It was a Mama Kind of Weekend.

Copyright: Rebecca Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright: Rebecca Hamilton. All Rights Reserved.

My family and I had a rough weekend with Mama. Here’s a summary of part of it that I wrote for the National Catholic Register.

If you could spare a prayer for me and mine, it would be much appreciated.

From the National Catholic Register:

I woke with a jolt — one of those soldier-coming-awake-in-a-foxhole snaps from dream sleep to full awake without a step between.

The house was quiet and dark.

I hauled my tired self out of bed and walked down one hall and then the next hall and yet another hall until I came to Mama’s bedroom, flipped on the light and looked at her bed. Which was neatly made up and empty.

Panic is the word, but it’s inadequate. Think baby-missing-from-the-crib-in-a-silent-house, think every nightmare of bungled love and responsibility pounding straight down with one slam.

I ran through the house, yelling for her.

Nothing.

Then, I noticed that the pillows on the sofa were laid out flat in a row that went from one armrest straight across to the other. I walked to the sofa. Lifted a pillow.

She was lying there, fully dressed and sleeping. Her white hair was streaked red with blood, her pants and shirt had huge spots of blood. It was bright red; fresh, newly-bled.

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/living-pro-life-is-a-blessing-that-asks-much-of-the-blessed/#ixzz3lpIjaoqQ

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Here is What Men Can Do to Prevent Abortion

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by kambodza https://www.flickr.com/photos/49507393@N08/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by kambodza https://www.flickr.com/photos/49507393@N08/

Aleteia has an interesting article written by a priest who, as a young man, encouraged his then-girlfriend to have an abortion.

The article is about repentance and forgiveness. It talks about the mercy of the Church. I would like to emphasize that the Church is merely the conduit of the real Mercy, which is the Divine Mercy, the mercy of Christ and Him crucified.

Many years ago, I referred young women for abortions. Then, after my conversion, I worked as a volunteer at Birth Choice, an Oklahoma crisis pregnancy center. Based on my experiences, I would say that the number one determiner of whether or not a young woman seeks an abortion is the father of the baby.

This is not absolute, of course, but in most of the cases I encountered, two things that predicated toward the woman either having an abortion or not was how she felt about the baby’s father and how the baby’s father reacted to the pregnancy. The most pro life thing a young man can do is accept responsibility for his unborn child and love the mother of his child. If men did that, it would reduce the number of abortions by a huge amount.

The priest is Father Stephen Embarrato.

From Aleteia:

I write today as a priest who was guilty of an abortion decades ago. No sooner had I heard about Pope Francis’ letter giving universal faculties to priests to absolve the sin of abortion and lift any excommunication, did I find myself being interviewed on the radio and being asked curious questions about the Pope’s letter.

Is this a new teaching? Is the Church finally forgiving people who have been guilty of an abortion? Later in the day, I was able to read some of the media headlines and I understood why these questions were being asked. A Yahoo headline, “Pope tells priests to pardon women who have had abortions.” MSNBC reported, “Pope says priests can allow this Catholic sin.” The general comments I heard from people on and off social media could be summed up with, “How could the Church be so against abortion that it would refuse mercy to people for this sin.” It is almost as if in one single day we entered an abyss in which the Church was void of mercy when, in reality, the Church is all about mercy…and I am a living example of how the Church, continuing the work of Christ on earth, extends God’s mercy to all who seek His mercy.

In the 1970s, long before I became a priest, I encouraged my girlfriend to have an abortion. Guilt followed almost immediately as did the confession of our sin to a priest. Our healing came much more slowly and we eventually parted ways. Thirty years later, in the seminary, while counseling a young man about his complicity in his girlfriend’s abortion,

 

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Bad Weekend with Mama

Folks, I had a rough weekend with Mama.

I’ll monitor your comments when I get myself together. In the meantime, don’t think that I’m ignoring you and refusing to let you have your say. I’m just not able to face some of the ugliness that shows up in the comboxes right now. I’ll be ok in a little bit and get it done for you. Thanks for your patience.

