This Article Has Been Redacted by the DOJ

The blog article you are accessing has been indefinitely suspended by order of the United States Department of Justice due to content that some may find insensitive.

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This article contained references to the Mormon practice of abstaining from caffeine and alcohol, the Muslim practice of abstaining from pork, and the Jewish practice of abstaining from shell fish. Since the consumption of caffeine, alcohol, pork, and shell fish are legal under United States law, any practice that discourages their use has been flagged as bigoted and hateful and has no place in public discourse.  Furthermore, the article encouraged actively engaging in prayer outside a house of worship which is a clear violation of the separation of Church and State.

The DOJ takes matters of religious freedom very seriously.  While we do respect the right for religions to hold their own beliefs and traditions, their practices must be sensitive to the beliefs of those who do not share that faith. We will take all measures to make sure that all references to religious dogma comply with United States laws and will take legal action, including loss of tax exempt status, of those religions that do not comply.

We’ve contacted the operator of this website and have informed him that we are not taking any legal action against him at this time because this is his first infraction. We have also informed him that he may be using outdated religious materials that are not updated to comply with the latest US laws. He has 30 days to update all articles on this website to confirm to teachings as stated in the The New American Bible, Supreme Court Edition, v2015.06. After 30 days, he will be subject to a $100 fine per article per day that does not conform to the NABSCE 2015.06.

The DOJ thanks the anonymous party that brought this offensive webpage to our attention.  While we use every resource available to us in partnership with the National Security Agency to keep offensive webpages like this one away from the public, our best resource is the ever vigilant, patriotic United States citizen.  Together we can ensure a safe and civilized internet experience free of any overtly religious or controversial discourse today and for generations to come.

Attorney General of the United States of America,

Loretta E. Lynch

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Immigration: Theology vs. Politics

I have been racked with anxiety deciding whether or not to write an article about the current comprehensive immigration bill that passed the senate.  The reason why I’ve been so hesitant is that I find myself at odds with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  They enthusiastically support the bill with almost the same fervor as a pro-life bill while I have many reservations about it.  While I see eye to eye with the bishops on many issues such as religious freedom, abortion, euthanasia, and even the death penalty, the current immigration reforms making its way through Congress concern me.  And what is even more concerning is the lack of skepticism and the blind faith many Church leaders seem to have regarding the federal government‘s intentions in this immigration bill.

Stamp of the U.S. Immigration (Old French pass...

Most of my skepticism isn’t aimed at the immigration bill itself but at the nature of big government.  When I hear about large “comprehensive” reforms like the immigration bill, what comes to mind is more laws, programs, earmarks, and regulations.  That also means more loopholes, exemptions, and bureaucracy.  In short, I think of a larger and more intrusive government.  In the hundreds of pages of legalese, what powers does this bill grant government or various agencies?  What politically connected groups will the federal government exempt from the law?  What provisions will they selectively enforce?  Maybe the immigration bill does have some good parts, or at least well-intentioned ones.  After all, immigration policy is actually a federal responsibility so it’s good that they are at least working on something inside their jurisdiction instead of taking over state’s responsibilities.  But at the end of the day it’s still a bill written by lobbyists, caters to special interests, and supported and voted by people who haven’t read it.

The last time we had a huge reform, the Catholic Church in the United States ended up being burned.  I remember when ObamaCare was winding its way through Congress.  Many Church leaders at various levels were in support of ObamaCare because of the hope that it would provide all people in the US health care.  It was advertised as a compassionate fix to our healthcare system and really pulled the heartstrings of many Catholics who wanted to make sure all people would receive the care they need.  But now the Church and christians throughout the country are faced with the reality of ObamaCare.  A lot of time and money is being spent fighting the HHS Contraception Mandate.  Catholic hospitals and adoption agencies are under attack because they cannot follow certain parts of the law in good conscience.  There are abortion and euthanasia issues in law just waiting to erupt.  And who knows what else lies in the thousands of pages of the law just waiting for the right time to make its appearance?  Unfortunately, all this time and money spent fighting various aspects of this “compassionate” and “fair” law could have gone towards charities and hospitals providing actual health care.  But when it was being discussed in Congress, too many people just assumed the bill would magically fix health care and didn’t question our legislators about the details.

What is the USCCB’s Stance on Immigration Reform?

Here is an FAQ about the USCCB’s stance on immigration reform.  In addition, they outline some specific demands of what they want to see in immigration reform.  They even want you to write to your member of Congress showing your support of immigration reform.  While their demands are generic in nature and they don’t specifically mention the current bill, given the current political context, it is pretty much an endorsement of the current senate bill.  After all, it’s not like there are any other serious immigration bills under consideration.

