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Jul 12, 2013
HHS Final Rules Does Little to Protect Freedom of Conscience
On June 28 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the final rules to the contraceptive mandate. The long awaited measure does nothing to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
Recently Archbishop Lori, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and a varied assortment of religious leaders and scholars, released on open letter entitled Standing Together for Religious Freedom calling for a return to religious freedom and conscience rights.
The diverse group of signatories unite in a common defense of Constitutional principles and democratically passed federal legislation.
“While the mandate is a specific offense, it represents a greater fundamental breach of conscience by the federal government,” the letter states.
The media has entirely misconstrued the HHS mandate debate by portraying the controversy as a matter of religious organizations trying to impose their religious views on public policy – when in fact it is the other way around. Our nation was founded by religious exiles fleeing from an oppressive monarchy that regulated religious doctrine; now, in a 21st century republic, the Obama administration is returning to such backward principles.
“The issue here is not contraception or abortion,” Moore said, “At issue is the callous disregard our government has shown for the freedom of Americans to exercise their religious convictions.” In fact, the various signatories have divergent views on contraception and abortion. However, they unanimously agree that the HHS mandate allows the government to deny certain Americans their constitutionally-protected rights.
This coalition of leaders reiterated the constitutionally sanctioned standards by which HHS must abide. First and foremost, religious freedom is a zero sum concept. “Any policy that falls short of affirming full religious freedom protection for all Americans is unacceptable”, the letter said. Both Moore and Lori pointed out that a government authorized to disregard my conscience today, is free to trample on your conscience tomorrow. It is discriminatory and unacceptable to apply our founding freedoms to selective groups.
Second, HHS must not restrict an individual’s freedom of conscience to the privacy of her home. By dissecting religious institutions into three divisions—houses of worship, accommodated religious institutions, and for-profit entities run by religious believers—the administration is mandating that individuals sever their identity as a faithful servant of God from their role as a communal neighbor. Archbishop Lori stated, “The faith by which we worship on Sunday is the very same faith by which we act in the world the other six days of the week.” HHS must not demand religious individuals to purchase insurance or religious employers to provide insurance that facilitates access to contraception and abortifacents.
Third, the HHS regulations must abide by civil rights standards. Dr. Yuri Mantilla pointed out that Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” The United States cannot properly pursue foreign policy goals like advocating religious freedom if it violates this freedom at home.
This is a mock “accommodation” that gives Americans of faith and conscience until January to figure out how we will betray our deeply rooted conscience and religious convictions.Read More
Tags: abortifacients, HHS Mandate
Jul 11, 2013
Be a Man, Bro
Much fun of Ben Sherman’s silly recent blog post has been made. Most of his article contains typical stale pro-abortion arguments. But Sherman adds a little spice and swaggers out, admitting (nay, boasting) that it’s all about his sex life. “Don’t be surprised,” he warns of the current Texas bill, “if casual sex outside relationships becomes far more difficult to come by.” Alright, then.
So Sherman wants to have as much casual sex outside relationships as possible. The “vibe” will be better for him so long as he has the comfort of knowing that he can simply pay a one-time fee to have his unborn child dismembered in the womb rather than accept the responsibility of fatherhood. For being so eager to sacrifice his unborn children for his sex life, though, Sherman seems oddly determined to spend a long time deliberating over his decision to pressure his women into abortions. After all, the topic of his "bro-choice" rallying cry, the Texas bill, only prohibits abortions after twenty weeks (the point at which his innocent children feel excruciating pain as they are killed). Wouldn’t he want to restore normality to his sex life as soon as possible and intimidate his hookups into abortions quickly, lest his personal life experience lengthier inconveniences? I don’t get it.
Anyway, the broader point, of course, is that what makes Sherman "bro-choice" is his amazingly callous lack of seriousness when it comes to his sexual choices. Men must respect women, not use them. Your job, bro, is to be a man: take responsibility for your actions and stand up for the vulnerable. Maybe your sex life isn’t the only thing that matters. I don’t stand with Ben Sherman. I’m proud to be bro-life.Read More
Jul 9, 2013
On the Ground in Texas!
Yesterday, I embarked on a historic journey to Austin, Texas to support pro-life Texans, women, and the unborn! On a bus trip organized by Students for Life of America, we arrived at the capitol Monday around noon. Immediately, we set out for the rotunda where the Texas Stand for Life rally was taking place.
[Read more here about why Texas needs our pro-life support.]
Pro-life advocates stood up and shared their stories with everyone as a sea of blue gathered to support them. Some abortion supporters were present, holding signs against religion and supporting “choice.“ One had the word “theology” crossed out in a circle.
While many pro-life speakers did talk about their faith, God, and used Bible quotes, the legislation being advocated right in Texas right now is not about religion. It is about saving the lives of viable babies, capable of feeling pain, protecting women, and requiring abortion clinics to follow common ground regulations. As the many at Secular Pro-life will attest to, you do not have to be religious to understand the scientific fact that life begins at conception and deserves protection – especially pain capable 20 week old children.
My group had the privilege of meeting with Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. He is determined to see this bill passed and informed us that “we won’t allow mob rule in Texas.” To ensure order, the session will start Tuesday morning and will last until 4 or 5 Wednesday morning.
After the meeting, we moved back to the rotunda for even more amazing speeches. When the pro-abortion crowd tried to make noise to disrupt the speakers, pro-lifers outnumbered them and our cheers and clapping drowned them out. It ended with the speaker asking everyone, pro-life and pro-abortion to join in prayer.
As the day drew to an end, we prepared for another Stand for Life rally. Our supporters are numerous and eager to take a stand for life. Keep following for updates!Read More
Tags: fetal pain, Students for Life of America, Texas