Tuesday, February 14, 2012

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Brazil’s new women’s minister was trained to do abortions, had two of her own children aborted

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Tue Feb 14 18:28 EST Comments (17)

 
Eleonora Menicucci

February 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Brazil’s new Women’s Policy Minister, Eleonora Menicucci, was trained in Colombia to personally perform abortions, according to an interview published yesterday by Brazilian columnist Reinaldo Azevedo.

Speaking about her past as a militant, Menicucci notes that in 1995 “I was a member of a Feminist Sexuality and Health Collective, and, at that time, through the Collective, I was also doing a course on abortion in Colombia.”

Asked “what was that course on abortion like?” Menicucci responds, “It was in the abortion clinics. We learned to do abortions.”  She adds that the purpose was to “self-train” so that “non-doctors could deal with abortions.”

During the course of the interview, Menicucci adds that the abortions were “suction abortions,” also known as “Manual Inter-Uterine Aspiration” abortions.

Abortion was illegal in Colombia in 1995, where most abortions continue to be prohibited today.  In addition to performing abortions, Menicucci admits to having had at least one of her two abortions in Brazil, where the procedure is also illegal in all but cases of rape.

The interview, which was conducted in 2004 and discovered by Azevedo in the archives of the Federal University of Santa Catarina, reveals much about the worldview of the one who has been selected to oversee women’s policy for the Brazil’s executive branch.

Menicucci says that she had one of her unborn children killed while she was engaged in armed struggle against the government in the 1970s, because the terrorist organization she had joined decided that it wasn’t compatible with her activities as a member.

“My judgment was that I had to carry out the armed struggle… And an important detail in that course (of action) is that, six months after my daughter was born, I was impregnated again,” Manicucci tells the interviewer.

“At that point, together with the organization, we decided, the organization, us, that I should have an abortion. In the situation, to have another child, no?...That was the second abortion that I did,” she says.

Menicucci reveals that she was so sexually promiscuous that she was “very much questioned” by the left, and that the revolutionary group of which she was a member, “for security reasons,” wanted her to “only have sexual relations with members of my organization.”

Menicucci also discusses her first lesbian encounter - which occurred while she was married. However, she assures her interviewer, there was no problem because “he was a very libertarian guy.” 

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has stirred controversy in Brazil in recent days by her appointment of Menicucci, who was incarcerated with Rousseff during the 1970s, when they were arrested for terrorism. Menicucci’s unapologetic pro-abortion stance seems to belie Rousseff’s claim to be pro-life, which was key to her victory in the 2010 presidential elections.

Menicucci is scheduled to speak this week at the United Nations, when she will reportedly make assurances that the Brazilian executive is combating pro-life legislation.

Tags: abortion, brazil

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Judge dismisses charges against peaceful pro-life activist allegedly beaten by police

by Ben Johnson Tue Feb 14 18:26 EST Comments (22)

 
Peter D'Attilio

WRENTHAM, MASSACHUSETTS, February 14, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Massachusetts judge has thrown out charges against a peaceful pro-life activist who was arrested after distributing literature at a Catholic Church. Now the police may be facing a civil rights lawsuit of their own.

Pro-life activist Peter D’Atillio was arrested last August while handing out two-inch wide bookmarks with the phone number for pregnancy counseling services and assistance at the St. Rocco fair, an annual Italian festival held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Franklin.

According to the police report, the festival chairman complained to police and asked D’Attilio be removed. After being approached by police, D’Attilio offered to leave, but the arresting officer wrote that as D’Attilio “started to leave, I told him to stop and went to block him with my arm extended.” The pro-life activist says that when the officer prevented him from leaving the property, “I told him he was illegally detaining me.” After D’Attilio exercised his right not to produce identification, he was arrested and handcuffed. D’Attilio claims he was also choked on his knees before being forced into the cruiser, then punched in the face. In a photo taken days later, a black eye is evident.

While being booked, D’Attilio said the booking officer, Sgt. Mark J. Manocchio, asked him if he were planning on blowing up the fair, because pro-life people “are known for that sort of thing.” D’Attilio was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. If convicted, he faced two-and-a-half years in prison and a $650 fine

D’Attilio also said his vehicle had been ransacked and searched by bomb-sniffing dogs. D’Attilio said the police told him he had been added to the federal terrorist watch list, as well.

Last Thursday, Wrentham District Court Judge Stephen Ostrach dismissed the charges against him, saying the prosecutor’s charge that failing to show a police officer identification rises to the level of disturbing the peace was “remarkable…nonsense.”

“It was a classic case of police misconduct,” Brian Camenker of MassResistance told LifeSiteNews.com. “It was so egregious the judge threw out all the charges and berated the prosecutor for wasting his time.”

Camenker added that the Thomas More Society, the Chicago-based public interest law-firm that defended D’Attilio against the charges, had already contacted him to begin a civil rights lawsuit over the police response.

“I find it really encouraging as a pro-life activist to see a judge recognizing so clearly that Peter D’Attilio’s civil rights were violated,” Eric Scheider, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, told LifeSiteNews.com. “Often, as pro-lifers, we’re treated as pariahs.”

Camenker said D’Attilio was formulating a civil rights countersuit. D’Attilio’s lawyer, Stephen Foley, has previously represented other pro-life clients, including Operation Rescue. He could not be immediately reached for comment.

“I would certainly encourage Peter to do so,” Scheidler told LifeSiteNews. “This is a great opportunity for Peter D’Attilio to advance the pro-life cause by sending a very clear message to police forces across the country that this kind of unfair treatment of pro-life activists not only won’t be tolerated but will lead to serious repercussions.”

“Defending this movement in court is essential to our survival,” he said.

Camenker, who is active in the state’s pro-life and pro-family movement, said police need to get the message that they “can’t do that to people simply for handing out literature that you don’t like.” He said particularly since 2009, “This kind of thing has been going on all over the state.”

Both activists attributed the new hostility toward the pro-life cause to a 2009 Department of Homeland Security report on “rightwing extremism,” describing “lone wolves” who hold pro-life or pro-family views as “the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.”

“Ever since Barack Obama came into office there has been an aggressive effort to undermine peaceful pro-life activity by casting pro-life activists as terrorists,” Scheidler said. “We’ve seen the Department of Homeland Security listing pro-lifers as potential terrorists. We’ve seen special meetings between the FBI and pro-abortion groups.” 

He added his own Pro-life Action League, as well as its youth outreach division, Generations for Life, were listed as organizations to be monitored.

Camenker attributed much of the police’s “visceral hostility” to “getting involved with these left-wing groups, like the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the ACLU, and the ADL. All of these groups consider pro-family people extremists.” He said additional police scrutiny was a waste of resources. “Our people tend to be more law-abiding,” he said.

