Category Archives: Recent Articles
By: Anne Hendershott
In his continuing quest to bring attention to himself, Cardinal Mahony was one of the most vocal protestors of Arizona’s controversial new immigration law at the May Day Rally in Los Angeles. Chanting with protestors from atop a flatbed truck at the start of the rally, Cardinal Mahony was described by the Los Angeles Times http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/01/local/la-me-0502-mahony-20100502 as being “enlivened by the throngs of adoring supporters who kissed his hand and asked to be blessed.”
Cardinal Mahony has become a hero in the Latino community. Claiming that Arizona was becoming like “Nazi Germany,” the Cardinal spent the past week criticizing policymakers who passed a law which would target those with “brown skin, black hair and listen to ranchera music.”
Indeed, in a series of statements that made many Catholics cringe, the Cardinal was described by a Los Angeles Times reporter as saying that the Arizona legislation has a positive side because it is “an important part of moving on.” The Times reporter claimed that the Cardinal was referring to the fact that the immigration issue “gives the Catholic Church a welcome break from criticism of its handling of sexual abuse allegations against priests.”
Now Cardinal Mahony has a new website called FacesofImmigrants.org which calls on Catholics to refuse to be “side-tracked by heated rhetoric and political posturing.” Perhaps he should take some of that advice himself. Comparing Arizona to Nazi Germany might qualify as “heated rhetoric.” Still, the Cardinal makes some good points on the website where he provides the actual stories of the immigrants themselves.
The stories of struggling families—fearful of deportation and separation from loved ones—are poignant. As Catholics, we have to listen to these stories. Immigration is not just about the violent drug smugglers and the lawlessness at the border. Having lived for more than 15 years in San Diego, I agree with Cardinal Mahony that we need to “take the time to open our minds and hearts to hear the actual stories of the immigrants themselves.”
There are many hard-working immigrants who came here to find better lives for themselves. These hard-working, taxpaying immigrants deserve our attention and our help in bringing them out of the shadows. There really can be a middle ground between Cardinal Mahony and Republican lawmaker, Tom Tancredo, who in 2006 said he would like to “shut off all immigration.”
But, we first need to secure the borders. The Arizona legislation is what happens when the federal government fails to act. The citizens of Arizona have gotten to the point where they believe they needed to take matters into their own hands. Most of us cannot blame them—they are protecting their families, their farms, and their economy. The Arizona legislation is a start because it may help move federal immigration reform. And, it is not helpful for Cardinal Mahony to compare them to Nazis.
Anne Hendershott is chair of the Politics, Philosophy, and Economics Program at The King’s College in New York City, and the author of Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education(Transaction).
By: Deal W. Hudson
Kevin Hall, an attorney in Columbia, SC, is a convert to the Catholic faith and has served on the board of the Sisters of Charity Foundation for eight years. He resigned from the board after the order joined a number of other women’s religious who endorsed the health care bill containing federal funding for abortion.
Providence Hospital in Columbia is owned and operated by the Sisters of Charity.
Kevin Hall’s letter of resignation, however, was sent to all the priests of the diocese of South Carolina and over 200 board members of all the Sisters of Charity foundations in Ohio, where they are headquartered, and South Carolina. Hall told me that he hopes other board members will begin to express similar concerns to the leadership of the order.
Hall also published an op-ed explaining his decision in The State, the leading newspaper in South Carolina. He made it clear that his position was the same as the Catholic bishops, as well as the ordinary, Bishop Guglielmone of Charleston. Rather than listening to the bishops,
“Providence and the Sisters of Charity ended up supporting a bill endorsed by the likes of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League. Such strange company should have been a clue to the sisters and Providence that their efforts were seriously misguided.”
Sr. Judith Ann Karam, president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health System, responded to Hall in a subsequent op-ed saying she wanted to “clarify several unfortunate misstatements.” Sr. Karam maintained, “To say that we would support any legislation that would enable federal funds to be used for abortion is simply not true.” This is a strange assertion, since the federal funding for abortion in the bill is widely recognized by the bishops, pro-life groups, and the pro-abortion lobby.