Headquarters of the other Catholics :-)

Will the immigration bill attack Catholic values and religious freedom the same way ObamaCare does?  When I think of the current situation, an ancient saying comes to mind, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”  And that is my word of warning to the US Catholic bishops.  Don’t be pawns in the giant political power struggle.  The Church may not come under direct attack from the immigration bill the same way it does from ObamaCare.  But government power isn’t siloed to individual issues.  When we give the government more power to create larger programs in cases like immigration, that increased power and control will trickle to other issues like health care, abortion, etc.  I would hate to see the recent gains made in fighting abortion undone, or at least undermined, because an ever-growing federal government is allowed to increase their control a little more on each bill.

When dealing with specific bills and laws, the Church leadership needs to recognize the difference between theology and politics, generic desires and specific legal text, and between wishful thinking and reality.  Everyone from bishops down to parish priests need to think strategically or else they risk being used as pawns by politicians that really have no shame in getting what they want.

What RosaryMeds Do I need?

If you have a rosary mystery that you think fits well with this topic, please share in the comments.

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Random Thoughts on Pro-Life Week

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision which made abortion legal at the federal level.  Because of that tragic decision, the pro-life community makes the week of January 22nd Pro-life week.  This week features prayer novenas, talks and lectures, special programs, and of course, marches throughout the United States.  Pro-life week is bitter sweet for me.  On one hand it is great to see the enthusiasm and faith of the pro-life movement as people come out and march in the tens of thousands both on our nation’s capitol and on the West Coast.  But it’s unfortunate that we need to assemble at all to remind our government and society of the value of human life.  Below are just some random thoughts about the pro-life movement, government, and abortions.  I hope this gets you thinking, but more importantly, I hope it gets you praying and acting.

English: Personhood Now! banner in front of th...

Pro-life week reminds me a little of Mothers’ Day.  People always say how it’s unfortunate that we dedicate one day to mothers since every day should be a mother’s day.  Similarly, it’s unfortunate that we dedicate one week or one day to acting on our pro-life convictions.  Every day should be a pro-life day!  However, there is one startling difference between the two events.  When you forget to call your mom or send her a card on Mothers’ Day, you have one upset person.  But she’ll live.  When you don’t stand up for the value of life, you have 330,000+ aborted human beings per year in the United States alone.  So remember your mom, but also remember your commitment as a Catholic (and as a member of the human race) to promote the value of all human life all year long.

To put into perspective the scale of the modern-day holocaust which is abortion, consider this.  Twenty six people were murdered in the Sandy Hook shooting.  That tragedy sparked a massive response from politicians in comforting speeches and calls for new gun laws.  Now take Planned Parenthood‘s abortion number of 330,000 a year or roughly 37 abortions every hour.  That means the same number of lives as the Sandy Hook shooting are murdered by abortions every 42 minutes, 24/7!  And yet, the response from the political class is silent.  No speeches, no national dialogue, no executive orders, and no one saying, “Not one more child!”  Politicians were saying that they would do whatever it takes to reduce the likelihood of another Sandy Hook.  Where’s the “doing whatever it takes” to protect an unborn life from being murdered every 90 seconds?

When Planned Parenthood boasts its yearly 330,000 abortions performed (which you, the taxpayer, help fund), that doesn’t take into account the 330,000 additional lives that are also shattered — those of the mother’s.  For every life that is murdered by abortion, there is someone who has to live with the consequences of that decision.  And you also have to throw in the fathers as well since many of them also have to deal with the reality of the abortion.  If you are taking into account other people negatively affected by abortions, you might as well consider the doctors and nurses that do the procedures.  Sure, the mother, father, and doctors’ lives may not suffer any consequences immediately.  But there is plenty of data and testimonies that show the long-term damage abortions have on parents both mentally and physically.  And then there is the long-term damage abortion has on society as we devalue human life in our laws and public consciousness.

Anti abortion rally in Washington, D.C. Decemb...

We live in a society where government is playing a larger role in our lives.  I’m not going to get into why I think that’s a bad idea in this post.  But think about all the money government spends.  We are in year five of trillion dollar deficits.  The government spends money on food stamps, cell phones, health care, backing mortgages, investing in “green” technology, bailing out industries, foreign aid, and thousands of other ways that will supposedly move the United States to stability and prosperity.  And yet, not a dime from those trillions is spent to provide solutions to handling unexpected pregnancies except for abortions.  Imagine the support we could provide those surprised expecting mothers if we took the funds to Planned Parenthood and wasteful government programs and spent that on pre-natal care, mental and spiritual support, housing, and whatever else is needed to foster the new life, not kill it.  And while I loath government getting involved in so many aspects of our lives, at least we wouldn’t be funding intrinsically evil acts.  If the government is going to take my money and spend it, it might as well be to support life, not destroy it.

In light of all these realities, your rosaries should be on fire from all the prayers that are needed.  Pray the rosary daily and remember your commitment to be pro-life.  And that doesn’t mean to be pro-life one week out of the year, but every day.  That also doesn’t mean starting a fight with your pro-choice co-workers or arguing with a pro-choice relative.  But it does mean that you defend and promote the value of life when you can.  We are all called in different ways to show God’s glory and the beauty of His creation.  For some it might be side walk counselling or praying in front of abortion clinics.  For others, it means giving to pro-life charities.  It might mean participating in the Walk for Life (West Coasters, see you Saturday in San Francisco).  Don’t know what your part is in this war?  That’s where praying the rosary daily will help.  Ask God for guidance and He’ll show you the way.

 

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An Open Letter in Defence of Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby is an arts and crafts retail chain and is currently under attack by the Obama administration because they (along with many other companies) refuse to follow the Health and Human Services (HHS) contraception mandate requiring employers to provide contraceptive and abortive services in their health care plans.  I’ve written about this issue in the past but I’m still amazed how little attention it receives and how few people care about (although I shouldn’t really be surprised given society’s religious direction).

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

The HHS contraception mandate is more than just a “Catholic thing” or a “pro-life thing.”  It’s an assault on a fundamental constitutional freedom.  Even if you aren’t religious or don’t have any strong opinions about the HHS mandate, you should still be concerned.  Today it’s an assault on the freedom of religion.  Tomorrow it could be the freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, freedom of speech, etc.  Letting one fundamental right slide opens the door to all our freedoms becoming subject to the whims of whatever government is in power.  Please read this open letter, pray and meditate about it, and please share it with your family and friends.

President Obama,

Hobby Lobby employs thousands of people directly, not to mention thousands more indirectly through the services they consume to stay in business (web hosting, building management, advertising, etc.).  They also enable many people to make an income by selling goods created from supplies purchased at Hobby Lobby stores.  As you know, the economy is very fragile right now and this country cannot afford businesses shutting their doors and laying off thousands of people.  Hobby Lobby started over 40 years ago with 300 square feet of retail space and has grown to be one of the largest arts and crafts chains in the United States.  This is the type of entrepreneurial spirit we should encourage in this country and look towards for making our economy stronger.  And yet, your administration intends to fine them over one million dollars a day because they refuse to follow a law that violates their religious beliefs.

On January 21, you will be sworn into your second term as president.  You will once again take an oath to follow and enforce the Constitution of the United States.  One of the cornerstones of the Constitution is the first amendment guaranteeing the freedom of religion.  Regardless of what your personal beliefs are or the beliefs of your political party, you are bound by your office to respect and defend the religious rights of all citizens.  The reason why we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights is so that the personal beliefs of any one person, party, or elected governing body cannot arbitrarily alter this great country’s core principles.  Our country has a strong foundation because previous leaders honoured their oath to respect our founding documents and did not try to remake the United States according to their personal beliefs.

President Obama, I urge you to reconsider the damage you are inflicting on hard working Americans by forcing them to choose between their values and their livelihood.  The Green family (founders of Hobby Lobby) are not enemies of the United States and yet you choose to punish them because they will not follow your agenda.  As an American, I do not appreciate or support these attacks on my fellow citizens any more than you or your family would like being forced to violate your own values by a future administration.  As a Christian, you surely understand the golden rule — treat others in the way you would like to be treated.  In this case, respect peoples’ religious beliefs as you would like them to respect your personal beliefs.

Sincerely,

Those who value the freedom of religion

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Obama Contraception Mandate LinkFest

The articles regarding President Obama’s contraception mandate keep piling up.  Everyone is weighing in, whether it be Catholic bishops or secular sources evaluating the Constitutional consequences of this mandate.  President Obama stirred up a hornets’ nest with this decision as it has now brought to the forefront questions of religious freedom, healthcare, and conscience in America.  Unfortunately, this issue also has brought out the deeply seated prejudice against the Catholic Church that many still harbor in this country.

We really do stand at a juncture in the USA.  This is not like previous political fights like raising the debt ceiling or passing a budget.  In those fights, the various sides can make compromises and deals since the issue at hand is usually morally neutral.  But various religions cannot compromise their morality.  Unlike the typical politician that usually bends in whatever direction that will result in reelection, religions just can’t redefine intrinsic evils to make their situation politically convenient.  And it doesn’t matter if Obama gives Catholics one year, ten years, or ten centuries to comply with this mandate.  The Church’s position will be the same because morality is not a democracy.

I encourage you to read these articles and share them.  Sign petitions, make donations, and spread the word as we face this very real assault on our religious liberty.  I wish I had the time to comment on each one of these articles, but there are just too many outlets now covering this story.  Read the articles, read the comments, and pray for the conversion of hearts in our politicians and those who have so much hatred towards the Church.

Remember the Fourth Joyful Mystery and how Simeon’s patience and endurance eventually paid off when he finally saw the baby Jesus.  He waited in the temple his whole life when others probably told him his mission was pointless and silly.  Pray that we too will show that same level of steadfastness as Simeon in this assault against our cherished values.  Right now we are like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in the First Sorrowful Mystery.  I fear that we will have trials ahead.  But like Jesus, we will find strength through God and the Holy Spirit to endure any challenge this world throws at us.

 

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