Friday, January 20, 2012

Not quite a Quick Takes


1) First, I can't thank you all enough for the kind words, support, and especially prayers for my sister and our whole family. Currently, she has a team of doctors working to find out exactly what we are dealing with. I can't say much more because so much is still unknown, but the word "bizarre" doesn't begin to cover the last eight days. Please keep praying.

2) So glad to see that Catholics have been responding to the popular but deeply flawed video, "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus". My personal favorite response, by a rapping priest:

And if you want to go further, check out Fr. Barron's response:

The funny thing in all of this is that the "hate religion" guy subscribes to sola scriptura (the idea that the Bible is a Christian's only authority), but yet he does not grasp the fact that the very New Testament he quotes is a product of the Catholic religion! He would not have the Bible in his hands if the Church had not written, preserved, copied, canonized, protected and preached that Bible for 20 centuries. Ah, the irony.

3) I just saw this, and now I'm fuming:

Seriously, my head is going to explode. Does the Obama Administration think us Catholics fools? Maybe we are if we don't bombard him with emails and phone calls and lawsuits. I want to fight. Here is part of the response from Archbishop Dolan and the U.S. Bishops:
In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences. To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable.It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty.
What kind of man did we elect to the presidency of the United States?! Obama must be defeated in November.

4) Turns out I am a homeschooling mom again (schooling only one this time around). So many myths about homeschooling, and this hilarious young man's video about those myths deserves a wide audience! Too funny! I want to shake his mama's hand:

(Gosh, maybe I shouldn't have said I was homeschooling. The Obama administration might soon declare it illegal and come after me. I'm only half joking.)

Have a great weekend!


  1. I feel honoured to be the first to comment. Oh please let me hit publish before anyone else does! Love the homeschool video. Obama...what can you say? Really? Continued prayers for your sister and family.

    1. BNA, ha ha, I am glad you got to be the first comment!! It's good to be blogging! :)

  2. I saw the homeschooling video the other day and couldn't stop laughing. I hope my kids turn out to share his opinions!

    Welcome back. :-)

  3. Not all Protestants love that video ;)

    Homeschooling? Currently planning on it, and my favorite line in that video is the one about a world without Lady Gaga!!

  4. Great videos all around. I LOVE the response to the "hate religion" video. I have several evangelical-type friends who have posted the original video on Facebook and I have debated whether or not to post either (or both) of these great rebuttals. I just usually don't engage in that kind of commentary/debate on Facebook (I use it more as a means to share cute pics of my kids with my family, LOL).

    Good luck with homeschooling. I loved that video too! Cracked me up. We started homeschooling this year, and although I never, ever would have thought I'd be a homeschooler, now I love it.

    Prayers for your family Leila!

  5. Continuing to pray for your famiky.
    Just saw that video myself of the blimeycow guy.... Another "love v like" is great for teens.


    Praying for you!

  7. I've honestly had moments where I worry that homeschooling won't be legal by the time I could start with Elise!!! jeesh, this country!!!! I'm tempted to move...but if we all moved away who would be here to fight for what's right :)

  8. Mary, it's funny you mention homeschooling's legality! I'm in my third year of homeschooling. My oldest is seven. I started in Virginia, and I learned last year that it has only been legal in Virginia for about 20-25 years. It's so new to so many states! (Well, new in that it was outlawed for a long time but, before common public schools, we all know it was popular.) I am amazed to see groups striving to squash homeschooling. Good news -- Homeschooling numbers have exploded due to our current educational system, and we have a much stronger voice now. Let's hope it holds :/.

    1. So, I hate to spam your blog, because I really came for the awesome religion vs Christ rebuttal, and left laughing about the homeschooling video. But, if you want to vote someone in who will protect homeschooling, check out Ron Paul's stance (and by stance I mean someone who will actually do what he says).

  9. Praying for you! Thanks for being a sister in Spirit! Amen! Amen! I'm not the only one who feels this way - @Sew - Ditto!

  10. Three amazing videos. After watching the first "rap" one I went looking for the video everyone is talking about. I think the dude was worried more about rhyming than what he was saying! My response is, "Whatever." That's like saying I'd rather be an orphan than have parents because parents aren't perfect! Geesh.

    The homeschooling one cracked me up! Thanks for the laugh!


    P.S. Your family continues to be in our prayers.

  11. I agree totally with #3! Obama must go!!! it really is just too upsetting the things that he has done.

    I love #4! I was home schooled for a while and loved it! That video is great! :)

  12. Yes...I'm voting in Nov to get him out of office too. Really? He can't make religious institutions give b.c. WTH? Ugh! Our adoption agency quit doing foster care because our state was going to make them give liscenses to couples who wanted to foster who are s.ame s.ex or couples who are not married. What is this society coming too???