Karam argues, essentially, that the bishops are wrong about the presence of abortion funding in the bill. The Sisters of Charity, she says, are “in accord with the Catholic Health Association and other health providers, that this law would not provide federal funding for abortions and includes many safeguards to ensure this does not happen.”
If there is no federal funding for abortion in the health care bill why would you need safeguards?
As Kevin Hall pointed out in his op-ed, it’s not by accident that Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, applauded the sisters who defied their “bishops and the Vatican to announce their support for health care reform.” Would Richards be celebrating if the bill did not contain funding for abortion, i.e., “reproductive health care,” services? As Hall adds, “In Planned Parenthood’s parlance, ‘reproductive health care’ long has included aborting the lives of the unborn.
Hall’s resignation is one of several significant public responses to the defiance of Catholic medical institutions to the bishops’ opposition to the health care bill. The fact that Sr. Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, has receded from public view so quickly suggests that support is being withdrawn, and she is doing damage control. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, RI withdrew the two hospitals in his diocese from the CHA. Tobin did not mince his words:
“I am writing to request that St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island, sponsored by the Diocese of Providence, be removed from the membership list and mailing list of the Catholic Health Association as even the association with CHA is now embarrassing.”
Rev. Jay Scott Newman delivered a homily on March 21 at St. Mary’s in Greenville, SC containing a similar denunciation of St. Francis Hospital run by the Bon Secours Health System. Given its support of the health care bill, Father Newman said:
“Bon Secours Health System has now laid bare the terrible truth that St. Francis Hospital is a Catholic institution in name only. You may continue to need their services for medical reasons, but please do not make the mistake of supporting that institution simply because there is a crucifix on the wall. There is no essential difference between a secular hospital and a theoretically Catholic hospital when the latter does what the Bon Secours System has done: namely, accept and endorse material cooperation with evil against the teaching of the Bishops of the Catholic Church.”Father
Newman made national news after the 2008 election when he recommended confession for parishioners who had voted for Obama. Writing for his parish bulletin, Newman explained:”Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ’s Church and under the judgment of divine law.”
That evil, the killing of innocent life, has now received the official blessing of the Obama White House and the Congress controlled by the Democratic Party. The health care bill containing billions of dollars for abortions – funding explicitly denied by Sr. Keehan and Sr. Karam – will soon send the abortion rate in this nation skyrocketing.
The question remains, whether more bishops will remove their hospitals from membership in the CHA, whether more board members will step down from the Sisters of Charity, and whether more priests like Father Newman will be speaking plainly about the tragic consequences of the 2008 election.
See also LifeSiteNews’ coverage of Kevin Hall’s resignation.
By: Deal W. Hudson
The present White House is having a huge impact on the Church in America. It’s typical to hear talk about the influence of the Church on politics, but at the present moment the influence is definitely in the other direction.
The pro-abortion forces in this country and the “social justice/seamless garment” crowd in the Church have been empowered by the new Congress and presidency. The reason the Church is so weak right now is the sudden power of groups like the Catholic Health Association, Catholics United, and Catholics In Alliance for the Common Good.
These groups, and their leadership, have straight lines of communication throughout the Church, through the USCCB, chanceries, parishes, and various Catholic associations. This is the network that drove the twisted interpretation of “Faithful Citizenship” through parishes nationwide in 2008.
They plan to do an even better job in 2012, unless we do something about it, unless we stop them.
Obama’s leadership, along with that of Pelosi, has strengthened the hand of the most anti-Catholic, anti-life elements of our culture, both here and in Europe, at the EU and the UN.
The threat of arresting our Holy Father on his upcoming trip to the UK should be a huge wake-up call for what we are up against.
The Church will eventually exert its influence, but for the present moment it is up to independent groups, like Catholic Advocate, to minimize the influence of the fake Catholic groups, especially the psuedo-Catholic groups funded by George Soros, liberal foundations, and labor unions. The media must be forced to describe them for what they are, as we did with Voice of the Faithful.
If we claim the role of Catholic lay expertise in politics then we can’t constantly be looking to the bishops to solve our problems. We should resist the impulse to ask the bishops to do all this work for us.
