Deal W. Hudson and Keith A Fournier

‘Biden was wrong’ on HHS mandate, says Archbishop Chaput

Deal W. Hudson and Keith A Fournier
By Deal W. Hudson and Keith A Fournier
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CHESTER SPRINGS, PA. (Catholic Online) - Nearly 500 people packed the gymnasium at St.  Elizabeth Catholic Church in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania late Saturday afternoon to hear Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap address the issue of Catholics in politics.

Archbishop Chaput spoke for about 45 minutes, followed by eight questions from the audience. The last question was from a Catholic woman who described herself as a “conservative” who asked the Archbishop why so many Catholics were “liberal.” His answer typified the Archbishop’s manner and message:

“I call you as a Catholic, to forget about the labels, be a liberal sometimes, a conservative sometimes, but a Catholic first.”

The Archbishop follows his own advice: Chaput’s presentation included a strong affirmation of the abortion and marriage issues as belonging to political debate, some very direct criticism of Vice President Biden’s comments during the debate this past week, and the admonition, “If you are not for social justice you are not being a Catholic.”

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Archbishop Chaput is no stranger to engaging in political debate. His book Render Unto Caesar: Serving Our Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life, published in August, 2008, infused that year’s presidential campaign with an authoritative Catholic voice. The book also drew some harsh criticism for what was called a “partisan” effort by the Archbishop to influence the outcome of the election.

Chaput remains unapologetic for his book, which now has been republished with an additional chapter on his habit of addressing controversial issues such as abortion, same sex marriage, and religious liberty. He rejects the accusation that for a priest or bishop to instruct the faithful on these issues is ‘partisan’. It is for the clergy to preach and teach and for “the laity to act on what they’re taught.”

He asked for a show of hands of those who were “more serious about being a Democrat than being a Catholic.” None appeared. Then, for the hands of those who were “more serious about being a Republican than a Catholic.” Again, no hands were raised.  The Archbishop then said, “All of us should be more serious about being Catholic than a Democrat or a Republican.”

“What if you had to choose between our country and Jesus, what would you choose? We have not had to make that choice, yet.” With that last comment, a ripple of recognition could be felt in the audience, as if the Archbishop was tapping into the deep concern that brought them into the gymnasium on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in autumn.

“I don’t want to go to jail,” the Archbishop said with a laugh, as he explained that during the coming year the bishops would have to decide how to respond to the HHS mandate. “Biden was wrong” in what he said about the mandate during the debate, and “he should not get away with saying that in the public square.”

The archbishop added that the HHS mandate “could lead to the closing of schools and other Catholic institutions. This is a serious matter.”

Earlier in his lecture he described Biden’s debate comments as the “latest outrageous example” of the false division between personal Catholic belief and political action.

He singled out President Obama and Secretary Sebelius only in the context of the absurdity of how the mandate defines a religious institution: “Our institutions,” Chaput said, “would be considered religious if we served only Catholics—now that wouldn’t be very Catholic, would it?”

“We believe in the separation of Church and State, but that is not the same thing as a separation between faith and politics. Faith is what we believe, politics is how we act. We are hypocrites if we fail to act in accord with our beliefs.”

One point Archbishop Chaput made with a particular note of force in his otherwise gentle voice: “It’s a sin if you do not vote in the upcoming election.”  He cautioned that Catholics, “should not vote their party line blindly but apply the principles of Catholic social teaching—such as the common good and subsidiarity to their voting decisions.”

If your political party is for abortion, Chaput told the crowd, “You can’t just be quiet; you must try to change your party.” He went on to explain that the reason for abortion on demand in our nation was the historic failure of Catholics to impress pro-life beliefs on both parties.

One of the questioners raised the issue of the three exceptions to abortion mentioned by vice presidential candidate Ryan during the debate and urged the bishop to correct him. In response, Chaput explained:

“Everyone knows the bishops admit no exceptions. Biden knows where the Church stands, and he chooses not to believe it. Ryan was stating the position of his party led by a Mormon who holds the same position of his faith, Mormonism, which allows those exceptions.”

