Support Hobby Lobby in The Fight for Religious Liberty.
Government forced Hobby Lobby to choose:
Violate your conscience and stay in business or remain faithful to your conscience and be penalized up to 1.3 million dollars per day. Hobby Lobby chose to sue the government for their right – and ours – to operate their business in full accord with their faith. Read more about the case here.
There may have been liturgical abuses, were, in fact, according to several articles I’ve read this week by prominent Catholics.
These people evidently bring a spreadsheet to mass so they can tally all the disrupting liturgical abuses they find there. I don’t know how they have time to worship during all the liturgical-abuse minding they must do. I would imagine that a priest, on seeing one of these folks enter his church, must feel the same anxiety that a young bride feels when her mother-in-law comes to call.
It would be difficult to get on the right side of parishioners like these. One of the sadnesses of these articles is that they find such a ready audience among people who evidently go to mass to carp rather than to pray.
Let my tell you what I found at my church on Christmas Eve.
I saw a church that was packed to overflowing with people of every description. There was the rail-thin gay man who almost certainly is suffering with HIV, the odd-looking transexual whose bulging forearms belie the surgeon’s work, the families with screaming babies, the elderly ladies who sat behind me and gabbled their way through the mass, the deaf man who sat next to me and watched intently but never spoke, the young man with gang insignia on his arms, the young police officer who was injured in the line of duty and was never supposed to walk again but who walked, albeit slowly, into church that night. There were pillars of the community and illegal immigrants, packed into the pews together. Last, but not least, there was me and mine.
We (shudder) held hands during the our father, (gasp) applauded the folks who’d spent hours decorating the church and (can you believe this) got up after mass and talked to one another on our way out of the sanctuary.
It was enough to make a liturgical abuse cop foam at the mouth and fall over in a dead faint.
But do you know who else was there?
Jesus was there.
He was there in the eucharist. He was there in the tired, screaming babies, the gabbling ladies, the odd-looking transsexual, the deaf man who couldn’t hear the mass but felt it anyway, the sad, tired HIV sufferer, the miraculously walking police officer and all the chitter-chattering celebrants as they exited to the Narthex. He was there in the priest whose lunch I once interrupted with a call when my mother was ill, and who came immediately to the hospital.
He was there when we held hands during the Our Father, during the applause and the Christmas carols. He was there in the faith and trust of people who don’t give a care about liturgical abuses but who left their homes on a blustery Christmas Eve to go be together before the Lord because they know He is real, He is present and when they enter that sanctuary, He is there.
These are people who have followed Jesus across the rocky landscapes of their rocky lives. They’ve walked with Him through death, life and everything in between. Some of them had walked right over drug addiction, sexual disorders, terrible injuries, loneliness and fear to be there with Him. We are all riddled with sins, failings, weaknesses and shame. That is our condition. And that is why when we walk into a Catholic Church, we are not searching for liturgical abuses and laundry lists of petty crimes and misdemeanors to assure ourselves of our righteousness. We know that our righteousness resides behind that altar, in the tabernacle, because He is there.
I went to mass Christmas Eve. I didn’t go in search of liturgical perfection. I also didn’t go in search of abuses that I could call out and feel self-righteous about. I went because Jesus is there, and He alone has the words that lead to eternal life. I went to be with my Lord.
And I found Him. Because He was there.
It never occurred to me to put a wish for a Daddy on my Christmas list when I was little.
I already had one of those; a big, boisterous, Daddy who shared a bed with my mother, went to work, came home and would have flat-out killed anyone who tried to hurt me.
Evidently, there are a lot of kids who wish they had something like that. According to an article from the Telegraph, British children’s number ten wish on their list to Santa was for “a Dad.”
This is the time for New Year’s resolutions. My suggestion for the men out there is that if you have children, resolve to be “a Dad” to them.
The Telegraph article reads in part:
When it comes to Christmas, it might be safe to assume children will ask Santa for an extensive list of toys, games and treats.
But a survey of their typical lists for Father Christmas has shown many have more serious concerns, requesting “a dad” instead.