    I will keep your sister in my prayers.

  13. Leila, I have no idea how I missed the info on Pauline, but I am so sorry to hear it! Many prayers coming your way!

  14. On the contraceptive issue (#3), while I agree with you in principle, is it not a case of letting other people decide whether or not to violate their own conscience?

  15. Nicholas, no, because Catholics would be required to purchase and provide it for all employees. It's like saying that Jews should be forced by the government to provide non-kosher meals in their restaurants! Where does the gov't get off doing that? We cannot be mandated to directly provide bad things for people, things that go against our religious beliefs.

    JoAnna always says it well, too: Why should an employer be mandated to subsidize the sex lives of his employees?

    I don't see that in the Constitution.

  16. Contraception has been lumped in with health care. If your argument is you want to remove reproductive health services from ALL forms of health insurance, religious and secular alike, that is a different debate.

    I guess I can appreciate the hair-splitting more... but no Catholics are "purchasing" or "providing" anything. A Catholic school with a healthcare plan doesn't have a store room where they keep medical supplies and have to hand them out. They have a coverage plan with an insurance company. What services or products get purchased are completely separate from the employer.

    I don't really buy the restaurant analogy since it is not a like comparison. Equally problematic, but perhaps closer, would be if a Jewish group organized a trip that included both Jewish and non-Jewish participants. At a lunch stop the group was providing lunch vouchers for people... Would it be OK if they said they would not honor the vouchers if people picked non-kosher foods?

    Meh, silly analogy is silly, but the larger issue that the healthcare insurance system in general blows :-p

  17. Thinking about it more, I believe the reason I am lax on this issue is because of the system, as I stated. For most people, it is not really feasible to get health insurance outside of their employer. Our system is built around the current employer provided standard.

    So if your employer is limiting access based on moral principles that you may not share, you are as the saying goes SOL.

    So the question is, who is harmed more in that case?

    Of course there is always the option of not working for the Catholic Church... But that really bypasses the issue, and ignores all the reported Catholic institutions that already offer the coverage?

  18. Nicholas, I hate that insurance is tied to employers. Stupid system.

    But really, it's like this: Health insurance is about health. Fertility is NOT a disease or a disorder that needs to be "cured". Fertility is health. So, on that level alone, it is a seriously flawed situation. As for the "cure" for fertility: Much of it is abortifacient. Many of these pills and devices that we must now provide, for free, are killing drugs and devices. If I provide such services, as an employee, I am culpable for those deaths. I should be able to refuse to provide such deadly services. As it stands, the Catholic entities could opt out of the death part, and still provide actual health care. Now, the government says "no opt out" for immoral, unhealthy, deadly coverage. That is a violation of the Church and Church entities religious liberty. Who is the gov't to say that a religious entity cannot opt out of something they consider evil? After all, the mandate is for the Catholic entity, not just the insurance companies!

  19. The Catholic entity cannot even chose to not provide health insurance altogether without paying a fine, nor can Catholics start their own health insurance companies that refuse to pay for sex life subsidies.

    Of course there is always the option of not working for the Catholic Church... But that really bypasses the issue,

    and ignores all the reported Catholic institutions that already offer the coverage?

    Not much we can do about heretics acting like heretics. *shrug* If they want to cave to evil, they have the free will to do so. But Catholic entities that actually have something resembling a conscience should not be forced to cooperate with evil.

    Here's an analogy that might work better: what would you say if the Obama administration passed a mandate that classified caffeine as a necessary drug for caffeine addicts, and required the Mormon Church to start providing its employees coffee or soda free of charge? Would you consider that fair and just?

    OR what if the shoe was on the other foot? What if the Santorum administration (hypothetically) passed a mandate stating that secular entities and their health insurance companies had to distribute rosaries to all employees - Catholic or not - so as to improve their spiritual health? It's preventative care of their souls, after all!

  20. Actually Nicholas, that's not entirely true. Most diocese, like my own, are self-insured - they just have an underwriter. So they choose the services for their plan.

    What you have is the government, telling a diocese (not to mention Catholic hospitals and universities) that it MUST provide the service of contraception and sterilization, regardless of whether or not it goes against your conscience as Church, and you must provide it free of charge for all your employees. Which means those costs will be passed on to everyone through higher premiums (ours are already $700 a month), therefore going against the consciences of the employees who adhere to the teachings of the Church.

