There are two kinds of people who obsessively watch porn.
Those who enjoy it.
Those who believe it.
Either way, porn is addicting and degrading. Porn is based on degrading a group of people for the titillation of those who get off on the degradation.
Both those who watch porn because they enjoy it, and those who believe it, will become addicted to it if they don’t pull back from it. That alter world where degradation of other people reigns will take them over and the day will come when they find they can’t just turn it off.
The difference between those who watch it for the titillation alone, and those who get so wound into it that they believe it, is the difference between doing harm to oneself and doing harm to others.
The porn believers can become dangerous as they seek to act out the things they have watched. Every prostitute I’ve ever known has told me about painful and rather hideous things johns did to them in attempts to live out things they’d seen in porn. Rape victims report the same stories.
I would guess that the international sex tourism industry finds its customers among porn believers. Acting out fantasies of degrading other people can take porn believers over. That leads to every kind of horror for their victims.
These same assessments also apply to intellectual porn. All the demagogues of all the eras and epochs of history instinctively knew this. They could, by producing the mind porn of hate politics, gain power. It was — and is — as seductive to the demagogue as to the demagogues’ followers.
The practice of moral and intellectual demagoguery gets votes. It ups ratings, sells books and pleases advertisers. It also confers a kind of heady, ego-driven power over other people.
There are, as usual, two kinds of people who obsessively watch this intellectual porn or listen to it on the radio.
Those who get off on the titillation it provides.
Those who believe it.
The trouble with demagogic porn is that it never, ever, claims to be a fantasy. Point a finger at sexual pornographers and one of their first defenses is that “it’s not real.”
But the purveyors of intellectual porn always, always, always claim that what they are saying is factual and true. They can get away with this because it usually is based on facts. What they leave out is that the facts are carefully selected to promote one viewpoint and that the facts are mixed with a lot lying implications.
Here is a case in point:
The sudden incessant discussion of the supposedly all-new “border crisis” is moral and intellectual porn. It is obvious demagoguery.
This story gets ramped up every bi-election season. Then, after the votes are counted, it goes away. It is being put out there right now because we are in a bi-election season.
It is political demagoguery, designed to gain power. It is also intellectual and moral porn of the worst sort.
The problem of people coming over America’s southern border illegally is real. The trajectory of children crossing the border alone has taken on a 70 degree angle. It has gone up, and is going up.
However, the wild stories about gangs meeting them at the border to recruit them and how one in four of them are “criminals” are untrue. They are being told to ratchet up the emotions and build the outrage past rational thought. The constant 24/7 drumbeat of hysteria about this issue is manufactured for political reasons.
One of the simplest and most effective things we could do to stem this tide of people crossing into our country illegally would be to severely punish the business interests who hire them. If they couldn’t find jobs, a lot of this would go away.
If you try to pass a law like this, the business interests will work against it with all they’ve got. And they will win, especially if the people who are running the show at the time are Rs. I’m not just saying this. I’ve seen it. I can also verify with court actions taken by business interests to attack such laws.
We also need to look past the Rio Grande and consider why they’re coming. We spend billions “building” countries in other hemispheres. Perhaps we should take a more serious look at our own.
However, this is all talk. Nobody is going to fix the border problem. Nobody wants to fix it. Just try to act on either of these two suggestions and watch who will object. It will be the same people who own the media that runs this bi-election immigration frenzy.
This reportage is demagoguery for political purposes.
It is moral and intellectual porn designed to whip people around. It uses fear and hatred of other people to get viewers worked up past the thinking point and keep them there until November. It turns good people into the face of ugly. At that point, it is impossible to reason with the viewers and believers of this porn. They are irrational.
The easiest and simplest way to avoid falling into the porn trap (whatever the type of porn) is to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church.
No other church will take the stands on issues where the public is all whipped up against them. Other denominations follow the zeitgeist. It pains me to say this, but all I have to do is consider the sounding silence I’m hearing from everyone but the Catholic Church right now, and the ugliness I’ve seen on this one issue from various clergy in the past.
If you want to go to heaven, do what the Church teaches. If you want to follow Christ, then turn off the porn.
What these media people are doing by deliberately whipping people up into mass hatred in order to change how they vote is deeply immoral. It is anti-Christ.
If you blindly follow them, you become immoral and anti-Christ, right along with them.
