Boston, Sandy Hook, Aurora: Maintaining an Even Strain in the Face of Repeated Atrocity

Oklahoma City is a smaller town than Boston. 

I know people who were grievously injured in the Oklahoma City bombing. They have lost their homes and jobs because of the injuries. Some of the survivors will require care from their families for the rest of their lives.

America reached out to us during the days after that horrible event. Huge amounts of money were donated. Despite this, families of the injured have been forced into bankruptcy and ultimately been left to deal with the after affects themselves.

We are going to have to get used to these tragedies.

They appear to be coming at us Wham! Wham! Wham! We need to learn how to maintain an even strain in the face of them and still take care of the victims and their families.

We also need to go after the perpetrators, which, I believe, we will. I’ll save the conversation concerning our society’s overwhelming need for conversion for a later post.

Today, I want to talk about what “maintaining an even strain” in the face of repetitive atrocity means in real life. I’m going to link to a video showing how the people on the ground in Boston responded to the bombing. They swung into action immediately. They went to the aid of the injured and they did it calmly, cooperatively and, in my opinion, the way that Americans have always done it.

We do this every time, don’t we? Americans don’t run away from each other when we’re in trouble. We reach out and help each other. Boston was no exception.

I’m also going to put a link to at least one place where you can donate money.
The owner of the Boston Patriots has set up a matching program for donations for the survivors. Go to this link and donate a few dollars. If you don’t have much, just give $5 or $10. If enough of us do that, it will add up, fast.

If you learn of other legitimate links, feel free to post them in the combox. But please do your best to make sure they are reputable.

Another suggestion I’m going to make is that we consider forming support groups for specific survivors of these atrocities in our Altar Societies, parish Knights of Columbus, etc. The reason I described the hardship survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing have been through is because genuine caring doesn’t end when the ratings go down and the news media skips on to the next big thing. 

There are people who survived the shooting in Aurora who will probably need help for a long time. That is almost certainly the same in Boston. The rescue workers are also going to suffer from this for a long time.

All these people need both financial and emotional support that is on-going and long-lasting. 

Here are things you can do that will make a difference:

1. Pray for them — by name, if you know their names. Pray for them every day. Include them — again by name, if you know their names — in your group prayers, your family bed time prayers, etc. Take the trouble to learn about at least one of these people and adopt them for prayer intercession on an on-going basis.

2. Send them a card. Not a card “to the victims,” but a card addressed to them using their own name. Tell them that you are praying for them and that you care about them. Then, in a couple of months, send another card. Next Christmas, send them a Christmas card. Lift them up as long as they are down.

3. Consider doing an altar society bake sale or a Knights candy sale and using the proceeds to help pay the medical expenses of this one person you have adopted.

4. Write corporations such as Nike who have an interest in the Marathon and ask them to also start a matching donation fund for the victims’ on-going medical expenses.

5. Put activities in place that we will follow after each one of these tragedies. We may need to set up atrocity prayer chains that we activate every time another one of these things happens.

The important thing is to stop wringing our hands and asking “How could this happen?” We need to get on with the business of taking care of each other in the aftermath.

Here is the video I spoke of earlier. Notice that the person holding the camera is in shock, but he keeps on filming. I would guess that the people who were moving barricades were in shock, too. But they didn’t flinch and they didn’t run away. That’s what Americans do when the going gets tough.

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You can donate to the survivors here. Be sure to indicate that you want your donation to go to the Boston Marathon bombing survivors.

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There is No Reason for Late-Term Abortion

There is no reason for late-term abortions.

Abortion supporters are fond of saying that people like Dr Kermit Gosnell, the late Dr George Tiller and Dr LeRoy Carhart perform a “necessary service” for “desperate women” when they “provide” late term abortions.

Not true.

Not even close to being true.

There is no reason for a late-term abortion. None. Zip. Zilch.

