Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Divorce And A Confession Caused Engineer To Have New Life and Career In the Church

This is a pretty uplifting story both as to the power of just one confession and the fact that something as traumatic and regrettable as a divorce can lead to good things. See A change he didn’t see coming .

Cajun Catholic Youth Revel In Snow For First Time & March For Life in D.C.



I was reading another article from the Diocese of Arlington newspaper and just happened to see this article with some pics . See Wintry wonder: Louisiana pro-lifers delight in snow which involves youth that made the long trip from the Diocese of Houma - Thibodaux .

On Party Line Vote Efforts to Protect First Amendment Rights of College Students in Colorado Fail

This is a shame. This involves religious liberty but it also involves some core rights of association rights that people faith or no faith should be concerned about.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Response To the Catholic Case For Contraception Coverage Article

There is a horrific flawed article at Religion News Service by Catholics For Free Choice entitled COMMENTARY: The Catholic case for contraception coverage

The article does not deliver on the headline. There is no Scripture, no Church Tradition, no Church Fathers , no Saints ,  no Catholic Moral Theology , no Council or Papal teaching ,  to  give a Catholic case for the  contraception mandate. One would think to make a Catholic case for the HHS Contraception mandate the sources of revelation would have to be cited . He throws in a vague reference to  “conscience” and is it. 

 Further there is no engagement of the Compendium of Social Justice or for that matter Catholic legal theory to give a case for the contraception mandate.

The article is basically Bishops this and Bishops that  despite the fact that this was fight the Bishops were not looking for. Also there is glaring absence of the fact that this fight has been joined by a lot of people that are not Bishops that have no problems with most forms of birth control. The fact that the two cases to be heard in front of the Supreme Court involve non Catholics !

What is also astonishing is there is really no engagement with the law. That is the 3 prong test of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which these claims rest on for the most part. Is there a Catholic case to just ignore the law ?

I think this piece has some very questionable stats . However rights under the law are not overridden by opinion polls .

Further Mr O ' Brien should question where the State actor is in this case. That is usually for a violation of rights it has to be an action of the State. See recent Duck Dynasty fracas where A & E if they wanted to could fire Duck Dyansty guru and not violate the First amendment. How exactly is Hobby Lobby or the Mennonite  that has a case in front of SCOTUS a state actor that is violating people rights under either secular or Catholic legal theory?  

Is Mr O' Brien all on board with a now establishing   " private establishment clause " ? I have to think a lot of pro choice pro abortion folks would be wary of that because of its implications.

This case is not about birth control but religious liberty and very much a possible radical expansion of Government power over the individual and our lives . The fact is the Federal Govt has been funding birth control for years through Title X which has even got the votes of Catholics like Rick Santorum. Needless to say the Bishops, Protestants , Catholics, and a good many others see a deeper and more troubling issue here.

The issue here is not contraception. If you think contraception is the best thing since sliced bread that is fine. The issue is how that means is accomplished. The issue is not Bishops but Government power that can put you out of business if you don't comply

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Preaux Life - Louisiana Citizens March For Life In Washington D.C. Today ( Pics )

 




The nearly 500 youth from the Archdiocese of New Orleans that came to March For Life at D.C pictured outside the National Shrine 







For many  Right for Life March pilgrims the day started out with some some religious services. Here Baton Rouge folks at a camp they were staying at. Even MASS looks cold. Via  @padrepbm





The March is on ! One of the banners leading the Baton Rouge Folks during the March . Pic via @padrepbm



Archbishop Rummel of New Orleans represented at March For Life


Archbishop Chapelle of the Archdiocese of New Orleans has a nice delegation


It's  Catholic High of Baton Rouge pilgrims at the March for Life via CHS_BR



Archbishop Aymond New Orleans with students from Archbishop Shaw and Brother Adam Dupree , SDB pic via @BroAdamSDB


Baton Rouge pilgrims " the white hats " in the March For Life DC via @AftonRosenbloom

New Orleans pilgrims battle the cold for life via @maddielb97

 Lake Charles area folks on the March via @smsaltzman

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Louisiana Residents Geaux To Washington D.C. 2014 March For Life ( Pre March Pics )

Its March for Life Week in D.C. and as usual Louisiana residents and youth made the long trip up.

