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Another Bishop Says ObamaCare Violates Catholic Social Teaching

LifeSiteNews.com
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By Peter J. Smith

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri, September 18, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Another Catholic bishop has stated that too many aspects of President Barack Obama's health care reforms violate basic and necessary Catholic social principles, such as respect for human dignity, safeguarding human life, conscience protection, and the principle of "subsidiarity."

"Health care reform is a very complex issue, with many important peripheral issues, such as cost and how to pay for it, economic impact, the role of the federal government, abortion, euthanasia, tort reform, etc.," writes Bishop James Vann Johnston of Cape-Girardeau and Springfield, Missouri. "But as such, health care reform is particularly important in that, as Catholics, we understand the principles that should be at the very heart of this delicate work."

Johnston says that of all the ways "to skin the health-care cat," President Obama's proposed reform raises serious and troubling questions for Catholics, such that the bishop says he cannot in good conscience support it.

"To begin, one must recognize that the provision of health care is rooted in our recognition of the basic dignity of every human person, made in God's image. Individuals and society both have inherent obligations to protect, respect, and promote the human person and his/her good."

Johnston goes on to observe that the Catholic Church has been involved in health-care since the first century A.D. following the example of the Good Samaritan, and that "one out of six hospital beds in the US today is in a Catholic hospital." However, he says, health-care reform needs to take into account respect for human dignity, safeguarding human life, and conscience protection.

Johnston points out that a recent and disturbing incident of conscience violations illustrates "how real is the threat of federal power to coerce health care providers, employers, and individuals into participating in actions contrary to conscience and Catholic teaching." Johnston is referring to the Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which "took action against Belmont Abbey College, a small Catholic college in North Carolina, for removing coverage for abortion, contraception, and voluntary sterilization from their employee insurance plan after they were inadvertently included." 

Guaranteeing the basic principle of "subsidiarity" is also essential to health-care reform, writes the bishop. That means delivering health-care to a patient through social channels most proximate to his situation, ensuring his basic rights and fundamental dignity are respected, providing him the treatments and loving care that he needs, and protecting him from a centralized bureaucracy that does not care for him. "One might consider this the principle of social dignity," says Johnston.

Johnston quotes the Catholic Catechism to emphasize that subsidiarity is "opposed to all forms of collectivism" and "sets limits for state intervention." He explains, however, that "the higher order" of central government does have a role in health-care reform; but it must only play a very limited and supporting role, not a dominant one, so as not to run the risk of crushing all the other necessary functions and expressions of society and trampling on the individual.

"Government may also be needed to see that no one, especially the working poor and the most destitute and forgotten, falls through the cracks," writes Johnston. "But, the essential element of the principle of subsidiarity is the protection of individual freedoms from unjust micromanagement and manipulation by the state."

In conclusion, the bishop states that he can not support President Obama's reforms, because the proposed plans for restricting the way health-care is delivered violate these fundamental Catholic principles.

"May all those engaged in this issue craft a plan that provides universal health care that is affordable to all, distributes costs equitably, and above all, safeguards human life from conception to natural death and the freedom of conscience," writes Johnston in conclusion. "We must never forget as then-Card. Ratzinger stated, 'There is only one morality à, the morality of God's commandments, which cannot be temporarily suspended in order to bring about a change in the status quo more quickly.'"

See Bishop James Vann Johnston's Letter "Skinning the 'Health Care Cat'"

See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

Bishop Doran Weighs in Against Obama Health Care Overhaul 

Kansas Bishops Criticize Healthcare over Abortion, Failure to Respect Subsidiarity 

Bishop Aquila Holds the Line against Abortion-Promoting Health Care Reform  

Bishop Nickless: "No Health Care Reform is Better than the Wrong Health Care Reform" 

Bishop Vasa: No Support for "Fatally Flawed" Obamacare Bill 

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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