Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern has withdrawn HB 1597 from consideration. According to news reports, Representative Kern indicated that the measure did not accomplish her desired purpose. To read a summary of HB 1597, go here.
What our Savior taught us. What we believe. Who we are.
This video is dedicated by its author to persecuted Christians, everywhere.
JimmyZ brings the truth: Following Jesus means putting aside everything else and making Him Lord of your life for real.
All he wanted was “money and power.”
In exchange, he agreed to build 40 nuclear weapons for Venezuela, including a bomb that would target New York.
Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni didn’t know it, but he was talking to an FBI agent with a tape recorder when he made this deal. The agent posed as a Venezuelan official.
“I’m gong to be the boss with money and power. I’m not an American anymore. This is it,” Mr Mascheroni said to his wife, who was present during the conversation. Mascheroni is a naturalized American citizen. He is a former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist.
Mr Mascheroni went on to say that exploding a nuclear bomb in New York City would not kill anyone, but would merely disable the city’s power grid. That statement, coupled with the fact that he is 79 years old, makes me wonder if he’s playing with a full deck.
Whether he was or not, he was sentenced to five years in prison with another 3 years of supervised release. His wife was sentenced to a year and a day in prison.
The FBI emphasized that there is no evidence the Venezuela was involved in such a plot.
From Yahoo News:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A disgruntled, former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist promised to build 40 nuclear weapons for Venezuela in 10 years and design a bomb targeted for New York City in exchange for “money and power,” according to secret FBI recordings released Wednesday.
In the recordings, Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni tells an agent posing as a Venezuelan official that the bombs would prevent the United States from invading the oil-rich nation and brags to his wife that the passing of secrets would make him wealthy.
“I’m going to be the boss with money and power,” the naturalized U.S. citizen from Argentina is heard saying. “I’m not an American anymore. This is it.”
Oklahoma legislators have introduced 4 bills concerning gay marriage and civil rights for homosexuals and transsexuals.
Representative Sally Kern has introduced 3 bills:
HB 1599, which is designated the Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act, is a broad piece of legislation that seeks to dictate future findings by the courts, activities by state employees and expenditures of state monies in regards to same-sex marriage.
HB 1597 is another far-reaching bill. It does not address same-sex marriage, but instead says that no business can be forced to offer service to “any lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender person, group or association.”
HB 1598 allows mental health providers to engage in conversion therapy. As I understand it, conversion therapy seeks to change homosexual orientation to heterosexual by means of talk therapy.
I doubt that any of these bills will get a hearing in committee. If they should happen to make it out of committee, their chances of coming to a vote on the House Floor are even more dim. If, by a combination of legislative pressures, they do come to a vote of the full House, they are almost certainly DOA in the Senate. A lot of times, whether or not these things come to a vote depends on the determination and skill of the individual legislator and the amount of support he or she has in the body.
Having said that, I can tell you that the legislation as drafted oversteps all sorts of legal bounds. They would not stand, even if they managed to become law.
HB 1599 overreaches in a lot of ways, but the obvious ones are that it seeks to tell judges ahead of time what they may rule. This is outside the province of a legislative body. The legislature certainly does have the power to determine how state monies are spent, so the part of the bill that would limit state appropriations for activities concerning same-sex marriage would have a good chance of withstanding a court challenge, at least in principle.
The fact that it is not an appropriations bill and does not address appropriations per se might lead to its being overturned because of vagueness. However, by putting these two unrelated matters together in one bill, Representative Kern has created a piece of legislation with two topics in two areas of law. This is called log-rolling, and is in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution.
HB 1597 is clearly a violation of the civil rights of homosexuals and transsexuals. The law seeks to set up a system of discrimination in service regarding a specific class or group of people. It does not address legitimate First Amendment concerns regarding religious beliefs. It allows service providers to refuse service to a group of people because they are members of that group and for no other reason.
