Ben Johnson

News, ,

Bishop: Conservatives may ‘co-opt’ HHS lawsuits for ‘anti-Obama crusade’

Ben Johnson
Image

STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA, May 24, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A California-based bishop is concerned that the lawsuits to overturn the HHS mandate filed by the leading dioceses and institutions of his Church may be used to underscore political criticism of the Obama administration.

Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton told America magazine that, while the bishops he knows in California “are strong supporters” of these religious liberty lawsuits, “I think there are different groups that are trying to co-opt this and make it into political issue.”

Forces “very far to the Right” may be tempted to make the legal challenge a part of “an anti-Obama campaign,” he said.

The bishop added, “there is a concern among some bishops that there ought to have been more of a wider consultation” before 43 leading Catholic archdioceses, dioceses, and religious institutions filed 12 lawsuits against the Obama administration on Monday morning.

Nonetheless, “the California bishops very strongly support whatever action has to be taken to promote religious liberty,” he said.

The bishop’s remarks themselves took on a political importance, as the wider media reported them. Michelle Boorstein of The Washington Post asked, “Are America’s Catholic bishops getting co-opted by the political right?” 

Deal Hudson, former chairman of Catholic Advocate and former chairman of Catholic outreach at the Republican National Committee, told LifeSiteNews.com, “Bishop Blaire’s real concern when he talks about being co-opted by the Right is that he’s afraid it’s going to play into the hands of the Republican Party and hurt the re-election chances of President Obama.” He said the bishop used “code language” that the bishops’ actions would have “political influence of the wrong kind.”

“Everyone knows Catholic bishops don’t go around looking for fights, especially for legal fights,” Hudson said. “This is simply a matter of Constitutional necessity and Catholic necessity.”

Deacon Keith Fournier, a constitutional lawyer who has long been active on the political scene, said he was not familiar with Bishop Blaire’s concerns and wished him “only the best,” but he felt his Church’s hierarchy effectively stated their reasons for filing suit. “I think our bishops have been overwhelmingly clear that what is at stake here is the free exercise of religion,” Deacon Fournier told LifeSiteNews.com.

He said the lawsuits “were strategically filed, which shows that this effort is serious and well thought-out” – but they were only one part of the effort.

At the same time, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops launched “an excellent public relations strategy” and “the call for a fortnight of prayer and penance, which is “an example of the right kind of Catholic action that is needed in our day.”

Bishop Blaire is a member of the USCCB’s Administrative Committee that approved the upcoming “Fortnight of Freedom” campaign aimed at overturning the HHS mandate, beginning on June 21 and culminating on Independence Day.

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

He apparently wanted to take a more conciliatory stance with the administration. America reported, “Bishop Blaire believes discussions with the Obama administration toward a resolution of the dispute could be fruitful even as alternative remedies are explored.”

“How can you put any confidence in future negotiations when past negotiations have all [produced] promises not kept and in some cases promises egregiously broken?” Hudson asked. He said the worst cases were the president’s commencement address at Notre Dame, when he promised to secure the conscience rights of health care workers and to make an effort to find common ground with the bishops. Those assurances, and many others Hudson said, were broken.

That leaves only a legal remedy.

“The Church is rising to defend for all men and women the free exercise of religion,” Deacon Fournier said. “She must do so, because what is really at risk here is Her right and duty to live and proclaim the Gospel in the heart of the culture.”

As a constitutional lawyer, Deacon Fournier believed the HHS regulation, requiring religious institutions to pay for or distribute abortion-inducing drugs, violated the First Amendment and the Founders’ views of the church’s role in society.

“If this HHS regulation is not reversed, so much of the good work of the Church – our hospitals, our soup kitchens, our outreaches to the needy, to the poor, to the broken, to the wounded – will be forced to be shut down,” he said. “That certainly doesn’t serve the public good.”

He believed ultimately the Founders’ intentions would prevail in court, and the Church’s ministries will be protected.

