Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Pro-religious liberty protesters arrested for praying outside White House

From Life Site News. (H/T Mommy Life via Mary)

Excerpt:

Six pro-life activists, including one Catholic priest, were arrested this morning in front of the White House while holding a peaceful prayer vigil in protest against the Obama administration’s birth control mandate. They were released shortly thereafter, after paying a $100 fine.

Fr. Denis Wilde, the Associate Director of Priests for Life, told LifeSiteNews that by their arrests the protesters hoped to send a “wake-up call” to President Obama that opposition to his mandate is not going away.

The six were arrested on a charge of “disobeying a lawful order.” The priest explained that while it is legal to hold protests in front of the White House, protesters are not allowed to remain stationary, including if they kneel down and pray.

“Occupy Wall Street protesters have been occupying federal property for months, but when we kneel in prayer, the police are called in and we are arrested,” Father Wilde said. “We knew that was the risk when we gathered today, and we will do it again regardless of the risk. What people of faith – of every faith – need to do now is stand with us.”

My previous story on Obama’s war on religion is here: The Becket Fund assesses Obama’s “compromise” on the contraception mandate.

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The Becket Fund assesses Obama’s “compromise” on the contraception mandate

Eric Metaxas shared this on Facebook, so here it is.

Full text:

Facing a political firestorm, President Obama today announced his intent to make changes to a controversial rule that would require religious institutions, in violation of their conscience, to pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs. But this “compromise” is an exercise in obfuscation, not a good faith effort to solve the problem. Thousands of churches, religious organizations, businesses, individuals, and others will still be forced to violate their religious beliefs.

For example, the fake compromise will not help the Becket Fund’s clients Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, Colorado Christian University, and Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), a Catholic media organization. They will still be forced to pay for insurance that provides contraceptive coverage. The White House’s claim that “the insurance companies will pay for it” is silly. For-profit insurance companies aren’t going to donate contraceptives and abortion drugs to employees; the employer will pay for it one way or the other. More fundamentally, the Becket Fund’s clients still face the same chilling dilemma they did yesterday: choosing between helping their employees buy immoral abortion drugs or paying huge fines.

“This is a false ‘compromise’ designed to protect the President’s re-election chances, not to protect the right of conscience,” says Hannah Smith, Senior Legal Counsel for The Becket Fund. “No one should be fooled by what amounts to an accounting gimmick. Religious employers will still have to violate their religious convictions or pay heavy annual fines to the IRS.”

According to a White House “fact sheet,” some religious employers will no longer be required to provide insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs; coverage for those services will instead be provided for free directly by insurance companies. This does not protect anyone’s conscience. First, the problem is helping employees get abortion drugs, not the cost of providing those drugs. Since providing insurance benefits would still help employees get insurance, religious employers still have to choose between providing health benefits that help employees get abortion drugs, and paying annual fines. Second, thousands of religious organizations self insure, meaning that they will be forced to pay directly for these services in violation of their religious beliefs. Third, it is unclear which religious organizations are permitted to claim the new exemption, and whether it will extend to for-profit organizations, individuals, or non-denominational organizations.

“It is especially telling that the details of this fake ‘compromise’ will likely not be announced until after the election,” said Smith. “Religious freedom is not a political football to be kicked around in an election-year. Rather than providing full protection for the right of conscience, President Obama has made a cynical political play that is the antithesis of ‘hope and change.’”

My previous post in which I chastised the Roman Catholic bishops for supporting Obamacare is here.

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Obama revises contraception mandate but Catholic groups still pay for abortion drugs

Life News explains.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration has revised its controversial mandate that had forced religious employers to pay for health insurance coverage that includes birth control and drugs like Plan B, the morning after pill, and ella that can cause abortions.

Responding to a firestorm of opposition from pro-life organizations, Catholics groups and even some Democrats, the Obama administration has revised the mandate in a way that pro-life advocates are saying is even worse.

The revised Obama mandate will make religious groups contract with insurers to offer birth control and the potentially abortion-causing drugs to women at no cost. The revised mandate will have religious employers refer women to their insurance company for coverage that still violates their moral and religious beliefs. Under this plan, every insurance company will be obligated to provide coverage at no cost.