I  hope to have asome  posts on the actual March tomorrow including pics. However for most of the Louisiana pilgrims from around the State they have been involved in a series of activities in D.C. all week. Here are just a few pics

First here are  two interesting short videos from our Catholic friends in Baton Rouge that are in D.C.

See PIETA Ministries report on the first two days of the march for life pilgrimage from departure to arrival in Washington DC.

AND

PIETA Ministries reports on the pilgrimage's first full day in Washington DC including their visit to the holocaust museum, MP3 and a special interview with Bishop Robert Muench

Youth from Louisiana's Houma-Thibodaux Diocese with their Bishop as they prepare to leave for the long Pilgrimage to the March for Life in D.C via @SylvestPaul






On the way to D.C Baton Rouge Diocese Catholics Mass at the House of the Nashville Dominicans. Praying for March For Life via @pietaministries .

Archbishop Aymond New Orleans  leads A prayer in front of a Planned Parenthood in D.C.via CabriniNOLA


Part of the Lake Charles Louisiana youth that made the trip via The Secret Life of a Catholic Cajun 



Upon arrival in D.C. whole Diocese of Baton Rouge pilgrims gathers at St Rita's in D.C via @pietaministries.





Part of the Baton Rouge delegation praying the rosary  in front of the White House via @pietaministries.



Upon arrival in D.C  St Joesph's Academy explores DC via  @SJABatonRouge



Cabrini Students getting ready to be part of 1300 Louisiana youth at the Geaux Forth Rally  in D.C. on Monday sponsored by Louisiana Right to Life Federation . via @ CabriniNOLA



1300 Louisiana Youth pack GEAUX FORTH Rally in D.C on Monday as a part of the March For Life week via Louisiana Right to Life Facebook 



Night before March Louisiana Youth attend Rally with music by Matt Maher . Pic taken by Diocese of Baton Rouge pilgrim @ritamw90 



Night before March for Life pro life youth attend rally in which one of the speakers was Mary Bielski of New Orleans via @pietaministries .  








Who Is being Extreme - 41 Percent of New York Pregnancies End in Abortion

I am going to start doing some posts tonight and tomorrow on the Louisiana citizens up at the March For Life in Washington DC.

However first this horrible stat.

Gov Cuomo of New York made some remarks about pro lifers that were beyond the pale and he is now crawfishing on. See WHAT’S REALLY OUTRAGEOUS ABOUT CUOMO’S ABORTION REMARKS.

As the author points in that article what is really outrageous is that 41 percent of all pregnancies in New York end in abortion. My gosh who is being extreme Governor ? More here on that stat

David Vitter Announces For Governor - Now What

Before I get into this post let me say I am not supporting David Vitter for Governor at this point. I don't dislike Vitter and in fact I have warmed up to him over the years. However at this point I am supporting Republican   Lt Gov Jay Dardenne .

Well David Vitter announced he will be running for Governor this morning. As many journalists that have covered him since the beginning will note he  is perhaps among i the top tier campaigner on the stump politicos Louisiana has seen .

Democrat guru Robert Mann has a post up GOV. DAVID VITTER? SIX QUESTIONS THAT WILL DETERMINE HIS FUTURE . Overall though I disagree with a few parts of it I think it gets a good many points right. The biggest being there are a lot of unknowns at this point. One of the biggest being will New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu jump into the race . Also as Mann points there could be a scenario where Mitch Landrieu 's sister Senator Mary Landrieu might want to run.

I do think Vitter's announcement will make other interested Republicans outside Dardenne think twice about entering the race. Vitter not only has a state wide following , but also has a rather large voter geographical base from where he is from that I expect will help him a good bit.

