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Marcia Coyle, The National Law Journal: “On April 17, Oklahoma’s defense of its ban will be made by James Campbell of Alliance Defending Freedom. ‘At the core of almost all of these cases are two claims,’ said Austin Nimrock of Alliance Defending Freedom. One is that the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection and due-process guarantees prohibit states from denying same-sex couples the fundamental right to marry, he said. Second, in some but not all of the cases, is that under the U.S. Constitution’s full-faith-and-credit clause, states must give legal effect to gay marriages performed outside of their boundaries.”
Catholic News Agency: “A spokesman for pro-life activities at the U.S. Bishops’ conference explained that the bishops hope to see grave concerns with the Affordable Care Act’s permission of abortion funding and lack of coverage of immigrants fixed.”
John Goerke at Juicy Ecumenism: “The District Court’s ruling rejected the contributions of the Catholic Church in aiding victims of human trafficking. Despite the fact that the phrase ‘human trafficking’ wasn’t coined until 1990 and despite the fact that it wasn’t until the Bush Administration that the United States opened its Anti-Trafficking Department, the Court ruled that the Church wasn’t worthy to receive federal funds to support its anti-trafficking efforts which arguably go back to the time of Christ with the woman at the well.”
USCCB News Release: “Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, applauded the January 9 introduction of the bipartisan State Marriage Defense Act of 2014 (H.R. 3829) in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Randy Weber (R-TX).”
USCCB News Release: “‘H.R. 7 will write into permanent law a policy on which there has been strong popular and congressional agreement for over 35 years: The federal government should not use its funding power to support or promote abortion,’ said Richard M. Doerflinger, Associate Director of the USCCB Secretariat of ProLife Activities.”
National Review Online Editors: It is not sufficient that there be a nearly unrestricted abortion license, or that those who object to it nonetheless be compelled to support it financially, through the Obamacare mandate and other federal adventures. The American Civil Liberties Union now is seeking to force Catholic organizations not only to subsidize abortions but to perform them as well.
“Should Doctors at Catholic Hospitals Be Barred From Discussing Abortion With Patients?” | Pacific Standard
Nina Martin at Pacific Standard: The ACLU has filed a complaint in Colorado asserting a doctor was disciplined by a Catholic hospital simply for talking about an abortion.
Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review: Secularism would have you surrendering your conscience as soon as you leave a house of worship . . . to run a business, to run a hospital, to pay taxes.
Joan Frawley Desmond at NC Register: Lawsuit reportedly ignores Ethical and Religious Directives that specifically address medical complications for pregnant women and “informed consent.”
NY Post: Maybe the American “Civil Liberties” Union should sue the pope. It certainly is the logic of the astounding case it just filed in federal court in Michigan against the US Conference of Catholic Bishops — for steering a Catholic hospital away from abortions.
Robert Knight at Washington Times: The ACLU wants Catholic hospitals to practice medicine without morals. The American Civil Liberties Union is so upset that a Michigan baby died just after being born that the group is suing the Catholic Church for not deliberately killing the child earlier.
ACLU: The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a pregnant woman who miscarried and was denied appropriate medical treatment because the only hospital in her county is required to abide by religious directives. | Complaint: Tamesha Means v. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
LifeNews: Family Research Council (FRC) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) released the results of a commissioned national survey showing that 59 percent of likely voters “oppose the mandate requiring the coverage of preventive care services for women which includes all FDA approved contraceptives, including drugs that can destroy a human embryo, and sterilization services without a direct cost to the patient.”
Report Says Bishops Are Seeking Exit Strategy From Their Strong Opposition To Contraceptive Coverage Mandate
Religion Clause Blog: According to the National Catholic Reporter on Friday, despite strong disapproval of the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate expressed in a Special Message issued Nov. 13 by U.S. Catholic Bishops at the conclusion of their Fall General Assembly, the bishops are not as united in their opposition as it may seem . . .
USCCB Subcommittee Chairman Decries Marriage Redefinition And Misuse Of Pope Francis’ Words In Illinois
USCCB: Calls redefining marriage a serious injustice. Decries manipulation of Pope Francis’s words. Says every child deserves a mother and a father.