Essentially, religious groups will still be mandated to offer plans that cover both birth control and the ella abortion drug.

According to Obama administration officials on a conference call this morning, a woman’s insurance company “will be required to reach out directly and offer her contraceptive care free of charge. The religious institutions will not have to pay for it.”

The birth control and abortion-causing drugs will simply be “part of the bundle of services that all insurance companies are required to offer,” White House officials said.

“We are actually more comfortable having the insurance industry offer and market this to women than religious institutions,” the White House said on the conference call LifeNews listened to because they “understand how contraception works” and it “makes sense financially.”

[...]Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan told LifeNews in response to the revised mandate that it violates the right to religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

“This ObamaCare rule still tramples on Americans’ First Amendment right to freedom of religion. It’s a fig leaf, not a compromise. Whether they are affiliated with a church or not, employers will still be forced to pay an insurance company for coverage that includes abortion-inducing drugs,” he said. “This is not just a problem for church-affiliated hospitals and charities. Under these rules, a small business owner with religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs and contraception must either violate his religious beliefs or violate the law.”

“The liberal Obama administration thinks its political goals trump the religious faith of American citizens. That isn’t right, fair, or constitutional,” he said.

The abortions will still be paid for by the religious groups. They are going to pay for the drugs through medical insurance premiums. So religious organizations are still being forced to provide abortions for their workers.

Who is to blame for this? I blame Catholic bishops. Catholic bishops do believe in socialism. They do want a secular government to take money from religious people. And they do want government to hand out medical care to people, instead of letting individuals, businesses and charities provide health care.

Rick Santorum agrees with me on this.

Consider this interview with Rick Santorum in which he reacts Obama’s health care mandate.

Excerpt:

HH: Now I want to talk to you about two substantive issues, Senator Santorum. The first are these new regulations from the Obama administration. I read the letter from Archbishop Olmstead of Phoenix on the air. Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles has written a new article in First Things. It’s shocking, actually, what’s going on. Should this be a centerpiece of whoever the nominee’s campaign is?

RS: I talked about it in every speech I’ve given today. And here’s what I said, though, Hugh. I said that I took issue with the Catholic Bishops Conference, because Hugh, you may remember, they embraced Obamacare.

HH: Yes.

RS: They embraced it and said…here’s what I said to them. Be careful when you have government saying that they can give you rights, that you have a right to health care, and government’s going to give you something, because once you are now dependant on government, they, not only can they take that right away, they can tell you how to exercise that right, and you can either like it or not. And that’s the problem. That’s what the Catholic Bishops Conference didn’t get, that there’s no free lunch here, folks. If you’re going to give people secular power, then they’re going to use it in a secular fashion. And that’s why, you know, I hate to say it, but you know, you had it coming. And it’s time to wake up and realize that government isn’t the answer to the social ills. It’s people of faith, and it’s families, and it’s communities, and it’s charities that need to do this as it has in America so successfully for so long.

HH: Rick Santorum, what do you advise Catholic hospitals, Catholic colleges, Catholic…the centers of poverty assistance, the adoption agencies? What do you advise them to do in the face of, as Archbishop Olmstead said, we cannot comply with this unjust law?

RS: Civil disobedience. This will not stand. There’s no way they can make this stand. The Supreme Court, eventually, this thing’s going to get to the Supreme Court just like the ministerial hiring issue that was just decided by the Supreme Court the other day. And it was a 9-0 decision that said the Obama administration can’t roll over people of faith when it comes to hiring. Yet in the face of that decision, this radical, secular government of Barack Obama continues to have faith be the least important of the 1st Amendment. And I just think they fight. They fight in the courts, and they fight by civil disobedience, and go to war with the federal government over this one.

Evangelical protestants feel comfortable with Catholics like Rick Santorum. He gets it. If the bishops are wrong on socialized medicine and wrong on the death penalty and wrong on other things, then so much the worse for the bishops.

Obama did very well with Catholics in 2008 even though Obama is the most pro-abortion president in the history of the United States. Catholics tend to be more liberal on economic issues than evangelicals, which is why many of them voted for Obama. Evangelicals oppose economic liberalism, because they oppose government taking tax money from workers in order to provide services for other people aren’t trying to be self-sufficient. Evangelicals oppose increasing the dependence of individuals on a secular government. Evangelicals don’t want a secular government to take money from individuals and then use it to push secular leftist ideas like global warming, Darwinism and sex education in government run institutions, e.g. – public schools, public broadcasting, etc. Evangelicals trust individuals to care for the poor, and they don’t want to make it too easy for people to make reckless decisions and then get a check in the mail or a free abortion.

What causes this difference between Catholics and evangelicals? Evangelicals believe in salvation through grace ALONE through faith ALONE in Christ ALONE. Evangelicals put the emphasis on what you believe – it has to be true in order to please God. Catholics, just like Mormons, Jews and other religions, emphasize good works as a requirement for salvation. Many Catholics also support inclusivism, which is the view that you can be saved in other religions like Judaism and Islam. This means that for these Catholics, specific Christian doctrines are not essential for salvation, so long as you have sincerity and good works. On the other hand, evangelicals are exclusivists who emphasize the need for each person to arrive at true beliefs about God in order to be saved, and good works are just natural outworkings of their beliefs.

Evangelicals emphasize the responsibility of the individual to discover truth with their Bibles, reasoning, science and history. This belief in individual responsibility carries over into their approach to charity. Evangelicals believe individuals are responsible for deciding what to do about charity – you earn your own money and then you choose yourself how to share with others. But the responsibility to give away money wisely is an individual responsibility – you share your money in a way that is consistent with your beliefs. Evangelicals don’t generally accept the idea of handing money off to someone else and letting them decide what to do with it. We think that everything is our responsibility, starting with Bible study and theology, and going on through to economics and politics.

And this emphasis on individuals over big government has this effect:

(Source)

Note that this chart puts evangelicals together with born-again Christians. But evangelical Christians differ from born-again Christians, because they are firm on exclusive salvation and evangelism. Evangelicals like to study so that they can discuss their beliefs in public, using reasons and evidence to persuade others. A born-again Christian does not have that same emphasis on study and persuasion, because they don’t focus on evangelism. So, if you separate out the born-agains from that 26%, number for Obama support, then you are likely to get a much lower number for evangelicals who support Obama. We don’t like health care mandates covering abortion. Evangelicals are used to having to puzzle things out for themselves – so they puzzled out what Obama believed and then they voted against him.

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Is global warming the secular leftist equivalent of flat-earthism?

Either you say that this is global warming, or you get no research money and no Ph.D.

Either you say that this is global warming, or you get no research money and no Ph.D.

Here’s the latest on the 20 inches of global warming being dumped on the global warming alarmists on the secular leftist East coast.

Excerpt:

The U.S. East Coast faces a second day of travel disruption after snowstorms blanketed cities from New York to Boston, closing airports and halting trains with waist-high drifts and blinding winds.

New York City’s Central Park had 20 inches (51 centimeters) of snow by 8 a.m., the most for the month since 1948, as the storm’s center shifted north and east, the National Weather Service said. Snowfall in the city eased by daybreak while the agency issued blizzard warnings for Boston and into Maine.

More than 5,000 flights were canceled in the region since yesterday as airports closed. John F. Kennedy International will reopen at 6 p.m., while resumption times for LaGuardia Airport in New York and New Jersey’s Newark Liberty are undetermined, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.

“It is horrendous in the New York City area,” Tom Kines, a meteorologist at State College, Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather Inc., said by telephone. “This is about as bad as it gets. There may have been storms that equaled this, but it doesn’t get much worse than this. To get this much snow with the amount of wind that is accompanying it, that is devastating.”

And it’s happening in Moscow, too.

This isn’t a one-off thing, the same thing happened last year.

What is annoying to me is that people are making entire academic careers based on studying Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny using expensive scientific equipment paid for by taxpayers (who don’t share their beliefs in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny).