    And of course there is always the option of NOT working for the Church, and doesn't bypass the issue at all. If some Catholic institutions want to provide free contraception for the employers, then legally, so be it. That's a situation to be taken up between the institution and it's "resident Bishop". But for the government to FORCE ALL religious institutions into violating their consciences is... well... unconscionable.

  21. So if your employer is limiting access based on moral principles that you may not share, you are as the saying goes SOL.

    So the question is, who is harmed more in that case?

    Given that contraception is not health care, nor is it medically necessary for any reason or condition, I'd say that religious liberty is harmed more in this scenario. As you stated, one can always find a different job that is willing to subsidize one's sex life.

    Here's my question. The left tells me all the time that Planned Parenthood exists to provide free or low-cost contraception to people. So.... why aren't they? Why is this mandate necessary if PP is doing what they are allegedly in business to do, and what they already get FEDERAL FUNDING to do?

    Why are we jeopardizing religious liberty so that people can get their sex lives subsidized? Having sex is not a requirement to sustain life. If people don't want to have children, for whatever reason, they can not have sex. Or they can use a method of birth control that is extremely low-cost, like NFP. Their employeer should not be required to provide them with a specific drug when said employer has a religious objection to said drug. If the employee doesn't like it, s/he is free to find other employers that are willing to do so, or go to a PP.

  22. @Joanna - You state the problem perfectly. Since secular society views contraception as a public "good" and not an evil, that informs how they make that decision.

    Again, as Leila indicated the problem is inherent in the Employer model. As long as we have that, the Church in this situation is going to wind up classified as a secular "employer" rather than a religious institution.

    Carving out exceptions for religious institutions doesn't address the larger problem of health care reform, which would ideally make the point moot.

    Your caffeine and Mormon analogy I also see as flawed, although certainly in the way you present it, yes they would be required to provide caffeine... but no Mormons would be forced to actually consume it :-p

    There are two conflicting priorities here. The religious freedom of the institution to abide by its principles, and the freedom of the employee to their freedoms.

    I actually agree that it is silly that the Church is required to do this... But I see it as a flaw in the Employer model more than anything else.

  23. Nicholas, I would like you to address JoAnna's points in her 10:27 comment. Thanks!

  24. yes they would be required to provide caffeine... but no Mormons would be forced to actually consume it :-p

    But Nicholas, Catholics are not just culpable before God for *using* contraception knowing it's immoral, they are also responsible when they cooperate with evil as well. When I provide contraception (or abortion) to others, I am in grave sin. The gov't cannot compel people to sin and to violate their consciences like that!

    Even the secular law will hold the driver of the getaway car responsible for the murders his buddy committed in a bank robbery, for example.

  25. @Leila - I don't disagree... except insofar as the Government is a secular institution that doesn't care about sin.

    As far as the 10:27 comment goes, you won't get a great argument from me since I am just replying what I see the other side as, rather than as a true believer in it... But from secular society standpoint they seem quite wiling to say that access to contraception should be a basic right. A better argument than I could half-heartedly cough up can be found here

    There seems to be a general "hierarchy" of freedoms in the US, an unwritten code so to speak. Religious freedom seems to fall somewhere in the middle of that pack. As a country we tend to promote or limit religious freedom depending on where it is relative to other freedoms. In today's hypersexualized culture, it appears to fall below access to contraceptives and orgasms, sad as that may be.

    I still think you overstate the felony murder analogy though... But for sake of argument let's say you are 100% correct. That is a view of sin that secular society will not tolerate.

    Because in theory the government treats Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca, and God know what else as equals, they are not going to accept an argument for religious beliefs that extends to what other people do.

  26. For the record, I think the employer-based model is ridiculous, too. I tried to purchase an individual short-term disability policy a year or so ago, only to be told by 3 different companies that I could only purchase such coverage if my employer offered it; they didn't sell individual plans. My employers were not interested at that time in offering STD insurance, so I was out of luck.

    That brings up another point, though... it seems that the Obama administration could have offered an easy compromise on this. If an employee wants contraception but his/her employer will not offer contraception due to moral reasons, why can't that employee elect to get his/her coverage through Obamacare instead of through his/her employer?

  27. Government is a secular institution that doesn't care about sin.

    Right, but it should care about the Constitution, the document in which "religious liberty" is paramount, but "sexual rights" are nowhere to be found. One has to trump the other, if we are still a nation under a Constitution. Explicit rights have to trump non-existent (or at best implicit) rights.

  28. @JoAnna - Yes, presumably Obamacare would/should allow that sort of thing, assuming it gets fully implemented.

    I think the other issue at stake here is the "insurance" system in general. Insurance "works" by having a pooled set of resources... even if everyone pays in the same amount, they don't all equally benefit. The healthy people pay for services they don't (thank God) need, just so that they're available in case they do, and likewise the sick people cost a lot more than they pay in.

    Under such a model, the system starts to break down the more we nitpick at it - "I'm a man I don't want to pay for gynecological services!" "I'm a woman, I don't want to pay for prostate screening!" etc etc. That may or may not be a reason why the government is reticent about allowing the religious exemption here, afraid that it will open the floodgates for other exceptions?

  29. @Leila - There are thousands of people (at least) who make their living arguing about what the Constitution says and means. I am not convinced that even if your view of the situation is 100% correct theologically, that it would be 100% correct Constitutionally.

    And certainly in this modern era where the Government has claimed sweeping authority based on a few simple sentences, I am skeptical that any Constitutional argument would withstand serious scrutiny.

  30. And yet, the gov't has allowed for religious exemptions, and any old person can go get a condom for free or practically free if they wish. JoAnna's Planned Parenthood arguments above speak to that (or go to Walgreens!).

    Basically, the mandate is because Obama is in the pocket of the abortion lobby. This is just greasing the skids for acceptance of future abortion coverage. Same with ESCR (embryonic stem cell research) being federally funded -- that ensures that abortion would be almost impossible to outlaw.

    So much of this is to advance the pro-aborts' agenda. They have very deep political pockets. They fund many a Democrat's campaign.

  31. Nicholas, then the words of the Constitution truly are meaningless. They weren't always. But I do think they largely are now.

  32. That may or may not be a reason why the government is reticent about allowing the religious exemption here, afraid that it will open the floodgates for other exceptions?

    Doesn't ring true given that it is, as you stated, a RELIGIOUS exemption enshrined in the Constitution. A "right" not to pay for prostate services if you're a woman is not in the Constitution, because that's purely a business model decision.

    I wish that the Left considered "access" to maternity care a "basic right" along with contraception, but they don't. Many insurance companies refuse to provide maternity care coverage, or require you to purchase extra coverage for such services.

  33. @Leila - Well, I can't argue with that... I can only debate on this specific instance, which is that the secularist "in group" has decided that access to the pill is a basic right of all women, and whether they will allow exemptions or not.

    But you may well be right on where it is headed.

  34. JoAnna, and that is the travesty. True disorders and diseases are not covered (such as infertility!), nor do I have (nor can I get) maternity coverage in my own policy.

    Really, something is very rotten in Denmark, as they say.

  35. @Leila - I wouldn't go so far as to say "meaningless" but certainly they have been heavily diluted by the sheer size and scope of government, which has rules and regulations that far exceed the original document.

    My point regarding religious liberty is that, in my estimation, the general rule of thumb for the limits of said freedom are when they move from being about me, to being about other people.

    This is an issue because in this specific scenario, the Church has two different roles "Religious Institution" and "Employer." They are appearing to rule that the latter takes precedence.

    It is a debate between party A's religious beliefs being affected or party B's claim that A is foisting his beliefs on B. Our society has a track record of siding with B.

    In a world where they say it is Unconstitutional to have a "moment of silence" in school, it does not surprise me at all that the far more subtle argument that a health coverage plan that an employee may or may not choose to use for contraceptives doesn't get much play.

  36. I think it's going to get a lot more play than you might think. Even the very liberal Cardinal Mahoney, and some of the folks from the dissenting National Catholic Reporter, are mad at Obama and want to fight:


    This is going to be a big deal. At least I pray so.

  37. Also I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments about what should be covered and how crappy the system is overall. I am totally behind you there.

  38. Oh I certainly have no problems with the ruling being fought and overturned. I would welcome it.

  39. These quotes reminded me of this discussion:

    “Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights,” Cardinal-designate [Timothy] Dolan said.,AAAAdgye3dk~,p0Zv3iru3vKntdSZldOI6IpJ_Ro3rVN6&bclid=987951266001&bctid=1404872889001

    "The Catholic Church defends religious liberty, including freedom of conscience, for everyone. The Amish do not carry health insurance. The government respects their principles. Christian Scientists want to heal by prayer alone, and the new health-care reform law respects that. Quakers and others object to killing even in wartime, and the government respects that principle for conscientious objectors. By its decision, the Obama administration has failed to show the same respect for the consciences of Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease." - Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan

  40. Sadly, the difference here is scale. The basic principle behind Obamacare requiring health care purchases is that is the only way a system works where you can not be excluded for "pre-existing conditions." The Amish are a small enough community that it doesn't matter... But if you exclude huge groups, the system fails to work at all. It is a tough call.


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