HB 1598 is the only one of the three bills that has legal merit. The question of whether or not therapists may use a particular therapy has become loaded when it concerns “conversion therapy” as it is used with homosexuals. A few states have made “conversion therapy” illegal. However, the real question is whether or not legislative bodies should be passing laws dictating which therapeutic approach is the correct one for health care providers to use. Dictating medical procedures and therapies is outside the province of legislative bodies, or it should be.
The whole discussion revolves around political correctness, with both sides slinging statistics and accusations, but the real issue is legislative bodies overstepping their bounds.
Senator Corey Brooks has authored SB 478. This is a good bill, which I hope will pass. It protects people from prosecution and civil liability if their religious beliefs require them to abstain from participation in a same-sex marriage ceremony.
In truth, I do not expect Senator Brooks’ bill to get very far, either. The reason is simple: I expect that the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce will oppose it, and the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce controls both the legislative and executive branches of Oklahoma’s government.
Their control is close to being dictatorial, and, as I said in another post, they are not all that nice about how they use it. Threats, which are not idle threats, are their standard way of dealing with legislators who do not do what they are told. Most Republican legislators are afraid of them, and with good reason.
Does anybody remember President Obama’s State of the Union address?
I promised I would talk about the politics of the thing, and I’ve been remiss in that promise. In truth, there was a lot of politics in it, too much to handle in a single post. I will limit my discussion today to one area that galls me more than most: The Democratic Party’s abandonment of working people for elitist claptrap such as gay marriage and abortion.
There was a time when working people knew they had a champion in the Democratic Party. That was back in the day before American politics went nuts and devolved into two warring camps, pushing for power and more power, the people be damned.
Back then, there was a real difference in the way the two parties governed. The Rs were actual conservatives and the Ds were actual liberals. Actual liberals gave us such things as social security, Medicare, victory in World War II, the Marshall Plan, and a steady-on determined fight in the cold war. I consider myself an actual liberal.
Actual liberals were allies of organized labor. Organized labor gave the American people a living wage so that it was possible to hold one job and support a family, the 8 hour work day, a 40-hour work week, paid vacations, paid sick leave, retirements, and job security.
President Obama made a passing reference to supporting organized labor in his State of the Union address, but I don’t think he meant it. We have not had a Democratic president who was truly supportive of working people in a long time; not since the Marxists in the 1960s’ anti-war movement succeeded in destroying liberalism. What we have now is faux support of working people from Democrats who are basically bargain-basement corporatists.
The Democratic Party is not the wholly-owned subsidiary of multi-national corporations the way the Republican Party is. The difference — and I have witnessed this in person — is that the corporatists tell the Rs what to do and they do it. It’s not even all that nicely done. In fact, any R who dares to think for themselves gets the whole hammer of the party apparatus and a mountain of corporate attack money brought down on them. The party treats them like a defective part in an engine. It pulls and replaces them with someone who will do what they’re told.
The Ds, on the other hand, play at corporatism while promising working people that they are really for them.
Meanwhile, America has witnessed the steady destruction of our industrial base by the shipping of our manufacturing base overseas — to a Communist nation, no less — while wages, our standard of living, and the security of working people have dropped year by year.
We are developing into a two-class country composed of the hyper rich and the struggling everybody else. Every promise that is made to ordinary Americans gets broken, and every promise that is made to corporatists gets fulfilled.
I didn’t take President Obama’s passing allusion to support for organized labor seriously because I don’t think he meant it seriously. It was what the Democratic Party has been giving working people for quite some time now: A sop.
When did the Democratic Party stop being the party of working people? It happened in the 1960s, when true liberalism died and was replaced by radicalism and nihilism.
Both parties need to be reformed and converted. It’s time we the people stopped allowing ourselves to be lied to and manipulated. We don’t need to change the puppet people we keep tossing out every few years. We need to change the puppet masters.
Planned Parenthood High School Sex Ed Teachers Revealed to be Sex Toy ‘Instructor’ and ‘Pleasure Activist.’
Is it sex education, or sex indoctrination?
Parents whose children attend Acalanes Union High School in Layfatette California are outraged to discover that it’s the latter. The school’s sex education program is operated — as many of sex ed programs around the country are — by Planned Parenthood.
That’s right. The nation’s number one abortion provider is in charge of educating our kids about sex in many of our public schools. They are paid to do this with huge amounts of our tax money.
Last Thursday’s vote in the United States House of Representatives, banning the use of federal money to pay for abortions did not touch this. It did not even address it. It wasn’t meant to. Everybody knows how to shut this down, but nobody does it because of the political cost. The Rs in our Congress are just as complicit in this as the Ds.
Here’s how you do it, boys and girls: You take all federal money away from any organization that provides, refers for, or promotes abortions. The House of Reps voted on last Thursday only stopped federal monies for direct funding of an actual abortion procedure. It even specifically exempted federal monies that will go to help pay for insurance programs under Obamacare that pay for abortions.
This is the Republican Congress, playing ball with Obamacare, specifically the provisions in Obamacare that indirectly pay for abortions. We thought we were going to get a vote on a ban of abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. What we got instead was a hose-down.
Now, let’s talk about the school in California and what they learned about their sex ed teachers. It turns out that the people Planned Parenthood has sent to “educate” these high school students about sex moonlight at other jobs. One of the instructors also teaches a “pleasure workshop” at a sex toy store called Good Vibrations. The other instructor lists herself as a “pleasure activist.”
Parents are calling for a change in the curriculum and the school is defending the curriculum and we the people continue to pay for all this because our do-nothing Congress does nothing while our abortion-loving Imperial President reigns unimpeded.
From the Daily Mail:
‘Planned Parenthood is a business. It’s a business that sells sex. It’s a way to get clientele and to sexualize young people and turn them into lifelong clients,’ parent Camille Giglio told CBS San Francisco in November.
The unhappy parents then partnered with conservative legal group the Pacific Justice Institute to petition for a new sex-ed curriculum.
In the course of their fight with the school, the career histories of the Planned Parenthood instructors were revealed and two of the teachers raised even more concerns to parents.
One of the instructors teaches a ‘pleasure’ workshop at a store called Good Vibrations in nearby Berkeley, which sells sex toys.
Meanwhile, one of the other instructors had described herself as a ‘pleasure activist’ on Twitter, and mentioned attending CatalystCon, a sexuality conference.
‘These are two representatives (who) happen to have a truly questionable background,’ Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute, which made the initial inquiry with concerned parents, told FoxNews.com. ‘There has been outcry from the parents. This school district doesn’t seem to get it when it comes to the proper protection for the students.’
Presidential candidate Rick Perry’s motion to dismiss charges against him was tossed out by a Texas judge. The charges stem from Governor Perry’s veto of state financing of a Texas District Attorney’s office. Governor Perry said at the time that he was signing the veto because District Atorney Rosemary Lemberg refused to resign from her office. Lemberg had been arrested on drunk driving charges.
Oklahoma recently had a somewhat similar situation when a member of our governor’s cabinet was arrested for drunk driving. The cabinet member apologized to the governor, who accepted his apology and left him in his position.
This whole thing sounds like partisan misbehavior to me, both in Texas and in Oklahoma. When the person who gets caught driving drunk is in the official’s own party, then it’s a forgivable lapse. When they are in the opposite party, it’s an outrage.
Ditto for the abuse of power charges which have been filed against Governor Perry. I don’t doubt that his decision to veto that funding was partisan, and to be honest, I have a pretty low opinion of trying to use state funding to force a duly elected official to resign from office. On the other hand, I also think that the charges against him are payback for the veto, and I have an equally low opinion of using felony charges as political punishment.
To read more about Governor Perry’s travails, KVUE.COM.
President Obama has an ambitious new plan to overhaul Medicare. Specifically, he wants to start paying doctors based on the health of their patients, rather than the number of patients they see and the treatments they give.
One rather obvious problem with this plan is that it would pay doctors to avoid treating really sick people. Since Medicare provides care for the elderly, this is questionable, at best.
Another question that comes to mind is the simple fact that this sounds like it is moving Medicare toward a managed care model. Will that lead to refusal of expensive care for elderly people? I see this as a real pro life concern.