I understand that global warming advocates are concerned about implementing communism and and coerced abortions, but why don’t they just come out and advocate for communism and coerced abortions, and stop inventing fairy tales to deceive the public at taxpayer expense. You can have your delusions and your deluded research programs where you hide the decline, but please pay for it with your own money, and keep your hands off of my children’s worldviews.

The problem with the left in academia is that there is no room for critical thinking. If you oppose the idea that people in academia and government should be able to extract wealth from the productive proivate sector to fund their research into self-serving delusions, then you get bad grades, no research money, and no Ph.D. That’s called “critical thinking” by the way. By which they mean coerced uncritical credulity.

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How progressive academics make a living in the racism industry

Better read this quick before it gets taken down. (H/T Blazing Cat Fur)

Excerpt:

It is well known that progressives have been able for decades now to exercise their control through domination of hiring committees and the imposition of politically correct speech codes designed to exterminate dissent. Dr. Li is not some isolated figure fighting for racial justice; he belongs to a department dedicated to teaching students to “think critically about the world around them” and “committed to link the aims of the discipline with the mission of the University of Saskatchewan”. Saskatchewan, like many universities in Canada, officially calls itself a “progressive university” committed to “employment equity” for women and visible minorities.

Of the 15 full-time faculty members teaching in Dr. Li’s department, eight are females, and three of the males, together with Dr. Li, are visible minorities of Asian origin. What is more, most of these members have research interests that touch on race, ethnicity, multiculturalism and social inequality. Among the many socialistic colleges, programs, and departments housed in Saskatchewan are: “Discrimination and Harassment Prevention,” “Family Medicine,” “Indian Teacher Education Program,” “Native Studies,” “Women’s and Gender Studies”.

A similar set of facts can be adduced for all the academics cited in this article. Jeffrey Reitz, who claims that white people tend to trivialize the experiences of minorities as unimportant, is director of ethnic and immigration studies at the University of Toronto, housed in a department in which the research and teaching areas are singularly left-oriented in character: “health and mental health,” “networks and community,” “gender and family,” “crime and socio-legal studies,” “immigration and ethnic relations,” “stratification, work, and labour markets.” Constance Backhouse, who wants universities to “take the lead” in dismantling the “mythology” that Canada is a “race-less” society, belongs to the faculty of law at the University of Ottawa, wherein the “Message from the Dean” states categorically and imperially that research and teaching are expected to be pursued “in a progressive atmosphere where issues of social justice are at the forefront of student and faculty concerns”.

This influence of progressives over our universities may explain why few of the specialists cite any solid evidence to substantiate their claims. Working within an audience of true believers, they have grown accustomed to soft-ball questions and easy endorsements. Pretty much all the “evidence” cited is anecdotal, based on “feelings”, and in no way the foundation for making a “systemic racism” allegation.

[...]The universities of Canada have worked like a gold mine for progressives. Many of the professors cited in the article have multiple research grants, contracts with government departments, awards for research and teaching, are fellows of the Royal Academy and, in at least one case, is a member of the Order of Canada. I could go on for pages citing their academic honours. University Affairs might have done its readers a greater service publishing an article entitled “The Racism Industry in Academia.”

One would think that after decades of widespread employment equity and the creation of entire departments and programs dedicated to the grievances and resentments of minorities and women, these academics would have some achievements to call for. Then again, why give up on what has been a most remunerative profession? Can these specialists do anything else? They don’t care much for Western high culture. Their research and teaching interests stand in direct opposition to the Greek discovery of rational argumentation, the Roman legacy in jurisprudence, the invention of polyphonic music in medieval France, the invention of linear perspective painting in Renaissance Italy, the invention of the novel in modern Europe, the calibration of uncertainty in Europe (1565-1657), the rise of Galilean and Newtonian science, and indeed the invention of Liberalism and Democracy.

What really matters for progressives is not equality of opportunity as a right but equality as a fact and equality as a result.

This is why I recommend that all subsidies from non-science/non-engineering areas of the university be CUT OFF – it’s too politicized right now, and they are just not interested in critical thinking and truth.

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