My delete file is bulging with ugly, bitter and downright crazy diatribes against both me and the Catholic bishops because I dare to say this.
So be it.
I am a Christian. I am a Catholic. I choose Christ.
It is my responsibility as a Christian, Catholic blogger who chooses Christ to say this. If nobody listens, that’s on them.
The Civil War split the Southern side of my family.
My great-great grandfather was from the South, but fought on the side of the North. This sheared him from his family, his people, his past.
It, in a round-about way, is why I am an Okie today.
My family has others who fought in that war, Southerners who fought for the North. My grandfather’s father was a drummer boy. My family tends to have children late, which is why the generations are so short. That drummer boy great grandfather lived to be 101.
My husband’s family was also deep in it. They saluted the Stars and Bars. We sometimes joke that it took over 100 years for the two of us to marry across that divide.
America has seen worse than the problems she faces today.
Lincoln, whatever else he did, saved the Union. I do not think anyone else would have stood in that breach and doggedly kept on. If he had not done this, America would never have become the great power she is and the history of the entire world would be vastly different.
Without a strong America to lend-lease arms to the Soviets and Brits, and then to join the fight, would Hitler have won? Our entry in WWI was certainly a turning point, as well.
What about the peace that followed? What would have become of a world without the Marshall Plan, the rebuilding of Japan and America’s stalwart stand against Communism across the decades?
Lincoln saved the Union, and changed world history.
His great short speech at Gettysburg captured the tragedy of the Civil War in a few words.
This is the story that irony built.
It seems that Sara Hellwege is a nurse-midwife in Tampa, FL. She applied for a job at Tampa Family Health Centers. In an email exchange Tampa Family Health Center’s HR director, Chad Lindsey, quizzed her about her affiliation with the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Ms Hellwege said that she would not prescribe chemical birth control. She was told that this was part of the job. They didn’t hire her.
Or, case not closed, as it turns out. Ms Hellwege has filed suit.
And I can’t stop laughing.
We’ve been peppered with one idiot lawsuit after another by people demanding that the courts force Catholic organizations, particularly schools, to employee them while they get gay married in defiance of Catholic teaching.
Anyone who objects to one of these lawsuits is treated to an arm-waving smack-down with words like , “tolerance” and “rights” flying through the air like bullets.
Now, it seems, the shoe is on the other foot.
Google gave me a whole page of links on this lawsuit. The most apoplectic commentary I saw was coming from the same folks who are soooo supportive of every lawsuit filed to force the Catholic Church to violate its beliefs.
Several posts I read tried to claim that the lawsuit is based on the Hobby Lobby decision. Unless Ms Hellwege is a privately-held corporation who is being forced by the HHS Mandate to buy insurance that pays for four kinds of abortifacient, the Hobby Lobby decision has nothing to do with her.
Having said all that, I don’t really have any quarrel with these opinion pieces. They are, after all, opinions.
I just can’t stop laughing.
One of my Facebook friends called him “the great divider.”
Even though I am both aware and horrified by the endless hatred directed at whoever sits behind the desk in the Oval Office, I think that’s a fair thing to say about President Obama. His penchant for one man sledgehammer legislating against the First Amendment is a particular case in point.
So far as I am concerned, the HHS Mandate is a permanent blot on his presidency.
I’ve spent the morning, sifting through the product of our President’s mighty pen from yesterday. I’ve been sitting in front of my computer with the screens littered with copies of the executive orders he amended, wondering, where, exactly, is this one man show pointing us?
My best guess, based on what I see, is that it’s pointing us toward court. The reason is the lack of a specific religious exemption in President Obama’s verbiage.
What he has done with this executive order is to amend two previous executive orders from the 1960s. These 1960s executive orders provided direction to the Department of Labor on the question of discrimination in employment. The orders dealt with employment discrimination because of “race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap or age.” President Obama’s executive order adds “sexual orientation, gender identity” to that list.
Executive Order 11478 deals with direct federal employment by direct government agencies. I think it will stand and basically have no big problem with the order as I understand it now. I may change my opinion when I see the rules promulgated by the Department of Labor.
However, Executive Order 11246 deals with federal contractors. This could be construed to include grantees and, if you want to stretch it, any entity that receives federal money for anything.
