Southern Baptist leader: Obama Contraception mandate ‘is not only a Catholic issue’
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, February 2, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Obama administration’s mandate that religious institutions cover all birth control, including abortifacient drugs like Plan B and Ella, and sterilization in their health insurance plans has people of faith banding together across traditional doctrinal divisions. Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said any government law requiring people of faith to violate their conscience “is not only a Catholic issue, even though the mainstream media wants to make this a Catholic issue.”
Dr. Mohler, an influential leader in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination and the wider evangelical movement, sounded off during his daily podcast on Tuesday. “[E]vangelicals need to stand back and – in our own terms, on our own doctrine – understand that our religious liberty is being similarly subverted and attacked.”
Although many evangelicals and Protestants do not share the Roman Catholic belief that all forms of artificial contraception are immoral, all Christian churches have traditionally taught abortion is wrong, he said.
The health care reform carves out a narrow exemption for the mandate for churches and institutions that serve only members of their own faith. All others must fund contraception, including abortifacient methods such as Ella and Plan B.
“And this coverage that is now required of us and all religious employers other than local churches does mean that our institutions, our seminaries, our colleges and others that might serve anyone outside the faith will also be covered by this mandate and thus forced to violate our own consciences,” he said.
Mohler said he admired “the courage of the Roman Catholic bishops in saying they are willing to go to jail rather than to comply” and wondered how many evangelical leaders will be willing to do the same.
“We’re going to find out in the coming months,” he warned. “In the meantime, everyone who stands both for the sanctity of human life and for the mandate of religious liberty must express outrage in whatever form is available to us to the president of the United States.”
He went on to hope “remedial legislation” and “court action” would “restore religious liberty to Christian institutions to operate in a Christian manner on the basis of Christian conviction in supposedly free America.”
Mohler may have had in mind the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012 introduced earlier this week by Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL. Rubio describes the proposal as “a commonsense bill that simply says the government can’t force religious organizations to abandon the fundamental tenets of their faith because the government says so.”
Under current regulations, religious institutions have an extra year to comply with the mandate.
“This (the one-year delay) does nothing to expand conscience protections it merely punts compliance for most religious employers with conscience objections until after the election,” Tom McClusky of Family Research Council’s activist arm, FRC Action said in a statement. “Despite the fact that certain drugs and devices approved by the FDA can work after conception to destroy a newly developed baby, the Obama administration mandate still forces all insurance plans to carry these drugs and devices even if employers are morally opposed.” McClusky said he hopes “all voters who respect life take note of the Obama Administration’s ardent policies against life and religious liberty and vote accordingly in November.”
The new regulations have the Catholic Church finding support across the religious spectrum.
Galen Carey, Vice President for Government Relations for the National Association of Evangelicals, said, “The HHS rules trample on our most cherished freedoms and set a dangerous precedent.” Carey, who met with President Obama last July to promote continued funding of welfare programs, said, “Freedom of conscience is a sacred gift from God, not a grant from the state.”
The outpouring of support has crossed confessional, and sometimes religious, boundaries.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has filed two lawsuits against HHS challenging the contraception mandate on behalf of both Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic liberal arts college founded by Benedictine monks, and Colorado Christian University, an evangelical school.
A coalition of more than 60 religious leaders, including two Orthodox Jewish leaders, signed a letter to President Barack Obama, stating that “religious organizations beyond the Catholic community have deep moral objections.”
The letter, written last December 21, said, “Most press reports on the controversy concerning the contraceptives mandate portray the opposition as coming only from the Catholic Church and Catholic organizations. But this is wrong. It is emphatically not only Catholics who deeply object to the requirement that health plans they purchase must provide coverage of contraceptives that include some that are abortifacients.”
It noted the same coalition sent a previous letter to Joshua DuBois, who heads up Obama’s outreach to faith communities, asking for him to remedy these concerns, without success.
Among those who signed it were Dr. Richard Land, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the leaders of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, the Assemblies of God, and the Wesleyan Church.
‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’
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.
UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react
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.
Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’
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.
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.