Obama’s Notre Dame address seen through the lens of the HHS mandate
April 26, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Conservative observers of the Obama scandal at the University of Notre Dame in 2009 immediately felt the event went beyond faux pas: it was a sign of our new president’s revolutionary attitude towards the Catholic Church and its teachings. For others in the Catholic world, this new attitude took a little longer to discover.
Though many downplayed the abortion-friendly speech by pointing to Obama’s pitch for “open hearts, open minds” and a “sensible conscience clause,” others could only watch as their worst fears played out over the next three years. The irony by now is too unbearable to miss.
Robert Mylod, the vice chairman of the Board of Directors at Christendom College, offered a contemplation of Obama’s Notre Dame address in light of what has fallen out since then: the courting of high-level Catholics to pass a health care bill that contains an assault on Catholicism so unprecedented that even Obama’s dedicated Catholic supporters (including a shocked president of Notre Dame) have at last discovered to their dismay that they have been thrown under the bus.
Obama Quote: “When we open our hearts and our minds to those who may not think like we do or believe what we do - that’s when we discover at least the possibility of common ground.”
- Comment: The words are soothing but his actions leave little room for common ground. His concept of ‘common ground’ leads to persecution of those whose religious beliefs clash with his agenda.
Obama Quote: “So let’s work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies.”
- Rescind the Mexico City Policy instituted by President Reagan and supported by the presidents Bush which blocked U.S. funding for any foreign private organizations that provided abortion services or counseling, referrals or information on abortion.
- Force by Federal mandate all health care programs, including private health insurance, to carry birth control technologies (some of which are abortifacients) at no cost to the ‘patient’. Heavy fines for those (both insurers and individuals) who fail to comply.
- Fully cover without co-pay all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.
- Deny federal funding to organizations that aid trafficking victims: The USCCB Office of Migration and Refugee Services was denied Federal funding for its highly regarded services that aid trafficking victims after the Department of Health and Human Services opted for grantees that provide ‘family-planning services’ (read abortion and contraceptives).
- Force Catholic colleges to provide coverage for contraceptives in their health insurance programs. In 2009, Belmont Abbey was accused of gender discrimination after eight faculty members filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over Belmont Abbey’s decision to eliminate coverage of contraception in its health insurance.
Obama Quote: “….and making adoption more available.”
- Support for the radical expansion of parental eligibility to include homosexual couples. In states where this has already been passed, it has become very difficult for faith-based agencies that believe that marriage is between one man and one woman to function according to their beliefs.
- Reversal of the Justice Department’s commitment to defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Justice Department is now actively attempting to bring the law down in court.
Obama Quote: “Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause.”
- The only religious exemption in the new law (commonly labeled ‘Obamacare’) is so narrowly defined that it prompted the USCCB to note that even Jesus’ ministry would not qualify since He fed, healed, and taught non-Christians.
- The HHS interpretation of Obamacare offers ‘conscience protection’ if entities meet the following conditions:
(1) The inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the organization;
(2) The organization primarily employs persons who share the religious tenets of the organization;
(3) The organization serves primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the organization;
(4) The organization is a church, an integrated auxiliary of a church, a convention or association of churches, or is an exclusively religious activity of a religious order, under Internal Revenue Code 6033(a)(1) and (a)(3)(A).
Obama Quote: “….and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science on embryonic stem cell research altogether.”
- Overturn President Bush’s proscription on Embryonic Stem Cell Research by Executive Order.
- Defend the executive order in court. A federal judge upheld President Obama’s position in a long-running battle over the scope of federal funding for human embryonic stem-cell research. Stephanie Cutter, an assistant to Mr. Obama, called the judge’s ruling “another step in the right direction.” “We know that stem-cell research offers hope to millions of Americans across the country,” Ms. Cutter wrote on a White House blog.
- Provide funding for immoral and economically unviable embryonic stem cell research. The Obama Administration has funded embryonic stem research with some $434 million on since he took office.
- Push Federal expansion of embryonic stem cell research. NIH head Francis Collins has approved 135 human embryonic stem cell lines for taxpayer funding.
- Disregard the economic and biological inviolability of embryonic stem cell research. Geron, the largest private stem cell researcher has discontinued further development of its stem cell programs and is seeking a partner to take over its work because it is economically less viable than other of its research efforts. It eliminated a full 38% of its workforce in the process.
Obama Quote: “Too many of us view life only through the lens of immediate self-interest and crass materialism; in which the world is necessarily a zero-sum game.”
- Comment: His actions suggest that he actually sees the world as a zero sum game and seeks to keep the pie from expanding, particularly the population ‘pie.’
- Aggressively promote abortion, sterilization and contraception (for adolescents without parental knowledge or consent) both domestically and abroad. Population growth is a fundamental building block of any healthy economy.