President Obama did not address a third executive order by President Bush, Executive Order 13279. President Bush’s order was designed to protect the religious freedom of entities that receive grants, contract with the government or otherwise receive government monies. It contains a laundry list of sorts of the types of services which it covers. It also specifically addresses the entities covered by Executive Order 11246, which applies to federal contractors. Executive Order 11246 is one of the orders President Obama amended yesterday.
The assumption being made in various press outlets that I have read is that President Bush’s executive order provides the religious exemptions needed to keep President Obama’s ENDA order from turning into another HHS Mandate.
Is that true?
Only somewhat, and, depending on the regs the Department of Labor comes up with, maybe not at all.
The reason I say that is two-fold. First, and scariest, President Obama’s order calls on the Department of Labor to promulgate rules. This is normal and necessary. What makes it scary is the big time precedent of this administration using rules and regs to attack religious freedom.
The disastrous HHS Mandate is a rule, not a law. Of course, if the president sincerely wants to avoid another HHS Mandate, he can use his powers to encourage sensible regulations that ensure religious liberty. He also has the power to deep-six any reg or rule by not signing it.
I’m taking a wait and see position on how those rules are going to look and what this president signs. He lied about religious freedom to get the votes to pass the Affordable Health Care Act and he’s consistently lied about the impact of the HHS Mandate. So, I don’t trust him.
The second reason I think this may end up in court is that court cases and various agency rulings have already attacked Catholic institutions and successfully stripped them of federal grants because of the Church’s adherence to 2,000 year-old consistent teachings. There is also a lawsuit in the courts attacking the Catholic bishops for teaching Catholic teaching concerning abortion in regards to Catholic hospitals.
Both Robert George, Vice President at United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and the Catholic Bishops have issued statements opposing President Obama’s ENDA order precisely because it lacks a religious exemption. I think they are on solid ground.
Based on that litigious impulse to attack Catholic teaching through the courts, I think the chances of ENDA ending up in court are quite good. What we will probably have at that point is adjudication based on dueling executive orders. President Obama could have stopped this before it got out of the gate by simply adding a religious exemption to his orders yesterday.
I going to let you read both Robert George’s complete statement and the complete statement from the USCCB without edits.
From the USCCB:
USCCB Chairmen Respond To ‘Unprecedented And Extreme’ Executive Order
I have, up till now, avoided the “war on this,” “war on that,” rhetoric. But now there is no avoiding it. Today Barack Obama declared war on the Catholic Church and people of other faiths who hold to traditional beliefs about marriage and sexual morality. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explains the situation in a statement responding to the executive order the President issued today. There is no way for religious people to defend themselves against being reduced to the status of second-class citizens except by electing to office, first in 2014 and then in 2016, men and women who will repeal this executive order and other governmental acts that undermine their religious freedom and rights of conscience. But that is only part of the picture. The reason that Catholics and other people of faith seek government contracts is to carry our their mission of serving people in need, orphans, the poor, refugees and the dispossessed, persons suffering from afflictions and addictions. It is the people who are served who are secondary victims of this war on conscience when faith-based providers are forced out—as Catholic Charities was forced out of providing adoption services in Massachusetts, Illinois, and the District of Columbia. We must defeat the enemies of conscience—at the ballot box—not only to protect our own freedom and that of our fellow citizens, but also to protect the interests of those served so well by faith-based institutions. This is a war we must win for their sake as well as our own.
President Obama issued his much-ballyhooed executive order on employment discrimination concerning sexual orientation (ENDA) today.
I need to think this through before I write about it. In them meantime, here are my first thoughts:
1. The order is a not a statute. That means it is limited in scope to federal situations.
2. It certainly applies to direct, federal employees. It almost certainly also applies to federal contractors. Does it apply as well to federal grantees? I’m guessing yes. Does it apply to anyone who takes federal money for any purpose? That’s the sticking point, and the limits may have to be adjudicated before we know.
3. Does this executive order rescind earlier executive orders by other presidents, that included religious exemptions? That’s a critical question, and one reason why I want time to sort this out.
You can find the exact wording of the order here. It’s mainly references to other orders, so it’s not easy to understand without copies of those other orders in front of you.
Here is President Obama’s complete statement on issuing this order, without edits.
Remarks by the President at Signing of Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Discrimination
10:39 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Welcome to the White House, everybody. I know I’m a little late. But that’s okay because we’ve got some big business to do here.