A study of 2,000 British parents found most children will put a new baby brother or sister at the top of their Christmas list, closely followed by a request for a real-life reindeer.
A “pet horse” was the third most popular choice, with a “car” making a bizarre entry at number four.
Despite their material requests, the tenth most popular Christmas wish on the list was a “Dad”. (Read more here.)
Katrina Fernandez, who blogs at The Crescat posted a great video featuring football coach Lou Holtz encouraging Catholics to “come home” to weekly mass and the sacraments.
I’m reposting it here.
It commemorates the terrible slaughter of little boys under two years of age by King Herod. Herod was trying to kill the newborn King of the Jews, the Messiah, because he mistakenly thought that this baby king would one day try to overtake his throne.
Herod was a puppet king, put in place by the Romans to hold things together in what was a little corner of their empire. But even though Israel was small, it held an important place along the trade routes linking Egypt and Rome. Egypt at that time was the breadbasket of the world.
So, uprisings and troubles in this area could not be ignored. They had to be put down.
Much of the history of the New Testament, including the eventual crucifixion of Our Lord, turns on this fact.
Herod was a placeholder. His purpose in the Roman scheme of things was to keep the order in that tiny kingdom of his. He was charged with keeping things calm, collecting taxes and making sure that the trade routes stayed open. If he needed to kill people to accomplish this, he was free to do so.
Herod sat on a wobbly throne. He was subject to the Romans above and threatened by the religious zealots and restless populace below. Since he had Jewish inclinations of his own, he understood the power of the prophesied Messiah on the popular imagination. People were waiting for a warrior king who would free Israel and restore it to glory. Tales of the Maccabean revolts still resonated. It all seemed possible to a puppet king.
When three men from the East dropped by, asking directions to the new born king, that gave what was probably Herod’s always-ready paranoia a new target. Somewhere out there in the little town of Bethlehem his future nemesis was growing up.
After the men who were searching for the baby failed to return to Herod and tell him where this child was, Herod moved to a simpler, more expedient method of eliminating the risk. He ordered the murder of every baby boy under the age of two.
Jesus was wholly human as well as wholly God. Like us, he was born to die. But not then. His time was years in the future. So, God sent an angel to Jesus’ step-father in a dream to tell him to take Mary and the baby Jesus away from there.
I’ve always found it significant that the angel did not come to Mary. Joseph was the protector of that little family. The angel came to him.
And, like good fathers everywhere, he accepted the responsibility of taking care of his family.
Joseph took his wife and baby into exile in Egypt where they stayed for what sounds like a few years. The little boy Jesus and His mother and father learned what it means to be strangers in a strange land. They were refugees, illegal immigrants, alone in a land that did not share their heritage or their faith.
This is a sad tale, a hard beginning to the life that would change the world forever. Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus were a family facing hardship, hard times, and a struggle for survival just like families have always faced these things: Together.
“My peace I give you,” Jesus would later say. “Peace of Christ,” we say to one another. “The peace that passes all understanding,” Paul described it to us.
But like everything thing else about this story, this peace comes wrapped in a crown of thorns.
SALT LAKE CITY – Gun-rights advocates in Utah offered six hours of training Thursday in handling concealed weapons for hundreds of Utah teachers in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
The latest effort to arm teachers to confront school assailants was organized by the Utah Shooting Sports Council, which hosted the training session to help educators become eligible for concealed firearm permits, FOX 13 News reported.
More than 200 teachers flocked to the training class in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Valley City. Raye Ann Blauer, a kindergarten teacher, told FOX 13 she is considering using her permit to carry a firearm at school.
“[A]fter everything that happened in Connecticut, I want to be aware of how I can help in the classroom and protect my kids and whatnot. Be aware,” Blauer said. “I think it’s really smart. Especially with everything that’s happened lately.”
English teacher Kevin Leatherbarrow holds a license to carry a concealed weapon and doesn’t see anything wrong with arming teachers in the aftermath of the deadly Connecticut school shooting.
“We’re sitting ducks,” said Leatherbarrow, who works at a Utah charter school. “You don’t have a chance in hell. You’re dead — no ifs, ands or buts.”
In Ohio, a firearms group said it was launching a test program in tactical firearms training for 24 teachers. The Arizona attorney general is proposing a change to state law to allow an educator in each school to carry a gun. (Read more here.)
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/12/28/teachers-in-utah-ohio-get-free-gun-training/#ixzz2GMPPg8JU
This announcement comes despite a ruling by Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor that Hobby Lobby will not receive injunctive relief from the Mandate and must begin paying a $1.3 million dollar a day fine if it does not provide insurance coverage for the morning after pill to its employees. Hobby Lobby also announced that it will continue its long-standing practice of providing health insurance coverage for other contraceptives for its employees.
It is incredible to me that abortion advocates are so aggressive in their efforts to force people who do not agree with them to actually participate in abortions. This extends from attempts to force doctors and nurses to participate in performing abortions to the HHS Mandate which seeks to coerce religious organizations and businesses, such as Hobby Lobby, to pay for abortifacients.
The morning after pill can be dangerous to women’s health, especially if it is taken repeatedly. Despite this, it appears that there is a concerted effort to push this high-dose hormone as a contraceptive replacement to be used casually and often.
In addition to the obvious moral and religious objections to an abortifacient drug like this, I think there are other moral objections to it on the basis of women’s health.
Hobby Lobby’s statement says in full:
tatement Regarding Sotomayor Opinion
“Hobby Lobby will continue their appeal before the Tenth Circuit. The Supreme Court merely decided not to get involved in the case at this time. It left open the possibility of review after their appeal is completed in the Tenth Circuit. The company will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees. To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.” — Kyle Duncan, General Counsel, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
Mor information concerning the case can be found on The Becket Fund For Religious Liberty website.
Hobby Lobby will have to begin paying fines of $1.3 million per day next Tuesday, thanks to the HHS Mandate.
After federal appeals court ruled against their lawsuit regarding the mandate, Hobby Lobby petitioned the Supreme Court for injunctive relief. What that means is that they asked the Supreme Court to push back the date on which the fines would become effective.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied this petition. That means that Hobby Lobby will be subject to $1.3 million in fines every single day, beginning January 1.
All this comes from an agency rule which was signed by one man: President Obama.
It is not a statute that was passed by a legislative body. We the people were not at the table when the HHS Mandate was created. It was written by an appointed (and hand-picked) committee which was balanced heavily in favor of supporters and activists for Planned Parenthood and abortion.
This Mandate is in direct violation of the promise that President Obama gave to the American people and to pro-life Democrats who helped him pass the Affordable Health Care Act. To put it bluntly, the President lied to pro life Democratic members of Congress such as Congressman Bart Stupak in order to pass Obamacare. Former Congressman Stupak has signed a letter in opposition to the Mandate essentially saying this.
For myself, I plan to go shopping at Hobby Lobby.
These are two quotes from different articles which describe the logic of filing the petition to the Supreme Court and the decision by Justice Sotomayor.
Justice Sotomayor Rejects Hobby Lobby’s Request for Mandate Relief (1192)
The Christian-owned business now faces fines of up to $1.3 million per day after Jan. 1 if it refuses to provide abortion-inducing drugs in its company health insurance plan.
by REGISTER STAFF 12/27/2012 Comment
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has rejected a request that the federal government temporarily halt enforcement of the federal abortifacient mandate against the Christian-owned business Hobby Lobby, the Associated Press reported Dec. 27.
The Green family, owners of the Oklahoma-based retail chain Hobby Lobby, does not object to providing contraceptives through the company’s health insurance plan. But the company has filed a lawsuit against the Affordable Healthcare Act’s mandate that abortifacient drugs also be funded, on the grounds that involvement in abortions is a violation of the Greens’ religious beliefs.
