Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Listen up! They don't care about your religious liberty

Remember this post?


Well, your rear is getting more exposed by the day.

Yes, Catholic charities have been forced, tragically, to close long-standing foster care and adoption agencies, and yes, Catholics have been told we must violate our consciences and provide free contraception, sterilization and abortifacients or face ruinous fines and jail -- but there's so much more coming down the pike.

For example, proposed laws like this are popping up, which would force churches to act against their own beliefs and missions, even on their own property:


Or for example, proposed federal mandates forcing Catholic hospitals to perform abortions (i.e., commit murder).

Yep, you read that right. Check out what's happening in the great State of Connecticut:

"On Sunday, some Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate said they'd favor the concept of a federal law requiring even Catholic hospitals to perform abortions."

Read more here.

And please note that from Kathleen Sebelius to Joe Biden to Nancy Pelosi to Connecticut's senatorial candidates, even self-professed Catholics are climbing all over each other to sell out Catholicism, happily calling in the power of the government for back-up.

"Force"
"Mandate"
"Law"
"Fines"
"Jail"

It's everywhere now, and if you don't see it, you're not paying attention.

While I should be used to this kind of incrementalism (really, nothing coming from the left and the Democrats should faze me at this point), it's all still kind of jarring. After all, I'm not that old, and when I was growing up in the M-TV generation and educated in public schools, everyone I knew loved God and country. There was nothing controversial or offensive about it. We clearly understood that this nation was founded on the principle of religious liberty. We cherished that fact, and we knew it's what made America different -- and great.

But in the last few years, something has changed. The left has fearlessly asserted its own narrative for this nation, one in which religious liberty is not foundational. In fact, it hit me like a ton of bricks one day recently that those on the left don't care if I, as a Catholic, have religious freedom! They really don't!

I want to be wrong, but I think I'm right on this.

If anyone out there can show me where the left (and/or the Democratic Party) is horrified by the erosion of the rights of Catholics to live our faith freely, and where the left (and/or the Democratic Party) is working hard to stop the outrages I've linked to above, I'm happy to hear it. Because until I see that, I must conclude and warn, again and again: Those on the left don't care one whit about religious liberty.

Not only is religious liberty not a value they hold, it's not even on their radar screen. I believe that many on the left would like to see religious freedom disappear entirely, especially for Catholics.


It's time for courage, folks. I think the U.S. Bishops have finally found some, and now it's our turn.




PS: Thank you, Stacy, for pointing me to this excellent piece:






.

178 comments:

  1. I am just hatingthe fact that you're right. But I also know that God is Good... And there is always hope in Him. Even if we all have to move to an island somewhere...

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  2. I think this is true. All of it. In fact, I was reading the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy last night, and when I finished, I wept for so long, because I saw in that book the future that awaits a people who have collectively turned from God and morality. It truly broke my heart.

    This too, is part of that turning. Also, I'd wager a guess that those on the left would love nothing more than to replace "Freedom of religion" with "Freedom of worship" which means simply that you're free to attend the church of your choice, but that church has no meaning or should have no bearing on public life at all. That what you believe matters only in your home and in your church and no where else. This is where I believe Barack "Let's draft a commonsense conscience clause" Obama resides.

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  3. I think we all have to stand our ground - and, if we end up in jail, so did the early Christians. If our hospitals have to close, our charities have to go underground, then we will soldier on. Many, far better than I, have given up much more for the love of our Lord and others....

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  4. You're 100% right. And I'm sad about that. I agree with your sense that this is speeding up--maybe I''m simply paying better attention, but I don't think that's it. I know theoretically smart people who are saying things like, "religious freedom is fine, but it doesn't trump a woman's right to contraception." Um, I guess so--if we live in the United States of Birth Control. It's so bizarre.

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  5. And please note that from Kathleen Sebelius to Joe Biden to Nancy Pelosi to Connecticut's senatorial candidates, even self-professed Catholics are climbing all over each other to sell out Catholicism, happily calling in the power of the government for back-up.

    That's the biggest display of elitist dickery I've seen yet.

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  6. It is so scary because just a few short years I had bought into the rhetoric...and now it scares me to death because I know it was asking questions, putting my opinions out there and being willing to listen to the other side, and prayers of others for me. It scares me because many don't want to listen or hear or learn or grow. I said this on another blog today - Malta sounds like a fabulous place, but really, Jesus c'mon back any time now :).

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  7. Christine Falk Dalessio wrote:
    "Even if we all have to move to an island somewhere..."

    That's my plan. The retirement house in the Philippines has never looked so good.

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  8. "...the United States of Birth Control." This made me laugh (a dark laugh).

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  9. Leila you are right. We are about to vote on Amendment One here in North Carolina (“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”) and all I see is AGAINST this amendment....the liberals are highly organized in this campaign and the propaganda they are touting is misinforming people. It is making me sick. All I can do though is speak the truth, and VOTE, and PRAY! But what I really want to do is go hide on a farm out in the country!

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  10. Not disagreeing just offering glimmers of light amidst the darkness: Sen Casey of PA despite being a Democrat broke party lines and voted for the Conscience Clause.

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  11. Joy, thank you!! I would almost feel good about that, but he has betrayed his faith and the pro-life community in so many other ways. :( I sure miss his father!!! Talk about courage.

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  12. Mark my words, next up is jailing priests and pastors who refuse to perform same-sex "marriages."

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    1. I have felt this coming!!!!!

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    2. But not for being pedophiles.

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    3. Pillbox Hat, in case you are checking here for a response, I have commented at the end of the thread.

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    4. Yes, Pillbox Hat, it is a crying shame that our civil justice system so often fails to arrest, charge, and convict pedophiles. The problem is especially atrocious in the public school system. I'm so glad we agree.

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  13. I've noticed too, that the left doesn't seem to care. I haven't heard much at all on this blog from those (on the left)who used to comment on a regular basis to argue with you on pretty much every post that you posted. Where are they now? Why aren't they arguing now? Is it because they know you are right?

    Sigh.

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  14. Mark my words, next up is jailing priests and pastors who refuse to perform same-sex "marriages."

    What will our friends on the left do when that starts? Will thy say, "Enough!" or will they help see us off to jail?

    Becky, I agree, there has been too much silence. Where are they? What do they have to say in response? I am seriously hoping they show and and tell us.

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    1. Man, so many typos! Sorry! Also, read the article I just linked to the bottom of this post.

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  15. JoAnna, and someday Catholic bishops will be fined or jailed for not "ordaining" women as priestesses. That is the path we are on.

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  16. Okay, this is kind of ridiculous. I'm all for religious liberty - after all, your religious liberty is no different from my liberty not to be religious. And in a country where atheists are less trusted than rapists and where people freak out when the president fails to mention God in his Thanksgiving address (hell, where people freak out when they think he might not be Christian), I don't think you really have anything to worry about.

    I was actually planning on writing a post on religious liberty, but without going into excruciating detail: I think that if any religious organization is receiving money from the federal government, they shouldn't expect special treatment. Catholic Charities, for instance, receives about 2/3 of its money from the government* - why would you expect that they be held to a different standard than other organizations? No one's forcing them to shut down, but they are withdrawing government money if they refuse to comply with the law. I don't see how that's unfair in any way.

    For the record, I wouldn't seek to limit freedom of speech (until it becomes explicit hate speech**). I wouldn't expect priests to perform same-sex marriages (I'm not sure why anyone would want a priest who thought their relationship was ruining society to perform their marriage, anyway, but whatever). But if an organization is getting any kind of government funding, I think the primary concern should not be religious freedom; it should be whether they're following the same laws that everyone else has to follow.

    Michelle

    *http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-charity-rejects-govt-funding-to-maintain-religious-liberty/
    ** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech

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  17. Michelle:

    Is a woman's right to get free birth control more important than a Church entity's right to religious freedom? Meaning, does the gov't have the right to mandate that we participate in sin?

    Keep in mind: The "right" to free birth control is about five minutes old, and the Catholic Church has been teaching the sinfulness of contraception for 2,000 years.

    Please, a straight answer: A new law mandated by one person (Sebelius) trumps the Church's right to do the ministries its been doing and expressing our faith the way its been expressed since before the nation was founded?

    Because if you say yes, then you are saying that religious freedom is determined by what the government decides is acceptable. No?

    How does that square with the Constitution?

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  18. And by the way, there is another thing we disagree on: You (generic you) can say all the hateful things you want to say about me or anyone, and I would never, ever say that you should be prosecuted and jailed for it. That's a liberal idea, that we should be jailed and/or fined for our thoughts and speech. It's how totalitarianism is born, no?

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  19. I would also like to add that some Catholic Charities have shut down not purely because of withheld government funding, but because some states will not issue a license to Catholic Charities if they refuse to do it according to state requirements. I believe this was the case in Massachusetts when Catholic Charities had to shut down adoption because of the same-sex couple requirement. Correct me if my memory is wrong on that -- Kids are outside, and I don't have much time to double check! But I know that some Catholic Charities had to shut down or cut off services, not because of pure funding, but because the state would not issue a license to operate unless they conformed to the state. So while it's nice to say that it's all about taking government money, it's also about licensure -- It is illegal for Catholic Charities to operate under a Catholic conscience in some states.

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  20. Elizabeth, good point. And, Michelle, what do you think about what the Connecticut candidates said? If the law says provide abortions, should the Catholic hospitals be forced to comply? And what of unjust laws? Is there any such thing in your mind? Or do we just blindly do what the state tells us?

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  21. I'm not going to give you a straight answer, because I don't think the question is really meaningful. If the government is providing funding to the hospital/charity/organization, then to me it's not a question of religious freedom. If the government isn't providing any funding, then I don't have any problem with your religious ideals taking precedence. This was something I was going to consider in my potential future post, so I don't have it fully worked out in my head, but if I ever get around to writing it I will let you know!

    And I don't think we actually disagree here (at least, I hope not). What if I was using my free speech to say all Catholics should be shot, that we should all set a date and try to kill as many as possible? Shouldn't there be some consequence for that? Sure, you can say all the hateful things you want, but the minute you start advocating for actual harm, it seems kind of crazy to have no consequence for that. It'd be like someone running into an airport screaming "I have a bomb in my suitcase!" and people shrugging and going "eh. Free speech."

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  22. I would like to say that I do find it odd that people justify excluding religious groups from government funding if the groups do not conform to government ideas. The government is here to serve the people and not vice versa. This is supposed to be the United States of America, which was founded not only on religious freedom, but also on ethnic and cultural plurality. While certain fundamental rights must be protected for all people -- the right to life, for example -- it is contrary to our foundation to exclude tax-paying citizens from government funding because of disagreements over religious beliefs.

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  23. See if what I already wrote answered your question; I think it did.

    And, of course there are unjust laws. In considering ethical questions, legal considerations are pretty far down on my list of things to consider. We absolutely have the right to argue against what we see as unjust laws, but refusal to comply with them must carry consequences (this might be the first time I would actually agree with a slippery slope argument. Wow).

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  24. Michelle, why does the government fund charitable organizations?

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  25. JoAnna, I assume because they do a service to society and it's probably cheaper to fund some organizations in part than to create them from scratch. Just a guess, though - what's your answer to your question?

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  26. I understand that Mother Teresa did not accept government funding for the very reasons Michele gives - she didn't want to deal with the strings that are attached. But what do you do when the government gets its tentacles into every aspect of life - even your personal medical decisions (as if, right?). We are at a point where we can't get away from the regulations. And so the government says you WILL OBEY or you WILL PAY THE CONSEQUENCES. And we are alright with this?

    Private charities most definitely can be more efficient and less politicized, which is why it is best to let them do their work instead of having the government do it. The Obama administration wants to reduce the deductibility of charitable contributions, the effect of which is, you have less after-tax income to donate, and the government has more of your money to regulate - and waste. I'm thinking you're not ok with that, am I right, Michele?

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  27. Sharon, which personal medical decisions are being interfered with?

    I'm actually generally pro-taxes, so I can't say I have much of an opinion on it either way. I imagine if the deductibility were reduced, people might be less willing to donate, but I can't say for sure.

    Elizabeth, think about it, though. If you didn't like how a charity conducted itself, you just wouldn't donate to it, right? For example, I'd never consider donating to the Salvation Army because of their views on homosexuality (among other things) - but if they changed their policies to reflect what I thought a good charity would do, then I'd consider it. The government's not obligated to fund anything that refuses to comply with the laws set in place.

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  28. I think that if any religious organization is receiving money from the federal government, they shouldn't expect special treatment. Catholic Charities, for instance, receives about 2/3 of its money from the government*

    Michelle, religious organizations receive money from the federal government because the government (or at least it used to, and it should) recognizes that those organizations are MUCH more effective in delivering the types of services that they deliver, both financially efficient and service-organizational efficient. Please don't insult us by claiming that the government is somehow generously allowing these organizations to participate in offering these services. That's BS and you know it!

    The government's not obligated to fund anything that refuses to comply with the laws set in place.
    No, but it's unethical and immoral to change laws or create laws in which the only purpose is to get organizations to conform to the whims and desires of the current administration (whomever that may be at the time). That's not democracy, that's totalitarianism.

    Not to mention, if the government is not obligated to fund anything that refuses to comply with the laws set in place, then does that mean, since the current federal administrations is refusing to comply with the First Amendment, my obligation to pay taxes is null and void. The government is not (or at least should not be) a completely separate entity from the people. Remember the Constitution's first words are WE THE PEOPLE, not WE THE GOVERNMENT. The government works for us.