During his presentation and answers to questions, Archbishop Chaput made some very penetrating comments about the history of the Church in our nation. For example, he described the present generation of clergy—those his age or close to his age—as having been formed during the age of the civil rights struggle, the struggle for social justice. “It’s an emotional thing for many priests, and this is why you have nuns attacking Paul Ryan.”

He explained further that the demand for social justice and human dignity includes a “right to health care but not the right to the government providing health care.”  He came back to this distinction during the Q & A period when he reminded the audience of the importance of subsidiarity as a political principle, one that is “often forgotten,” he said.

The one statement in a very rich speech that drew the loudest applause, was when Chaput described Jesus as having been killed “because he spoke the truth” and refused to back down from it. I think the applause was a response not only to the admonition but also to the example of a bishop who is willing to speak the truth in the public square, Archbishop Charles C. Chaput of Philadelphia.

Reprinted with permission from Catholic.org

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Lisa Bourne

Parents say they’re now calling four-year-old son a girl

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

OAKLAND, CA, July 7, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- An Oakland, California, couple is giving their four-year old son the green light to identify as a girl.

Jack Carter Christian, the son of Mary Carter and James Christian, will now be known as “Jackie” and be allowed to dress and act as a little girl.

The family acknowledged they were already letting the boy wear his older sister’s dresses on a regular basis and also that he liked to wear pink boots. James Christian said he thought for a long time that it was a phase his son would get over.

Carter detailed in an NPR interview the conversation with her son that led to the decision to allow him to live as a girl.

“Jackie just looked really, really sad; sadder than a 3-and-a-half-year-old should look,” Carter said. “This weight that looked like it weighed more than she did, something she had to say and I didn’t know what that was.”

“So I asked. I said, ‘Jackie, are you sad that you’re not going to school today?’ And Jackie was really quiet and put her head down and said ‘No, I’m sad because I’m a boy.’”

Carter continued speaking about the details of the day she encouraged her son to act upon the emotion he’d expressed.

 “You’re really not happy being a boy?” Carter queried her son.

“I thought a little bit longer and I said, ‘Well, are you happy being you?’” said Carter. “And that made Jackie smile. And I felt like for that moment that was all that really mattered. That was ‘The Day. ”

It was then that Carter proceeded to a Walgreen’s drug store and purchase elastic hair bands picked out by her son to pull his hair into little ponytails, something that offered apparent satisfaction for mother and son.

“There she was, in these cast-off Little Mermaid pajamas and five pony tails that are sticking out of her head kind, of like twigs, and this smile on her face and I’ve never seen such a happy child,” Carter stated. “To go from maybe an hour before this, this child who looks so sad, to that- pure joy, just pure joy, right there.”

Carter and Christian are one of a number of couples turning up in media stories saying that their young children will no longer live life as their biological gender. The confusion they describe is a disorder classified by the American Psychological Association as gender dysphoria.

San Diego parents Jeff and Hillary Whittington appeared in late May with their six-year old daughter Ryland, who is identifying as a boy, at the 6th annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast. Milk, the first openly homosexual candidate elected to office in San Francisco as City Commissioner, was also notorious for preying sexually upon underage, drug-addicted, runaway boys, and was murdered by a political rival in 1978.

Massachusetts couple Mimi and Joe Lemay have also decided to allow their five-year-old daughter Mia, now going by Jacob, to live as a transgender child, turning to NBC News with the specifics.

They said an April DailyMail.com report that it was “his” choice to become transgender, and also that they shared their story hoping to prove there is no such thing as “being too young” to identify as transgender.

“I realized he had never really been Mia,” Mimi Whittington said. “That had been a figment of my imagination.”

Author and public speaker Walt Heyer, who underwent sex reassignment surgery to become a woman and then later returned to living as a man, told the Daily Caller children cannot be born as one gender and identify as another by accident. He now performs outreach to those experiencing gender confusion.

“There’s a lot of questions here. Kids are not born transgender,” Heyer said. “Childhood developmental disorder that comes out of some event or series of events or abuse or neglect or trauma or overbearing mother or father or someone or a lot of times its sexual abuse.”

Heyer said the experience of having parents or caretakers entertain the idea of gender confusion is at issue and this is what happened to him.