In her Dec. 26 decision denying the request from Hobby Lobby and a related company, Mardel Inc., Justice Sotomayor ruled the Greens’ companies do not meet the legal standard for preventing enforcement of the mandate while their lawsuit is before the courts, the Associated Press reported.
Hobby Lobby sought relief from enforcement of the mandate because as of Jan. 1, the company will face potential fines of $1.3 million per day if it declines to provide coverage of the so-called “morning after” and “week after” abortifacient drugs in its health insurance plan.
Hobby Lobby appealed to the Supreme Court after a federal court denied its request for relief from enforcement of the abortifacient mandate Dec. 20. The 10th Circuit Court rejected the motion on the grounds that the religious burden to the Green family was “indirect and attenuated.”
Some religious nonprofits are not required to comply with the mandate until Aug. 1, 2013, while the Obama administration works out the details of changes it has promised to make to the mandate to address their religious objections. However, other religious employers were required to begin providing co-pay-free contraceptives and related services by August 2012, or whenever they subsequently updated their health plans.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Hobby Lobby as well as a number of other organizations and groups that have filed lawsuits against the contraceptive mandate, said in a Dec. 20 press release that “the Green family’s religious convictions prohibit them from providing or paying for the abortion-inducing drugs, the ‘morning-after’ and ‘week-after’ pills, which would violate their most deeply held religious belief that life begins at conception.”
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/justice-sotomayor-rejects-hobby-lobbys-request-for-mandate-relief#ixzz2GHDEodQD
Washington D.C., Dec 20, 2012 / 05:53 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Arts and crafts giant Hobby Lobby will appeal to the nation’s highest court after an appeals court ruled the federal contraception mandate does not impose a “substantial burden” on the owners’ religious freedom.
“The Green family is disappointed with this ruling,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is handling the case.
He explained that the Christian family that owns and operates Hobby Lobby must now “seek relief from the United States Supreme Court.”
“The Greens will continue to make their case on appeal that this unconstitutional mandate infringes their right to earn a living while remaining true to their faith,” Duncan said.
On Dec. 20, an appeals court denied the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary injunction to block the federal contraception mandate from being enforced against them while their case moves forward in the court.
The mandate requires employers to offer health insurance covering sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause early abortions. As Christians, the Greens are morally opposed to funding any type of abortion, including those caused by “morning after” and “week after” pills. (Read more here.)
This is Mark Hall, the lead singer with Casting Crowns, one of my favorite Christian music groups. He’s talking about sharing Jesus with your friends, which is something every Christian needs to do.
One of the things he emphasizes is the need to wait for the Holy Spirit to make the opening. I believe, based on my own experiences, that when the Holy Spirit wants to use you, He will give you the words.
Catholics tend to be slow to do this and other traditions sometimes overdo it to the point of becoming a nuisance. We need to trust God to lead us. The most important witness for Christ is when we follow Him with our lives. Without that, nothing we say will matter.
Public Catholic reader Peg Demetris, who blogs at Peg Pondering Again, responded to one of the posts I put up this morning with a much better idea of her own.
Starbucks is asking their employees for write “Come together” on cups they give their customers in the Washington, DC area. This is in reference to the deadlock over the fiscal cliff between President Obama and Congress. Peg thought of the idea of pro life people writing “Stop Funding Abortion” on paper cups and taking them to Starbucks to leave on the counter.
I was not aware of this, but Peg says that Starbucks donates money to Planned Parenthood.
Here, in it’s entirety, is Peg’s post about this from her blog, Peg Pondering Again. Reprinted with permission.
Holy Innocents Pledge
An article came out today Starbucks to Politicians: Come Together in which Starbucks will be writing “Come Together” on all cups of coffee sold on Thursday and Friday. According to Starbucks, the words are intended as a message to lawmakers about the damage being caused by the divisive negotiations over the “fiscal cliff.”
Taking into account Starbucks is a financial contributor to Planned Parenthood, I propose we all stop drinking their coffee and send a message ourselves. Tomorrow is the Massacre of the Innocents. Rather then buy a cup, place a cup of water, representing the tears of all who regret their abortions on their counter, with the words “STOP FUNDING ABORTION”. Just an idea that came quickly from our Lord today, after reading the articles on Facebook. Glory to God.
O God, whom the Holy Innocents confessed and proclaimed on this day, not by speaking but by dying, grant, we pray, that the faith in your which we confess with our lips may also speak through our manner of life. Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever, and ever. Amen
A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more.
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama was flying back to Washington on Thursday and the top Republican in Congress planned to speak with House of Representatives lawmakers as the clock ticked toward a year-end deadline for action to avert the looming “fiscal cliff” tax hikes and spending cuts.
Markets around the world awaited action in Washington to prevent tax hikes on nearly all Americans and the deep automatic government spending cuts due to kick in at the beginning of next month that could push the U.S. economy back into recession.
Such action, however, remained far from certain, with Republicans and Democrats each insisting the other side move first amid continuing partisan gridlock.
Air Force One carrying Obama from Hawaii took off at about 3 a.m. EST for a journey that can take nearly half a day.
The U.S. Senate was scheduled to meet later on Thursday but on matters unrelated to the “fiscal cliff.” The Democrats control the Senate and theRepublicans control the House.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday said through a spokesman that the Senate was ready to consider any bills coming from the House but would take no action on its own. (Read more here.)
NEW YORK, N.Y. -Associated Press
Starbucks is using its coffee cups to jump into the political fray in Washington.
The world’s biggest coffee chain is asking employees at cafes in the Washington, D.C. area to scribble the words “Come Together” on cups for drink orders on Thursday and Friday. CEO Howard Schultzsays the words are intended as a message to lawmakers about the damage being caused by the divisive negotiations over the “fiscal cliff.”
It’s the first time employees at Starbucks cafes are being asked to write anything other than customers’ names on cups.
While companies generally steer clear of politics to avoid alienating customers, the plea to “Come Together” is a sentiment unlikely to cause controversy. If anything, Starbucks could score points with customers and burnish its image as a socially conscious company.
This isn’t the first time the coffee chain is using its platform to send a political message. In the summer of 2011, Schultz also asked other CEOs and the public to stop making campaign contributions until politicians found a way to deal with a crisis over the debt ceiling that led to a downgrade in the country’s credit rating.
For the latest push, Starbucks is taking out an ad in the Washington Post on Thursday showing a cup with the words “Come Together” on it. (Read more here.)
COLEMAN, Ga. (BP) — It was a Christmas season that the 18-year-old Marine would rather not experience. Slogging through the mud in the drizzling, never-ending rain was beginning to wear on the enlisted man’s spirit.
Sleeping on the ground without a bath for months with a stubbly beard growing from not shaving in the winter cold was not his idea of a holiday. He had fond recent memories of Christmas in Greenville, S.C., still fresh from his boyhood days. His grandmother’s Christmas ham and visits with family and friends are what he missed the most.
There would be none of that this year. In fact, he was grateful just to be alive.
What made it worse was being part of a squadron chosen to provide security for the annual USO Christmas program. It just didn’t seem fair.
While thousands enjoyed plenty of Christmas cheer and entertainment, he and his buddies silently guarded a nearly 12-mile arc around Da Nang in South Vietnam.
Their mission was crucial to the enjoyment of fellow soldiers. Several thousand troops enjoying a holiday celebration would be an easy target for North Vietnamese troops slipping through the jungles.
For the teenage soldier, this day was just another in a string of cold, overcast winter days. The day is a memory now. A story he tells. For this telling, he prefers to be known only by his first name, Jack
“We were angry, hungry, wet and scared most of the time,” he said. “Our job was to stay alert and patrol to keep the enemy from infiltrating the area and disrupting the show. Needless to say, we weren’t very happy.”
Jack said he and his fellow soldiers spent most of their time “griping, as young Marines are prone to do, about our bad luck. It had rained for what seemed like weeks and was constantly low overcast.”
Dark and gray and miserable. Not an ideal Christmas. Certainly not when it was going to be his first Christmas away from home. (Read more here.)