- Limit access to medical care for seniors.
- Aggressively advance the myth of global warming. John Holdren, presidential ‘czar’ of science and technology and a radical population control advocate pursues this misinformation even now. This hamstrings the economy.
- His energy policy is classic ‘zero sum’ thinking and restricts expansion of the economy.
Texas AG to Target: Show me how you’ll protect women and kids from criminals
AUSTIN, Texas, May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The latest backlash Target received as a result of its transgender bathroom policy was a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asking the company to provide its safety policies to protect women and children from “those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes.”
“Target, of course, is free to choose such a policy for its Texas stores,” Paxton wrote in a letter to Target CEO Brian Cornell. He noted the possibility of the Texas Legislature addressing the issue in the future, but said, “regardless of whether Texas legislates on this topic, it is possible that allowing men in women’s restrooms could lead to criminal and otherwise unwanted activity.”
“As chief lawyer and law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, I ask that you provide the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes,” Paxton continued.
More than 1.1 million people have pledged to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms. Opponents of the policy worry that it puts women and children at risk by emboldening predators, who may now freely enter women’s restrooms.
Target’s new policy is “inclusive,” the company claims, and they say “everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally.”
“Texans statewide can no longer be silent on the issue of protecting the safety of women and children,” Texas Values President and Attorney Jonathan Saenz said in a statement Wednesday urging Texans to boycott Target. This is the first time in its history the pro-family group has called for a boycott.
“We need all Texans to understand that Target is using this radical change in their store policy to try convince people that our laws should be changed in this dangerous direction as well,” said Saena. “Our goal with this boycott is for Target to change its dangerous new policy, to raise awareness of the real threats to safety that these policies bring and to help businesses and lawmakers understand the significant opposition to such measures that is growing daily… Texans all across our state must join this Boycott Target effort before someone gets hurt.”
On Tuesday a male allegedly filmed an underage girl at a Frisco, Texas, Target fitting room. Police are searching for the man.
There have been numerous incidents of male predators across North America accessing women’s facilities and citing transgender policies as allowing them to do so.
Christians, America has reached a crisis point. Are you ready to take up this challenge?
May 5, 2016 (Albert Mohler) -- For nearly two and a half centuries, Americans have enjoyed the enormous privilege and responsibility of forming our own government—a privilege rarely experienced throughout most of human history. For most of history, humanity has struggled with the question of how to respond to a government that was essentially forced upon them. But Americans have often struggled with a very different reality; how do we rightly respond to the government that we choose?
To put all of this in historical perspective, the Framers of the American experiment understood that a representative democracy built on the principle of limited government would require certain virtues of its citizens. These would include a restraint of passions and an upholding of traditional moral virtues, without which democracy would not be possible. As the idea of limited government implies, the citizenry would be required to carry out the social responsibilities of the community without the intrusion of government and, thus, citizens would be expected to have the moral integrity necessary for such an arrangement. The Framers of the American Republic also agreed that it would be impossible to have a representative democracy and a limited government if the people did not elect leaders who embodied the virtues of the citizenry while also respecting and protecting society’s pre-political institutions: marriage and family, the church, and the local community.
Thus, the idea of a limited government requires that society uphold and pursue the health of its most basic institutions. When a civil society is weak, government becomes strong. When the family breaks down, government grows stronger. When the essential institutions of society are no longer respected, government demands that respect for itself. That is a recipe for tyranny.
Much of this was essentially affirmed until the early decades of the 20th century when progressivists began promoting an agenda that fundamentally redefined the role of the federal government in public life. By the middle of the 20th century, the Democratic Party had essentially embraced this progressivist agenda, becoming committed to an increasingly powerful government—a government whose powers exceeded those enumerated in the Constitution. At the same time, the Democratic Party also began advocating for a basic redefinition of the morality that shaped the common culture. By and large, however, the Republican Party continued to maintain a commitment to the vision of America’s founders, advocating for a traditional understanding of morality while also upholding the principle of limited government.
By the 1980s, the two parties represented two very different worldviews and two very different visions of American government. For decades, each party has acted rather predictably and in ways that accord with their fundamental principles. All of that, however, has now changed.
The 2016 presidential campaign has developed in an entirely unpredictable manner and, in many respects, represents a crisis in American democracy. This crisis is not limited to either party. Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, has won several stunning victories in the primary season over presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. While it is still extremely likely that Clinton will become the Democratic nominee, Sanders support among voters represents a populist flirtation with Democratic Socialism. This pattern is something few Democrats could have imagined just one year ago. What this foray into Democratic Socialism represents, then, is a radical adjustment of the Democratic Party’s basic economic principles. Thus, even if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee, the process will likely drag her even further to the left, eventually redefining the Democratic Party before our very eyes.