“My grandmother kept cross-dressing me and loving on me as a girl and not as the boy God made,” he said.

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Lisa Bourne

Utah man faked anti-gay ‘hate crimes’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 7, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A Utah man who faked a series of anti-gay “hate crimes” may face charges after his actions were debunked by rural authorities.

Rick Jones said someone beat him, leaving facial and head bruising, and carved a homosexual slur in his arm, part of a series of staged attacks that spanned from April to June.

Jones, 21, told a local TV news station in June he believed he was being targeted because he was homosexual.

Jones is also implicated in spray-painting a slur on his family’s home, throwing a rock and a Molotov cocktail through his home’s window, spray-painting the family pizza business, and also breaking in and stealing $1,000 from the business.

The Millard County Sheriff’s office found discrepancies with evidence in the case and Jones ultimately admitted to perpetrating the harassment himself.

Jones could face charges of filing a false report and reckless burning.

His lawyer said the incidents were a cry for help geared toward the people close to Jones, and that Jones didn’t realize how much attention they would get.

Attorney Brett Tolman said that Jones has since begun treatment for mental health.

Tolman said his client did not have any criminal intent and praised the community’s response to the fake accusations, saying that the outpouring of support after the hate crime claims became public still was a good message.

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox was one who had publicly declared his support after the false accusations surfaced. Cox said Tuesday he’s relieved the allegations weren’t true, and expressed concern for Jones and his family.

Tolman also used the faked crimes as evidence that gays face discrimination.

“I think it’s such good evidence of the difficulties members of the gay community deal with,” said Tolman, “and some make better choices than others.”

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U.S. senator: Individuals don’t have religious freedom, just churches

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By Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 7, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment applies only to churches, not to individuals, a U.S. senator said on national television recently.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-WI – the nation's first openly lesbian elected to the U.S. Senate – addressed the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision on June 27 on MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki.

"Should the bakery have to bake the cake for the gay couple getting married?” the host asked. “Where do you come down on that?"

Baldwin responded that the First Amendment gave Americans no right to exercise religion outside the sanctuary of their church, synagogue, or mosque.

“Certainly the First Amendment says that in institutions of faith that there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs. But I don’t think it extends far beyond that,” she said.

Sen. Baldwin then likened the issue to the Obama administration's contentious HHS mandate, requiring employers to furnish contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs to female employees with no co-pay.

“We’ve certainly seen the set of arguments play out in issues such as access to contraception,” Baldwin said. “Should it be the individual pharmacist whose religious beliefs guides whether a prescription is filled, or in this context, they’re talking about expanding this far beyond our churches and synagogues to businesses and individuals across this country.”

“I think there are clear limits that have been set in other contexts, and we ought to abide by those in this new context across America.”

That view contrasts with a broad and deep body of law saying that individuals have the right to exercise their religion freely under the First Amendment, not merely to hold or teach their beliefs.

“At the Founding, as today, 'exercise' connoted action, not just internal belief,” wrote Thomas C. Berg, the James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

That body of cases shows the First Amendment is an individual, not merely a corporate, right.

Further, the extent – and the constitutionality – of the HHS mandate is far from settled.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has won 28 injunctions against the ObamaCare regulation and lost six.

The most significant statement to date has been the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision last June, when the justices ruled 5-4 that closely held corporations do, indeed, exercise conscience protections under the terms of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

"We reject HHS's arguments that the owners of the companies forfeited all RFRA protection when they decided to organize their businesses as corporations rather than sole proprietorships or general partnerships," they added. "The plain terms of RFRA make it perfectly clear that Congress did not discriminate in this way against men and women who wish to run their business as for-profit corporations in the manner required by their religious beliefs."

However, the justices did not invoke the First Amendment's guarantee to freedom of religion – the “first freedom” that many say has been increasingly constricted under the Obama administration. The president rhetorically has spoken only of the “freedom of worship,” while conservatives say the “free exercise” clause grants Americans the right to practice their religion inside or outside church, in any relevant aspect of their lives, subject only to the most extreme provisions.

The RFRA holds that the government may not substantially burden any religious belief without having a compelling governmental interest.

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