 

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Lone Vet Returns to Iraq to Fight ISIS

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by  G.obal Panorama https://www.flickr.com/photos/121483302@N02/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by G.obal Panorama https://www.flickr.com/photos/121483302@N02/

60 Minutes covered the plight of Iraqi Christians Among other stories, they found an American military veteran, in Iraq, training Iraqi Christians in self defense.  He’s there because he’s a Christian who wants to help Christians defend themselves in this time of genocide.

From 60minutesovertime.com. 

Lone vet returns to Iraq to fight ISIS

|“I’m not here serving my country–I’m here serving Christians,” says former U.S. soldier Brett Felton, who returned to Iraq to train Christians how to defend themselves from ISIS

I applaud this. One of the necessary components of genocide always seem to be that the victim population can not or does not defend themselves.

Go here to see the story.

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Office Depot’s Refusal to Print Pro-Life Flyer is Bad Business, But They Can Do It

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Mike Mozart https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Mike Mozart https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/

Things are hopping in the culture wars.

It seems that a clerk at a Chicago Office Depot refused to print a pro life flyer quoting facts about the government monies received by Planned Parenthood. The reason? The flyer was deemed to be “persecuting pro abortion” people.

Evidently, Office Depot is standing behind this bit of nuttiness.

Does this, as the woman who was refused service claims, violate her First Amendment rights? I say no. I wrote a post about this for Catholic Vote. 

Here’s part of what I had to say:

… Now the lady who wanted it printed is all in a kerfuffle and talking lawsuit because, she says, her First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech was violated, along with her First Amendment right to Religious Liberty.

I know I’m going to get a lot of raspberries from my pro life fellows, but the lady is wrong. This was not a violation of her First Amendment rights.

It was rude, and it is certainly a reason for pro life people to take their business somewhere besides Office Depot. In fact, I’m sitting on a chair that I bought at Office Depot. Ditto for the desk in front of me. I have some color-coded files I bought from Office Depot just to my right on this same desk. But the truth of the matter is, Office Depot ain’t the only place I can buy these things; not by a long shot. I’ve been planning to buy bookshelves for my music room, and Office Depot has lost that sale. It’s good-bye Office Depot; Mathis Brothers, here I come.

But, I’m not about to get all worked up and claim that the jerks at the Chicago Office Depot in question violated anybody’s Constitutional rights. The Constitutional right to free speech means that the government cannot tell you what to say. It does not give anyone the right to force their speech on other people.

As a ‘for instance,’ I can, and do, delete filthy-mouthed comments from Public Catholic. Read the rest here.

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Kim Davis: Is This the Beginning of a Judicial Dictatorship?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Denise Cross Photography https://www.flickr.com/photos/ldcross/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Denise Cross Photography https://www.flickr.com/photos/ldcross/

This is another take on the question of judicial overstep by the judge who imprisoned Kim Davis. I wrote it for Catholic Vote.

Here’s a bit of what I said:

150904_POL_KimDavis.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2

Kim Davis, Democrat, went to jail rather than violate her Christian values. For this, she is getting hammered by those who think they own the Democratic Party and can decide who gets to be a “real” Democrat.

Donald Trump, Republican, supports sending her to jail. Meanwhile, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal has issued an order in his state protecting court clerks’ right to religious objection.

It’s all kind of a mess, isn’t it?

This jibes nicely with a comment by Robert George, who is Chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Professor George said, There really ARE two kinds of people in the world: those who will go to jail rather than do what’s wrong and those who will send them there.  

In addition to being willing to send people to jail, Mr. Trump appears to also be willing to demolish the separation of powers that keeps us free.

That’s a huge problem with this whole scenario that most people are overlooking. Mrs. Davis is not an administrative appointee. She is not an at-will employee. She is a duly elected official who holds her office by the direct will of the people. Let me clarify what that means: Her authority comes from the people. Courts do not have the power to imprison elected officials based on how they perform their elected duties.