It is important to note that the President is doing this by agency regulations and without even consulting Congress. Congress has abdicated its Constitutional authority in order to constantly jockey for position in the next election cycle. Meanwhile, the President reigns as an unelected dictator.
To read more, go here:
President Obama made some tough comments in a speech he gave during his visit to India. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had previous pulled out all the stops by greeting President Obama with a hug when he first arrived, and then issuing gushy statements about the “chemistry” between himself and our president.
President Obama has promised 4 billion in investment and aid to India. But along with that came a speech in which he stated that India needs religious freedom and that an Indian woman should “be able to go about her day — to walk the street or ride a bus — and be safe and treated with the respect and dignity she deserves.”
From Quartz India:
“Nowhere is it going to be more necessary to uphold religious faith than in India. India will succeed so long as it is not splintered on religious lines,” Obama said.
“Your Article 25 (of the Constitution) says that all people are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion. Every person has the right to practice their religion and beliefs and not practice it if they choose so without any persecution,” he added.In his 2010 town hall address, the US president had spoken of religion mainly in reply to a question on jihad and the distortion of Islam by extremists.
Obama was also much more vocal on women’s issues, unlike last time.
“A measure of a country’s success depends on how it treats its women. Nations are more successful when their women are successful. Every woman should be able to go about her day—to walk the street or ride the bus—and be safe and be treated with the respect and dignity that she deserves,” Obama said on Jan. 27.
The allusion to the brutal Dec. 2012 gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in New Delhi was clear.
“Our nations are strongest when we uphold the equality of all our people and that includes our women,” he added.
Is your Congressperson trying to lie their way out of the decision to pull the vote on the bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks?
Public Catholic readers have contacted the offices of their various Congresspeople, and it sounds like they are getting a pack of lies and obfuscations in reply to their questions. These Congresspeople are relying on the fact that law-making is an arcane art to most people. They know that you don’t know how to wend your way through the procedural morass.
After all, big-time special interests pay lobbyists astronomical sums to do that for them. It’s a specialist’s work, and the “school” to learn it has a high entrance fee. That’s why lobbying firms are so laden with former elected officials. Elective office is the school that teaches how law is made.
Political science classrooms are all taffy and sugar pills. They won’t teach you how to do the real deal. In fact, the things you learn there will make it harder to do the real deal if you ever get elected, because you’ve got to unlearn everything you thought you knew.
If I wanted to make the most money I could, I would take my considerable knowledge of the legislative process and put myself out as a hired gun, which is a lobbyist who works for the doh-re-me. But I’m the sort who can only work for what I believe, and when I believe it, money doesn’t matter.
Guess I’m doomed to be poor.
In the meantime, I try to teach Public Catholic readers a bit of what I know. I do this so you won’t be bamboozled so easily, so that you can get tough with your elected officials and insist that they do what they told you they would do when they asked for your vote.
This makes partisan true believers antsy because the reality is that political parties are nothing like the way they present themselves to their rank and file followers. They’re selling you a lie.
Repeat after me: Political parties are about getting power and keeping power. Everything else they say is up for grabs in the interests of getting power and keeping power.
Fortunately, the power they crave resides in your hands. They need your vote. That’s why they take the trouble to lie to you. So they’ll get their vote.
It appears that at least a few Congressional staffers are doing the old political doo-dah with their pro life constituents about the decision to pull the bill banning abortions after 20 weeks from the calendar last Thursday.
Will the bill come up again? Will we actually pass a law and send it to the president? That, my friends, depends on you. You need to make it clear to these folks you elected that they will pass this bill and send it to the president, or, next time they come asking for your vote, things may not be so pretty.
Here, for your delectation, is last Thursday’s floor activity in the House of Representatives of the United States of America. Notice, they passed a bill that would stop the use of federal monies for abortion, which is what the news reports said they did. A bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks was not heard or voted on.
Here are links to news stories about the bill and the missed vote.
Why does nothing get done in Washington?
Because they’re all running for the next election.
This was a while back.
And this was a couple of days ago.
