20 Feb

Assisted Suicide and Physicians’ Conscience Rights

“I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God’s blessing and God’s curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Choose life.” Deuteronomy 30:19

Assisted Suicide and Physicians’ Conscience Rights:

Opponents of Physician-Assisted-Suicide (PAS) contend that doctors have a moral responsibility to keep patients alive as reflected in the Hippocratic Oath. They argue there may be a “slippery slope” from euthanasia to murder and that PAS will unfairly target the poor and disabled and create incentives for insurance companies to terminate lives in order to save money. (euthanasia.procon.org, 12/19/16)

This “slippery slope” argument is addressed by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, writing about ethics in the Atlantic Monthly, in which he affirms that there is a lesson to be learned from the Netherlands and Belgium, where there is widespread breach of legal safeguards leading to a sizable incidence of non-voluntary euthanasia. He fears the eventual outcome of PAS laws could be euthanasia of the demented, the mentally ill, the old, and others. (heritage.org, 3/24/15; cmda.org, 7/18/16)

A Warning from Canada:

The “Medical Assistance in Dying” report, February, 2016, recommended that all Canadian doctors have a legal duty either to provide assisted suicide or provide an “effective referral” to someone who will provide it. Recommendation 10 of the report recognizes there may be a direct conflict of rights and interests between a patient seeking suicide and a doctor with ethical and moral standards opposed to providing this option. However, Recommendation 10 subordinates the values, rights and ethical interests of the doctor to the wishes of the patient.

Many physicians in Canada warn of this “slippery slope” to the kind of social and medical ethics that corrupts and erodes the core virtues essential for survival of a free society. It would be wise to pay attention to what is happening in Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland, since already six American states (CA, OR, WA, MT, NM, and VT) have recently legalized physician assisted suicide. The New York State legislature is now considering a so-called “medical aid in dying” bill. (cnsnews.com, 3/18/16; stat news.com, 1/19/17; latimes.com, 5/16/16)

“Do not abandon wisdom, and she will protect you; love her and she will keep you safe. Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do.” Proverbs 4:6-7
13 Feb

Freedom of Faith vs. Doctor Assisted Suicide Laws

“Even in my suffering I was comforted because your promise gave me life.  Psalm 119:50

Freedom of Faith vs. Doctor Assisted Suicide Laws:

Vermont:  Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have filed suit  in federal court against Vermont Board of Medical Practice, etc. on behalf of doctors who fear that state agencies are construing Vermont’s assisted suicide law as requiring them, regardless of their conscience or oath to “do no harm”, to counsel patients on doctor-prescribed death as an option.  According to state agencies, only doctors may refer patients to others for assisted suicide counseling.  However, these health care professionals contend it is unethical for them to counsel for, refer for, or in any way participate in suicide.

“The government shouldn’t be telling health care professionals that they must violate their medical ethics in order to practice medicine,” said ADF Senior Counsel.  “These doctors and health workers deeply believe that suffering patients need understanding and sound medical treatment, not encouragement to kill themselves.  The state has no authority to order them to act contrary to that sincere and time-honored conviction.”  (adflegal.org, 7/21/16)

California:  The insurance company for terminally ill Stephanie Parker, wife and mother of four, denied her a different chemotherapy drug after California’s End of Life Option Act was passed in 2016.  She was told that while chemotherapy was denied, suicide pills were covered under her plan.  “As soon as this law was passed … patients fighting for a longer life end up getting denied treatment, because this (suicide) will always be the cheapest option,” she said.  (washingtontimes.com, 10/20/16)

Hippocratic Oath:   “… I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing.  Neither will I administer poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course.”

07 Feb

Another American town responds

In a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom … it is imperative that the followers of the various religious traditions join their voices in calling for peace (and) tolerance…”  Pope Francis

Another American town responds:

Knightstown, IN – When residents learned that city officials had caved into removing a large illuminated cross from the town’s Christmas tree after the threat of a lawsuit, they decided to fight back by putting crosses in their windows and in their yards, letting the world know that they would not let “Christ” be taken out of Christmas.

“The Cross will come down but we can still light the town with crosses…instead of just one cross, we can now have hundreds, we can light them everywhere in town,” said a local Facebook post.  (lifesitenews.com, 12/20/16)

“Hall of Shame” 2016 report continued:

“We felt it was very important this year that we highlight three countries where religious discrimination and persecution are deemed unusual but have reached a certain threshold of concern. These are Mexico, Russia, and sadly, the United States,” said International Christian Concern president, Jeff King.
“Christians in the U.S. are facing constant attacks in the media and are being marginalized through the law.  The media portrays Christians as bigoted, racist, and close-minded.”
The First Liberty Institute reports that attacks on religious liberty doubled between 2012-2015.   (persecution.org, Hall of Shame report)

Compliments to:

St. Therese of Lisieux, Montauk, for inviting Patricia Flynn, Treasurer and a Director of Catholics for Freedom of Religion, to speak about “Religious Freedom Day” during all masses January 14-15.