Many of you have worked for a long time to see this day coming. You organized, you spoke up, you signed petitions, you sent letters — I know because I got a lot of them. (Laughter.) And now, thanks to your passionate advocacy and the irrefutable rightness of your cause, our government — government of the people, by the people, and for the people — will become just a little bit fairer.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Amen. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: It doesn’t make much sense, but today in America, millions of our fellow citizens wake up and go to work with the awareness that they could lose their job, not because of anything they do or fail to do, but because of who they are — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. And that’s wrong. We’re here to do what we can to make it right — to bend that arc of justice just a little bit in a better direction.
In a few moments, I will sign an executive order that does two things. First, the federal government already prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Once I sign this order, the same will be explicitly true for gender identity. (Applause.)
And second, we’re going to prohibit all companies that receive a contract from the federal government from discriminating against their LGBT employees. (Applause.) America’s federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people.
Now, this executive order is part of a long bipartisan tradition. President Roosevelt signed an order prohibiting racial discrimination in the national defense industry. President Eisenhower strengthened it. President Johnson expanded it. Today, I’m going to expand it again.
Currently, 18 states have already banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. And over 200 cities and localities have done the same. Governor Terry McAuliffe is here; his first act as governor was to prohibit discrimination against LGBT employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia. (Applause.) Where did Terry go? Right back here.
I’ve appointed a record number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender public servants to positions across my administration. They are ambassadors and federal judges, special assistants, senior advisors from the Pentagon to the Labor Department. Every day, their talent is put to work on behalf of the American people.
Equality in the workplace is not only the right thing to do, it turns out to be good business. That’s why a majority of Fortune 500 companies already have nondiscrimination policies in place. It is not just about doing the right thing — it’s also about attracting and retaining the best talent. And there are several business leaders who are here today who will attest to that.
And yet, despite all that, in too many states and in too many workplaces, simply being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender can still be a fireable offense. There are people here today who’ve lost their jobs for that reason. This is not speculative, this is not a matter of political correctness — people lose their jobs as a consequence of this. Their livelihoods are threatened, their families are threatened. In fact, more states now allow same-sex marriage than prohibit discrimination against LGBT workers. So I firmly believe that it’s time to address this injustice for every American.
Now, Congress has spent 40 years — four decades — considering legislation that would help solve the problem. That’s a long time. And yet they still haven’t gotten it done. Senators Terry [Tammy] Baldwin and Jeff Merkley are here. They have been champions of this issue for a long, long time. We are very proud of them. I know they will not stop fighting until fair treatment for all workers is the federal law of the land. Everyone thanks them for that. (Applause.)
But I’m going to do what I can, with the authority I have, to act. The rest of you, of course, need to keep putting pressure on Congress to pass federal legislation that resolves this problem once and for all.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Amen!
THE PRESIDENT: Amen. Amen. (Applause.) Got the “amen” corner here. (Laughter.) Well — (sings) — (laughter.) You don’t want to get me preaching, now. (Laughter.)
For more than two centuries, we have strived, often at great cost, to form “a more perfect union” — to make sure that “we, the people” applies to all the people. Many of us are only here because others fought to secure rights and opportunities for us. And we’ve got a responsibility to do the same for future generations. We’ve got an obligation to make sure that the country we love remains a place where no matter who you are, or what you look like, or where you come from, or how you started out, or what your last name is, or who you love — no matter what, you can make it in this country.
That’s the story of America. That’s the story of this movement. I want to thank all of you for doing your part. We’ve got a long way to go, but I hope as everybody looks around this room, you are reminded of the extraordinary progress that we have made not just in our lifetimes, but in the last five years. In the last two years. (Applause.) In the last one year. (Applause.) We’re on the right side of history.
I’m going to sign this executive order. Thank you, everybody. (Applause.)
(The executive order is signed.)
10:47 A.M. EDT
I hate it when I have to spend my good time sweeping up the refuse from idiotic, politically-motivated attacks on our Catholic religious leaders.
Today, I’m going to address attacks from the right side of unreason, and to be honest, I’d rather not. Have to, that is. I’d much rather I didn’t have to keep doing this.
I’m not so pleased when I have to do the same thing for with the left side of unreason, either.
But … duty calls.
There have been a smattering of articles and combox vitriol floating around the internet accusing the Catholic bishops of all sorts of nasty things because they don’t/won’t/aren’t-going-to hate on Mexicans. After all, we’re deep into our bi-election brown-skin hate-off right now and every red blooded American is called to abandon all reason and blindly join in.
