-- James Madison
"Conscience is the most sacred of all property."
-- James Madison
"There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage."
--John Witherspoon, The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men, 1776
"[T]here are certain basic moral truths that all of us really know, even if we pretend to ourselves that we don't. ... [D]ifferent cultures disagree only about the details of morality, not about the basics. C. S. Lewis gave us a good example when he remarked that although some cultures say you can have four wives and some say you can have only one, up until very recently, every human culture has recognized the sacredness of marriage. ... Paul said in Romans 1 that we 'suppress' the truth because of our sins. But if the knowledge is really down there, then it can be dredged back up, no matter how deeply suppressed. ... Don't forget: People know more about right and wrong than they ever let on. And you can learn how to get past their denials in order to remind them of the moral truths that they can't not know."
-- Chuck Colson
Citizen Media reporting at its finest
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 by ottbmare
Today tens of thousands of Americans gathered in 140 cities to peacefully protest the "HHS Mandate". This recent mandate of the US Department of Health and Human Services requires religious institutions and faithful employers to provide insurance coverage of contraceptive drugs and devices, sterilization services, and abortion-producing drugs, even if this coverage is anathema to them. The mandate levies crushing fines on any institution that attempts to opt out of paying for such coverage. Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims are all strongly opposed to providing coverage of such services, and since HHS and the Obama Administration have been absolutely adamant that they would not change this provision of Obamacare, these protests were organized.
In DC, the protest was held directly in front of HHS headquarters, where presumably Kathleen Sibelius and her minions could not be unaware of it. Organizers anticipated a few hundred demonstrators, but counted 1300 before they began the rally. In the unseasonably pleasant spring sunshine, families gathered with babies and older children; nuns, priests, and monks came to watch and pray; determined individuals brought large American flags, smaller signs, and splendid banners. Blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians were represented, and both Catholics and Protestants came to show support. With their signage, their prayers, and their massed voices, all proclaimed one message: We will not comply!
The principal speaker was Presbyterian minister Patrick Mahoney, the rally captain and organizer for DC. What a motivating, high-energy speaker he is!
Other speakers included--
--the splendid, electrifying Star Parker, a former welfare mother who stopped living a dissolute life and became a Christian speaker, broadcaster, and writer
--Dr Milton Lee, a Korean pastor who had flown in from Seoul to thank America for her friendship
--a truly electrifying black preacher who had some serious warnings for our stubborn, unChristian president about facing Christ when he dies
--the beautiful Lila Rose, who spoke against abortion from the perspective of one who had survived an attempt to abort her
--Father Marcel Guarnizo, a holy priest, a conservative, and a brilliant scholar.
I want particularly to note the concluding remarks of Father Marcel. Many of you will have heard of the recent controversy about him, when his gentle and quiet refusal to give the elements of Communion to an openly practicing lesbian created an international media firestorm. His quietly adamant position about this finally caused the gay-sympathizing Archdiocese of Washington to punish him, withdrawing his faculty to operate as a priest in the DC area. He has been in seclusion since the incident at the end of February, and this rally was his first public appearance since then. It was a risk, for his absolute dedication to the cause of Christ has brought unbelievable hatred as well as grave threats from liberals and gays.
Nevertheless, this courageous little man would not allow threats to silence him. He gave a closely-reasoned speech which made no appeal to emotion, but discussed our Constitution and the First Amendment. The crowd was spellbound as he created his case: that this matter is not just about healthcare, or contraception, or even abortion, but about the existence of the United States as a Constitutional republic. For in depriving us of our religious freedom and compelling us to subsidize a culture of death, the Obama Administration removes every freedom, in the manner of a totalitarian government. If this stands, he says, we have resigned all our freedoms and will be living under a totalitarian government.
In addition to the 15 Catholic bishops scheduled to speak at Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom locations, countless other influential speakers from all walks of life will also be addressing rallies throughout the country this Friday, March 23.
The speakers at the more than 130 Rally sites represent a wide array of backgrounds and professions, including members of Congress, physicians, college presidents, pastors, radio hosts, law professors, heads of organizations, publishers, religious sisters, pregnancy resource directors, and rabbis.
The New York City Rally will feature several big names, including Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and pastoral associate of Priests for Life; Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Msgr. Philip Reilly, and Mother Mary Agnes Donovan, Superior General of the Sisters of Life.
Continue reading ...
U.S. Clarifies Policy on Birth Control for Religious Groups
New York Times
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration took another step on Friday to enforce a federal mandate for health insurance coverage of contraceptives, announcing how the new requirement would apply to the many Roman Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies that insure themselves.
In such cases, the administration said, female employees and students will still have access to free coverage of contraceptives.
The coverage will be provided by the companies that review and pay claims — “third-party administrators” — or by “some other independent entity,” it said.
Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said the government would guarantee women access to contraceptives “while accommodating religious liberty interests.”
The new proposal escalates the election-year fight over the administration’s birth control policy.
President Obama had previously announced what he described as an “accommodation” for religiously affiliated organizations that buy commercial insurance but object, for religious reasons, to covering contraceptives and sterilization procedures. In these cases, the White House said, the insurer “will be required to provide contraception coverage to women free of charge.”
On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services went a step further and said it would propose a similar requirement for group health plans sponsored by religious organizations that insure themselves.
The new proposal did not mollify Republicans in Congress.
“It’s a Washington accounting gimmick,” Representative Jeff Fortenberry, Republican of Nebraska, said Friday in an interview. “The administration is twisting itself in all directions to expand the ‘accommodation’ for faith-based institutions. Why is it the government’s role to decide who gets an accommodation? The White House is creating an unnecessary political firestorm.”
Mr. Fortenberry has introduced a bill to let certain employers and insurers opt out of the mandate for contraceptive coverage. More than 220 House members have signed on as co-sponsors.
Read this story at nytimes.com ...