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  29. Which is why I agree with Sharon :) -- I do not think the government should be in the business of funding charities anyway. We are having this very conversation because government is overstepping its boundaries and attempting to fund medical care and dictate the policies within our medical facilities outside of defending basic human rights or requiring proper sanitation. Like I said earlier, it isn't just about funding. We can see that with the HHS mandate and with other states that won't grant a license to those with different beliefs, beliefs that do not violate basic human rights.

    This is an inherent problem with government funding in the first place. Once they decide to collect taxes and allocate to different charities, they then heavily regulate all charities and strip away services based on issues of personal conscience. If the government has the final say on all matters just by creating laws, then we might as well have a totalitarian state. Whatever the government says, goes. No need for diversity of religion or beliefs! You can believe that in your bedroom, but can't live it when you walk out your door! You can't do good in this world -- operate a charity -- unless your mind aligns with Big Brother. That is classic government policy in oppressive regimes.

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  30. they do a service to society and it's probably cheaper to fund some organizations

    I don't understand. If these organizations do indeed benefit society, why does their receipt of government funds necessitate an absence of morality?

    The other consideration is that this mandate applies to private employers as well, ones that do not receive any gov't funds. EWTN, for example.

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  31. Bethany, I completely agree. And if the government stuck to funding charities based on their efficiency, the common good, and the dignity of the human person, then I would be okay with that. Unfortunately, now the government, on multiple levels, is at a point where it is picking winners and loses based on long-held religious beliefs. Aren't Catholics U.S. citizens? Should we and others not be allowed to participate in important public services based on our own conscience in a country that supposedly values diversity? And good point, JoAnna -- Are we not even allowed to run a private business within the bounds of our own conscience?

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  32. I think this is frightening too. I do a little writing and research for United Families International and back in February while researching religious freedom vs gay rights court cases, I had a hard time finding any court cases in which religious freedom won over sexual freedom. It is scary when sexual activity takes importance over religion in the laws.

    http://unitedfamiliesinternational.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/laws-put-religious-freedom-in-jeopardy/

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  33. Just catching up. I love this, Elizabeth: "I would like to say that I do find it odd that people justify excluding religious groups from government funding if the groups do not conform to government ideas. The government is here to serve the people and not vice versa." Could someone tell this to the left?

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  34. Bethany's comment at 9:25: BINGO. Thank you!

    It becomes more and more clear that those on the left, including Michelle, really do revere the government more than the citizen. The way she talks about compliance that must be given to the state, and how we must all bend to the state, and the state is so magnanimous in allowing us to operate, etc., etc…. it's really scary. But that is where we are headed. I've said it a hundred times (h/t David Horowitz, former communist activist), liberals are only liberal when it comes to sex and drugs. Everything else, they want to control and regulate.

    I think people should fear big government, not churches and citizens. Government has the power to fine and jail. It is to be feared as it gets more power, and more unwieldy.

    I think because secularists (who make up the bulk of the left) do not have God as an authority, they make a god out of the state. The state is their highest authority, and they seem to really revere it. We only need look at very recent history to see what horrors come, very quickly, when the government gets too much power over the freedom and lives of its citizens.

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  35. Michelle, regarding your "hate speech" comments: You surely have heard the case recently: There was a young man from Rutgers, was it? When he was a freshman, he had a randomly chosen roommate who happened to be gay. This roommate brought in an older man he found on Craig's lise and brought him to the dorm room for sex on a couple of occasions. The first guy was not thrilled (um, who would be?) and stupidly took a video (that was never actually recorded or shown to a single soul; no one ever saw it). He tweeted about it, in unhappy but mild terms. In fact, when this boy went on trial for "hate crimes" after the gay roommate killed himself, the jury said that the boy did not, in their opinion, mean to intimidate the gay roommate, nor did he have a bias against gays. However, the jurors were shown the "hate crimes" statutes and had to convict this kid of "hate". He is awaiting sentencing any day, and could get ten years in prison. Many on the left hope he does. All for a "hate" that even jurors who had to convict him said was not there. I can assure you, no conservatives were behind that "hate speech" legislation. I'm curious what you think about that case? Is that okay with you? Remember, this boy was not in any way saying, "Go and kill gay people!!!!"

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  36. I don't understand. If these organizations do indeed benefit society, why does their receipt of government funds necessitate an absence of morality?

    The other consideration is that this mandate applies to private employers as well, ones that do not receive any gov't funds. EWTN, for example.


    JoAnna, great points. Michelle, I know you said you didn't feel my question was really meaningful, so maybe you will think JoAnna's is?

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  37. I had a hard time finding any court cases in which religious freedom won over sexual freedom.

    That is scary. I see religious freedom in the Constitution, but I don't see sexual freedom anywhere in it (or the idea that I must give up my religious freedom in order to pay for your sexual activities). It's just one more reason that Obama has to go. Imagine four more years of his kind of judges, appointed for life? That makes me shiver.

    Michelle, what part of religious freedom are you willing to fight for? Could you get specific? Because my premise here is that you guys really don't care a whit about religious freedom. I'm picking on you because you're the only one here, but I'd love to hear from others on the left as well: What specific part of religious freedom are you wiling to fight for?

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  38. I found this article interesting and informative regarding government intervention and medicine. Some people scoff at concerns surrounding increasing government intervention, but I think recent history has given us plenty of reasons to worry. This article outlines one reason. I know the website focuses on freedom and liberty, so some may worry about a conservative bias; however, I think the author's credentials are worthy for any circle:

    http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/national-health-care-medicine-in-germany-1918-1945/

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  39. Oh wow, okay. I'll try to answer all of this, might not be all at once though.

    JoAnna: I don't understand. If these organizations do indeed benefit society, why does their receipt of government funds necessitate an absence of morality?
    To me, this isn't really meaningful either. I don't see any absence of morality - heck, benefiting society is in itself pretty moral. If the "morality" you're thinking of clashes with state or federal laws, though, then I'm not sure why the government should have some obligation to fund them.

    This is how I think of it, and maybe this applies to some of the other questions too: say there was a charity who refused to serve anyone who wasn't Caucasian. It's their sincerely held belief that people of other races are inherently bad and undeserving of charity. The charity does a world of good to white people, though. Is the government obligated to fund them? Should the charity cry foul when the government refuses to fund them because of their discrimination?

    To your second point, JoAnna, I guess I have a similar question for you - if a private employer refuses to hire anyone who isn't white, should the government have any say in whether that's acceptable, in your opinion?

    Bethany: Yeah, I come here to spew BS and see if you guys'll believe it. Thanks.

    it's unethical and immoral to change laws or create laws in which the only purpose is to get organizations to conform to the whims and desires of the current administration
    Um. I'm not even sure what to say to this. What whims and desires?

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  40. What whims and desires?

    Michelle, the admin is all about abortion politics. Otherwise, Sebelius would have made toothpaste free, as that is much more about "preventative care" than abortifacient drugs and contraceptives. Planned Parenthood is a top advisor to Obama, and he rarely makes a move without consulting Cecile Richards, who gives her stamp of approval. Do you not see abortion politics as fueling this administration?

    And as for the comparison of a passive "state of being" (someone is white, someone is black, someone is brown, someone has brown eyes, someone has blue eyes), with an "active sin" (homosexual acts have been considered immoral since the beginning of time, but every major world religion -- this is a matter of morality).

    You get the difference between being and doing, right?

    So, I have no problem with someone who only "wants" to sin (someone who wants to steal, wants to commit adultery, wants to lie, wants to have sex immorally), but I do have a problem when I am told to condone and approve and even subsidize the actual sin. Please tell me you see the distinction between "being" and "doing"?

    Because I know plenty of black folks who are none too thrilled about your comparisons of their state of being (skin color) to those who engage in immoral sex acts. In fact, they are highly offended at the idea that sin and skin color are equated.

    Thanks!

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  41. Lots of charities and scholarships serve only certain demographic groups. Did you want to change that? There are plenty of organizations and programs that only African Americans or Native Americans or women, etc. Many serve only certain incomes or certain regions. In fact, adoption agencies can turn a couple down for any number of nuances in their lives, not just major PC/political issues. So if that is okay, I'm not entirely sure it is wrong to have a program serve only Caucasians. It isn't very PC, but it is not unusual to serve only one demographic in a charity or scholarship organization.

    We do have equal housing and hiring practices, but they are bare minimum -- designed to make sure people aren't rejected solely on their family size or race. They can still be rejected for other qualifications. But charities and scholarships and other forms of aid are classically "discriminatory" to a certain demographic, which is generally the nature of a charity anyway. They set out to help a certain group of people. I don't think the government should necessarily decide or direct the mission or policies of the charity unless, again, someone's fundamental human rights are being violated.

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  42. One more attempt: Michelle, let's talk about something we both agree on, since we disagree about the sinfulness of homosexual acts.

    We both agree that pedophilia is sinful (or, you may say, "wrong").

    Let's say that one day pedophiles are granted the status of a protected class, and to discriminate against active pedophiles is now against the law. Do you think it's okay for church leaders (and even atheists business owners) to be fined and even shut down or jailed because they won't serve the pedophiles by providing places for their parties, or for printing their materials, or by hosting their commitment ceremonies with their teen or child "partners"? I'm asking seriously. What would you do? And, has the government overstepped its bounds to mandate such things? What do you think?

    Also, not sure why all of a sudden you are using the "that is not a meaningful question" card? I have never shied away from a question that was honestly asked, I don't believe. That just seems like a cop out, or you are really saying, "That question is too hard, and I don't want to entertain it." Forgive me if I am misreading, but that just seems too convenient (and I haven't heard you use that before; now it's been twice in a day).

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  43. For example, I had a friend in high school who grew up as one of two white kids in his poor community. If someone set out to help poor Caucasians, who are often overlooked for help because they aren't of a minority race, then I see nothing wrong with that. Often poor Caucasians need help because socioeconomics can greatly influence opportunity. But many programs, especially in the education sector, target race and ethnicity and not socioeconomic status.

    I just don't think the missions and policies of charities should be micromanaged and regulated by a government body. There is nothing wrong with helping differing sectors of society in a way that fits one's religion or conscience, as well as the perceived needs of a community. The government should not decide the "deserving" and the "undeserving" based on blanket PC policies or current trends. If someone set out to help underprivileged African Americans, would you want the government to step in and say that the charity must also serve Caucasians and other groups?

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  44. And I agree with Leila :) -- Skin color is not the same thing as lifestyle choices or actions. I am using the skin color example since it was brought up, but I do not think it is analogous with abortion, birth control, homosexual actions, etc.

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  45. Elizabeth, I agree with your statements that the government should never be in the business of picking winners and losers. My husband is in government (used to work at high levels of state gov't, now deals very closely with gov't in the private sector). The picking of winners an losers is a VERY serious problem and it has all sorts of unjust and unintended consequences. I think on a large scale we see that with Solyndra, and now we are seeing it in the shift to make it impossible to operate if one is a practicing Catholic. My son is pre-med and let me tell you, he is going to encounter all sorts of obstacles to being an MD, simply because he is Catholic and will not violate his principles. That is what I call religious discrimination. The nation was founded on the premise of religious freedom. I still do not see Michelle answering my questions about what part of my religious freedom she really cares about or will fight for. I don't see any answer forthcoming.

    And, Michelle, I want to know directly: Should the government have the power to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions?

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  46. Elizabeth, and don't worry, I only brought it up because Michelle made the (illogical) comparison. It's a common comparison used these days, so we have to address it, but totally not analogous! You were just using it in the context of her scenario, and I agree with you.

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  47. To me, this isn't really meaningful either. I don't see any absence of morality - heck, benefiting society is in itself pretty moral.

    I think you misunderstand. Your opinion seems to be as follows: "If an organization is receiving government money, the organization cannot act according to its own moral principles." Is this an accurate statement in terms of your stance?

    If the "morality" you're thinking of clashes with state or federal laws, though, then I'm not sure why the government should have some obligation to fund them.

    The government doesn't have an obligation to fund anyone, but neither should charities be denied government funds solely because they dare to espouse a set of ethical principles that may not jive with the tyranny of the majority.

    Leila already answered your point about race vs behavior.

    To your second point, JoAnna, I guess I have a similar question for you - if a private employer refuses to hire anyone who isn't white, should the government have any say in whether that's acceptable, in your opinion?

    What does that have to do with forcing privately funded organizations to pay for contraception? I'm confused.

    It's actually legal for a company to hire only non-whites, as long as they can prove that their refusal to hire wasn't based on the person's race but rather their abilities (or lack thereof).

    But there again is where you misunderstand. If a celibate homosexual wanted to have a birthday party for her daughter at the local Knights of Columbus hall, no one would bat an eye. If two black homosexual women or two white homosexual males wanted to have a gay wedding, that's where the problem comes in, because the purpose of a gay wedding is to celebrate sin (homosexual acts). So it's eminently reasonable for any organization, private or public, to refuse to let their property be used to celebrate and condone what they believe to be sinful behavior - not race or orientation, but behavior.

    Similarly, I think the Knights of Columbus should be allowed to refuse to rent their hall to a man and woman who are both divorced, and known to be contracting an invalid marriage in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

    I wouldn't expect the local Mormon church to lend me their social hall for my daughter's First Holy Communion party, either.

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  48. Leila, you're completely off base. I don't revere the state; I have lots of problems with what goes on. I didn't realize, though, that daring to suggest that laws need to be enforced was indicative of considering the government a god. That might be what you want to believe, but it's ridiculous.