 

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We Can Convert this Culture. The Only Thing Lacking is Leadership.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Olivier Carre-Delisle https://www.flickr.com/photos/84593672@N05/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Olivier Carre-Delisle https://www.flickr.com/photos/84593672@N05/

We can convert this culture. The only thing lacking is leadership.

That’s my take in a post I wrote for the National Catholic Register on two of the most recent polls about the Catholic Church in America today.

Here’s part of what I said:

… The trouble with “opinion” polls is that interpretation of the results rests in the hands of the interpreters. That’s why a recent poll that indicated that fully 90% of Catholics approve of the Pope, and a whopping 89% of Catholics also approve of their Church, received a headline from the Washington Post announcing that “The vast majority of US Catholics who left the Church can’t imagine returning.”

Their bias is showing.

I spent my entire legislative life looking at polls like this and then doing what I thought was best, despite the poll. I knew that poll results were indicators, not hard thinking. In the final analysis, polls didn’t matter. What mattered was whether or not I could communicate my vision to the people I represented. To put it another way, what mattered was whether or not I could exercise leadership.

I look at the same polls that Catholic bashers mine for nuggets to throw at the Church, and I see attitudes, situations and off-the-cuff reactions to disparate realities. I also see enormous opportunity for conversion of this culture.

The poll I cited earlier was a recent poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute. Pew Research Center released another, slightly different, poll showing much the same results. The emphasis of the poll by the Public Religion Institute was the impact that the so-called “Francis Effect” was having on American Catholics. The Pew Research poll was mostly focused on Catholic attitudes about family.

It’s impossible to create parallels between the two polls because their respective definitions of “Catholic” are so different from one another. The Pew Research poll opens the spigot wide, noting that up to 45% of the American population is in some way “connected” to the Catholic Church.

The poll also reveals that 90% of American Catholics believe that the best family situation for raising children is “a household headed by a married mother and father.” I’m not sure what slice of their sampling they used to get this number. Was it everyone they consider Catholic? Or was it just regular Mass-going Catholics?

Pew Research basically defines anyone as a Catholic who says they are Catholic. This includes people who haven’t been inside a Catholic Church in decades right alongside those who attend daily Mass.

But whatever sampling they used, that is a powerful percentage.

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/discerning-the-thirst-for-god-in-the-latest-pew-survey/#ixzz3lFv6tPQw

 

 

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Kim Davis is Out of Jail

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tori Rector https://www.flickr.com/photos/124387535@N03/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tori Rector https://www.flickr.com/photos/124387535@N03/

There really ARE two kinds of people in the world: those who will go to jail rather than do what’s wrong and those who will send them there. Robert George, McCormick Professor, Princeton, Charman, US Commission on International Religious Freedom

Kim Davis has been released from jail. Judge David Bunning, who ordered Davis jailed in the first place, says that he is satisfied that her deputies have fulfilled their obligations to issue marriage licenses to gay marriages.

His order releasing Mrs Davis requires that she cannot interfere with her deputies issuing marriage licenses to “all legally eligible couples.” The implication is that if Mrs Davis does not perform her duties as a dully elected official to the judge’s liking, he will imprison her once again.

I am going to repeat something I said earlier: The judge is over-stepping his authority. Mrs Davis is an elected official and his purview does not extend to telling elected officials whether or not they are performing their duties in a satisfactory manner.

If an elected official does not perform their duties in a manner that the courts deem necessary, the courts have a certain latitude for redress, but this does not include summarily imprisoning the elected official. Perhaps the most clear-cut case of this in American history was when the Supreme Court ruled that the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from their hereditary lands to Indian Territory (what is now the State of Oklahoma) was unconstitutional, and President Andrew Jackson ignored the Court.

Impeachment and the election process are how this nation has dealt with elected officials who do not perform their duties properly. When courts begin to imprison elected officials based on how they perform their duties, they are overstepping the separation powers which is one of the primary guarantors of our freedoms.

I realize that those who favor gay marriage will not allow themselves to see this. I also realize that the concept of separation of powers has become increasingly weak due to judicial overstepping of its clear boundaries by using its power to issue rulings to create and pass legislative initiatives of revolutionary proportions without any reference to representation of the people. But the courts must be stopped from overstepping their boundaries by imprisoning elected officials for not performing their duties in the manner the court decides they should.