Candidates and political parties alike never stop campaigning long enough to govern.
It appears that there’s a budding bromance between India’s Prime Minister and President Barack Obama.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted our president at the airport with a big bear hug and then went on to describe the “chemistry” and “strong friendship” between himself and President Obama.
Prime Minister Modi is leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is described as the Hindu nationalist party. His election raised fears that he would undermine religious freedom in India.
He was banned from entry to the United States for several years because of his connection to religious-based, sectarian violence, in particular the Gujarat riots of 2002. He was also the subject of a Congressional resolution asking the president to continue the ban on his entry into the United States.
As always with politics, it’s wise to look at these displays of affection between two people who do not know one another and who carry the power of heads of state with a critical eye. How does Prime Minister Modi stand to benefit from his bromance with our president?
I’m not in any way criticizing President Obama for making this trip to India. World leaders need to talk, and for better or worse, Narendra Modi is now a world leader.
But I want Public Catholic readers to think past the superficial headlines to the real political reasons underneath them.
Update: President Obama ended his visit to India by pledging 4 billion dollars in investments and loans to help “tap” India’s “potential.”
The United States House of Representatives’ leadership has made the decision to scrap a bill that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. They went for a bill banning the use of government monies to pay for abortions, instead.
I have a couple of points here.
First, why not amend the bill to allow this exception? I know that there are pro life purists who refuse to amend legislation in this manner, but I’m not one of them. The bill would save lives, even with such an amendment. I know from dealing with these things as a legislator that politics is always the art of the possible. If that’s what it takes to pass a 20-week ban on abortion, then do it.
Second, even though I have dealt with upset legislators on these issues and know very well that reasoning does not work, I want to make the point for the record and for public discussion, that 20 weeks and later in a pregnancy is too late to be having an abortion, period.
At this point, it is more dangerous and far more traumatic for the woman to have an abortion than it would be to simply deliver the baby and try to save it. There is a good chance that these babies would live, if they were properly cared for.
Second, rape victims have had months to decide to abort. Even if you accept the idea that a woman should be able to abort a baby because it was conceived in rape, there is no reason why any rape victim needs five months to make up her mind about the question. Abortions after 20 weeks are needless killings. There is no reason to abort any child that far into pregnancy.
If the mother’s health is in danger, just deliver the baby and try to save it.
It’s entirely possible that the House will re-think its decision about this legislation. They are going to get a lot of fire from their own base over it. It’s very, very possible that the heat will force them to back down and move forward with the bill.
If they do, and if the bill gets to the President, he has already promised that he will veto it. That will make the whole issue one big fat vote getting, money raising issue for both parties.
It will be a win-win-win-win for everybody.
Except the babies.
ISIS is organized murder’s answer to every lone serial killer who yearns for recognition.
Just like Ted Bundy who famously claimed that when he killed someone he “felt like God,” and John Wayne Gacy who denied wrongdoing by saying “I didn’t kill anybody, I just took out the trash,” ISIS is proud of what they do and will tell anybody that there’s nothing wrong with it.
ISIS connects its murderous behavior with Islam and makes the claim that ISIS is the sole arbiter of what is Islam. They are just as eager to kill other Muslims who don’t bend the knee to their satanic interpretation of faith as they are to kill Christians and members of other faiths.
ISIS is satanic. They are organized, well-funded serial killers, and like all serial killers, they style themselves as something much different from the measly little nothings that they really are. Also like most serial killers, they love the spotlight. They want to be recognized for the monsters they are. Like their master, they enjoy the terror, horror and rage they cause. That’s a big part of the pay-back for sending themselves to hell.
Not content with horrifying the West, ISIS has now released a tape of themselves, murdering a bound and helpless Japanese prisoner named Haruna Yukawa. As usual, they displayed another Japanese prisoner, Kenji Goto, who they say they will kill next. This is undoubtedly an attempt to extort money from the Japanese government to buy the remaining prisoner’s release.