The legislators I work with, and (I would guess) much of the general public, lives in a fantasy land about abortion. They seem to think that an elective abortion involves a preternatural procedure where the doctor waves a medical magic wand over the pregnant woman and — poof! — she is no longer pregnant.

In their self-consoling dream world, abortion is just a re-wind that doesn’t put women through a surgery or, in the case of late-term abortions, a labor and delivery. All they will allow themselves to think that happens with “safe, legal abortion” is that the woman pays her money and is, through a miraculous medical intervention, made unpregnant.

In this fantasy world, there are no dismembered little baby bodies and their scrambled parts to reassemble and check to make sure the abortion is complete. In fantasy abortions, women do not experience pain during the fantasy procedure and danger is non-existent.

This “thing” that will one day “become a baby” is not a human being. In the cowardly imaginations of those who won’t face facts, no one suffers, no one dies, and in fact, nothing much happens in an abortion. It’s all painless, deathless problem solving for problems they don’t want to actually solve.

That’s where most of the resistance to pro life legislation lives. It is a product of convenient lies that allow people to do monstrous things and keep their own mental skirts clean, at least so long as they box themselves off from reality and never know the truth.

This nonsense about “necessary services” for “desperate women” concerning the work of Gosnell/Tiller/Carhart is  fantasy carried to the point of deliberate delusion.

Let’s stop for a moment and try thinking about the reality rather than the fantasy.

Late-term abortion refers to the deliberate killing of babies whose mothers are far along in their pregnancies. That’s where the phrase “late-term” comes from. What does that mean? It means that the baby looks like a baby, acts like a baby, sounds like a baby and, if it’s born at this point, would have a fighting chance of living like a baby.

Late-term abortions are performed on women who advanced months into their pregnancies before their “desperation” set in. This “service” requires that the women be put through horrific medical procedures that involve giving them large doses of contraction-stimulating hormones to induce unusually violent and painful labor and delivery. A nurse who assisted in these things told me that the doctors they worked for deliberately stimulated contractions so violent that the contractions would usually kill the baby while it was being born.

Aside from what this does to the baby, what do you think it does to the woman? The grisly and illegal procedure we call “partial birth abortion” requires that the baby be delivered feet first, then the delivery stopped so that the doctor can suction out the baby’s brain before it is legally born. Proponents of this procedure talked about how it was necessary for “women’s health.” But I ask you, aside from what it does to the baby, what do you think that does to the woman? How is that consistent with “women’s health?”

I’m not talking about her emotions here. I am talking about labor and delivery practices that are painful, dangerous and quite horrible for the woman. How is this something that protects “women’s health?”

The answer is, it doesn’t.

In addition to what this does to the woman, consider for a moment that many of these babies must be deliberately killed before the procedure takes place to keep them from being born alive. The way I’ve heard that this is usually done is to give the baby a shot of poison directly into its heart. This means jabbing a needle through the mother’s abdomen and into the baby. It means the mother has to feel her baby thrash around the avoid the needle, then feel it die. All this is done to keep the legal fiction that this late-term abortion is not, in fact, a cold-blooded murder.

In spite of this, many of these babies are born alive. The doctor might miss the mark and not shoot the poison into the baby’s heart. Or, the dose might be too small. Or, the doctor doesn’t administer the death-dealing drug and the baby is strong enough to survive the excessively violent contractions the doctor puts the mother through.

However it happens, babies do manage to survive these deliberate attempts to medically murder them and are born alive. When that happens, what does a doctor do? For decades, they killed these babies. Changes in the law now require them to administer medical care to the babies, but as we’ve learned, that doesn’t always happen.

How does all this support my contention that late-term abortion is never necessary? What about abortion to save the mother’s life?

The answer is so obvious it’s hard to believe people don’t see it.

If the woman is going to have to go through a labor and delivery anyway, there is no reason whatsoever to kill the baby. If the mother’s life is at stake, all that needs to be done is deliver the baby. Then, do your medical best to save both the child and its mother. 