There is a lot more at stake here than the recent judicial fiat on gay marriage.

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Pope Changes Annulment Process. What Does it Mean?

Sometimes, it's obvious that there was no sacramental marriage. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Keith https://www.flickr.com/photos/outofideas/

Sometimes, it’s obvious that there was no sacramental marriage. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Keith https://www.flickr.com/photos/outofideas/

My ignorance of canon law is showing.

Pope Francis issued two Apostolic letters, which are edicts affecting the entire Church this morning. These letters reform the process by which members of the laity — and those wishing to enter the Church who have  marital baggage from the pasts — can obtain an annulment.

I have questions out to canonists so that I can give you a more exact and accurate understanding of exactly what the Holy Father did, but there are a few things I can say, just from reading the documents. One critical reform that he has instituted is that the process of obtaining an annulment should be offered to the faithful without charge.

The diocese in which I live does not charge for annulments. That is the way it should be, everywhere. The reason I feel so strongly about this is that a complex marital arrangement can block people from entering the Church, and it can also keep them from taking Communion. That makes the annulment process a roadblock to Jesus. There should never have been a charge for someone seeking to partake of the Body and Blood of Our Savior.

If I understand what I read correctly, the Pope has put the annulment process in the hands of the local bishop, who has been given the option of appointing one person to act on his behalf in this matter. Pope Francis calls this person “a single judge under the responsibly of the Bishop.” One of the things I need to learn more about is how this would affect the existing tribunals.

The important point is a bit further down when the document states clearly “the bishop is judge.” I interpret that to mean that the local bishop is the first voice of appeal if there is disagreement about his designee’s decisions. It also means that the bishop is always directly responsible for the annulment process in his diocese.

The letters says that “a briefer form of trying nullity cases has been designed — in addition to the documentary process already approved and in use.” This simplified process “is to be applied in cases in which the accusation of martial nullity is supported by particularly evident arguments.” I interpret this to mean that this shorter process is for cases cases in which the facts say on their face that the marriage was not a sacramental marriage. That would probably include things such as common law marriage, forced marriage, child marriage, or marriages performed by atheists/pagans/justices of the peace/ship’s captains, etc.

As I said, I’ve asked people who are Canonists to help me understand what these changes will mean to the people in the pews. My guess is that these new rules will be abused by some, but will also help many people who are shut away from the sacraments by a past they cannot change. I think they will also remove what has been unmovable barriers to people who have messy marital pasts and who have converted and changed and are now following the call of Christ to enter the Catholic Church. I personally know people whose conversion to the Catholic church was blocked by their inability to fill out the paperwork required by the current process.

Marriage is a vastly important commitment. When you marry, you chose this one person as your life’s partner. You will create other people with them, people that are part of each of you, but are uniquely themselves. Your spouse is the one who stands beside you in life’s trials, the one who shares your future.

We have degraded and damaged marriage to the point that family itself has lost its meaning to many people. In many ways, these changes in the annulment process are a recognition of the fact that Western society has fallen into such deep and widespread marital sin that the necessity of reconversion means that we must accommodate these things in order to bring the converted to Christ.

Western society has fallen into depravity that has become the norm. But the message of the Gospels is unchanged. That message is simple and straight foward: Jesus Christ the Way to eternal life.  Not only that, but there is no sin we can commit that is greater than His forgiveness.

That’s what I think these changes are about. They are a way to telling people that no matter what kind of mess they’ve made of things, nothing they’ve done is greater than Christ’s mercy.

Here, from Vatican Radio, is the summary of the Apostolic Letters Pope Francis issued today:

  1. That there be only one sentence in favor of executive nullity – It appeared opportune, in the first place, that there no longer be required a twofold decision in favor of marital nullity, in order that the parties be admitted to new canonically valid marriages: the moral certainty reached by the first judge according to law should be sufficient.