    As for the hate crime, I don't think "[h]e tweeted about it, in unhappy but mild terms" is quite accurate - he announced what he'd seen and encouraged others to spy on Clementi as well. Specifically, he was convicted of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation - not hate speech - and Clementi's suicide wasn't taken into consideration, as far as I can tell. I'm on board with the guilty verdict. Not sure that I'll agree with the sentencing, but we'll have to wait and see what that'll be.

    That said, there was a recent instance (in the UK, not here) where someone was jailed for racist tweets regarding a soccer player who'd collapsed and was briefly considered dead. The tweets were nasty, but not directly harmful or inciting people to violence. There's a fine line, I think, between hate speech and stupidity, and I'm certain that that line is often misplaced. But I'm not sure that the solution to that is to allow us to say whatever we want with no consequence whatsoever. Like I said, if I went around saying I was going to kill Catholics or that I had a bomb in my suitcase, I really hope that you wouldn't chalk that up to free speech and let it go.

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  49. Michelle, the discussion is not about enforcement of laws. We are discussing the creation of laws, as well as the justification for the existence of some current laws. Civil disobedience and enforcement are different discussions. We think the mere existence of above discussed laws violates religious liberty, and the consequences of their existence are scary.

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  50. He tweeted that he saw his "roommate making out with a dude. Yay." Is that not unhappy and mild? I would say so. And apparently it was a hate crime:

    "Ravi is charged with bias intimidation as a hate crime, invasion of privacy and hindering apprehension. If convicted on the bias charges, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

    Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2012/03/08/Prosecution-rests-in-Rutgers-Web-cam-case/UPI-87691331239557/#ixzz1t4MTFT00

    The jurors said there was no hate and no intimidation that they could see, but they had to convict him anyway. You are okay with that verdict? That is scary to me.

    And, forgive me for saying that you see government as the highest authority. I stand corrected and I would just ask, then, what is the highest authority for you?

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  51. Leila, your son is brave! I am so glad, though, to see more good Catholics enter the medical field. We are seeing more and more great Catholic doctors slowly materialize these days, and that gives me some hope. My current family doctor was fairly lukewarm, but she really started to stand up to the current system and for her Catholic faith when she saw other doctors bravely live out their faith and voice their concerns. Sometimes one or two strong voices will inspire other doctors to act.

    We need more faithful doctors out there, and I pray that they can continue practicing in the public sphere.

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  52. Elizabeth, that is so good to hear!!

    I worry that he doesn't fully comprehend the opposition he is going to face, but I also know that it will really form his character and make him into a great man and a compassionate doctor when he finally is able to get through it all intact (God willing!). I know of some amazing doctors and scientists who can help him navigate those waters and those Culture of Death biases. Praying!

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  53. Forced abortions due to the one chid policy is coming to the United States!

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  54. I am so passionate about this subject that you will absolutely have to KILL me with a gun point blank in the head before I will EVER suck on birth control.

    I pray to God that the same passion I can instill in my daughters.

    I fear that they will be living in a much different world then I am and I am preparing them. :) We see the writing on the wall.

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  55. "(homosexual acts have been considered immoral since the beginning of time, but[sic] every major world religion -- this is a matter of morality)."

    This is a false statement, provoking me to actually post information here against my better judgement. For the record, I'm not here to comment generally or answer a slew of paranoid questions from right wing conservative Catholics. So, don't bother asking me questions.

    -In the historical and ethnographic record, 83% of cultures and societies worldwide have practiced or continue to condone polygyny (multiple wives).

    -The term "homosexuality" is derived from 19th Century German sexology and studies on psychology; other cultures and societies have different terms for effeminate men or masculine women, babies born with genitalia of both sexes, and/or people of the same-sex who live together, have sex. This is indicative of the role these people often fulfill within their societies-often praised, highly skilled, respected people.

    -Nadlé is the term in Navajo for a "gay" person. Highly respected members of society, no stigma on their having sex (in fact, homophobia enters Navajo culture explicitly through colonial contact with Euro-Anglo culture).

    -Brazilian transgender prostitutes often live with a man who is considered their husband/partner specifically because the partner performs penetrative acts. They are not considered "gay" but the epitomy of masculine.

    -Historically, Sambian young men were initiated as grown men through a ritualized ceremony in which they fellated the elder men in their society to receive the wisdom bearing properties of semen; they went on to then marry women and have children.

    -ancient Roman culture-known for encouraging and condoning "homosexual" acts.

    -Some Plains Indian women were designated "man-women" (for lack of knowing the exact term in their language) early on by their parents and expected to have relationships with other women.

    -Hjira are recognized as a "third gender" in India and within Hinduism. There are (like every major religion) varying opinions about homosexuality within Hinduism but many would argue that Hjiras have been recognized as part of Hindu culture.

    You, Leila, like to falsely say that the permisiveness of homosexuality is "rare" and doesn't occur, but the truth is that LGBTQ people (to use a contemporary term) and "homosexual" practices have been a part of human behavior and society since the very beginning.

    Thanks and good day,
    Gwen

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  56. OK--grumpy rant for the day--be warned--lol!
    but I'm getting so, so tired of hearing Catholics say--why don't they excommunicate these politicians…..because IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN people. Stop saying this is what they should do. They're not going to do it! I'm so upset about this--especially because no explanations for why not are forthcoming from the bishops--no explanations of canon law--something reasonable where we could go--oh, that's what needs to happen for an excommunication. Just silence. I don't know why they don't either, but they haven't. The Catholic hierarchy just thinks we're all stupid, ignorant ol' Joe and Mary Catholics out here. Ever since joining the Catholic church from the Presbyterian/Lutheran traditions I've noticed this treating us like we're children who can't think….and that goes all the way to the let's all hold hands and applaud everyone who even speaks during the Mass. Aaargh!! Thanks for listening. :)

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  57. Can you tell this is really about me being so upset about these politicians not being excommunicated and the scandal ensuing from it?

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  58. Man am I such a flippin' hypocrite--lol! I'm just having a bad day. Ignore me.

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  59. Way to hit-and-run comment, Miss Gwen! I never said that homosexuality has not been around since forever. Surely it has.

    But here's what you need to tell me in order to address my actual point:

    I have said that the orthodox of every major world religion has taught the sinfulness of homosexual acts. If I am wrong, then please tell me: Which major world religion has traditionally taught that homosexual acts are a moral good?

    Thanks so much!

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    Replies
    1. Wait, where did Miss G's comment go? I got it in my email, and I can't find it here. Maybe she deleted it? I am so confused with this new format. Sorry!!!

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  60. dachsiemama, no worries! Remember, bishops are as weak and sinful as the rest of us. And also remember that the Church moves slowly and gives the benefit of the doubt on purpose (despite the ridiculous claims by the left about the "heavy hand" of the hierarchy, ha ha!). Also, there are bishops who have told certain politicians that they are excommunicated. Some, like Sebelius, are not allowed to receive communion in their diocese (and in the DC diocese). But they don't care at all (Sebelius and such) and they almost wear it as a badge of honor.

    Remember, even Jesus said, "Let the wheat grow up with the tares" right now, and let God separate out the sheep from the goats at the end of time.

    I get comfort in that Bible passage when I think the Church is moving too slowly to root out the ones causing so much harm and scandal.

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  61. Okay, bear with me. I'm the only dissenting voice here and I have a life outside of the Bubble, so if I skipped something it's not that I never intended to answer it. I most likely forgot/didn't have time to get to it right away. Just ask me to address it and I will, no need to assume that I'm deliberately skirting difficult questions. I do have classes and work to deal with too, so it would be impossible for me to address absolutely everything. Give me a break, yeah?

    Alright, MONSTER COMMENT (and then I’m going to have to do other things for a little while):

    Leila: The point wasn't to compare racial minorities to gay people, it was to ask whether it's okay for one group to act upon the belief that another group is less deserving of their services. It seems for the most part that you guys think this is okay, so...yay consistency? (Although I kind of feel like, if I had a store and refused to sell anything to Christians, there'd be a huge uproar about discrimination, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here.)

    Re: religious freedoms. Since I'm not Catholic, I don't spend a whole lot of time worrying about which religious freedoms might be violated at any one time, so I probably can't answer this question as specifically as you'd like. How about this: I support all your religious freedoms until they violate the legal rights of someone else. Like I said, I haven't totally worked out what I think the relationship between religious freedom and government should be, but (within the same constraints of the law that everyone else has) I support your right to free speech, right not to be forced to directly do something you consider a sin...things like that. Hopefully that answers this at least somewhat satisfactorily. You’re probably not going to get anything much better from me now, but maybe once I’ve had more time to think things through I’ll have a better answer for you.

    Re: pedophiles. A known, active pedophile would be in jail, so...I’m not quite sure why you’re asking any of this. Hypothetically, assuming child molestation was legalized (?!), then - setting aside my own beliefs about the morality of molesting children - then legally you should be required to treat them as you would any other protected class.

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  62. CONTINUED...

    Re: cop out. Nope, not a cop out. Maybe “not a relevant question” would be a better way of saying it.

    Re: abortions. I’m not too well-versed in the legal stuff behind this, so I can’t give you a clean yes/no answer (though I am leaning towards no). Are religiously-affiliated hospitals government-funded? I assume there’s some basic regulation of hospitals that governments fund (like, a totally homeopathic hospital would, I assume, not be funded). So, tentative, kind of confused answer since I don’t know the laws: no, and for sure no individual should be required to perform abortions. If it’s the kind of hospital that, were it not Catholic, would be required to provide abortions, though, then there should just be an alternative place nearby where someone could get one just as easily as if it were not a Catholic hospital. Is that acceptable?

    Re: your son. Best of luck to him! I’m sure he’ll do great. :)

    Re: hate crime. There was also this: "Roommate asked for room again. Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it's happening again." That’s more than unhappy and mild, to me.

    Re: highest authority. Your own moral code, wherever that comes from. In practice, though, the government is a pretty high authority, and that’s not really a matter of opinion. Here on Earth, in the US, it’s the government (based on the will of the people) that decides what are acceptable actions and what is punishable. Whether their decisions are good or bad and what should be done about that is entirely another question, but the fact remains that, practically (not spiritually/emotionally) they do have the highest authority.

    Elizabeth: You have some good points in there that I’ll have to think about. Considering that I’m the recipient of a scholarship for a demographic that I don’t even remotely fit into, I’m not quite sure. I think the language of most scholarships is just that preference is given to a certain group (and, correct me if I’m wrong, I think these are privately funded? I know mine is). I’m going to just have to tell you I’m not sure at this point, and haven’t quite worked out what I think on this.

    Re: law enforcement/creation. Oh, absolutely. I think, if some of the things I’m saying are sounding muddled, it’s because there’s often a conflict between how things should be and how they are. For the most part, I’m considering how things are, but yes, the laws themselves should be questioned, just like everything else!

    JoAnna: "the purpose of a gay wedding is to celebrate sin"
    That is incredibly hateful. Um, wow. I mostly just wanted to know whether any sincerely held belief (that contraception is bad, that non-whites are bad, whatever) should be legally protected.

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  63. That is incredibly hateful. Um, wow. I mostly just wanted to know whether any sincerely held belief (that contraception is bad, that non-whites are bad, whatever) should be legally protected.

    How is it hateful, Michelle? Please, when you have time, explain it to me.

    Also,

    I support all your religious freedoms until they violate the legal rights of someone else.

    In that case, you should definitely oppose the HHS mandate, since lack of free contraception doesn't violate anyone's rights.

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  64. Michelle, what JoAnna said was hateful? I truly am stunned. You must think Catholicism is a hate religion. Do you think so?

    And, you think this -- "Roommate asked for room again. Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it's happening again." -- written by a freshman kid whose new roommate brought in a male over thirty from Craig's List into his dorm room, deserves a conviction of "hate speech" and a prison sentence? You haven't addressed the fact that this kid was convicted of "hate crimes" and bias intimidation, and the jurors said they saw neither hate nor the intent to intimidate. Yet the law (put in place by the left) says that this kid must face 20 years in prison. Do you see anything a little nutty about this?

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  65. Re: hate crime. There was also this: "Roommate asked for room again. Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it's happening again." That’s more than unhappy and mild, to me.

    If it was not unhappy and mild, what was it? I'm looking for adjectives that you think would describe it. Thanks!

    Thanks about my son! I think he will make an incredible doctor. Hopefully it won't be illegal to be a Catholic doctor by then in America. You heard about the lady in Massachusetts who was running for state attorney general (I believe) who said openly on a radio talk show that Catholics should not be working in Emergency Rooms or pharmacies? (Do you think that saying things like she did is discriminatory or hateful, by the way?)

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  66. If it’s the kind of hospital that, were it not Catholic, would be required to provide abortions, though, then there should just be an alternative place nearby where someone could get one just as easily as if it were not a Catholic hospital. Is that acceptable?

    Well, what if the Catholic hospital is the only one in town, or nearby? And specifically, what do you think of what the Connecticut Democrats said? Do you disagree with them, then? That would be a relief. They are pretty radical to say such things, but I am thinking this is becoming more common from the left. There is a boldness there now to push against Catholics and keep them in their place.

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  67. I support your right to free speech, right not to be forced to directly do something you consider a sin...things like that.

    This is also a relief. You must oppose the HHS mandate, then, because it is a very grave sin for Catholics and Catholic entities to facilitate others' sins. Very grave.

    The point wasn't to compare racial minorities to gay people, it was to ask whether it's okay for one group to act upon the belief that another group is less deserving of their services.