If we’ve made any mistake since the election it has been focusing on the bishops rather than training Catholics to be politically active and building a coalition of Catholics with other like-minded people of faith.
The only thing we should ask of the bishops is to rewrite the “Faithful Citizenship” document, which caused so much confusion in 2008.
We should not allow the defense of life to be treated as anything other than a Catholic effort, rather than a partisan one. Not only you and I are accused of being “shills” for one party as a result of our emphasis on life and marriage, but several of the more visible bishops as well.
We cannot wait for the Church to reform itself from within so that it assumes a commanding role in shaping our culture and politics. Instead, we must win targeted victories against the kind of leadership that strengthens the hand of the left-wing in the Church and the culture.
If we have another election like 2008, Church reform will be put off for many years to come.
On Thursday, April 22, 2010, Congressman Joe Pitts (R, PA-16) announced the introduction of H.R. 5111, the Protect Life Act, to fix the abortion language in the recently signed Obama health care bill. The Protect Life Act already includes a bi-partisan list of 50 co-sponsors. The Catholic Advocate community might remember the original pro-life effort to the health care legislation was the Stupak-Pitts amendment. While Congressman Stupak has announced his retirement, Congressman Pitts is demonstrating his commitment to life by continuing the fight.
According to Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R, KS-04):
“Specifically, the Protect Life Act amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to prevent federal funding for abortion or abortion coverage through government exchanges, community health centers, or any other program funded or created by PPACA. Additionally, the bill protects the right of conscience for healthcare professionals and ensures that private insurance companies are not forced to cover abortion.”
Thursday’s action follows on the heels of Catholic Advocate joining with 52 other pro-life organizations to send a joint letter to all Members of Congress on Monday, April 19, 2010 detailing the flaws in the Obama Health Care Executive Order.
The letter concludes by saying:
“The deadly effect of the new health care law will not go unnoticed by the American public. Pro-life organizations are working together to ensure that the anti-life policies included in the Act and reiterated by the Executive Order are removed and that the Hyde amendment principles are restored. We will not cease in our pursuit to respectfully and deliberately advance the right to life and protect the vulnerable unborn.”
The introduction of H.R. 5111, the Protect Life Act is a positive step in restoring the Hyde amendment language to the health care bill and protecting the unborn.
Thank you Congressman Pitts and the 50 original co-sponsors!
Catholic Advocate is launching a new initiative to educate our community about upcoming activities on Capitol Hill and around Washington.
In some way, all issues on Capitol Hill either affect or are of interest to Catholics. We will strive to update our community about the issues and encourage you to share the information with your friends and family.
Week of April 26, 2010 – April 30, 2010
In the U.S. Senate…
On Monday, April 26, 2010 at 5:00 p.m., a cloture motion to proceed to S. 3217, the Financial Regulation Bill will be voted on in the Senate. This is a complicated issue and extensive piece of legislation that will affect the financial industry and thus impact Americans doing business with those institutions. Unfortunately, bi-partisan work on the legislation has met numerous roadblocks. Some key issues to pay attention to include: whether the bill continues tax-payer funded bailouts; does it continue the “too big to fail” philosophy; does it add another layer of bureaucracy in Washington to an already complicated system.
Senator John Kerry (D, MA) is expected to unveil the latest version of climate change legislation. Higher energy costs and increased taxes are issues that affect all Americans. Higher energy costs also will have a major impact on parish facilities. The climate change issue must be watched. It will be interesting to see if Senator Kerry’s legislation will be similar to the bill authored by Congressman Henry Waxman (D, CA-30) and Congressman Edward Markey (D, MA-07).
The legislation passed in the House of Representatives on June 26, 2009 will, for example, raise yearly household electricity bills $563 in Ohio, $500 in West Virginia, and $890 in Texas.
In the U.S. House of Representatives…
The House of Representatives will focus the beginning of their week on legislation managing the Department of Defense acquisition process.