  2. A single judge under the responsibility of the Bishop – The constitution of a single judge in the first instance, who shall always be a cleric, is placed under the responsibility of the Bishop, who, in the pastoral exercise of his own proper judicial power shall guarantee that no laxity be indulged in this matter.

  3. The Bishop is judge – In order that the teaching of the II Vatican Council be finally translated into practice in an area of great importance, the decision was made to make evident the fact that the Bishop is, in his Church – of which he is constituted pastor and head – is by that same constitution judge among the faithful entrusted to him. It is desired that, in Dioceses both great and small, the Bishop himself should offer a sign of the conversion of ecclesiastical structures, and not leave the judicial function completely delegated to the offices of the diocesan curia, as far as matters pertaining to marriage are concerned.

  4. Increased brevity in the legal process – In fact, beyond making the marriage annulment process more agile, a briefer form of trying nullity cases has been designed – in addition to the documentary process already approved and in use – which is to be applied in cases in which the accusation of marital nullity is supported by particularly evident arguments. In any case, the extent to which an abbreviated process of judgment might put the principle of the indissolubility of marriage at risk, did not escape me [writes Pope Francis – ed.]: thus, I have desired that, in such cases the Bishop himself shall be constituted judge, who, by force of his pastoral office is with Peter the greatest guarantor of Catholic unity in faith and in discipline.

  5. Appeal to the Metropolitcan See – It is fitting that the appeal to the Metropolitan See be re-introduced, since that office of headship of an Ecclesiastical province, stably in place through the centuries, is a distinctive sign of the synodality of the Church.

  6. The proper role of the Bishops’ Conferences – The Bishops’ Conferences, which must be driven above all by the anxious apostolic desire to reach the far-off faithful, should formally recognize the duty to share the aforesaid conversion, and respect absolutely the right of the Bishops to organize judicial power each within his own particular Church.

 

 

Deacon Greg offers an excellent news summary of the letters here.

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Pope Francis Goes to Local Shop to Buy New Glasses

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ann Worner https://www.flickr.com/photos/wefi_official/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ann Worner https://www.flickr.com/photos/wefi_official/

He went himself to buy new glasses. He saved money by using the old frames. I imagine it was a great treat to him, being able to go out for this ordinary errand.

Love our Holy Father.

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Pope Francis’ Virtual Papal Audience with Americans Full Version

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons. http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons. http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

If you missed Pope Francis’ virtual papal audience with America, here it is, without editing.

This is an incredible event. I cried like a baby when the single mother with the two little girls spoke to the pope about her life and her feelings. I think the reason why so many of these people cried when they were talking is the healing power of telling their story to the Vicar of Christ.

This is the power that all priests have, if they will just use it. They can heal or wound as no one else can. It depends on their willingness to suffer with other people’s suffering.

We have a wonderful pope.

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For a more in-depth reaction, check out Deacon Greg. 

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The Woman Behind Pope Francis’ Visit to the United States

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Republic of Korea https://www.flickr.com/photos/koreanet/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Republic of Korea https://www.flickr.com/photos/koreanet/

This video is a couple of months old, but the information it contains is timely.

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Dying to Keep a Job … Freedom of Conscience and Abortion, Euthanasia

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Cliff https://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/

Do you support forcing doctors and nurses to violate their consciences by killing their patients with abortion and euthanasia?

How does this overall concept apply to the questions raised by the jailing of Kim Davis?

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Mentally Disabled People Visit the Pope

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons by Agência Brasil, a public Brazilian news agency. Their website states: "Todo o conteúdo deste site está publicado sob a Licença Creative Commons Atribuição 3.0 Brasil exceto quando especificado em contrário e nos conteúdos replicados de outras fontes." (English translation: All content on this website is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil License unless specified otherwise and content replicated from other sources.)

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons by Agência Brasil, a public Brazilian news agency.
Their website states: “Todo o conteúdo deste site está publicado sob a Licença Creative Commons Atribuição 3.0 Brasil exceto quando especificado em contrário e nos conteúdos replicados de outras fontes.” (English translation: All content on this website is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil License unless specified otherwise and content replicated from other sources.)

