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

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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‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’

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An ultrasound of the five different compartments, each with its own baby, inside Kim's womb.

AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life. 

“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September. 

“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote. 

Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds. 

The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again. 

After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test. 

“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.

The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five. 

“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”

“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.

Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.” 

“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”

“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.” 

“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.” 

“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born. 

The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well. 



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UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react

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GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads. 

The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution. 

“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters. 

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.

“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.

But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it. 

The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”

Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.

“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said. 

While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms. 

“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added. 

Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born. 

“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.

“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.



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Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’

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DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.

“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.

"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.

There have been over 58,000,000 abortions since the 1973 court ruling legalizing abortion in all 50 states, according to National Right to Life.

That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.

“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."

Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.

All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.

Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.

On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”

Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.

At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.

But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.



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