The cable news networks are discussing (they never report, they only discuss) the issue of large numbers of children coming over the Rio Grande. I watched a brief thingy on one of them Saturday night. They were proclaiming that one in four of these kids are “criminals” and that “gangs” are meeting them at the border to recruit them.
I know lots of people who’ve come over that border. Some of them are bad dudes. True. But most of them fall into the salt of the earth category of family-loving, deeply-religious goodness. You can hate me for saying it, but it’s just a fact.
To get back to the talking heads and their endless talk-talk on this border situation, I have one main point, and that point is …
They do this every single bi-election year.
I’m not saying that the problem with people flooding our Southern borders isn’t real. I am also not saying that this country should not control its borders. Far from it. A country that can’t control its borders is in big trouble.
What I am saying is that the this wall to wall reporting that has you so whipped up and miserable right now is politically-motivated. The cable news does this every bi-election The constant drumbeat of hysterical talk-talk-talking about “illegals” will stop like turning off a tap as soon as the votes are counted in November.
In the meantime, the good people of this country will have been ripped around and worked up into an emotional pitch for nothing. Again.
Because, you see, nothing is going to happen that will stop the flood of illegal immigrants coming over the border. Think about it. This big outrage has been whipped up every bi-election since the turn of the century. What good has come of it? Republican President/Democratic President/Republican Congress/Democratic Congress it doesn’t matter. Nothing changes.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops are doing their Jesus thing and insisting that these children are people and must be treated as people. If you will read the Bishops’ statements on this issue, they plainly support efforts to control the country’s borders. But they can’t very well drop kick the Gospels just to make the right wing side of unreason like them.
So … they get hit with the usual claptrap from the vicious pharisees to the right. I won’t go through the whole tired litany of hate talk. I’m going to focus on one bizarro statement that I’ve seen repeated enough to know it has traction in certain internet nut bins. That statement is the ludicrous claim that the Catholic bishops are “in bed” with President Obama.
That is so stupid that it deserves a trophy of some sort or other.
Have any of the little hive minds that are passing that around totally forgotten the dozens upon dozens of lawsuits filed against the HHS Mandate? How about the bishops’ requests for religious exemptions to ENDA and the fight brewing there? Who do you think was working against the Hobby Lobby vote last week?
The bishops are in bed with President Obama? Puleez.
What the bishops are doing with their support of the human rights of immigrants and their refusal to join in with the great bi-election immigration hate-off, is following Jesus.
You know, the Jesus Simeon said would be a “sign of contradiction.”
What Simeon didn’t prophesy, but which Christ the Lord promised when he said If they persecute me, they will persecute you, is that people who follow the Gospels, especially in a a post-Christian society such as ours, are also going to be signs of contradiction. In fact, I’ll go a step further and say that our vocation as Christians in this post-Christian culture is to be signs of contradictions.
The bishops are succeeding in that vocation in a grand fashion. They are, for instance, being sued directly for their teaching that abortion is wrong. That’s from the left side of unreason.
Now, they’re being accused of pandering to our anti-Catholic president by insisting that people are people, no matter their legal status. That’s from the right side of of unreason.
What we are dealing with here is two sides of the same God-is-Made-in-My-Image coin. When people cut the Gospels down to fit their politics, they stop being a sign of contradiction to the sins of the world and become the sin’s enablers. They are salt that has lost its savor.
The followers of the politically-trimmed Gospel that does not allow for the sanctity of human life or marriage on the one side, and that tries to enforce economics as a morality-free zone on the other, are both examples of fallen and useless Christians. When I say “useless” I mean they are useless to God in His great work of Kingdom building.
Is there anything worse I can say about a Christian than that they are useless to God?
Jesus told us cannot follow two masters, and I think He meant it. When we trim our faith to suit our politics, we are running away from the cross, just like Peter, Andrew, James, James, Matthew, Philip, Thomas, Nathaniel, Simon the Zealot and Thaddaeus.
The Apostles repented of their shameful running away. They gave their lives for the same Jesus they had abandoned.
We can too.
I am not saying that we should not be concerned about the flood of illegal immigrants that have been coming over our borders for the past decades. This country needs to secure its borders. Period.
I am saying that we should stop letting ourselves be jerked around by the bi-election carrying on that happens so predictably that you could set your calendar by it.
This isn’t about shutting down our borders. In fact, the same corporatists who own the news outlets that are pushing this hysteria are themselves ardently opposed to shutting down the borders. They like and employ the cheap, off-the-books labor. I’ll write more on that in a day or so.
What this reporting and whipping Americans into a xenophobic hysteria are about is the universal goal of power politics: Getting power and keeping power.
Nobody is going to fix this problem, come November. The day after the elections, the talking heads will start talking about something else. Just like they do every bi-election.
In the meantime, the right-wing-of-unreason crowd will have scarred and defamed the name of Christ with their claims to be Christian while they say things that come straight from the pit.
The bishops are right about this, just as they are right about marriage and abortion and human trafficking and a whole host of other things.
They are being attacked because they are the sign of contradiction in American public discourse.
They get attacked from the left and right because they are not acolytes to either the right or left. Their job isn’t to give moral support to the immorality of power politics. Their job is to proclaim the Gospels and teach us what living for Christ means in this world.
When they tell us to treat immigrants as people, they are teaching us how the Gospels apply directly to us, in our current world. They are setting the cross before us and asking us to take up the unpopular position and lift the cross onto our shoulders and follow Him.
The Catholic bishops are in bed with President Obama? The plain facts of recent history make that charge ridiculous.
The fact that otherwise intelligent folks are bandying it about simply points to how nutty following the gods of this world can make people.
I am writing this with one goal, and it’s not to call in the lightning on my own head, although I will probably get a bit of that. I am writing it to urge you to regain your reason.
Think straight. Look at the simple fact that this happens every bi-election. Consider what that means in real life.
Look also at the fact that the bishops are hated on by both the right and left of the political spectrum. Consider for a moment that perhaps this is because they are actually being the “sign of contradiction” that we all should be.
If you follow Jesus, you’ll be treated the same way He was. That’s what’s happening to the bishops. It’s also what should be happening to you and me.
Use your minds and think people. Do not be whipped around by talking heads with a political agenda. Think. Connect the dots.
And support our bishops.
I stole this headline from the place where I first found the story: New Advent. I couldn’t think of a better way to say it.
According to a Washington Post article, President Obama plans to legislate with his pen by passing his own version of ENDA with an executive order. According to the Washington Post, “the White House” said that this executive order will not include a religious exemption.
It seems that everybody wants to do the work of Congress these days except Congress itself. We have courts legislating from the bench and our president rolls out one agency rule and executive order after another, passing laws all by his little self. Meanwhile, Congress is doing the only two things it actually does: engaging with itself in a perpetual partisan spitting contest and running for re-election.
This president is unambiguously at war with religious freedom in this country. I say that with sorrow and reluctance. But the facts are the facts and his actions speak for themselves.
He is continually doing things that stir up rage and resentment in the electorate. He’s damaging this country with his blind hubris. I don’t understand what he, as the sworn defender of the Constitution thinks he’s doing by repeatedly attacking the First Amendment.
But he’s consistent. He does these things, signs these agency rules, issues these executive orders. Then he lies about them later.
That’s the long-standing, repeated pattern of behavior.
I could go on and on here. I’m disgusted enough to really roll. But I have to leave for church in less than an hour and then begin my Sabbath. I think I’ll pray about it and hold my tongue until I have a chance to calm down.
In the meantime, here’s the story. From the Washington Post:
President Obama, resisting calls from several prominent faith leaders, will not include a new exemption for religiously affiliated government contractors when he issues an executive order Monday barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, the White House said Friday.
Obama announced last month that he would sign such an order after concluding that Congress was not going to act on a broader measure prohibiting discrimination based on sexual discrimination or gender identity by companies.
Since then, faith leaders have urged him to include an exemption for government contractors with a religious affiliation, such as some social service agencies.
White House officials said Friday that the new executive order would not include such an exception. But Obama will preserve an exemption put in place by former president George W. Bush that allows religiously affiliated contractors to favor employees of a certain religion in making hiring decisions.
Gay rights organizations have criticized that earlier exemption, and they celebrated news Friday that Obama would not be broadening it.
“With the strokes of a pen, the president will have a very real and immediate impact on the lives of millions of LGBT people across the country,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group.
Senators Joe Manchin and Bob Casey are generally pro life.
I accept that.