I know that many Muslims are shamed and outraged by ISIS. I hope that all good people of every faith can unite in putting them down, hard. We need to end ISIS, and there should be no legal amnesty for those who have aligned themselves with them. I think we should hunt those who have supported ISIS with their money, and who have journeyed to join them in their killing, to the ground. If it takes decades, we should track them down, every one of them, and put them before the bar.
ISIS is serial killing on an international scale. The whole world needs to unite in ending it.
Evidently, the Louisiana State Supreme Court woke up one morning and decided to K-O the legal protection for the seal of the confessional.
This legal privilege, which has long protected priests from prosecution for not revealing the things said to them in confession, has been under attack from zealous prosecutors. A few years ago, a prosecutor, who evidently never heard of building a case through the vast investigative powers of the government, decided to bug and record a confession between a prisoner in jail and his priest. When the prosecutor tried to enter this confession into evidence, the Catholic Church took him to court and won.
Now, the family of a young woman in the state of Louisiana has decided that they want a priest to testify as to what the young woman said to him in confession. The family has filed suit to force the priest to testify, so they can pursue a civil suit against the diocese. Since this confession was about the ugly topic of child abuse by an adult man, it raises all sorts of emotions and angers.
The Louisiana State Supreme Court basically ruled that if the person confessing reveals the confession, then the seal is broken and the priest can be forced to testify about the contents of the confession. There is precedent for this viewpoint in the attorney-client privilege. I have seen judges rule that the attorney-client privilege was broken because someone other than the attorney and client were in the room during the discussion, and then force the client to testify in court as to the contents of their conversation with their attorney.
However, the seal of the confessional is different from attorney-client privilege or doctor-patient privilege, or counselor-client privilege because it is a First Amendment right. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees the right to the free exercise of religion without government interference. This guarantee has kept America out of the religious conflicts which have marred other societies for over 200 years.
The Louisiana State Supreme Court, by attempting to treat the seal of the confessional as any other privileged conversation, put its foot right through the First Amendment. Subsequent to this, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge petitioned the United States Supreme Court to overturn this Louisiana decision.
Now comes the murky part.
The United States Supreme Court sent this whole mess back to the level of the Fifth District Court in order for that court to hear arguments.
Ever since the Supreme Court did this, I’ve been reading that they allowed the Louisiana Court’s decision to “stand.” I’ve read whole news reports saying this as a fact. I honestly thought that was what had happened.
But this is not accurate. The Supreme Court did not say, go home, Louisiana’s Supreme Court was right. They basically said, get back in line.
They sent the case, which is still alive and kicking, back to a lower court to allow both sides to have their say and present their positions. That action does not let the Louisiana State Supreme Court’s decision “stand.” It just lets everybody, on both sides, have their day in court.
I expect this decision of the Louisiana State Supreme Court to be overturned.
However, if it is not, then we are going to have to come back against this violation of our religious liberties, and we’re going to have to come back hard. This is not a parlor game. It is a matter of sending our priests to jail because they will not violate the seal of the confessional. It is a question of whether or not Catholics will be free to access the sacraments of our faith without government intrusion.
Priests will have no choice in this matter. They will have to go to jail rather than break the seal of the confessional. If they don’t, the entire edifice on which the Church is built — the sacraments — will crumble. American Catholics have an absolute right to receive the sacraments without government intrusion. That right is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
It is one of the essential building blocks of all our liberties as a free people.
Most of these attacks on the seal of the confessional come from over-zealous prosecutors. This particular claim comes from a family that probably feels guilty because their child was sexually abused and they did not know about it. I understand that and sympathize with it.
What I don’t understand and sympathize with is their attempt to make money off the deal with this civil suit. I also don’t understand why they are so eager to cash in that they are willing to attack one of the bedrock freedoms Americans enjoy and the sanctity of penitents’ encounters with Christ in the confessional.
They appear to be wiling to damage their country and their Church with this lawsuit. That will not heal their grief at having failed to protect their child.
The Fifth Circuit has the case now. We’ll have to wait and see what they do.