In the Supreme Court…
President Obama is still contemplating his nomination for an Associate Supreme Court Justice to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. There are different lists being batted around the media and Washington. What we do know is what President Obama will be looking for in a nominee, as he stated on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 when he answered a reporter’s question in the Oval Office.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Would you be willing to nominate someone who did not support a woman’s right to choose?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, I am somebody who believes that women should have the ability to make often very difficult decisions about their own bodies and issues of reproduction. Obviously this has been a hugely contentious issue in our country for a very long time. I will say the same thing that every President has said since this issue came up, which is I don’t have litmus tests around any of these issues.
But I will say that I want somebody who is going to be interpreting our Constitution in a way that takes into account individual rights, and that includes women’s rights. And that’s going to be something that’s very important to me, because I think part of what our core Constitution — constitutional values promote is the notion that individuals are protected in their privacy and their bodily integrity, and women are not exempt from that.
Important case being argued…
Supporters of Marriage under attack
On Wednesday, April 28, 2010, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments regarding attempts by the Washington Secretary of State to publicly release the names of donors. Protect Marriage Washington filed a brief arguing “that traditional marriage supporters whose names were publicized have endured death threats, physical violence, and property damage in the state of Washington and across the country. He [Protect Marriage Washington lead counsel Jim Bopp] also asserted that “the Washington Secretary of State plans to release the names to groups who have stated their intent to post the information on the Internet, aiding those who wish to harass petitioners.”
Catholic Advocate encourages our community to pray for Jim Bopp, his team, and all those who support preserving the sanctity of marriage.
Other Issues to Watch
On April 22, 2010, the House voted to go to conference with the Senate on H.R.2194, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2009. This issue has been moving slowly through Congress. It appears Congress was motivated, or the Obama Administration finally sent word they would start to engage on the issue, when Iran announced on April 14, 2010 that they had enriched uranium from 3.5 to 20 percent pure once again defying the United Nations.
Catholic Advocate has been watching this issue closely as it has moved through Congress.
Senate Passes Iran Sanctions on Gasoline Imports – January 29, 2010
Why Is the Obama Administration Going Soft on Iran Sanctions? – January 26, 2010
In addition, Catholic Advocate President Deal Hudson has met with leaders in Congress and joined with others to sign letters of concern on Iran to the Obama Administration.
Catholic Advocate will continue to watch these issues and update our community.
By: Deal W. Hudson
Karen Diebel is a pro-life, pro-family Catholic hoping to win the GOP nomination to run for Congress in Orlando, Florida’s 24th District. Diebel represents a very different kind of Catholic politician from Speaker Nancy Pelosi who led the charge for pro-abortion funding as part of the health care reform.
Topping the list of Diebel’s political priorities are the defense of life and family:
“It is critically important to have a strong pro-life, pro-family voice in this district. There is such danger right now, with both the incumbent and the administration. All the decision-making on economic and social issues is in opposition to the values that reinforce and support strong families.”
Seven years ago a run for Congress would have seemed impossible, when her husband, an obstetrician, was killed while helping a stranger on the side of a highway. “My life crumbled in an instant, into a million pieces.”
That was June 2002. Now Karen Diebel is 43 years old, her three boys are ages 10, 12, and 13, and she is feeling “older and wiser . . . suffering gives you a clearer perspective.” She thanks a priest in her parish, Rev. Richard Walsh, who baptized all her boys, for helping her survive the loss of her husband. When she once complained to him of being left alone, Father Walsh told her:
“The Lord has given you many gifts. Think of that as you are sad – how you have been blessed with many things. You have to use them.”
“Then I thought to myself, ‘I will not be tired anymore.’”
She was already working full-time for Verizon, as director of Global Solutions, to provide for herself and her children. As director, Diebel became an expert at solving business and technological problems for Fortune 100 companies.
“Thank God I had a job at the time, and I could pay the bills. Because I kept waking up thinking I am the only parent left, I’ve got to figure it out — I was 35.”
But, after the comment from Father Walsh, Diebel got more involved in her community, co-founding a health care clinic in memoriam of her late husband, providing health care to East Orlando’s uninsured. “The best way I knew how to give back was to help others.” She also entered local politics and became Vice Mayor and a City Commissioner of Winter Park, a suburb of Orlando.
Her experience in municipal government coupled with the direction of the country led her to run for Congress. “In government, both here and in D.C., there are too many competing agendas, rather than a clear focus on solving problems.”
Diebel also observed that those involved in local politics often had great intentions but lacked the needed skills. “I had the advantage of having leadership skills, not just the ability to redistribute money and collect more taxes. We need to get more efficient, ensure personal freedoms, and not waver on first principles.”
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame (Class of ‘89), Karen Diebel is well versed in the teachings of the Church and applies them to her views on public policy.
Diebel is the granddaughter of Irish immigrants: Her father, a McGuigan from Belfast, met her mother, a Reilly from County Mayo, in Chicago where most of her family still lives. Her brother, Michael McGuigan, just returned from his second tour in Iraq.
When asked how she would raise three boys while being a member of Congress Diebel said, “I am already doing it — we are a very, very tight knit family. My boys are fun and they are strong because they’ve had to be along the way. Even today, professionally, I have to travel, but we often go as a family. They can understand and learn along the way.”
If elected to Congress, Karen Diebel will not leave her faith at home, as so many seem to have done. “My faith gives me strength, a faith that is very clear on the values I need to carry forward in my personal life. We have to make time to do the things we believe in.”
By Anne Hendershott
Despite the fact that under current Connecticut law, sexual abuse victims have 30 years past their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit, a new bill introduced in Connecticut’s legislature will completely remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases. Connecticut bishops have responded by warning parishioners that the proposed change to the law will put “all Church institutions, including your parish at risk.”
And, although there is precedence for removing the statute of limitations in cases of allegations of priestly abuse (when California lawmakers removed their state’s statute of limitations, more than 800 lawsuits were filed against the Church in a single year), this latest legislative initiative follows an attempted Catholic Church takeover last March when State Senator Andrew J. McDonald and State Representative Michael Lawlor, both Democrats, introduced Bill 1098. If it had passed, this CT bill would have allowed the state of Connecticut to control individual parishes’ governance and financial affairs—relegating the pastors and bishops to an advisory role in their own parishes.
And, although Bridgeport Diocese Bishop Lori was successful in mobilizing parishioners to lobby the lawmakers to withdraw the controversial bill just a week after they proposed it, it is likely that the attempt to pass this type of legislation will continue in Connecticut and elsewhere—not because of a perceived need by most Catholics for state oversight, but rather because there are so many within the Church who can gain so much by keeping this issue alive.
Indeed, it is clear that in the attempted state takeover of the Catholic Church, the real force behind this bill was a small but well-organized group of Catholics—unhappy with Church teachings on moral and governance issues—attempting to enlist the state as a partner in radically transforming the Church from within.
To understand the real story behind the proposed legislation, one only has to look closely at some of those promoting the state takeover. Fairfield University Catholic Studies Professor Paul Lakeland, a former Jesuit priest, has been on the front lines in leading the charge for the legislation. As a spokesman for the bill, Lakeland has long lobbied for an end to what he calls the “structural oppression of the laity” by the clergy. Lakeland is a frequent presenter at conferences sponsored by organizations like Voice of the Faithful and CORPUS, which dissent from magisterial teachings.
Lakeland has been a longtime critic of the Catholic Church. At a recent Annual Meeting for CORPUS, an organization of former priests—mostly married—who are still angry over the Church’s priestly celibacy requirement, Lakeland promised to “help our sisters and brothers exercise their baptismal priesthood.” Claiming that his newest book identifies the task of the laity as working “to build a non-clerical church,” Lakeland’s hour long speech (available as an audio file on the CORPUS website) is replete with his oft-used phrases including his stated desire to “overcome the lay-clerical division” and address the “structural oppression of the laity” within the Catholic Church.
Criticism of the privileged status of priests and bishops in leading the faithful is at the basis of the Connecticut legislation. Marginalizing the bishops’ teaching authority in favor of dissenting theologians and removing the distinction between the ordained and the followers are the real goals of organizations like CORPUS and Voice of the Faithful. Even the role of the deacon in the Catholic Church has come in for criticism by Lakeland. In his CORPUS speech he scathingly referred to the “monster species” of the deacon.
