NewsFri Oct 30, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST
USCCB Launches All-Out Campaign against Abortion-Funding Healthcare
By James Tillman
WASHINGTON, DC, October 30, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has launched a bold and sweeping nation-wide campaign against the abortion funding mandate included in healthcare reform legislation currently making its way through Congress. Pro-life leaders are applauding the campaign, with American Life League's Judie Brown describing it as "unprecedented."
USCCB Pro-Life Activities Secretariat Tom Grenchik this week sent an email to parishes across the US, detailing the contents of the plan. At the same time, Cardinal Francis George and other members of the USCCB leadership have asked every cardinal, archbishop, and bishop in the United States for their personal leadership in ensuring that health care reform does not include funding for abortion.
Much of the campaign involves direct action by parishes and pastors. Grenchik's email states that a pro-life insert should be included in parish bulletins, placed on pews, or distributed at church entrances "as soon as possible." The insert also says that the health-care bills currently being considered by Congress are "seriously deficient on the issues of abortion and conscience," and directs readers to www.usccb.org/action, where they may send emails to their congressmen through the action center of the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment.
The U.S. bishops have also asked that a special announcement be made at every parish at two separate Sunday Masses. Their announcement tells laymen to contact their representatives and senators "immediately" and to "urge them to fix these bills with pro-life amendments," so that "health care reform will be about saving lives, not destroying them."
A special "Prayer of the Faithful" to be used during Mass has also been distributed, which asks both for "health care reform [that] will truly protect the life [and] dignity" of all and that Catholics will raise their "voices to protect the unborn and the most vulnerable and to preserve our freedom of conscience."
The efforts of the USCCB extend beyond church walls, however.
The USCCB has started an ad campaign aimed both at congressmen and at the grassroots. The campaign uses online advertising on various websites such National Review Online, Catholic Match, and Beliefnet, to urge people to oppose the pro-abortion health care bill. The information distributed to US parishes also includes an ad that may be run in Catholic papers.
The bishops themselves are opposing the health care legislation by personal action. Cardinal Francis George, president of the USCCB, with the chairmen of three USCCB committees engaged in health care, has written to the American bishops and asked for their "active and personal leadership" and to "redouble [their] efforts" to ensure that health care does not include abortion.
Cardinal George's letter reads in part that "the outcome [of this debate] will depend not primarily on advocacy done in Washington, but on what we do in our own dioceses and states to make the case clearly and persuasively to influence how our Senators and Representatives vote."
He goes on to ask bishops to personally contact the senators and representatives who serve their diocese, whether by letter, email, personal meeting, or phone, and to tell them that if an amendment is not added to the bill eliminating the possibility of government-funded abortions, that they then must oppose the final bill when it comes to a vote.
Such decisive action has few parallels, according to the American Life League's Judie Brown.
In a statement issued yesterday, Brown said that "We applaud the USCCB's unprecedented action in its national campaign to mobilize parishes against the current versions of the health care bill."
"It has taken an important first step in activating Catholics to take back our health care system and our country from the radical pro-aborts in the legislature and sometimes even in the pulpits."
However, Brown said the USCCB should also point out the other troubling aspects of the bill, such as "its potential to fund Planned Parenthood, to use our tax dollars to indoctrinate children with sex education in schools, to fund euthanasia, in vitro fertilization, human embryonic stem cell research, contraception and health care rationing."
"All of these things are present in all of the current versions of the health care bill. None of these are acceptable according to Catholic teaching," she said.
The USCCB's campaign may be seen as the fulfillment of what they said in letter delivered to Congress on October 8th, in which the bishops said that unless their concerns were relieved they would be forced to strongly oppose the health care bill.
"We sincerely hope that the legislation will not fall short of our criteria," the bishops wrote at the time. "However, we remain apprehensive when amendments protecting freedom of conscience and ensuring no taxpayer money for abortion are defeated in committee votes. If acceptable language in these areas cannot be found, we will have to oppose the health care bill vigorously."
Before this current push, the USCCB had opposed an abortion-funding health care bill through various public statements, but had not made a great effort to move Catholic laymen to oppose it.
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Please, enough with the cult of pop stars. Our kids need real heroes.
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.
Target boycott climbs to over 1 million
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.”
Amazing new video captures the flash of light the moment life begins
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.