30 Jan

Atheist group wins battle to pull cross from Veterans Memorial Park

“For the most part, we are aware of the persecution and martyrdom of Christians around the world, but we tend to be naive about the threat to religious freedom right here in America.”     
 Msgr. James M. McNamara, L.I.Catholic, January, 2017

Atheist group wins battle to pull cross from Veterans Memorial Park:

Belle Plaine, MN – A monument depicting the silhouette of a soldier kneeling at the grave of a fallen comrade with a headstone marked by a cross, has had the cross cut off.

“It’s a grave marker – in this instance, it’s not a religious symbol,” said a resident from a family of veterans.  “It’s frustrating to see that one or two people are allowed to speak for a town of over 3,00 people,” said another resident, who started a movement to fight back by displaying crosses in front yards and nearby businesses.

Also, a nearby manufacturing plant will deliver 400 copies of the original metal statue – cross and all – to the veterans club for residents to purchase and display on their own property.  (startribune.com, 1/25/17; alphanewsmn.com, 1/19/17)

“Hall of Shame” 2016 report:

For the first time, the United States has been named among the top 12 nations where Christians are targeted for their faith by International Christian Concern (ICC), a persecution watchdog group. “While conditions in the U.S. are in no way comparable to other countries on the list, a certain segment of the culture and the courts seem to be intent on driving faith out of the public square.  There have been too many court cases with bad decisions to miss the clear trend line,” said Jeff King, president of ICC.

Compliments to:

*  St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Melville, whose Religious Education program  hosted our “Free To Speak” lesson to 400 parents, catechists and 7th & 8th grade students in January.

*  St. Pius X, Plainview, hosted our “Free To Speak”  to 100 catechists and 7th & 8th grade students in January.

24 Jan

Good news for “Good News Clubs”

“… all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend (religious) freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.”
Pope Francis, Welcoming Ceremony in Washington, D.C., Sept.25, 2015

Good news for “Good News Clubs”:

A major victory for equal access has been won after a 3-year legal battle against the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) that had imposed a facility fee on after-school Christian character-education clubs while providing free after-school access to non-religious groups such as the Boy Scouts.

An Ohio federal district court found CMSD violated the constitutional rights of these Christian clubs and required the school district to change its facility use policies and pay $150,000 in damages. (libertycounsel.org, 6/29/16)

We the people …
This Constitution is really, in its formation, a government of the people … No government before introduced among mankind ever contained so many checks and such efficacious restraints to prevent it from degenerating into any species of oppression …” (George Washington)

May you and your contemporaries … preserve inviolate the Constitution, which, cherished in all its chastity and purity, will prove in the end a blessing to all the nations of the earth.” (Thomas Jefferson)

16 Jan

Bring Your Bible to School Day

You can pray, read your Bible or other religious material, and talk about your faith at school.”  (U.S. Department of Education Guidelines)

Bring Your Bible to School Day 

announced by student group:

A Wayne City, Illinois H.S. has issued a ban on students posting about prayer or religious events on the school’s Facebook page.  When a student group advertised this event, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a militant atheist group, complained and the superintendent immediately took down the posting without investigating the claim or the Department of Education Guidelines.  A notice posted by a student is very different than if a school official did it.  (christiantimes.com, 1/8/17; frc.org,1/6/17)

“You can organize prayer groups and religious clubs, and announce your meetings.”  (U.S. Dept. of Ed. Guidelines)

We the People …

Many Americans in the early years of the Republic truly regarded the Constitution as a miracle that was actually “influenced, guided and governed” by the hand of God.

Founding Father, Benjamin Rush, said the origin of the Constitution was “from heaven” and he believed the “hand of God was employed in this work just as God had divided the Red Sea to give passage to the children of Israel, or had created the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.”

Founding Father, James Wilson, said, “Governments, in general, have been the result of force, of fraud, and accident…The United States exhibit to the world the first instance, as far as we can learn, of a nation, … deciding calmly concerning that system of government under which they would wish that they and their posterity should live.”

(The 5,000 Year Leap, by W.C. Skousen)

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”  (Bill of Rights, Amendment 1)
09 Jan

Happy Religious Freedom Sunday!

“… proclaim liberty throughout the land”
 (Leviticus 25:10) as inscribed on the Liberty Bell

Happy Religious Freedom Sunday!

Let’s celebrate America’s First Freedom on Jan. 16th, when the President calls upon Americans to “observe this day through appropriate events and activities in homes, schools and places of worship.”

This day is the anniversary of the passage, on Jan.16, 1786, of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, drafted by Thomas Jefferson and considered one of his greatest achievements.  It stopped the practice of taxing people to pay for the support of the local clergy and it protected the civil rights of people to express their religious beliefs without suffering persecution.