The key for Vitter I think is getting a Democrat in the primary. He does not want a repeat of what happened in the 5th Congressional District where democrats were the king makers in picking the two GOPERS that made the runoff.

It is hard to imagine in race between Dardenne and Vitter that democrats and especially African Americans Democrats would be pulling the Vitter level in the voting booth .

I disagree the most with Robert Mann's last point about the issue of Vitter's serious sin. This " serious sins" that happened in New Orleans was in the air when Vitter first ran for Senate. Further it was really in the air when Vitter ran for reelection .

Vitter would run into these questions at town halls . From what I understand most folks at these town halls did not seem interested in it much when a citizen brought it up. In fact I think at some point some sort of felt sorry for him . I got a lot of direct mail and mass emails about Vitter ' s serious sin. I don't think I was alone.

We shall see how that issue plays out , but I think it has limited mileage personally .

Finally Mann ask how Vitter will handle the Jindal question. Rightly or wrongly Jindal has often had a revolt on his right .

They view Jindal as wasting a good bit of political capital. We see this as to structural reforms in how the Louisiana State Government operates. In other words they see Jindal's as pretty much putting a band aid on the State's fiscal problems as we lurch from one legislative session to the other.

Vitter's talk of " stability " in his email this morning I think gives us an idea where he is going.

Hobby Lobby Case Is About MUCH More Than Just Religious Liberty

Josh Blackman looks at an Washington Post  article that I have linked recently that says Hobby Lobby is denying religious liberty rights to their employees.

Josh makes a huge important point . Where is exactly the state sction here. That fact that in order to say Hobby Lobby is violating religious liberty rights must mean they have to be made a state actor. That has enormous disturbing implications. See his post Is Hobby Lobby Imposing its Religious Beliefs on Its Employers?

As he concludes :  

The significance of Hobby Lobby, I have come to realize, goes far beyond RFRA or birth control pills. Instead, the ruling would either legitimize or challenge the consolidation of the relationship between the individual, the employer, and the state, under the auspices of the ACA, in a way we have not yet seen.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Library and Librarian As We Know It Going Extinct ? Unemployment Hits Blogger

Sad news from a blogger I follow . At 58 years of age Midwest Conservative finds himself UNEMPLOYED  .

He thinks this was all pretty foreseeable.

I think for some time there is going to be a need for a Government Documents librarians if your library has that special depository designation. I might be even behind the times on this but I got to think reference librarians are going to be needed for such things as medical libraries.

Anyway a interesting but sad piece from my viewpoint and I guess age .




Question For Americans United for Separation of Church and State On Contraception HHS Mandate

Barry Lynn head of the Americans United For Separation of Church and State has an Op Ed up entitled Corporations have no right to religious freedom .

I disagree with most of this piece and the legal counterarguments to what he writes I have repeated countless times on this blog. However I wanted to focus on one part .

It's also important to remember that the mandate doesn't require anyone to pay for abortions. The abortion question is a red herring that has been raised by some groups to distract from the real issue. The cases before the Supreme Court concern access to birth control, not abortion. Some far-right religious groups know that they look extreme when they oppose birth control, which has become something that the vast majority of Americans use at some point in their lives

Thus, they are desperately trying to shift the focus to abortion, since people remain divided over that issue. No one should be fooled. Despite what Hobby Lobby and Conestoga might say, the mandate only requires employee access to birth control pills and devices such as IUDs and diaphragms.

 Claims that these medicines and devices cause abortions have been soundly debunked by scientists. Ironically, their consistent use would reduce the number of abortions.

I am not going to get into the controversy over the disputed science if some of these forms of " birth control " do not cause an abortion. The Courts have pretty much for the most part stayed out of that discussion .

However I want to ask Barry Lynn a question as to this so called red herring.

Is Barry Lynn making a commitment that Americans United would not support laws that would make employers cover abortion ? That is if we just replaced abortion with birth control is Barry Lynn saying they would have no problem with employers objections ?

I very much doubt it . Americans United have already filed a very LEGALLY  DUBIOUS lawsuit against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the abortion issue late last year .