    Michelle, you have to take it a step further: services for what? If it's services for good things, like eating and shopping and getting actual health care, then of course, Catholics serve everyone! Catholics have always served everyone with our charities (we are the biggest charity worldwide, if you recall… no group helps more people on this earth that Catholics). But if you are taking about services for…. committing sin, celebrating sin, facilitating sin, then NO. It's not about being more or less "deserving" than any other groups, it's about the fact that we do not facilitate or celebrate or accommodate sin.

    I hope that makes sense.

    Hypothetically, assuming child molestation was legalized (?!), then - setting aside my own beliefs about the morality of molesting children - then legally you should be required to treat them as you would any other protected class.

    Let's say it happens and is legalized. So, you would not protest or engage in civil disobedience when the pedophile came to your bed and breakfast with his new "bride"? Would you say, "That's the law, so welcome to the bridal suite!" Or, would you willingly print up the fliers for a NAMBLA convention and rent out a hall for a pedophile recruiting conference?

    You would just go along with things you know to be morally wrong? Because the law says you must?

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  68. Yes, I think that was hateful. To me, it's not particularly nice to say that the love between two (consenting adult) people is "celebrating sin." I would not expect to have any gay friends if I said something like that to them. You already knew I thought that was hateful, though, so no need to feign shock. I'm pretty sure we've been over this many times already.

    You haven't addressed the fact that this kid was convicted of "hate crimes" and bias intimidation, and the jurors said they saw neither hate nor the intent to intimidate.
    ...do you have a link to that (sorry if you already linked it and I just didn't see it)? Kind of doesn't make any sense. If they didn't see any hate or intimidation, they shouldn't have judged him guilty. The second tweet (the "I dare you" one) is, to me, an intent to intimidate. Should that mean 20 years in prison? Hell no, but I don't think the whole thing was innocent and mild.

    Re: hospitals, I'm not sure. If it were a hospital run by Jehovah's Witnesses, would you support their choice to provide no blood transfusions, no matter how dire the need for one, even if there was nowhere else to get one? See, I don't think any Catholic should be forced to perform an abortion, and I know you guys don't see paying (even indirectly) for something as any better of an option. I guess maybe this is the better question: setting aside religious/nonreligious distinctions, what are the rules for all hospitals? Here* it says that hospitals receiving Medicare/Medicaid money are required to transfer the patient to somewhere where they could get the emergency treatment required (including an abortion). I know it's probably not ideal to be transferred, especially if it's going to be far, and personally I value health over religious freedom, but I'm going to say (tentatively) that that's the best we can get for now. Ideally, yes, doctors would put the health of their patients (according to accepted standards) above their personal views, but I know it's crazy talk to even suggest that. :\

    And, haha. I doubt that you'll ever have to worry about it being illegal to be a Catholic doctor. Not every specialty is centered around abortions and contraception! I'm absolutely sure he'll have a world of opportunities to become an excellent doctor without having to violate his conscience. Does he have a specialty in mind yet?

    *http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/11/protect-life-act-anti-abortion-bill_n_1005937.html

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  69. How about this: I support all your religious freedoms until they violate the legal rights of someone else.

    Isn't this basically saying that the government can decide what my religious freedoms will be? That they can decide who much religious liberty I will be allowed?

    Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but it seems like my religious freedom is only as good as what the next legislature wants. How does that square with the foundations of the nation and the Constitution?

    Keep in mind, we are talking about the practice of religion, not just what my "personal beliefs" are. Catholicism is about as established a religion as there is, and the beliefs are consistent and unchanging.

    Thanks!

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  70. To me, it's not particularly nice to say that the love between two (consenting adult) people is "celebrating sin."

    Even if you think something is "not particularly nice", that is a far cry from "hateful." Or, do you think "not particularly nice" and "hateful" are synonymous? That, to me, would be shocking. I am very particular about language.

    Clarify?

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  71. Do you think it's "hateful" if I refuse to go to a party at adulterers' house, celebrating their love?

    Would that be "hateful"? I'm seriously trying to grasp how you can equate, "I won't celebrate sin" with "I am a hateful person."

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  72. Yes, I think that was hateful. To me, it's not particularly nice to say that the love between two (consenting adult) people is "celebrating sin."

    Interestingly enough, Michelle, that's not at all what I said. Do you realize that by that definition, I would have been calling my own relationship with my husband sinful?

    Try again, please? This time, read my comment and address what I actually said as opposed to what you think I said.

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  73. I think the problem is that your refusal to celebrate/accomodate sin looks to the rest of us like discrimination. I don't think this is something we can resolve, really.

    And, I would protest the law itself that decriminalized the act of molesting children. I might refuse to serve them, but if I did, I would fully expect legal consequences - it'd be an act of civil disobedience, not an "I should be exempt from this because I personally don't like it." I understand this is what you guys are doing too, and I also understand that to you, same sex relationships aren't any better than pedophilia. Another impasse, I guess, because this comes back to another conversation we've had too many times.

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  74. Well, if doctors were to put the health of the patient above personal beliefs, then abortions would be almost nonexistent. Abortions aren't usually the healthiest option for the baby or the mother, even in cases where complications are part of the equation. That being said, sometimes treatment for dire conditions will result in the death of the baby, which is not the same thing is outright killing of the baby.

    Catholic facilities also do refer patients to other facilities if they cannot perform a procedure. In fact, the Catholic Charities that was shut down due to the licensure issue did refer homosexual couples to adoption agencies capable of handling their situation. This, however, was not good enough for the state government. They didn't just want referrals -- They wanted Catholic Charities to adopt out children to homosexual couples contrary to religious convictions. It just seems like the state is increasingly unwilling to compromise in a way that serves all parties -- protecting religious freedom and allowing those with differing views to still function under the law, even if I personally disagree with the law.

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  75. It is discrimination, Michelle. But discrimination isn't always bad. For example, the government discriminates against convicted felons by forbidding them to own firearms. Do you believe that type of discrimination is bad, too?

    That's what's known as just discrimination (as opposed to unjust discrimination, which should always be avoided).

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  76. For the record, I'm not here to comment generally or answer a slew of paranoid questions from right wing conservative Catholics.

    Miss Gwen, I think you missed the recent post called, "Are we really 'fringe' Catholics?" Catholics who believe in the sacredness of sex and believe it's a privilege of marriage (and only a man and woman can get married) are simply Catholics. They are living the faith as it's always been. No "right wing conservative" in the equation at all. Just Catholic, right in the heart and center of the Church, as it's been since the start.

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  77. JoAnna, you said: "the purpose of a gay wedding is to celebrate sin". To me, the love between two (consenting adult) people is not sin. That's all.

    Leila, then to me, what you want is your religious freedom to trump whatever the laws are. What's to stop people from justifying any other illegal act as "religious freedom" then? If it's part of your religion to, say, allow minors to take large quantities of hallucinogenic drugs, then should that be above the law too?

    Also, I'm from the upper Midwest. I've been known to say that a really nice dress is "not bad." Maybe that clarifies it! Really, though, we've been over this too many times, and I'm not going to get into it again. If this is all we're going to argue about, then I'm going to go do other things.

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  78. JoAnna, you know my answer to that.

    Elizabeth, once again, more things to think about. Thanks for all your comments, they've been insightful and had a lot of good things to consider. :)

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  79. I think the problem is that your refusal to celebrate/accomodate sin looks to the rest of us like discrimination.

    As JoAnna said, there is just discrimination and unjust discrimination. And I'm still not sure you get the distinction between being and doing. We all have different opinions, but the bottom line is that my religious freedom is paramount. It doesn't matter at all if you think my religion is silly or wrong. That's the whole point of the Constitutional protection afforded believers.

    I don't think this is something we can resolve, really.

    Exactly. That's why there is a real and growing culture war. And all the aggression and challenges are coming from one side at the moment. One side is on the march and on the offensive in a big way, and the other side, which is not known to pick a fight, is starting to wake up and fight back.

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  80. JoAnna, you said: "the purpose of a gay wedding is to celebrate sin". To me, the love between two (consenting adult) people is not sin. That's all.

    I said nothing about the love between two consenting adults. I'm talking about the sexual acts performed between two same-sex adults (or the sexual acts performed between unmarried adults).

    The purpose of marriage is not solely to "celebrate love" in Catholicism. That's the pale, watered-down imitation of marriage offered by society.

    We see marriage as so much bigger and so much more important than that.

    So why should Catholics be forced to host an event that celebrates the exact opposite of Her beliefs regarding the purpose of marriage?

    Is the love between two adulterers sinful? By your logic, it's not. Do you, then, celebrate and condone adultery? Do you think the Church should be forced to host a wedding between to adulterers (whose adultery was known to the general public)?

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  81. Thanks, Michelle :). I appreciate your thoughts. I know these conversations aren't always easy! But they are so important.

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  82. http://abcnews.go.com/US/rutgers-juror-dharun-ravis-words-convicted/story?id=15922681#.T5hn2e1gN4M

    Here's one link with a juror explaining that it was not in his opinion a hate crime until they showed him the actual law defining what a "hate crime" was. I will try to find a better link. I can't find the original story that I read about that, with the jurors words.

    I am glad you don't think that kid should go to prison, but isn't it crazy that it rose to that level in the first place, that he is on trial basically for just being stupid? I mean, where are we going? You even said you are glad he was convicted, even though you don't want him imprisoned.

    By the way, there are degrees of mortal sin. Even though homosexual acts and pedophilia are both mortal sins, it is much more grave to commit an act against a child than for two adults to act sinfully consensually. I want to make that clear, because I'm not sure you knew that.

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  83. JoAnna, I generally view marriage as being about love. I'm sorry that you see it first and foremost in terms of what's going on in the bedroom.

    Also, I've been over my views on adultery here before, and it's only by your logic that I condone it. In an adulterous relationship, someone (the cheated-on spouse/significant other) is being hurt. In a same-sex relationship, no one is.

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  84. Leila, I guess I don't see too much of a problem with that. When it comes to the law, I think it's better to apply it consistently and then work to change the law itself than it is to base legal decisions on your own opinions. Fair?

    And really, the guy was 21, same age as my cohort. I'm not sure the "he was just being stupid" thing is good enough. All sorts of stupid decisions lead to prosecution. At a certain point, you have to say instead "he should have known better."

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  85. Oh, and thanks for the clarification. I suppose that's better than the "sin is sin is sin" view, but I think this is something we're just going to have to disagree on for the sake of both of our sanities.

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  86. JoAnna, I generally view marriage as being about love. I'm sorry that you see it first and foremost in terms of what's going on in the bedroom.

    Again, not what I said. If the only way you can justify your own stance is by misrepresenting my words, perhaps you should reexamine your own beliefs.

    I know you generally view marriage as government sanction of "twoo wuv," even though that position is inherently illogical. But golly gee wilikers, the Catholic Church sees marriage as so much more (and so much better) than that.

    Why should the government force Catholics to adhere to your weak, watered-down, substandard view of marriage?

    Also, I've been over my views on adultery here before, and it's only by your logic that I condone it.

    No, Michelle, it's by your own words that you condone it.

    In an adulterous relationship, someone (the cheated-on spouse/significant other) is being hurt. In a same-sex relationship, no one is.

    But that's not what you said. Your exact words were: "the love between two (consenting adult) people is not sin." You said absolutely nothing at all about anyone being hurt. So, by your own words, adultery should be celebrated since it is the love of two consenting adults.

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  87. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/04/the-love-atheists-have-for-gay-folks-2.html

    You may or may not like this latest post by Bad Catholic, Michelle. It's sort of clever, regarding the issue of the dignity due all people, including homosexuals.

    Also, I never said you condoned adultery. I'm always just trying to get a topic (a "sin") that we BOTH can agree on, so that you can at least see the point of my words about homosexual acts.

    More soon….

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  88. All sorts of stupid decisions lead to prosecution. At a certain point, you have to say instead "he should have known better."

    What he did and said was idiotic and he should have been a better person. That much is true! But to prosecute him for it and potentially see him imprisoned for ten years? Man. The whole thing is so politically motivated. I don't believe in the thought police.

    I am believe that on the trajectory we are on, my blog postings will be used at my trial for hate speech one day. I hope we can return to sanity and common sense, but I'm not so sure. One day, I may be an old lady sitting at trial, or in jail. That's how most Catholics feel today. I know the bishops and priests do, and most of my friends as well. We're ready, but it won't be fun.

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  89. Sorry, I see you were talking to JoAnna regarding adultery, not me.

    Also, I've been over my views on adultery here before, and it's only by your logic that I condone it. In an adulterous relationship, someone (the cheated-on spouse/significant other) is being hurt. In a same-sex relationship, no one is.

    Here we go again. Who defines "hurt"?

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  90. As for laws. As soon as a law prohibits me from the "free exercise" of my religion, it's an unconstitutional law.

    You always bring up these mythical, hypothetical "religions" that say it's okay to do bad things to others, and then you say, "See! we can't allow it!" But my religion does not subscribe to doing anything harmful to others. Christianity is and Judeo-Christian ethics/morals were actually the basis of our system of laws as this nation was founded. This is not some freaky-deaky "personal belief system" that says we must whip and kick people with blue eyes. So, how is that even possible that Christianity is now being curtailed? This is America, and we were founded on and for religious freedom.

    It's like you and others don't get that basic fact.

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  91. Okay, you know what, JoAnna? I don't spend all my time picking out choice words so no one can take issue with anything I say. I'm the only one here fielding questions from a bunch of people who think my views are going to bring about the collapse of civilization. Give me a break, okay? You found a mistake in what I said, where I didn't perfectly encapsulate every single possibility. Good job. I'm pretty sure you could very easily infer from what I'd written the caveats and exceptions to what I believe. No need to rip it to shreds.

    If this is going to turn into another "what is marriage" argument, I want none of it.

    I'm going to call it quits for commenting for a bit, just because I do have other things to do.

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  92. "...those on the left don't care if I, as a Catholic, have religious freedom! They really don't!

    I want to be wrong, but I think I'm right on this."

    Unfortunately, Leila, I think you are completely right on this.

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  93. Also, keep in mind that my rights as an American come from my Creator (check the founding documents), not from the government. I don't get religious freedom because the gov't is kind enough to let me have it. I get religious freedom because it's my right as a human being. And the government is supposed to protect that right, not curtail it.

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  94. Seeing how marriage and family are the foundation of any civilization, I think that the definition of marriage is imperative. You can't just go changing definitions on a whim. Sorry. We've only been on the planet for two minutes, you and me. Marriage has been around much longer.

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  95. Let's recap this conversation between me and you, Michelle.

    You: Marriage is about love between consenting adults! Therefore gay marriage is okay!

    Me: Adultery can be love between consenting adults. Is that okay, too?

    You: No, I said marriage is about love as long as no one is getting hurt.

    Me: Um, no... you didn't. You only said "marriage is about love."

    You: You should have known what I meant.

    Mind reading is not among my few talents, Michelle, sorry. The fact that it didn't occur to you that adultery is also love between two consenting adults seems to indicate how little you've thought about the logical principles behind your beliefs.

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  96. Leila, I do find aspects of Christianity harmful, so there's that. We've been over this before, though, so there's no need to rehash it. I think the whole thing has to come down to a difference in beliefs, an impasse.

    JoAnna. Seriously. What do you want out of me? Should I spend all day agonizing over every comment, or make sure to include every single possible exception to what I say, every time I say it?

    I'm done here. If someone else is out there (Gwen?) who wants to take this up, please do. This has devolved into something unproductive and frustrating.

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  97. Leila, I do find aspects of Christianity harmful, so there's that.

    Yes, and you want the government to step in and stop what you perceive to be that "harm". That's exactly the point of this discussion. For those on the left, only the parts of religious expression that you find acceptable will be allowed. The government can and should put an end to those parts of religious expression that are deemed by the government to be "harmful."

    I am allowed to have my freedom of religion as long as the government says it's okay for me to have my freedom of religion. That is the position of the left.

    You have utterly and totally proven the very premise of this post which is that those on the left don't care one whit about religious freedom.

    People wake up! They really, really don't care!

    My goodness, if we don't start educating people on why this nation was founded, and the reason we are different from other nations (including totalitarian nations), and if we don't elect leaders who understand our Constitution and foundations, then we are in some deep doo-doo.

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  98. PS: I have a friend who is a new OB/gyn, devout Catholic. I'm waiting for his guest post, which will show how difficult it is to be a Catholic in medical school today. The stories I hear, not just from him, oh my.

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  99. This has devolved into something unproductive and frustrating.

    You keep talking about in impasse, and frustration. But we are not expecting agreement here. At least I never was. I only want to know what you really think. I press you because I want it all laid bare. I don't expect agreement. Do you? Because if so, I am sorry… that was never my intention with this blog, to find some kind of consensus. Sometimes consensus is not possible. I just want to hear your positions so that we are all very clear on where the other side stands. I think it's important.

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  100. So, what are we Catholic loving people going to DO about regaining our religious freedom??? First, in the upcoming election we can elect someone who believes in religious liberty. That's a start. What else are we going to DO? We need a call to action. Yes, let's take back that phrase from the fringe!

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  101. Lena, yes, the elections are CRUCIAL this year.

    And, the bishops have a plan of action. For two weeks in June, there will be some action in this nation:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/04/14/catholic-bishops-assert-our-first-most-precious-liberty

    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a “call to action to defend religious liberty” and is urging lay individuals to strive to protect the First Freedom of the Bill of Rights.

    In a news release on Thursday, the USCCB stated that it is calling upon dioceses to pursue a “religious liberty fortnight” from June 21st through July 4th, a special period of prayer for religious liberty. The bishops have published a document entitled, “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” in which they assert:
    We are Catholics. We are Americans. We are proud to be both, grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples, and grateful for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens. To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other.

    We have been staunch defenders of religious liberty in the past. We have a solemn duty to discharge that duty today…for religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad.

    The document provides some “concrete examples” of how religious liberty is under attack. Among them are:

    The HHS mandate for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs

    State immigration laws which forbid the Church to provide “Christian charity and pastoral care” to undocumented immigrants.

    A 2009 bill put forward by the Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut Legislature that would have forced Catholic parishes to be restructured according to a “congregational model.”

    The University of California Hastings College of Law’s denial of student organization status to the Christian Legal Society.

    The termination of Catholic foster care and adoption services in some cities because the charities refused to place children with same-sex or unmarried couples.

    In their document, the bishops quote recently retired Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, who said, in response to the HHS mandate: “I cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on freedom of conscience than this ruling today. This decision must be fought against with all the energies the Catholic community can muster.”

    To that end, the bishops urge that the fourteen days- or fortnight- from June 21st- the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More- to July 4th, Independence Day, be declared a “fortnight for freedom.”


    Man, when Cardinal Mahoney gets ticked about stuff the left is doing, you know things are bad, ha ha! And, I love that this begins on the vigil of the Feasts of the great martyrs, St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, ending on the Fourth of July!! Guys, this is gonna be good….

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  102. Now, we're talking!

    Let's get the word out.

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  103. I'll definitely be blogging about this! It's gonna be sooooo good! I'd love for hundreds of bishops, priests and sisters to descend on the HHS buildings, ha ha!!!!!

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  104. Michelle, I have no idea why you're so angry. All I "want" is for you to say what you mean and mean what you say. I want the same from everyone with whom I discuss issues, because I have neither the time nor the patience for mind games.

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  105. Pillbox hat, you are so clever. Are you a hit-and-run commenter, too, or are you able to actually engage in a conversation about the issue of pederasty in the priesthood? If so, ask a question or make an intelligent statement.

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    Replies
    1. No, I ended up here from a friend’s link and it’s just what popped into my head-it's about hypocrisy.
      I was struck by your concerns that religious, Catholic liberties are seriously threatened. Yet progressives (“liberal” seems to be a four-letter word now) are just as worried that their liberties (religious, health, social) are also under serious threat. I do not think you have to worry, with the GOP’s clever redistricting around the country, rest assured that conservatives will be running the legislative agenda for quite some time. Beware though, their election promises about the sanctity of life and Christian values may be music to our ears this summer but the GOP’s foremost allegiance is to the wealthy and their own dominance. The "left" is not nearly as powerful as the "right."
      But for the specific issues in this blog, “The Meaning of Life” link below is pretty much what I think too. One comment though, the good Lord gave us this beautiful planet, and it simply cannot sustain our current rate of population growth. About 40% of pregnancies are unplanned-outrageous. I respect that certain forms of contraception are essentially abortion, but most are not and for any church or government to prohibit non-abortive contraception is a disgrace and a slap in the face to our creator.
      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/25/1086296/-The-Meaning-of-Life

      Delete
  106. For the record, I have no idea why my comment ended up in your e-mail box Leila, instead of with the other comments. C'est la vie, I guess.

    Nice job defending your position Michelle!

    I have to laugh Leila that you are calling me a "hit and run" commenter! My comments are all over many of your previous posts, LOL! But so be it, you want to call me "hit n run" I'm too busy to devote more time continuously posting here.

    Bye!
    Gwen

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  107. Gwen, all the comments posted here go to my email inbox (that is how I have it set up as a blog administrator). Even the comments that go to my blogger spam go to my email inbox. So, I read your comment on my email and responded here, not realizing that your comment never actually showed up on this blog (until I released it from blogger spam).

    You were hit-and-run on this post, Gwen. Sorry, thought that was clear.

    Michelle was doing a great job until she stopped answering the questions. But I understand people are busy and of course she and you are always welcome to continue the dialogue. For example, I'd love to know how precious you think my right to religious liberty is, and how much you are willing to fight for my right to live my Catholic faith fully in America.

    Blessings!

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  108. Didn't one of the apparitions of the Blessed Mother (Fatima?) say that Portugal would be the last Christian nation standing or something like that? I know these are not the deposit of the faith, but I'm wondering if anyone has any comment on this. Personally, I feel like it's more like Malta, or southern Germany (Bavaria) or maybe Poland. What think ye?

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  109. Pillbox Hat, you've brought up about fifty new topics, but let's go one at a time (or two).

    First, what is hypocritical?

    Second, you say that 40% of pregnancies are "unplanned"…. But you know that the baby-making act makes babies, right? So, people who have sex should fully expect that a baby might result. Don't you think that is something we might want to teach our children again? People on the left seem utterly surprised that sex actually often results in children (which is biologically what is supposed to happen).

    Thoughts?

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    Replies
    1. Hypocrisy? Well, performing a marriage ceremony for anyone is far less physically and emotionally damaging than sexually abusing one's altar boys. And for decades, the only "punishment" Catholic pedophiles had was the inconvenience of packing their bags and moving to another parish. And the female housekeeper probably took care of that for them anyway!

      I absolutely do think we need to teach youth that sex leads to pregnancy. Although, it seems that schools are leaning towards restricting that type of education more and more. But our bodies are still wired according to a time period when survival was very difficult - they are wired to make us want to procreate. A nineteen year-old boy out with a pretty girl is NOT thinking about babies, he is thinking about sex. I don't care how many CCD classes he has had on abstinence, the hormones are flying and we are all better off if he and the girl each pack some of those oh-so-cheap and readily available condoms from Walgreen's before the date.

      Refraining from sex keeps a sperm from traveling to an ovum. So does a condom.

      Delete
  110. Yet progressives (“liberal” seems to be a four-letter word now) are just as worried that their liberties (religious, health, social) are also under serious threat.

    You can't get birth control unless the Catholic Church and conservatives buy it for you? What happened to independent women? When I used the Pill, I never expected others to provide it for me. I was a big girl and got it on my own. Have things changed in the past two decades? Are women less capable of going to Walgreens now, or Planned Parenthood? Seriously confused how my not paying for your copious and cheap contraception is curtailing your rights. No joke, I really don't get it.

    Also, when you use the term "progressive"… to what are you progressing?

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Well, you are writing to someone who does not think any Catholic medical facility should get one cent from the U.S. Government, so no I do not expect you to pay for my condoms, lol. Not sure where you got that assumption.
      BUT, there are women in the city where I live, and worldwide who really cannot afford or even have access to birth control, and, they have no choice when their male partner wants to engage in sex. But that's another issue.

      I avoid the use of liberal because it is used on Fox and other conservative media outlets as a slur in a superior sneering way. I'd like to think we are indeed "progressing" towards a better, more tolerant world but with the current polarized climate I do not have much hope of that.

      Delete
  111. Pillbox, check out www.pop.org to see why overpopulation is a myth. Actually, the United States in particular is currently experiencing a population implosion, where we do not have enough young people being born. Even the New York Times has admitted as much. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/opinion/brooks-the-fertility-implosion.html

    Also, by what authority do you claim to know what is a slap in the face to God? I would think the killing of innocent unborn children is a slap in the face to God, but you do not seem to have a problem supporting those who advocate for it.

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    Replies
    1. Dear JoAnna, where in my post did I say I support abortion advocates? Please don't "speak" for me. And by the way, unless they are mentally ill, very few people are "pro" abortion, i.e. the killing of unborn children. (Honestly, sometimes I wonder if y'all think women are running around plotting to get pregnant just so they can abort!).
      I support anything that prevents the NEED to have an abortion (educating young people about the consequences of their actions, and yes, barrier forms of birth control). That's because, if a woman is pregnant and desperate enough about her inability to have the child, she will attempt to abort by any means necessary, regardless of the current laws and restrictions and yes, rules of the church.

      Delete
  112. Pillbox Hat

    Not sure why you're repeating the myth of overpopulation. Do you realize the specter of "overpopulation" was first put forth in 1798? 1798 A.D. The year of our lord one thousand seven hundred ninety-eight.

    214 years ago.

    Earth still isn't overpopulated.

    Furthermore, Malthusian "overpopulation" was based on a simple logic that was absolutely destroyed by the advent of both canned food (early 1800s) and mass production (late 1800s, early 1900s). Malthus only lived to 1834, and only revised his essay on overpopulation up until the mid 1820s. Even though canning was "invented" in the first decade of the 1800s, the mass production of canned foods really didn't occur till the 1900s. We also can't forget refrigeration.

    My point? Malthus thought that population would grow at a rate that food production couldn't maintain. Massed production of canned goods+refigeration for perishables = problem solved.

    Now you say, "But there are lots of poverty stricken countries with people who have nothing to eat." Okay, then why are we wasting space in our airplanes and ships to bring them condoms and birth control instead of food? How about building them wells? Just because they have nothing to eat, by the way, doesn't mean the countries are over populated either, something else to note.

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    Replies
    1. My concern with overpopulation is with regard to our resources. And, I guess it like these other issues, you say the world is not, I say it is heading that way and we all find the stats or whatever references we need to support that.

      Delete
  113. And to continue, Joseph, there are many factors in worldwide food availability. Unfortunately, lack of available food often stems from human factors and not resource factors. Our earth is capable of feeding far more people than the current world population, more than we can even calculate due to continued technological advances that change the number. Ensuring everyone has access to food and water is part of the mission of charities like Food For The Poor.

    On another note, I have studied some human geography as well as geology, forestry,and wildlife science. Population trends based on continent and country are interesting. They don't follow an exponential curve, which we often hear about when people talk about growth. They follow more of a bell curve -- where population peaks and then drops off as the country increases in prosperity and development. Other factors -- illnesses like HIV/AIDS, as well as any number of old or new diseases will drastically (and sadly) reduce populations, often populations with the fastest growth, like developing countries in Africa. Of course, we should always strive to bring quality medical care to every individual on the globe. I have heard callous comments about disease and population growth, and celebrating disease as part of "natural population control" is just evil.

    I don't necessarily think the bell curve of population, as seen worldwide depending on the current level of development, social issues, political policies, and history of a country, is a good thing. But it is our current and historic reality for those concerned with population growth. Even National Geographic points out that the entire world population could stand shoulder to shoulder in L.A. and that the current world population could sustain itself on land the size of Texas. Even I find that pretty amazing! We still need to be good stewards of the earth and our resources, but worldwide population growth isn't really the problem.

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  114. Oddly enough, people close to me argue that the Catholic Church wants to populate the earth with Catholics as quickly as possible, and this is the motivation behind the birth control stance. Well, I know that's not the motivation. But I find it interesting that people outside the Church draw this conclusion when the Church requires celibacy from 99% of the priests and religious out there. I know there are a few exceptions. If the Church's aim was to use fertility to maximize Catholic populations as a primary goal, it is odd that they would stick so hard along the lines of celibacy in these areas while continuing to actively promote and celebrate as many religious vocations as possible. That restricts some of the most devout Catholics from procreation, and the Church furthermore does not limit the numbers of religious vocations. The large Catholic family is only one picture of the Catholic faith -- There are many other sides to it and many types of people, including devout couples who can never and will never have children for various reasons. Anyway...that was a little side comment related to some of my own personal conversations :).

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  115. Elizabeth, you are so right to point that out!

    I once did a post answering some things that an anti-Catholic said. This is her screed, and my responses are in brackets:

    Have you ever wondered why the use of contraception is so strongly discouraged by the Catholic faith? [Why yes, I have! In fact, I've studied and taught that very subject for 15 years now, so I've gone past "wondering" about it.] It is not to respect the “sanctity of life,” or to keep intact the “holy act” of intercourse. [It's not?] Those are the feel-good reasons they have instilled in you to cover up the true and original intent of these rules. [This is new to me: A liberal claiming that Catholic sexual doctrine is couched in warm fuzzies? I thought your line about Catholic sex was that the Church is cruel and oppressive?] This stipulation of your faith was designated to increase the Catholic population. Think about it. [Because clearly I've never thought about any of this before...] A group of people [can you specify the group of people?] set out to utilize a religion to amalgamate and brainwash [!!!] their constituents.

    But how to increase the likelihood that your religion and your brainwashing will be as effective and as widespread as possible? Simple. Teach them that they need to reproduce as many times as possible, and that any prevention of reproduction is a sin. Ta-da! Your numbers grow stronger and you gain more power. [Ah! The "breeding minions for the Pope" argument! Well, bummer, that's not been an effective strategy, since most Catholics use contraception happily and scoff at Church teaching (if they've ever even heard of it).]


    You can read it more clearly here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/04/answering-choice-who-describes-herself.html

    By the way, the woman later apologized! It was very gratifying.

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  116. Wow! That sounds strangely familiar :). I will have to read the entire post. It amazes me that some of the most highly educated and intelligent people will form this very simplistic conspiracy theory view of Catholicism. With over a billion Catholics spread across the entire globe and many more beyond this world, many of them highly intelligent and aggressive seekers of truth, at some point one to admit that maybe we aren't all brainwashed lemmings. Maybe there's a little more to us here :). My friends with this view were raised on these ideas and taught that Catholicism was evil from an early age, so it was a highly ingrained bias that was reinforced by our culture. They just never dug deeper than that, at least in terms of Catholicism. Outside of that gross misunderstanding, they are just wonderful, caring, highly educated and intelligent people.

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  117. You didn't know Catholics were held in causal contempt?

    Where have you guys been for the last 20 years?

    I've heard people mock and ridicule the Catholics since I was at my mama's knee. Most don't know any better and don't see anything wrong with it. I remember pointing out a friend if she had said something similar to a Jew she would be in a lot of trouble. My friend reply: "Yeah, but you aren't a Jew. You are Catholic, no one will care."

    Ain't that the truth! No one ever did!

    Of course those attitudes are finding their way into our laws and politics. This was a long, long, long, long time coming. I always assumed it was part of our religion. You know....bearing wrongs, being mocked, etc.

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  118. This is why I just kinda laugh at the bishops. I know I shouldn't. But they are "shocked" the government isn't respecting the Catholic teachings on birth control?

    Most people don't respect a Catholic making the sign of the cross. How in the world can we expect them to respect our teachings on reproduction which require some serious understanding of the Catholic faith? Most self-described Catholics don't understand the teachings.

    I'm going to get flamed for this but this is why I don't like homeschooling and private Catholic schools. How can we expect to be a part of the world and preach the gospel to the world when we segregated our children away from the world? Everyone is worried about the bad influences on _their_ kid and forget that their kid could be a good influence on someone else.

    You can't decry the secular world has gone somewhere in a hand-basket when the world's best defenders are turning their backs on it.

    If we are going to blame anyone....I think we need to look at ourselves first. We are Catholics. We know better, we are called to behave better than we have been. The fault is on us.

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  119. StarFireKK, I think you oversimplify the school problem. I can't speak for every parent, because schooling is a very personal decision. But I don't worry so much about the "bad influence" of other children on my children. My kids play at the local park and sing in the local choir, and we have plenty of neighbors who aren't Catholic. There's nothing wrong with mixing with other people and teaching our kids to be "out in the world"...In fact, we must teach them to function in the world.

    But education is something entirely different. The main issue -- The purpose of education. I am a big classical education fan. The purpose of education is to seek Truth, The Great Conversation. If I were to send my kids to a local public school, they would not get anything close to a classical education, and I would have to spend another six hours at home with them everyday giving them that. I won't settle for anything less, because the theories and types of education do vary widely enough where any old school just won't do unless you feel strongly about the philosophy and method behind that school.

    Sadly, we have many Catholic schools in our area, and they aren't much better than the public schools. I have homeschooled my kids through this year, and next year they will attend a classical Christian school -- not Catholic. We'll see how it goes.

    Also, when we talk about influences, I worry more about influences from other adults, not other kids. I worry about school policies, some (not all) teachers, and the content taught in the classroom. We want strong authoritative role models for our children, and many children really look up to their teachers. It really takes away from education when parent and teacher/school system have completely different standards. We have to swim upstream enough as it is, but to have to do it every day with your child's primary adult influence outside of yourself -- Yikes. And some school systems have hugely age-inappropriate sex education curricula. It's not that we would never discuss such things, but some things are appropriate at older stages of development.

    Anyway, as a big fan of classical education, we don't shelter our kids our from the world or information. But the purpose of education is not to "be a good influence on someone else", but to arm your child with the truth and the tools to seek the truth in all areas of life, but particularly in the greater meaning of life. This prepares them for living in the real world, which they also get in other forms throughout their childhood. That's just my take on education. I hope that offers some clarification on one perspective :).

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  120. Sorry for the super long post :). I am a really fast typist and often do not realize that the length is getting away from me!

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  121. Elizabeth, your comments on classical education and why we do it is exactly what I would have said, but you said it much better. Thank you!!

    I have a couple of kids who are grown, and they were in Catholic schools and then (public charter) classical curriculum schools (with a year or two of homeschooling). They have absolutely kept the faith in their state university, where secular values are the norm. It has worked beautifully. They also are very 'normal' and functioning, and they have friends from all walks of life. They are a very good influence on the world, but at the right time and age, when they have a very clear and solid grounding.

    Anyway, it's worked very well for us, and my kids are "sheltered" (formed in a Catholic culture) for the formative years, but then let loose on society once they get to teen years and up! I could not be more proud of the people they've become and they are functioning, friendly, productive and working to be saints. All by God's grace, I might add, because with a mother who rants and swears and sins as much as I do, I don't know how that happened, ha ha!

    StarfireKK, I honestly never encountered anti-Catholicism in my life till recently. I grew up in the '70s and '80s, and it was not an issue that I ever knew about, except that I knew that Protestants (some) thought we had bad doctrine. I never felt any persecution or that the world was against us. I don't know if it was because I was not well-versed in my Faith or not. But I went to public schools and NEVER was there anti-Catholic sentiment (we still sang Christmas songs at Christmas back then -- and the dreidel song)! So, this is fairly recent. Maybe we were just too dang comfortable. Persecution is good for the Church, as we know. But man, it was nice not being trashed in the news every day, and not having a president who openly attacked my Church. Part of it may be the rise of the internet, and all the anti-Catholic bigots have a forum now in a way they did not when I was growing up. It does seem like things have gone downhill very quickly, mostly since Obama, and mostly in the past year or two.

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  122. (Please understand, I'm sure your children are lovely wonderful people. I'm not trying to say home schooled children are not normal or don't have a good education. I'm merely saying I think limiting their circle of influence as a child does society more harm than good.)

    Elizabeth, I respectfully disagree. I think everything in our life is about being a good influence and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Putting education above that role is one of the reasons most devote Catholics are considered "on the fringe."

    How much education do you really need to be a good Catholic? If you keep in mind the ten commandments and the acts of mercy you are doing very well. I don't think God cares if you can name the doctors of the Church but I think he cares an awful lot if you know how to share your cookies.

    Leila, I grew up in the 80s and 90s and my experience was very different than yours. I saw these attitudes in my childhood peers so it doesn't surprise me the attitude is turning up in the government or the laws.

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  123. StarfireKK, it takes all kinds, for sure, and I have no issue if a Catholic family has their children in public school or anywhere, really. But the problem in society now (a HUUUUUUGE problem) is that kids are VERY poorly educated as to the foundations of Western civilization. If any one thing is undermining our influence in the culture, it is that. We simply must, must, must teach our children (all American children, really) the basis of our civilization (with roots in Rome, Athens, Jerusalem). We are losing western civilization precisely because of that. All that "ancient stuff" (the ancient philosophers, the beginning of the systems of democracy and republics, and yes, Judeo-Chrisitian history) are so crucial to understanding why the West is here, how it was formed, who began the hospital and university systems, the foundations of modern science, etc. It's so, so crucial that our kids be educated well, for so many reasons and on so many levels.

    If you have ever heard some of "college student's" arguments (which are quite common now!) about men and women, about life and death, about even the value of this nation (which she was taught and believes was founded on ugly, hateful principles, made only better now by Obama), you will see that we are in deep doo-doo educationally.

    More kids need a classical education, the Church is BIG on education, and yes, we need saints, saints and more saints, but we also need knowledge and truth, and the Church has always been at the forefront of that fight as well. Let's not drop the ball.

    Just my two cents! :)

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  124. PS: Because my daughter was classically educated, she was able to see and articulate the fallacies here and in her other university classes:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/08/unpacking-liberalism-interview-with-my.html

    It is so rare these days, and we need to do better by our kids, precisely because we want them to be a good influence in the culture and world.

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  125. By the way, my daughter is 20 now, a junior. She intends to teach when she is out of school, perhaps at the same public charter high school she attended. They are a series of schools (not religious, no theology there) that have captured nationwide attention precisely because they have been wildly successful and a good alternative to what's currently offered.

    More on the school model, here:

    http://greatheartsaz.org/

    Those videos on the side are worth a look. It would be wonderful if every city had schools like these, and it's possible that they could! (Well, those states that allow charter schools.)

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  126. Pillbox Hat, you said:

    Well, you are writing to someone who does not think any Catholic medical facility should get one cent from the U.S. Government, so no I do not expect you to pay for my condoms, lol. Not sure where you got that assumption.

    We got that assumption because the Obama administration and the HHS are forcing all Catholic institutions, by mandate, and pain of fines and jail, to provide employees with free contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs, even though we consider it a mortal sin (meaning we could go to hell) to provide such things. Even if the Church entity does not receive any government money at all. Now do you see the problem? Please tell me you do.

    BUT, there are women in the city where I live, and worldwide who really cannot afford or even have access to birth control, and, they have no choice when their male partner wants to engage in sex. But that's another issue.

    This sounds to me like the women are in an abusive situation, not a loving marriage or even "partnership". Why on earth would we want to help these men continue to abuse? It almost sounds like you are talking about women having sex against their will, because a man wants to use her. Is that okay? Why would we help that situation for the man by making sure the woman is sterilized so that he can force himself on her all he wants? Instead of making sure that Catholics give this woman contraception to be further used by this brute, how about get her into a healthy place in life instead?

    Bottom line, do you care one whit about my right to religious freedom of expression, or do you think religious freedom is something we get to have only if and when the government magnanimously "allows" it?

    I'm truly interested.

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    1. Sorry, I don't understand all of your comments. Not sure you are really representing what the Obama admin is up to --employees of what?. As far as women in relationships - who said anything about sterilization? I was writing about barrier contraception that not only prevents pregnancy, but also STDs in relationships that are abusive on at least some levels. In some cultures however, this would not be considered an abusive situation. Why not work towards both goals, helping a woman protect her reproductive health (from HIV and other stds and yes unwanted children if she cannot raise them in a healthy environment), and also help them transition to a better life?

      And yes I certainly do care about your religious freedom of expression. But there are attacks on personal freedoms from the Right too. How about the Wisconsin congressman who wants to categorize single parents as child abusers? http://www.theroot.com/single-parenthood-law-child-abuse
      .

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  127. Pillbox Hat, please put your comments at the very END of the thread. I cannot find them otherwise. Thanks!

    About the priests who molested kids: Are you as vocal about public schools and your opposition to them, and to teachers? Because according to the stats, they are about 100 times more likely to abuse and yes, pass the teachers on to another school (it's called "passing the trash"):

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/21/AR2007102100144.html

    I'm truly interested about whether or not you support public schools, knowing these facts.

    Still not sure how this whole thing negates the Church's unchanging teachings on marriage?

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  128. A nineteen year-old boy out with a pretty girl is NOT thinking about babies, he is thinking about sex. I don't care how many CCD classes he has had on abstinence, the hormones are flying and we are all better off if he and the girl each pack some of those oh-so-cheap and readily available condoms from Walgreen's before the date.

    All the more reason to teach kids about virtue and self-control (and not putting oneself in a tempting position) before the fact. It's possible, because we are not animals. We can morally reason (even teens). It won't always work, and some will fall, but that is no excuse not to teach them what is right. After all, most kids in the heat of the moment won't be thinking about that condom in the wallet, will they? And even the abortion lobby's own research shows that 54% of those seeking abortions had used birth control that month. Birth control is not magic, and it fails often. Even as a married couple, we had a condom break once, and we were educated adults. :)

    Best to teach virtue and really mean it (kids can tell when you are only humoring them: "Don't have sex, but use a condom when you do~ wink, wink"), than to think so little of teens that they can't act morally or honorably.

    And, of course we must teach our kids that sex makes babies (I teach my kids eeeevvvveerything trust me; they know it all), and that is exactly why sex is a privilege of marriage: because of the babies who are likely to result, contraception or not. Tell them the whole truth, especially about the truth of their human dignity. I've seen it work, beautifully.

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  129. A nineteen year-old boy out with a pretty girl is NOT thinking about babies, he is thinking about sex. I don't care how many CCD classes he has had on abstinence, the hormones are flying and we are all better off if he and the girl each pack some of those oh-so-cheap and readily available condoms from Walgreen's before the date.

    The more I read this and consider your implications, the more I think that you actually fully expect them to have sex, from the beginning. It's almost as if you believe it can't not happen, and that the expectation for both of the teens going into the date is that it will happen. That just makes me sad that adults (I am assuming you are an adult) think so little of our youth.

    (And which is it? Is contraception "oh so cheap" and readily available, or is it so hard to come by, as in the case of the used/abused women you mention, that Catholics have to provide it free for everyone? If a teen can get contraception and pack it on every casual date, why can't a grown woman get it, too? That part is still confusing me and I am not sure where you stand.)

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  130. StarfireXX, just throwing this out there, but Catholic homeschoolers are frequently more polite and better at sharing cookies than public schoolers. What they aren't good at is believing nothing, or compromising on their beliefs. In regard to social acclimation, my husband was homeschooled from 3rd to 8th grade. Then again junior and senior year of high school. He has no issue socializing as a Marine Officer and combat vet with other Marine officers who enjoy the less moral things in life. He witnesses to his faith when the situation warrants, he doesn't bar hop or go to strip clubs, but they all are members of the same team. I am not sure I understand your criticism of homeschooling. Though my evidence is anecdotal, we know numerous other homeschoolers in the same situation.

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  131. StarFireKK, I think influencing others and loving neighbors as thyself are of prime concern in life, but I don't think sending kids to public schools achieves that above all else. Like I said earlier, that isn't the primary goal of education, although it is definitely part of education. It isn't either/or. There are ample opportunities on a daily basis to practice virtues and influence others while still obtaining the best education possible.

    Classical education, as Leila pointed out, is not about teaching your kids how to be Catholic for 6+ hours a day. I would jump at sending my kids to a classical Catholic school for an incredible complete package, but my main concern is the classical part. My husband and I can soldier on in the Catholic department at home and among our Catholic peers. Leila, it would be awesome to see more of those public classical charter schools! I am just so thankful that we have one classical school in our area, and it just happens to be private and Christian. The Protestant/Catholic thing has its own mix of interesting challenges, but I have been happy with the mutually respectful dialogue thus far.

    Leila's link probably provides plenty of information on classical education. I also don't have anything against a family that chooses to send their kids to public schools. We don't all have the same family, philosophies, or circumstances, and so school choice is very personal.

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  132. As far as the amount of information necessary to be a good Catholic, that is an interesting topic for pondering. I hope to provide my kids with as much information as possible. I realize that one does not need to be a doctor of the Church to be holy, but every little bit helps. I grew up in a lapsed Catholic household -- Christmas and Easter Mass.

    We did go to CCD in middle school, and we did learn to love thy neighbor and the works of mercy, etc. That wasn't enough to keep me in the church. We have a real crisis in the education of our children in our faith. Thankfully, my dad got really serious about Catholicism when I was a teenager, sent us hundreds of books, had hours of countless conversations over the phone and throughout college, and all my sisters and their husbands are now devout Catholics. We wanted to know everything, though. We wanted every question answered, every line of logic, every piece of historical evidence...not everyone is like that, but we are. It took many books, many conversations, many prayers by my father, and many thoroughly answered questions to get us back to our faith, which we supposedly were taught growing up with the very basics you list. We didn't know anything! And therefore we couldn't wholly commit to it and could barely distinguish Catholicism from any number of other life philosophies or religions. With secular disdain, no one wants to be in an "unpopular" religion that they don't fully understand. I don't want my kids to grow up lacking in that solid foundation.

    Leila -- I am so encouraged to hear about the success with your kids! It really gives me hope. My oldest is only seven, so I need to see families who have successfully walked this path to guide me a little in our path :). I can't really look to my childhood to get all those answers.

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  133. I'm not bashing classical education, at all. I'm not saying the kids shouldn't be learning it. I'm a history major and a bookworm- I'm all for the classics.

    I'm not bashing home-schooled children either their education or their manners. I'm putting forth the theory if all the children attended the same neighborhood schools it might be better for EVERYONE.

    Think about it, classical education is important to most of you. It is probably important to others as well. If you were on the PTA or worked with the school board maybe there would be MORE classical education in the schools.

    Same if you send your well-mannered cookie sharing kids to school....maybe they will help their peers see that being well-mannered and cookie sharing kids is a good thing.

    I'm sorry but I found it elitist that the schools that are good enough for the neighbor kids are not good enough for _your_ kids. Especially, if you were stuck with the neighborhood schools you'd probably be advocating for better education for everyone.

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  134. I don't think it is elitist to believe in one philosophy of education over another. I know many parents who believe that the purpose of school is for their child to get into college and get a good job. Or who believe that state standardized tests are fine standards by them. I disagree with that, but I don't think they are inferior people. They have the right to form their own philosophies and goals in their child's education. Our local school is the best public school in the state, and there is a waiting list for kids to get into that school. I personally have a different philosophy on education than this excellent public school, and so my kids, who would get in by virtue of our address, don't go. But it makes room for other parents clamoring to send their child there.

    I just know so many parents with different educational philosophies, so I don't know that we would all agree or push for classical in our neighborhood public school or even in our neighborhood Catholic school. I have no trouble supporting that if that the goal of the community, but I don't see that as a major goal around here. Anyway, I do know of an excellent Catholic school transforming into a classical school -- It takes years to do this, because it is so different than the way they were doing it. So even those who support that move, they have to assess the age of their child and support it as best they can...It may just not be the right time to move their child over if the transition is years down the road.

    I hear what you're saying -- That we should all throw our kids into the neighborhood school and just keep lobbying for change and hope our child has a positive influence on the kid sitting next to them. That's not a bad idea, but it isn't for every family. For example, I get extremely sick during my pregnancies, and I have multiple small children. I'm just not going to be on the PTA lobbying for change until my childbearing years have slowed down :/. My oldest could be in high school by that point. I have to pick and choose the battles at different stages of life, as we all do. Of course, I am always open to conversing with other parents and community leaders. Make sense?

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  135. Elizabeth, did we live the same life, ha ha! I needed so much more than I ever got, and I was raised as you were (see my reversion story at top). I almost left the faith and then stayed and grew in it, for the very same reasons you gave.

    StarFireKK, you know I love you so this is not anything personal, but I keep wanting to ask you if you have kids? I remember when I first had kids and was writing a column for the local paper. I was not "in" the Church in the sense that I am now. I didn't know a lick about my Faith and was not attending mass. But I already knew that something rotten had infiltrated the public school philosophy. It is the education establishment that I knew had gone hard left, and it was nothing I wanted to introduce my kids to, even back then. Even having gone through public schools myself (before the big "shift"). People would say, "Oh, but if you don't put your kids in the public schools, how can they get better?" But my reply would always be: "Are you asking me to sacrifice my kids in crappy schools that undermine my values in order to save bad schools?" Sorry, I will not sacrifice my kids for anything in the world, and most certainly not to save a school system which has become fully aligned with the agenda of the secular left and the Democratic party. It's not my job to save the schools (and I have no power against the establishment), it's my job to save my kids. And, if schools are so bad that many people are begging for alternatives (not just the "elitists", but poor people and middle class people, too -- did you ever see Waiting For Superman?), then perhaps offering parents alternatives (and not a one-size-must-fit-all approach) is better for all of us. If the schools were so great, then everyone would be clamoring to stay in them. How is it elitist not to want to sacrifice my kids on a poor education?

    Moreover, Catholic schools are known for being in poorer neighborhoods and taking in kids that are not Catholic, and educating them much better than the public schools in the same neighborhoods. So, how is that elitist? And my kids' charter schools (classical curriculum) believes that ALL kids can learn and grown and get the best education, so they have opened the same model schools in poor inner city neighborhoods with the same curriculum (and, no tuition in any of the schools). Again, how is that elitist? And if you check out the homes of most homeschoolers, I can promise you, there are no elitists there, either. Just regular families struggling every day to make sure that their kids get the best education possible, that they become saints, and that they go out and bring Christ to the world. That is my experience. I don't get the "elitist" label on any of this.

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  136. Just to make it extra clear: It is not people like me who would deny poor kids an excellent education. It is those who want to deny school choice to those kids and their parents who are desperate to get them out of there. But the Democrats (the left) will not typically allow any challenges to the public school monopoly that has utterly failed those kids. That's the elitism I see. It's a tragedy. It is sacrificing actual kid and their lives for an ideology and an agenda. Again, I urge you to see Waiting for Superman (produced by someone on the left, ironically, who tells it like it is, thank God).

    The Church has lobbied hard for school choice. In the old days, when we all shared more or less the same values (believe it or not, we didn't used to fight about basic stuff back then), we all could march down the street to the neighborhood school. I remember those days. And, sadly, those days are long gone. It's not like that anymore.

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  137. Especially, if you were stuck with the neighborhood schools you'd probably be advocating for better education for everyone.

    I do. That's exactly why I advocate for school choice so that parents can do what's best for their children, not what's best for the education establishment which has become so corrupt.

    I will advocate for school choice till the day I die, so that all children, especially poor kids, can have a decent education. And the Church lobbies for that, too, praise God.

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  138. Starfire,

    You do make some good points. You go back to Plato and the homeschool vs public school debate was still going on even then.

    The fact is that every kid is different, some are more impressionable than others. Placed into the same environment Ias my younger brother, I became more convicted, and gradually more mature. I am a college grad, Marine officer, married and a father of 2. My brother was more susceptible to peer pressure and is now in jail for the second time for getting caught trying to deal ecstasy. For well educated parents who have the means, and who know their kids, I see nothing wrong, and some very important positives, in their decision to homeschooling.

    I also see negatives in using your children as a tool for evangelization at the local public school. Furthermore, the decision to homeschool is not a commentary on the neighbors choices or children. My not eating McDonald's's food because it is unhealthy in no way is my being an elitist, or condescending towards those who do.

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  139. Leila, I completely agree with your thoughts on the public school system as well. We have a very socialist education system -- state-run schools that kids must attend based on their district. I disagree with our fundamental education model in this country. It is crazy to me that our schools even function under this system. Can you imagine if the government told you that you must shop at one grocery store every week based on your address? We would go ballistic if the government told us we must purchase our food from one store based on our address. And that we would have to get special permission to shop somewhere else or pay hefty out-of-pocket costs to shop at the next store over. Or get a special charter where some families could go to that special grocery store. And yet we tolerate this for our children's education. So I don't totally believe in working "in the system" myself. I think we need to work completely outside the system and change it all together. I am all about school choice, and I have always supported charter schools, vouchers, magnet schools, private schools, etc.

    That's my little education rant for the day :).

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  140. Elizabeth, I agree totally. Hey, you should start a blog!

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  141. LOL...Sarah would totally agree with you on that! Sorry I totally took over your combox there with essays on education. This topic has obviously been on my brain a lot in the last few years.

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  142. You are free to take over my combox! That's what it's here for!

    Did you ever read Stacy's guest post on education?

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/07/guest-post-by-stacy-is-there-eclipse-of.html

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  143. Leila, I looked into Great Hearts Academies. Are they only available in Phoenix? I couldn't find a link to them anywhere else. It would be wonderful if my dd and her husband lived near schools like these when their 2 yo is ready for school. It would not be wonderful if they lived in AZ, I'm afraid, because then I'd rarely get to see them!