To grasp the origins of the Connecticut legislative attacks on the Church, it is important to understand the genesis of Voice of the Faithful and some of its angriest members. Capitalizing on a “crisis” in the state when Fr. Jude Fay, a now deceased Darien priest, was convicted of stealing more than 1.4 million in parishioner donations to lead a luxurious lifestyle with his gay partner, Voice of the Faithful’s Bridgeport, CT chapter created a proposal which advanced the idea of open elections of bishops, priests, and finance councils, and the ownership of church property by the people of the parish. The VOTF document supported its proposals with historical notations and argued that this was the model of the early Church.
While we cannot claim that the Connecticut VOTF members had a hand in writing the actual legislation that was promoted in the state, it must be acknowledged that many of the tenets in the now-withdrawn Connecticut bill mirror those promoted by VOTF’s Bridgeport affiliate on their website.
And, there was a willing partner from the state—eager to diminish the authority of the Catholic Church. Democratic State Senator McDonald and Democratic State Representative Lawler, sponsors of the Church takeover bill, are both openly gay men and outspoken same-sex marriage advocates. Both have been tireless in their efforts to usher in gay marriage, and both have been critical of the Catholic Church’s opposition to laws dismantling the current definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Bishop Lori told a reporter for a local newspaper that he believed that the proposed Church governance bill was “an effort to silence the Church on important issues of the day—especially with regard to marriage.” This is most likely true as the governance bill was proposed the day before the same-sex marriage bill was to be heard.
The attacks on the Church will continue. But, courageous bishops like Bishop Lori are rising to the challenge. Unfortunately, there is little help from the Catholic colleges and universities. While parishioners have mobilized to fight the state takeover, Catholic college professors like Paul Lakeland are fighting for the other side. And, for organizations like Voice of the Faithful, which desire that the Church become a democratic institution, there will continue to be an attempt to enlist the state as a partner in trying to create an egalitarian Church that reflects the will of the people rather than that of the Magisterium.
By Deal W. Hudson
On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court will consider a case being called “The Battle of Hastings,” involving the right of a college or university to deny recognition to a student group that bans gays and lesbians. Christian Legal Society v. Martinez stems from 2004 when the University of California Hastings’ chapter of the Virginia-based Christian Legal Society changed its policy to exclude anyone who engaged in “unrepentant homosexual conduct.”
Applying its non-discrimination policy, the university decided not to recognize the group — called the Hastings Christian Fellowship — meaning the organization could not receive university funding, meet in university rooms, post on designated bulletin boards, or participate in the Student Organizations Fair.
The Christian Legal Society brought suit against UC Hastings represented by the Alliance Defense Fund. The Hastings’ case arrived in the Supreme Court after the 2006 decision by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White ruling in Hastings’ favor, saying its policy regulated conduct, not speech. White argued the policy did not regulate what the group could say about homosexuality, but it did bar them from discrimination.A 3-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge White’s ruling In March 2009.
To argue on behalf of the Christian Legal Society, CLS and the Alliance Defense Fund have recruited Michael W. McConnell, a former federal appellate court judge, who currently runs the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School. McConnell is arguing the case pro bono.
The justices will consider whether a law school at a public university with a non-discrimination policy can refuse funding to a religious student group because the group requires its officers and voting members to agree with its core religious beliefs.
The Supreme Court received 22 friend-of-the-court briefs in support of the Christian Legal Society. And among the almost 100 parties filing briefs in support of CLS and ADF there are 14 state attorneys general, including those from Michigan, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Alabama, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Louisiana, West Virginia, and South Dakota.
“Just as all student groups have the right to associate with people who share common beliefs and interests, Christian student groups have the right to be Christian student groups,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Gregory S. Baylor. “Requiring leaders of a Christian club to live by a Christian code of conduct is no different than an environmentalist club requiring its leaders not to be lumberjacks.”