In fact the pro choice  ( or if you prefer reproductive rights ) position on the  issue of abortion is a Gospel to them. See Americans United for Separation of Church and State leader to discuss stand in El Paso .

Also are we to  suppose Barry Lynn does not know that a precedent could be set in this case that could be used to say  employers would have to pay for abortions in the future.

In fact even though I am pro life and anti abortion I think LEGALLY the case for employers having to pay for an abortion is far more stronger than just for birth control in certain aspects . ( NOTE I DON'T SUPPORT THAT ARGUMENT BUT I THINK IT IS EASIER TO MAKE  ) .
So again American United for the Separation of Church and State if this is really just a red herring do we have a commitment from you that you would not use the outcome of this case to argue in the future for employers to pay for employees abortions. 

Somehow I doubt this. Especially if you are suing Catholic Bishops ( That own no hospitals ) that Catholic hospitals can't do abortions.However I am open to hearing their answer .

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Response To The Argument That Exemptions From HHS Contraception Mandate Violate Religious Liberty

There has been an argument circulating that allowing employers to be exempted from the HHS contraception mandate is a threat to religious liberty. That it in fact violates the religious liberty of the employees.

This was put forward today again by a BYU Law Prof  in a Washington Post OP-Ed Exemptions from the ‘contraception mandate’ threaten religious liberty .

He focuses on just one particular class of plaintiffs in the litigation that is for profit business .

... ....These cases indeed pose a grave threat to religious liberty, but not to the owners of these businesses. Exempting ordinary, nonreligious, profit-seeking businesses from a general law because of the religious beliefs of their owners would be extraordinary, especially when doing so would shift the costs of observing those beliefs to those of other faiths or no faith. The threat to religious liberty, then, comes from the prospect that the court might permit a for-profit business to impose the costs of its owners’ anti-contraception beliefs on employees who do not share them by forcing employees to pay hundreds of dollars or more out-of-pocket each year for contraception and related services that should be covered under the law....

It needs to be repeated , though it is often ignored , that the Affordable Care Act  could have been exempted from the Religious Freedom Restoration act explicitly by Congress. In fact they could exempt it now if they so wish. The fact that it might have sunk the Affordable Care Act in a vote , or that is it is politically hard to do is not relevant. So we have two laws in conflict , and one must ask why Congress should be bailed out here when they had an option to exempt the ACA from these requirements.

The Law Prof later notes :


.... On the other hand, the Supreme Court consistently has condemned government accommodations of religion that shift the cost of practicing a religion from those who believe it to others who don’t. For example, the court struck down a state law that gave employees an absolute right not to work on their chosen Sabbath because of the burden it imposed on others. If most employees were Christian and took Sunday off, the statute would have forced the remaining non-Christian employees to work every Sunday. This, the court said, violated the Establishment Clause: “The First Amendment . . . gives no one the right to insist that in pursuit of their own interests, others must conform their conduct to his own religious necessities.” ..

This Supreme Case that is referenced is Estate of Thornton v. Caldor which come from the days of the Burger Court. This case is sort of the bedrock of the argument that employees cannot be exempted without violating the religious liberty of others. 

I have thought since the time I read the Law Review advocating this argument that a very BROAD reading of the holding of that case was being applied and thus incorrect. Also it is hard to see how that applies to the RFRA today..

Which brings us to a good short post that goes into why this argument is folly. See On the Claim that Exemptions from the Mandate Violate the Establishment Clause via Mirrors of Justice .

The post is a good read that not only explains the complexities of the before mention Supreme Court case , but also shows the implications of this argument in other matters. It also show the full Universe of Supreme Court cases does not quite embrace the legal world view of those like the BYU Prof that wrote the Washington Post article.

I have never thought that if we do not make employers pay for the disputed items and services that it is an Establishment Clause violation. But I think the post at Mirrors of Justice is a good response and needs to be read along with the Washington Post article

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Why do Alabama Fans and Auburn Fans Kill Each Other ? Blame the British

The article of the week  , at least in my political social media circles , has been the White Ghetto by Kevin Williamson.