A Sampling of the Annual Proclamations by Presidents of the United States:

President Clinton, Jan.15, 1998:  “Among the early settlers who came to our shores, many were seeking escape from religious compulsion and persecution.  William Penn, Roger Williams and others strove to make their settlements havens for freedom of conscience, laying the foundation for the great tradition of religious liberty that would ultimately be the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

President Bush, Jan.15, 2003:  “Our Founding Fathers recognized that religious freedom is a right we must protect with great vigilance … and we must be resolved to countering any means that infringe on religious freedom.”

President Obama,  Jan.15, 2016:  “I call on all Americans to commemorate this day with events and activities that teach us about our Nations liberty, and show us how we can protect it for future generations.”

(nationaldaycalendar.com; gtbe.org; presidency.ucsb.edu; religiousfreedomday.com)

“[May] you defend these rights, especially your religious freedom, for it has been given to you by God himself.”    Pope Francis; Independence Hall, Philadelphia; September 26, 2015
02 Jan

Bigotry Against Christians in America

“Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.”   George Washington

Bigotry Against Christians in America:

  • Students at the publicly-funded University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire are given community service credit for attending Planned Parenthood presentations but not for teaching classes to children in a Christian environment.  Students were denied credit because the classes met at a Catholic church and focused on Christian values and beliefs.

    Alliance Defending Freedom filed a legal complaint alleging the students’ Constitutional rights were violated because “no public university should ever use a community service program as a vehicle to advance and instill anti-religious bias.” (lifesitenews.com, 11/30/16; liveactionnews.org, 12/3/16)

  • Over the past several years, same-sex activists have targeted Christian small businesses for harassment. Christian florists, bakers, photographers, t-shirt printers, etc. have seen these activists come into their businesses, make demands they knew would put these Christians in conflict with their religious beliefs, then turned to various state governments to punish those Christians who refused to violate their faith.  (theresurgent.com, 12/1/16; townhall.com, 12/2/16)

Notes to Consider:

“Your faith isn’t private, and it’s more than where you worship on Sundays.  It’s who you are, and it influences the way you live every day of the week.”

“But today, efforts are being made to remove religion’s moral influence on society by censoring it from the public square.  People of faith are increasingly threatened, punished and silenced for simply living according to their beliefs.”  (adflegal.org)

“If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.”  Thomas Jefferson
26 Dec

ISIS Attacks on Christians Continues

“In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place and it must end.”  Pope Francis

ISIS Attacks on Christians Continues:

  • A bomb shattered Egypt’s Orthodox Coptic Christian Church, killing 25 and wounding 49.  This is the latest in the decades long persecution of Christians which comprise 1/10 of Egypt’s population.  (nytimes.com, 12/11/16; lattimes.com, 12/11/16)
  • According to the United Nations, a significant number of Yazidi women are still held as sex slaves after thousands were captured in 2014.  The men were murdered outright while women and children are still sold and traded into sexual slavery. (newstatesman.com, 10/31/16; nydailynews.com, 7/9/16)

International Religious Freedom Act (HR 1150)

“The world is experiencing an unprecedented crisis of international religious freedom; a crisis that continues to create millions of victims; a crisis that undermines liberty, prosperity and peace; a crisis that poses a direct challenge to the U.S. interests in the Middle East, Russia, China, sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere,” said Rep. Chris Smith, author of Bill HR 1150.  (ewtnnews.com, 5/16/16; usccb.org, 5/17/16)

President Obama recently signed the International Religious Freedom Act, HR 1150, into law. This bill adds to the role of religious freedom in diplomacy, expands religious freedom training for U.S. diplomats, and offers tools for promoting religious freedom in countries actively persecuting religious minorities. The hope is that this bill will now be implemented.  (frcblog.com, 12/19/16; brnow.org, 12/16/16)

Lord, the plight of our brothers and sisters is deep and the suffering of Christians is severe and frightening. Please spare their lives and grant them courage to continue their witness of Christian values with trust and hope.   Amen
19 Dec

Religious Expression at Christmas

Religious expression in the schools is a perennial issue, but at no time in the school calendar is it more controversial than at Christmas.  The University of Tennessee sought to ban Christmas celebrations, but thanks to a public outcry, guidelines issued by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion were rescinded.  James Madison University in Virginia sought to ban religious songs at a concert on campus saying songs must be secular.  They are wrong.

The problem is also commonplace at grades K-12.  The fact is that public schools at all levels are neither required nor prohibited from holding Christmas celebrations, including concerts that include religious lyrics.  However, due to a lack of clear public information on this subject, many school officials, worried about a lawsuit, play it safe and opt to censor Christmas.  (catholicleague.org, 12/10/15)

The Remedy and Mission Statement:

Catholics For Freedom of Religion, CFFOR, provides resources to assist people of all faiths to educate and inspire on a non-partisan basis within each faith community for First Amendment Freedom of Religion.

So that First Amendment Religious Freedom may be practiced and preserved for every generation, it is essential that Americans understand this freedom and the circumstances from which it came. www.cffor.org

Dear Christ Child, born to us this day, we pray that our gifts of love and service may be pleasing to you.  Infant Jesus, we ask you to bless us in our vigilance for religious liberty based on your gift of free will to all mankind. Amen