Governor Brewer Vetoes Religious Freedom Bill

Governor Jan Brewer

Governor Brewer did what everyone expected and vetoed the religious freedom bill.

You can find a video with her explanation here, if you want to see it. I didn’t bother to look at it because I don’t believe that she’s going to tell the truth and I am not in the mood to hear lies. However, I could be wrong. Decide for yourselves.

A group of legal experts wrote the governor a letter concerning this legislation that answers most of the things which have been said about the bill. You can read it here. I will also put a copy of it below.

SB1062LegalProfsLetter

 

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SB1062LegalProfsLetter4

 

 

Does the Laity Have the Right to Expect Authenticity from Our Priests?

TableauGoodShepherd

I’m evidently somewhat different from the average pew-sitting Catholic.

I don’t want my pastor to confirm me in my sins.

I want my pastor to tell me the truth about my spiritual condition and to lead me in the Way that leads to eternal life. I don’t go to church to validate myself, my sins or my choices in life. I go to church to grow closer to the Lord and to learn how to follow Jesus.

When I ask a Catholic priest for instruction on moral issues, I am not asking him for his personal prejudices or his individual neurosis. I want him to give me the straight truth about what the Church teaches so that I will be better able to evaluate what I should do and how I should live.

In short, I rely on the priests I go to for help to be authentic in their Catholicity and to tell me the truth.

I trust them to not use their position and power to lead me in ways that are sinful, belligerent to the Church, or that will allow me to commit grave sins against myself, other people, or my God.

So far in my Catholic life, this trust has been well-rewarded. I have had priests who always told me the truth of Church teaching, even when it made them personally uncomfortable and when I argued back and gave them a hard time about it.

Every person who lives brings themselves to the altar. They bring their own story, their own sins, their own desires for validation of their sins and an easy out from the narrow way of truly following Christ. There are no exceptions to this. Jesus told us that the Way of following Him was hard, and it is.

I, for one, would have loved to have been told that abortion in the case of rape is alright. I’ve seen what rape does to women and girls. I know how desperate and terrified a woman who’s been raped feels when she learns she is pregnant from that rape. I understand the price of choosing life in the face of this crime against her humanity.

If I had been given my druthers, I would also have loved to hear my pastor say that it’s ok to be all in for gay marriage. It would have been wonderful for me to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder on this with the friend I loved. I will grieve the loss of him in my life all my days.

It cost me dearly to accept that I was wrong about these things. It costs me almost every single day of my life.

But if my priest had lied to me, and given me his pastoral permission to do these things, he would have done me a great disservice. Also, I believe that part of my sin would also have been on his soul.

I do not begin to know how God deals with priests who throw away their priesthood to mislead the people who trust them; people they are supposed to shepherd.

But I can say from personal experience that the remorse you feel later for misleading people is a terrible sorrow. I would also add that you can’t often undo it once it’s done. I have gone to people I misled and told them I was wrong, that I regretted everything I had done. I could not change them. I could not unconvince them of the sinful things I had convinced them to believe earlier.

Priests who throw away their priesthood to preach and teach that which is contrary to the Gospels are the most piteous of creatures.

I believe that the laity has a right to expect authenticity from the men who pastor us. I believe we have a right to know that they will not mislead us and tell us our sins are not sins and that we should go and sin even more. I believe that we have a right to be able to trust that they will tell us the truth and teach us the Gospel without their personal prevarications and politically correct longings getting into it.

A case in point is the fallen Catholic school in Seattle that I wrote about earlier. Students at this school walked out because the school dismissed a member of the staff who had gotten “married” to his same-sex partner. There was a lot of carrying on, and ultimately, the school backed down about another staff member.

A priest from the Seattle area recently wrote an opinion piece for America magazine which accidentally illustrates the abysmal Catholic leadership that went into this tragedy of a failed Catholic school. I am sure that he’s very popular with the gay rights people. I would imagine that he’s viewed as a hero by his many friends in those circles.

He is also evidently a priest who many unsuspecting Catholics have chosen to follow. Again, I’m sure that these people feel they have the best pastor in the world, affirming them as he does in placing the teachings of the world ahead of the teachings of the Church. I would imagine that he’s a legendary folk hero in certain circles.

But from my viewpoint, he is inauthentic as a priest. He is not teaching what the Church teaches. In fact, he is using his collar to give gravitas to his personal teachings that the Church is wrong. He is leading people away from the light and into the darkness of popular piety without actual fealty. He is teaching them to turn their back on the real God and become their own little g gods.

I hate and detest singling out one person for the misbehavior of many. I am quite sure that there are a plethora of people in the Church who are responsible for the mess that is this school and for other fallen Catholic individuals and institutions around this country.

But I feel that someone, somewhere, has to point out that the Catholic laity has a right to expect authenticity from their priests. I don’t know anything about Canon law, but if this is not Canonical, it should be. We, as the people of God, have the right not to be deliberately misled by our shepherds.

Will Arizona Let the Money Do the Talking?

Governor Jan Brewer

The money men have lined up in what appears to be a concerted effort to make sure that gay couples can force every baker in the state of Arizona to provide them with wedding cakes.

This burning wedding cake issue, which has been likened to the Jim Crow segregation and lynchings that once plagued African Americans, has brought corporate interests from coast to coast into the argument. They are speaking with one voice, and that voice is demanding a veto of the religious freedom bill recently passed by the Arizona legislature.

Two Republican senators who voted for the bill have seen the dollar sign and are now asking Governor Brewer to veto the bill.

I have not read this legislation. I’ve been busy with legislation on which I am going to actually have to vote. But I can tell you from experience that the various chambers of commerce and money people tend to talk to Republican legislators who step out of line like they were dogs who fetched when they should have sicced. I don’t doubt for a minute that this is what changed the senators’ hearts and minds on this issue.

Even Newt Gingrich has chimed in, calling for the governor to veto the bill.

The power of money on the legislative process can be breathtaking.

Governor Brewer has until Friday to make a decision.

From Bloomberg Business Week:

Companies from Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) to American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL:US)called on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto a bill allowing businesses to refuse service on religious grounds, a measure that opponents say is meant to allow discrimination against gays.

The measure passed last week prompted tourists to cancel reservations and companies to say they would locate elsewhere if it became law. The bill threatens to reverse an economic recovery in a state among those hardest hit by the housing crash, opponents said, and to cement a reputation fostered by a 2010 anti-immigration law and a fight in the 1990s over celebrating the Martin Luther King holiday.

After residents and businesses protested the bill over the weekend, three Republican senators who voted for the measure changed their minds and asked Brewer to veto it. NBC News reported today that three people close to the governor said she is likely to do that. Brewer wasn’t immediately available for comment.

“There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far,” Doug Parker, chief executive officer of Fort Worth, Texas-based American, wrote in a letter to Brewer yesterday. He said that it has the potential to reduce the desire of companies to relocate in the state and to repel convention business.

Gov Brewer Won’t Say if She’ll Sign Bill Allowing Business to Refuse Service Based on Religious Beliefs

Governor Jan Brewer

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer won’t say if she’ll sign the bill which would allow businesses to refuse service based on religious beliefs.

Her only comment was that the bill was “very controversial” and that she “needs to get my hands around it.”

Meanwhile the Arizona Commerce Authority is chiming in against the bill.

The bill puts the Republican governor in a pretty political pickle. It forces her to chose between the Republican Party’s vote-getting base of conservative religious, and its corporate/chamber of commerce money men.

According to an article in USA Today, Governor Brewer has until Friday to decide.

From USA Today:

Arizona’s governor is watching an intense debate from afar over a controversial bill that would allow the use of religious beliefs as a basis for refusing service without fear of lawsuits.

The Arizona Legislature passed Senate Bill 1062 on Thursday and the bill could reach Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk as early as Monday, giving her next week to consider how she will sign or veto it.

The Republican governor, who is attending a conference of governors from across the USA in the nation’s capital, rarely comments on bills before they reach her desk.

She spoke Friday with CNN: “Well, it’s a very controversial piece of legislation. We know that. We know that it’s failed in a lot of states across the country. … I’ve been reading about it on the Internet, and I will make my decision some time before … by next Friday … if I do decide to sign it.

“But it’s very controversial, so I’ve got to get my hands around it,” Brewer said.

Socially conservative groups that oppose gay marriage are promoting the twin bills, SB 1062 and HB 2153. GOP state Sen. Steve Yarbrough created his bill in response to a New Mexico Supreme Court decision against a photographer who refused to take a gay couple’s wedding pictures.

In a letter sent Friday to Brewer’s office, Phoenix area economic officials raise concerns that the bill, which shields businesses from being sued if they deny service based on religious beliefs, could cast a negative light on the state as it prepares to host a number of high-profile events, including next year’s Super Bowl.

Arizona Passes Bill Allowing Business Owners to Refuse Service Based on Their Religious Beliefs

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Arizona’s state legislature has passed a bill aimed at curbing lawsuits against business owners who refuse services based on their religious beliefs.

According to a news story by azcentral.com, the bill is a response to the court decision in New Mexico forcing a baker to provide a cake for a gay wedding.

I haven’t read the bill, and don’t have an opinion about its specific language. I do, however support the concept of conscience rights. I think we’re going to see more of this type of legislation. Based on recent court rulings and the spate of lawsuits filed against mom and pop businesses, a legislative solution is needed.

However, I don’t think such solutions as these will work long-term, or even short-term. The entire issue has become court-based, and the courts seem willing to override the will of the people with very little consideration for the gravity involved in taking that action. The DOMA decision is the Roe of gay marriage, and it will end up having similar results.

If the court had allowed DOMA to stand, that would have pushed the debate back to a legislative level. If courts had refused to overturn votes of the people in the domino fashion which they are doing, I think the entire issue would have been settled in a long series of legislative battles at the state level. This would have taken more time, but it ultimately would have saved America what is going to be an ugly, on-going battle that will polarize and damage our country even further.

I think the resistance to gay marriage will end up in a fight to amend the Constitution, and that will become a protracted and painful battle involving increasing public disenchantment with what we have wrought, much like the fight about abortion.

If you follow this link, you’ll be able to watch a news video about the vote. You can see how difficult this vote was for everyone involved. As one legislator to another, my heart goes out to all of them, on both sides of the question. From azcentral.com:

The Arizona Legislature has passed a controversial religion bill that is again thrusting Arizona into the national spotlight in a debate over discrimination.

House Bill 2153, written by the conservative advocacy group Center for Arizona Policy and the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, would allow individuals to use religious beliefs as a defense against a lawsuit.

The bill, which was introduced last month and has been described by opponents as discriminatory against gays and lesbians, has drawn national media coverage. Discussion of the bill went viral on social media during the House floor debate Thursday.

Opponents have dubbed it the “right to discriminate” bill and say it could prompt an economic backlash against the state, similar to what they say occurred when the state passed the controversial immigration law Senate Bill 1070 in 2010.

Proponents argue that the bill is simply a tweak to existing state religious-freedom laws to ensure individuals and businesses are not forced to do something that goes against their beliefs.

The bill will be sent to Gov. Jan Brewer, who has five days to sign it into law, veto it or do nothing and allow it to become law.

Church of England Will Not Perform Gay Marriage Blessings

The Church of England will not perform gay marriage blessings. It also will not ordain clergy who are in gay marriages.

The Pastoral Guide detailing this position affirms that Our Lord taught that marriage is an indissoluble union between one man and one woman. It allows homosexuals and their families, including those who are not living a life of chastity, to participate in the sacraments.

From The Church of England’s House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage:

… As bishops we have reflected and prayed together about these developments.  As our statement of 27th January indicated, we are not all in agreement about every aspect of the Church’s response.  However we are all in agreement that the Christian understanding and doctrine of marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman remains unchanged.

… ‘The Church of England affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman.”

… The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship.

Western Civilization is a Dead Man Walking. Here’s Why.

John G Heyburn II

Judge John G Heyburn II

It slipped past quietly, while we were ordering roses for Valentine’s Day and chattering about the latest political gaffe story.

Even those who watch these things were distracted by the stench of death rising from Belgium in the wake of their parliament’s vote to allow doctors to euthanize children and people with dementia.

It got lost, mostly, in the many federal court rulings hacking down votes of the people concerning marriage in the various states. These decisions keep coming with the click-click-click of falling dominoes as unelected judges flatten the will of the people.

We didn’t notice that one of these federal judges reached up and switched off the light.

If his ruling stands, Judge John G Heyburn II will go down in history as the man who killed marriage.

Last week was the week that marriage died, along with the notion that the evil of euthanasia is at least contained inside the platitudinous promises we’ve heard for so many years that it is about “helping” people die who are terminally ill and suffering unendurable, untreatable pain, and who ask for and consent to it to exercise their “right.”

Now we kill children and those with dementia who can not, by definition, either understand or consent to such a thing. We kill those whose minds are muddled by dementia, but who may not be suffering either physical or emotional pain at all. They may, in fact, be quite happy. The only reason for granting them the “right” to be medically murdered is that they are a burden to someone with the wits to “consent” to their death for them.

The Belgian Parliament’s crime against humanity was quite enough for most of us. It slipped right past most people that this ruling by this federal judge was a lot more than another member of our imperial judiciary, doing his part to destroy our culture by one falling domino at a time.

This ruing is different. It is, as they say, the whole ball of wax. Federal Judge John G Heyburn II ruled that Kentucky must recognize gay marriages that are enacted in other states.

Judge Heyburn did not issue this ruling based on a vagary of the Kentucky law. He extended last summer’s Supreme Court decision in the Windsor case that overturned DOMA to the states. What I mean by that is that he did not overturn the Kentucky law, he created a new law.

Judge Heyburn extended the DOMA ruling to the states. That federalizes marriage and legalizes gay marriage by fiat in all 50 states. Even though his ruling did not require the state of Kentucky to allow the performance of gay marriages within its borders, there was considerable verbiage in support of that move within what I can only describe as the patronizing preaching of the ruling.

What Judge Heyburn did was require the state to extend the full legal protections and privileges of marriage to homosexual marriages that are performed elsewhere.

At the same time, he clearly and specifically placed homosexuality under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. He defined sexual preference as a class of people rather than a trait found in many classes of people.

If this ruling is upheld, it will have the effect of forcing every state in the union to recognize gay marriage. It also has implications that go far beyond the question of marriage.

It’s no longer click-click-click. It is now, zip-zap-game-over. Marriage is federalized and the states have nothing to say about it. In less than a year, last summer’s hydra-headed DOMA decision will have done its do.

That is why I say that last week was the week when Western civilization became a dead man walking. These two actions — the legalized killing of innocents and the destruction of marriage — taken together, are the end of who we have been and the beginning anew of what we spent a very long time in our ancient history overcoming.

Congratulations Judge Heyburn and members of the Belgian parliament. Your footnote in history is reserved.

Federal Judge Rules that Kentucky Must Recognize Gay Marriages from Other States

Divorce

US District Judge John G Heyburn II has ruled that Kentucky must recognize gay marriages of residents who wed outside the state.

Judge Heyburn said that last summer’s US Supreme Court ruling that struck down DOMA led to his decision.

You may remember that I predicted this would happen when DOMA was struck. A number of people told me I was daft. I have to say that I take no pleasure in being right.

I caution those who are so quick to jump on this bandwagon to think carefully what they do. We are on the edge of a precipice here. I believe that gay marriage will be as culturally damaging as widespread divorce and abortion have been. The major difference is that gay marriage comes after divorce and abortion have already blunted our consciences and torn our social constructs to ribbons. I believe the effect of gay marriage will be geometric.

Are we at a societal tipping point? I’m too close to know for sure, but I’m inclined to think that we are, at least, approaching one.

For what it’s worth, I’m going to be very stubborn about this and stick with the two-thousand-year-old teachings of the Church. I’ve had my turn at being my own God and I have reaped a whirlwind of guilt, remorse and shame for my self-deification.

As for me and my house, I’m going to follow, not lead, when it comes to Christ and the teachings of His Church. It doesn’t matter how much Kool-Aid gets dumped on my head.

From Reuters:

(Reuters) – Kentucky must recognize the legal same-sex marriages of residents who wed outside the state, a federal judge said on Wednesday in the latest of a series of rulings that expand gay rights following a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year.

Four Kentucky same-sex couples who were married out of state had challenged a state law that declared such marriages void and the accompanying rights unenforceable. They did not challenge a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II in Louisville said a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions including the striking down of a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year led to his decision on Wednesday.

“Each of these small steps has led to this place and this time, where the right of same-sex spouses to the state-conferred benefits of marriage is virtually compelled,” Heyburn said in a 23-page ruling.

Diverse Coalition Unites to Defend State Marriage Laws

Oklahoma and Utah are the latest states to find themselves in the bull’s eye of court action concerning gay marriage.

Federal court justices have overturned laws, which were passed by the voters, in both states that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. The court cases are now before the Tenth Circuit in Denver.

According to an article in the Daily News, diverse groups, including the attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Carolina have filed briefs opposing the decision.

“Traditional marriage is too deeply imbedded in our laws, history and traditions for a court to hold that more recent state constitutional enactment of that definition is illegitimate or irrational,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller wrote.

One of the most interesting briefs was filed jointly by lawyers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the US Conference of Catholic bishops and signed by the Southern Baptist Convention and the Lutheran Church-MIssouri Synod.

“Our respective religious doctrines hold that marriage between a man and a woman is sanctioned by God as the right and best setting for bearing and raising children,” it says. “We believe that children, families, society and our nation thrive best when husband-wife marriage is upheld and strengthened as a cherished primary social institution.”

Their statement, summarized the Daily News, continues:

The coalition struck back at the notion that opposing gay marriage makes one anti-gay, irrational or bigoted.

“The accusation is false and offensive,” it says. “It is intended to suppress rational dialogue and democratic conversation, to win by insult and intimidation rather than by reason, experience, and fact.”

They say they have no ill will toward same-sex couples, only “marriage-affirming religious beliefs,” supported by sociological facts, saying holding on to the man-woman definition of marriage is essential.

The “friend of the court” brief was one of several submitted Monday by groups, professors and state attorneys general supporting Utah and Oklahoma in their efforts to persuade the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse recent rulings by federal court judges.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/religious-groups-join-forces-gay-marriage-okla-utah-article-1.1609630#ixzz2t2cytFqm

French Protestors March Against “Government Family-Phobia”

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Photo Source: Reuters

A lot of French people joined marched for the traditional family on February 2.

Estimates of the numbers of marchers vary so widely that it appears the estimators were either at different marches, or they are deliberately giving politically-slanted numbers. 

Despite this, a few things seem clear. There is little doubt that large numbers of French people are continuing to resist government-mandated changes in the family.

It also appears that French government officials have no problems disrespecting their own citizens by labeling them “dark forces” and “far-right zealots.” That seems to be going a bit far, considering that the protestors are asking for the preservation of the same family structure that has been prevalent throughout all of Western society for the past 2,000 years. 

I do not know where this will end. But I don’t think it is a one-off event in one country. It is, rather, a harbinger of things to come. We are at the same place with the destruction of the family that we were with the destruction of the sanctity of human life that occurred at Roe. 

That is to say that those who support traditional marriage are confused, baffled and unsure what to do next. At the same time, many in the larger culture have been successfully propagandized into a naive and false view of the issues. 

Demonstrations such as those happening in France are not the end. They are a beginning. 

From Reuters:

(Reuters) – Over 100,000 conservative French marched through Paris and Lyon on Sunday accusing the government of “family-phobia” for legalizing gay marriage and other planned policies they say will harm traditional families.

The marchers, expressing growing frustration with the unpopular left-wing government, denounced new sex equality lessons in schools and urged the government not to legalize medical procedures to help same-sex couples have children.

Most demonstrators were middle-class families, some pushing little children in prams, posing no apparent risk of violent confrontation with the police that Interior Minister Manuel Valls had said would be dealt with severely.

The government of President Francois Hollande, suffering poll ratings near record lows, has delayed further social reforms until after next month’s municipal elections following massive protests against legalizing same-sex marriage last year.

One Paris protester, Severine Chevrier, said: “Mr Hollande doesn’t listen to us or want to talk to us (and) Mr Valls … will do everything to shut us up.”

“We have the same message (as last year), we just want it to be heard,” said Michel Girard, also marching in the capital. “It’s the defense of children and the family.”


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