Quakers, Conscience, and Contraception
By Jeff Jacoby 2/15/2012
Much was made of the president's supposed compromise on requiring religious institutions to pay for their employees' contraceptives and sterilization drugs. "The new policy," a White House Fact sheet declared, "fully accommodates important concerns raised by religious groups." While news headlines were more restrained ("Obama bends on birth-control mandate" was the Boston Globe's), they did suggest that if the administration had not completely conciliated its critics, it had at least met them halfway.
But the administration hadn't compromised at all: On the same day the White House announced its "full accommodation," it formally -- without change -- the very regulation that had triggered the backlash. The compromise turned out to be merely a promise to modify the new rule before it goes into effect next year. And the promised modification in any case is a distinction without a difference: Rather than require church-affiliated institutions to insure their employees for birth control, the feds will require church-affiliated institutions to provide their employees with health insurance that will pay for birth control. If you don't like green eggs and ham, you can eat ham and green eggs. Some accommodation.
During the national debate over enacting ObamaCare in 2010, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously declared that Congress would "have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." What's in it, millions of Americans now realize, goes well beyond the mandate that forces every individual to obtain health insurance or be fined by the IRS. There is also imperious culture-war bullying, in which religious employers with grave objections to abortion and artificial birth control are commanded to buy insurance policies covering them, regardless of their moral qualms.
You don't have to be Catholic to be alarmed when the government rides roughshod over the convictions of the faithful. Or to bristle at the prospect of individuals and institutions being coerced into complicity with acts that violate their deepest beliefs. Or to realize how impoverished American civic life would be without the myriad of charities, schools, hospitals, shelters, and social-welfare agencies created to put those beliefs into practice.
Accommodating sincere dissent is essential to democratic pluralism. Our legal and political institutions should go out of their way whenever possible to respect the demands of conscience.
Publicado: 02-15-2012 04:35 PM
Obviously there are limits: Conscience cannot be allowed to excuse violence or fraud or abuse. But nothing about the Obama administration's contraception-and-abortion agenda justifies its disregard for those who have profound religious, cultural, and constitutional objections to that agenda.
Perhaps the real explanation, as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told abortion-rights activists last fall, is that the administration sees itself "in a war" -- her words -- with anyone who resists the left's views on **noallow** and reproduction. It's hardly the first time American officials have seen themselves at war with dissidents. In the 18th century, to mention just one example, authorities were determined to break the resistance of Quakers, who refused on principle to swear oaths of allegiance or serve in the militia. The Continental Congress passed a law branding any man who resisted the oath an enemy. Massachusetts tried to starve Quakers into submission; Virginia doubled their taxes.
But George Washington, for one, perceived how crucial it was to accommodate the dissenters' beliefs. It wasn't necessarily that they were right, but that respect for others' claims of conscience is integral to a culture of freedom. "I assure you very explicitly," Washington wrote to the Society of Quakers in 1789, "that in my opinion the conscientious scruples of all men should be treated with great delicacy and tenderness; and it is my wish and desire that the laws may always be as extensively accommodated to them, as a due regard to the protection and essential interests of the nation may justify."
There are plenty of non-religious reasons to object to the contraception mandate. It isn't necessary (birth control and abortion services are widely available to virtually anyone who wants them). It isn't economical (using insurance for routine expenses causes health-care spending to soar). It isn't constitutional (the government has no legitimate authority to micromanage Americans' health-care decisions, or to decide who should pay how much for what services.)
Yet nothing exemplifies ObamaCare's overreach like the birth-control mandate and its assault on conscience. The White House may see nothing wrong with trying to compel religious institutions and individuals to commit acts their faith forbids. Countless Americans clearly do. Birth control and health insurance have much to recommend them, but neither goes to the essence of American pluralism. Religious liberty, on the other hand, is the very first freedom in the Bill of Rights.
Publicado: 02-15-2012 04:36 PM
Could 2012 be America’s Last Presidential Election?
by Michael Savage
I’ve asked this question to a number of people and most of them respond as if I were crazy for asking. They tell me that this is America, land of the free and that there will always be elections. I tell them that we are no longer the land of the free and that if Obama gets re-elected in 2012, that this just may be America’s last election.
In the past 3 years, the Obama administration has been very carefully crafting the nation for a political take over by his Marxist regime and this isn’t just my opinion.
Popular radio talk show host Michael Savage is the son of Russian immigrants and is very familiar with Soviet and European history.
Savage warned his listeners this week saying, “I have to tell you that if this man, God forbid, is the next president of the United States, we’re going to be living in something along the lines of - people say Europe.
I don’t believe it’s going to be like Europe - I think it will be closer to Chavez’s South American dictatorship. “This is the most corrupt, incompetent, dangerous tyrannical administration in American history. It’s not politics as usual. It’s not just Democrats versus Republicans. Obama has a long history of being at odds with American values and with America itself and the core principles of this country. They don’t want government —sponsored opinions. They only want government-sponsored ‘Pravda. That’s exactly what the government—media complex tells you on a dailybasis —nothing but the government -— media complex party line. Pay attention. Your freedom may be at stake.”
Over the weekend, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told a small group of people in an Iowa coffee house that, “ Obama is not incompetent, ladies and gentleman. He knows exactly what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. He sees America differently than you see America. Obama has gone out of his way to divide this country in a way I haven’t seen since the Great Depression when F.D.R. went around to divide his country.
That’s his hero. What makes America great (in Obama’s mind is that) the government takes money from somebody and gives it to somebody else. No, that’s what makes America, France.”