Today is the 6th Annual Tulsa March for Life, sponsored by 35 groups including Lutherans for Life, The Uprising, Anglicans for Life, Victory Christian, Tulsa Bible Church, Claremore Nazarene, Holy Apostles Orthodox, Tulsa University Newman Center, Saint Gregory’s University, the Diocese of Tulsa, St Michael Episcopal, Oral Roberts University, Catholic Charities, Go Life Mobile, Mend Pregnancy Center and many others.
Be there, or be square.
Charles Dickens would have loved Rebecca Hamilton. “A Tale of Two Citizens…
“It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.” Thus might a pro-life observer describe Rebecca’s two separate stints in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
For you see, when Representative Hamilton served for six years in the legislature in the 1980’s. Before that, she had been the state director for the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). She used her considerable legislative skills on both the House floor and the House Public Health Committee, which she chaired, to make it as difficult as possible to pass pro-life bills. Indeed, she was a master of parliamentary sleight-of-hand in the pursuit of her “pro-choice” objectives.
Representative Hamilton and I were on opposite sides of the abortion issue continually during those six years during the ’80’s, and when she retired from the House at that time, she said to me: “Tony, you go your way and I’ll go my way, because abortion is an issue about which we are NEVER going to agree.”
But then, some years later, an amazing thing happened — something almost akin to what happened to Saul on the road to Damascus. Rebecca Hamilton wasn’t on horseback at the time, as was the future Saint Paul. She was driving her car one day, and she was reflecting on a confluence of recent events, and suddenly the right to life issue was brought into a very sharp, and very different, focus for her; she had become a mother, and she had experienced a religious conversion. And suddenly she knew, as she sat behind the wheel that day, that she had been — through all those earlier years — on the wrong side of the abortion issue…
It took great courage to do what she did next, but Rebecca decided to return to public life — to come back to the Oklahoma House of Representatives after a 15 year absence, this time as a PRO-LIFE legislator, a pro-life Democrat, in a party that has been less than friendly toward pro-life candidates. Rebecca persevered, and was elected six straight times, until term limits brought her service to an end this past November.
She had come back, as she so simply and humbly says, “To make amends.” To try to right the wrongs, repair the damage, make up for whatever bad example she might have given through her earlier support for abortion…
And she succeeded in rectifying those earlier mistakes to a degree she could never have imagined. On the strength of her own determination, she won pro-life legislative battles against all odds. Through her powers of persuasion, she transformed her party’s pro-abortion caucus into a largely pro-life caucus. By virtue of her unyielding commitment to making the pro-life issue a transcendent, bipartisan concern in the House, she has helped mightily to make the right to life the Oklahoma legislature’s #1 priority.
Rebecca Hamilton has been a tremendous force for good, and she will be acutely missed at the state Capitol. In part because of her background and history, she has been a uniquely effective and powerful voice for the unborn child. And through her principled, selfless, and courageous service, she has earned the deepest respect of those all across the political spectrum for her tireless and unwavering commitment to the sanctity of human life.
National Right to Life
Oklahomans For Life
I’ve ignored the flap over Pope Francis’ latest airplane interview, mainly because it has no merit.
What I mean is that the carrying-on about the Holy Father’s use of certain phrases has no merit. It seems that Pope Francis affirmed the Catholic Church’s teaching on artificial birth control. In the process, he said that this teaching doesn’t mean that people need to have babies “like rabbits.”
All he meant was that people can use natural family planning. Big news.
The reaction was predictable.
On the one hand, Margery Egan, over at Crux, came out as a full member of The Pope is Catholic, Egad crowd. She reacted with hurt and outrage because Pope Francis stands by the Church’s teaching that artificial birth control is illicit. Here’s a bit of her reaction:
The news that Pope Francis has strongly defended the Church’s ban on artificial birth control left me, in a word, devastated.
I had hoped for so much more from this man.
Although he has not lived it himself, I had thought he understood something about good people living real lives in real marriages. I had thought he even understood something about the beauty of sex in marriage, the need for sex in marriage.