For Alan Sears, president of the Alliance Defense Fund, the Hastings’ decision will have historic ramifications for religious freedom in our nation. As Sears wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner:
“As Christian beliefs stand in ever starker contrast to the campus culture, it has become academic de rigueur to punish the free association of Christian students and the free expression of their ideas on campus.”
The decision of the justices regarding Hastings, according to Sears, will determine whether “the Constitution protects the rights of private student groups to select their message and their officers.” The outcome of Hastings will also send a message to universities and colleges. Should they be training their students “to believe that it’s appropriate for government officials to coerce and ostracize private organizations in order to conform to the prevailing orthodoxy that rules most college campuses today.”
Year after year has gone by with pro-life activists being accused by pro-abortion groups of being one-sided partisans. Speculative conversations often occurred among activists – if only we had some bi-partisan pro-life support, we could build on the progress made from the successes of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban.
For months, Catholic Advocate and numerous other pro-life organizations around the country, praised Congressman Bart Stupak (D, MI-01) for his stalwart defense of life during the health care debate and thought we finally had a pro-life Democrat willing to fight the culture of death. Congressman Stupak roared like a lion in the savage jungle of Capitol Hill. He handled tremendous pressure from his own caucus and countless rumors and speculation about compromises and deals.
Then, on that fateful weekend in March, pro-life Americans shook their heads with disappointment and disbelief upon hearing the news Congressman Stupak had compromised. He cut a deal worse than the Senator Ben Nelson (D, NE) Cornhusker kickback. By endorsing a meaningless Executive Order, Stupak cleared the way for pro-life Democrats to vote for the Obama-Pelosi pro-abortion health care bill.
After attending the Executive Order signing in the Oval Office, Congressman Stupak’s press release stated:
“Throughout history, Executive Orders have been an important means of implementing public policy. In 2007, George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13435 restricting embryonic stem cell research – a pro-life policy that was applauded and welcomed by the pro-life community. These same groups have been opposed to President Obama’s pro-life Executive Order.”
President Bush’s Executive Order’s being cited by Congressman Stupak was narrowly focused to actions by the Executive Branch. As the courts have ruled over time, when Executive Order goes beyond, into the actions of the Legislative Branch, the law dominates.
In a weird twist of irony, the very same week President Obama was signing Congressman Stupak’s Executive Order, a Massachusetts judge sided with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) striking down an Executive Order relating to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and money granted to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
The most important casualties from the fights on Capitol Hill over abortion funding in the health care bill were the unborn.
Now, the source of one of the worst compromises against life in the history of the pro-life cause is calling it quits. Rather than be held accountable by the voters in his district, Congressman Bart Stupak announced retirement on Friday, April 9, 2010.
On the Washington Post website, Congressman Stupak’s sources “describe him as burned out from the long fight over health care in which he emerged as the leading voice of pro-life Democrats wary about the possibility that the legislation would allow federal funds to be spent on abortions.” There are also sources saying he was disappointed at the harsh reaction he received from both sides of the aisle following the health care debate.
Most people, when they come out victorious after a long hard personal fight, usually catch their breath and return invigorated by their victory. It is only when you have truly lost a challenge that you have trouble finding your motivation, and worse yet, if you are the one responsible for the loss.
Congressman Stupak has served the people of Northern Michigan for nearly twenty years. He has endured the tragedy of losing a son to suicide and worked tirelessly to focus on the role prescriptions might have played in his son’s decision, so other parents would not suffer the same pain. He consistently stood for the cause of life, but when it came to the biggest battle in years, could not go the distance.
Congressman Stupak unsuccessfully tried to have it both ways on health care. He made a drastic error in judgment that will ultimately further abortion in the United States.
We wish him and Laurie well as they begin the next chapter in their lives. Even after a long career in Congress, in Washington, you are, unfortunately, most remembered for how you depart. Many pro-life activists feel Congressman Stupak quit on them, so it is only fitting he retire from the arena if he has lost his heart for the battles.
By Matt Smith, Catholic Advocate Vice President
By Anne Hendershott
While the polls have shown dramatic declines in approval for President Obama from most demographic groups, the President continues to enjoy strong support from many women—especially pro-choice women. Most recently, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards praised the President’s successful shepherding of health care reform—replete with its expansion of reproductive services to women.