There is no reason to kill these babies. There is no medical reason. No moral reason. No situation that requires it.

In some instances, late-term abortions are performed on very young girls. Proponents don’t argue their case, because they don’t have one. They simply point to the young girl and yammer about how can anyone “force” her to have a child. Their whole argument is based on the magic rewind fantasy abortion.

It ignores the fact that a late-term abortion will put the young girl through a much harsher labor and delivery than she would experience if she received life-saving medical care designed to save both her and her baby. It ignores the reality that the baby is already here. There is a child.

All late-term abortion does is kill the child. It does not save the mother anything. It is not “necessary” and it is not done to “save” “desperate” women.

There is no reason for late-term abortion.

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Sebelius Says Government Will Enforce HHS Mandate Aug 1

Now, here’s a surprise.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the agency will go ahead with enforcement of the HHS Mandate on August 1.

Sebelius, more than any other government official, is responsible for this broadside against religious freedom. The hand-picked committee that wrote this regulation operated under her agency’s control. That is not to gainsay that President Obama signed it and has backed it to the max, despite promises he made to pro life Democratic members of Congress.

The Affordable Health Care Act, often called Obamacare, includes provisions for freedom of conscience and religious exemptions. The President also made public promises to Democratic Congressmen, primarily Congressman Bart Stupak, on this issue. The President was forced to do this in order to pass the Affordable Health Care Act. Former Congressman Stupak signed a letter in opposition to the HHS Mandate in which he referred to these promises and said that the President had failed to live up to them.

The Affordable Health Care Act included provisions that the Health and Human Services Department would promulgate rules and regulations to enforce the law. The committee charged with this came up with the HHS Mandate, which broke the President’s word and created what seems to be an on-going attack on religious liberty in America. Membership of this committee contained a heavy component of Planned Parenthood and abortion advocates.

Secretary Sebelius is the former Governor of Kansas. During her tenure as governor, she went so far as to use her power as the state’s highest elected official to publicly campaign against and defeat pro life Democratic state Senator Mark Gilstrap, presumably for opposing her on the issue of abortion. She also received and accepted large campaign donations from Dr George Tiller, the controversial doctor who was infamous for performing late-term abortions in Wichita, Kansas. Dr Tiller was murdered in 2009.

All this is to say that the HHS Mandate is not, as its supporters like to claim, a law. It is a regulation written by a committee of unelected, hand-picked abortion supporters many of whom were financially connected to organizations that will benefit from the mandate. As such, it has very little to do with “women’s health” or access to birth control, and a great deal to do with using the power of government to attack and, if possible, destroy, organizations that these groups such as Planned Parenthood see as their political opponents.

That committee was not a balanced and reasonable group of citizens working in good faith. It was a hanging jury designed to use the Affordable Health Care Act to promote the viewpoint of a few organizations and one side of the culture wars.

An article from The Washington Times concerning Sebelius’ plans to implement the HHS Mandate August 1, says in part:

President Obama’s top health official said Monday the administration will finalize its new rules granting free birth control, saying the controversial policy will go into effect in August.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius‘ comments came the same day that the public comment period for the contraception mandate ended, and even as a bevy of nonprofit groups and companies are fighting in court to overturn it.

“As of Aug. 1, 2013, every employee who doesn’t work directly for a church or a diocese will be included in the benefit package,” Mrs. Sebelius said at a forum moderated by Reuters that was held at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Read more:
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter


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Over 85,000 File Comments on HHS Mandate

Americans have the right to petition their government.

Eighty-five thousand of us took advantage of that right by commenting on the latest version of the HHS Mandate. This isn’t the first go-round of this process where the mandate is concerned. Back in August 2011 when the initial rule was issued, 147,000 commenters, most of them again the Mandate, filed comments.