Then we have The Pope is Human, Egad crowd, going full tilt, as well. Most of this is showing up on Facebook and in chat rooms. A lot of people like their popes neat and straight-edged. What they want are popes who come out for display, recite Scripture and Church teaching as if they were programmed by a computer and then quietly go back inside to say their Rosaries.
In case you haven’t gotten the news, Pope Francis is not that kind of pope. He’s so completely relaxed in his papal skin that he just says whatever comes into his head. Fortunately for us, nothing that comes into his head is against the Church. Every single time he makes a comment that the press latches onto and tries to massage into a change in Church teaching, they are using an off-the-cuff comment that did no such thing. Misinterpret as they might, Pope Francis is not going to teach modern nihilism instead of the Gospels.
This good man, our Pope Francis, is Catholic. He’s also human. He’s a pastoral pope who loves to forgive sinners and who is using his papacy to say in every way he can that Jesus meant it when He said He came to save lost sinners.
Margery Egan asked if Pope Francis understands the real lives of real people, including the beauty and goodness of marital sex. The answer is yes, he does. That’s where the ‘you don’t have to reproduce like rabbits’ comment came from. All he meant was that Natural Family Planning works and Catholics should feel free to make use of it.
Now what does Bunnygate have to do with January 22? After all, Bunnygate is just Pope Francis, making good copy, and the media, proving once again just how significant the Church really is in today’s world.
If you doubt that, go stand on your front porch and should “reproduce like rabbits.” Do it several times. The only thing that might happen is that your neighbors will have something new to talk about. The New York Times, BBC, NBC, CBS, CNN and all their pals will give your behavior a big pass.
But when the pope uses such phrases, it’s front page news all around the world. Everything he says, every little gesture he makes, is observed, reported and interpreted according to the interpreter’s prejudice in every media outlet going.
Because what he says matters.
Because the Church is not irrelevant.
Because Jesus Christ, despite all the attacks and attempts to destroy faith in Him, is Lord, and billions of people bend their knee to Him.
That’s why Bunnygate is Bunnygate. It’s a big deal because the Church and Jesus are big deals.
How does that apply to January 22?
The early Christians stopped the practice of exposing infants, primarily baby girls, by three methods. First they refused to do it themselves. Second, they went out and rescued these babies, brought them home and raised them as part of their families. Third, they said it was wrong, over and over and over, until the message finally got through.
January 22 is the anniversary of the day when we resurrected the old practice of discarding unwanted children. We went further after that with our rights talk and brought back the Baals in new form as we sacrificed our babies, our elderly, our sick and even our unhappy people to the little g gods of modern convenience.
In our world today, bunnygate matters because it is the Vicar of Christ, however awkwardly he might phrase it, affirming once again that He is Catholic and that this means that he stands for life. The Church did not waver one inch in that airplane interview. The pope just stuck his foot in his mouth a bit. That’s all.
But he said the right things. He just said them in an off-hand and humorous way.
That is the only part of the interview that matters, which is why I haven’t bothered talking about it until now. The pope reiterated Church teaching. He practiced number three of the three things the early Christians did to overturn the practices of human sacrifice and exposing unwanted babies.
We do our version of number three when we go out into the streets today and march for life. We are saying, once again, that the Supreme Court was wrong. We will continue saying it until the message finally gets through.
At the same time, pro life people must also refuse to engage in abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cells research, egg harvesting and the attendant anti-life activities that saturate our world. Our most important testimony for life is living pro life.
That means we take care of other people. We put people ahead of profit and ahead of convenience. If we believe that the right to life is the first and most essential human right, then we have to behave that way in our private lives and our public lives.
We are called to follow Jesus when we are in the shower and when we are on a stage; when we pay our bills and when we go to work. Most important of all, we are called to follow Jesus in our homes and with our families, in how we treat the people closest to us.
January 22 and Bunnygate go together because they are of a whole. The United States Supreme Court unwittingly called forth Christians to witness to the sanctity of human life. The Holy Father has affirmed that the Church does not back down from this call.
Today is a special day for each of us to re-affirm to ourselves and to others that we stand for life and that we will continue to stand for life in our homes, on our jobs and on the streets until the world finally gets the message.