Our black-shoed pope: Love him.

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When Chickens Trump Babies … Time to Re-Prioritize?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Wattpublishing https://www.flickr.com/photos/wattagnet/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Wattpublishing https://www.flickr.com/photos/wattagnet/

I think this is something that only a Harry Truman Democrat could write.

I take on the moral inanity of poseur liberalism, something that will probably get the hide ripped off me all over again in certain circles. You can read it all at CatholicVote. 

Here’s part of what I said:

Mother Jones is a venerable liberal magazine. It’s named after a labor organizer who was — you guessed it — Mother Jones. Back in the day, liberals were all about things like a living wage, social security and good jobs. I was, and still am, that kind of liberal.

Then, somewhere alone the line, liberalism drifted. Nowadays, “liberalism” is largely the property of the decidedly illiberal world of politically-correct group-think. It is no longer concerned with working people, and in fact, often supports positions that run counter to the deeply-held beliefs and best interests of working class Americans. Today’s liberalism walks right past jobless people who suffer for lack of a hope and a future to focus its energy on comical trivialities.

Today’s “liberal” is not a liberal. They are poseurs who have absconded with an honorable name and appended it to what is in reality a socio-political movement of nihilism.

Enter the latest issue of Mother Jones.

Mother Jones, in direct contrast to the deep working class roots its name evokes, has fallen face-forward into the faux liberalism of espousing trivialities while supporting massive human rights abuses. The human rights abuse I’m referencing is the well-documented practice of Planned Parenthood of killing millions of unborn children, then selling their body parts for profit.

Unlike much of the “legitimate” press, Mother Jones has not ignored the videos in which Planned Parenthood personnel engage in this grisly commerce. In fact, it is not the least bit shy about writing about the videos and the Center for Medical Progress which produced them.

Go here to read the rest.

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Guess Who Didn’t Go to Jail?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Chris Potter https://www.flickr.com/photos/86530412@N02/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Chris Potter https://www.flickr.com/photos/86530412@N02/

How about when the shoe is on the other foot?

From Daily Mail:

An openly-gay judge has said she is refusing to perform marriage ceremonies until same-sex couples can wed.

Dallas County Judge Tonya Parker says she won’t use her power to perform legal marriage ceremonies in her court because would be ‘an oxymoron’ for her.

Speaking to a meeting of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, she said: ‘I use it as my opportunity to give them a lesson about marriage inequality in this state because I feel like I have to tell them why I’m turning them away.’

Judge Parker said if asked to perform wed a couple, she would say: ‘I’m sorry. I don’t perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn’t apply to another group of people.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2105958/Openly-gay-Judge-refuses-marry-straight-couples-sex-couples-rights.html#ixzz3kmfU4wf6
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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Court Clerk Kim Davis Jailed for Refusing to Issue Same Sex Marriage License

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tori Rector https://www.flickr.com/photos/124387535@N03/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Tori Rector https://www.flickr.com/photos/124387535@N03/

Kim Davis, the county clerk in Rowan Country, Kentucky, was jailed for contempt of court.

This is a rather interesting situation, since Ms Davis is an elected official. Normally, elected officials who are considered to be failing to perform their duties are dealt with by the voters, or, if the Constitution of their state allows, impeachment proceedings.

The question that comes to mind in this situation is simply whether or not the court is over-stepping its standing in this matter. That is a rather large question which may surface in actual practice if these law-making court decisions keep on coming.

Our Supreme Court has taken on a legislative role in many of its rulings in the past few decades. Each time it has done that, it has gone further than simply taking legislative powers onto itself. It has also taken on the role of a dictatorship by tribunal, since members of the Supreme Court are not elected.

I am interested to see if anyone raises the question as to whether or not the court has the power to imprison elected officials for what it deems a failure to perform their duties. That kind of action broadens judicial powers exponentially.

Right now, the issue is being dealt with as a simple contempt of court. I question whether or not a court can issue an order requiring that elected officials perform their duties in specified ways. In some jurisdictions, where the county clerk is entirely an officer of the court, there would be no question as to the court’s authority to order them to comply with court orders.