This fascinating yet highly depressing article in National Review  looks at the social and economic problems of largely white folks area we call Appalachia region of the United States.

It is depressing because it's not clear what anyone can do to help these folks. The article is worthy of some criticism though he is a native that has " escaped " . For instance it perhaps paints with a broad brush or at least that is what some other natives have said after seeing their home described this way. Still so much of this seems to be accurate.

Which leads me to one of the most fascinating blog posts of the week. That is White People &;  The Persistence Of Culture by Rod Dreher .

Rod takes this piece to argue that culture is very hard to change. In fact White folk culture or to more exact cultures is the result of 4 distinct British migrations in the early days of our American history that has a direct impact on our social and indeed clashes of political life to this day. The whole thing is worth a read and as someone that loves genealogy I kept shaking my head up and down as read part of it.

 .... But we’re talking about poor white people, mostly from Appalachia. After yesterday’s thread, I went to bed last night with my doorstop-sized copy of historian David Hackett Fisher’s Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways In America. Fischer’s thesis is that American culture, even to this day, primarily consists of four basic patterns established by early British settlers in North America — Britons from different regions of the United Kingdom, who brought with them meaningfully different cultural attitudes. 

Here they are, via the Wikipedia entry for the book: 

East Anglia to Massachusetts The Exodus of the English Puritans (Pilgrims influenced the Northeastern United States‘ corporate and educational culture)[3] 

The South of England to Virginia Distressed Cavaliers and Indentured Servants (Gentry influenced the Southern United States‘ plantation culture)[4]

 North Midlands to the Delaware The Friends’ Migration (Quakers influenced the Middle Atlantic and Midwestern United States‘ industrial culture)

[5] Borderlands to the Backcountry The Flight from North Britain (Scotch-Irish, or border English, influenced the Western United States‘ ranch culture and the Southern United States‘ common agrarian culture. 

It’s difficult to impossible to sum up this book in a blog entry, but I’ll do what I can for the purposes of this discussion. Fischer observes that these four distinct British folk cultures brought with them to North America ways of seeing and ordering the world that both clashed with each other, and powerfully set the framework for the societies that emerged in the regions in which they settled. I mentioned yesterday that I had never quite grasped the subtle but discernible differences between the white people in my Louisiana parish (county) and the white people in our neighboring county. It’s something everybody knows (“everybody knows”), but no one can quite put a finger on. We all look exactly alike, and have the same income level. We are all equally rural. Most people are Protestants of some sort. But the folks from East Feliciana descend from (in DHF’s terminology) Britons who came from the Borderlands, while the folks from West Feliciana descend from South Of England folk.

I love that point that Rod said about white folks in his Louisiana Parish and those in the Parish next door. In family research I started to get a glimpse of these patterns and how these cultural values linger on to even me.

Moving on

DHF says this sort of thing matters a lot more than most of us realize today, in part because these cultural patterns persist even when the ethnic make-up of a region becomes much less Anglo-Saxon. For example, however secular it has become, New England remains strongly determined by the values of the Puritans, even as the region has, over time, become far less ethnically English. We hold on to these patterns of behavior without knowing where they came from. I smiled in recognition when I read Fischer talking about how the Tidewater culture developed by southern English gentry was unusually (for America) hierarchical, which emerged from those settlers’ attempt to recreate an English aristocratic culture on American soil. This kind of culture, DHF writes, will be marked by a strong sense of honor governing social relations and behavior, a particular sense of esteem devoted to the aged (of all social classes), and an ethic that valorizes the liberties of ruling-class white males. Yes, in all of America of the past, white males had more power than anybody else, but DHF’s point is that among the descendants of Cavalier culture, the idea that society was meant to be governed by white male elites was meaningfully more ingrained.

Rod then goes on and gives some fascinating examples of how he has seen this play out in his own life.

