Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

SCOTUS Justice grants stay for some from Obamacare pro-abortion mandate

This article from NBC News reports on a development in some of the cases being brought by Christian organizations against the Obama administration.

Excerpt:

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a last-ditch plea from Catholic groups Tuesday night to block a birth control mandate in the new health care law for religious organizations, just hours before it was to have gone into effect.

Sotomayor issued the stay at the request of an order of Catholic nuns in Colorado, part of a larger effort by Catholic-affiliated groups from around the nation to halt provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require companies — regardless of religious beliefs — to provide contraceptives and other abortion-inducing drugs to their employees.

The groups wanted the mandate halted while the court considers a legal challenge, brought by the for-profit company Hobby Lobby, arguing that the requirement violates their religious liberties.

In June, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver waived millions of dollars of fines against Hobby Lobby and a subsidiary, Mardel Christian Stores, which refused to comply with the mandate, writing that the companies were likely to win their claim that requiring for-profit companies to pay for birth control was a violation of religious protections.

The motion for a stay went to Sotomayor as the justice with oversight for the 10th Circuit. She gave the government until Friday to respond.

“Tomorrow, a regulatory mandate will expose numerous Catholic organizations to draconian fines unless they abandon their religious convictions and take actions that facilitate access to abortion-inducing products, contraceptives, sterilization, and related education and counseling for their employees,” the groups said in their request for a stay Tuesday.

The mandate requires companies run by Christians to provide their employees coverage for drugs that can cause abortions  by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.

The big case that everyone is watching is the Hobby Lobby case, and they were granted a stay from a federal court back in July of 2013. Their case is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the government will argue that Christians should be forced to subsidize abortion, in violation of their consciences.

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Mark Steyn on the intolerance of the gay activism movement

Dina found this article in by the Canadian national treasure in National Review.

Excerpt:

Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, in his career-detonating interview with GQ, gave a rather thoughtful vernacular exegesis of the Bible’s line on sin, while carefully insisting that he and other Christians are obligated to love all sinners and leave it to the Almighty to adjudicate the competing charms of drunkards, fornicators, and homosexuals. Nevertheless, GLAAD — “the gatekeepers of politically correct gayness” as the (gay) novelist Bret Easton Ellis sneered — saw their opportunity and seized it. By taking out TV’s leading cable star, they would teach an important lesson pour encourager les autres— that espousing conventional Christian morality, even off-air, is incompatible with American celebrity.

Some of my comrades, who really should know better, wonder why, instead of insisting Robertson be defenestrated, GLAAD wouldn’t rather “start a conversation.” But, if you don’t need to, why bother? Most Christian opponents of gay marriage oppose gay marriage; they don’t oppose the right of gays to advocate it. Yet thug groups like GLAAD increasingly oppose the right of Christians even to argue their corner. It’s quicker and more effective to silence them.

As Christian bakers ordered to provide wedding cakes for gay nuptials and many others well understand, America’s much-vaunted “freedom of religion” is dwindling down to something you can exercise behind closed doors in the privacy of your own abode or at a specialist venue for those of such tastes for an hour or so on Sunday morning, but when you enter the public square you have to leave your faith back home hanging in the closet. Yet even this reductive consolation is not permitted to Robertson: GLAAD spokesgay Wilson Cruz declared that “Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe.” Robertson was quoting the New Testament, but hey, what do those guys know? In today’s America, land of the Obamacare Pajama Boy, Jesus is basically Nightshirt Boy, a fey non-judgmental dweeb who’s cool with whatever. What GLAAD is attempting would be called, were it applied to any other identity group, “cultural appropriation.”

Make no mistake about this. There is a totalitarian impulse in the gay agenda. Their morality-free view of sexuality is not compatible with the Judeo-Christian values that ground Western civilization. It’s not OK with them that you disagree with them. They are up for using any and all means necessary up to and including violence (as we saw in the domestic terrorism attack against the Family Research Council). Their goal is to stop you for publicly defending marriage. They are at war with the idea that anyone can use their freedom of speech to tell them that what they are doing is wrong.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn follows up here with more examples of gay activists bullying their critics.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , ,

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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U.S. Army tells troops that Christian pro-family group is a hate group

Letitia the Damsel notified me about this story from Todd Starnes of Fox News.

Excerpt:

Several dozen U.S. Army active duty and reserve troops were told last week that the American Family Association, a well-respected Christian ministry, should be classified as a domestic hate group because the group advocates for traditional family values.

The briefing was held at Camp Shelby in Mississippi and listed the AFA alongside domestic hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam.

[...]“The instructor said AFA could be considered a hate group because they don’t like gays,” the soldier told me. “The slide was talking about how AFA refers to gays as sinners and heathens and derogatory terms.”

[...]Later in the briefing, the soldiers were reportedly told that they could face punishment for participating in organizations that are considered hate groups.

[...]Earlier this year, I exposed Army briefings that classified evangelical Christians and Catholics as examples of religious extremism.

Another briefing told officers to pay close attention to troops who supported groups like AFA and the Family Research Council.

One officer said the two Christian ministries did not “share our Army Values.”

“When we see behaviors that are inconsistent with Army Values – don’t just walk by – do the right thing and address the concern before it becomes a problem,” the officer wrote in an email to his subordinates.

[...]“The American Family Association has received numerous accounts of military installations as well as law enforcement agencies using a list compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which wrongfully identifies and defames AFA,” reads a statement they sent me.

Letitia the Damsel commented on her blog about this story and the SPLC:

This is a “Strike two!” occasion because, as Todd Starnes pointed out, this briefing by the Army is itself a dangerous hate move not unlike how the Family Research Council was also labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a potential target for a truly hateful fascist to attack, which then happened. In fact, Army officers have come to see themselves as idealogues and the mechanism of the Army as a force for activism.

She quote from the Fox News article:

One officer said the two Christian ministries did not “share our Army Values.”

“When we see behaviors that are inconsistent with Army Values – don’t just walk by – do the right thing and address the concern before it becomes a problem,” the officer wrote in an email to his subordinates.

And comments:

The US Army has values? And it is incumbent upon the American public to conform to those “Army Values?” Call me hog-tied to the text (or paranoid!), but I’m certain that whatever Army Values exist are supposed to be reflective of the US Constitution which in no way acknowledges that one must campaign to “address concerns” of average American citizens that are “inconsistent with (so-called) Army Values.”

So if the Army is going to fling open that door, then I’m not paranoid, and it’s safe again to trod out Hitler references to things I find smack of fascism. I ask that our government root out the Nazi dictator who compiled this briefing and jack him/her up for conspiracy to deprive the people of the AFA of their First Amendment rights and for putting them in potential physical harm.

Previously, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labeled the Family Research Council a “hate group” because they are also pro-family and pro-marriage. A gay activist found the FRC listed as a hate group on the SPLC web site, and charged into the FRC building armed with guns. His intent was mass murder. Is that what the U.S. Army was trying to achieve by telling soldiers that the AFA is a hate group? It seems we should avoid using words to encourage people to commit acts of domestic terrorism, like the attack by the anti-FRC gay activist. I certainly never expected the U.S. Army to imitate the SPLC in demonizing pro-family groups – and at taxpayer expense. If this anti-Christian hate speech by the U.S. Army results in actual violence, can the victims then sue the U.S. Army? That seems fair to me.

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Catholic chaplains face arrest for performing mass during shutdown

Todd Starnes of Fox News does a good job of covering the how the secular left infringes on religious liberty in the military.

Check out his latest story. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

The U.S. military has furloughed as many as 50 Catholic chaplains due to the partial suspension of government services, banning them from celebrating weekend Mass. At least one chaplain was told that if he engaged in any ministry activity, he would be subjected to disciplinary action.

“In very practical terms it means Sunday Mass won’t be offered,” Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services told me. “If someone has a baptism scheduled, it won’t be celebrated.”

The Archdiocese for the Military Services tells me the military installations impacted are served by non-active-duty priests who were hired as government contractors. As a result of a shortage of active duty Catholic chaplains, the government hires contract priests.

Broglio said some military bases have forbidden the contract priests from volunteering to celebrate Mass without pay.

“They were told they cannot function because those are contracted services and since there’s no funding they can’t do it – even if they volunteer,” he said.

John Schlageter, general counsel for the archdiocese, said any furloughed priests volunteering their services could face big trouble.

“During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so,” he said in a written statement.

A well-placed source told me that a furloughed Air Force chaplain was threatened after he offered to forgo pay. The chaplain was told he could not go on base or enter his chapel offices. He was also barred from engaging in any ministry activity.

The source told me the chaplain was told that if he violated those orders he and his supervisor would be subjected to disciplinary action – with the possibility of being fired.

I don’t think anyone should be surprised that the Democrats are hostile to freedom of religion. They are, after all, socialists. Government is more important than religion, and if they conflict, government wins.

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