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Major Catholic Organizations Push for Healthcare Overhaul Despite Abortion Mandate

LifeSiteNews.com

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 29, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Three major Catholic organizations have issued a video and an action alert urging constituents to tell their legislators to immediately enact health care legislation, despite the vast abortion expansion embedded in the bills currently under consideration.

"Please call and e-mail your Representative in the next 24 hours expressing your support for Congress to enact health care reform now," the groups urge in an alert released last week.  The page hosted by St. Vincent De Paul offers contact information and email forms for congressional offices.

"Saint Vincent de Paul is partnering with Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Health Association to amplify our collective voice to let Congress know that health care reform can not wait," it continues.

The call to action echoes those of President Obama, who has been aggressively pushing through a health care plan in Congress that pro-lifers have strongly condemned as containing "the biggest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade." 

Pro-life lawyers say that the government health care insurance is bound to include abortion as an essential health care benefit and would be funded by taxpayer dollars, unless an amendment is introduced to specifically exclude abortion.  However, all such amendments, including amendments to protect doctors' conscience rights, have failed in both the House and Senate.

While the pro-life community in America is therefore urging for the health care bills to be struck down unless abortion coverage is specifically excluded, the joint Catholic Charities statement instead urges readers to tell legislators, "We need health care reform now," but without any caveat in relation to the abortion controversy.

Noting that the Obama-sponsored legislation is underway, the group writes only: "While there are many details in the health reform bill(s) that still need to be developed, we must maintain momentum for health care reform efforts with calls and emails supporting health care reform immediately." 

The statement then condemns those opposing the health care legislation as "The groups that do not support health reform."  "Your members of Congress need to hear from you that you support health care reform, and that the system needs to be reformed now," they state.

When LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) described the healthcare plan's abortion mandate to Roger Playwin, the National Executive Director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, he interrupted to say: "The bishops' office has advised us that that's not accurate.  So I can't speak to it, because all I know is that the bishops' office has said that story is going around, but it's inaccurate.  That's all I know."

Playwin said that by bishops' office he meant the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, specifically the bishops' charity arm, Catholic Charities USA.  "There's a lot of disinformation about - there is no legislation, number one," he said.  Asked to clarify, Playwin said, "There is not a piece of legislation that the House and Senate are going to agree to about health care reform."

The USCCB itself, however, has made a point of strongly warning against the possible dangers to the unborn embedded in health care legislation.  Bishop William Murphy, representing the USCCB, told Congress in a letter July 17 to shun any health care legislation that failed to uphold pro-life values.  "No health care reform plan should compel us or others to pay for the destruction of human life, whether through government funding or mandatory coverage of abortion," he wrote.

Murphy continued: "Genuine health care reform that protects the life and dignity of all is a moral imperative and a vital national obligation. ... Health care reform cannot be a vehicle for abandoning this consensus which respects freedom of conscience and honors our best American traditions."

Playwin also insisted that "we're not supporting any legislation."  "Our alert was to our members to make sure Congress enacts healthcare legislation based on the five ... principles that we support," said Playwin.  He indicated that the alert was meant to combat the "pressure to keep the status quo" in American healthcare.

Multiple calls and messages left with Catholic Charities USA were unanswered as of press time. 

A Catholic World News report last week broke the news of a letter issued by Catholic Charities president Fr. Larry Snyder, urging Congress to enact health care reform.  However, LSN's request to Catholic Charities for confirmation on this report was also unanswered as of press time.

When LSN sought comment from the Catholic Health Association (CHA) on the matter, communications director Fred Caesar said he was not familiar with the press release, and directed LSN to a letter CHA issued to Congress in July 2008, urging them to uphold pro-life amendments in the annual appropriations bill. 

On July 8, 2009, however, CHA President Sister Carol Keehan visited the White House to represent CHA as one among a group of hospitals committed to contributing $155 billion in Medicare and Medicaid savings over ten years to help cover health care cost reform.  "We know how urgently change is needed for both moral and economic reasons, and today's agreement marks major progress in advancing reform and working together to finance health care in this country," said Keehan.

A CHA video entitled "I Can't Wait…for Health Reform," was posted June 17 of this year on YouTube featuring a clip of President Obama declaring to applause: "Let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year."

The clip is followed by pictures of various individuals holding signs calling for health care reform that begin "I can't wait…" and ends with the statement: "Now is the time to create a health care system that works for everyone. Because we, the people, can't wait." (See the video here)

Judie Brown, president of American Life League, responded with outrage at the organizations' failure to address the serious problems inherent in the current health care legislation, saying that "There is no social justice in rationing charity."

"Millions of taxpayers will be forced to subsidize abortion, contraception, euthanasia and bureaucratic denial of health care to the poorest of the poor," she said.
 
"All these organizations claim to be faithful to Catholic social teaching - which unambiguously and passionately puts respect for human personhood at the core of all other social and charitable works," Brown pointed out. "Yet these same organizations are undermining the very foundation they exist to protect and foster: the dignity of human persons and the sanctity of their right to life."

UPDATE (29/07/09, 5:31pm): In response to LSN's inquiries about CHA's stance on the healthcare bill, CHA issued a statement that reads in part: "CHA has written letters to members of Congress and the White House – often in conjunction with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – calling for legislation that does not include an expansion of abortion. ...

"In personal conversations with members of Congress and their staffs and in letters, CHA continues to work to ensure that public policies reflect the importance of religious freedom and conscience clause protections in the delivery of health and social services.

The statement concludes: "Clearly, our letters, statements, web-based information and outreach efforts speak eloquently to the deep commitment to the dignity of life. Therefore, the association and its members continue to push a legislative agenda that would commit this nation to respecting the dignity and life of each person while ensuring enactment of a health care system that is of the greatest possible quality and available and accessible to everyone."

CHA declined any further comment on the matter.

To express concern:

Catholic Charities USA
66 Canal Center Plaza
Suite 600
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Phone: (703) 549-1390
Fax: (703) 549-1656
[email protected]

Sister Carol Keehan, President and CEO
The Catholic Health Association
1875 Eye Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20006-5440
phone: (202) 296-3993
[email protected]

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul
58 Progress Parkway
St. Louis, Missouri 63043-3706
phone: 314-576-3993
fax: 576-6755
[email protected]



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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.



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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.”



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News,

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

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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.



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