But when they voted against the Hobby Lobby decision, they dribbled enough sewage on their pro life stands — not to mention the good names of every completely pro life Democrat in this country — to raise a stink that blots that out.
They voted with their caucus in favor of overturning the Hobby Lobby decision and by doing that voted against religious freedom and in support of President Obama’s on-going war with the Catholic Church.
I’m not believing for a minute that they actually buy their own spin. This was a political vote, a go along to get along and have somebody to pal around with at work vote.
But what political score keeping went into their belief that they could get away with it? Did they believe the things the other Dems told them in caucus? Were they swayed by the advice on how they could “spin” this vote to slide past it?
All I know is that, as a pro life Democrat, I am almost certainly more unhappy by this party-line vote against religious freedom than any Republican. I feel personally slimed by it.
I am disgusted beyond the meaning of the word disgust with Senator Manchin and Senator Casey and every other “pro life” Democrat who doesn’t “get” that being pro life means you have to cross your party’s bow on these tough votes.
Get real fellas.
I’m going to put the statements concerning this vote from both Senator Munchin and Senator Casey below. Taken together, they’re like a compendium of anti-religious freedom Hobby Lobby spin.
Senator Manchin’s Statement on the Hobby Lobby vote:
“Today, I voted in support of overturning the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision that ruled for-profit companies can opt out of providing contraceptives to their employees because of religious beliefs. As Governor and U.S. Senator, I have always fought to protect the sincerely-held religious views of non-profit organizations, like soup kitchens, colleges, hospitals and similar non-profit organizations. However, for-profit corporations do not have the same legal privileges as non-profits, and therefore they should not have the same protections as non-profits recognized by law as being a religious organization. This legislation strikes a balance between allowing non-profit organizations to hold onto their religious views while ensuring that Americans have access to safe, affordable and reliable preventative health benefits.”
Senator Bob Casey’s statement on the Hobby Lobby vote:
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement on his co-sponsorship of the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, aka the Not My Boss’ Business Act:
“As a cosponsor of S. 2578, the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, I was disappointed that the Senate voted against the measure. The bill is a common-sense step to ensure that for-profit CEOs cannot interfere in their employees’ decisions about contraception and other health services.
It is an important protection that will help ensure that women working for for-profit corporations can make health care decisions based on their own consciences and religious beliefs, not those of their CEOs.
This is consistent with my long-standing strong support for greater access to contraceptives.
The bill affects for-profit employers but maintains the pre-Hobby Lobby accommodation for religiously-affiliated, non-profit organizations – an accommodation that I aggressively pushed the Administration to include – by specifically stating that the regulation continues to be in effect for plans affected by the bill.
As Justice Ginsburg stated in her dissent: ‘The First Amendment’s free exercise protections, the Court has indeed recognized, shelter churches and other nonprofit religion-based organizations. The Court’s “special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations”…however, is just that.’
The assertion by five of the justices on the Court that a for-profit corporation is a ‘person’ for the purposes of religious objection is simply a bridge too far.
The ruling essentially empowers CEOs of for-profit corporations to deny vital health benefits to women based on their own religious beliefs. As Justice Ginsburg stated ‘until today, religious exemptions had never been extended to any entity operating in the commercial, profit-making world.’ For-profit companies receive significant benefits that come with incorporation, including certain tax advantages and limited liability for owners. In turn, they are subject to a number of federal regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII, and the Fair Labor Standards Act, which are enacted to preserve the health, safety and welfare of employees.
Thirty million women have gained access to contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This is an important health service and has critical implications for economic security. The data shows us that access to contraceptives reduces the number of abortions. A recent study demonstrated that providing no-cost contraception can decrease abortion rates by up to 78 percent. I will continue to work to protect religious liberty for the American people while fighting to ensure that more women have access to affordable contraceptives.”
Senator Casey’s record on family planning can be found here: link.
S 2578 is the bill that would overturn the Hobby Lobby decision by basically repealing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yesterday I called people I know who have been working to kill S 2578. I wanted the names of the senators who had fought against the bill inside the Senate; the behind-closed-doors champions who had actually expended a bit of political capital in the fight for religious freedom.
I assumed they would be Republicans, and I was all set to write a post praising them. I even had the idea of calling the post “The Heroes of the S 2578 Fight” or something similar. It was going to be a fun post to write, praising our pro life heroes.
