Bob Fu expressed grave concern for these political detainees as well as others who suffered human rights abuses at the hands of the Chinese government as it prepares for its Party Congress. Fu called upon the international community to seize the opportunity presented by this latest Party Congress and bring about reforms that will protect human rights, the rule of law and freedom of religion. (Read more here.)


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