Rod then says :

DHF’s cultural template for explaining contemporary America defies our customary explanatory categories. Why do so many Southern whites, poor as they are, remain immune to rationalist progressive programs for ameliorating their condition? Why do so many establishment Republicans defer so habitually to party elites, while so many Tea Party Republicans embrace GOP populists who thunder against those elites, typically in intemperate tones and formulations? Why do Southern whites, despite their apparent social conservatism (with its implied valorization of order and self-discipline, have among them so much more violence and disorder than New England whites (and their West Coast cultural descendants), despite the social liberalism of the latter? It’s not economics, it’s not race, and it’s not the frontier experience (“New England was once a frontier too,” says DHF); it’s culture. Specifically, it’s British culture of 300-400 years ago, persisting today. It’s why our regions remain fundamentally irreconcilable; depending on your point of view, it’s what’s the matter with Kansas, and Alabama, and Massachusetts, etc. (though this is slowly changing). And the thing is, you cannot understand the American character without reference to all of these cultures.

Rod's piece is a fascinating read and he ends with a rather perhaps stark social and political reality

We must not be cultural fatalists, but we should come to terms with the realities that culture’s importance imposes on our ideals. Progressive reformers of the left and the right think that people are blank slates and rational actors, often because they mistake the behavior of their own regions or classes as normative for all people. This is certainly not to say that reform shouldn’t be attempted — to give up on that would be to accept fatalism — but it rather is to educate those who wish to improve conditions for poor people and others about obstacles to reform of which they are not fully aware.

Friday, January 10, 2014

United States and the Vatican / Holy See Celebrates 30 Years of Diplomatic Relations Today



Today marks the 30th Anniversary of Vatican / United States OFFICIAL relations. First Things has a good post on this at God's Envoy  that goes into the history.

Our Envoy to the Holy See has some remarks on this big day over at this blog. 

One of the most knowledgeable people on this topic is actually Cardinal Dolan. I think he studied American Catholic History at some length in college. On the occasional of  the 25th anniversary at an event at the Catholic University of America he talked at great length about the history of American and Vatican relations since the beginning of this nation .. Sadly I am still on the hunt for that video which was on C-Span if I recall correctly  or a transcript.

Catholic Church Enters City of Baton Rouge / St George ' s Controversy

Oh boy I bet this is going to give the Bishop some major headaches on all sides . See Together Baton Rouge, The Catholic Church And St. George

Yes that Father Carville is the cousin of that CARVILLE . 

The St George controversy is basically that a good part of East baton Rouge Parish wants to become a new city which has some major impacts on the city of Baton Rouge . It is a very complicated issue  that sadly has got some very simplistic national press coverage that just centers on race . Rod Dreher had a good overview here of what is going on at  St . George and the Dragon of Race.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In Light of Jamie Stiehm & U.S. News What Is Acceptable Anti Catholicism

The disturbing Jamie Stiehm 's Anti Catholic Rant in U.S. News and World Report makes me want to return to a subject that comes up from time to time. As to public life what is acceptable anti Catholicism and what is not . For that matter just take out the word Catholicism and insert Baptist , Evangelical , etc.

I thought Michael Potemra thoughts on this were good today at Sonia Sotomayor and Anti-Catholicism . He says in part :

In recent years, the term “anti-Catholic” has been getting too much like “racist” and “sexist” for my taste: a bludgeon with which to bully people who disagree on some issue. If you fling that accusation against somebody, you’re basically saying the reason he disagrees with you is that he’s a bigot. Our public life has lost a great deal because of the promiscuous use of these words.

Amen to that .

Catholics are sometimes the worse at being offended and  throwing out anti Catholic in a context it should not be as to participation in the public square. In fact this often becomes an anti Evangelical  attack in the worse sense of the word.

Examples of this can be found on Pastor Hagee's scriptural and theological views on the Catholic Church and how it became problematic to appear on a platform with him. Recall the Huckabee situation .

