Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

How the ADF kept nurses who wouldn’t perform abortions from being fired

In 2011, a story came out about New Jersey nurses being forced to perform abortions (or be fired). I blogged about it, but we didn’t really know the details. Well, now the details have emerged and the case has finally been decided. Here’s a press release from the heroic Alliance Defending Freedom, which protected the nurses involved from violating their consciences.

Excerpt:

Promoted from that team to a supervisory position over all the nurses, the new assistant manager announced that – since she and others had to help with abortions – she saw no reason why every nurse shouldn’t help. Hospital officials agreed, and passed a new, mandatory policy to make it so. The assistant manager quickly set up a training program that would give each nurse on the unit hands-on experience in how to assist with and clean up after abortions.

“As long as you work here,” she told the 12 nurses who openly protested, “you’re going to have to do it. If you don’t, you’re going to be fired or transferred out.”

“We were all shocked,” Fe says. “All these years I’ve been a nurse, I was never told to help kill children.”

But the managers remained adamant. Hospital administrators supported them.

[…]”Our jobs were hanging by a string,” Beryl says. “We were like, ‘All right. If they’re going to fire all 12 of us, fine. But this is against what we believe God wants us to do.’ We didn’t come into this profession to do [abortions]. We told them we weren’t comfortable with it and didn’t feel they should force us. And if that meant our jobs, well… God was going to provide.”

When even their own union declined to help them, Fe wrote a letter to hospital officials saying that she and her coworkers would not participate in abortions. She passed it around for the other nurses; 15 signed it. She gave the letter to her manager, who took it to the director of nursing.. Response was swift. A meeting was called for the next day, with each of the signing nurses, the labor board, a union official, the managers, and “an expert on ethics” scheduled to be on hand.

I think so often in this world today, Christians are on the defensive when it comes to acting on their convictions. My expectation is that we will never win when we do the right thing. The other side is so strong, and we have so few conservative Christians who are intentional about studying well, earning well, and reaching positions of influence. But sometimes we do win, because there are still some Christians left who have paid the price to get the education and training that allows them to do something when the freedoms of Christians are threatened.

This time, it was the Alliance Defending Freedom lawyers who saved the day:

The day of that announcement, Pastor Terry Smith, of Life Christian Church in West Orange, New Jersey, returned from a trip. A staff member told him that one of his parishioners – Fe – had called, shared what was happening at the hospital, and asked for advice. The pastor immediately phoned Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council.

“I’ll be all over this,” said Deo, who hung up and called Alliance Defending Freedom. Shortly afterward, staff attorney Matt Bowman was on the phone with a local allied attorney, Demetrios Stratis, enlisting him to help defend the nurses. The two immediately called Fe.

[…]Amid all the tension, threats, and growing media coverage, the judge in the case stunned everyone by suddenly announcing, in a preliminary hearing, that a settlement had been reached.

“We had gotten everything [the 12 nurses] requested,” Stratis says. “We’d gotten the hospital to agree not to force them to perform these abortions. There would be no retaliatory measures against them, and they could feel free and sleep at night, knowing that the next day they would not have to be trained on the abortion process or help a woman kill an innocent child.”

“I was crying – really crying,” says Lorna, who heard the news from one of the other nurses. “And very thankful. The next day, I went to work, and all of us were hugging and very happy.”

“Before, I used to think that some prayers won’t be answered,” Fe says. “Sometimes, I’d feel very hopeless. But with this case, I saw how the Lord moves… providing the resources, the people who would help us out. It just strengthened my faith. I really thank God for Alliance Defending Freedom.”

Where does this desire to force people to commit murder come from? Well, it comes from the political left. In fact, the Obama administration actively opposes conscience protections for medical workers, and actively opposes conscience protections for military chaplains. This is to say nothing about the HHS mandate, which forces entire organizations and businesses to subsidize abortion-causing drugs.

I think that Christians need to be thoughtful, calculating and realistic about how we are going to deal with threats like this. Although some of us may prefer to study things that are easier, and do jobs that are comfortable, there is a real need for more of us to study hard things and do hard jobs. We need people with the right degrees in the right fields, and we need people who are good at earning and saving money. The truth is that this is the way the world works, and wisdom requires that we do what we have to do (not what we like to do) in order to be ready for the the challenges we are likely to face. The other side is certainly doing their job of getting the degrees and the money that they will use against us.

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Weekly Standard podcast on Sebelius vs Hobby Lobby

The Weekly Standard has a great podcast that covers fiscal, social and foreign policy issues from a conservative perspective.

Excerpt:

THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with the Becket Fund’s Adele Keim on the Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius case.

This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD’s iTunes podcast feed here.

THE WEEKLY STANDARD would like to thank The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Adele Keim for joining us.

Fox News has a report.

Excerpt:

In the most prominent challenge of its kind, Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. asked a federal appeals court Thursday for an exemption from part of the federal health care law that requires it to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill.

The Oklahoma City-based arts-and-crafts chain argued that businesses — not just the currently exempted religious groups — should be allowed to seek exception from that section of the health law if it violates their religious beliefs.

The arguments Thursday centered on the Green family, founders of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and a sister company, Christian booksellers Mardel Inc. An eight-judge panel peppered both sides with questions about whether the contraceptives mandate is an undue burden on the Greens’ religious belief.

The Greens contend that emergency contraception is tantamount to abortion because it can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb. They also object to providing coverage for certain kinds of intrauterine devices.

Hobby Lobby’s lawyer argued that the Greens shouldn’t face fines for not complying with mandatory contraceptive coverage simply because their business makes a profit. The stores are a “profit-making company, yes, but also a ministry,” Kyle Duncan argued.

Duncan cited the Citizens United campaign-finance decision that said corporations have constitutional protections.

“We don’t say, well, a corporation can’t exercise a right because it’s in corporate form,” Duncan said.

“Is religion the kind of right can only be exercised by a natural person? Well, the question nearly answers itself. … It’s not a purely personal right.”

In other news, voters support the repeal of Obamacare by a 22-point margin, which is increasing as more and more of the law is actually implemented. Too bad we did not vote to defeat Obama by a 22-point margin last November.

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Obama rejects conscience protections for military chaplains

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

President Obama issued a statement Wednesday rejecting several provisions of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including a conscience protection for military chaplains that he called “ill-advised”.

“Section 533 is an unnecessary and ill-advised provision, as the military already appropriately protects the freedom of conscience of chaplains and service members,” he said in his signing statement.

Obama made clear that his administration would remain unmoved by the NDAA’s conscience provision, stating that the Department of Defense would continue to implement the repeal of the military’s ban on homosexual service members.

“My Administration remains fully committed to continuing the successful implementation of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and to protecting the rights of gay and lesbian service members; Section 533 will not alter that.”

The president said that the Secretary of Defense would ensure that no “discriminatory” actions result from Section 533’s conscience protections.

This is not the first time that Obama has trampled on freedom of conscience and religious liberty.

Here’s an article from Life Site News from back in 2011.

Excerpt:

The Obama Administration has rescinded a federal regulation from 2008 that protected the conscience rights of health care providers opposed to providing abortifacient contraception, such as the Plan-B “morning-after” pill.

The Health and Human Services Department under Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, issued the new “final rule,” which leaves health-care workers of federally funded entities a narrower conscience exemption that only protects them from having to participate in abortions or sterilizations.

The new regulation replaces the earlier one enacted in the waning days of the George W. Bush administration, which broadened the interpretation of existing federal conscience statutes related to abortion to include health professionals opposed to emergency contraception, such as Ella or Plan-B, drugs which pro-life advocates say also act as abortifacients.

Sebelius alleged in the promulgation of the new final rule that the Bush-era conscience regulations “instead led to greater confusion”, citing comments received by HHS. She said her department was changing the rule because it was “unclear and potentially over-broad in scope.”

The HHS Secretary said in her statement that her department did share the concern of those in favor of rescinding the rule that it had the “potential to negatively impact patient access to contraception and certain other medical services” esp. for certain sub-populations, such as “low income patients, minorities, the uninsured, patients in rural areas, Medicaid beneficiaries, or other medically under-served populations.”

The ruling is a victory for Planned Parenthood and other “family planning” groups that have insisted that drugs like Plan-B (taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse) and Ella (taken within five-days of intercourse) should be defined as “contraception.” Pro-life groups countered that pro-life health providers should be protected from discrimination under federal statutes, because these drugs could prevent a conceived human embryo from implanting in the mother’s womb, thereby aborting it.

[…]“Today’s erosion of conscience protections for medical professionals is a blow both to medicine and the right to practice one’s deeply-held convictions,” said Dr. J. Scott Ries, on behalf of the 16,000-member Christian Medical Association (CMA).

Ries said the new HHS final rule disregarded the findings of the previous HHS 2008 final rule which stated that allowing health professionals to practice according to their convictions would negatively impact patient services or create “new barriers.”

“Losing conscientious healthcare professionals and faith-based institutions to discrimination and job loss especially imperils the poor and patients in medically underserved areas,” said Ries. “We are already facing critical shortages of primary care physicians, and the Obama administration’s decision now threatens to make the situation far worse for patients across the country who depend on faith-based health care.”

If religious liberty is a concern, then you can’t be a liberal. They don’t support religious liberty.

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Missouri Republicans override governor’s veto to protect conscience rights and religious liberty

From Life Site News.

Excerpt:

Missouri Republicans override governor’s veto to protect conscience rights and religious liberty

Individuals, employees and employers in the state of Missouri, by the passage of this law, will not be required to participate in, provide, pay for, or provide referrals for any health plans or services or services that cover those services, nor will it be lawful for such persons to be discriminated against or penalized by any government agency.

The bill was vetoed by Governor Nixon on July 12, which surprised some in light of his record of allowing previous pro-life bills to pass without his signature by allowing the 45-day veto period to elapse.  It was in this way that Missouri’s late term abortion ban became law just last year.

In yesterday’s special veto session, the Senate voted 26-6 and the House 109-45 in defense of the bill, which was written in response to the federal HHS mandate issued by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that took effect in August.  The narrow religious exemptions in the mandate left individuals and non-religiously-affiliated employers outside its purview and subject to complying with its controversial requirements.  Individual conscientious objectors, whether employer or employee in the state of Missouri, are now protected from the mandate unless possible federal court decisions rule otherwise.

Missouri governor Jay Nixon is, of course, a Democrat, and therefore opposes doctors and nurses having conscience rights. He also wants to force Christian businesses to subsidize abortion-causing drugs. He lost this time because the Republicans were there in force to stop his secular leftist fascism.

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Fascism: Obama administration objects to conscience protections for military chaplains

Fascism is the system of government in which the government pushes it’s notions of purpose, meaning and morality onto the citizens. In a fascist government, values derived from religion, family and community are overridden by the state. Fascism is exclusively an outworking of the left. When government is big, secular and religious fascism are possible. In contrast, right wing conservatives always want government to be small, so that individuals, families, businesses and charities are left with the most freedom to decide.

So is the Obama administration left wing (fascist) or right wing (liberty)? Do they respect the right of individuals to decide what to do?

Consider this article from CNS News.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration “strongly objects” to provisions in a House defense authorization bill that would prohibit the use of military property for same-sex “marriage or marriage-like” ceremonies, and protect military chaplains from negative repercussions for refusing to act against their consciences, as, for example, in being ordered to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony.

In a policy statement released Wednesday, the White House Office of Management and Budget outlined numerous objections to aspects of the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 4310). The bill was reported out of the House Armed Services Committee last week and is set to be debated in the House, beginning Wednesday. (See related story)

Overall, it recommends that President Obama veto H.R. 4310 if its cumulative effects “impede the ability of the Administration to execute the new defense strategy and to properly direct scarce resources.”

The veto warning is not specifically linked to the two provisions dealing with marriage, but they are listed among parts of the bill which the administration finds objectionable.

The memo said the two provisions “adopt unnecessary and ill-advised policies that would inhibit the ability of same-sex couples to marry or enter a recognized relationship under State law.”

Section 536 of H.R. 4310 states in part that no member of the armed forces may “direct, order, or require a chaplain to perform any duty, rite, ritual, ceremony, service, or function that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain, or contrary to the moral principles and religious beliefs of the endorsing faith group of the chaplain.”

Further, no member of the armed forces may “discriminate or take any adverse personnel action against a chaplain, including denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment, on the basis of the refusal by the chaplain to comply with a direction, order, or requirement” that is prohibited by the previous clause.

The OMB complained that, “in its overbroad terms,” section 536 “is potentially harmful to good order and discipline.”

Section 537 of H.R. 4310 states that “[a] military installation or other property owned or rented by, or otherwise under the jurisdiction or control of, the Department of Defense may not be used to officiate, solemnize, or perform a marriage or marriage-like ceremony involving anything other than the union of one man with one woman.”

That provision, the OMB said in the memo, would make it obligatory for the department “to deny Service members, retirees, and their family members access to facilities for religious ceremonies on the basis of sexual orientation, a troublesome and potentially unconstitutional limitation on religious liberty.”

Obama in December 2010 signed into law legislation repealing a ban on homosexuals and lesbians serving openly in the military. Last week he publicly endorsed same-sex marriage for the first time.

The House Armed Services Committee passed H.R. 4310 on May 9 by a 56-5 bipartisan vote, the only nays coming from Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree (Me.), John Garamendi (Calif.), Tim Ryan (Ohio), Hank Johnson (Ga.) and Jackie Speier (Calif.).

This is not the first time that Obama has shows disrespect for the religious liberty and freedom of conscious of individuals and private organizations. He thinks he knows better than you what to believe, and he thinks it’s a good idea to force his views and priorities onto you, your family, your employer, your church, and any charitable organizations you might be affiliated with. He’s a fascist, and his regime is fascist. That’s just the way it is.

I really recommend that all of my Christian readers check out the book “The Road to Serfdom” by F.A. Hayek. Hayek is a Nobel prize winning economist who argues that all our liberties – including our freedom of religion – are rooted in free market capitalism and small government. He argues that only when individuals are free to choose where they work, to keep what they earn, and to spend it on goods and services they really want, will their be real freedom. It’s important for Christians to choose an economic philosophy that guarantees the social conditions that allows them to thrive as Christians. Not just with respect to evangelism, but with respect to freedom of conscience, and freedom to promote their beliefs in public in the most effective, persuasive ways possible. We cannot allow ourselves to be silenced on our Kingdom plans just because we are lazy and want our neighbor to buy us health care and mail us Medicare checks. You do not give up your freedom to serve God in exchange for your neighbor’s money.

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