Townhall: Now, however, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is letting their grievances known (once again), informing Team Obama they can never, in good faith, support such a liberty-crushing law. They’ll pay the fine instead. LifeNews has the details . . .
LifeSiteNews: The archbishop who leads the U.S. bishops’ fight against same-sex “marriage” says the U.S. Supreme Court’s June rulings on marriage has renewed the bishops’ determination to defend true marriage.
Catholic News Agency: The U.S. bishops have voted to add a bishops’ conference staff member to work with the post-abortion healing ministry Project Rachel at a national level, citing growing demand for help.
LifeSiteNews: The bishops of the United States have overwhelmingly agreed to draft a new pastoral letter addressing the growing “epidemic” of pornography.
Religion Clause Blog: As reported by CNS and the New York Times, outgoing USCCB president Cardinal Timothy Dolan in his address to fellow-bishops called for a new emphasis on combating persecution of Christians in countries such as Syria, Egypt, India and Nigeria.
LifeNews: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops today elected Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville as its next president. Kurtz is strongly pro-life and was behind a pro-life blessing for unborn children the Vatican adopted in March 2012.
Bishops’ Pro-Life Expert: Reg Would Force Parents to Pay For Daughters to Get Sterilization-Contraception-Abortifacient Counselling
CNSNews: In addition, Doerflinger said all parents need to know that the Obamacare regulation also requires health insurance plans to cover “private counseling sessions with every woman and girl that is of child-bearing capacity”–typically starting at age 12–“about this full range of sterilization, contraceptives, and abortifacient drugs,” and if parents oppose that, they need to tell the doctor that it “violates their parental rights.”
Shutdown and Default Considered Small Price to Pay for Banning Birth Control, Say Catholic Bishops and Paul Ryan | RH Reality Check
Adele M. Stan at RH Reality Check: The panel on which Doerflinger appeared—a breakout session titled “Values and Obamacare: The Threat to Religious Freedom, Life & the Family”—also featured Anna Franzonello of Americans United for Life and Casey Mattox of the Alliance Defending Freedom, both of whom are attorneys working on cases challenging the birth control provision, often referred to as the HHS contraception mandate.
Deseret News: The Catholic Church has joined Southern Baptists in directing its military chaplains not to witness or bless same-sex marriages nor offer marriage counseling to gay couples.
USCCB: Non-discrimination Act would protect religious liberties. Those who affirm that marriage is one man and one woman need protectionChairmen urge support for the Act.
Catholic Culture: The US Catholic bishops remain firmly committed to the fight against the contraceptive mandate in the Obama administration’s health-care program, Cardinal Timothy Dolan on New York has announced.
NC Register: The January 2014 deadline for compliance with the federal contraception mandate is just months away, so what will the U.S. bishops do? The New York cardinal offers a few hints.
ABC (AP): Lynn Ellins stunned New Mexico last month when the county clerk decided to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But even he was shocked by the lack of public outrage or protest to his decision, which set off a chain reaction that has for all practical purposes made gay marriage legal in the state.
Catholic Culture: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is asking Catholics to pray, fast, and abstain from meat on September 6 “for those who struggle with pornography use or addiction: that through the help of Christ and wise counselors they may be freed to live a chaste life.”
Catholic Culture: The problem with treating “sexual orientation” as a description of a class of people is that it proposes a deeply flawed anthropology, or understanding of the human person. Christian anthropology teaches that each person is called to accept his or her sexual identity as a man or as a woman
Freedom from Religion Foundation: The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s closely watched federal challenge over illegal partisan politicking by churches just got a green light from U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman of the Western District of Wisconsin. Adelman’s decision will allow FFRF’s historic challenge to continue to discovery, so that the public may learn the facts regarding IRS inaction over church politickin . . . FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor blasted the recommendations by last week’s evangelical report, closely aligned to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, which is “committed to helping Christ-centered organizations.” Participating members include those connected to the usual theocratic groups, including the Liberty Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian Legal Society, Campus Crusade for Christ and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, with a few token non-Christian groups thrown in . . .