The same can be said for the situation involving a big Southern Baptist Dallas minister and his scriptural and theological views on Catholicism during the Romney campaign. The fact that they viewed Catholicism and Mormonism  as horribly wrong , misguided , is not an " extreme " view.  Yet many said NO YOU CAN'T associate with these people as a common political cause.

It should be noted that none of these pastors ever that I could find said you could not or should not vote for an Catholic in public life .

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams might have thought the Church of Rome was off it's rocker and viewed it with suspicion . However there is nothing in their letters , or history , that said they transferred this attitude that Catholics had an couple of strikes against them if they wanted to enter the American public square. In fact there is nothing I have read among Catholic American Patriots of the time that worked with Adams and Jefferson that saw them as a threat to their public involvement.

Let us also recall that the President Jefferson pretty much made the Catholic population of the United States increase by an incredible number by the Louisiana purchase. He had to battle the anti Catholic objections that were a part of that discussion.

The improper SCARY needs to be called out anti Catholicism is what we saw in U.S. News and World  Report. As Michael Potemra said " in this case, use of such language is appropriate: That article over at U.S. News is, simply, anti-Catholic. "

A double Amen to that. 

I think it is fine that I think the Southern Baptist doctrine of one saved always saved might be leading folks to hell. On the flip side I have no problem in my political and social associations with folks if they think I am a misguided Mary worshiper whose soul is in danger.

There is a difference between an anti Catholicism that disagrees with the Catholic doctrine of the Pope and an anti Catholicism that basically tries to excommunicate you from social , civic , and political life. What we saw in Newsweek is the latter.

No Conspiracy - Why Southern Baptists and Evangelicals Have HHS Birth Control Mandate Concerns

Al Mohler has an excellent post up responding to to questions on why so many Evangelicals and Sotuhern Baptist are so up in arms against the HHS contraception mandate. Is it religious liberty , problems with birth control , or is this a part of some other dark dubious scheme.

See Al Mohler responds: The evangelical unease over contraception .

Let me put  my two cents in. There is no doubt the primary concern is about religious liberty  . Religious Liberty is very much in the Southern Baptist DNA and the leaders of this faith Community take religious liberty very seriously. However lets recall that many Evangelicals have objections to very specific forms of " contraception " that is at issue.

My ancestors founded the Southern Baptist Church in South Carolina and Mississippi and during my research religious liberty against the power of the state was on their minds. In fact may greats Grandfather and his Baptist Community had to deal with this as to the State of Mississippi trying to overreach very early on. This issue is not an subterfuge for them .

Al Mohler is also right that  from a social and theological point of view many Evangelicals are looking are the consequences of birth control mentality. This is an area where many of their progressive counterparts put their heads in the sands about. It is not a very cool thing to talk about .

Still I don't expect in my lifetime for the Southern Baptist Convention to issue a Humane Vite Catholic like document in my lifetime , but there is a discussion.

However the concerns that evangelicals have over Government overreach in this case are very real , and I see that just talking to the average evangelical down here in the Bible Belt. There is no real plot or other aim here at play.

Reactions and Links To Jamie Stiehm 's Anti Catholic Rant in U.S.News

I will try to keep this updated. I might go into one certain aspect of her piece later.

The Anchoress has one of the best , and most  one of the most damning responses . READ IT ALL


Law Prof Mark L. Movsesian of the St. John's University School of Law Center for Law and Religion  besides showing how silly her supposed point is says at this end of his piece American Freedom and Catholic Power :  

Here is a different uncomfortable reality that columns like this should compel us to face. The long history of American hatred of Catholics is alive, and well, and flourishing. It is kept in fine and proud form by people like this, and given space to breathe in all kinds of prominent venues. It will intensify in the months and years ahead. Dark times are coming.

Michael Sean Winters  of National Catholic Reporter at post Anti-Catholic Bigotry at USNews says among other things says Ms. Stiehm should start an anti-popery riot .

Michael Potemra in this post at National Review Sonia Sotomayor and Anti-Catholicism spends some time noting just from a legal procedure and reality standpoint how much Stiehm is out to lunch.