It is mind boggling how much political capital the Obama administration has expended on this outrageous attempt to subvert the First Amendment. One of the many things that amazes me is the President’s willingness to play games with the American people by misrepresenting the issue and deliberately deepening the divides of the culture wars that are damaging us as a society. His allegiance to Planned Parenthood evidently knows no bounds.

If there’s one thing I know about politics, it’s that you don’t quit until the fight is over. This fight won’t be over until we have preserved the right to religious freedom for all Americans.

This article from the National Catholic Register gives a run-down of the history of this fight so far.

WASHINGTON — More than 85,000 parties have filed comments ahead of today’s 11:59pm Eastern time deadline to respond to the federal government about the latest version of its mandate that forces employers to provide contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization in their employee health-insurance plans.

“There is still a lot of energy behind this in the Catholic community,” said Anthony Picarello Jr., associate general secretary and general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which urged Catholics and people of good will to submit their comments with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

More than 147,000 comments — most critical of the mandate — were previously filed when the government’s initial rule was issued in August 2011 and when the Obama administration proposed its first accommodation in February 2012.

The bishops’ March 20 report said last year’s proposed accommodation was inadequate and that the administration’s latest version of the mandate still violates religious liberty and conscience rights.

The USCCB filed its 26-page comment with HHS on March 20. The report said the mandate was virtually unchanged and that its religious “exemption“ still excludes most religious organizations and does not remove the burden on religious freedom.

EWTN’s Response

The Eternal Word Television Network also filed a comment, asserting that the government’s proposed rule does not permit anyone other than a church to be exempt from the mandate, noting that religious beliefs and conscience objections are held by people and organizations that are not churches.

The government is essentially forcing EWTN — which owns the Register — and other objecting parties to call contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing pills “good” and to pay for them, without deductibles or co-pays by employees, says the filing, which was signed by EWTN President and CEO Michael Warsaw and General Counsel John Manos.

EWTN’s comment says, “At the heart of this dispute is whether EWTN or persons with similar beliefs must use their bodies and money to support this erroneous belief under government force. The Constitution restrains the government from forcing its beliefs on individuals, particularly any religious belief.”

“Yet this mandate persists to force EWTN and others to part with money and their health under threat of government force,” the filing adds. “Thus this fight is not about providing health care; it is about an erroneous belief, which the government accepts as a foregone conclusion, that contraceptives, voluntary sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs are health care. EWTN refuses, by exercising the rights guaranteed to it by the same government, to swallow this error and merely ‘go along.’”


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Shark Jumping Planned Parenthood Lobbyist was on Local Catholic Charities Board of Directors

This is the kind of story that makes me wish I had a biting stick.

It turns out that the Planned Parenthood lobbyist who basically Ok’d letting babies who survive abortions die rather than receive medical care is not, as appearances would lead one to believe, a neophyte amateur. She’s a professional lobbyist and president of the firm, Snow Strategies.  I made a copy of the relevant page from her web site because these things have a habit of going down at times like this.

It’s interesting that she’s considered a professional lobbyist.  It makes me wonder what they feed their professional lobbyists in Florida to get such a poor crop. However the thing that has me reaching for a biting stick is down the page on Mrs Snow’s list of credits. I’m talking about the fifth paragraph where it says

… and serves on the board of Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida-Tallahassee. 

So, this shark-jumping Planned Parenthood lobbyist is also on the board of directors of the local Catholic Charities?

Bleck. Yeck. Yuck. Phooey.

Or as Shirley Temple used to say, “oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness.”

What is going on here? There’s no doubt that Planned Parenthood got Mrs Snow’s total loyalty where this piece of legislation is concerned. She may be an inept lobbyist who accidentally hung her client and herself out to dry, but there’s no question of that old bugaboo “Catholic morality” being imposed on anybody — including herself — because of her actions.

Deacon Greg Kandra called the Catholic Charities in question and they confirmed that Mrs Snow had been on their board, but left in January. This raises all sorts of potential scenarios, including that she left because of her work with Planned Parenthood.