“The God of love and mercy we serve is very good at pulling good out of what is intended for evil,” the deacon said.

 

 



Advertisement
Featured Image
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Blogs,

Please, enough with the cult of pop stars. Our kids need real heroes.

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two things happen each time a significant pop culture figure dies: Christians attempt to dredge up some moderately conservative or traditional thing that figure said at some point during his long career, and mainstream media attempts to convince a society thoroughly bored with such things that the person in question was a ground-breaking radical. The two most recent examples are the androgynous David Bowie—a cringe-worthy and possibly blasphemous video of him dropping to his knees during a rock performance and uttering the Lord’s Prayer circulated just following his death--and the pop star Prince.

I’ve had to suppress my gag reflexes many times as I saw my Facebook newsfeed fill up with memes sporting quotes from Prince about his faith and articles announcing that the musician who “embraced gender fluidity before his time,” according to Slate and “will always be a gay icon” according to The Atlantic, was against gay marriage. Sure, maybe he was. But only a Christian community so shell-shocked by the rapid spread of the rainbow blitzkrieg and the catastrophic erosion of religious liberty would find this remarkable. After all, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said the same thing barely one election cycle ago. As one obituary celebrating Prince’s paradigm-smashing sexual performances written by Dodai Stewart put it:

Dig, if you will, a picture: The year is 1980. Many states still have sodomy laws. The radio is playing feel-good ear candy like Captain and Tennille and KC and the Sunshine Band. TV hits include the sunny, toothy blond shows Three’s Company and Happy Days. There’s no real word for “gender non-conforming.” But here’s what you see: A man. Clearly a man. Hairy, mostly naked body…a satiny bikini bottom. But those eyes. Rimmed in black, like a fantasy belly dancer. The full, pouty lips of a pin-up girl. Long hair. A tiny, svelte thing. Ethnically ambiguous, radiating lust. What is this? A man. Clearly a man. No. Not just a man. A Prince.

Right. So let’s not get too carried away, shall we? I know Christians are desperate to justify their addictions to the pop culture trash that did so much to sweep away Christian values in the first place and I know that latching on to the occasional stray conservative belief that may manifest itself in pop culture figures makes many feel as if perhaps we are not so weird and countercultural, but this bad habit we have of claiming these figures upon their passing is downright damaging.

After all, parents should be teaching their children about real heroes, titans of the faith who changed the world. Heroes of the early church who stood down tyrants, halted gladiatorial combat, and crusaded against injustice in a world where death was all the rage. These men and women were real rebels who stood for real values. If we want to point our children to people they should emulate, we should be handing them books like Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by the brilliant writer Eric Metaxas rather than the pop albums Purple Rain or Lovesexy by Prince. If parents spend their time glorifying the predecessors of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus instead of highlighting heroes like William Wilberforce, they can hardly be surprised when their children choose to emulate the former rather than the latter.

The mainstream media’s adulation of these pop stars is equally irritating. The unspoken truth of these obituaries is that the flamboyant antics of Prince and the rest of the so-called rebellious drag queens populating the rock n’ roll scene have been mainstream for a long time already. Want to see dozens of bizarre body piercings? Weird hairdos? Purple mohawks? Dudes with nail polish? Strange tattoos? Easy. Just go onto any university campus, or any public high school without a dress code. With headphones wedged firmly in their ear canals, they can pump the cleverly commercialized “counterculture” straight into their skulls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

More than that, some of these courageous rebels have actually sued their employers to ensure that they can let their establishment-smashing freak flag fly at work, too. An Edmonton woman with 22 visible body piercings complained that her employer was unfair because apparently she was being discriminated against “based on body modifications.” Yeah! The Man must be told, after all. And if he doesn’t agree, we will lawyer up. I wonder what the shrieking rebels of the early days would think about the snivelling children of the current grievance culture.