Publicado: 02-19-2012 12:05 AM
With his control over the Executive and Judicial branches of the government, the stage is set for a complete takeover of the government. Think about it.
Since taking office, instead of helping the economy, Obama as purposely escalated the economic crisis by plunging the country into unprecedented debt. He has a number of programs that are designed to go into effect in January 2013, just in time for his second term of office. The economic burden and increased taxes on everyone will be enough to cause the final economic collapse of the country. As soon as that happens, Obama declares Martial Law and assumes dictatorial control of the nation.
The Department of Justice has already been subverting federal laws to strip us of a number of freedoms. The Supreme Court and many of the other federal courts have been seeded with socialistic liberal judges that will rule in Obama’s favor on virtually anything, thus ending constitutional rule and law.
He’s already changing the face of America’s military. Allowing homosexuals to openly serve along with changing the retirement program is causing many conservative military leaders to resign commissions and leave the military.
Some Pentagon officials are also noting that an increase in the enlistment of radical Muslims into the US military where they get all the training they need on weapons and defense systems. We have no idea how many of them there are in the armed forces or in what positions they may hold.
Obama has been wielding executive powers this past year as if he were already a dictator. When Congress is not doing his bidding, he simply by passes them and used an executive order to accomplish it anyway. This has set the stage for his disbandment of Congress. He would not be the first world leader to take control of a nation and disband the legislative branch of government.
He has been effectively using the media to anesthetize the public to the dangers he poses. Like a patient being prepped for surgery, people are numb to the changes and won’t have a clue what took place until they wake up in recovery and realize that free America has been removed and replaced with a regime that may parallel those of Stalin, Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Chavez and Castro.
I earnestly pray that we are spared from what seems a certain future and that Obama is overwhelmingly defeated in 2012. Otherwise, heaven help us.
Publicado: 02-19-2012 12:05 AM
GUILLERMO M. GARCIA-TUÑÓN: Belén Jesuit afirma
Febrero 19, 2012
GUILLERMO M. GARCÍA-TUÑÓN
Con un rápido repaso de la historia nos damos cuenta que esta no es la primera vez que algo similar sucede. Un siglo antes del nacimiento de Jesús, el emperador Antíoco obligó a miles de judíos a traicionar su fe forzándolos a profanar sus propios templos y a comer alimentos impuros. En el siglo XVI, se quiso exigir a Tomás Moro que actuara en contra de sus creencias religiosas y traicionara su propia conciencia firmando la anulación del matrimonio del rey Enrique VIII. En ambos casos las víctimas se negaron a hacerlo y pagaron con sus vidas el más alto precio.
El reciente esfuerzo de la Administración Obama a obligar a las instituciones católicas como colegios y hospitales a incluir cobertura de preservativos, abortos farmacéuticos y procedimientos de esterilización suena peculiarmente similar. Esta política del ObamaCare no hubiera sido simplemente un ataque a las enseñanzas pro-vida de la Iglesia Católica sino un asalto directo a la libertad religiosa de todas y cada una de las instituciones religiosas.
Hace cincuenta años el Colegio de Belén y los jesuitas que allí enseñaban fueron expulsados de Cuba por un régimen tiránico porque el gobierno de Castro no quería que las creencias y los principios católicos fueran enseñados en la isla. Hace cincuenta años el Colegio de Belén se negó a permitir que los mandatos de un gobierno ateo e ideológico fueran impuestos sobre sus estudiantes, el profesorado y sus familias. Y hace cincuenta años que Belén buscó asilo religioso en este país para que su derecho a ser católico fuera protegido.
Belén Jesuit en Miami defiende incondicionalmente y de todo corazón su identidad católica y las enseñanzas y doctrina de la Iglesia. A nombre de mi colegio y de los católicos de todas partes, quiero aplaudir a nuestros obispos y a los otros líderes religiosos que valientemente se han encarado a lo que sería un paso sin precedente hacia la violación de nuestros derechos constitucionales.
Para el récord, si la Casa Blanca insiste en negarnos el ejercicio de nuestros derechos religiosos tan claramente asegurados por la primera enmienda de la Constitución de esta gran nación, entonces Belén Jesuit Preparatory School se negará respetuosa pero firmemente a cumplir con esta orden. Y si por nuestro “desafío” hay que pagar un precio, entonces estaremos dispuestos a pagarlo.
Estoy al tanto de que varios artículos han citado varias encuestas que indican que la mayoría de la gente parece estar de acuerdo con las prácticas del control artificial de la natalidad, con la esterilización y hasta con el aborto. Es importante comprender que las convicciones y doctrinas de la Iglesia Católica nunca han sido formuladas por la opinión pública o por lo que es popular sino según la revelación divina. La Iglesia claramente sigue a su fundador, el que hace 2000 años, debido a la opinión popular, pagó el más alto precio para permanecer fiel a la revelación divina.
La comunidad católica de Belén Jesuit pide a sus representantes en el Congreso de los Estados Unidos a que patrocinen y respalden la Ley de Respeto a los Derechos de Conciencia (H.R. 1179, S.1467). Sólo si apoyamos esta iniciativa podremos asegurar el derecho a continuar ejerciendo nuestras creencias religiosas en un país cuya libertad ha sido preservada por tantos que han pagado con sus vidas el más alto precio.
Sacerdote jesuita, director de la Escuela Preparatoria Jesuita de Belén.
Publicado: 02-21-2012 11:47 PM