Ultimately the attacks on the peaceful exercise of constitutional liberties has rendered the nation a service: the victories of the pro-life movement against these attacks have preserved those freedoms for people of all viewpoints, Scheidler said.

“If it weren’t for the pro-life movement, the First Amendment - and in this case I suppose the Fourth Amendment, as well - would be shredded,” he said.

“I believe the pro-life movement is the floodwall standing between tyranny and liberty.”

Tags: massachusetts, peter d'attilio

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We’re fighting pro-life legislation in Congress, Brazilian government assures UN

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Tue Feb 14 18:10 EST Comments (1)

February 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a report it is presenting to a United Nations committee this week in Switzerland, the Brazilian government laments that, “The distancing from conservative positions in relation to the role of men and women in our society is happening less rapidly than would be desired.”

The report, which will be presented to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women by Brazil’s newly-appointed pro-abortion Women’s Policy minister Eleonora Menicucci, will also explain the government’s attempt to squelch a right-to-life bill called the Statute of the Unborn, which would prohibit the killing of unborn children in all circumstances.

“It is crucial that the project be rejected in the Committee on the Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship,” the Rousseff administration writes.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which is known for pressuring countries to legalize abortion, has reportedly asked Brazil to give an account of “specific measures adopted to contend with the problem of unsafe abortions,” to which the government responds in part that it performed abortions on 60 women who were raped in 2010.

The content of the report is seen as another sign that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s “opposition” to abortion, which she proclaimed during the 2010 presidential election, was not a serious one.

Rousseff, a former member of a communist terrorist organization that sought to overthrow the Brazilian government in the 1960s and 70s, is on record supporting the decriminalization of abortion before her presidential run.

However, Rousseff found herself forced to sign a pledge not to introduce abortionist or homosexualist legislation during her presidential term to boost her sagging poll numbers after Evangelical Protestants and Catholics began to alert the faithful to her record.

Tags: brazil

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‘Intolerant militant secularism’ has Europe in its grip: British Muslim Baroness

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Tue Feb 14 17:52 EST Comments (4)

 
Baroness Sayeed Warsi with Pope Benedict in 2010

ROME, February 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Muslim member of the House of Lords told Vatican officials today that Europe must beware of growing “militant” secularism and become “more confident” in its Christianity. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a political appointee to the House of Lords and chairman of the Conservative Party, led a delegation of British ministers this week on a visit to the Vatican.

“For me one of the most worrying aspects about this militant secularization is that at its core and in its instincts it is deeply intolerant. It demonstrates similar traits to totalitarian regimes – denying people the right to a religious identity because they were frightened of the concept of multiple identities,” she said.

In a speech today to future Vatican diplomats at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, Warsi quoted Pope Benedict’s speech at Westminster Hall in 2010, warning against an “intolerant” and “militant” secularization that is taking hold of British and other European societies. 

“Too often there is a suspicion of faith in our continent. It all hinges on a basic misconception – that to create equality and space for minorities we need to erase our religious heritage,” she continued.

Referring to the many cases in recent years of secularists suing or harassing Christian believers, Warsi warned that Britain is sliding into a totalitarian mindset, “when signs of religion cannot be displayed or worn in government buildings; when states won’t fund faith schools; and where religion is sidelined, marginalized and downgraded in the public sphere.”

Warsi made her comments as a growing public backlash spreads in Britain over a court ruling against Bideford town council in Devon. The National Secular Society (NSS) sued the council to abolish Christian prayers before public meetings, a custom that had been in place since the 17th century. Legal experts said the case could have affected a wide array of public activities, including the celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

An atheist town councilor, Mr. Clive Bone, complained and the NSS took the council to court, which ruled the prayers were not lawful under the Local Government Act 1972, but said the prayers did not conflict with Mr. Bone’s human rights under the European Convention. The court said that prayers could be said as long as councilors are not formally summoned to attend.

The case has sparked an outcry, with supporters of freedom of religion saying they have had enough of aggressive secularists riding roughshod over the country’s traditions. Unlike Canada or the US, Britain has no formal legal separation of Church and State and the Church of England is the constitutionally established religion with the Queen as its head.

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, called the ruling “surprising and disappointing” and the case “ludicrous” and has vowed that the government will oppose it. He said, “Public authorities - be it Parliament or a parish council - should have the right to say prayers before meetings if they wish.” Pickles’s comments have been backed up by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

But the apparent support for Christian freedom of expression by politicians has failed to impress some Christians, who point out that both the current coalition government, with a Conservative prime minister, and the former Labour government, have supported “Equality” legislation and the militant homosexualist political movement that have been the twin perpetrators in the campaign to shut Christianity out of public life.

Julian Mann, writing in Christian Today, said responses like Warsi’s speech in Rome are typical of the “soft PC” or “moderate” politically correct left who enjoy the pomp and trappings of a “residue of safe, formal Christianity” represented by the mainstream of the Church of England.

While “hard” secularists like the NSS are actively campaigning to abolish all public expressions of Christianity, the politicians objecting to the Bideford ruling, Mann said, are merely enjoying “the ceremonial trappings” and substantial MP payscales involved in supporting “a constitutional monarchy with a liberal and ineffectual established church.”

Christians’ “conviction about the Lordship of Christ,” he wrote, is in direct opposition to the general left/liberal and sexually permissive drive of modern politics, whether of the Labour or Conservative party.

“Soft PC leaders, even Conservative ones, for all their vociferous talk against aggressive secularism, are still arguing for same-sex pseudo-marriage and are not arguing for the repeal of the Sexual Orientation Regulations 2007.”

“It was under those Stalinesque PC rules that Christian bed and breakfast owners, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, were prosecuted for wanting to uphold biblical standards in their own home,” Mann said.

While politicians are joining the general cry against shutting “religion” out of the public sphere, actual statistics have shown many times that it is specifically Christianity, not generic “religion” that is being targeted.

A recent study taken in Scotland showed that of 693 charges of religiously aggravated hate crimes in 2010-11 the majority, 58 percent, were against Catholics, who represent only about 16 percent of the Scottish population. Thirty-seven percent of the incidents were against Protestants, 2.3 per cent against Jews and 2.1 per cent against Muslims.

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Philadelphia archbishop: Obama mandate is ‘insulting,’ Catholics should be ‘angry’

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue Feb 14 17:36 EST Comments (4)

 
Charles Chaput

PHILADELPHIA, February 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The archbishop of Philadelphia has issued a scathing rebuke of the Obama administration over its impending rule to force religious groups to fund sterilizations and abortifacient drugs, calling it “the embodiment of culture war,” and expressing concern that the extraordinary gravity of the issue could become obscured as “just another debate about details.”

“Many Catholics are confused and angry. They should be,” said Chaput in a column for the Philadelphia Enquirer on Sunday. (Read the full column here.) 

The prelate, who has written a book on the intersection of Catholic faith and politics, said that the event reflects more than a “happenstance policy,” but a “pattern” of ill treatment of religious freedom by the administration that renders the full gravity of the mandate “deliberate.”

“The current administration prides itself on being measured and deliberate. The current HHS mandate needs to be understood as exactly that,” he wrote. “Commentators are using words like ‘gaffe,’ ’ ill conceived,’ and ‘mistake’ to describe the mandate. They’re wrong. It’s impossible to see this regulation as some happenstance policy. It has been too long in the making.”

Even following the “adjustment” proposed by president Obama Friday, said Chaput, the mandate “is belligerent, unnecessary, and deeply offensive to the content of Catholic belief.”

“We cannot afford to be fooled - yet again - by evasive and misleading allusions to the administration’s alleged ‘flexibility’ on such issues. The HHS mandate needs to be rescinded,” he said.

“The White House response on these points is ambiguous and weak. The true magnitude of the issue is getting lost as just another debate about details. In reality, no similarly aggressive attack on religious freedom in our country has occurred in recent memory.”

Read Abp. Chaput’s full column here.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

 

Tags: birth control mandate, charles chaput, obama

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Virginia House approves bill recognizing life begins at conception

by Thaddeus Baklinski Tue Feb 14 16:23 EST Comments (64)

 
Delegate Bob Marshall

RICHMOND, Virginia, February 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Republican-led Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill today, by a vote of 66 to 32, which states that unborn children “at every stage of development,” that is, from the moment of conception, are considered persons – although the sponsor of the bill says it will not directly affect abortion access in the state.

Bill HB 1
, introduced by outspokenly pro-life Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), provides that, “unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the commonwealth, subject only to the laws and constitutions of Virginia and the United States, precedents of the United States Supreme Court, and provisions to the contrary in the statutes of the commonwealth.”

Opponents of the bill claim that such legislation would affect access to artificial contraception and abortion, with House Democrats issuing a media release saying the bill would open “families and doctors to a wide variety of criminal and civil lawsuits for health care decisions not only in cases of unwanted pregnancies, but every pregnancy and even miscarriage.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Women are “rightfully concerned about their continued access to all forms of contraception if this bill is passed,” said Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax in a Fredericksburg.com report. “Let’s not move the commonwealth back to the days when contraception was not easily accessible.”

“To claim using birth control will get you in trouble with this statue is simply false,’’ Marshall responded, according to the Washington Post. “It does not have the affect of criminalizing birth control. This does not directly affect abortion.’’

Marshall pointed to similar legislation in Missouri, where the concerns listed by critics haven’t materialized.

“It’s been alleged by the pro-abortion or pro-choice or whatever folks, that this has every bad consequence in the world,” Marshall said. “The opponents of this type of legislation… have had 20 years to find one bogeyman in the closet.”

“HB 1 recognizes that human life begins at conception and also declares that unborn children and their parents have protectable legal interests,” Marshall said in a press release.

“The immediate effect of HB 1 will be to create a civil cause of action for the wrongful death of an unborn child to enable parents to sue a third party for damages if he or she wrongfully causes the death of their unborn baby either through assault or negligence. This cause of action already exists in the majority of states and is a natural complement to Virginia’s fetal homicide law. But Virginia does not allow civil legal recourse if the baby is not ‘born alive.’  My bill will correct this, while acknowledging the humanity of the preborn child.”

“The legal effect here is [if] a pregnant woman is driving in an intersection and someone runs into her, she can sue for loss of a child,” Marshall said. “Under the current code, a mother cannot do that. [The bill] has no direct legal effect on abortion or birth control.”

Similar personhood legislation introduced by Marshall in 2007 failed to pass in the House. In 2011 the bill passed in the House but was quashed by the pro-abortion Democrats in the Senate.

The bill now heads to the Virginia Senate where it reportedly faces a more difficult battle.

The full text of Bill HB 1 is available here.

Contact info:

Delegate Robert G. Marshall
General Assembly Building
P.O. Box 406
Richmond, Virginia 23218
Phone: (804) 698-1013
Fax: (804) 698-6713
Email: DelBMarshall@house.virginia.gov

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Justin Trudeau will back Quebec separatists if Harper restricts abortion?

by Patrick B. Craine Tue Feb 14 13:36 EST Comments (19)

 

MONTREAL, Quebec, February 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was famous for his fight against Quebec separatists. So his son, Montreal MP Justin Trudeau, caused a stir this week after he appeared to support Quebec sovereignty.

His justification? Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s oft-touted “hidden agenda” on abortion and same-sex “marriage.”

A Radio-Canada radio host asked Trudeau on Sunday if he can still recognize Canada now under Prime Minister Harper, and got a shock by the MP’s reply.

“I always say, if at a certain point, I believe that Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper – that we were going against abortion, and we were going against gay marriage, and we were going backwards in 10,000 different ways – maybe I would think about wanting to make Quebec a country,” said Trudeau, seen as a strong contender for the Liberal Party leadership in the future.

“Oh yes. Absolutely. If I no longer recognize Canada. For me, my values, I know them very well. But I believe profoundly in Canada, and I know that Quebec within Canada can [restore] this all,” he added.

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The remarks lit up Twitter and blog users who questioned Trueday’s apparent reversal on federalism, a defining position for the Liberal Party owing largely to Pierre Trudeau’s influence.

Trudeau was quick to reassert his federalist stance Monday, tweeting that his view is “exactly the opposite: Canada needs Qc to balance out Harper’s vision that I (and many) just don’t support.”

The young MP’s tweet picked up on a theme raised by outspokenly pro-life Conservative MP Brad Trost in an interview with the Sun News Network’s Michael Coren last week – namely, that the liberal-stronghold in Quebec has been key to keeping abortion as an untouchable topic in Canadian politics.

“For decades, the center of gravity in Canadian politics has been dominated by Quebec, and Quebec elite opinion has been incredibly hostile on this,” Trost said.

But Trost emphasized that Quebec is losing its political clout as the population shifts to Ontario and Western Canada. “I think irrespective of who’s the leader, who’s the government, who’s the party, as the center of gravity in Canadian politics is moving from Quebec to suburban Ontario and suburban Western Canada…social issues like abortion will be more decided by the views of the suburbs of Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver.”

Joseph C. Ben-Ami, president of the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, a conservative think-tank, criticized Trudeau for reintroducing the old “hidden agenda” charge against Harper. “For better or worse, PM Harper’s public and private opposition to re-opening the same-sex marriage or abortion debates is the chief impediment to the Conservative Party tackling either issue,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“Mr. Trudeau knows this full well, so his angst is completely disingenuous and contrived,” he added.

Harper has insisted he will “not permit anyone” to open the debate on abortion in Parliament. He has openly opposed and voted against pro-life initiatives.

“Given Mr. Trudeau’s penchant—shared by his party and his colleagues and friends on the Left of the political spectrum—to decide from on high what subjects are suitable for the public to debate, says a great deal about his (and their) commitment to democratic principles,” Ben-Ami observed. “I do not believe that most citizens of Quebec would be happy living in such quasi-dictatorship, but I certainly wouldn’t.”

Ben-Ami suggested that neither Harper nor Trudeau may actually be able to stop the public debate on abortion. “There is increasing pressure from across the political and demographic landscape to address the issue of abortion,” he said, “especially in light of a recent report by the Canadian Medical Association Journal that gender-selection abortions are common in certain ethnic communities.”

“If that pressure continues to grow no government - Conservative or Liberal - will be able to resist it as resolutely as they heretofore have,” he added.

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Homosexual protesters call cardinal ‘arch bigot’ for opposing same-sex ‘marriage’

by Ben Johnson Tue Feb 14 13:04 EST Comments (27)

 
Cardinal Francis George

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, February 13, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – As parishioners gathered for Sunday Mass, a radical group of homosexual activists protested outside Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral, calling Francis Cardinal George the city’s “arch-bigot” for defending marriage.

Carrying placards and spouting slogans on the sidewalk as worshipers entered the sanctuary, members of the Gay Liberation Network instructed Catholics to “give up hate for Lent.”

David E. Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute told LifeSiteNews.com the Gay Liberation Network is “a tiny group of radical activists who are trying to intimidate and name-call religious leaders like Cardinal George to try to coerce them into silence for standing up for God’s institution of marriage.”

The protests have been an annual event since at least 2005, he said. Last year, the group swarmed the cathedral as police did nothing. In 2005, the Gay Liberation Network protested Chicago’s famous Moody Church because its pastor, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, had written a book called The Truth about Same Sex Marriage. GLN called the 100-year-old institution, founded by famed evangelist Dwight L. Moody, “a house of hate.” Marchers then protested outside Cardinal George’s residence.

The war of words has heated up and tensions have mounted as the group has steadily increased its criticism of the Catholic Church. In late December Cardinal George told reporters, “You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism.” Cardinal George promptly apologized to the protesters for his remarks. GLN co-founder Andy Thayer did not accept, calling the cardinal’s remorse “totally inadequate.”

A series of political battles around the country have brought the protests to a fever pitch. “We’ve seen how homosexual special rights – whether they be marriage, civil unions, hate crimes laws, or non-discrimination laws – are coming into conflict with religious freedom, religious liberty,” Smith told LifeSiteNews. “Unfortunately, it looks like religious liberty is losing a lot of these battles.”

Pro-family activists see the GLN’s use of ad hominem attacks as an admission of weakness. “They do not have a reasonable, intelligent defense about why they’re seeking to redefine an age-old institution,” Smith said. “If ‘love’ is the only basis by which we’re going to recognize marriage, then we need to open it up to a whole lot more than just two people or two people of the same sex.”

“I think it’s highly ironic that the purveyors of tolerance and love and acceptance are the first to call names…and fail to recognize the deeply held religious beliefs of the faiths, in Chicagoland or throughout the state,” he added.

Fr. Tom Loya of the Illinois-based Tabor Life Institute, which is dedicated to Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body,” told LifeSiteNews.com the catcalls should not discourage pro-family activists. “They’re going to do that anyway, and it just exposes how their position is based on illusion and anger.”

Such attacks undermine the same-sex marriage advocates’ arguments, he said. “Shouldn’t they practice that same sensitivity and not label someone else?”

Fr. Loya, who is a Byzantine Catholic priest and the host of the nationally syndicated “Light of the East” radio program, told LifeSiteNews that defending marriage should be a primary concern for traditional Christians. “There are three ‘sacraments’ of initiation into the culture of death: contraception, abortion, and same-sex attraction. What these three things have in common is that they are non-life-giving,” he said. “Our civilization today has made the first two the law of the land.”

Defend Marriage Illinois is attempting to collect 500,000 signatures to put the definition of marriage before voters in the Land of Lincoln. They have until April 23 to submit their petitions.

Fr. Tom Loya said far from bigotry, opponents of same-sex marriage are motivated by “compassion. I cannot stress that word enough.”

“To do anything that affirms anyone in an illusion is not compassionate. It’s actually self-serving under the guise of compassion,” he said. “We don’t want to go through the real effort of suffering with them to bring them to the truth, help them know that no whatever your condition in life, however ordered or disordered aspects of your life are, those who are truly compassionate are willing to walk with that person” and help him or her “negotiate through this struggle.”

“To help a person really understand whats going on inside them…takes real compassion,” Fr. Loya told LifeSiteNews. “That is proof of the fact that we and we alone truly love these people, are truly compassionate.”

Tags: fr. tom loya, gay liberation network, marriage

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Top nun who supported Obama mandate thanks pro-choice group in private e-mail

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue Feb 14 12:03 EST Comments (54)

 
Sr. Carol Keehan with Vice President Joe Biden

February 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After a person posing as a pro-choice leader thanked her for defending reproductive rights against the U.S. Catholic bishops, Sr. Carol Keehan of the Catholic Health Association thanked the individual and encouraged her group to take a proposed donation to CHA and instead use it to benefit a “poor woman.”

The pro-life activist behind the e-mail says Keehan didn’t respond to e-mails with an overt pro-life point of view sent from several e-mail addresses, but got a very different response when posing as a pro-choice leader praising her for defending birth control.

The individual sent a message from the fake pro-choice group “Riverside for Choice” on Sunday thanking Sr. Keehan for protecting access to birth control and for her “willingness to not be intimidated by people like the catholic [sic.] bishops who oppose choice in women’s health.”

“On behalf of all the women and men of Riverside for Choice I would like to thank you for protecting the rights of all women to have free access to essential health services including the contraceptives that allow us to control our own health and bodies,” the individual, posing as “Jenna Wagner” of “Riverside for Choice,” said in an e-mail exchange with Sr. Keehan forwarded to LifeSiteNews.com (LSN). “Wagner” also requested information on how to send a donation to CHA.

“Thanks so much, it would please me if you would use the money for a poor woman in California,” was Sr. Keehan’s response the next day, signed “Keep praying, Sr Carol.”

“Wagner” said that the funds in honor of CHA would go to “our fund for women who can’t afford reproductive services,” and added, “Keep up your good work.” Sr. Keehan didn’t respond.

In response to an LSN inquiry about the exchange, Sr. Keehan confirmed the validity of the exchange and said that she is “pro-life, not pro-choice.”

“That they happen to like something I did is something I have no control over,” Sr. Keehan wrote. “I said clearly in many interviews and press releases that our ministries could not be compelled to buy contraceptives. The administration found a way that we would not be involved and I was pleased about that.”

LSN asked why Riverside for Choice, which appears to specifically promote artificial birth control, was encouraged to spend funds in CHA’s honor. Sr. Keehan responded, “I asked them to use it for a woman who was poor, I did not ask them to use it for reproductive health.”

Sr. Keehan and CHA have become the fulcrum of the intensifying controversy regarding the Obama administration’s plan to require Catholic employers to pay for sterilizations, contraception, and abortifacient birth control drugs such as the “week-after” pill, Ella. The White House flaunted support from CHA on Friday when it announced an “accommodation” to the mandate that has since been soundly denounced by the U.S. bishops as inadequate. Media outlets then juxtaposed CHA’s name beside Planned Parenthood‘s to give the impression that the two sides of the debate agreed to the arrangement. The CHA also infamously broke with bishops last year to lend critical support to the health reform bill behind the mandate.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Sr. Keehan was one of three people the president called before delivering his Friday morning “adjustment” to the mandate, which rephrased the rule while leaving it essentially unchanged. The other two were the heads of the U.S. Bishops Conference and Planned Parenthood.

The sender of the e-mail, who wished to remain anonymous, told LifeSiteNews.com that the faux pro-choice e-mail address was used after other e-mails were ignored.

“I sent her numerous e-mails from a pro-life point of view and she did not respond, so I wondered if she would respond in a positive way to an e-mail from an abortion supporter and she sure did,” said the sender.

“I was most disturbed by her asking a clearly pro-abortion group to use their money for a ‘poor woman’ knowing a pro-abortion group would use it for abortion,” the sender said, “and when I wrote back and basically said it would go in a fund for ‘reproductive services’ meaning abortion, she did not object.”


Contact Information:
Catholic Health Association.

Tags: catholic health association, sister carol keehan

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‘We try to respect religious beliefs’ — Top New York Times columnist rewrites the Constitution

by Albert Mohler Tue Feb 14 11:52 EST Comments (7)

 

February 14, 2012 (AlbertMohler.com) - Columnist Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times has emerged as one of the most influential journalists and public intellectuals of our times. He has been the voice of conscience on many issues of human rights and foreign affairs, and he has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his reports, books, and commentaries on world affairs.

A graduate of Harvard University and a Rhodes Scholar, Mr. Kristof sees the world from an elite point of reference, and his column in The New York Times is mandatory reading for anyone concerned with human rights and human dignity.

His keen sensitivity to human rights concerns is what makes his column published in the February 12, 2012 edition of the paper so perplexing — and so offensive.

Nicholas Kristof writes movingly and urgently of human rights violations all over the world, but this recent column reveals his apparent willingness to deny human rights here at home, on a matter right at the center of the American understanding of human rights — religious liberty.

Kristof writes rather sarcastically about the “pelvic politics” of recent controversy. The furor over the Obama Administration’s inclusion of mandatory coverage of birth control as “preventive care” under the Affordable Care Act, stating: “I may not be as theologically sophisticated as American bishops, but I had thought that Jesus talked more about helping the poor than about banning contraceptives.”

How clever. Would Kristof say the same to theological liberals trying to argue for nuclear disarmament? Not yet, anyway. This cheap shot signals Kristof’s intention to slam those who have theological and moral concerns about the mandatory inclusion of birth control under the so-called Obama Care legislation. He cheapens his own credibility by speaking of “banning contraceptives.”

So, if contraceptives are not free they are “banned?” Nice try.

Kristof, who periodically registers his disgust at religious believers, pressed his case. In previous columns he has written, for example, of the fact that he is frightened to live in a nation in which so many citizens disbelieve in evolution. In another column he warned his fellow secular liberals that we live in a nation in which more people believe in the devil than in Darwinism.

He once advised other journalists and columnists to pay greater attention to evangelical Christians, while noting: “I tend to disagree with evangelicals on almost everything, and I see no problem with aggressively pointing out the dismal consequences of this increasing religious influence.”

Add to this the reality that he once bemoaned the fact that so many Christians believe in the virgin birth of Christ, arguing that this is evidence of “the way American Christianity is becoming less intellectual and more mystical over time.”

Like so many, including the White House, Kristof does his best to describe the controversy over the birth control mandate as a Catholic issue. In his “Beyond Pelvic Politics” column he wrote of “Catholic universities and hospitals,” “Catholic institutions,” and “a majority of Catholics.” The fact that so many evangelical Christians share this concern and outrage is never mentioned.

After asking his most pressing question, “After all, do we really want to make accommodations across the range of faith?,” he makes this amazing statement:

“The basic principle of American life is that we try to respect religious beliefs, and accommodate them where we can.”

That sentence caught the immediate attention of many. Could someone of Nicholas Kristof’s influence and stature really write and mean that?

When President Obama spoke February 10, announcing his administration’s modifications to the birth control issue, he at least spoke of religious liberty as “an inalienable right that is enshrined in our Constitution.” The President then made the error of speaking as if an “inalienable right” is to be accommodated to a matter of policy. That was bad enough, and very revealing of the President’s worldview and constitutional perspective. Nicholas Kristof’s statement is light years beyond the President in disrespect for religious liberty.

Where would we find what Kristof describes as “the basic principle of American life,” when he goes on to state that principle with language as chilling as “we try to respect religious beliefs, and accommodate them where we can”?

The language of accommodation is almost as old as the Constitution itself, but it was never framed as Kristof frames it — certainly not by the founders who spoke of “inalienable rights” granted to human beings by the Creator’s endowment.

Can you imagine any of the founders speaking as Kristof writes, of an intention to “try to respect religious beliefs”?

Mr. Kristof is a serious man, and he raises serious issues in this column. But with this one simplistic and condescending sentence he throws religious liberty under the bus and reveals what makes sense to so many in the secular elite.

They will try their best, they promise, to respect our religious beliefs, and to “accommodate them where we can.”

That’s it. Don’t dare ask for anything more.

Given the caustic columns Nicholas Kristof has written in the past, it is hard not to laugh at his pledge to “try to respect religious beliefs.”

A few years ago he wrote this:

“Yet despite the lack of scientific or historical evidence, and despite the doubts of Biblical scholars, America is so pious that not only do 91 percent of Christians say they believe in the Virgin Birth, but so do an astonishing 47 percent of U.S. non-Christians.”

He followed that sentence with this amazing line: “I’m not denigrating anyone’s beliefs.” Does The New York Times still employ editors?

When it comes to human rights around the world, Nicholas Kristof remains rightly influential, and for good reason. But when it comes to human rights at home, Mr. Kristof reveals a horrifying blind spot. The continuing controversy over the birth control mandate reveals that he is by no means alone.

Reprinted with permission from AlbertMohler.com

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Sex in the City actress: ‘my homosexuality is a choice’

by Chuck Colson Tue Feb 14 11:27 EST Comments (7)

 
Cynithia Nixon

February 14, 2012 (Breakpoint.org) - For years we have been told that homosexuality is something people are born with — like the color of one’s skin — and that it can’t be changed. Gay-rights activists insist this is so, because, they say, if people don’t choose to be gay, it would be wrong to discriminate against them in things like marriage, adoption, and legal benefits.

And heaven help those who disagree. Just ask actress Cynthia Nixon, who in a recent New York Times Magazine article, had the gall to admit that she chose to be gay.

Nixon, who played one of the characters on the old “Sex in the City” television series, was involved in 15-year relationship with a man that produced two children. Now, however, Nixon has moved on to a so-called “gay” relationship with a woman. In the article, Nixon is quoted about her sexual life, “For me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me.”

Click “like” if you want to defend true marriage.

Curiously, gay activists, who in almost any other instance would celebrate a “woman’s choice,” are really upset. “Cynthia did not put adequate thought into the ramifications of her words,” said Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, which opposes programs that seek to cure people of homosexuality. “When people say it’s a choice,” Besen added, “they are green-lighting an enormous amount of abuse.”

No, what Nixon is green-lighting is the dangerous idea that people make choices about their sexual lifestyle. And that’s a clear and present danger to the agenda of the gay-rights movement. That agenda seeks to prove that the gay lifestyle is natural and inevitable. But friends, there is absolutely no proof, and there’ll probably never be any proof, that people are “born gay.”

University of California, Davis, psychologist Gregory Herek, an “expert on anti-gay prejudice,” admits, “The nature vs. nurture debate really is passé. The debate,” he said, “is not really an either/or debate in the vast majority of cases, but how much of each. We don’t know how big a role biology plays and how big a role culture plays.”

Wheaton College’s Stan Jones, who has written extensively on the subject, says the best research reveals that homosexual attraction is the result of a complex and mysterious interaction of biological, psychological, and environmental factors that produce different results for different people. Jones, and anyone else who has looked at the evidence in an unbiased way, says that there is no “gay gene.”

Thus, the project to — in the words of one pro-gay writer, “make homophobia as inexcusable as racism” — has failed. For some people, homosexuality is a choice, and to whatever extent that is true, the fact is we all have a choice about how we will respond to our various sexual inclinations and express our sexual brokenness.

And, contrary to what we hear, the different sexual choices people make are not all equal. Only one conforms to nature and nature’s God.
No, God’s Word does not give us a definitive word about the cause of homosexuality, but it is crystal-clear that we need to reject homosexual behavior as sinful, to embrace sex only in the context of marriage between a man and a woman, and to treat everyone we meet — homosexual or not — with love and respect.

Reprinted with permission from Breakpoint.org

Tags: cynthia nixon, homosexuality

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Sports anchor fired over pro-marriage tweet to put Rogers on the hot seat in May

by Patrick B. Craine Tue Feb 14 11:09 EST Comments (10)

 
Damian Goddard

TORONTO, Ontario, February 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Should Canada’s Christians have the right to defend their beliefs without losing their job?

Damian Goddard plans to put this question front-and-centre in May as he heads to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Goddard was fired as the host of Connected on Rogers Sportsnet in May 2011 after he defended the long-standing definition of marriage through his Twitter account.

He told LifeSiteNews on Monday that while he misses the job, he stands by the tweet now as much as ever. “I tremendously miss being a broadcaster.  But I will never regret tweeting the words ‘I completely and wholeheartedly support the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.’  Never,” he said.

A devout Catholic and father of two, Goddard says he hopes his case will help spark a renewed battle against same-sex “marriage” in Canada after the unions were legalized in 2005.

Though Canada’s majority Conservative government opposed same-sex “marriage” while they were in Opposition, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has since pledged to keep the issue out of Parliament and has even supported the status quo.

Join a Facebook page to defend marriage here

Goddard says he has no idea what to expect at the Commission, but says that he’s been inspired to push on by the ongoing battle in the U.S. over President Obama’s attempt to force religious institutions to cover contraception and abortion-inducing drugs, and the battle in Ontario to keep gay-straight alliances out of Catholic schools.

“The recent surge of profound Catholic bravery south of the border regarding the HHS scandal, and north of the border in relation to the harmful, most ‘unlucky’ Bill 13 has really buoyed my spirits!” he said. “There is a change in the air.  It’s palpable.  It’s building.  It’s so inspiring!”

Rogers has said Goddard’s firing was unrelated to his pro-marriage tweet, claiming that for “weeks” leading up to his termination, “it had become clear that he is not the right fit for our organization.”  Spokesman Dave Rashford said last May that Goddard is “aware of the reasons [for his termination] – which are well documented.”

But Goddard points out that he was fired within 24 hours of the tweet.  After Goddard sent his twee,t Rogers immediately distanced themselves from it, then called him in for a meeting within hours, which he could not attend because of family duties. Goddard says he was given a “ringing endorsement” by the network only a week before his dismissal.

He launched the human rights complaint against Rogers in June, contending that the case affects all Canadians with deeply-held religious views. The two parties have agreed to mediation and the hearing is set for May 4th at 902-110 Yonge Street in Toronto from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“I have a feeling some not-so-nice things are going to come out of these proceedings,” Goddard said Monday. “For now, I’ll let people speculate.  But know this - I will be an open book when everything comes out in the open.”

Goddard’s controversial tweet was made in defense of NHL hockey agent Todd Reynolds, who had created a stir when he criticized then-New York Rangers hockey player Sean Avery for shooting a TV ad backing gay “marriage.”

In the fall, Goddard became a spokesman for the U.S.-based Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance, a project by the National Organization for Marriage that was founded by Maggie Gallagher to support pro-family citizens who face threats for expressing their views.

Goddard said Gallagher has been a “God-send.” “We are doing amazing things in changing the culture.  There are so many stories like mine.  Worse stories.  But we must continue the fight,” he urged.

