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House Speaker invites nuns fighting Obama HHS mandate to State of the Union

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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two nuns fighting the Obama administration's abortifacient and contraceptive mandate will watch President Obama's last State of the Union address in person.

On Monday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI, announced that the Mother Provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor, Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, and Sister Constance Veit will sit as guests during the Tuesday night speech.

The invitation is a way for the Catholic speaker to publicly support the nuns, who earlier today were backed by more than 200 members of Congress in their fight against the Obama administration's insurance mandate.

"The Little Sisters of the Poor care for the most vulnerable among us, and they should be free to practice their faith without the threat of government interference or intimidation," Ryan said in a statement. "The Sisters' stand in defense of religious liberty – one of our most fundamental rights – is nothing short of courageous, and it's my privilege to support their cause."

Ryan's other, less controversial guests are also leaders in private-sector anti-poverty organizations.

For many Americans, the words of Blessed Mother Teresa, soon to be confirmed a saint, at her 1979 acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize ring true. "I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing – direct murder by the mother herself," she said. "Many people are very, very concerned with the children in India, with the children in Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger and so on, but millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today. Because if a mother can kill her own child – what is left [but] for me to kill you and you kill me? There is nothing between."

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Mother Teresa's most famous words about the poverty of abortion may be the statement that "it is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."

The Little Sisters, whose religious liberty case will be heard in March, will not be the only famous plaintiffs to have an impact on the First Amendment and human rights. On the other side of the political and moral aisle will be Jim Obergefell, whose case led to the Supreme Court's decision last year to redefine marriage.

Obergefell will be one of about 25 guests of President and First Lady Obama. His 2015 victory led the Court's four conservative justices to warn of coming restrictions on religious liberty.

Obergefell will be joined by another LGBT guest of the first couple. Ryan Reyes, whose boyfriend was shot and killed last month by Muslim radicals in California, was invited after defending Muslims as not being represented by extremists.

Muslim outreach appears to play a role in several Obama invitees. In addition to Reyes, a Syrian refugee who lost his wife and a child to a missile attack will be present. Refaai Hamo and his four surviving children fled to Turkey and came to the U.S. late last year.

After his story grabbed national headlines, Hamo said through a translator, "I want to be a good citizen here."

Additionally, Naveed Shah of Springfield, Virginia, a naturalized U.S. citizen and veteran whose Pakistani family moved him from Saudi Arabia to the U.S. when he was two, will be present for the speech. He has publicly criticized both Muslim extremists and Republicans who have security concerns about Muslim immigrants, reports Military Times.

Other first couple guests include a teacher, social justice activists, and veteran activists. 

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