The End of America? The HHS Mandate’s Threat to Freedom

HHS Mandate’s Threat to Freedom The Obama’s Administration’s mandate requiring the Catholic Church to conform to government dictates on contraception and abortifacent drugs is more than a war on the Catholic Church argue Jennifer Roback Morse and Eric Metaxas. It’s a war on freedom.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has mandated that social service providers, including those run by Christian institutions and the Catholic Church, pay for abortion inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilizations through their health insurance plans, even if this violates their religious beliefs.

Eric Metaxas and Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse articulate the grave dangers of the Health & Human Services (HHS) Mandate with regard to religious freedom in America. [Read more...]

Charles Colson: 1931-2012. May His Memory Be Eternal

Charles Colson Memory Eternal by Fr. Johannes Jacobse –
Charles Colson died today. He was 80 years old. I first met Colson at a conference at Washington, DC and was struck by his magnanimous character and intelligence. Everyone knows his story. Colson was a ruthless political operative in the Nixon administration, got caught up in the Watergate imbroglio during the Nixon administration and went to jail.

I heard him explain his experience in prison during one of his talks. It was the lowest point in his life where he had lost everything and began to question purpose, decisions, and direction. He was visited by a friend (former Minnesota Governor Al Quie) who shared with him how Jesus Christ came into the world to redeem man. Colson listened, cried out to God for help and, as his life would later prove, God heard him. His repentance was deep and lasting.

Prison opened his eyes not only to God, but the desperate conditions of other prisoners. He founded Prison Fellowship, an organization they helped prisoners while incarcerated, after they got out, and their families. The Russian Orthodox Church called on Prison Fellowship after Communism fell to help them build viable prison ministries in Russia. [Read more...]

Remembering Chuck Colson: 1931-2012

Chuck Colson Memory Eternal
Evangelical Christianity lost one of its most eloquent and influential voices today with the death of Charles W. “Chuck” Colson. The Prison Fellowship and Colson Center for Christian Worldview founder died at 3:12 p.m. on Saturday from complications resulting from a brain hemorrhage. Colson was 80.

A Watergate figure who emerged from the country’s worst political scandal, a vocal Christian leader and a champion for prison ministry, Colson spent the last years of his life in the dual role of leading Prison Fellowship, the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families, and the Colson Center, a teaching and training center focused on Christian worldview thought and application. [Read more...]

Issa: Distorting the Debate of Religious Freedom

Darrell Issa: Distorting the Debate of Religious Freedom by Rep. Darrell Issa
Let’s make something perfectly clear: I support a woman’s right to use contraceptives. I don’t question whether women and men have a right to use contraception — I believe they do. This is not about religious freedom versus contraception but about religious freedom versus unconstitutional mandates.

When Congress granted broad powers and authority to the Obama administration through the 2010 health care overhaul, it was never explained that the administration would use those powers to launch an assault on religious freedom. [Read more...]

Darrell Issa, Orthodox Congressman, On Religious Freedom

Darrell Issa (Republican) - Orthodox Christian

Darrell Issa (Republican)

Congressman Darrell Issa is an Orthodox Christian politician (Republican) from California. As a member of the House of Representatives he spoke out against Obama’s HHS healthcare mandate that infringes on the religious liberty of all Americans. He is not afraid to stand up and speak up for what is right and just. Here is Rep. Darrell Issa’s statement from a hearing on “Separation of Church and State” held on February 16, 2012:

Date: Feb. 16, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Americans of all faiths have a right to practice their religion free from the fear of persecution or harassment from their government. Our nation’s founders believed this and enshrined religious freedom into the First Amendment to the Constitution.

While some Americans may not feel that government mandates forcing them to pay for contraception are an infringement on their religious beliefs, others consider it to be an assault against their freedom of conscience. A government policy that encroaches on the conscientious objections of religious groups concerns all Americans who value the protections of the First Amendment. [Read more...]

Obama’s Unholy War Against Christianity, Not Islam

American Spectator - War Against Christianity by George Neumayr -
The more illiberal a religion, the more liberals tend to like it. Western liberals who propose no place for God in the public square can usually be counted on to excuse non-western religions that impose a false and dangerous one upon it.

The explanation for this apparent contradiction goes beyond the childish and self-hating affinity of western liberals for all things non-western. The deeper reason is western liberalism’s attachment to irrationality. Having ruptured a once-harmonious relationship between reason and religion in their own culture, western liberals can’t seem to stop themselves from championing similar ruptures in alien ones.

By different routes of irrationality, western liberals and militant Muslims arrive at the same spot. Western liberals reach it by a distorted “reason” without faith, militant Muslims by a distorted “faith” without reason, with each imbalance producing its own culture of death: abortion and euthanasia in the west, jihad in the east. [Read more...]

2,500 Religious Leaders, Every Catholic Bishop Oppose Obama Mandate

Orthodox Bishops against Abortion Mandate by Kathleen Gilbert -
The Family Research Council has released a letter signed by over 2,500 pastors and evangelical leaders protesting the Obama administration’s birth control insurance mandate. They join every Catholic bishop that heads a diocese in the United States in opposition to the mandate.

“This is not a Catholic issue,” Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins said in unveiling the letter at a press conference today. “We will not tolerate any denomination having their religious freedom infringed upon by the government.” [Read more...]

Empty Buildings, NYC Kicks Churches out of Schools

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson

by Chuck Colson -
It’s no secret that Christianity has been unwelcome in public schools for a long time. But recently New York City’s government took an unprecedented step by forcing around 60 churches to vacate sanctuaries they pay to use.

Why? Because Monday through Friday, those sanctuaries also happen to be classrooms.

This deadline was set back in December, when the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the 2nd Circuit’s decision upholding the City’s crass discrimination against communities of faith. New York at this time is the only major city in the nation to ban religious services in its school buildings. But this precedent does not bode well for what may happen in other cities.

The reasoning behind this decision was ludicrous. In his ruling, Circuit Judge Pierre Leval claimed that renting school property to churches implies “an unintended bias in favor of Christian religions,” that makes public schools look like “state-sponsored Christian churches…but not synagogues or mosques.” [Read more...]

True Ecumenism, Christians United Against Obama’s HHS Mandate

The American Catholic True Ecumenism by Donald R. McClarey -
I must confess that I have never been a great fan of Ecumenism, as a drive for greater Christian unity, as it has played out in the Catholic Church since Vatican II.  Too often it has resulted in “dialogues” with non-Catholic faiths that seek to paper over theological chasms that divide us from them.  If the price of Ecumenism is any watering down of the Catholic Faith, please count me out.

However, there is a true Ecumenism which I interpret as the banding together of people of different faiths to accomplish some great good in the name of God.  A striking example of what I am referring to was the action of the four chaplains of the USS Dorchester on January 22, 1943, a Catholic priest, two Protestant ministers, and a Jewish rabbi, who gave up their life jackets so other men could live, and died together, arms linked, praising God to the end.  Go here to read their story. [Read more...]

Outrageous Choice: Religious Freedom or Healthcare?

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson

by Chuck Colson -
I’ve told you that the Obama Administration is intentionally restricting religious freedom. I’ve told you we are in danger of losing the right to exercise our faith in public.

Well, maybe I’ve been too understated. The attack is relentless.

Just recently, the Obama Administration announced that the Affordable Healthcare Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, requires that employers pay for contraception, including abortifacients, and that Catholic institutions are not exempt from this requirement.

Well, Catholic Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh and other bishops are blowing the trumpets on the ramparts. And my hat’s off to them. They see the Administration’s actions for what they truly are. [Read more...]

Orthodox Bishops Assembly Silent on Moral Issues

Orthodox Bishops Assembly Silent on Moral Issues by John Couretas -
At an October 1970 meeting of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the Americas (SCOBA), which was called to discuss the burning question of an independent American Church, the presiding conference chair Archbishop Iakovos got fed up and quit. Official letters raising the subject of independence had been sent to the “mother Churches” in Constantinople, Bucharest, Belgrade, Athens and other Orthodox “centers” pointing for the need to do something about the chaotic “situation of Orthodoxy in America.” Only three replies came back. To the Greek Orthodox Iakovos, this was proof that no one took SCOBA seriously and, for that matter, the American Orthodox.

The archbishop resigned from SCOBA in disgust, saying that he had no desire to be the head of a “dead body.” According to a contemporary account, the official minutes of the meeting were forged to cover up what would turn out to be a temporary resignation. [Read more...]

Fr. Preble: Religious Freedom Under Attack

Fr. Peter Michael-Preble

Fr. Peter Michael-Preble

by Fr. Peter Michael-Preble –
America has a very long tradition of freedom. We cherish these freedoms like, the freedom of speech, freedom of religion and until recently, freedom of choice. I will admit right up front that I voted for President Obama because, like many, I believed we needed change. Well I now feel I was duped and his brand of change is not what America needs at all.

As an Orthodox priest and an American I believe in traditional family values like marriage, family, saving one’s self for that person we plan to spend the rest of our life with — in other words I believe in Christian values as proscribed not only by my Church’s tradition but by Holy Scripture itself.

On Jan. 20th it was announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the religious exemption on certain parts of the health care plan would not continue and now religious organizations, like the church, would have to supply health insurance that provides coverage for contraception and abortion. The Roman Catholic Church has been carrying most of the water on this fight and as usual our Orthodox Bishops are silent on this. We have an opportunity here to make our voice heard but we are more concerned with territory and language than we are with issues that affect real people! It is time for our bishops to wake up and speak out. Our people are confused and need to hear their voices loud and clear. [Read more...]

Obama: Abortion Enables ‘Our Daughters’ To ‘Fulfill Their Dreams’

Obama Supports Abortion, Helps Daughters Fulfill Their Dreams by Fred Lucas -
President Barack Obama says the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade is the chance to recognize the “fundamental constitutional right” to abortion and to “continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”

The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court nationalized abortion law, prohibiting states from deciding on the matter. In his written statement, Obama acknowledged that abortion has been a divisive political issue.

Obama, while serving in the Illinois State Legislature and as president of the United States, has taken a hard line on abortion rights.

In his statement on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling, Obama said it reflects the broader principles of America. [Read more...]

Orthodox Hierarchs to Participate in 2012 March for Life

Orthodox Bishops Orthodox Church March for Life OCA -
Orthodox Christians everywhere — especially those within driving distance of the US capital — are encouraged to bear witness to their faith at the annual March for Life Monday, January 23, 2012.

As in years past, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, will speak at the pre-March program and offer prayers for the victims of abortion at the conclusion of the March. He will also attend the annual Rose Dinner.

Other members of the Orthodox Church in America’s Holy Synod of Bishops who will participate in the March are His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek; His Grace, Bishop Michael; and His Grace, Bishop Matthias. Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor; Archpriest John Kowalczyk, a pro-life activist and co-founder of the Orthodox Presence at the March for Life; numerous other clergy; and students and faculty members of Saint Tikhon’s and Saint Vladimir’s seminaries also plan to be in attendance. [Read more...]

Obama: Birth Control Mandate is Final; Catholic Bishops Vow to Fight

Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Archbishop Timothy Dolan

by Kathleen Gilbert -

After being deluged with complaints from outraged religious groups, Obama’s health department has dug in its heels, saying its decision to force employers to provide abortifacient birth control drugs will continue as planned – although faith-based groups will be given a year reprieve. In response, U.S. Catholic bishops have not minced words, vowing to fight the order as “literally unconscionable.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Friday that faith-based entities like hospitals and universities will have until August 1, 2013 to provide employees with free birth control as part of their insurance packages. The mandate will also force such groups to pay for sterilizations and, because the FDA has approved abortifacient drugs such as Ella as “contraception.”

The mandate is being implemented as part of the new health care legislation that was passed in March 2010 despite vigorous opposition from U.S. Catholic bishops, who called it dangerously open to being used as a means of spreading abortion. [Read more...]