Blog

19 Feb

Freedom of Speech & Freedom of Thought Wins – for now:

Bakersfield, CA:  In what has become a familiar story, cake-artist, Cathy Miller, was sued by a same-sex couple when she declined to create a cake for their wedding because her faith “will not allow me to participate in things that I feel are wrong.”  And, just as other bakers have done, she offered to sell them a pre-made cake which they refused.  Also, as other bakers have done, she referred the couple to a different bakery that was willing to create this special order cake.  Instead, the couple went to the California Department of Fair Housing who then sued the baker.
 
In a surprise and welcome court ruling, Superior Court Judge David Lampe rejected the argument that personal offense trumps conscience.  “The right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment outweighs the State’s interest in ensuring a freely accessible marketplace,” Judge Lampe wrote.  “The right of freedom of thought guaranteed by the First Amendment includes the right to speak, and the right to refrain from speaking.”
 
“A wedding cake is not just a wedding cake in Free Speech analysis.  It is an artistic expression by the person making it …”
 
“The State asks this court to compel (Cathy) Miller to use her talents to design and create cake she has not yet conceived with the knowledge that her work will be displayed to celebrate a marital union her religion forbids … Such an order would be the stuff of
tyranny.”
 
This ruling by Judge Lampe is only temporary.  The full case comes to trial in CA in June.
The almost identical case of Colorado baker, Jake Phillips, is now being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court and will also be decided in June.
 
(onenewsnow.com, 2/7/18;  frc.org, 2/7/18; theblaze.com, 2/6/18) 
“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freedom of speech.”        Benjamin Franklin
 
 Action Steps:
* Pray that Americans will value liberty and practice respect/tolerance for opposing views.
* Read The 5000 Year Leap – A Miracle that Changed the World,  “The Role of Religion” 
12 Feb

Love – Life – Liberty: Part 2

Conscience and Religious Freedom Protections Restored at HHS:
The Dept. of Health and Human Services announced on Jan.18 that it has formed a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division that would “restore federal enforcement of our nation’s laws that protect the fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious freedom.”  Its purpose is to protect the conscience rights of healthcare workers and hospitals that decline to perform certain procedures such as abortions, euthanasia, or sex-change surgery.
“The conscience of Catholic health care does not allow us to participate in certain procedures we feel are an assault on the dignity of human life,” said the Catholic Health Association.
“The Founding Fathers knew that a nation that respects conscience rights is more diverse and more free,” said acting HHS Secretary, Eric Hargan.
 
Social Media Blocks Roe vs Wade Movie Funding:
Facebook blocked the crowdfunding site of a pro-life movie about the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion across the U.S.
“Facebook has pulled down our ads, the paid ads and any mention of the unpaid ads,” said Dr. Alveda King, executive producer and niece of Martin Luther King Jr.  “They have even blocked people sharing the ads I paid for,” said Nick Loeb, actor/producer.  “Many documentaries have been made, but no one has had the courage to make an actual feature film, a theatrical movie about the true story.”
Facebook later said they would restore the ads for  Roe v Wade, the movie.
 
(christiantimes.com,1/15/18; washingtontimes.com, 1/13/18; wildhunt.org, 1/24/18; NationalCatholicReporter, 1/19/18)
 
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”    Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Action Steps:
*  Pray that Americans are receptive to different points of view on important matters.
*  Look for information on Roe vs Wade, the movie
05 Feb

Love – Life – Liberty

St. Valentine Day – February 14:
St. Valentine was a third century Roman saint and is associated with a tradition of courtly love.
 
“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.  What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.  It will decide … what amazes you with joy and gratitude.  Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”  (Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Jesuit Superior General from 1965-1983)
 
“Love Saves Lives” – theme for 2018 March for Life:
Well over 100,000 pro-lifers descended upon Washington, D.C. on January 19th for the 45th annual March for Life.
 
“One of the highlights for me … is looking out at the sea of almost endless faces of young people who are so enthusiastic and so excited,” said Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life.  “They are the pro-life generation and they know this is the human rights issue, the social justice issue of today.  We’re passing the work onto them and they’re ready.”
 
Archbishop William Lori said he is hopeful about the future of the pro-life movement because it is joyful and this joy is causing it to grow.  This is the pro-life movement at its best: joyful, supportive, full of hope.
“Before you were formed I knew you.  Before you were born I set you apart.”   Jeremiah 1:5
(dailysignal.com, 1/19/18; stream.org, 1/29/18; catholicnewsagency.com, 1/22/18)
 
Action Steps:
*  Pray that all Americans practice kindness and treasure life at every stage.
*  Read booklet, Religious Liberty in the American Republic, by Gerard V. Bradley
29 Jan

Punished for Religious Beliefs in the Military – Part 2

In 2017, USAF Colonel Michael Madrid’s law firm demanded that the Air Force rescind Col. Madrid’s punishment and attempt to destroy his career or face further legal action.  Col. Madrid is a decorated Air Force veteran, former Naval aviator, and a flight surgeon who has served the military for 26 years and is a Christian with traditional beliefs about marriage.
 
In 2014, an Airman who was court-martialed and found guilty of serious misconduct, accused Col. Madrid of making derogatory comments about homosexuality.  Col. Madrid denied this charge and submitted to a thorough Air Force investigation which found the allegations unsubstantiated, was cleared of all charges, and the investigation was closed.
 
However, two years later, without any new evidence or new investigation, a new commander, Maj. Gen. McCoy, decided that Madrid had lied in 2014 when he denied making derogatory comments.  As a result, he placed a Letter of Admonishment in Col. Madrid’s stellar permanent record that now guarantees he will never be promoted to Brigadier General.
 
“Colonel Madrid is the latest victim of extreme political correctness …,” said First Liberty Institute.  “We are concerned that Maj. Gen. McCoy judged and punished Madrid because he became aware of his traditional religious views.  If so, that not only harms the military, it is illegal.”
 
“As the world faces terrorist threats to freedom and America prepares a response, the U.S. military is facing challenges to its own freedom here at home.”
Barbara Samuells, President,  Catholics For Freedom of Religion