Truth-Out.org: Clarkson pointed out that “The question of the rights of individuals to discriminate, based on rights of conscience,” is being played out in a number of places across the country. After same-sex marriage became legal in Maine, Maryland and Washington, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal enterprise known formerly as the Alliance Defense Fund, “issued legal memos … claim[ing] that … municipal and county clerks responsible for issuing marriage licenses, are not required to do so if it violates their religious beliefs, and may delegate the responsibility to a subordinates.”
Frederick Carlson at Daily Kos: Some are among the best-known Christian Right leaders in the United States. These include top Catholic prelates and evangelical leaders, notably Archbishop (now Cardinal) Timothy Dolan of New York and Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. Signatories also include more politically oriented figures such as Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage; and Alan Sears, president of the Alliance Defending Freedom. There are also half a dozen leaders of the low-profile New Apostolic Reformation, including Revs. Harry Jackson, Joseph Mattera, and Samuel Rodriguez, each of whom is an “apostle” overseeing a large network of Neocharismatic churches. Primarily via the website devoted to the Declaration, more than 540,000 people have joined the original signers, generating a massive email list that may prove useful to the Christian Right.
David Crary at Evening Sun (AP): The debate over marriage has only just begun,” said Austin Nimocks, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group.
LifeSiteNews.com: After the Institute of Medicine (IOM) this week publicly backed government-mandated birth control coverage, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is standing in the breach as a lone major voice against what would prove a massive victory for abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
LifeNews.com: In a new letter to House lawmakers, the nation’s Catholic bishops and a Catholic group that helps the poor urge them to keep in mind pro-life policies when putting together legislation funding various federal government departments.
LifeNews.com: The nation’s Catholic bishops are expected to debate and vote on a new document later this month that would renew their opposition to the practice of assisted suicide at a time when activists are trying to expand it.
US Catholic Bishoips Urge Protection of Conscience Rights: Warn Against Potential Misuse of Health Care Law
Zenit: Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas, and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, made this appeal in a letter sent today to members of the house of representatives. He urged support of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011, introduced March 17 by Jeff Fortenberry and Dan Boren. The prelate affirmed that this bill “will help ensure that the new health care reform act is not misused to violate the religious freedom and rights of conscience of those who offer and purchase health insurance coverage in our nation.” . . .
Center for Arizona Policy: Center for Arizona Policy filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the program, along with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Christian Legal Society, and several religious liberty organization and scholars
Providence Journal: A number of opponents also focused on the bill’s proposed protections for religious institutions. Anthony R. Picarello Jr., general counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, argued that no exemption language could possibly cover all the potential religious-freedom conflicts that a gay marriage law would create. “At best, the legislature would be playing catch up for years, passing new area-specific exemptions to address these new conflicts as each one arises,” he said in written testimony. Jordan Lorence, senior counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund, suggested that Perry’s bill did not take into consideration the impacts on small businesses, professionals, private organizations that receive state funding, and even public school education.
USA Today: The Alliance Defense Fund brands its coverage with a headline: “The Homosexual Agenda: The Principal Threat to Your Religious Freedom” – Their strategy is twofold: dilute moral values so that homosexual behavior is thought to be normal, natural, and good, while suppressing the religious and free speech rights of those who disagree…
PR Newswire: “A permanent ban on abortion funding is long overdue, which is why the U.S. bishops support the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act (H.R. 3), said a representative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in a February 8 testimony to the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Judiciary Committee.”
LifeSiteNews: “The popular Catholic blog Creative Minority Report unearthed documents Wednesday that show that in 2008 Ralph McCloud, while serving as head of CCHD, was the treasurer for the Texas state senate campaign of pro-abortion Democrat Wendy Davis. Davis ultimately won her bid to unseat Republican incumbent Kim Brimer, who is pro-life.”
USCCB: “In a letter to Congress, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), outlined the ‘principles and priorities that will guide the public policy efforts’ of the Bishops’ Conference during the new legislature. The letter was mailed to all members of Congress on January 14.”
ACLU Blog: “The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will soon be issuing guidelines on what constitutes preventive care for women. Groups like the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Family Research Council and Alliance Defense Fund are trying to stop HHS from including birth control on the list of covered preventive services.”
Catholic News Agency: “The new president of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, announced Jan. 5 that he appointed Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, California as chairman of the conference’s Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage.”
Thomas Farrell: “The questionable ethical teachings of the Catholic bishops regarding abortion in the first trimester should be debated”
Thomas Farrell writing at opednews.com: “But where exactly does the chilling effect of Bishop Olmsted’s actions come from? The chilling effect comes from the questionable ethical teachings advanced by the Catholic bishops regarding abortion. Therefore, those of us who are concerned about the chilling effect of his example should debate the questionable ethical teachings advanced by the Catholic bishops regarding abortion.”
LifeSiteNews: “Despite a recent ‘review and renewal’ of the U.S. Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), designed in part to ‘woo back’ bishops upset over their distribution of funds to groups advocating abortion and same-sex ‘marriage,’ at least 10 bishops opted not to contribute to the national collection this year.”
National Catholic Register: “Saying ‘today is like 1970 for marriage,’ Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., urged his fellow bishops Nov. 15 to look at the challenges to traditional marriage as if they could see Roe v. Wade on the horizon.”
LifeNews: “Archbishop Timothy Dolan defeated Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona in a surprise victory, receiving 54 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Kicanas on the third round of balloting.”
Catholic.net (zenit.org): “The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will send a delegation of its Church of Latin America Subcommittee to Cuba in recognition of the new seminary to be opened in early November.”
Susan Wills, assistant director for education and outreach, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, writing at LifeNews: “Planned Parenthood is organizing a national effort to have contraceptives included among the free ‘preventive services’ health plans must provide under the new health care reform law (Press Release, 7-14-10) . . . But prescription contraceptives don’t prevent or screen for disease. Their purpose is to block the normal functioning of a healthy reproductive system. They prevent a person from being conceived or born.”
USCCB: “The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should not require coverage of contraception or sterilization in group and individual health plans as part of ‘preventive’ services for women, said representatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as HHS continued its deliberations on a final list of required preventive services under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).”
Public Discourse Editorial: “We’re hardly happy with our assessment of the new health care law’s treatment of abortion. It would indeed be nice if the claims advanced by Commonweal and Jost were true and the position held by Alvaré and every major pro-life group was false. But the law speaks for itself. There is nothing we can do except change it. One way to do so would be through the Protect Life Act, which was recently introduced into Congress. Here, surely, is a place where the pro-life movement can stand together. If Commonweal and Jost take protecting life as seriously as they took the imperative to pass the health care bill, they will stop sniping from the sideline and join us in the effort to restore the protections they helped destroy.”
USCCB: “The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage has launched a new initiative for the protection of marriage, entitled Marriage: Unique for a Reason. The initiative is to help catechize and educate Catholics on the meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman . . . The truth of marriage lies at the very core of a true concern for justice and the common good. Promoting marriage is crucial to the New Evangelization . . . Materials are online at www.marriageuniqueforareason.org and are available for purchase through www.usccbpublishing.org”
LifeNews: “The nation’s Catholic bishops have a message for members of Congress: don’t turn American taxpayer-funded military base hospitals into abortion centers. They are oppose language in a Senate bill that would overturn the ban on abortions at the approximately 250 military base hospitals.”
Zenit: “Direct abortion is never morally permissible, but there are some medical procedures that are legitimate to protect the life of a pregnant mother, even if they might result in the death of her child. … The committee added that a contrasting case arises in some situations where it might be permissible to perform a ‘medical procedure on a pregnant woman that directly treats a serious health problem but that also has a secondary effect that leads to the death of the developing child.’” | The Distinction Between Direct Abortion and Legitimate Medical Procedures
Catholic News Agency: “Despite criticism from the U.S. Catholic bishops, the Catholic Health Association (CHA) has issued a statement saying it continues to support the insurance reform provisions in recent health care legislation and continues to ‘applaud’ President Obama for his ‘strong leadership.’”
Catholic News Agency: “After Bishop Thomas Olmsted publicly condemned an abortion authorized by Sr. Margaret McBride in a Catholic hospital in Arizona, and after much public outcry, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine has released a statement supporting the Phoenix bishop’s decision. … Church teaching, said the statement, holds that direct abortion is never permissible. Direct abortion is an act whose primary intent is to terminate a pregnancy and kill an unborn child. However, medical procedures which have other primary intentions, and which indirectly end the life of the unborn child, are not considered to be direct abortions nor immoral.”
Human Events: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently called on the Catholic Church to speak out from the pulpit to promote immigration reform, reversing herself on whether the church should take political stands . . . ‘Politicians usually send mixed messages to pastors about what they can and can’t do,’ [Erik Stanley] said. ‘When it’s convenient, they tell pastors that you should speak out in favor of a particular proposal or politician, but then when the pastor does, the IRS comes knocking on the door.’”
Medical News Today: “[Matthew Bowman] of the Alliance Defense Fund said the law ‘is thousands of pages of new government power, decision-making and funding.’ He added, ‘Any government power over health care can be exercised in a way that discriminates against pro-life health providers, especially when officials already support abortion and opposes enforcement of conscience laws.’”
Washington Post: “‘The act is thousands of pages of new government power, decision-making and funding,’ said [Matthew S. Bowman] of the Alliance Defense Fund, which represents workers who object on religious grounds to being required to provide some forms of health care. ‘Any government power over health care can be exercised in a way that discriminates against pro-life health providers, especially when officials already support abortion and oppose enforcement of conscience laws.’”
Pew Forum (RNS): “The case, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, pits a campus chapter of a Christian legal group against the Hastings College of the Law and its 20-year-old nondiscrimination policy. ‘Our main argument is that Christian student groups shouldn’t be forced to deny their faith in order to receive equal treatment on campus,’ said [Gregory Baylor], senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which is helping represent the CLS chapter before the high court.”
USCCB: Legal Analysis of the Provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Corresponding Executive Order Regarding Abortion Funding and Conscience Protection
Anthony Picarello, General Counsel to the USCCB, and Michael Moses, Associate General Counsel to the USCCB, have prepared this legal memo that begins: “The purpose of this legal memorandum is to identify the problems of the recently-passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. No. 111-148 (“PPACA” or “the Act”), in relation to abortion funding and conscience protection, and then to assess whether (and if so,how) the corresponding Executive Order of March 24, 2010, corrects those problems. Although we wish it were otherwise, we must conclude that PPACA poses serious problems in these two areas, and that the Executive Order does not correct those problems.”
ACLU: “On Monday, a federal district court in Massachusetts ruled that an ACLU challenge to the government’s use of taxpayer dollars to impose religious doctrine on victims of human trafficking may go forward. The decision is a victory for women’s health and for the basic constitutional principle that federal dollars cannot be used to favor one religious perspective over all others . . . USCCB prohibits, based on its religious beliefs, grantees from using any of the federal funds to provide or refer for contraceptive or abortion services, We brought a lawsuit . . . ”
CNSNews: “The American Life League and the Bellarmine Veritas Ministry have been demanding reform of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, a project of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. They charge that no less than 50 organizations (one fifth of all CCHD grantees from 2009) are in some capacity engaged in pro-abortion or pro-gay causes.”
USCCB Press Release: “‘Yesterday on November 3rd, the people of Maine voted to uphold the true nature of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,’ Archbishop Kurtz said in a November 4 statement. ‘The voice of the people in this country has spoken once again on the side of justice, in favor of the truth about marriage.’”
George Stephanopoulos: “In a letter just released, the three Catholic bishops leading the Church’s efforts on health care warned Congress that ‘we will have no choice but to oppose the bill’ unless current bills are amended.”
Catholic News Agency: “Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, has criticized the U.S. Catholic bishops’ work to exclude abortion coverage from health care legislation. In response, an official with the conference insisted that taking human life is not health care and warned that pro-abortion politics are endangering the entire proposal.”
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued this press release on March 19th that reports: