Dustin Siggins

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Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey on faith, the HHS mandate and religious freedom

Dustin Siggins
Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 17, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – There may be a separation of Church and State in America, but “there is not a separation of faith and politics," says HotAir.com co-Senior Editor Ed Morrissey.

"Your faith informs your values, your politics come from your values. Faith first, that forms you, and your political values should flow from that," he told LifeSiteNews.

Since joining powerhouse conservative blog HotAir.com in 2008, Morrissey has become one of the nation's most widely-read Catholics, using his faith as a regular part of his writing about abortion, the abortifacient/sterilization/contraception mandate, and other issues. He reported live on the conclave in 2013, and recently began a weekly “Sunday Reflection” in the Hot Air “Green Room.” 

However, this use of his faith has not always come naturally. Morrissey says it wasn't until recently that he has “been as comfortable writing about my faith and framing issues in terms – from my faith perspective. I think I've become more comfortable with that over the last couple of years.”

What changed? Morrissey says he “went on a vacation to Rome in 2011. It was for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, and I was there with three million of my closest friends, in Rome.” 

“We were really looking at this as a vacation. We were going to be there for the beatification, but mostly as a vacation. We were going to spend six-and-a-half days in Rome, and relax and enjoy ourselves,” said Morrissey. “My wife and I, as we usually do when we're going on these kinds of trips, we sit down with the guides, because we don't usually do tours. So we do our own thing. And she was saying, 'I want to see this, I want to see that.' And I'd read things out of the book, and she'd say, 'I want to see that.'”

“I finally said, 'Are we going to spend the whole time in church?' Every time I mentioned a church, she would say, 'Oh, I want to do that.' I was like, 'Are we going to spend the whole time in church?'”

Though initially resistant, Morrissey says that “it became a real pilgrimage for me. In a way that it's very difficult to describe, and the only thing I can say is I think the Holy Spirit was moving me to be there. I actually wasn't going to go there for the beatification, but I felt somehow that I was supposed to take [my wife] Marsha there. It really became a pilgrimage for me – even though I was Catholic, a practicing Catholic – I think it really connected me a lot more to my faith than I had anticipated.”

“Since then, I've been discerning what my role is supposed to be, what it is I'm called to do, and so the Sunday Reflections that I started just recently, that's something I felt like I was at least called to try, just to see how it worked out, and so far it's been pretty well-received.” 

Always up for a laugh at himself, Morrissey says about his reflections, “I almost want to put a disclaimer: The Catholic Church does not endorse this. If I get anything right, credit the Holy Spirit. If I get anything wrong, it's me.” 

Morrissey's growing connection to his faith is often a source of amusement for Hot Air readers, since the site's other senior editor is an atheist. Writing under the pseudonym “Allahpundit” – little else is known about the writer, other than that he lives in New York City – he is also a supporter of same-sex “marriage,” something Morrissey opposes.

With over 2.5 million unique views per month, and more than 35 million page views per month, Hot Air is possibly the leading conservative blog in America. It has certainly been widely cited since the disastrous abortifacient/contraception/sterilization mandate went into effect in 2012. According to Morrissey, the mandate and contraception in general are extremely harmful to American society.

“If you want to know how harmful [contraception] is, go back to Humanae Vitae,” says Morrissey, “in which basically the Pope predicted everything that followed. At the time, he was ridiculed. ... He basically predicted the explosion of pornography, abuse – not just abuse in the legal sense that we talk about it, but in terms of using people in a disposable sense, for fleeting moments of sensory pleasure, which is an affront to human dignity, which is at the center of our faith.” 

With regards to the mandate, Morrissey says the implications are enormous. “You have to understand that there isn't a contraception crisis in the United States. The CDC [Centers for Disease Control] has a study that shows 99 percent of women who are sexually active and wanted to avoid pregnancy accessed contraception,” in part because of federal funding. 

“It is not up to schools and employers to supply [contraception] for free for their employees. And forcing government into those positions is exactly how we're going to see religious sensibilities, religious expression, curtailed.” 

“It's about more than just the contraception,” according to Morrissey. “It's about more than just the religious freedom, even though that's a really big deal. It's about the fact that government is forcing us to participate in economic transactions against our will. And that is, I think, a huge problem, in terms of personal liberty – whether it's personal liberty in terms of speech, in terms of religious expression, freedom of assembly.” 

“The HHS mandate is really just one big symptom of what the overall problem is.” 

With a weekly column at The Week and The Fiscal Times, as well as a twice-weekly radio show – aptly named “The Ed Morrissey Show” – Morrissey addresses issues from spending to taxes to abortion and immigration. But all of it, he says, “is informed by my faith.” 

Disclosure: LifeSiteNews.com reporter Dustin Siggins is a contributor to HotAir.com, and is providing content to Hot Air this week in place of AllahPundit.


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Medical staff arrested in India after accidentally aborting baby at 8 months

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

A doctor and a nurse at a prominent private hospital in India have been arrested after they allegedly administered abortion drugs to a eight-months pregnant woman accidentally, resulting in the death of her unborn child.

"We have immediately registered a case and arrested the doctor, whose negligent act has caused this," said South Jammu Superintendent of Police Rahul Malik, according to the Hindustan Times.

The woman's husband, Rakesh Sharma, told the paper that the doctor mistook Shruti Sharma for another patient who was scheduled for an abortion at the JK Medicity Hospital in Jammu on Friday afternoon.

Shruti had gone to the hospital after her gynecologist advised a routine medical examination to safeguard her and her baby's health.

Rakesh alleged that the doctor gave his wife the abortion pills without consulting her medical records. “Doctors and paramedical staff instead of administering glucose, gave her abortion medicine, which was actually meant for another patient,” he said.

"It is the worst case of negligence. I feel strongly that such hospitals should be closed. If this has happened to me today, tomorrow it can happen to any body else," Rakesh said.

While the JK Medicity's administration said it has launched an inquiry into the incident, a report from the Jagran Post stated that the district government has revoked the hospital's license.

"Jammu and Kashmir Government has ordered sealing of the private clinic after suspension of its license to operate in the wake of the incident," said Minister for Health and Medical Education Taj Mohiuddin according to the report.

National media have reported that the incident has brought illegal abortion practices in India to the attention of both the public and government officials.

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According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, abortion is legal in India up to 20 weeks. However, the opinion of a second doctor is required if the pregnancy is past its 12th week, and abortion-inducing drugs such as mifepristone and misoprostol are allowed only by prescription up until the seventh week of pregnancy.

Moreover, abortions can be performed only in government licensed medical institutions by registered abortionists.

Indian Express reported that the accused in the incident, Dr Amarjeet Singh, practices ayurvedic medicine (traditional Hindu medicine) and is "unsuitable for carrying out abortions."

A video posted by IndiaTV shows the parents surrounded by family members and relatives at a protest outside the JK Medicity hospital where the group is demanding punishment for those involved in the death of the child.


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Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

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News editor fired for criticizing ‘gay Bible’, files complaint

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By Kirsten Anderson

The former editor-in-chief of Iowa’s Newton Daily News has filed a religious discrimination complaint after he was fired over a post on his private blog criticizing the pro-gay Queen James Bible.

The Bible revision was produced by homosexual activists who claim to have edited the eight most commonly cited verses against homosexual behavior “in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible.”

On his private blog, which has since been deactivated, Bob Eschliman wrote in April that “the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo” are trying to reword the Bible “to make their sinful nature ‘right with God.’”

After public outcry from homosexual activists, Shaw Media, which owns the paper, fired him on May 6.

In a statement the day of his firing, Shaw Media President John Rung said Eschliman’s “airing of [his opinion] compromised the reputation of this newspaper and his ability to lead it.”

“There will be some who will criticize our action, and mistakenly cite Mr. Eschliman’s First Amendment rights as a reason he should continue on as editor of the Newton Daily News,” Rung said.  “As previously stated, he has a right to voice his opinion. And we have a right to select an editor who we believe best represents our company and best serves the interests of our readers.”

Rung said the company has a duty “to advocate for the communities we serve” and that “to be effective advocates, we must be able to represent the entire community fairly.”

Eschliman, who has been writing professionally since 1998 and became editor-in-chief of the Newton Daily News in 2012, says that the company was aware of his personal blog when he was hired and never indicated it would be a problem for him to continue sharing his personal political and religious views.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

In his religious discrimination complaint against the company, filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), he says that he believes he was singled out for termination because of his Christian views concerning homosexuality and same-sex “marriage.”

“As a lifelong writer, I have maintained a personal blog on the Internet with some personal thoughts and writings,” Eschliman wrote. “Newton Daily News, my employer, never had a policy prohibiting personal blogging, Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media. In fact, my employer encouraged us to engage in social media on a personal level and I am aware of several employees of Newton Daily News who continue to blog and are still employed with Shaw Media.”

“There is no question that I was fired for holding and talking about my sincerely held religious beliefs on my personal blog during my off-duty time from the comfort of my own home,” Eschliman wrote. “Shaw Media directly discriminated against me because of my religious beliefs and my identity as an evangelical Christian who believes in Holy Scripture and the Biblical view of marriage.

“Moreover, Shaw Media announced that not only were they firing me based upon my religious beliefs, but that they would not hire or allow anyone to work at Shaw Media who holds religious beliefs similar to mine, which would include an automatic denial of any accommodation of those who share my sincerely held religious beliefs,” he added.

Neither Shaw Media nor the Newton Daily News have been willing to provide further comment to the press on the matter, citing pending litigation.

Matthew Whitaker, an attorney with Liberty Institute who is assisting Eschliman with his complaint, said the law is on his client’s side.

“No one should be fired for simply expressing his religious beliefs,” Whitaker said in a statement. “In America, it is against the law to fire an employee for expressing a religious belief in public.  This kind of religious intolerance by an employer has no place in today’s welcoming workforce.”

According to Whitaker, if the EEOC rules in Eschliman’s favor, Shaw Media could be forced to give him back pay, front pay, and a monetary settlement.


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If you find this filthy book in your home, burn it

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By Jonathon van Maren

I don’t believe in book-burnings, but for the 50 Shades of Grey Trilogy, I’ll make an exception. I prefer charred books to scarred people.

The 50 Shades of Grey Trilogy, for those of you living outside “civilization,” is a repulsive and poisonous stack of porn novels that celebrates the seduction and manipulation of an insecure girl by a powerful businessman who happens to like spending his recreational time engaging in what is now popularly known as “BDSM.” For those of you who are fortunate enough never to have heard of this glorification of sexual assault, the acronym stands for bondage, domination, sadism, and masochism. In 50 Shades of Grey, the man in question inflicts all sorts of pain on the girl, because he is a sadist, which used to be a bad thing. (How utterly confusing it is to see the “feminists” of Planned Parenthood and elsewhere celebrating this phenomenon—wasn’t domination something they sought to subvert? Didn’t bondage used to be something one wanted to be freed from? And sado-masochism—I could vomit.) And now this trash has been developed into a film, the trailer of which is all over Facebook.

50 Shades of Grey and the new “BDSM” phenomenon are nothing more than the celebration of pain, rape, and destruction.

A lot of people seem to be taken with these books, especially based on the number of people I’ve seen unashamedly reading it at airports. These porn novels are “hot,” many reviewers tell us confidently. Yes, hot as Hell and halfway there, I think.

Consider this, for just a moment: In a culture where broken families are often the norm, we have a generation of girls often growing up without fathers, never receiving the paternal love and affection that they need. Thus the famous “Daddy Issues” that so many comedy sitcoms repulsively mock, as if hurting girls seeking love and affection in all the wrong places is some sort of joke. Conversely, boys are also growing up without fathers, never having a positive male role model in the home to teach them how to treat women with love and respect. And what is teaching them how to treat girls? At an enormous rate, the answer is online pornography, which increasingly features vicious violence against girls and women. The average first exposure of boys to pornography is age eleven. It is an absolutely toxic mess—insecure and hurting girls seek love from boys who have been taught how to treat them by the most vicious of pornography.

Introduce into this situation a book, written by a woman, glorifying the idea that girls should expect or even enjoy pain and torture inside of a sexual relationship. How does a girl, insecure and unsure, know what to think? The culture around her now expects her not to need a safe relationship, but a “safe word” to employ in case her sadist partner gets a bit too carried away in the pain-making. Boys who might never have dreamed of asking a girl to subject herself to such pain and humiliation are now of course emboldened to request or even expect this fetishized sexual assault as a matter of course in a relationship. After all, much of pornography now features this degradation of girls and women, and a woman wrote a book celebrating such things. It might seem sadistic and rapey, but hey, sexual freedom has allowed us to celebrate “bondage” and sexual liberation has allowed us to liberate our darkest demons from the recesses of our skulls and allow them out to play in the bedroom. Boys used to get taught that they shouldn’t hit girls, but now the culture is telling them that it’s actually a turn-on.

I genuinely feel sorry for many teenage girls trying to navigate the new, pornified dating landscape. I genuinely feel sorry for the legions of fatherless boys, exposed to pornography before they even had a chance to realize what it was, enfolded by the tentacles of perverted sexual material before they even realize what, exactly, they are trifling with. It brings to mind something C.S. Lewis once wrote: “Wouldn't it be dreadful if some day in our own world, at home, men start going wild inside, like the animals here, and still look like men, so that you'd never know which were which.”

50 Shades of Grey and the new “BDSM” phenomenon are nothing more than the celebration of pain, rape, and destruction. Find out if the “sex educators” in your area are pushing this garbage, and speak out. Join campaigns to make sure that promotion of this filth isn’t being funded by your tax dollars. And if you find these books in your home, burn them.


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