But Ms Davis stood for election. So, is she entirely an officer of the court? She is, after all, directly answerable to the people.

For instance, back in the 1980s, the federal courts issued orders about certain requirements concerning population density and facilities for the Oklahoma prisons. There was a riot at one of our prisons and we had to rebuild the prison. During the planning for that, we took the court order into consideration.

But if we had not, the court would not have been able to put any member of the legislature in jail for non-compliance. The federal government could have punished the state of Oklahoma by a withdrawal of funds. The courts might have issued draconian orders putting the prisons under direct federal oversight. There might even have been an attempt to fine the state in some way.

However, none of us who voted on this legislation worried that soldiers were going to come on the House floor and cart us off to jail for non-compliance if we failed to adhere to that court order. Courts don’t — and shouldn’t — control how elected officials do their duties. It is a gross expansion of court powers for them to try.

I realize that the order concerning Ms Davis was directed at her alone. But there is a principle here that I don’t think anyone is looking at carefully enough.

From ABC News:

A Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, was jailed today after a judge found her in contempt of court for her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, but five of her deputies said under oath they would comply with the court’s order to issue the licenses.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled against the Rowan County clerk before deputy marshals removed her from the courtroom this morning, and later said he expected the deputies to comply despite Davis’ refusal to authorize them to do so.

Bunning said Davis could be released from federal custody if she complies with the order to resume issuing licenses in the county. She has refused to issue marriage licenses to anyone, arguing that such a move was a way around discriminating against same-sex couples.

The ACLU had asked that she be fined but the judge said he didn’t believe that was enough to force her into action.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which is representing Davis, said in a statement, “Everyone is stunned at this development. Kim Davis is being treated as a criminal because she cannot violate her conscience. While she may be behind bars for now, Kim Davis is a free woman. Her conscience remains unshackled.”

 

 

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What Order Would You Give the Allied Commander of the Pro Life Forces?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by The US Army https://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by The US Army https://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/

What order would you give the allied commander of the Pro Life Forces?

I asked this question in a post I wrote for the National Catholic Register. The replies have been more than interesting.

Here’s some of what I said:

The pro-life movement has been wandering in the political battlefields, winning tactical points and losing tactical points with each election. It has placed its entire operation in the hands of one political party, and has, by doing this, put the “issue” of abortion — and the lives that are lost by abortion — at the service of partisan electioneering.

Not once in all these years of culture warfare has the pro-life movement attempted to develop an overall objective. That might seem like picayune nit-picking to some pro-life people. But I assure you it is not.

The number one reason that the pro-life movement wanders and ends up getting used politically, is that it does not have a clear-cut objective. We have been laboring all these years toward a strategic goal which, in itself, would not mean the end of legal abortion. Worse, even this strategic goal has proven itself impossible to achieve. Indeed, all our efforts in that regard have resulted in unintended consequences which have actually hurt rather than helped the overall cause we believe in.

I am referring to the strategic goal of packing the Supreme Court with pro-life justices who will return the question of abortion to the states. All our striving toward that goal has resulted in a bitter cultural divide and a nutty Supreme Court. Instead of returning abortion to the states, we have gotten ourselves a Court that legalized gay marriage.

Even if we had succeeded in getting a pro-life Court — and I don’t think there is a consensus on what a “pro-life Court” is in the specific and real-life sense — all we would have accomplished is returning the question of legal abortion to the states. Do you understand what that would mean?

It would mean that we would be setting ourselves up for unending back-and-forth and electioneering on the state level that would go on for decades into the future. We would not save lives. We would instead guarantee more of the same tawdry and destructive politicking we’ve seen so far.

Our problem goes back to what we don’t have. We don’t have an objective. Because we don’t have an objective, we cannot formulate strategies to achieve it. Because we don’t have strategies, we cannot formulate tactics that get us any nearer to the end of the fight.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/pro-lifers-will-keep-losing-and-babies-will-keep-dying-until-we-do-this/#ixzz3khm06UM7

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