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  144. Stacy's guest post is great! I couldn't agree more :). In our state, we spend over $16,000 per child every year in the public school system, and our graduation rate is around 67%. The private schools cost from $4,000 to $7,000 per year with graduation rates around 99% -- big difference!

    And to make me even more enthusiastic about public education, this is taken verbatim from the Authorization for Exchange of Health Care and/or Education Information that I must sign as a parent if I send my child to a public school in our city:

    "*If the student is a minor but is authorized to consent to health care without parental consent under federal and state laws, only the student shall sign this form (RCW 70.02.030)

    __ HIV/AIDS, STD status, diagnosis and treatment (Consent may be given by student 14 years of age.)
    __ Family Planning/Abortion (Consent may be given by student of any age.)
    __ Alcohol/Drug Treatment (Consent may be given by student 13 years of age.)
    __ Mental Health Services (Consent may be given by student 13 years of age.)

    (Envelope shall be marked "CONFIDENTIAL")"

    I just can't sign that.

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  145. Elizabeth…. whaaaa…..? That is crazy!! Blech and blech! No way, no how.

    In no way would I want any child of mine in a school run by an education establishment that would endorse such a document. I would not entrust my children to such people, truly. Sigh.

    Sharon, so far they are only in Phoenix, but there is definitely interest and talk of expanding to other states. Do you know Hugh Hewitt (talk show radio host)? He is a big champion of the Great Hearts schools, and I think he is on the board. He lives in California, and he encourages teachers there to go and interview at Great Hearts. :)

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  146. StarfireXX, some quotes for you,

    "Back at the beginning of the twentieth century, the monstrously influential Edward Thorndike of Columbia Teachers College said that school would establish conditions for "selective breeding before the masses take things into their own hands." Another major architect of standardized testing, H.H. Goddard, said in his book Human Efficiency (1920) that government schooling was about "the perfect organization of the hive." He said standardized testing was a way to make lower classes recognize their own inferiority. Like wearing a dunce cap, it would discourage them from breeding and having ambition. Goddard was head of the Psychology Department at Princeton, so imagine the effect he had on the minds of the doctoral candidates he coached, and there were hundreds." (http://johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/3f.htm)

    Dr. Seuss: "I did it for a textbook house and they sent me a word list. That was due to the Dewey revolt in the twenties, in which they threw out phonics reading and went to a word recognition as if you’re reading a Chinese pictograph instead of blending sounds or different letters. I think killing phonics was one of the greatest causes of illiteracy in the country.

    Anyway they had it all worked out that a healthy child at the age of four can only learn so many words in a week. So there were two hundred and twenty-three words to use in this book. I read the list three times and I almost went out of my head. I said, " I’ll read it once more and if I can find two words that rhyme, that’ll be the title of my book." I found "cat" and "hat" and said, the title of my book will be The Cat in the Hat."

    Then, of course, for the younger grades there is the whole discussion about the whole word vs phonics method for teaching reading. The best approach is probably a combination of the two, but this quote by Bruce Price I think makes a solid argument for phonics (which isn't frequently used in schools any more):

    "My research pinpoints three factors that effectively render Whole Word null and void. 1) English is vast, almost a million words and names. A child learning Whole Word is aiming for a mere 800 words a year, thus guaranteeing that the child is illiterate through high school. Real literacy probably requires a vocabulary of more than 50,000 words; virtually no human could memorize that many ideographs, which is what Whole Word turns our words into. 2) A second obstacle you never see mentioned is that while Chinese ideographs are written in only one way, all English words routinely appear in multiple forms--lower case, UPPER CASE, Mixed Cases, scripts, handwriting, and exotic typefaces. Imagine how bewildering this profusion would be for a child. 3) English, like Greek and Latin, is an alphabetic language. Sounds are built into every nook and cranny. If you force a child to ignore these sound-clues, and focus only on design-clues, the child will probably experience great frustration and may well develop a reading disability, such as dyslexia." Bruce Deitrick Price

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  147. StarfireXX,

    Not all public schools are good public schools. Nor are all criticisms of public education that machinations of suspicious, conspiratorial minds. The manner by which kids are educated today, and in what they are educated has been heavily influenced by people who very much have no one's best interest at heart but the 'elites.'

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  148. Joseph, phonics vs. whole language has troubled me for years. And it's timely you mention it, because just two days ago, my sister called me to tell me something that appalled her. She was the parent guide for a field trip for some fourth graders at her son's public school (in a very nice area of the city). This particular outing had parents NOT with their own kids' classes. My sister's child is in a self-contained gifted class at the school, so that was what she was used to "fourth grade" being like. She was SHOCKED (and so was I) to discover that this "normal" group of fourth graders were practically illiterate. A few of them could not read the handouts given to them for the field trip, and some could not read time. She stressed to me that it's not that the kids could not make out some big words, but that they literally could not read. I was horrified, and I asked her if she was going to report it to the principal. She told me that another friend she had also talked to said that it has been brought to the attention of administration for YEARS. They keep passing the kids along. Again, this is in a good area, and no doubt they are spending an exorbitant amount per pupil. What is going to become of these kids? Why doesn't the "establishment" care? Seriously, it's heartbreaking.

    By the way, we suspect that the school loves hosting the self-contained gifted classes because even though the gifted classes are completely separate from the rest of the student population, all the standardized test scores get averaged together, thus bringing up the entire school's standing. Making it appear as if this school is performing adequately!

    Anyway, I've been sad and outraged about it for two days. How is the system serving these kids? What kind of future do these kids have? It's a crime, really.

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  149. I went to a gifted magnet high school located in an inner city, which pulled from the surrounding counties. We shared a building with a declining inner city school, but we did not share classrooms. I came from one of those surrounding counties. The city and media vilified our school for years -- even had us in the news with fictitious racist tensions claims, when I never saw any major tensions among the two schools and students in that way. Residents claimed that we were ruining their old historic school (which had been one of the best in the nation in the 50's glory days, but had declined to an inner city juvenile stopover starting in the 70's.) So old alum, who hadn't been there in years, felt like we were killing their old school with this new school.

    It seemed like the whole world was against it, but our test scores...Oh, the test scores and the achievements and accomplishments! And the money -- the counties paid half our public "tuition" to the city and pocketed the other half. So the counties got "free" money out of it, and the city got test scores and newspaper-worthy achievements. The city couldn't bring itself to completely dismantle us even though they almost did a few times, because we did exactly what you mentioned, Leila -- Raised the average test score and made the city appear to have a much better school system than it actually did. Never mind that most of us were not from that district. Never mind that the students in our school were pulled from the top students in the counties, which skewed results. I am glad to say the school survived and now has its own building. They are still located in the city boundaries. Politics play a big role in the school system, and I can say I learned a lot about the real world just from being in the middle of it.

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  150. I should've known better than to every mention schooling.

    I apologize for my elitist comment- that was not very nice or charitable of me. There is an issue I see between the private school and homeschooling communities and the public sector but using that language destroyed any hope of me making my point. I should've known better but I was in a hurry.

    You all have made a lot of good points and I really want to reply. But sadly, I'm leaving here in a few hours to deal with some family issues so anything I say would be a hit-and-run. I'm sure we'll have a chance to continue the discussion later.

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  151. StarFireKK, don't apologize for mentioning schooling! I think it is a very important topic and one very worthy of discussion. It's also a very complicated topic :). I genuinely wish it was as simple as your proposed solution. Please discuss more when you have a chance, and I hope the family issues end well!

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  152. I second Elizabeth! It's a worthy topic, and it's good you brought it up! Thank you, as always, for adding thoughtful comments!

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  153. Pillbox Hat, if you could put your comments at the bottom, I would really appreciate it. I'm too lazy to search for it after I see it in my email inbox.

    The article you linked says this at the end: "The rights of women are being attacked on all levels by Republicans who are fighting against birth control and abortions and now want every single parent to be charged with child abuse."

    That is such a misrepresentation of what I read in the first part of the article that I don't know what to say. It is true that the biggest indicator of poverty is not race, but single motherhood. You may not think there is anything wrong with single motherhood and that it should be encouraged, but do you deny that that's true?

    Also, you are comparing a state senator (whom I've never heard of) who is proposing that the state simply acknowledge the biggest indicator of child poverty in a bill (again, a bill I've never heard of), with a FEDERAL mandate by the Obama administration that strips Catholics, with one stroke of the pen, of our religious liberty? Sorry, I don't see the parallel.

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  154. "The rights of women are being attacked on all levels by Republicans who are fighting against birth control…"

    For the record, the administration picked this fight. No one moved to take away anyone's Pills and devices. The aggression is all from one side. We are simply reacting to it.

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  155. "Sorry, I don't understand all of your comments. Not sure you are really representing what the Obama admin is up to --employees of what?. As far as women in relationships - who said anything about sterilization?"

    Pillbox Hat, I was referencing the HHS mandate. That is a huge part of how we are being stripped of our right to religious liberty.

    And as far as condoms for abused women… There are so many condoms out there in the world. Why does the Church need to supply it when we believe it is sinful?

    Please read this, from a missionary, about how plentiful condoms and contraception are in the Third World, but food and medicine? Not so much:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/06/no-food-or-medicine-but-plenty-of.html

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  156. Pillbox Hat, you say that you care about my religious freedom. I am glad to hear it! Will you then oppose, publicly, this HHS mandate?

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  157. To Leila,
    Sorry I saw the note about posting at the end after doing another Reply

    Leila, you asked: bout the priests who molested kids: Are you as vocal about public schools and your opposition to them, and to teachers? Because according to the stats, they are about 100 times more likely to abuse and yes, pass the teachers on to another school (it's called "passing the trash"):
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/21/AR2007102100144.html

    I would be if it came forth in my city, but I always felt the situation in the church was just one example of the problem of pederasty in general in this country, not just in schools or churches. One thing I do not know, are priests immune from prosecution in this situation? I see reports about priests being disciplined or whatever within their community, but not about any legal process.

    You asked:
    I'm truly interested about whether or not you support public schools, knowing these facts.

    I wish I could support public schools but they are fraught with so many problems, along with the pedophile situation. Although, in general I think the teachers are at greater risk from violence from students than kids are from sexual abuse. Penn state (Zimmerman) is of course the most recent (and mind boggling) example of an abuser being protected.

    Still not sure how this whole thing negates the Church's unchanging teachings on marriage?

    If I am addressing your question correctly, I simply, but fervently believe in preventing the need to have or not have an abortion as much as possible. So that does mean the use of contraception, which is part of the teachings on marriage to which you refer? That's my take. I think it is great that you have taught your children to understand and respect what love and sex should really be. It's a shame more parents are not as engaged with their kids. I just think we need to look at the reality of what really happens. Do you recall some years ago where it was found that teen pregnancy rates were higher among evangelical communities that had developed
    abstinence programs? These kids had all taken pledges and it did not work so well. And are there always places a teen can go if she is pregnant and truly afraid to tell her parents? Someone close to me was in that situation years ago, I think even before the R.v.Wadee ruling was out. She was going to abort because she felt she had no other options. She was fortunate in that her parents did find out and begged her to have the child, and said they would help her however they could. But it was her parents, not the church, not a campus or social services group, that saved that child's, and possibly this young woman's life as well.

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  158. Pillbox Hat,

    That was not teen pregnancy, that was teen birth rate, and the study was found to be flawed, mainline Protestant and Catholic traditions were modestly correlated with lower illegitimacy rates. It all depends on how the numbers are crunched. I don't make too much out of any of those statistical studies because the data is too easily compromised.

    http://voices.yahoo.com/study-linking-most-religious-us-states-high-teen-4303003.html

    What parents teach their children is directly affected by religious views. I'd say that where the study claims there were very religious groups and higher teen sex activity, that more religious conviction was needed among the parents, not less.

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  159. Stacy, to add to that comment, the method of relaying religious convictions and morals is important. In general, children who come from extremely strict and rigid households and children who come from very very lax households rebel the most. They tend to "go wild" and reject their parents or origins so to speak. I personally know families in both categories. So, yes, you can certainly find highly religious families with teens running in the opposite direction, having promiscuous sex, and having out-of-wedlock children or abortions.

    The problem, however, is not the message of morality, responsibility, or religious views, but the methods in conveying those messages. We can't attack religion and morals when often the problem is a family dynamics and communication. Stats don't account for those differences either. They just measure "religious" or "abstinence only" or parameters along those lines and not the rest of the picture for individual families.

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  160. And, of course, in families that are lax, who don't effectively convey a moral compass or offer some discipline, you see the same results. It's not just the super strict religious out there. This idea that kids can decide right and wrong for themselves coupled possibly with a lack solid discipline and communication results in an environment where teens are more likely to make bad choices.

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  161. Stacy and Elizabeth, I agree with both of you. Strong, solid morals and religious values, relayed lovingly and making sense, are what will keep our children virtuous.

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  162. http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/01/parenting-what-ive-done-right.html

    As you can see in the link above, I am deadly serious about moral/religious formation above all else. I think that most parents don't consider it (or have no idea how). And in the other bullet points, the manner of communication is sooooo crucial. I've seen too many good parents bungle things because they will not communicate the "why" and "how" of it. But when morality makes sense, the results are beautiful.

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  163. I love that post, Leila! It is so true. I think we, as parents, often don't consider that aspect of parenting. When we have our first new babies, we worry about diapering and breastfeeding and solid foods. And then we start to struggle as they get older. We often default to our own personalities and childhood experiences. If you came from a very healthy background, that default may work really well for you. If not, the unhealthy cycle may just continue for generations before someone pinpoint and actively corrects the problems.

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