After you watch this, consider that upwards of 90% of Down Syndrome children diagnosed prenatally never see the light of day; and their parents never see the special light of their children’s lives, as these blessed parents did. World Down Syndrome Day, March 21, 2012.
This Americans United for Life Video exposes the direct assault on our First Amendment rights from the latest Federal Health Care mandate.
From Dr. Albert Mohler”
“In the final analysis, the greatest danger posed by the casino is not anything that can be determined by economic analysis, because the greatest injury caused by gambling is not financial — it is moral. The worst aspect of the casino culture is not just that the state has decided to prey on its own citizens, but that it has decided to do so with gusto. The rise of the casino goes hand in hand with the collapse of character.”
In this column from the “Wall Street Journal”, James Taranto examines the impact of social conservatism on presidential elections, highlighting the new book by Jeffrey Bell, The Case for Polarized Politics. Bell makes the case that the social issues are a winner for GOP candidates, despite what the political pundits and media outlets may say.
“Social conservatism, Mr. Bell argues in his forthcoming book, ‘The Case for Polarized Politics,’ has a winning track record for the GOP. ‘Social issues were nonexistent in the period 1932 to 1964,’ he observes. ‘The Republican Party won two presidential elections out of nine, and they had the Congress for all of four years in that entire period. . . . When social issues came into the mix—I would date it from the 1968 election . . . the Republican Party won seven out of 11 presidential elections.'”
“In Mr. Bell’s telling, social conservatism is both relatively new and uniquely American, and it is a response to aggression, not an initiation of it. The left has had ‘its center of gravity in social issues’ since the French Revolution, he says. ‘Yes, the left at that time, with people like Robespierre, was interested in overthrowing the monarchy and the French aristocracy. But they were even more vehemently in favor of bringing down institutions like the family and organized religion. In that regard, the left has never changed. . . . I think we’ve had a good illustration of it in the last month or so.’
From the testimony of Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Presented before the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
For my testimony today, I would like to tell a story. Let’s call it The Parable of the Kosher Deli.
Once upon a time, a new law is proposed, so that any business that serves food must serve pork.
There is a narrow exception for kosher catering halls attached to synagogues, since they serve mostly members of that synagogue, but kosher delicatessens are still subject to the mandate.
The Orthodox Jewish community — whose members run kosher delis and many other restaurants and grocers besides — expresses its outrage at the new government mandate.
And they are joined by others who have no problem eating pork — not just the many Jews who eat pork, but people of all faiths — because these others recognize the threat to the principle of religious liberty.
They recognize as well the practical impact of the damage to that principle.
They know that, if the mandate stands, they might be the next ones forced — under threat of severe government sanction — to violate their most deeply held beliefs, especially their unpopular beliefs.
Meanwhile, those who support the mandate respond, “But pork is good for you.”
It is, after all, the “other white meat.”
Other supporters add, “So many Jews eat pork, and those who don’t should just get with the times.”
Still others say, “Those Orthodox are just trying to impose their beliefs on everyone else.”
But in our hypothetical, those arguments fail in the public debate, because people widely recognize the following:
First, although people may reasonably debate whether pork is good for you, that’s not the question posed by the nationwide pork mandate.
Instead, the mandate generates the question whether people who believe — even if they believe in error — that pork is not good for you should be forced by government to serve pork within their very own institutions. In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is: No.
Second, the fact that some (or even most) Jews eat pork is simply irrelevant. The fact remains that some Jews do not — and they do not out of their most deeply held religious convictions.
Does the fact that large majorities in society — even large majorities within the protesting religious community — reject a particular religious belief make it permissible for the government to weigh in on one side of that dispute? Does it allow government to punish that minority belief with its coercive power?
In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is: No.
Third, the charge that the Orthodox Jews are imposing their beliefs on others has it exactly backwards.
Again, the question generated by a government mandate is whether the government will impose its belief that eating pork is good on objecting Orthodox Jews.
Meanwhile, there is no imposition at all on the freedom of those who want to eat pork. That is, they are subject to no government interference at all in their choice to eat pork, and pork is ubiquitous and cheap, available at the overwhelming majority of restaurants and grocers.
Indeed, some pork producers and retailers, and even the government itself, are so eager to promote the eating of pork that they sometimes give pork away for free.
In this context, the question is this: Can a customer come to a kosher deli, demand to be served a ham sandwich, and if refused, bring down severe government sanction on the deli?
In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is: No.
So, in our hypothetical story, because the hypothetical nation is indeed committed to religious liberty and diversity, these arguments carry the day.
In response, those proposing the new law claim to hear and understand the concerns of kosher deli owners and offer them a new “accommodation.”
You are free to call yourself a kosher deli; you are free not to place ham sandwiches on your menu; you are free not to be the person to prepare the sandwich and hand it over the counter to the customer.
But we will force your meat supplier to set up a kiosk on your premises and to offer, prepare and serve ham sandwiches to all of your customers free of charge to them. And when you get your monthly bill from your meat supplier, it will include the cost of any of the “free” ham sandwiches that your customers may accept.
And you will, of course, be required to pay that bill.
Some who supported the deli owners initially began to celebrate the fact that ham sandwiches didn’t need to be on the menu and didn’t need to be prepared or served by the deli itself.
But on closer examination, they noticed three troubling things:
First, all kosher delis will still be forced to pay for the ham sandwiches. Second, many of the kosher delis’ meat suppliers themselves are forbidden in conscience from offering, preparing or serving pork to anyone. Third, there are many kosher delis that are their own meat supplier, so the mandate to offer, prepare and serve the ham sandwich still falls on them.
This story has a happy ending: The government recognized that it is absurd for someone to come into a kosher deli and demand a ham sandwich; that it is beyond absurd for that private demand to be backed with the coercive power of the state; that it is downright surreal to apply this coercive power when the customer can get the same sandwich cheaply, or even free, just a few doors down.
The question before the United States government — right now — is whether the story of our own church institutions that serve the public, and that are threatened by the HHS mandate, will end happily too.
Will our nation continue to be one committed to religious liberty and diversity?
We urge, in the strongest possible terms, that the answer must be: Yes.
We urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to answer the same way. Thank you for your attention.
From Jennifer Roback Morse at the Ruth Institute, some important facts about the “contraceptive mandate.” It’s much more than that, and it directly threatens our liberty.
A great victory today in Federal Court in New York. Alliance Defense Fund attorney Jordan Lorence won a temporary restraining order allowing churches and other houses of worship to continue meeting in NYC schools for two more weeks, with hope that a permanent order will allow them to continue to meet going forward. Here is a press release from just minutes ago from NYC Councilman Fernando Cabrera:
PRESS CONFERENCE re: DISTRICT COURT TEMP. RESTRAINING ORDER ALLOWING HOUSES OF WORSHIP TO MEET IN SCHOOLS
WHO: Council Member Fernando Cabrera, Colleagues from NYS Senate & Assembly, City Wide Elected Officials, City Religious Leaders, ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence
WHAT: Press Conference: Federal District Court orders temporary restraining order against the New York City’s Department of Education, houses of worship can continue to meet in schools. Calling State Legislature to action.
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 17, 2012 @ 10:00AM
WHERE: City Hall Steps, New York, NY 10007
NEW YORK — Press conference will be held tomorrow at the Steps of City Hall regarding court order won today by the Bronx Household of Faith and Jordan Lorence and the Bronx Household of Faith. This court order allows churches to continue meeting for worship services in New York City public schools for the time being.
Text from earlier release:
“Now that the courts have spoken up on the side of fairness,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “I call on the New York State Legislature and Speaker Sheldon Silver to move forward with bills that would rapidly solve this issue.” He continued, “This court order is a fantastic victory and will calm the 60 plus congregations that were frantically searching for space. I commend the US District Court for ruling justly.”
The temporary restraining order is in effect for 10 days while the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York more fully considers constitutional arguments about the city’s unique-in-the-nation prohibition on worship services in vacant public school buildings on weekends.
“Churches help communities; evicting churches hurts communities. Empty buildings offer nothing to communities that need hope,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence, who argued before the court on Tuesday. “The court’s order is a message of hope for fundamental freedoms in New York City because it means that, for the time being, the city must welcome churches as it does other groups. ADF will continue to fight this battle relentlessly until the city no longer unconstitutionally prohibits activity for purely religious reasons.”
ADF sought the order on Feb. 3 to stop the evictions based on violations of the First Amendment that had not been ruled on previously in the case, Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York. According to the court, it issued the order because “the Plaintiffs have demonstrated irreparable harm and a likelihood of success on the merits of their Free Exercise and Establishment Clause claims….”
Many New York City churchgoers have been protesting the city’s plans to evict them ever since the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the case on free speech grounds on Dec. 5 of last year. A bill that would compel the city’s Department of Education to allow the worship services passed the state senate this month and is awaiting action by the state assembly.
“This order from the court in no way should stop efforts by the New York Legislature to overturn this policy,” Lorence explained. “The courts have consistently ruled that the Constitution does not require New York City to ban religious worship services, so the city or the state legislature is free to repeal the policy.”
Late last month, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution to declare 2012 “The Year of the Bible.” This is a statement from Rep. Rick Saccone, the sponsor of the resolution:
“As not only Pennsylvania, but the United States, continues to face great tests and challenges, House Resolution 535 serves as a reminder that we must look to our faith in God and the Holy Scripture to provide us with the strength, wisdom and courage to conquer these great trials,” said Rep. Rick Saccone. “All over the Pennsylvania Capitol, one can easily see the tremendous influence that Christianity and the Bible have had over our founders and predecessors. These images and quotes illustrating the beliefs and morals that have shaped our great Commonwealth must never be forgotten.”
Supported by many members of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation, legislation similar to House Resolution 535 was passed by the U.S. House and Senate to allow President Ronald Reagan to declare 1983 as the “Year of the Bible” at the national level.
How wonderful that a State Legislator can take such a stand and offer this resolution, and that his colleagues would vote unanimously in support! Isn’t it nice, for a change, for our public officials to acknowledge God at a time other than a grave national disaster?
This morning, I took a quick glance at Facebook this morning, and found this post from a State Representative:
Inbox filling with demands to repeal our House Resolution naming 2012 “Year of the Bible” – but >99% of emails from other states/areas
Friends, the secular left is going after this resolution with both barrels blazing. Newspapers have editorialized against HR 535, sometimes with a mocking tone.
This is yet another example of the ongoing, concerted effort to erase any public recognition or acknowledgement of the role of God and Christianity in our nation’s existence. Once again we face a time like that described by President Lincoln as he called for a National Fast Day in March, 1863.
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
I hope we are not now too proud, or more correctly put, too afraid to publicly stand up for truth in the public square, and to defend our lawmakers against these attacks that seek to silence them and silence us.
Today, I am asking you to send an email and/or make a telephone call to your State Representative, and to Rep. Rick Saccone (717-260-6122), and thank them for passing HR 535, declaring 2012 “The Year of the Bible.” And please recruit some friends and family to do the same. Can I count on you to take a stand?
It’s about time we’re the ones filling up our legislator’s inboxes, and not the radical secularists, don’t you think?
To read the HR 535 resolution, click here.
Click here to contact your state representative.
If you were running the state of Pennsylvania, what resolutions would you choose to make Pennsylvania a better place?
Leave your ideas in the comments below!
It has been our joy and privilege to serve you and all Pennsylvania families over this past year. With Christmas now upon us, let us reflect on the author and giver of life, who came to Earth to seek and save that which was lost.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David); To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them,
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
(Luke 2:1-20 KJV)
From the staff and board of the Pennsylvania Family Institute,
have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Michael Geer, President