Richards was especially effusive in her praise for Obama’s ability to attract the support of the Catholic nuns of NETWORK who defied the authority of their bishops in promoting health care reform. In an article at huffingtonpost.com, Richards writes that she was grateful for the nuns’ “brave and important move, demonstrating that they cared as much about the health care of families in America as they did about Church hierarchy.”
Most prominent on the long list of pro-choice women (like Richards) who are grateful that Obama continues to demonstrate that he is the most radically pro-abortion politician we have ever experienced, are the women from the Kennedy family. From Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg who wrote in a New York Times op-ed that Obama is a “man like my father,” and Kerry Kennedy Cuomo who claims that Catholics “are responding to the vision of hope that Barack Obama articulates,” to Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who believes that Obama represents Catholics better than the Pope, the Kennedy women remain steadfast in their support for the President.
Indeed, the sub-title of last summer’s Newsweek column by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Lt. Governor of Maryland, asks readers to consider: “Why Barack Obama represents American Catholics Better than the Pope Does.” In the article, Kennedy Townsend complains that “while the pope preaches love, listening to the other has been a particular stumbling block for the Catholic hierarchy as it is for many in power.” Townsend maintains that “Obama could teach the pope a lot about politics—and what a Catholic approach to politics could entail.”
Kennedy Townsend claims that although it is clear that Obama and the Pope disagree on reproductive freedoms and homosexuality, “Politics requires the ability to listen to different points of view, and to step into others’ shoes. Obama might call it empathy.” Townsend praises “Obama’s pragmatic approach to divisive policy (his notion that we should acknowledge the good faith underlying opposing viewpoints).” And, in contrast with Pope Benedict, Townsend maintains that Obama’s “social justice agenda reflects the views of the American Catholic laity much more closely than those vocal bishops and pro-life activists.”
Likewise, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo has been steadfast in support of the President. When her uncle Ted Kennedy’s Senate Seat was won by Republican, Scott Brown, Kennedy Cuomo made it a point to claim that Brown’s win had nothing to do with Obama’s healthcare or the Obama administration. On WOR News Talk Radio, Kennedy Cuomo lashed out at Democratic candidate, Martha Coakley, claiming that Coakley exhibited a “lack of effort in the last few months to gain votes or speak on jobs that really brought about the loss of the seat.”
Kennedy Cuomo has been especially close to Van Jones, Obama’s failed “green czar” nominee. Jones served briefly in the Obama administration until he resigned after it was exposed he founded a communist revolutionary organization and signed a statement that accused the Bush administration of involvement in the 9/11 attacks. World Net Daily reports that Jones called for “resistance” against the United States.
Still, the communist ties and revolutionary rhetoric did not stop Kennedy Cuomo from featuring Jones as a commentator on “RFK: Our Children, Our Future,” a documentary on the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy. In fact, Kennedy Cuomo found Jones so worthy of praise for his work on behalf of social justice that she awarded him with the “Kerry Kennedy Cuomo Human Rights Defender award.”
And, although Kennedy Cuomo and Kennedy Townsend had been early Clinton supporters in the Democratic primaries (in an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times, they wrote that “the loftiest poetry will not solve these issues”) before they switched their allegiance to Obama, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg was an Obama supporter from the start. Yet, despite Mrs. Kennedy Schlossberg’s description of Obama as a “man like my father,” there is no evidence that JFK was pro-choice like Obama. Abortion rights issues were in the fledgling stage at the state level in New York and California in the early 1960s. They were not a national concern.
A strong abortion rights advocate, Kennedy Schlossberg was so concerned to assure pro-abortion leaders in New York that on the same day she telephoned New York Governor David Patterson to declare interest in filling the U S Senate seat being vacated by Hilary Clinton, one of her first calls was to an abortion rights group indicating she would be strongly pro-choice.
All of the Kennedy women have learned that anyone desiring higher office in the Democratic Party must now carry the torch of abortion rights throughout any race. They continue to support Obama because he continues to carry that torch.