Monday, January 30, 2012

To our Protestant friends: Fight with us!

The lovely and courageous Rebecca, at Shoved to Them, wrote a post that I am compelled to reprint. We need our Protestant brethren to become fellow warriors as we push back against the federal government's attempt to quash our basic religious liberties. Hard to believe it's come to this in our own beloved America, and yet here we are.



A Call to Arms, My Brothers!

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak out because I was Protestant.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.  
-- Martin Niemöller


This past week, the Department of Health and Human Services under the Obama Administration violated the First Amendment's Religion Clause by preventing Catholics in the United States from freely practicing our religion. To a practicing Catholic, our faith is more than the church service we attend on Sunday mornings or the ashes we wear at the beginning of every Lent. Our faith is the governing force by which we live our lives.

With its Contraception/Sterilization Mandate, the Obama Administration has taken direct aim at the Catholic Church through our foundational beliefs in the value of every human life and in the supremacy of God over us, which are the driving forces behind our stance on these controversial issues. The administration's demand that Catholics provide access to medical procedures and pharmaceuticals which we hold to be intrinsically evil, and certainly against the very roots of the faith we profess, is an affront to every American.

This unconstitutional mandate has left American Catholics in the position of choosing between obedience to God and obedience to the State.

How have we arrived at a place where United States citizens are confronting the dilemma of choosing between their faith and being American? This is the country raised on the tales of the Pilgrims' flight from England in order to escape religious persecution. The American colonies were begun with the ideal that all men had a right to practice their faiths according to the actual tenets of those religions and not according the whims and permissions of the government. We were revolutionary in the concept that our inalienable rights were derived from our Creator and not from the largesse of a sovereign or legislature.

President Obama has, through his Department of Health and Human Services, turned his back on almost 400 years of American history. With this one Mandate, he has trampled upon the intentions of our Founders who so fervently believed in the rights of people to worship (or not worship) and to believe (or not believe) as they saw fit that it is the first right enshrined in the Bill of Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof


I have heard many people say "I do not agree with the Catholic Church's stance on contraception." No one is asking for you to do so. It is sufficient enough that we believe it.

Those who would frame this as a debate on reproductive rights are being misled or are attempting to mislead. This attack by the Obama Administration is not about sexual rights. It is about our religious freedom and the very Liberty which every American considers his/her birthright. With this decision, the United States Government has granted itself authority and jurisdiction over every church, synagogue, mosque and cathedral and allowed itself the power to enforce its own secular worldview upon all believers.

It is in light of this that we call upon you, our brother Americans, to stand with us against this unjust and breathtaking power grab. Do not be deceived into thinking that it ends with us or with this ruling. The very Right of Religious Freedom is at stake.

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What can you do to help?  Contact your Senators and Representatives and tell them that government oppression is intolerable [reference the HHS contraceptive mandate and ask them to support the Freedom of Conscience Act]. Call the US Department of Health and Human Services and tell them that their power grab will not succeed. Call the White House and remind them that the United States threw out one tyrant with King George and we won't hesitate to do it again!


Click the Facebook "F" or the Twitter "T" below to spread the word! Thank you and God bless! 


Thank you, Rebecca! It's time for all Christians, all people of faith, and anyone who loves the Constitution to come together at this moment in history.

You can sign a petition directly to the White House, here. Spread the word! Protestants, please alert your pastors about this disheartening move by President Obama.

And for additional inspiration, don't miss Bad Catholic's passionate response to Obama's unconstitutional power grab, here.




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173 comments:

  1. Thanks for asking! I'm a Protestant Single woman who plans to practice NFP in my own future marriage. I'm a silent reader on a few Catholic/NFP minded blogs as I find many Protestants could care less about the divorce of giving life from pleasure in the sex act. But I'm silent no longer as you have explicitly asked for my support which I wholeheartedly give! As a future NFP only health provider, this situation is of the utmost importance to me. Thanks for the wonderful blog!

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  2. Philise, I think I love you!! Wait, I know I do!! :)

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  3. Thank you Leila, I am going to post this on my FB page!
    I love your blog and have been reading it for about 6 months now! The Holy Spirit is using you in such a beautiful and powerful way to spread the good news of our Faith.
    God Bless you!!!

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  4. Thank you so much for the blog reprint. This is such an important message. The entire Christian community needs to come together on this.

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  5. I personally do think that the entire USA does need to start thinking more responsibly when it comes to having kids, and well, um, what causes them. And that would include either getting your own birth control, or just keeping your legs crossed. (And I am including NFP as birth control)

    But not every law is going to please every person, I am sure that I could point out a few that is not exactly making me jump for joy at the thought of them. Some insult deep personal beliefs of mine.

    But yet I understand that they are not trying to insult me. Like how Barack Obama was not thinking "how can I potentially really *beep* off every conservative catholic in America."

    He is not saying everyone has to take birth control/be sterilized (yes I know there are exceptions of it in the past and in other countries *cough*China*cough*) it is simply saying it has to be provided cheaply or free to those who want it. He is also not saying that Catholic employers cannot discourage certien typs of birth control.

    Just that those of whom that would already want to take it. Should be able to. Anyone whom is a proud supporter NFP can continue to do that. But anyone who is OK with birth control, probably would have continued with taking it anyway. Even church employers cold get birth control with their own money.

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    1. Actually, I am quite certain that President Obama is indeed, trying to not only insult Catholics, but to destroy the Catholic faith.
      This is just the tip of a Religious Persecution iceberg.
      This is where it begins.
      It is, indeed, an attack.

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  6. Philise- I have tears in my eyes! What a beautiful, strong woman you are! May God protect us all and keep our country safe and FREE!

    I would post this on FB but I'm preaching to the choir!! Can I have permission to reprint this in the church bulletin that I write? (of course, with my pastor's permission first)

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  7. "Even church employers cold get birth control with their own money"

    Chelsea, I we posted at the same time! And I only have time for one comment as I am getting ready for work.

    If employees can get birth control with their own money anyway, what is the purpose of FORCING employers of violating the tenants of their religion to provide it for FREE (no copay is allowed?)

    Don't you see this as an attack upon the very foundation of our country's very ideals?

    It doesn't bother you that a person can be FORCED to do an act they believe is wrong? And yes, I agree with you that there are already unsavory things we all have to pay for through our taxes. But this is different, I believe because it is a DIRECT attack aimed at a certain religion. The next step if this stays in effect is to force every health plan to pay for abortions (and you know what the Church believes in that area). Kathleen Sebelius has even stated it out loud.

    There are many conscience exemptions in our country- if I don't want to vaccinate my child for HPV or other controversial vaccines, I don't have to (well, at least for now). The Amish , the Quakers, the list goes on and on.

    It is very dangerous if the government can FORCE anyone to violate their sincerely held beliefs.

    This fight is not about contraception but about religious liberty and every American should be concerned about this government overreach. Our government is out of control- has been for quite some time.

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  8. This fits right with what Cardinal-elect Dolan from NY said in his WSJ op-ed piece. He's an amazing speaker and staunch supporter.

    I wrote my Representative and both my Senators, yesterday.

    Here's praying it helps.

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  9. Thank you all! And Sunshine, yes, please. Give the credit to Rebecca Frech at Shoved To Them.

    Chelsea, anyone can get birth control cheap and even free (condoms are handed out for free, even, at my daughter's university). But no government force is going to mandate that I do something evil, directly, or else pay a fine to the government. I must be able to practice my faith freely, with no government forcing my conscience. The Constitution is not about protecting the government from religion, it's about protecting religious believers from the government. That is exactly why this nation was founded, why the settlers came from Europe and set up this Republic. They could not practice their religion freely in their home country. That is why America now exists. I will fight for what the settlers and the Founders intended.

    Blessings!

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  10. Rebecca, you say what I don't know how to say! I like Sunshine's idea, and I'm going to also ask the two parishes I belong to to put this in their bulletins. It's time for everyone to get involved!

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  11. Please feel free to reprint it all long as you give me the credit.

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  12. To be honest this move by HHS just baffles me.

    They are starting an election year with a law with an unprecedented narrowing of the religious exempt clause that is commonly found in our laws.

    They are leaving the President wide open for attacks stating he is religiously intolerant, lacks family values and does not uphold our Constitutional rights.

    They can't expect to win against the Catholic Church. The Church will refuse to comply, pay the fines and file lawsuit after lawsuit. If need be, I honestly believe the Church will shut down the hospitals first.

    Are they relying on the laity? Even when I thought the Church was a bit "old fashion" in their teachings about BC I never would have been okay with this. I would have said "Yeah, my Church is a little kooky on this, but they have the right to be a little kooky. See this is this thing called the "Bill of Rights", you might have heard of it."

    What exactly do they expect to happen? The Catholic Church is not a democracy. It isn't like we are all going to go sit at Mass and have a vote as to whether or not we fight it.

    Even if every person in my parish said "Hey, Father, we think this is a good idea." Father isn't going to say "Well ok, I'll lead you to the path of death, destruction and damnation....since y'all agree." NO! He's going to say "You are my flock and I am going to do everything in my power to lead you away from this path. Now, we are going to have homilies on this topic until I feel you understand what's going on!" In unison: "Yes, Father."

    If HHS is relying on the "non-complying" laity to get this to pass mustard they are in for a rude awakening.

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  13. I contacted my senator, and I even got a reply. A quote from the e-mail:
    "While I believe that health care providers should not be exposed to discrimination or retaliation for any reason, I have concerns about this legislation (Respect the Rights of Conscience Act) and its potential to lead health care providers to withhold important treatment, counseling, or medical information without regard for patient needs, based on their personal objections. This could potentially deny patients full access to all reproductive health options, including abortions services, and leave patients without recourse if providers fail to provide referrals or accept payment for these services."

    Oh no! It could deny patients to abortions services, something that Catholic church and many others declare a great EVIL. So, please, bear with us and comply anyway.

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  14. REO, that is sick!! You and all the Catholics you know should tell him that you will rally all the Catholics in the state, that his position is anti-Catholic and you will trumpet this to everyone you know. He should be known as someone who does not want to protect the religious freedoms of others. Tell all the Catholics in your state about him!!!

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  15. Thanks, Leila and Rebecca! I will share this every place that I can! I have Protestant friends who hadn't even heard that this had taken place. They wanted to know why the media wasn't doing their job and covering these important developments? They also are ready to stand with us!

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  16. StarFireKK, I think the plan may very well be to let the Catholic hospitals close. 2 Congressmen have said as much.
    Sunshine, I had a thought after reading your comment. Do you think it could be possible that, since they want everyone to be forced into a federal healthcare plan, and they want birth control to be freely given, and the next step is free abortions....Well, we do live in a culture of death where pregnancy is perceived as a disease. And there have been those saying that having many kids is irresponsible and damaging to our planet. And those that think the planet is overpopulated. China's 1 child policy comes to mind. Seems to me, and I surely hope I'm wrong, that that could very well be Step 3? I hope I'm wrong, but at this point - it just flat out wouldn't surprise me.

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  17. Michelle, that just might be it. I am having a conversation on the last post right now in which some are talking about pop control and even Mary (a regular) says that we shouldn't limit family size "at this time"! I think I gasped! Do people know the implications? Even good people?

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  18. Leila - Lord, help us! I don't know what pop control is but it doesn't sound good. I think I'm going to have to begin another novena for this country and our Church.

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  19. Leila

    It is ironic that you want to "fight for what the settlers and Founders intended." The first settlers (Jamestown) came for financial reasons--to open up trade for England. The Puritans, who came soon after, left to be free from Catholicism. Originally they went to Holland, but left because of persecution from Catholics there. They met up with the Mayflower later and came to America.

    Regarding the health insurance issue. I don't think there is any intention to oppress Catholics or to deny anyone religious freedom. It is a policy that attempts to care for the health of our citizens. Women having access to good birth control will prevent poverty and reduce dependence on social services and reduce complications from unwanted pregnancies.

    It is true that other religious groups have been given exemptions from Federal law, but only in regards to their OWN behavior, not their obligation to financially support the actions of others, even if those actions are against the religious group's beliefs. Nor have other groups been given a right to control the actions people outside of their own religion.

    For instance, Quakers can be exempt from fighting in wars (via CO status) because killing is against their religion. But they are STILL required to pay taxes (lots of taxes) that pay for wars. Someone mentioned the right to not have her daughter get an HPV vaccine. However, she would STILL be required to pay the state taxes that pay for vaccines for other people's daughters. Amish people don't have to pay social security or medicare taxes. However, they don't receive any of these benefits. And they don't force other people not to get those benefits. Children of Jehovah Witnesses don't have to say the flag salute in school. But they cannot insist that other children don't.

    If the Catholic Church is adamant about not paying for other people's birth control then they shouldn't hire non-Catholics. Non-Catholics should not be controlled by Catholic doctrine, including the use of birth control. The government does grant Catholics the right not to pay for birth control for all-Catholic organizations and that should suffice. I'm sure the amount of money Catholics will have to pay for birth control is minute compared to the money Buddhists and Quakers have to pay for all sorts of things they don't believe in. It's part of being a citizen.

    If Catholics don't like paying for things they don't believe in they have lots of company. I don't think it makes sense to feel so personally persecuted.

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    1. Sarah, the Puritans weren't escaping from Catholicism. They were escaping the Anglican Church, which they felt was still too Catholic in faith and practice. In fact at the time the Puritans left England Catholics were being persecuted as much if not more than they were.

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  20. This has NOTHING to do with whether Catholics like or don't like the law. This isn't about whether birth control is good or bad. This IS NOT ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL! This is about the CONSTITUTION. Don't let the birth control issue cloud things. This is an explicit attack on the practice of religious beliefs. It is the same as making a law saying that all restaurants in the US must serve pork, even those owned and operated by Jews. If a Jewish person belives eating pork is unclean and sinful, the issue with the law would not be whether the Jewish person is right or whether people can or should have access to pork. It is about infringing on that group's practice of their religion. This country was founded on the ability to FREELY practice religion and this is an unprecendeted attack on that practice. Requiring by law that Catholic organizations distribute birth control is asking them to GO AGAINST THEIR RELIGION and inhibiting their freedom to practice it. That is the issue. This is a freedom of religion issue, NOT a birth control issue.
    (Sorry, I hit reply to a comment, so I deleted and reposted it here.)

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  21. Catholics aren't being asked to do something that is against their religion, they are being asked to pay for other people to do something that is not against the other people's religion. And as I said, it's not unprecedented at all. Other religious groups have to do the same thing.

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  22. Claire is right. This is not about birth control. I certainly can and do debate the merits of something called "medicine" which in no way cures a disease or restores health (fertility is health, as you must know. It means the body is working as it is supposed to; that is health).

    Now, if you want to tell me that it would be perfectly within the rights of the federal government to force Quakers to personally supply their employees with guns and ammo, then I will think you have a consistent position here. Or, if you think the government has a right to force Orthodox Jews to serve pork in their Kosher restaurants, against their will. If you agree that those things are within the rights of our federal government, and that they don't violate the Constitution, then of course you would also think that the feds can force Catholics to pay for and provide contraception to employees.

    Because, remember, we already pay taxes which go in the general coffers, for things we are opposed to (such as abortion, contraception, wars that we disagree with, etc.). We already do that. Just like your example with the Quakers funding war. But this Obama mandate does something other than just use our tax dollars for things we hate. This mandate forces us to provide and buy services directly, against our religious beliefs. That is a totally different animal. I hope you can see the distinction. If you cannot see a distinction, then you must also have no objection to the feds forcing Orthodox Jews to purchase and serve pork on their menus.

    I am a member of the Mayflower Society (direct descendant of two Pilgrims), and proud of it. I am also proud of having been born in Maryland myself (which started as a "haven for Catholics in the new world"). I am also the daughter of an Arab (Palestinian) immigrant, married to a Jew. Lots of good and diverse beliefs in my background! And never in my life did I think I would see the day that my nation would force me to choose between my religion and my country. Of course, it's a no brainer for me.

    And your analogy with the Jehovah's Witnesses is precisely backwards. You said:

    Children of Jehovah Witnesses don't have to say the flag salute in school. But they cannot insist that other children don't.

    What Obama just did was the equivalent of forcing a Jehovah's Witness child to salute the flag in school. That sort of coercion of conscience should never occur, don't you agree?

    So again, we are not talking about general taxes going to things we don't like (happens to all of us), we are talking about something very specific, and yes, very personal. It is most definitely a personal attack on Catholics. It did not have to be.

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  23. Catholics aren't being asked to do something that is against their religion, they are being asked to pay for other people to do something that is not against the other people's religion.

    Sarah, it's very important that you understand this: Providing or paying for one's employees' contraception is a sin for us. It is a sin. We are not the ones who are taking the contraception, but we are the ones providing it. It's no different than someone who pays for an abortion for a friend. I may not have had the abortion, but providing it for my friend is just as gravely sinful.

    Catholics will close down hospitals and charities before they will consent to cooperate with evil. Our God and our souls are far more important than Obama's bogus mandates to coerce our consciences.

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  24. And this phrase, "preventive services" that they are euphemistically using. What pathology or disorder or disease does contraception "prevent" exactly?

    And Archbishop Dolan says it more clearly than I did: "Never before has the government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience."

    Good article: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01/31/holy-war-over-health-care-law-obama-angers-catholic-leaders/#ixzz1l6ye0nLQ

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  25. If the Catholic Church is adamant about not paying for other people's birth control then they shouldn't hire non-Catholics.

    By the way, the narrow exemption is for those Church entities that don't employ or serve non-Catholics. The Church serves tens of thousands of non-Catholics, and so the exemption is a joke.

    I wish you would tell me if you agree with the distinctions I made: We all pay taxes for things we don't approve of. But this is different. It's asking us to buy and provide things to people directly, which go against our faith. Like asking a Quaker to purchase guns and ammo for their employees (not just pay taxes). Do you see the distinction? Thanks!

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  26. I agree with you and Rebecca that we should issue the rallying cry to everyone. This is something for all of us to fight.

    I am also asking you who do not agree with the Catholic Church's teachings on contraception and abortion to fight this with us. It is not as if contraceptives and sterilization cannot be gotten elsewhere, or from employers who do not object to them. This is a matter of religious liberty, not competing moralities. And do kindly remember that many of the institutions that oppose this mandate could make the real decision to close their doors and stop providing their services to anyone. They don't check your creed at the door, they serve you because it is part of their own religious conviction. Keep in mind, as well, that if the government can do it to us, they will see no problem doing it to anyone else. This is a threat facing the whole of the American people, not just some.

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  27. Here is one practicing Lutheran who just wrote her email letters. Leila is dead-on with this effort. More Christians of every bent need to get out the word.

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  28. R.E.O. Johnson, I got a similar reply from one of my senators to an email I sent. Here's an excerpt:

    While I appreciate the issues you raised, I amconcerned about broad legislative efforts that could put women's health andaccess to legal contraception at risk. I am also concerned about anyefforts that would allow medical providers and health care facilities to denythe provision of important reproductive health services to women, includingdenying effective forms of birth control or withholding information frompatients about their full range of contraceptive options and basic healthservices.

    I love the implication that any healthcare provider who opposes contraception and abortion will just lie to his or her patients, as if they don't care about what happens to them.

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  29. Mary, thank you!

    Christina, ugh! Makes me crazy. Yes, they want us to believe that the very same Catholics who are so sincere in not wanting to sin that we go to these lengths to try to get conscience protections, are just waiting to LIE (another sin). Huh?

    And I love this new found frenzy of "women cannot access contraception!!" Seriously? I go to Walgreens and see shelves of it. Why on earth can't these women figure out how to get contraception? It's not too difficult. Why is their "access to legal contraception" at risk?

    Does anyone believe this stuff?

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  30. Sadly I think many people do believe this stuff. And worse.

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. So....my religious liberties, as a Catholic, is worth $35/month to you?

    Not trying to be snarky, and I'm sure it would not come across as such, in person. Online is much harder, obviously, to portray tone.

    I am seriously asking. The religious liberties of millions of Americans are worth less than $30-50 a month? (Using your estimation for condoms here, plus cash costs of the pill at any pharmacy).

    A reluctance to stop at PP is worth more than religious freedoms?

    I don't really understand the comparison. Please explain it further, remembering that we are talking about religious liberty, NOT birth control, being inaccessible.

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  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  34. I am very sad that Miss G removed her comments. Very sad. That was a line of thought worth discussing.

    I guess that I wonder if Miss G is against this mandate?

    Also, why should I provide someone else's birth control for free? I can think of a million other medicines and treatments which should take precedent, esp. since birth control does not cure any disease, unless one thinks that healthy fertility is a medical disorder and that pregnancy is a pathology. And that would only be true in an upside down world. Which I think we may be occupying at the moment.

    There is simply no reason that Catholics should be forced to subsidize the sex lives of their employees.

    So....my religious liberties, as a Catholic, is worth $35/month to you?

    Heidi, brilliantly stated. Thank you.

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  35. Birth control pills are not just use for contraception. It was prescribed to me for health reasons.

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  36. By the way, if there is "potential breakage" to account for with condoms, Miss G, then they aren't worth a damn for HIV protection, are they? Would you stake your life on that piece of latex?

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  37. Anonymous, you are right, but that is not what the mandate is about. The mandate is for contraception and morning after pills and sterilization. That is what it is mandating. We must provide contraception, abortifacients and sterilizations to employees, against our religious beliefs. It is a sin for us. What side of this debate do you fall on? Because again, this is about religious freedom. I would stand firmly with the Orthodox Jews if the gov't was forcing them to serve pork in their restaurants. Would you? Will you stand for religious freedom, even if you don't agree with the tenets of Catholicism?

    Also, while most OB/gyns prescribe the Pill for pretty much every female disorder (it's simply all they know), there are many better ways to treat those issues which do not involve just masking them with steroids. NaPro doctors, for example, actually work to fix the underlying problem and make the body healthy and functioning again.

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  38. Anonymous, I can totally understand your statement. At one time in my life, I was told that the ONLY way to treat my condition (PCOS) was birth control. I took it, faithfully, until I was married because I, too, had been told that we were "treating" my disorder.

    Then I got married, and we wanted kids, and I stopped taking it. Guess what? It didn't treat anything....all of my symptoms came back, and with a vengeance. All it did was mask my symptoms.

    I am very lucky now, I will admit. My husband is a physician, and we have access to NaPro methods and treatments. My symptoms and disorder are now actually being treated, not just hidden.

    True treatments for medical conditions ARE out there....but unfortunately they are not taught to modern ob/gyns, who are trained in a contraceptive culture (not speculating here, I can witness to it, first hand). Check out NaProTechnology if you can...it seriously changed my life, without having to ingest a carcinogen.

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  39. Couple of thoughts. One friend of mine had this to say, and although it may seem funny or flippant, I hope people get the point:

    "If you made it through the grocery store today without having sex, you already have a way to avoid pregnancy."

    And for Protestants who may not agree with Catholics on the immorality of contraception, think of the other issue: Many, many, many millions of the women who are going to get their contraception paid for by you and me are women who are unmarried and fornicating. Why are any of us subsidizing and facilitating that sin? Awful!

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  40. The argument saying that because the Church receives federal funds it has to follow the law doesn't apply here- EVERY SINGLE employer, REGARDLESS IF THEY RECEIVE FEDERAL MONEY OR NOT, is mandated to carry "preventative health services". It has NOTHING to do with receiving federal money.

    Birth control does not equal viagra. Sterilization procedures do not equal viagra or prostrate treatment coverage for men (as I have heard multiple times- stupid argument). A woman does not NEED to take contraception to treat a disease. (the taking of the pill for "health" reasons is not what we are talking about AND YOU KNOW IT!!)

    Does anyone supporting this mandate EVEN BELIEVE IN THE FIRST AMENDMENT??? Because it certainly seems like you don't care a crap about it.

    Contraception and an anything goes idea about sexuality is the altar upon which you worship. There is no room in your minds or lives for religious freedom. You want what you want, whenever you want, however you want and others be damned.

    I am sorry to speak so strongly- it is something I do very rarely but the freedom of conscience is extremely important. Without it we as a people and a country are not free.

    Isn't freedom of conscience an idea valued by liberals? didn't liberals create it??? Why aren't YOU standing up to TYRANNY???

    This will not stand.

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  41. I could say something snarky about how all those poor unfortunate women who are employed by a Catholic institution can just go and get their birth control at Planned Parenthood but I won't...

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  42. Sunshine, I get your anger. I have rarely been so worked up. It is about liberty and freedom, and yet I don't see the left fighting with us. Hmmm. Makes me think that Dershowitz was right to say that liberals are only "liberal" in the areas of sex and drugs. On every other issue, they want to control everything we do and even what we think (political correctness, "hate" crimes, etc.). What about freedom, people? The First Amendment?

    I do think that even the Obama admin is a little nervous now. Look at how Carney handled questions at the press conference, when pressed about the mandate:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/31/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-13112

    You have to scroll to the relevant part. It even mentions my Phoenix bishop. Hooray for Bishop Olmsted and all the bishops who have spoken out! This will not stand.

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  43. of course we have a righteous anger over an unjust and I might add UNLAWFUL(- meaning against the LAW of our land- the CONSTITUTION-)infringement on our freedom!

    It is hard to view the future of our country like the progressives envision it if you believe in freedom and truth and goodness and family and the innocence and dignity of children- born and unborn. From what I have read in comments after articles about this topic it seems that there are many Americans who do not believe in religious freedom and are framing the debate about the merits of contraception and how its good for the Church to come out of the Dark Ages- I've read "it's about time", well, men get coverage for prostrate exams or viagra covered etc. etc. etc. the stupid argument list just goes on and on. JUST ADMIT YOU DON"T BELIEVE IN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!!! Especially when it comes to a differing viewpoint than your own- people who do not believe in contraception or abortion have NO rights- JUST SAY IT, ADMIT IT TO YOURSELVES!!!

    The question I have is what is the purpose behind this? What do you think Leila? Is Obama testing the waters or what? I really can't understand how he can do something so flagrantly against the law?

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  44. actually, sadly, it is not against the law according to Obamacare, which was passed by Congress.

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  45. I've seen and read some stupid arguments too, Sunshine. Where was it I read that a lady says the Blessed Mother is appearing to her to say that Vatican 3 will happen in a few years and reverse the Church's stance on contraception? Um, yeah - beyond words! I can't understand for the life of me why such people even want to stay in our Church! She (that lady) is praying for the Church to catch up w/the times. Personally, I am so very glad the Church does not change! Do people ever stop to think what that would mean? How could any of us ever possibly hope to know how to get to heaven if truth was constantly changing? How could we ever know what is moral or pleasing to God? How we offend Him? Thank God for the unchanging Catholic Church! What a blessing we have been given! I am most thankful and grateful!

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  46. To those who would reverse the moral law and think that there is nothing wrong with that, I would ask them to ponder the implications of God's words: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil."

    If contraception is good, then woe to all of Christendom for teaching that it is evil for lo these two thousand years (and what does that make the Church?). And if contraception is evil (as the Church has always taught), then woe to those who now want to call it good. Can't have it both ways.

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  47. I made some typos in the posts above so I am trying again.

    I am curious about something. I have seen several people on this blog say the latest health insurance issue is not about contraception, it is about religious freedom. I don't agree. The Muslim equivalent of Catholic law (would you call that Catechisms?) would be Sharia law, which severely limits women's freedoms. I've read that some Muslims have insisted that to be forced to treat women with more dignity would be trampling on their religious freedom because they are doing what the Qur'an dictates. Some Mormons might claim that practicing polygamy is part of their religion, or having child brides. I am not suggesting that denying contraception is morally equivalent to these Muslim/Mormon practices, but the CONCEPT is the same.

    If I believe that Mormons should not be able to have child brides is that about religious freedom or is it about the morality of having sex with girls? I would claim the latter. Just because something is condoned in someone's holy book (and every religion believes their holy book is the TRUTH just as much as Catholics believe theirs is) doesn't mean it's bigoted to refuse to support it.

    I do recognize the logic of saying that forcing Catholics to pay for contraception is denying them religious freedom. But I just can't get worked up about it.

    To me, having access to contraception is so basic to women's (and men's) health and well being, and having huge families is so bad for the planet and everyone one on it, that it doesn't bother me. As it doesn't bother me when Muslims are told they cannot practice Sharia law in this country, whether it goes against their religion or not.

    Do think that people's religious practices, WHATEVER they are, should be protected, just because they're dictated by a holy book?

    If not, where do you draw the line? And who gets to decide that?

    Does each religion get to have its own "moral law?" Who decides which religion is right when they have different laws? How should the government figure into it?

    I may be convinced eventually that the new law about Catholics and contraception should be reversed but I'm not there yet.

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  48. Sarah, clarify for me: You already have the right to contraception. No one is stopping you. But are you also saying that if Catholics don't provide you with contraception then you are being denied your human rights?

    See that is where you lose me totally. I hope that is not what you are saying. But you are saying that you are okay with denying us religious freedom. That is scary to me.

    You see, the tenets of Sharia law that you are talking about, or some freaks who want to have sex with children -- those things actually do infringe upon basic human rights. For example, a child has a right to be innocent and not be raped. A woman has the right to freedom of movement and not to be killed in honor killings, etc.

    But you are equating that with your right to have Catholics pay for your birth control? You can have all the birth control you want, but I shouldn't have to subsidize your sex life. See, that's a big distinction to me… no one is denying you anything. I just refuse to hand you the thing that I believe to be sinful.

    A fellow blogger, Cathy Ward, said it this way:

    "I don't expect Jews to hand feed me a ham sammich, I don't expect Muslims to serve me beer, I don't expect Christian Scientists to vaccinate my kid, I don't expect Quakers to defend my nation, and I sure as hell don't expect Catholics to pay for my estrogen pills and abortions."

    Can you see?

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  49. I do recognize the logic of saying that forcing Catholics to pay for contraception is denying them religious freedom. But I just can't get worked up about it.

    You can't get worked up about fellow Americans being denied their religious freedom?

    I don't really even know what to say about that.

    Because if someone told me that the president was using the power of the federal government to tell Orthodox Jews that they had to serve pork in all their restaurants, I would be fighting so hard for their right to religious freedom! Even though I love pork.

    I am so, so sad that you do not feel the same when your fellow citizens are being denied religious freedom.

    I don't even know how to get my mind around that.

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  50. I actually don't use contraception so I'm not talking about myself. I will think about your comments. Thank you very much.

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  51. Does each religion get to have its own "moral law?" Who decides which religion is right when they have different laws? How should the government figure into it?

    First, the moral law is universal and it's what we call the Natural Law. It applies to everyone (Don't kill, don't steal, don't covet, don't commit adultery, etc….all creeds get this). Contraception (which is part of the misuse of human sexuality) was considered wrong even by secular society until very recently, as well as the orthodox of all religions. It is not a Catholic thing at all. It's just that the Catholic Church still holds fast to unchanging morality, and others have decided that free sex with no consequences is the better way to go. But that is a departure from the universal moral law, not a specifically Catholic thing.

    However, having said that, no Catholic is trying to get your contraceptives out of your hands. You are not encumbered are you? Aren't you free to access contraception if you please (forget that fact that it is NOT a healthy thing whatsoever)? The issue here is why a Catholic employer has to violate his conscience and subsidize his employees' sex lives? It makes no sense. Had anyone ever been outraged by this "violation" before? Have you known anyone masses of Americans who have had the rallying cry that "Catholics need to pay for my contraception or my rights are denied me!"

    It's a made up mandate, totally unnecessary, by an administration which is positively obsessed with sexual freedoms, abortion and contraception. Seriously, you'd think the Planned Parenthood agenda (which is abhorrent to many people of good will, not just Catholics) is the highest good in the land, even higher than the Constitutional right to freedom of religious expression.

    I just can barely believe we have arrived at this point.

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  52. Sarah, I didn't mean to assume that you do use contraception. It's sort of the "generic you" I was intending. Sorry, I get very informal in these comments. :)

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  53. "But you are equating that with your right to have Catholics pay for your birth control?"

    Leila
    I said they are NOT morally equivalent but the concept is similar. I cannot support religious organizations practices JUST BECAUSE they are religious. It isn't fair to complain about one's "religious freedom" being denied while at the same time claiming the issue at hand (in this case, contraception) is irrelevant.

    It is relevant. That is my point.

    I don't agree with all the people who insist this isn't about contraception and it's only about religious freedom. It's about both of those things.

    I'm sorry at this late hour I could only think of arguments I've heard made for religious freedom that were much more extreme than this. It's the concept. I hope that makes sense.

    I am sorry if my comments are offensive. I am trying very hard to grapple with the issue and understand where Catholics are coming from.

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  54. Sarah- I too find your thoughts on this matter very frightening but I want to thank you for at least being honest and saying what you are thinking.

    I hope you will come to a better understanding of where the Church will stand on this issue as it relates to our religious freedom. Did you read the blog post by Bad Catholic that Leila linked to?

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  55. leila- your comment at 11:19 is right on- very pertinant distinctions. thank you!

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  56. I have two comments here, from two different angles.

    First, the analogy that Leila brings up often about not requiring a Kosher restaurant to serve ham to their customers is a little bit off. Leila is correct that requiring them to serve ham would be unreasonable. However,
    1. eating ham is not a public health mandate
    2. this kosher restaurant is not the only place people can get food

    If you employ the public, and you provide health care for the public, then there must be standards of health care that must be met. Setting national standards for health care is for the public good. The alternative, of course, is to have the state provide health care - but until we can get that, then we must regulate the employers who provide health care to the public.

    Second, on the topic of religious persecution. I actually started out on this topic in your favor, until I read sarah's and other comments. I actually did think that catholics shouldn't be required to do this.

    But then I read the quote about "I didn't stand up for the catholics and now there's no one left to stand up for me."

    You could say "And I didn't stand up for the atheists and now there is no one left to stand up for me." You keep bringing up this first amendment - the establishment clause, I presume? Where the government shall not establish a religion? That one?

    So you are NOT bothered when publicly funded institutions force upon me (an athiest) Christian prayer - which is against my beliefs - but you ARE bothered when it is the other way around? Why should my property taxes, which go to directly pay the teachers in my district, go to have them teach my children about God?

    Apply that "I didn't stand up for them, and there was no one left to stand up for me" to yourselves.

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  57. Sorry, MaiZeke, when did the government establish a religion (as England did)? Can you show me that working document? Then I will continue.

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  58. "free sex with no consequences is the better way to go"

    I just want to point out that this is an illusion that "sex has no consequences" that ties in with the illusion of "having access to contraception is so basic to women's (and men's) health and well being".

    That's the thing that gets me. A lot of people criticize religious believers for "blind faith" and "blind obedience" and yet people swallow this "contraception helps the poor/helps women/stops disease/stops unplanned pregnancy/stops abortion" illusion hook, line, and sinker.

    Yet when you look at the statistics and think about it as the logical reality (as opposed to the utopian dream) you see that this is just not true. When 54% of women who come in for abortions report using contraception in the month they conceived, how exactly does contraception prevent unwanted pregnancy/abortion? Look at the rise of single parenthood and STD's in the past few decades.

    The user and method failures rates for contraception are higher than most people realize (please see the current recall on birth control pills). Condoms don't adequately protect against all STDs. And the illusion that people have been fed that contraception is 100% full-proof against both pregnancy and disease encourages riskier behavior...which leads to more unplanned pregnancies and disease.

    Throwing condoms and birth control pills at the poor is not what is going to get them out of poverty. You have to reach out to the underlying cultural roots that lead them to make bad decisions and then help them with the aspects of their poverty that are beyond their control.

    So, what really gets me is that the Obama Administration wants to trample on the religious freedoms based on this utopian illusion they have in their heads.

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  59. Contraception is about providing health care for the public? Can you remind me what disease or disorder contraception cures or treats? (I know that chemo treats cancer, for example, and insulin treats diabetes.)

    Sarah, when you say it's about "both those things" (contraception and religious freedom), are you saying that religious people only have First Amendment rights when the government thinks their beliefs are reasonable? And if so, doesn't that completely defeat the point of the Amendment? I have protection as a religious person precisely because the government might want to strip it away from me, thinking it unreasonable.

    Also, you didn't answer (I don't think?) about a mandate that would force Orthodox Jews to serve pork to their customers? (Let's say that the government decides there's a compelling health reason for people to eat pork; and remember, people can get pork anywhere else, not just at the Kosher delis).

    Also, should the Quakers be forced by the federal gov't to provide guns and ammo to their employees (who could get it elsewhere)?

    Thanks!

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  60. When a government employee in their office as a government employee, such as a teacher, proselytizes. We do not have to have a religion such as England did in order be forced to practice someone else's religion.

    For the sake of argument, let us say that my religion is secular humanism. Having my children be forced to hear prayers about god at their public government-funded school violates my right to freely practice my own religion, and not be forced to practice the teacher's religion.

    And you do not stand up for that. Think about it for a while, Leila.

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  61. And, MaiZeke, I'm sorry if I am being obtuse, but do you consider your atheism a religion?

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  62. MaiZeke, so essentially you're saying that you were convinced upon principal alone, but upon reading an emotional outcry for support you changed your position out of vengeance?

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  63. I'm sorry at this late hour I could only think of arguments I've heard made for religious freedom that were much more extreme than this. It's the concept. I hope that makes sense.

    Sarah, what religious freedoms are allowable, in your eyes?

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  64. MaiZeke, so essentially you're saying that you were convinced upon principal alone, but upon reading an emotional outcry for support you changed your position out of vengeance?

    LJP, this is a positively brilliant observation, and an excellent question. MaiZeke?

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  65. Barbara, exactly! This idea that contraception is sooooo good for women and families is an illusion, pure and simple. I wonder why no one ever mentions that the biggest single indicator of poverty is having a baby before one is married. And that the rise of single motherhood has risen astronomically, during the same time that access to contraception and abortion have increased astronomically. Why on earth hasn't the contraception-saturated nation seen a massive turn toward this Utopia they seek? Do they ever ponder this irony? Or do they continue to insist that we simply have not gone far enough in stuffing our daughters and sisters and girlfriends full of chemicals and steroids and hormones to make their bodies (which are healthy and functioning) derail?

    It's just plain weird to me. And yet, I am pretty sure I used to believe that crap.

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  66. LJP says "MaiZeke, so essentially you're saying that you were convinced upon principal alone, but upon reading an emotional outcry for support you changed your position out of vengeance?"

    No, it wasn't "reading an emotional outcry for support" that changed my mind. What I said was "actually started out on this topic in your favor, until I read sarah's and other comments. "

    Sarah writes well, and makes very good arguments.

    Please read what I say before you jump to conclusions, LJP.

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  67. This comment from Stacy also turned the tables away from Catholics (on the other thread)

    "It's the conscience thing -- if it's really wrong, it's really wrong independent of how someone feels about it. If we Catholics really believe contraception is wrong, we should tell our doctors that and insist they stop dispensing it, whether they are Catholic or not."

    What about my first amendment rights? It seems pretty clear from statements like this that you have no respect for my first amendment rights regarding religion.

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  68. When a government employee in their office as a government employee, such as a teacher, proselytizes. We do not have to have a religion such as England did in order be forced to practice someone else's religion.

    For the sake of argument, let us say that my religion is secular humanism. Having my children be forced to hear prayers about god at their public government-funded school violates my right to freely practice my own religion, and not be forced to practice the teacher's religion.

    And you do not stand up for that. Think about it for a while, Leila.


    So, they are doing catechism in public schools now? It's weird, because if I went to school and didn't hear anything about God, I would not think that now I was being forced to practice atheism. I also would not think that the government had established atheism as the state religion.

    How do you reconcile the Establishment Clause with the fact that simultaneously the Founders and all members of government were quite okay with using God in their speeches, and praying in the public square, etc. How do you account for that? Maybe you are misunderstanding what they meant… could that be possible?

    When Obama says, "God bless America" in his official capacity as President, does that mean he has established a religion and is making you practice it? And how come he doesn't realize that, if so?

    See, if I hear a Muslim teacher or a Muslim congressman thanking "Allah" for something, or hear a Hindu teacher praise a god or gods, it would literally never cross my mind for a split second that I have just been forced to practice the Muslim or Hindu religion.

    Call me crazy.

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  69. It's like you are saying this, MaiZeke:

    I am a Catholic standing in the Capitol Rotunda. I hear a Muslim congressman thank Allah for his blessings this day. Suddenly, I am no longer a practicing Catholic! I have been forced to be a Muslim! I am, for those moments, stripped of my rights to be a Catholic, and I have been forced by the government to start practicing Islam! I am a Muslim now!

    Okay, do you see how ridiculously silly that is? And yet you said the equivalent, here:

    For the sake of argument, let us say that my religion is secular humanism. Having my children be forced to hear prayers about god at their public government-funded school violates my right to freely practice my own religion, and not be forced to practice the teacher's religion.

    You are actually saying that hearing another person pray is "being forced to practice their religion"!

    Do you see how… silly…. that is?

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  70. MaiZeke, you said:

    First, the analogy that Leila brings up often about not requiring a Kosher restaurant to serve ham to their customers is a little bit off. Leila is correct that requiring them to serve ham would be unreasonable. However,
    1. eating ham is not a public health mandate
    2. this kosher restaurant is not the only place people can get food


    I think Leila is closer to "right on" that you realize. Her analogy 100% applies to the HHS mandate.

    Reasons?

    Birth control is NOT a preventative health care measure (as she explained later on). Preventative health care is care that is meant to optimize the natural functions and health of our bodies. Birth control does not do that - in fact, it does just the opposite: it shuts down a naturally, properly operating bodily system.

    And your point #2 actually SUPPORTS the outcry against the mandate. Catholic institutions are not the only place where birth control can be obtained. It is very accessible, in many different forms. In other words, there are other places where people can eat their ham.

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  71. [Stacy said] "It's the conscience thing -- if it's really wrong, it's really wrong independent of how someone feels about it. If we Catholics really believe contraception is wrong, we should tell our doctors that and insist they stop dispensing it, whether they are Catholic or not."

    MaiZeke said: What about my first amendment rights? It seems pretty clear from statements like this that you have no respect for my first amendment rights regarding religion.


    Wait, MaiZeke, aren't we all free to try to influence those around us? After all, everything -- every idea, every piece of legislation even -- is someone's values that have won out over someone else's. If Catholics cannot even try to personally influence their docs to do the right thing (as we see fit, since fertility is health, not a pathology), then what do you think about Catholics who do things like vote and run for office? Should we be allowed to?

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  72. MaiZeke,

    Ok, when I read "I actually did think that catholics shouldn't be required to do this." Then the very next sentence was "But then I read the quote about..." I (mis)understood that to be the point at which you changed your mind. I didn't think it was that much of a jump, but upon re-reading I see what you meant. I'm glad I misunderstood, good to know you didn't change your mind on the value of the First Amendment based on emotions!

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  73. Leila says: "Wait, MaiZeke, aren't we all free to try to influence those around us? After all, everything -- every idea, every piece of legislation even -- is someone's values that have won out over someone else's. If Catholics cannot even try to personally influence their docs to do the right thing (as we see fit, since fertility is health, not a pathology), then what do you think about Catholics who do things like vote and run for office? Should we be allowed to?"

    You cannot even see the parallel. You are not prepared to even accept that I should be allowed to freely practice my secular humanism - you think you are free to impose your views on all around you.

    Yes, Leila, it is a free country. You can try to impose your views, of course. And so can I. However, if you want people's support for your own views ...

    To quote that one anonymous, "Leila,
    If you want the help of Protestants, maybe you should be more gracious and less condescending.
    Blessings!"

    I'll see her "Blessings!" and add a "Thanks!"

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  74. I'm sorry, MaiZeke, when have I impeded you from practicing your religion? Thanks!

    And, if you could answer the points above. Is hearing someone pray the same as you being forced to convert and practice their religion?

    And, what of the Founders? And Obama saying "God bless America? (It's all above.)

    And I will remind you, as I reminded "anonymous" that you should read the link at the top thoroughly ("Please Read First") in case your feelings are ever hurt. It's just how we roll here in the Bubble.

    Blessings!

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  75. Okay, off to indoctrinate my child via homeschooling while I'm still allowed to by the federal government!

    I do hope you will answer the specific questions, though, MaiZeke. I have never heard that before, that hearing someone else pray or speak of God means that you have had a forced conversion and are now practicing a new religion.

    If I misunderstood, please set me straight. Thanks!

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  76. To me, having access to contraception is so basic to women's (and men's) health and well being, and having huge families is so bad for the planet and everyone one on it, that it doesn't bother me.

    First of all, the bolded part is an oxymoron. You cannot have something against conception - which is part of a natural healthy reproductive system - and claim it is FOR health and well-being. They mean completely opposite things.

    Once again. Since the 1950's the population of the world as exploded, the funny thing is, the birth rates, and total fertility rates of the world have dropped significantly since the 1950's. Hmmmm. If having large families was as bad for the planet as has been claimed, then why did the population grow exponentially at the same times the people were having less and less and less children. Maybe it has to do that since the 1950's 6 major regions of the world (conveniently the ones with the MOST people) have had their life expectancies increase by 20 years or more. (Providing that they live past the age of two, because many 3rd world countries - the countries with the highest fertility rates, also have the highest infant mortality rates in the world). Again, I stated it before on the other post, and I'll state it again. Claiming that contraception and abortion are good for the planet due to overpopulation is disingenuous if you're (royal you) not also going to advocate for euthanasia, suicide, against modern medicine, and plan on committing suicide yourself (still royal you) when you've outlived your usefulness.

    As far as the benefits of large families, I recommend the following http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jennifer-fulwiler/why-my-big-family-is-not-overpopulating-the-earth/
    Pay particular attention to the #6

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  77. I will not go off on tangents - remember, this is my new year's resolution. If you don't like it, please feel free to ban me. Or not reply to me, whatever.

    I will only make this reply: My point is that you are asking non-Catholics to speak out against this affront to your religious liberty. I do not see you speak out against affronts to my religious liberty nor do I see you speak out against affronts to Protestant religious liberty. If you want religious liberty, it should apply to everyone, not just Catholics.

    "I didn't stand up for the <> and now there is no one left to stand up for me." It was a good quote that person used for this situation.

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  78. Why do you think Catholics are so politically active, MaiZeke?

    Could it be that they are advocating for non-Catholics, too? It's often not about spreading their doctrine. If that was the case, I would think our country would look a lot different.

    Can you clarify what you mean? Does religious liberty mean that those of us Christians should not be allowed to pray out loud? You have the choice to not join in, but simply ignore it. I mean, I'm Canadian. Is it an affront to me to have to listen to the Pledge every morning in school? I wasn't forced to SAY it, mind you.

    Where are you being forced to participate, as a secularist? I would think that, if anything, you're being asked to tolerate, not convert, and isn't "tolerance" one of the goals of secularism?

    What about history? Is mentioning the Church in a historical context also off limits? That happened at my public school, but no one was converting us to Catholicism with it.

    I think Leila isn't recognizing your parallel, because there isn't a true parallel.

    Clarify. What am I missing here?

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  79. MaiZeke, you did not address my specific questions.

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  80. And, if anyone were told by the federal government that they could not practice their faith freely, or follow their conscience, of course I would speak out and fight! Are you kidding?

    If the government forced you to take the Eucharist, or wear a burka, I would be outraged. But hearing someone else pray is no violation of your "religious freedom of expression" as an atheist MaiZeke. Sorry, it's just not.

    I do wish you would answer my very specific questions. It would clear up a lot.

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  81. Claiming that contraception and abortion are good for the planet due to overpopulation is disingenuous if you're (royal you) not also going to advocate for euthanasia, suicide, against modern medicine, and plan on committing suicide yourself (still royal you) when you've outlived your usefulness.

    Exactly.

    Sarah, what do you think about this?

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  82. "And, if anyone were told by the federal government that they could not practice their faith freely, or follow their conscience, of course I would speak out and fight! Are you kidding?"

    It is a part of my faith in secular humanism that gay people should be allowed to marry and raise children. The federal government currently does not allow gay people to practice their faith freely.

    Are you speaking out for gay people on this?

    Are YOU kidding?!

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  83. No, I think you're grasping at straws here. Why should Leila fight for what you believe in, and not her own beliefs?

    Show me where gay people are not practicing their FAITH freely? I do believe there are many institutions that recognize gay marriage, and act accordingly. I have many gay friends who are married in the eyes of their church......

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    Replies
    1. They also all have children that they are raising....

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  84. It is a part of my faith in secular humanism that gay people should be allowed to marry and raise children. The federal government currently does not allow gay people to practice their faith freely.

    That's awesome that you have that belief, and that is why you lobby for it, and vote for it. My belief is different, so I lobby for and vote for the opposite. And, a pedophile has the right to lobby to make pedophilia part of "marriage equality". We all have the right to do that, and hope that our side wins in the legislative, cultural battle.

    But what you would have NO right to do, even if you won the legislative/cultural battle, is to force me to perform or accommodate a gay "wedding" or "marriage". You cannot coerce my conscience, and you cannot mandate that I commit a sin.

    Do you get the distinction, MaiZeke? Because it's a BIG one.


    (By the way, what is the "faith of the gay people"? Is that an established faith? I haven't heard of it.)

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  85. It is a part of my faith in secular humanism that gay people should be allowed to marry and raise children. The federal government currently does not allow gay people to practice their faith freely.

    And they can marry. Just marry members of the opposite sex. Because marriage is the recognition of the unique relationship of a man and a woman, who have the potential of creating life through their sexual union, ultimately giving up their lives to one another for the rest of their own lives.

    Once you take one of those caveats away, it ceases to be marriage.

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  86. I think it's ridiculous. euthanasia, suicide, and not having modern medicine (safe abortion is modern medicine, but the way) are ways to kill PEOPLE WHO EXIST. Contraception is a way to prevent people from coming into existence. It is also a way to prevent the world from being so populated that no one can have a quality of life.

    And for the record, I did not make "an emotional plea for support." I was trying to bring logic into an argument that didn't make sense to me so I could hear responses and possibly re-calibrate or not.

    "Sarah, when you say it's about "both those things" (contraception and religious freedom), are you saying that religious people only have First Amendment rights when the government thinks their beliefs are reasonable? And if so, doesn't that completely defeat the point of the Amendment? I have protection as a religious person precisely because the government might want to strip it away from me, thinking it unreasonable."

    Leila--that is my question to you. Which is why I brought up Sharia law (which some Muslims would argue is "natural law"--though I certainly wouldn't). Does the government have a right to strip Muslims of practicing Sharia law because they think it unreasonable? I would say yes. At a certain point the government has to have that right. Members of the religion that doesn't believe in medical intervention (can't remember the name of it) have been arrested because they denied their children medicine that could have saved the children's lives. They have said their religious freedoms were trampled. But the government has deemed that the right to deny children life-saving medical care is not reasonable, even though it's a religious belief. I agree with that.

    And so, in principle, don't you agree that the government has the right to deny a group its religious freedoms that it deems unreasonable? I think so. I suspect you think so too. I suspect your real disagreement is with WHAT is deemed unreasonable.

    About the pork thing--no I don't think Jews should be forced to serve pork, but the government HASN'T decided pork is a public health risk, so I don't see the argument as relevant.

    Unwanted pregnancy is a serious public health issue--and standards of health care and regulating public health care are appropriate roles for the government--while deciding what is to be served in privately-owned restaurants is not (unless pork were to be deemed a public health risk--in which case it would be appropriate)

    @ Barbara--the statistic that 54% of women seeking abortions used birth control the same month has no meaning whatsoever unless you also know how many women using birth control in the same month did NOT seek an abortion (and would have if they had gotten pregnant).

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  87. From what I'm reading, it sounds like people who have no problem w/this gov mandate against the Church believe that 51% of the population get to decide what should be a protected religious freedom and what should not. Is that about right?

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  88. "marriage is the recognition of the unique relationship of a man and a woman, who have the potential of creating life through their sexual union, ultimately giving up their lives to one another for the rest of their own lives."

    Barbara--in reality, legal marriage in this country has nothing to do with those things (except that right now members of the same sex are not allowed to marry, for the most part). Legal marriage is something you can get for a small fee and a 10-minute romp through a drive-in chapel in Las Vegas. The ability to have children doesn't enter it (notice no one has to have a fertility test to get a marriage license) And that small fee and romp through the chapel buys a couple of lifetime of legal rights--and those are rights that gay people want to have and are ethically entitled to have.

    The definition of marriage that you give is the CATHOLIC definition. And so the Catholic church does not recognize or perform marriages that don't match that definition. It is the Catholic Church's right to do that.

    But gay people are not asking for the right to marry in the Catholic church (well, I guess Catholic gays might be, but, in this rare instance, I side with the Catholic Church)--they are asking to have legal marriages that allow them the same legal rights.

    I think every church should have the right to decide for whom it will perform a marriage rite and whose marriages it will recognize. But legal marriage (which can be performed by a justice of the peace) has nothing to do with procreation and doesn't require that it lasts a lifetime. It is a legal arrangement bestowing legal rights that every citizen deserves to have.

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  89. Contraception is a way to prevent people from coming into existence. Or in other words playing God.

    It is also a way to prevent the world from being so populated that no one can have a quality of life. No, it's the only way for people to control the population (not their job), so that they can live how they want as opposed to how they should. Prior to the 1950's the population was increasing at a vastly slower rate than it did after the 1950's, and the cause for the increase is life expectancy- NOT large families. Trying to reduce the world's population by limiting family size or the amount of children coming into the world drastically effects the world's ability to sustain itself. Not enough workers to replace the aging population, which means more burdens placed on fewer people.

    I'd be willing to guess, in all actuality, that the reason why the world's population has continued to increase, even at the slow steady rate from prior to the 1950's, had more to do with the gradual increase in life expectancies than it ever had to do with birth rates.

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  90. Sarah, I understand what you are saying regarding child brides and Sharia law, I really do. But what I am also seeing is that you are refusing to make the distinction that those laws are in place to PROTECT the basic rights to life and liberty of American citizens.

    This mandate does not meet those same qualifications. No one's life or liberty is at stake here : women are not being forced to do anything that will harm them. If a pregnancy is dangerous or economically dangerous, she can still prevent it.

    The only liberties being prohibited here ARE of Catholics, and it is not being done to protect anyone.

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  91. I really want to refocus this thread, because this issue is so very important for our country. This is NOT about contraception, it is about the CONSTITUTION. If you don't care about religious liberty, then do you care about freedom of the press, freedom from having soldiers billeted in your home, freedom of association, etc? If the government in power can override the constitution on one issue, then the constitution becomes irrelevant and none of us has any protection from anything that the government decides to do. This is why we must stop them NOW.

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  92. I appreciate what you are saying, Heidi, and it makes some sense. But it is the job of the government to establish standards of care for its citizens. And when the Catholic Church becomes a large employer of many people who are not Catholic, then, I believe, it should be bound by government standards. I don't think the government has the right to insist that Catholics themselves do things against their religion.

    I am trying to put myself in your shoes. I used to be a Quaker and there are Quaker universities and schools that probably hire non-Quakers. Should Quakers be forced to buy guns for their employees? (someone on this blog asked that--I think it was Leila.) I would say no, but not owning guns is not a public health issue. Quakers could say that employees of Quakers could buy their own gun, which is true, but it's not necessary to own a gun in the first place. I suppose you would say (I'm thinking as I write here) that it's not necessary to have contraception. But I disagree with that. I think it's a personal as well as public health issue to have safe and affordable contraception. And for some women, the less expensive forms of contraception (condoms, foam) are not good options. Other, more effective forms, are more expensive (the pill, IUDs, patches).

    Anyway, that is my thought process. And contrary to what people may think, I am not writing on this blog to make an emotional outcry for support. I would never expect to get "support" on a Catholic blog. I am trying to better understand how a large group of people (Catholics) think because it is a way of thinking that often makes no sense to me. The best way to do that is to present my ideas directly to Catholics to see what they have to say. Thanks.

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  93. The definition of marriage that you give is the CATHOLIC definition. And so the Catholic church does not recognize or perform marriages that don't match that definition. It is the Catholic Church's right to do that.

    No, it's not a CATHOLIC definition. It doesn't matter WHAT you call it, call it marriage, call it the Sacarament of Matrimony, call it hornabubby for all I care. A relationship characterized by the following two traits: 1) a couple united in an indissoluble bond centered around the action of love AND 2) Through the unifying act of conjugal love has the potential of creating new life, is a unique relationship. It's different from a same-sex relationship, it's different from a cohabiting-couple relationship, it's different from the relationships I have with my children or my parents, it's different than relationships I have with my good friends, or even my best friend. It's different from EVERY OTHER relationship out there.
    For a LONG LONG time the word marriage has been the term given to this type of relationship. Describing Same-sex relationships as the same as this relationship is simply false, it's like saying 3=4. You want to label same-sex relationships as marriage, FINE (well not fine, but I'll get to that), but then what do we call THIS relationship, this unique relationship is entitled to a name ALL it's own, precisely because it's unique.

    Oh, yes, but I know, we don't recognize unique, because it leaves someone out and hurts their feelings - because what everyone should be the same. Well, tough bananas (I really wanted to use the other word I was thinking but I decided against it). "When everyone is SPECIAL, NO ONE is." -The Incredibles I mean this is what you really want, right? No recognition for that which may really truly be different, unique, "gifted" (pulling from the movie), because we don't want to make anyone FEEL bad.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't really matter WHAT you call it, this relationship will ALWAYS and IN EVERY WAY be different from ALL other relationships. But, quite frankly, we're tired of being pushed around and having words taken away, so that people don't feel bad. I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad, But I'm going to recognize unique, especially when it's unique and good, ALL THE TIME!

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  94. Mary Margaret--I believe (as I logically and painstakingly explained) that this IS about contraception, not just religious freedom.

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  95. But, what I'd like to ask you, is point me to where the Catholic Church is prohibiting the use of those items?

    It doesn't exist. The Church is not withholding these items for anyone - merely not paying for them. There is a huge distinction.

    My husband is an OB/GYN, and a member of both ACOG and AAPLOG (college of ob/gyn, and the pro life association of ob/gyns). There is MAJOR disagreement in the medical world about whether or not birth control is - or should be - a "standard of care." It's not a definite thing, by any means.

    At one point in time, using leeches was the standard of care for almost every illness. "Standard of care" is a sliding scale, based on medical evidence at that time, correct? The medical evidence is not conclusive on this issue, not even nearly so. Should we base a concrete mandate - that will concretely violate Catholic religious liberty - on an incredibly non-concrete opinion?

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  96. Sarah, to distill it down: The aspects of Sharia law that would be suppressed by a government would be when one person's practice of that religious tenet infringed upon the human rights of another person.

    Are you saying that unless I am forced to provide your contraception (which you can get elsewhere, by the way), I am violating your human rights?

    Must I personally supply someone with contraception or or else be in violation of that person's human rights?

    Because that is the only way this Sharia analogy works.

    Because it seems to me that you are not only saying that you (the generic you) have a right to contraception, but also that you have the right to be given it for free, by me.

    Is that the case you are making?

    Thanks!

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  97. And if someone could please tell me which disease or disorder is cured by contracepting? Medicine is supposed to restore a body to working order. How does this happen with contraception?

    After all, fertility is health, isn't it?

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  98. Barbara

    You obviously have strong feelings about this but I really have no idea what you're talking about. Gay people (and their advocates) are not complaining about feeling "hurt," they are addressing legal inequalities.

    If the Catholic church wants to treat relationships with your definition as unique then I think they should be free to do so. But the federal government should not have that right.

    And, historically, the institution of legal marriage didn't have anything to do with "love"--it was an exchange of property from male to male. Or, in the case of royalty, for governments to create alliances. In some countries, even today, marriages are arranged and the two people involved don't meet until their wedding day.

    I am not attached to the word "marriage," in fact it has a negative connotation to me. But the legal relationship that is granted certain rights is called "marriage," If the government came up with another name that would be fine with me.

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  99. Sarah, you are responding to Bethany, not Barbara.

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  100. MaiZeke, one more thing: The tenet of your religion which says, "Gay people have the right to have the federal government recognize their "marriage" by supplying a marriage license" actually requires the gov't give you something, right? A marriage license.

    I don't believe that any tenet of my religion works like that. My religious requirements are that the gov't (and you) let me be free to practice my millennia-old faith. I don't need the gov't or you to provide me with a church, or a Bible, or altar cloths, or even the hospital and school buildings we work in, and I don't even need you to provide a certificate of holy Matrimony or baptism. I only need you and the gov't to leave me free to practice my faith.

    But you are telling me that your religion actually requires something proactive from the state! You are saying that your religion requires that you are given a marriage license to approve and legalize your "union" as a gay person (generic you).

    Your religion seems to infringe upon the gov't a lot, frankly. And I can't think of another religion that does that? Religious freedom means, leave us free, not "give us something".

    So, I can't quite wrap my mind around your analogy.

    Also, your religious "right" to have a marriage license granted for gay couples by the state is a fairly new "practice" of your religion. How long has your religion required marriage licenses for gay people as a requirement for practicing your faith? Maybe five or ten years? If even that (if it's even recognized as a religious tenet)?

    By contrast, my belief system and my religion (which asks nothing of you) has been around, unchanged and very well-established, for about two millennia.

    See if a religious tenet is brand new and also is solely about getting something from the state (a license), then I don't know how it can really be a religious tenet? We may have very different ideas of what a religious tenet actually is.

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  101. I don't think the government has the right to insist that Catholics themselves do things against their religion.

    Sarah, this is good to hear! Because if I provide contraceptives to people, I will go to hell, in my belief system. How can the gov't force me to do something that is worthy of hell?

    I suppose you would say (I'm thinking as I write here) that it's not necessary to have contraception.

    Yes, that is exactly right. It is only in this recent era that anyone would think that contraception is 'necessary' in the life of human beings. I assure you, it is not. Neither is abortion. These are choices we make, but they are not necessities of life. Fertility is not a disease, and pregnancy is not a pathology. There is nothing wrong with women's bodies and healthy fertility! I don't know why feminists are so against their own awesome, beautifully made bodily systems! It seems very anti-woman to me.

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  102. Whoops, in case that was taken wrong: I'm not saying you are anti-woman, Sarah. I'm just saying that the mindset which sees a healthy woman's body and says, "We need to change it and make it derail and thwart what it is designed to do!" seems like such an anti-woman position to take.

    Hope that was clear.

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  103. Ok, Sarah, I feel I have to correct you. When I was responding to MaiZeke and mentioned the "emotional outcry for support" I was not referring to you, I was referring to the quote she had mentioned reading in her post. Nobody here is accusing you of emotionally crying out for support.

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  104. MaiZeke: The Constitution is not a word game for you to pick apart and go "Gotcha!" It is a document that espouses our Nation's character, values and beliefs. The words all have meaning- choosing to re-define them just because it fits your particular agenda cheapens the very thing that makes all of us Americans.

    The establishment clause and the Free exercise Clause protect both of us. They protect my right to attend Mass, say my prayers and worship my God. They protect your right to not say prayers, attend mass or worship any God.

    Atheism is not a religion. Nor is socialism, capitalism, or the NFL. Religion has a very specific meaning to try to re-define the word to include any and all worldviews cheapens the protection I have to attend Mass and cheapens the protect you have to not be forced to attend Mass.

    You don't have a "right" to not hear a prayer. Just because your philosophy and worldview say gay marriage should be allowed and prayers shouldn't be said doesn't mean you get the same "religious freedom" rights Catholics get when they attend Mass and pray on the street. Because atheism is NOT A RELIGION.

    Sarah- The free exercise clause is balanced by the state's interest in promoting public safety. In order for the state to interfere in religious practices the state must have a compelling interest that clearly outweighs the value of religious freedom. That's why you can't think of a "minor" example but must resort to trying to say an exploitation of a child is the same as forcing Catholics to pay for contraception.

    The problem most of the public does not understand is Catholics are not allowed to provide or promote the use of contraceptives. It is not enough, in our teachings, to abstain from the use yourself. We CANNOT provide it to others and we CANNOT provide financial assistance to others for the purpose of buying contraceptives.

    The fact you don't agree or like it- doesn't matter. I think it is silly the Jews can't eat pork or the Hindus a cow. But I would never shove those items down their throats which is exactly what this law is trying to do.

    No one is saying you can't use contraceptives, all we are saying is we won't PAY for it.

    Let's shred the Constitution because we don't feel like buying our own elective birth control while millions who are truly sick and are desperate for care go without. I sure wouldn't want to be near Sebelius when she meets St. Peter.

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    1. Oh my gosh breaking my own rule on "reply" to say THANK YOU!!!! You have said this better than I ever could, StarFireKK.

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  105. Sarah,

    Bethany is right. The understanding of the heterosexuality of marriage is not unique to Catholicism at all. This is how marriage has been understood always and everywhere. Two men getting "married" is a very, very new concept, no matter the creed, culture, era, etc. Here is more on that very important distinction, not based in any religion:

    http://www.littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/11/most-important-question-in-gay-marriage.html

    And if you are for true marriage "equality", then no one (and I mean no one) should be restricted from marrying whomever and how many ever people they want. Whether they be siblings, polygamists, men who love animals even (why discriminate against species?), children, etc. Why do you (or anyone who favors gay marriage) limit "marriage" to two and only two unencumbered, unrelated adults? Seems discriminatory, and I thought the whole revolt against natural marriage was because it was discriminatory?

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  106. First of all, I'm Bethany, Nice to meet you, :) Barbara is someone else, and it's not to meet her too.

    Secondly, they ARE unique, it's not simply treating them as unique, but they simply ARE unique, as in no other relationship is like it.

    Thirdly - These unique relationships have been recognized as such in nearly EVERY society and culture for millenia - not just the Catholic Church, but secular societies, cultures, protestants and other religions, native tribes, so on and so forth.

    The uniqueness of that relationship does not (at least in definition) involve religion - I believe it does inherently involve GOD, but then again I believe thou shalt not steal inherently involves God, and I don't see anyone advocating to get rid of the theft laws on the grounds that their religious in nature, but I digress.
    So the United States most certainly has EVERY right to recognize that unique relationship if it sees/believes that the unique benefits stemming from that unique relationship are a good for the society. So the perceived "legal inequalities" are the governments way of encouraging the unique relationship that IDEALLY (not always, not in every way, darn us sinners) creates the best future society, or rather the best future tax-payers. Can other families create fabulous future tax-payers, most certainly? Can there be horrible future tax-payers that result from that ideal unique relationship? Sure. But encouraging the IDEAL in that unique relationship is current BEST way of securing the best future tax-payers.

    And as for the olden days argument back in the day, and in the countries of still arranged marriages. The idea of marriage is focused on the concept of "learning TO love" (there's that action verb again) as opposed to the Western philosophy of "falling in love" (which is more emotional and fickle). By the way, the reason why alliances were created and moneies were exchanged in marriages "back in the day" was directly related to the children of the union of that couple.

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  107. I meant it's nice to meet Barbara too. I think God's telling me to take a break. I'm going to make brownies.

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  108. or the NFL. I'd object to this, but I'm in mourning for the Colts. *cries*

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  109. I am for marriage between two adults who have a committed primary relationship.

    And you KNOW what I mean.

    People who talk about marrying animals and children are just making fun of gay people and belittling their relationships. calling it "discriminatory" not to extend marriage to animals and children is just sarcasm at the expense of important, deserving human beings.

    And yes, gay marriage is a new concept. Lots of important concepts are new. Until the 1980s the legal definition of rape was for a man to have forced sexual intercourse with a women "except his wife." Only recently did society accept the fact that a husband doesn't have the right to force sex on his wife.

    Slavery was around for centuries (even sanctioned in the Bible) but eventually we recognized it as barbaric.

    Just because something has been around for a long time doesn't make it right. And just because something is new doesn't make it wrong.

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  110. Sarah, I re-read your comments and I appreciate your position, even though I disagree. To fit your comparison of Quakers and taxes that may be used for war, the situation would have to be thus: The government decides that contraception is so important that it must be made available to all American citizens for free. Therefore, the government opens contraceptive centers, or allows all purchases of contraceptives to be returned to citizens as a tax credit, or makes direct payments to physicians and clinics who then provide free contraception. In this case, Catholics might object to the government's plans, but it would not be a 1st amendment issue. The current situation is comparable to Quakers being told to give money directly to soldiers for the purchase of firearms to be used in war.

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  111. Sarah, sadly slavery is still very much around. Human trafficking all around the world and even in my state.

    Yes, of course I know what you mean, but you miss my point. There are groups of polygamists and those in incestuous (adult) relationships and also those in man/boy relationships, etc., who will use the same arguments that gay marriage proponents do to push their own relationships toward acceptability.

    In the recent past, we all saw homosexual marriage as unthinkable. For the same reasons, we still find the rest of it unthinkable. But one day they may win their "marriage equality" rights, just as gay people are doing. Once you open up marriage to mean anything romantic and/or building a life partnership and/or needing tax breaks and benefits, rather than something utterly unique (as Bethany has illustrated well), then who is anyone of us to "deny" the love or needs of others and their push for "marriage", too?

    And really, why is two the magic number? Why can't five love even more deeply than two?

    "Marriage equality" should mean "marriage equality", if you really mean marriage equality. Or else, the term should stop being used.

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  112. Sarah, do you believe that abortion is not "killing people who already exist"? I think that is what you said, above. And you believe that abortion is "modern medicine"? First, hasn't abortion been around since the beginning (it's not modern)? And, how is it medicine? Again, what is the pathology or illness that is being cured or treated?

    Thanks!

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  113. MaryMargaret-

    I think I understand what you are saying. Maybe my position is changing on this---not on contraception, but the religious freedome part.

    Thank you.

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  114. Thanks, Sarah. I appreciate your clear and respectful discourse. So rare on the internet!

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  115. @ Leila
    I was responding to Barbara's comment that suicide and euthanasia are the same as contraception.

    And abortion isn't modern but the level of safety is. Just like abdominal surgery has been around for a long time but now we have antiseptic surgery rooms and anesthesiologists instead of someone being knocked out with liquor.

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  116. Sarah, thanks for clarifying. Some forms of contraception do act in an abortifacient nature, so in those cases, they are destroying humans who already exist.

    If you could response to the other question: What pathology or illness does abortion cure? Or contraception for that matter?

    I am from a medical family and it makes me heartsick that so much of the medical community sees healthy fertility as a disease. Or that it sees killing as a way to cure. It is such a twisting of a noble, beautiful profession of healing.

    I do agree that the way we kill the unborn now is "safer" in some sense than it used to be. (Never safe for the child, of course.) But if you've seen this (and it's not unique), you'll see that even "safe, legal abortion" is a filthy, dangerous business even in America:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/10/and-this-is-soooo-different-from-other.html

    Pro-lifers have screamed about this stuff for decades, and no one listens until it gets this bad. And even then, no one really cares.

    Just like with Planned Parenthood helping child sex traffickers in multiple states (watch the undercover videos):

    http://www.liveaction.org/traffick

    Well, some do still care. And God still cares.

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  117. Actually that was my comment, and my point wasn't that they're the same. But that since the overpopulation of the world has more to do with life expectancy than birth rate, using contraception as an argument for not overpopulating the world and NOT using euthanasia or suicide is simply disingenuous. I acknowledge that euthanasia and suicide are directed at people already alive and contraception prevents people from becoming alive. But at what point do we begin repopulating the earth because we've contracepted ourselves into a hole and there are too few fertile people capable of sustaining the workforce?

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  118. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  119. Trying again--too many typos.

    I know too many wonderful, ethical doctors who perform abortions to agree that abortion is a filthy dangerous business. I'm sure there are some who practice abortion who do so substandardly (or even appallingly) but that is true for any profession.

    You ask this question repeatedly about what is the pathology that abortion or contraception cures. To me, the answer is so obvious. It cures pregnancy that is unwanted (and therefore a threat to a woman's mental health or possibly her life--some girls/women have actually committed suicide because they were pregnant).

    It also protects women from pregnancies for whom being pregnant is a medical risk. Yes, I know you'll say they shouldn't have had sex in the first place, but the point is they aleady have. And some women are raped or have sex through coercion.


    (also, notice I said "unwanted" not "unplanned" because sometimes unplanned pregnancies are very welcome)

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  120. Sarah, you have hit on exactly why our sides can never be reconciled. We don't see pregnancy as a disease or disorder, ever. Something to be "cured". We see pregnancy as a beautiful part of life, which is natural and life-giving. And we see two patients when we see a pregnant woman, both lives being equally valuable and inviolable. Killing is not healing to us. The medical profession has it all twisted. Pregnancy is not a disease.

    And to approach healthy fertility as a disease to be treated or cured, I just don't know what to say. Scientifically, would you agree that fertility connotes health of the reproductive organs? That infertility would be the disorder (many of my readers and fellow bloggers have suffered with infertility). That disorder (a true disorder of the body!) is not covered under health insurance plans. But contraception, which derails healthy body function, is seen as good medicine?

    I will never understand how we can get things so backwards. But I thank you for your clarity on the issue.

    Here is an article for anyone who is interested, about how the Pill was never designed to improve a woman's health:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/02/sad-reminder-that-pill-was-never.html

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  121. This is a good question from Heidi - directly after my suggestion that she should fight for the rights of homosexuals.

    "No, I think you're grasping at straws here. Why should Leila fight for what you believe in, and not her own beliefs?"

    This is my point - and the point of the post. I'm really trying to stay on topic, as hard as it is around here. The post title says, "Protestant friends - Fight with us." And within the post it says:

    "I have heard many people say "I do not agree with the Catholic Church's stance on contraception." No one is asking for you to do so. It is sufficient enough that we believe it."

    This is about religious freedom, Leila (and Rebecca) say. Not about contraception. Leila asks condescendingly if secular humanism is a religion -- no it is not, but my right to not practice a religion must be protected too.

    Here are two recent stories - I would love to hear your take on them. If we all join together to fight for religious freedom, and the corollary of not being discriminated against because of your religion or lack thereof, what do you think of these:

    Richard Dawkins, outspoken atheist, had his event cancelled at a Michigan country club because he is an atheist. Will you stand with us and fight against discrimination of atheists?

    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/news/richard_dawkins_event_banned_in_MI/

    Also, Jessica Ahlquist who successfully upheld the constitution by having a prayer removed from her high school's auditorium. Will you stand with her in her fight to NOT practice a religion?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/27/us/rhode-island-city-enraged-over-school-prayer-lawsuit.html

    And most particularly, how do you feel about the flower shops in town refusing to deliver flowers to her? Is that discrimination based on religion (or lack thereof)?

    I would think, Leila and Heidi etc that if you are going to fight for freedom to practice religion (which includes not practicing one), you would also stand with the atheists on these two issues.

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  122. MaiZeke, you are still missing the point.

    We are not asking that Protestants fight with us on the issue of contraception. We are asking them to fight against a federal gov't mandate that tells us to violate our consciences!

    I do not expect them to reject contraception in this appeal I am making. So, no, you should not expect me to embrace atheist ideals or issues, either. But the minute that the federal gov't mandates that you wear a burka or that you take the Eucharist…I will fight with you and for you, MaiZeke!

    Because I will always fight the federal gov't when it mandates that you must do something that violates your religion (even though you have no religion but you get my point).

    Was the federal gov't demanding that no one deliver flowers to that girl? If not, then your point is not relevant. I am sorry that people don't like her and that they are shunning her. But you know what? That is not a constitutional issue at all.

    Will you fight with us on the constitutional issues of freedom of religion when it comes to government mandates?

    This is very specific, MaiZeke.

    Will you stand with us to fight that kind of gov't force?

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  123. Maybe this is clearer: In both the cases you link to, there is no federal government mandate requiring you to go against your beliefs!

    Do you see?

    Where is the federal mandate against atheists' right to do as their consciences direct them? I don't see it.

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  124. Also, Jessica Ahlquist who successfully upheld the constitution by having a prayer removed from her high school's auditorium.
    I'm just curious, Maizeke, how does having the prayer removed uphold the constitution?

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  125. Bethany asks about this:

    MZ: Also, Jessica Ahlquist who successfully upheld the constitution by having a prayer removed from her high school's auditorium.
    B: I'm just curious, Maizeke, how does having the prayer removed uphold the constitution?

    From the NYT article:

    "A federal judge ruled this month that the prayer’s presence at Cranston High School West was unconstitutional, concluding that it violated the principle of government neutrality in religion."

    I expect that you all agree with that judge's ruling, then?

    Leila, just because there is not a "mandate" does not mean that there is an absence of constitutional issues. In this case, the judge agreed that the public school, government-run, having a prayer on in the auditorium was unconstitutional.

    She is a very smart young woman - she said “It’s almost like making a child get a shot even though they don’t want to. It’s for their own good. I feel like they might see it as a very negative thing right now, but I’m defending their Constitution, too.”

    If you really want the government to be fair to you in the case of contraceptives, then you should support the government being fair to atheists.

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  126. Also, this is extreme: "But the minute that the federal gov't mandates that you wear a burka or that you take the Eucharist…I will fight with you and for you, MaiZeke!"

    But if a government school has a school-ordered prayer be said at an activity that is required for all students (for example graduation, assemblies, etc), then this is unconstitutional. The student cannot choose to not attend such events!

    I expect you are against that. Right? Saying a prayer to someone and for someone who has no option but to be forced to listen? When you say a prayer for me, I can certainly turn off my computer (and I do). Students at a government-run school do not have this choice.

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  127. I'm almost at the end of my work day, and have a few more things to attend to. This has been a great conversation!

    All I'm asking is just think about it. I know you feel maligned - and so do we. Please think about that quote "I did not stand up for <> and now there is no one left to stand up for me."

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  128. MaiZeke, the prayer is on the wall, not being recited. It is about universal values. It is harming no one, including the girl. It's like the "IN GOD WE TRUST" which is etched in the marble above the Speaker of the House's chair. No one is forced to pray it. No one. No government mandate to force another's conscience.

    Do I think the presence of a prayer in a school or Rotunda is violating the Constitution? No way. And neither did the Founders, who wrote the Constitution. The history of our gov't is overflowing with public prayer. It's everywhere. Even the President (whom I truly dislike) was praying at the prayer breakfast today (or yesterday?). It has ever been thus in our nation. If you don't want to pray, you don't have to.

    But apparently, I have to give contraception to folks, even though to do so is a grave sin. That's a mandate from my gov't. You are not mandated to pray or worship.

    If I can stand in a gov't health clinic with contraceptives lining the shelves and not flip out or file a lawsuit, then surely this girl can stand in a school with a generic prayer on the wall and still be able to function without calling in the courts. We all accept things happening around us that we don't like. But we should never be forced by our government to participate in something we deem an evil act.

    Stand with us, or not?

    Blessings!

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  129. Distilled down:

    You don't have to pray. No one mandates that you must.

    I have to provide contraceptives. The government mandates that I must.

    My penalty for cooperating in evil? Hell itself.

    No government is worth hell for me. Sorry. I will not go to hell for Obama or America, but Obama has just told Catholics to go to hell.

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  130. All this talk of Buddhism and abortion (here and on the earlier thread) got me curious:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/buddhistethics/abortion.shtml

    A few clips from the page:

    "Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances." - Dalai Lama, 1993

    "Traditional Buddhism rejects abortion because it involves the deliberate destroying of a life."

    "Buddhism believes in rebirth and teaches that individual human life begins at conception. The new being, bearing the karmic identity of a recently deceased individual, is therefore as entitled to the same moral respect as an adult human being." -Damien Keown, 2004

    "Therefore the First Precept of Buddhism - not to kill - is violated and this is tantamount to killing a human being."

    Anyway, not exactly congruent with Christian belief, but pretty clear that it is in fact killing, even if acceptable under certain conditions.

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  131. Leila
    Obama is not telling you to go to hell. That is not his intention.

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  132. LJP Where is the thread about Buddhism you are referring to? Thanks.

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  133. Sarah,

    Looking back I suppose "all this talk" was a bit of a stretch in regards to Buddhism, please excuse my hyperbole. Leila mentioned once in the thread previous to this one that you were Buddhist, so I was curious about the general view of abortion in Buddhism.

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    Replies
    1. ...actually it was mentioned twice.

      Delete
  134. There are different views about abortion in Buddhism. Western Buddhists, with a few exceptions, believe abortion needs to be a an option. I am not aware of more classical Buddhist teachings. However, the Dalai Lama is considered the preeminent Buddhist teacher alive. So what he said---

    "Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances." - Dalai Lama, 1993"

    ---would be the most dependable source of information.

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  135. Sarah, Obama had a long private talk with Archbishop Dolan on this issue. Surely Obama knows that in Catholic teaching, to cooperate with a grave evil such as contraception is something that imperils our souls. Mortal sin is sin that severs the friendship between man and God, and to willfully commit mortal sin is worthy of hell. Knowing how sinful this is for Catholics, Obama went ahead and mandated it. As one bishop rightly said, Obama just told faithful Catholics to go to hell.

    Literally.

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  136. was unconstitutional, concluding that it violated the principle of government neutrality in religion

    I'm completely reasoning "outloud" here, but the out and out was that the displayed prayer on a public school's wall, in some random place, USA, indicated that the Federal Government supports that religion and ONLY that religion.

    First of all, does anyone else find that ludicrous? The United States as a whole does not have a national religion. Putting up a prayer in a public school or anywhere else public doesn't mean that the government has decided to become that national religion. Who actually thinks this way? All it means is that someone in that school, at some time, liked that prayer and thought, "Hey, I bet other people might like it too?" Or are we to only put up stuff that EVERYONE likes? Is there such a thing? And NO, I don't support it's removal, but I would support her choice to not read the prayer, or put up her own prayer or poem or contemplative piece of writing that she draws inspiration from up on the wall (or wherever it was).

    The Consititution bars the Government from establishing a national religion. Hanging a prayer on a wall in a school or a quote from Buddha or displaying a nativity scene outside a capital building, none of these things establishes a national religion. The only thing that can establish ANYTHING in this country is CONGRESS ('cause their the branch that makes the laws) and they are prohibited from passing a law that establishes a religion. That doesn't mean they can't pray before a session, or meditate, or fall on the ground and moan in wailing whines, or even play a game of tag. They just can't make a law that establishes one religion over another for the nation. And that includes secular humanism.

    But if a government school has a school-ordered prayer be said at an activity that is required for all students (for example graduation, assemblies, etc), then this is unconstitutional. The student cannot choose to not attend such events! Define school-ordered. If the school administration was demanding that students read the prayer or demanding that it be recited by all or face consequences such as monetary fines, withholding of grades or expulsion. Then yea, I'd probably get on board.

    But a prayer hanging on a wall. Not a violation of the constitution, IMO.

    Let me try to put it this way.

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  137. MaiZeke, one last attempt to make it clearer:

    The United States government passes a law mandating that all atheists must now verbally recite a prayer to Jesus Christ, publicly, every day, with imposed fines if you did not comply. (The government magnanimously gives you one year to fully comply with the mandate.)

    If that ever happened, I would be screaming mad and I would fight like hell for your right not to be compelled to pray that prayer.

    Such a mandate would be an OUTRAGEOUS overreach by the feds, and completely unconstitutional.

    And that is the equivalent of what has happened with this contraception mandate.

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  138. "Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking." Dalai Lama

    This is sad, because he is admitting that abortion kills an innocent human being, but sometimes it's okay to kill innocent human beings. I just will never understand that reasoning. But at least he admits that abortion is killing. I guess that's something?

    Catholicism holds that one may never, ever kill an innocent human being. The act of killing an innocent human being is intrinsically evil, and nothing can justify such an act.

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  139. There are different views about abortion in Buddhism. Western Buddhists, with a few exceptions, believe abortion needs to be a an option. I am not aware of more classical Buddhist teachings.

    In Buddhism, do moral teachings change depending on who is in charge or depending on the era? Are there any moral absolutes in Buddhism, or is everything relative to the situation or society at the time?

    I don't know much about Buddhism, so thanks!

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  140. There are moral absolutes, namely the precepts, which have stayed steady over time-- though they have been modified for "householders"--in Buddhism there are two classes of people,monks or nuns and householders. The reason is that when non ordained people wanted to receive the teachings it was recognized that it didn't make sense for everyone to be celibate (as monks are)

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  141. What are the moral absolutes? And what is their source?

    You are teaching me and I appreciate it! As I said, I don't know much about Buddhism. I do know that it does not ascribe to a deity, correct? It's a philosophy, basically?

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  142. The dalai Lama himself says Buddhism is not a religion, though I believe it functions as one in people's lives-- a structure of morality (the dharma), community (sangha), and a figure head --though not a deity (Buddha). As Christians strive for holiness, knowing it highly unlikely any human will be completely holy, Buddhists strive for enlightenment also knowing it highly unlikely anyone will be completely enlightened, as Buddha was

    There is no deity in Buddhism-- though I really have never understood how reincarnation fits into that--how can someone be reborn with no soul? (I don't believe in reincarnation but I do believe in god, as many western Buddhists do

    It makes no difference to me if it's a philosophy or a religion or whatever. I just know I'd be dead withou it and no other path is tenable to me

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  143. Buddhist precepts for householders

    Refrain from the following

    1) harming living beings
    2) Taking things that are not freely given(stealing)
    3) sexual misconduct (rape, incest, infidelity--any sexual action that causes harm)
    4) false speech
    5) intoxicants (drink and drugs) that cause heedlessness

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  144. Someone needs to make bumper stickers and pass them out that say:
    "Being fertile means your body is healthy."
    "The pill has many bad side effects. Read the small print."
    "All methods of birth control have a failure rate."
    "Sex often makes babies."
    "Sometimes condoms break."
    "IUDs can poke through your uterus."
    "Free chocolate for everyone." (I just added that one for fun.)
    "Single men often like to have sex without commitment."

    Now someone will write that those are bad bumper stickers, but they are all true.

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  145. About an hour ago I rec'd a phone call from someone taking a political poll. You can bet told the poll taker I am against Obama and pro-choice organizations. I was smart enough to know that when the called asked about women having access to health care, it meant access to abortion. Of course I want all women to have access to health care, but I know that health care means different things to a Democratic candidate than it does to me.

    Yes, I think we all should have affordable health care, but let's make sure we know what health care means.

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  146. Think of the implications if there were no Catholic hospitals.

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  147. To those who don't understand how wrong this mandate is, think of this:

    Do you think it is morally wrong to give a small child a sharp knife to play with?

    If you think it is morally wrong and dangerous to give a child a knife, would it be okay for the federal government to FORCE you to give children knives?

    That's what it's like for us Catholics.

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  148. Sarah, thanks! I am not sure how the first one squares with abortion being okay in some circumstances, but it's very interesting!

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  149. Lena, all of that is brilliant! Thank you! I hope it helps people understand. You are so right.

    And, the bumpers stickers are amazing, ha ha! True, every one.

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  150. @Leila

    I am disappearing from the blog (at least for a while) because I am very busy with other things. But I want to thank you for making this space available. You certainly do stimulate lively discussion. Also thank you for maintaining such a tone of civility and welcoming everyone to share their opinions. I really appreciate it.

    I feel I understand Catholics and Catholicism better, which has been my goal. I don't feel as judgmental as I did and I think I am seeing your point about the health insurance thing. It is always a good thing to broaden one's mind and expand one's horizons. Such a relief. I am sorry if I was ever rude; like you, I am passionate about a lot of these issues.

    Blessings to you and your family.

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  151. Sarah, thank you! You really have been lovely, and a pleasure to dialogue with. I do hope you come back, as you are always welcome in the Bubble! Blessings to you, too!

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  152. Leila is trying to make the fact that a teacher at a government run institution praying to a required assembly for students (or a prayer hanging in a government school building) is not a violation of the first amendment.

    She says "So, no, you should not expect me to embrace atheist ideals or issues, either. But the minute that the federal gov't mandates that you wear a burka or that you take the Eucharist…I will fight with you and for you, MaiZeke!"

    To further clarify she says: "The United States government passes a law mandating that all atheists must now verbally recite a prayer to Jesus Christ, publicly, every day, with imposed fines if you did not comply. (The government magnanimously gives you one year to fully comply with the mandate.) "

    And earlier, she says "Sorry, MaiZeke, when did the government establish a religion (as England did)? Can you show me that working document? " (Just to show she is talking about England as a comparison here)

    I've been thinking about this -- establishing a religion does NOT mean forcing someone to recite a prayer with fines imposed, nor does it mean forcing someone to receive the eucharist, nor does it even mean forcing someone to go to church every day, or any day. Do you interpret the established church in England this way? If so I am very surprised. I might point you to the Wikipedia article on state religions if you need some background on State Religions in general. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_religion

    A state sponsoring a religion generally provides funds and official support for the religion - coercing people to practice the religion is not generally a requirement for an established religion. So - a representative of the government (a teacher) in her official capacity as teacher, presiding over a group of students who are required to be there, who prays to the students is a violation of the first amendment.

    If you do not stand up for freedom of (from) religion for all, it is very hard to argue the case for you alone.

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  153. No, MaiZeke. You miss the point again.

    A state establishing a religion says, "This is our official religion -- Church of England."

    The part of the Clause that is being violated by the Obama mandate is the FREE EXERCISE clause. When someone forces me to sin, by government mandate, I am being prohibited from practicing my faith. If you are forced by mandate to recite a prayer, the gov't is not allowing you to practice your "faith" freely, either.

    There are two parts here:

    (1) Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, (2) or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

    You see, Obama and his ilk talks of "freedom of worship" a lot. I think that is interesting. Exercising my religion is not just the freedom to attend Sunday Mass. It's also about the freedom from coercion by my government to directly participate in sin. A gov't cannot fine me or jail me because I refuse to commit a sin.

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  154. In other words, MaiZeke, I never claimed that the Obama regime was establishing a state religion.

    I am claiming that the Obama regime is prohibiting me from the free exercise of my religion.

    Hope that helps!

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  155. I think this helps a lot - I think I'm clear.

    You're ok with the state establishing a religion (in schools, with school-sponsored prayer), as long as it is compatible with yours.

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  156. Oh, MaiZeke. Sigh.

    Oh, well, I tried.

    (And, if you get a moment, could you be so kind as to link Congress' legislation which established America's state religion? Thanks!)

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  157. Sigh. I tried, too.

    I read somewhere (I think it was your friend Lisa) that said you were a great combox debater because you didn't actually have to have the last 'word' as it were. I've never seen it.

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  158. I don't let error stand, MaiZeke. Sometimes I let it slide, but in this case, nah.

    But when you link me to that legislation, I will concede the point. So, if you could be so kind as to link Congress' legislation establishing America's state religion? Thanks!

    And if you could, can you explain why the folks who actually wrote the Establishment Clause did not see praying in public by public officials at public events as "establishing" a state religion? (Maybe they should have had MaiZeke there to explain what they really meant by what they wrote?)

    Thanks so much!

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  159. You're ok with the state establishing a religion (in schools, with school-sponsored prayer), as long as it is compatible with yours.


    I still don't get it. How are people at a school who are engaging in prayer = the state establishing a religion?

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  160. I an not impressed when people quote wikipedia.

    The United States does not have a state established religion. My town here in the United States has two Catholic churches, a Baptist church, a Presbytarian (spelling error) church, two Lutheran churches, an Episcopalian church and a Buddhist temple. I am free to attend any one of those churches. Oh, there's a Methodist church too.

    True, our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.

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