But I can’t write that post for the simple reason that we didn’t have any heroes. We had votes. We got a couple of speeches on the floor and some press thingys. But nobody, not one senator, worked against S 2578 among the other senators. We had no one — nada, zip, zilch — who cared enough to actually try to reach out other to other senators and turn them around on the issue. There was no bargaining, no horse-trading, not even any discussion in an attempt to work against the bill from the pro life side.
What we had were votes, like a blinking roll call.
What the other side had was passion, commitment and real warriors who were wiling to do the deal to get the deal done for “choice.”
I’ve been in these fights close up and personal for years. I can guess a lot of what went on in the Senate Democratic Caucus before the vote. These things get ugly. And votes change. That’s why it was a straight line-up of Ds on this thing. The people who oppose religious freedom, the pro aborts who have, in Senator Cruz’ words, declared war on the Catholic Church, did the legislative work to line up that vote.
There is also another consideration here. Both parties wanted a monolithic party-line vote, for political reasons. What would have been the effect if Republican senators had actually reached across the partisan divide to their pro life brethren in the Democratic side of the argument? I think they might have changed a couple of votes by doing that.
The trouble is, Ds and Rs don’t even talk to one another anymore. This hate-off is a real deal among them, and it transcends every single thing they tell the voters they believe when they run for office.
I have seen this work against pro life here in Oklahoma when it was the Republican caucus that was being arm-twisted into obedience. I have seen the “pro life” Republicans in the Oklahoma House line up monolithically against the number one pro life bill of the year because caucus loyalty dictated they do that.
I did, as a pro life Democrat, cross that party divide. There were a couple of Republicans, notably Representative Mike Reynolds, who did the same. We pushed the issue to the point that the leadership had to use strong arm tactics out on the floor to kill the bill.
We called them on their lies and made them regret the whole thing. The cost in political capital was a lesson learned. They learned that killing pro life bills, even if you’re Republicans, has a payback. This didn’t happen in the Oklahoma House again.
The Oklahoma Senate hasn’t learned this lesson. The reason is that the pro life people in the Oklahoma Senate line up and vote, but they don’t and won’t fight their own party for the sanctity of human life.
We need people who are willing to put life ahead of party and we need pro life people of both parties to work together. When that happens, life wins. When it doesn’t happen, politics wins.
Pro life people who will fight for life in the back rooms and across the aisle — genuine pro life heroes — can turn vote totals around. That’s what the pro aborts have.
We’ve got to have genuine pro life heroes in office. I don’t mean votes in a roll call. Votes are good, don’t get me wrong. But roll-calling our votes ends up with what we have now: Pro life being used as a political football by both parties.
The sad part is that there are pro life heroes aplenty, but they’re not in office. I’ve been told by people who know, that Senator Rick Santorum actually worked behind the scenes for pro life legislation, including within his own caucus. From what they told me, he was pretty much unique in this.
I also know that before passage of the Affordable Health Care Act, a number of pro life Democrats in the House worked very hard to keep it from paying for abortions and to make sure it guaranteed religious freedom. In case you don’t remember, these pro life Democrats almost nailed the deal to the wall, but they scuttled their own efforts by falling down the rabbit hole of believing President Obama’s promises.
I’m not trying to ameliorate the degree of their fail. I was sick when they folded. In addition to allowing the evil genie out of the bottle, they destroyed the nascent movement of pro life Democrats.
But the point here is that a few pro life Democrats were able to pin the whole thing to the mat. If they had stuck to their guns, they would either have won or killed the bill. I think it was that killing the bill part that got to be too much for them. This was their first time at the defying your own party rodeo. They were weak. And they latched onto believing our president’s lies as a way out of the barrel.
But the bottom line to the story is the same one I saw in Oklahoma. Pro life people in both parties who are willing to stand up to their party for life can change things. We’ve got to have them if we want to win this fight. We need people inside both parties who are willing to stand up to their respective caucuses and fight for life just as hard as the pro aborts fight for “choice.”
We also need them to walk across that aisle and work with their pro life brothers and sisters in the other party, even if it means working against their own caucus. We need people who put pro life first.
The point I’m making has nothing to do with parties and everything to do with why we keep getting whipped by these people. The pro aborts have people in elective office all over this country who will lie down on a railroad track in front of an oncoming train for “choice.”
They have heroes. We’ve got a roll call.