So these days, the media’s eulogizing about aging culture warriors who went mainstream a long time ago rings a bit hollow. After all, most rock n’ roll stars these days look tame compared to what shows up in the children’s section at Pride Week. Freaky is normal now. Normal is radical. Welcome to 2016.

When Christians are posting nostalgic tributes to the rebels who helped inoculate their children against the radical views of Christianity in the first place, you know that the victories of the counterculture are complete and Stockholm syndrome has set in.



Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Paul McKinnon / Shutterstock.com
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

News,

Target boycott climbs to over 1 million

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Over 1 million people have signed a pledge to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms. 

The American Family Association’s Boycott Target petition gained traction immediately, reaching the one million mark in only nine days.

“Corporate America must stop bullying people who disagree with the radical left agenda to remake society into their progressive image,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “#BoycottTarget has resonated with Americans.  Target’s harmful policy poses a danger to women and children; nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy.  Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable.  And it’s clear now that over one million customers agree.”

Target defended its policy in a statement saying that it believes everyone “deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally” and earlier this week, a Target spokeswoman defended the policy as “inclusive.” 

The AFA said that unisex bathrooms are a common-sense alternative to allowing men unfettered access to women’s bathrooms.

“Target should keep separate facilities for men and women, but for the trans community and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone, a single occupancy unisex option should be provided,” the petition says. 

The AFA warned that Target’s new policy benefits sexual predators and poses a danger to women and children. 

“With Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?” the petition asked. 

There have been numerous instances of predatory men accessing women’s bathrooms and intimate facilities in the wake of “transgender” bathroom policies allowing them to do so. 

“We want to make it very clear that AFA does not believe the transgender community poses this danger to the wider public,” said Wildmon. “Rather, this misguided and reckless policy provides a possible gateway for predators who are out there.”



Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

News,

Amazing new video captures the flash of light the moment life begins

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

CHICAGO, April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Life begins with a spark – literally.

Researchers at Northwestern University have documented the striking event in a new video that accompanies a study published this week.

At the moment of conception, the egg releases massive amounts of zinc, which creates a spark that can be seen with the aid of a microscope.

“It was remarkable,” said Teresa Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's medical school. “To see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.”

The research team had noted the zinc sparks before in mice eggs but had never observed the process in human beings.

“All of biology starts at the time of fertilization,” Woodruff said, “yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”

One of the researchers, Northwestern chemistry professor Thomas O'Halloran, explained the science behind the process in 2014.

“The egg first has to stockpile zinc and then must release some of the zinc to successfully navigate maturation, fertilization and the start of embryogenesis,” he said. “On cue, at the time of fertilization, we see the egg release thousands of packages, each dumping a million zinc atoms, and then it's quiet.”

“Each egg has four or five of these periodic sparks,” O'Halloran said. “It is beautiful to see, orchestrated much like a symphony.”

Since the amount of zinc in an egg correlates with successful implantation and birth, the Northwestern researchers are highlighting that their research may be used to assist in vitro fertilization.

But that raises concerns given the grave moral issues with IVF, which involves creating numerous embryos that are either killed or frozen. Moral theologians also emphasize that IVF is an injustice even for the children who are born as a result, as they are created in a lab rather than in the union of man and woman.

The study may have far-reaching consequences the research team did not intend, such as strengthening public belief in the longstanding scientific consensus that life begins at the moment of conception/fertilization.

Many of those who saw the Northwestern video said it testifies to the beauty of life and the shallow lies that buttress the argument of abortion-on-demand.

“I saw this, and I was blown away by it,” said Rush Limbaugh on his nationally syndicated radio program Thursday afternoon. “For anybody in the mainstream media to openly admit that life begins at conception” defies arguments that an unborn child is only “tissue mass.”

Researchers released a separate video of the zinc spark taking place in a mammalian egg more than a year ago:

The paper, which is entitled “The Zinc Spark is an Inorganic Signature of Human Egg Activation,” was published by Scientific Reports on April 26.



Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook