Catholics

What Does Pope Francis Have to Hide?

Pope Francis

As troubling as it is to have leadership in the White House insisting it’s so above the fray that it must learn from the news (just like you and me, kids!) when serious allegations of improper behavior by government entities is occurring, this latest “mea culpa because I just didn’t know” is kind of fun. For Catholics, anyway:

In light of a recent report, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) fears the National Security Agency may be spying on President Barack Obama. “They could well be spying on the president, for all I know,” Paul says, in an interview with National Review Online. “He has a cell phone, and, in fact, my guess is that they have collected data on the president’s phone.”

Religious doctrine is NOT a basis for law

Despite having no faith of my own, I am fine with those who do.  If you want to live your life according to the teachings of a holy book or religious leader, I’m fine as long as you cause me no harm. I honestly could not care less if you believe in no god or twenty, given none of those gods are telling you to hurt people. But it is a different issue entirely when you try to suggest that our laws should reflect the doctrines of your particular church.

The conservative argument against marriage equality has long been couched in talk about “harm to children” and “destroying traditional marriage”, but in reality it has always been based on a simple idea - my religion doesn’t approve of homosexuality, therefore our laws cannot condone it.  As it has become more and more apparent that same-sex marriage causes no harm whatsoever, anti-equality forces have gotten more desperate.

Take this post at the Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog.  Ostensibly about a new marriage equality law in Illinois, the author mentions the actual law only in passing before launching in a defense of marriage buttressed only by the words of a Catholic priest (who, incidentally, had some interesting things to say when a gay pride parade was moved to pass by his church).  Does this priest have any special knowledge on the subject of marriage?  It doesn’t appear so.  His expertise clearly lies in one thing - the teachings and doctrine of his church.

Rick Santorum and JFK

Peter Mains is a blogger, political activist and technology consultant living and working in the Phoenix metro area. In his free time, he enjoys writing music, reading voraciously, and trying exotic food.

Rick Santorum’s comments to George Stephanopoulos about John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech to the Houston Ministerial Association are making the rounds. Apparently, the speech so unnerved Rick, that he wanted to throw up. He thinks you should be just as offended as he is, In the interview, Santorum encouraged people to look the speech up and decide for themselves. Having followed Santorum’s suggestion, I couldn’t disagree more.

The worst part is, I want to root for Rick Santorum. Recent revelations paint Kennedy as something of a moral monster. In contrast, Rick Santorum seems like a good family man. When it comes to religious matters, one might think that Santorum would come out on top. Nevertheless, JFK wipes the floor with Santorum — even from beyond the grave.

The one point where I am ambivalent in regard to Kennedy’s speech is his insistence that government not give any funding to religious institutions whatsoever. Bush’s faith-based initiatives and various voucher programs show that public funds can be redirected to religious institutions without creating a de facto established church or violating freedom of religious exercise. Nevertheless, such issues could be completely avoided if we were to reform education, healthcare and so on such that government gets out of those businesses altogether.

Today in Liberty: HHS official warned of Obamacare “disarray,” Ghostbusters and libertarianism

“The great and abiding lesson of American history, particularly the cold war, is that the engine of capitalism, the individual, is mightier than any collective.” — Rand Paul

— Small businesses to see health premiums rise: An actuarial report from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services finds that 65% of small businesses — affecting 11 million people — will see health insurance premiums rise thanks to Obamacare. These are firms with 50 or fewer employees, those exempted from the individual mandate.

— Obamacare exchanges in disarray months before rollout: The Washington Examiner reports this morning that a senior Department of Health and Human Services official warned in May of serious problems with the Obamacare exchanges. “A senior Health and Human Services official was so frustrated last May over the White House’s ‘disarray’ on health care before the launch of Obamacare insurance exchanges that he warned of needing a ‘come to Jesus meeting’ with his counterparts,” reports the Examiner. “The comment from Anton Gunn, then-HHS director of external affairs, came in an email exchange with Anne Filipic, the president of the outside group Enroll America, a nonprofit with close ties to the White House that was formed to promote the fall Obamacare rollout and boost enrollment — an effort the two were working on closely.”

ObamaCare is now a religious liberty issue?

The latest wrinkle in ObamaCare that is turning off many people from both sides of the aisle is mandate set by the Department of Health and Human Services that would force Catholic chuches and organizations to cover birth control, despite the religion’s teachings against contraception. Republicans are urging the Obama Administration to curtail the requirement and working up legislative fixes to repeal it:

Congressional Republicans, seizing on the type of social issue that motivates and unifies their base, stepped forcefully Wednesday into the battle over an Obama administration rule requiring health insurance plans provided by Catholic universities and charities to offer free birth control to women, vowing to fight back with legislation to unravel the new policy.

“This is not a women’s rights issue,” said Senator Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire. “This is a religious liberty issue.”

Racing to defend the administration, five Democratic senators returned from their party’s retreat south of the Capitol to hold a news conference to push back on that notion. “We stand here ready to oppose any attack that is being launched against women’s rights and women’s health,” said Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York.
[…]
On Wednesday, Representative Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska said that he would revive his Respect for Rights of Conscience bill, introduced last March. “In recent days, Americans of every faith and political persuasion have mobilized in objection to a rule put forth by the Obama administration that constitutes an unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our country,” Mr. Boehner said before a group of roughly 25 members in the chamber to give their own one-minute morning speeches.


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