But if it is remarkable to see what is happening in the Democratic Party, it is absolutely shocking to see what is happening among Republicans. Traditionally, the Republican Party has established its reputation by standing for the principles advocated by the American Founders—limited government upheld by the health of society’s primary institutions such as marriage, family, and community. Yet Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against. Clearly, both political parties are now redefining themselves. What is not clear is where each party will ultimately end up. What is also not clear is whether the American experiment can survive such radical political change.
As already noted, the American experiment in limited government requires that the citizenry and those who hold public office honor certain moral virtues and respect the institutions that are crucial for a society to rightly function. Yet, we now find ourselves in a situation where the three leading candidates for president show little to no respect for such institutions in their articulations of public policy.
This fundamental redefinition of the American political landscape requires Christians to think carefully about their political responsibility. Make no mistake; we cannot avoid that responsibility. Even refusing to vote is itself a vote because it privileges those who do vote and increases the value of each ballot. In truth, we bear a political responsibility that cannot be dismissed or delegated to others. Every Christian must be ready to responsibly steward his or her vote at the polls.
To put the matter bluntly, we are now confronted with the reality that, in November, Hillary Clinton will likely be the Democratic nominee and Donald Trump the Republican nominee. This poses a significant problem for many Christians who believe they cannot, in good conscience, vote for either candidate. As a result, Christians are going to need a lot of careful political reflection in order to steward their vote and their political responsibility in this election cycle.
Headlines from around the world tell us that other representative democracies are at a similar moment of redefinition. Political turmoil now marks the United Kingdom and also nations like France and other key American allies. Perhaps democracy itself is now facing a crucial hour of decision and a crucial season of testing. It is no exaggeration to say that democracy is being tested around the world; it is certainly being tested here at home. Yet if this is a moment of testing for democracy, it is also a crucial moment for Christian witness. This election cycle is going to be a particular test for American Christians—and we are about to find out if Christians are up to this challenge.
Reprinted with permission from Albert Mohler.
‘Sick and twisted’: Scientists keep embryos alive outside womb up to 13 days for experimentation
May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two teams of scientists have announced that they have been able to keep human embryos alive outside the womb for 13 days for the purpose of conducting scientific experiments. Some call the announcement the onset of a “Brave New World,” while others are petitioning lawmakers to lift sanctions that would keep scientists from experimenting on newly conceived babies even longer.
Researchers from Cambridge University, King's College, and Rockefeller University said in two separate reports that they stopped at 13 days only to avoid violating an internationally accepted law. At least 12 nations restrict the amount of time a newly conceived child may be kept alive in a laboratory to 14 days, the point at which scientists believe “individuality” begins.
The newest development allows scientists to observe newly conceived human beings after the point at which implantation in the womb would have occurred.
Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, one of the studies' lead researchers, said her team's breakthrough could advance embryonic stem cell research and “can improve IVF success.”
Some scientists have called on the international community to extend the amount of time such experimentation can take place.
“If restrictions such as the 14-day rule are viewed as moral truths, such cynicism would be warranted,” three experts – Insoo Hyun, Amy Wilkerson, and Josephine Johnston – wrote in a commentary published yesterday in Nature magazine. “But when they are understood to be tools designed to strike a balance between enabling research and maintaining public trust, it becomes clear that, as circumstances and attitudes evolve, limits can be legitimately recalibrated.”
Pro-life experts said the experimentation destroys human life and could lead to grave ethical dilemmas by extending the research.
“No human being should be used for lethal experimentation, no matter their age or stage of development,” said Dr. David Prentice, a professor of molecular genetics and an Advisory Board Member for the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center. “The 14-day rule is itself arbitrary, and does not assuage those who believe life begins at the moment of sperm-egg fusion. Moreover, allowing experiments on human embryos beyond 14 days post-fertilization risks the lives of untold more human beings, because it further encourages creation and destruction for research purposes.”
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, called the experimentation “sick and twisted.”
“Science has undeniably proven that a new human life, with unrepeatable DNA, begins at conception,” she said. “There is no reason for experimentation on that human life and science itself should not be heralding thae fact that a tiny human being can survive now for two weeks outside of the womb, all for the sole purpose of experimentation.”
Dr. Prentice noted that embryonic stem cell research “has yielded no benefit thus far,” leading even its most vocal advocates, such as Michael J. Fox, to admit it has not lived up to its promise.
“If this research does not stop at 14 days, where does it stop?” asked Prentice. “This is a risky step which could encourage further eugenic attitudes and actions.”
Dr. Prentice encouraged Congress “to have a full and open debate on the issue of human embryo research before the research community moves further without oversight.”