He also states :
In recent years, the term “anti-Catholic” has been getting too much like “racist” and “sexist” for my taste: a bludgeon with which to bully people who disagree on some issue. If you fling that accusation against somebody, you’re basically saying the reason he disagrees with you is that he’s a bigot. Our public life has lost a great deal because of the promiscuous use of these words. But in this case, use of such language is appropriate: That article over at U.S. News is, simply, anti-Catholic.

ED MORRISSEY fisks the heck out of this at US News: Catholics have taken over the Supreme Court, or something .

The Deacon's Bench ( who was actually had a career in secular journalism  at CBS ) has a post up at Great moments in journalism: the shocking bigotry of U.S. News & World Report . He concludes :

 I would have a hard time not finding hate, dislike or malice in Stiehm’s essay. Rather than taking issue with one justice’s opinion, or attempting to dissect the legal thinking behind it, Stiehm takes the bigot’s way out: it’s because she’s Catholic, dammit, and you know how those Catholics are. I find Jamie Stiehm’s essay objectionable and offensive—as a Catholic, but also as a journalist. It comes perilously close to hate speech, and betrays an attitude toward Catholicism that harkens back to the crude cartoons of Thomas Nast and the anti-Catholic nativism of the 19th century. Stiehm should be ashamed. So should U.S. News & World Report.

The Jaw Dropping Anti Catholic Opinion Piece In U.S. News & World Report

I am rather still shocked this ran. I thought this stuff when out of style in 1950. I also expect some reaction from the legal community too on this.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Why The Rise In Hostility Toward Religious Liberty ?

At one point at thought the perhaps a sort of rising Libertarian ( LIVE AND LET LIVE  ) ethos would offer some protection for religious liberty. However it seems the Live and let live don't try to impose a morality viewpoint is not being applied equally as to Government sanction. Why is this ?

There was a rather perceptive post I thought today at Public Discourse that gets to the heart of the problem that advocates of religious liberty will face more and more. See Sex, Drugs, and Religious Liberty .

Robust Federalism and Why People Are Fleeing France

Josh Blackman highlights an interesting article from Newsweek  on France today . Basically that nation's  brightest and economic producers are fleeing the country because of high taxes and labor laws that are well just insane . See Paris Shrugged .

This got me thinking at how the United States having robust Federalism that is not a paper tiger has been such a benefit to the United States.

Now it is true that at times Federalism does not mean always smaller government  It also does not always protect against  a National Government that wants to expand it powers that often happens for the best of intentions and many times  in the case of a national emergency. See FDR and the great depression , and I would argue some ramifications of the Federal Government  having to protect civil rights of blacks in the states.

Both of these situations in order to combat a crisis greatly expanded the Congressional grant of power under the commerce clause to combat an evil. Now the commerce clause is used to justify about anything.

The problem is no authority wants to give back the power it had to take to combat an evil when the crisis is over.

Still I have to think so far it has been a success. The fact is we can debate all day if the Texas experiment or the California experiment or the New York experiment is best. In the end people can and do vote with their feet as they are doing in France. Except in the United States folks are not moving to Toronto , or London ,  or other places abroad. They can just pack up the U haul and move to another State. That is a benefit to the USA as a whole. It is also nice that if you are in a State of the Union that is like France one is not stuck there having to wait on a green card to work in lets Alabama.

However this only happens because people fight for a robust Federalism . The big danger we face now is  that States get bribed to have their power taken away. Now often this is for the best intentions.

How many times have we heard Governor x  is heartless for not taking Federal Funds to help very much in need people y . The problem is these benefits come with obligations and restrictions by the Feds. Before you know it you are so dependent on Federal funds that you as a State are practically pushed out of an arena that was very much properly yours to operate in.

So three cheers of Federalism and the benefits it brings.

New Church of England Baptism Rite Throws Out the Sin and Repentence

Some in the Church in the England are not happy about it. Other in the Church are worried about the " dumbing " down of the r ites. It will be interesting to see how this is received .