I checked, and Planned Parenthood did not list her as their lobbyist in 2012. However, they do list her in 2013. I do not know if other people in her firm lobbied for Planned Parenthood in previous years, since the listings are by the lobbyist’s name and not lobbying firm. But it sounds as if Planned Parenthood might be a new client for her.

One thing the listings did show is that Mrs Snow’s firm has a large number of clients. Here in Oklahoma, we call lobbyists like these “hired guns” because they advocate for anybody with the doh-reh-mee.

It looks like this lady moved from Catholic Charities to Planned Parenthood with little or no time gap between. She held two positions, two high-profile and responsible positions, in opposing armies of the culture wars. She had a high-powered position of trust, one which assumes loyalty, on each side of the abortion debate, both within what can not be more than a matter of weeks of one another. How does anyone go from the board of directors of Catholic Charities (which is listed on her web site as a current position) to lobbyist for Planned Parenthood in one quick step?

I made a big transition like this, only I went in the opposite direction. It took me years before I was ready to go public with it. How does anyone cross over such a deep divide in a matter of days?

I’m asking questions I can’t answer about something I cannot fathom, and that is the mind and heart of another person. All I know is that this story doesn’t make sense to me. Stay tuned. I have a feeling there’s more to come.

In the meantime, I’m going to give you another look at Alisa LaPolt Snow, former board member of Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida-Tallahassee, lobbying her little heart out for Planned Parenthood.

Bleck. Yeck. Yuck. Phooey.


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Planned Parenthood Jumps the Shark. Then Blames the Shark.

It’s time for every brainless knee-jerk Planned Parenthood supporter to line up and recite “right wing lies.” 

A Planned Parenthood lobbyist (I’m leaving her name out because she’s just one of many) spoke against a bill requiring that infants who are born alive after abortions be given medical care instead of just dumped in the trash and allowed to die.

Planned Parenthood has opposed bills to protect the lives of infants who survive abortions every time I’m aware of. What’s different is that the Florida lobbyist seems to be a political amateur. Planned Parenthood’s lobbyist here in Oklahoma would never do anything this stupid. Their Oklahoma lobbyist knows how to play for-real political hardball.

Unfortunately for Planned Parenthood, their too-honest and far-too-inept Florida lobbyist got drawn out in question and answers, and the testimony ended up on the internet.

That’s how Planned Parenthood jumped the shark.

Here’s the video:

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It turns out not everyone supports the Planned Parenthood position about killing babies after they are born. In fact, there was widespread public outrage, including allusions to this video by members of Congress in calls to defund Planned Parenthood. Anyone who has ever dealt with Planned Parenthood knows that they are all about funding.

That’s when Planned Parenthood started to blame the shark.

First they issued one of their usual we-didn’t-say-what-we-said statements on April 1 (which is an appropriate day for it.) When that didn’t work, they moved to Plan B (pun intended.)

They issued another statement, claiming that their only concerns with the bill were “health and safety issues” in some of the bill’s language and that “biased media reports reported our position inaccurately.” They then go on with the standard Planned Parenthood women’s-health-our-great-services boilerplate. You can follow the links to read both their statements if you want, but I warn you: It’s political schlock.

This business of jumping the shark and then blaming the shark for having been jumped is becoming a standard Planned Parenthood two-step. I don’t know about you, but I could write their shark-blaming statements for them.

Their trouble isn’t biased media. It also isn’t inept lobbyists who don’t know how to kill a bill behind closed doors the way their Oklahoma lobbyist does. Their problem is that they are lying. They keep getting caught out in their lies because they are telling lies.

Their real position seems to be simple and straightforward: A baby’s life is forfeit from conception through post abortion. The woman’s right to kill her child at any time during pregnancy, including after pregnancy if the baby survives an abortion, is absolute. If a baby survives an abortion, it must be killed because the baby’s mother has already decided to kill it.