“I pray the Holy Spirit will continue to guide me not only up to the May 4th hearing, but throughout my entire life as I focus on being the best father, husband… the best child of God, that I can be,” he said.

LifeSiteNews did not hear back from Rogers Sportsnet by press time.

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Obama’s attacks on pro-lifers ‘awakened a sleeping giant’: HLI president

by Adam Cassandra Tue Feb 14 10:38 EST Comments (1)

 

February 14, 2012 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - While condemning the recent “compromise” and decision by the Obama administration to force the funding of contraception and abortifacients through employer-provided medical insurance, Human Life International (HLI) President Father Shenan J. Boquet said President Obama’s decision may have had a positive effect in motivating the public to stand up for life and religious liberty.

“As bad as it is to see the administration take this position, it’s now actually calling us who stand for life and who really want to see the dignity of every person upheld, and religious freedom protected, [to get involved],” said Fr. Boquet. “This is our chance, this is our moment, and I really think they may have awakened a sleeping giant.”

Fr. Boquet made the comments in a video interview with ProLifeNews.tv filmed during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. on Friday. HLI was a co-sponsor of the conference.

During the interview, Fr. Boquet called President Obama’s recent actions imposing the contraception mandate “disrespectful” and “an attack against our religious freedom.” And while the Catholic Church is seen as the main opponent of the mandate in the media, Fr. Boquet pointed out that people of all faiths are coming together in opposition.

“It’s not just a Catholic issue. You’re hearing Protestant, Jew, even people who don’t claim any religious status, recognizing what’s at stake here,” Fr. Boquet said. “And if we don’t voice and push back, then what will be the next thing?”

Fr. Boquet urged the public to stay involved, and to be active in their opposition to President Obama’s attack on religious liberty and the Culture of Life.

“It’s important to get people off the pew and out into the street,” he said.

“We have the power to change this. The question is: Are we willing to move away from apathy and indifference and really engage in a charitable and loving way, [recognizing] that the person in the womb is a brother and a sister?”

Fr. Boquet said he was seeing a resurgence of the pro-life cause internationally, as well as in the United States.

“This is a moment where people are hungry for truth,” he said, citing the excitement and activism of pro-life advocates with whom HLI works with around the world. But he was quick to note that the opposition is not backing down easily.

“The agenda on the Left … is also pumping up their media too and trying to … convince people that we are threatening choice, that we are threatening people’s rights. No, we’re speaking for the rights of every person,” said Fr. Boquet.

“[We] help people to see that it is in their best interest, it’s in the human interest, to protect life.”

Reprinted with permission from HLIWorldWatch.org

Tags: birth control mandate, hli, obama, shenan boquet

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Fr. Frank Pavone: No compromise - the mandate has to go, period

by Fr. Frank Pavone Tue Feb 14 10:29 EST Comments (12)

 

February 14, 2012 (PriestsforLife.org) - Many have asked me whether I think that the President’s announced “accommodation” regarding the HHS mandate for health insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization is acceptable.

Absolutely not.

As many Catholics and non-Catholics point out, the principal problem is that the mandate is still in place. The President’s February 10 announcement changed none of that. What remains is that all employers — not just religious ones — have to provide health insurance for their employees, and all health insurance plans have to cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization.

It’s a fiction to say that the insurer, not the employer, is now the one offering this coverage. It is an illusion to think there is any moral difference introduced by the February 10 “accommodation” of the Administration.

As Peggy Noonan wrote, “The short-term White House strategy is to confuse and obfuscate, to spread a thick web of untruths about the decision and let opponents exhaust themselves trying to fight from under the web.”

Simply put, freedom of conscience — which belongs not just to religious people but to every American — demands that people should “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions” (Respect for Rights of Conscience Act).

Apparently, more will be coming out from the Administration, during the year that it is giving to non-exempt religious groups to “adapt” to the mandate. But we don’t need a year, nor do we need a moment, to determine what we are going to do, or to “adapt” to the mandate. The mandate is unjust. You don’t adapt to injustice; you oppose it.

That’s why Priests for Life is launching a federal lawsuit against the Obama Administration to block the enforcement of this mandate on us, and to declare it unconstitutional.

That is also why we are garnering support for the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467).

This is why we are also helping to organize public rallies, protests, and acts of civil disobedience.

As an organization of Catholic clergy, as a corporation that employs 60 people of various religious backgrounds, and as a ministry whose very purpose is to protect and promote Church teaching about the specific practices at issue in this HHS mandate, we are particularly well-positioned to fight against this intrusion on the rights of conscience.

Moreover, we are convinced that the current mandate, if allowed to stand, paves the way for mandated coverage of abortion on demand, and we see no reason why those pushing for the mandate would not want that in the long run. If the HHS can add at any time to the list of “preventive services” for women, and argues that these services are cost-effective, how could they not argue for health insurance policies to cover abortion, as less expensive than childbirth?

As John Allen said, “There’s no room for compromise on this. The mandate has to go.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

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12 state attorneys general: we will file lawsuit against Obama mandate ‘in weeks, not months’

by Ben Johnson Tue Feb 14 08:58 EST Comments (2)

 
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 13, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Within weeks, the top lawyers in a dozen states may file a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration’s controversial requirement that all insurance plans include access to abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization, the attorney general of Nebraska told LifeSiteNews.

Jon Bruning told LifeSiteNews.com that 12 states had signed onto a scathing critique of the mandate and were preparing to take more serious action.

On Friday, ten state attorneys general addressed a scathing letter to President Obama, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. “Not only is the proposed contraceptive coverage mandate for religious employers bad policy, it is unconstitutional,” they wrote. “We believe it represents an impermissible violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment virtually unparalleled in American history” and “conflicts with the most basic elements of the freedoms of religion, speech, and association, as provided under the First Amendment.”

They feared the president’s policy would force faithful religious institutions “to cease activities of incalculable value to their employees, constituents, and, indeed, society as a whole.”

“Should this unconstitutional mandate be promulgated, we are prepared to vigorously oppose it in court.”

The attorneys general of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas signed the letter. Bruning told LifeSiteNews two additional states had joined the cause over the weekend.

“This is about much more than contraception. This is about the federal government once again stepping in and trying to tell people how to live their lives,” Bruning said. “I’m very troubled by it – not only troubled, I’m willing to use the litigation power of the state of Nebraska to file yet another lawsuit against the federal government, because it’s really our only option to push back.”

He said he is currently coordinating the next step of action with his fellow AGs.

“I think it will be weeks, not months, before we file a lawsuit,” he said.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Other signatories voiced their opposition to the mandate.

Last week, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an amicus brief in pending cases filed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty on behalf of Belmont Abbey College, Colorado Christian College, and the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) against the new health care rule.

Bruning said while the group may file its own friend of the court brief to support these cases, “it’s looking like litigation is the only way to stop the Obama administration.”

“When a state or a group of states is involved in litigation,” Bruning told LifeSiteNews, “it carries more weight than any particular private plaintiff, because of the role of that states in our constitutional structure. “

Pam Bondi of Florida, a Tea Party favorite elected in 2010, wrote in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com, “I am proud to stand with my colleagues against this latest example of unconstitutional overreach by the Obama administration. All Americans – of any religion, or no religion at all – have a stake in protecting rights of conscience.”

Louisiana’s James D. “Buddy” Caldwell said on Friday, “The federal government simply cannot force individuals and organizations to buy a product that contradicts their religious beliefs. This represents a clear violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment virtually unparalleled in American history.”

“The proposed mandate would clearly be an unconstitutional burden on religious entities that currently provide health care to their employees,” Attorney General Alan Wilson of South Carolina said in a statement. “Such an action would be an unprecedented and troubling coercion of organizations and individuals to act contrary to their religious beliefs.”

Bruning, who is leading a 26-state coalition in a lawsuit opposing the president’s health care bill, told LifeSiteNews he sees the two cases as intimately related. “I do think Congress has exceeded its authority under the Commerce Clause with the Obama health care law,” he said. “This issue regarding the mandate that insurance companies must carry coverage for abortifacients and birth control and sterilization is an offshoot of that ObamaCare case.”

Tags: alan wilson, james d. “buddy” caldwell, jon bruning, pam bondi

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Catholic Health Association collaboration with Obama admin on mandate a ‘scandal’: Catholic leader

by Ben Johnson Tue Feb 14 07:41 EST Comments (22)

 
Sr. Carol Keehan

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 14, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Almost immediately after President Obama announced the details of his “accommodation” on Friday morning, Catholic Health Association (CHA) President Sr. Carol Keehan registered her support, long before any other Catholic organizations had the opportunity to analyze the White House’s statement, let alone to issue a statement for or against. Some in the Catholic Church are calling Keehan’s close working relationship with the administration in drafting a measure that still violates their common religious beliefs a “scandal.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the president called three people before delivering his speech on the birth control mandate Friday morning: Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); Sr. Keehan; and Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Richards and Sr. Keehan issued statements supporting the accommodation almost immediately after the speech. The White House had seen Keehan’s endorsement before delivering the speech, which would require health insurance companies to provide contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization to employees or religious institutions “free of charge.”

John Brehany, executive director of the Catholic Medical Association, told LifeSiteNews.com, “I think it’s a scandal that [CHA’s] statement mirrored that of Planned Parenthood so closely in tone and timing. Christian prudence demands a much higher threshold of scrutiny before jumping on the bandwagon, especially given the clear attack on religious freedom and the clear attack on the Catholic Church inherent in this decision.”

Sr. Keehan said the CHA was “pleased and grateful that the religious liberty and conscience protection needs of so many ministries that serve our country were appreciated enough that an early resolution of this issue was accomplished.” Several news outlets balanced CHA’s statement against Planned Parenthood’s, leaving the impression the accommodation has satisfied leaders on both sides. 

However, conspicuously missing from initial coverage was any statement from the Roman Catholic bishops, who were apparently still scrambling to make sense of the “accommodation.” Cardinal-designate Dolan wrote a pastoral letter on February 10 shortly after the accommodation had been announced, stating any sign of openness from the administration is “a welcome first step. We must study it carefully. However, we cannot let up in our concern for the protection of religious freedom and the reverence for conscience which are at the heart of American values.” Bishop Thomas G. Doran of Rockford, Illinois, went further, saying while he deferred to the USCCB to make a final determination, “it first it appears that this is still material co-operation with evil.”

A statement later in the day from the USCCB blasted the accommodation as insufficient to address their concerns. According to the bishops, the mandate “continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions.”

New e-mails show the White House had already lined up Sr. Keehan’s support, and that she had provided White House insiders a copy of her statement before releasing it to the press. Darron Paul Monteiro, associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement (OPE), e-mailed a copy to “friends”  Friday morning, writing: “I wanted to be sure you saw Sister Carol Keehan’s statement on the new regulation being proposed and finalized later this morning.”

This has led some to question whether she had a deeper role in the announcement.

“I am a team player,” Bill Donohue of the Catholic Defense League said in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com, and Sr. Keehan “would never be on my team.”

“At a minimum she had a call before hand, and maybe more,” Brehany said. “I do think it’s a scandal.”

The Office of Public Engagement (OPE) is headed by Valerie Jarrett, named by political observers as the president’s most influential adviser. Attendees have exposed the fact that OPE regularly holds “Common Purpose” meetings with friendly activists to coordinate support for its policies. 

Apparently, Sr. Keehan enjoyed greater access than the USCCB, which wrote on Friday, “We just received information about this proposal for the first time this morning; we were not consulted in advance.”

It would not represent the nun’s first collaboration with the Obama administration on a policy her bishops opposed. Last June, Francis Cardinal George said, “Sr. Carol and her colleagues are to blame” for the passage of the president’s health care bill. “The Catholic Health Association and other so-called Catholic groups provided cover for those on the fence to support Obama and the administration,” he wrote. Such groups, Cardinal George said, had “weakened the moral voice of the bishops in the U.S.” and caused “confusion and a wound to Catholic unity.”

As a token of his appreciation for her support, President Obama rewarded Sr. Keehan with one of the ceremonial pens used to sign the bill. 

At least one other Catholic organization has publicly supported the accommodation. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) issued a statement that it “acknowledges and appreciates the compromise that President Obama has made to accommodate religious institutions in regard to the birth control mandate under the Affordable Care Act. We commend the Obama Administration for its willingness to work with us on moving toward a solution, and we look forward to working out the details of these new regulations with the White House. ”

The Catholic Medical Association, which is the largest association of Catholic physicians in North America, insisted,  “[T]he flawed attempts at ‘compromises,’ announced by the Obama administration to date, should be completely reversed.” This echoes the USCCB’s call to entirely rescind the HHS mandate.

“We think the decision is a trainwreck in terms of religious freedom, women’s health, and economics,” Brehany told LifeSiteNews. “Barring any further details that we’re missing, we still see it as very wrong.”

“I hope that a spirit of discernment will prevail,” he said.

The offices of Francis Cardinal George, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, and Bishop Robert Vasa did not return messages before deadline.

Tags: catholic health association, sister carol keehan

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