I believe that what’s at stake here is not the life of the child, or even the mother’s “right to chose” so much as Planned Parenthood’s determination to fulfill its contractual obligations. If a woman contracts with them for an abortion that results in a dead baby, then she’s entitled to a dead baby, even if that means killing the baby after the abortion itself.

Do you get that?

The life of the child appears to be a non sequitur to Planned Parenthood. What seems to matter to them is that they told the woman they’d kill her baby, took her money with the promise they’d kill her baby, and they are going to Kill That Baby. They may be liars to the general public, but in this grisly instance, they keep their word.

When they get baited out into an excess of truth-telling and almost admit this as their lobbyist did in this video, they resort to obfuscation, lies and the use of their well-oiled media/political/social support machine to blame the shark they just jumped for their predicament.

I haven’t written about this story before because I’m so tired of it. It’s tough for me because I have to argue with these numbskull lies all day at work. I’ve been doing it for years and I am bone-weary with the lies.

However, I want you to understand this because I think it’s important for everyone, including Planned Parenthood’s supporters, to understand one simple thing: They are lying. Their lies are so obvious that it makes my teeth ache to read them. 

The next time Planned Parenthood jumps the shark and then blames the shark for having been jumped, just turn down the volume on your television, click over onto another page on the internet. No need to hear it/read it again. It’s always the same.


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No Abortion Workers = No Abortions

April 8, 2013 is National Leave the Abortion Industry Day.

Abby Johnson and her coworkers at And Then There Were None picked the date at random.

And Then There Were None is a pro-life ministry created by Johnson to give abortion workers who want to leave the industry the tools to do so. Johnson and her co-workers created National Leave the Abortion Industry Day, also known as Exodus 2013, to encourage abortion workers seeking to get out of the industry by giving them a day they could band together in solidarity.

They didn’t realize that April 8 is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord as well as Holocaust Remembrance Day. On top of that, Exodus 2013 is the Bible verse that says Thou shalt not kill.

Johnson said that when she and her coworkers discovered all these connections, they “didn’t think there was any coincidence,”

All I can say is that And Then There Were None is a much-needed ministry. People who leave the abortion industry are wounded. Those who tried to leave in the past had to walk out alone. This often meant losing every friend and every bit of emotional support they had, in addition to losing their livelihoods.

I believe many more abortion workers would leave, but they are afraid. Abby Johnson, by showing them that there is support  waiting for them, is doing a wonderful pro life work.

The equation is simple: No abortion workers = No abortions


.- Former abortion clinic manager Abby Johnson is organizing a day – called “Exodus 2013” – for abortion workers seeking to leave the industry to band together in solidarity and encouragement.

“We kind of thought picking one particular day might bring about a sense of camaraderie,” Johnson told CNA, “that they might all feel a little more courageous if they know they’re doing it with other people.”

“Exodus 2013 – National Leave the Abortion Industry Day” will take place across the country on April 8, helping workers wishing to leave the abortion industry to gather both the courage and resources to do so.

Johnson said that contact with pro-life organizations, including 40 Days for Life, helped her to leave her job as the director of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in 2009.

She later became a pro-life advocate and founded an organization called “And Then There Were None” to help abortion workers find the information, support and funds to leave the abortion business.

The group offers emotional support and arranges for counseling, because “these workers have seen and participated in things the general public wouldn’t be able to stomach,” Johnson explained. In addition, spiritual care from one’s religious tradition can be arranged for those who want it.

The organization is also able to provide pro-bono legal assistance through its partnership with legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom for individuals who are prosecuted by the abortion clinics. Since the ministry’s start last June, 47 abortion clinic workers have left the abortion industry with Johnson’s help.

“We’ve had amazing success through our ministry,” she said, “and we just kind of thought – maybe if we could get a day where we asked people to just pick up and leave the abortion industry…it would at least be good exposure to let clinic workers know that there is a resource for them.”

The name “Exodus 2013” was initially chosen simply to suggest a large number of people leaving the abortion industry in 2013, Johnson explained, and the date of the event was picked purely at random.

Later, however, Johnson realized that April 8 would be the celebration of the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, which was moved in the Catholic liturgical calendar from its normal date of March 25 due to Holy Week and the Octave of Easter. The Catholic feast day celebrates the announcement of the archangel Gabriel to Mary that she was to conceive Jesus by the Holy Spirit. (Read the rest here.)

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It’s Easter … and the Fight for Religious Freedom Continues

I focused on Holy Week issues last week.

I would love to continue doing the same thing this first week of Easter. In fact, it might be nice to never do anything else. But the world and our duty to engage the world for Christ goes on.

Challenges to the HHS Mandate continue to wend their way through the judicial process. 

Hobby Lobby was granted a hearing of its appeal against the HHS Mandate before a full federal panel of nine judges. Most appeals are heard by three judges. The fact that the whole panel will hear this one reflects the seriousness of the issue involved. I can think of few issues more serious than whether or not the First Amendment applies to applies to everyone.

We need to continue to support both EWTN and Hobby Lobby, as well as all others who have stepped up to fight for our freedoms.  I got paid today. I’ll be too busy to do any shopping for a few days, but the first chance I get, I’m heading to Hobby Lobby. I may top it off with lunch at Chick Fil-A. I hope you do the same.

From CNA:

.- Christian-owned craft giant Hobby Lobby will be able to make its appeal against the federal contraception mandate before a full federal panel of nine judges, rather than the usual three.

“Full court review is reserved only for the most serious legal questions,” explained Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in a press release on March 29. The Becket Fund is representing the owners of Hobby Lobby in court.

Duncan said that the decision to grant a full nine-judge hearing speaks to the gravity of the issue.

“This case asks whether the First Amendment protects everyone’s right to religious freedom, or whether it leaves out religious business owners like the Greens,” he explained.

As its religious freedom case comes before a federal court, Hobby Lobby had petitioned for an “en banc” hearing, or an appeals hearing before the full bench of nine judges.

“We are grateful that the court granted Hobby Lobby’s petition,” said Duncan. (Read more here.)

Meanwhile, EWTN’s lawsuit against the HHS Mandate was dismissed by an Alabama court because the court said the case “wasn’t ripe.” I would make a comment about the choice of the word “ripe,” but it’s too easy. EWTN has vowed to fight on.

If you’re getting the idea that going to court is a roll of the dice, you’re right. It all depends on which judge you draw and if their lunch agreed with them.

From CNA:

.- The EWTN Global Catholic Network is “extremely disappointed” by a Monday court ruling that dismissed as “unripe” its lawsuit against a federal mandate that could require the organization to violate Catholic teaching.

“Contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs are not healthcare. EWTN cannot and will not compromise our strongly held beliefs on these moral issues,” EWTN President and CEO Michael P. Warsaw said March 25.

On Monday Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn of the U.S. District Court in Birmingham dismissed the Irondale, Ala.-based organization’s lawsuit until new regulations are “created and finalized.” The March 25 court decision agreed that EWTN has standing to sue, but it sided with Obama administration lawyers who contended that the case is not ripe for review. (Read more here.) 


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Archbishop Lori Issues Statement of Support for the Health Care Conscience Rights Act

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who is chair of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, has voiced support for the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, authored by Representative Diane Black (R-TN).

Archbishop Lori issued the following statement:

“I am grateful to Congresswoman Black and other sponsors for their leadership today. I welcome the Health Care Conscience Rights Act and call for its swift passage into law. While federal laws are on the books protecting conscience rights in health care, this Act would make such protection truly effective. This overdue measure is especially needed in light of new challenges to conscience rights arising from the federal health care reform act.”

Representative Black’s legislation comes after she and 13 other members of Congress sent a letter to the House leadership requesting that the issue of freedom of conscience be included in the upcoming budget bill. This letter opened the doorway for the Republican leadership to make their stand-off with the President over budget concerns about something noble instead of using it to stop tax increases on the wealthiest Americans. 

Hopefully, they will see it that way and take the action that the signers of the letter asked of them. 

Meanwhile, Representative Black announced at a press conference today that she is authoring a separate statute to guarantee the right of conscience to health care workers. 

If you wish to contact your Congressional delegation to ask them to support both Representative Black’s bill and putting the issue of religious freedom into the budget bill, you can find their emails and phone numbers here

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Representative Diane Black Introduces the Health Care Conscience Protection Act

Representative Diane Black (R-TN), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and John Fleming, MD (R-LA) announced that they will introduce the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (HCCRA.)

It is bill number HR 940.

According to Rep Black’s website, HR 940, “offers reprieve from ongoing violations of our First Amendment, including full exemption from the Obama Administration’s Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate and conscience protection for individuals and health care entities that refuse to provide, pay for, or refer patients to abortion providers because of their deeply-held, reasoned beliefs. HCCRA has 50 original co-sponsors.”

Representative Black allowed individuals who have been harmed by the government’s attacks on freedom of religion to speak at the press conference announcing this bill. They were:

Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, RN – New York State nurse who filed suit after her freedom to serve patients according to her conscience was violated. For more information, click here.

·         Susan Elliott, PhD, Director and Professor at Biola University Nursing Department. For more information, click here.

·         Christine Ketterhagen, Co-Owner/Board Member of Hercules Industries, Inc.; Andy Newland, President of Hercules Industries; Bill Newland, Chairman of the Board of Hercules Industries. For more information, click here

·         Sister Jane Marie Klein, OSF, Chairperson of the Board of Franciscan Alliance, Inc. (in Mishawaka, IN). Franciscan Alliance is a co-plaintiff with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

Representative Black’s website included the following provisions in the Health Care Conscience Act:

HHS Mandate:

Under the health care coverage mandate issued on August 3, 2011, widely known as the HHS mandate, organizations and their managers are now facing potentially ruinous financial penalties for exercising their First Amendment rights, as protected by law. Hobby Lobby, a family business that was denied injunctive relief from the mandate and faces fines of up to $1.3 million dollars a day, unless its owners agree to fund potentially abortion-inducing drugs. If Hobby Lobby is forced to close its doors, some 25,000 jobs nationwide may disappear. The Obama Administration’s HHS mandate exemption only includes houses of worship and does not account for the thousands of religious and non-religious affiliated employers that find it a moral hazard to cover sterilization, contraception and potentially abortion-inducing drugs on their employer-based health insurance. Ultimately, the so-called “accommodation” does not protect anyone’s religious rights, because all companies and organizations will still be forced to provide insurance coverage that includes services which conflict with their religious convictions. The HCCRA would address this violation of our First Amendment rights by providing a full exemption for all those whose religious beliefs run counter to the Administration’s HHS mandate.

Abortion Non-Discrimination:

The HCCRA also protects institutions and individuals from forced or coerced participation in abortion.  In recent years there have been several examples of nurses being told they must participate in abortions. There have also been efforts to require Catholic Hospitals to do abortions, and a Catholic social service provider was denied a grant to assist victims of human trafficking on the basis of their pro-life convictions.  The HCCRA codifies and clarifies the appropriations provision known as the Hyde‐Weldon conscience clause. This is accomplished by adding the protections for health care entities that refuse to provide, pay for, or refer for abortion to the section of the Public Health Service Act known as the Coats Amendment. It also adds the option of judicial recourse for victims whose rights have been violated under the HCCRA, Coats, or the conscience clauses known as the Church amendments.

You can call your Congresspeople at 202-224-3121. Or you can find their email addresses here

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