Doing things backward: Study was designed to support the HHS Mandate

Methinks the study leans a little to the left!OSV has published an article that exposes the flawed reasoning behind a study that was designed, not to evaluate the situation and see what steps were needed to deal with it, but to support the HHS Mandate. The “study” is a flagrant display of bias and pseudo-science.

Authors of the study said they devised it to mimic what they believed would happen if the Department of Health and Human Service’s contraceptive mandate were in place and women would have free access to all forms of contraception, including IUDs and hormone implants, which have upfront costs of more than $500.

The goal of the study was to increase the number of women using IUDs and implants because they “are more than 20 times more effective at preventing pregnancy” than other methods. [Emphasis mine.]

Excuse me, but the goal of the study was to influence behavior and not to study actual behavior, not seek to find and understand patterns? Not to see if a remedy suggested itself but to have a “remedy” in mind at the outset and mold the study to produce the desired result? How is this science? Lunacy! I’m happy to post the link to the article here to help expose the idiocy that masquerades as knowledge and science in our day.

Read Critics: Study designed to support the HHS mandate flawed.

Updating the Resource Pages

I’m in the midst of editing and updating some of the pages around here (about time!). Made some additions tonight including some new resources on the Life Issues page, more  about the HHS Mandate (including the false claim made by the Vice President during the VP debate and the USCCB’s quick response to it– breathtakingly fast!). Made a couple of changes on the Year of Faith and the Vote pages. Comments are welcome and thank you for reading. God bless you and peace be with you.

ReligiousLiberties.org, a new website presented by EWTN

EWTN has opened a website devoted to keeping the faithful and people of goodwill informed on the current issues concerning religious liberty, which liberty is under serious attack here in the U.S.A. I just found out about it and have only spent a few minutes looking over the contents of the site. A number of similar sites have opened up lately and I need to do a page of links devoted to this issue pretty soon.

 

One decision down, get ready, the real battle is only just beginning

Where's the freedom? Protesting the HHS Mandate outside the Supreme Court

Yes, I heard the news. No, I’m not surprised. Neither am I throwing up my hands in despair. The battle over religious freedom (and freedom in general) is on and it has only just begun. I’d like to quote a newsletter I received today from Eric Scheidler. I think it will help to clear up some of the misinformation which is already flooding the airwaves now that this decision has been handed down. We have a long way to go, folks. Get educated. Do it now.

THE SUPREME COURT DID NOT UPHOLD THE HHS MANDATE TODAY.

Our opponents will try to claim we’ve lost our fight against the HHS Mandate because of today’s ruling. That is simply FALSE.

The Supreme court did not address the HHS Mandate issue in their ruling today. Nor did they declare the whole 2700-page Obamacare law to be constitutional.

Today’s ruling only addresses the constitutionality of a few pages of that law, on completely different issues from the HHS Mandate.

Provisions of Obamacare like the HHS Mandate could still be struck down in the future. In fact, I’m sure it will be when the scores of lawsuits against the HHS Mandate reach the high court.

But I’m not willing to wait that long — not when religious freedom is on the line. …

As I said, I’ll be nailing down specific plans for future action against the HHS Mandate soon. Meanwhile, visit the Stand Up website to see what you can do RIGHT NOW to fight the HHS Mandate:

http://StandUpRally.com/action/

So don’t lose heart.

Yes, today’s Supreme Court ruling is a disappointment. But in the end it will only INCREASE the urgency of our protests and inspire MORE people to join us out onto the streets!

The fight to stop the HHS Mandate will go forward with zeal — in the courts, in Congress, on the streets and on election day!

Yours for Life,

— Eric

This is truly spiritual warfare. Join the battle! Stand Up For Religious Freedom today! Read another interesting take on the decision and its implications.

Fortnight for Freedom and a novel in progress

Fortnight 4 Freedom

I plan to write more about this at some point but right now I’m linking to the USCCB‘s Fortnight 4 Freedom site. My current novel-in-progress focuses on this very issue of freedom and faith, and the writing has taken over my blog time and pretty much the rest of my life. (After much struggle and a long dry period, having the writing take over my life, at least part of it, is a good thing and I am loving it.)

“The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayerstudycatechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.”

For information, bulletin inserts, web graphics, pdf’s and more: http://www.fortnight4freedom.org

Seek First the Kingdom: Challenging the Culture by Living Our Faith, by Donald Cardinal Wuerl

Seek First the Kingdom, by Donald Cardinal Wuerl(I mentioned in an earlier post that I’m writing a series of posts as I read a truly important book that was released at the end of 2011, not long before the infamous HHS Mandate was announced. The following is the first installment in the series. All excerpts are taken from Seek First the Kingdom: Challenging the Culture by Living Our Faith, by Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Our Sunday Visitor, 2011, Kindle Edition. Get the book from Amazon. Preview or buy the Kindle version.)

Most Christians have prayed the Lord’s Prayer. As a young Methodist my parents helped me memorize it and we prayed it every Sunday as part of our worship service. As a New Ager I used a form of it in a daily meditation (don’t laugh, or do laugh, but know that I was earnestly searching for truth even if I had no idea how or where to find it). Later as a Buddhist I opened each and every meditation session with the words “Our Father” because I never could accept the atheism of Buddhism. I suppose over the years I gave some thought to this idea of praying to “Our Father”. But I gave almost no thought at all to what it meant to pray that His kingdom would come, even though I said those words, too, every time I said the rest of the prayer. I didn’t even know what the kingdom was.

So what is the kingdom? Is it a metaphor and nothing more? I will allow the Cardinal to speak to that himself:

In the course of this book we will consider the kingdom in some detail. We’ll look at Jesus’ sayings, the apostles’ doctrine, and the tradition of the Church. What we’ll see is that Jesus was not simply speaking symbolically when he announced the kingdom. This was not just a preferred metaphor. He was urgent and specific about what the kingdom was and what it wasn’t, who was in it and who was outside it, and about how one could get in it and stay in it. His kingdom had distinguishing characteristics.

If he had been speaking metaphorically, it would have been an ill-chosen metaphor, since it brought suspicion and persecution upon him, his apostles, and many followers down through the ages. The Romans did not fear a metaphor. Nor did the Persians. Nor have any of their successors in the business of the persecution of Christians. These earthly powers killed Christians because they knew the Christians were serious about a certain king and his kingdom, and they considered that kingdom a threat to their own. God’s kingdom was serious business.

Yes, serious. Then and now. I can’t tell you how serious I have gotten about my faith since I first heard about the HHS Mandate and the ramping up of attacks on religious freedom here in the U.S. This past Friday I bought myself an early Easter gift to celebrate my 16th anniversary of being received into Holy Mother Church: a brand new beautiful Daily Roman Missal, first one I have ever had. With that purchase I also made a commitment to attend Daily Mass. It’s part of my preparation for what I see coming, part of my putting on the whole armor of God, diving deeper into discipleship, getting ready to do my part for the kingdom. For my King. To do that I need, among other things, to understand more fully what the kingdom is, because, as Cardinal Wuerl writes:

[I]n our own day the kingdom is often misunderstood and misconstrued, even by Christians. Some do try to dismiss it as a metaphor — a symbol of what the world would be like if more people would be nice to one another. People should be nice to one another; but the kingdom of God is not reducible to niceness. Others bring it up when they want to suggest that Christians are secretly disloyal to the current regime — that the Christian “kingdom” is somehow a code word for theocracy.

In every election year, it seems, we find the kingdom suffering violence and taken away, far away, from its original intention. Political parties and candidates like to claim, or strongly suggest, that their agenda is the valid way to apply the Gospel in the world. When they do, secularists will then step forth to argue that religious people have no right whatsoever to “impose” their beliefs by speaking up in public.

We should be prepared for this; and as Christians we should be prepared to give an answer to both errors, to make the necessary distinctions, and to call people to account for their use and misuse of the kingdom of God.

I often deal with personal attacks on the Church and myself from people I interact with online and in person, and get a fair share of honest (if misinformed and confused) questions and (sometimes) accusations from friends and family. These confrontations are happening with more and more frequency. All the more reason to learn more about my faith, to practice my faith, to live my faith, at a deeper level than ever before. This is why I’m studying the faith, as, indeed, I was before, but with renewed fervor. Why I’m returning to my earlier practice of attending Daily Mass. Why I’m reading this book. And why I’m sharing it with you.

I hope you’ll join me as I seek to learn more about the kingdom and about our role in that kingdom. And I hope you’ll pick up a copy of your own and share it with your family and friends. We need all Christians and all people of good will to stand up and speak out now, to do what is right. To do that, we need to know what is right. First things first. I’ll share what I learn with you here on the blog, both as I continue to read Cardinal Wuerl’s book and as I continue to grow in discipleship.

Please pray for me and know that I am praying for you. Peace be with you, now and always.

Seek First the Kingdom: Cardinal Wuerl’s newest book could not be more timely

Seek First the Kingdom, by Donald Cardinal WuerlSeek First the Kingdom was published on Dec 2 2011; in light of recent events (the HHS Mandate, among other things), it could not be more timely and strikes me as being prophetic. I downloaded the Kindle version tonight after seeking in vain for it in stores around Birmingham for two days. I’m still reading the foreword by Mary Ann Glendon, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, but I can already tell you, as I had suspected, this is an important book. (Brief video at end of post or watch on YouTube.)

I’m going to write about the book here and post it (as opposed to writing about it and never getting the writing out of rough draft stage on my laptop) as I read it because we need the guidance of our bishops now. We need to remember, when it’s tempting to allow ourselves to get caught up in political action and issues and arguments and worry, that Jesus told us something that we tend to forget. Or neglect. He told us to seek first the kingdom of God and that then all these things that we need will be added unto us. But we have to put first things first.

And we have to do our part to build up the kingdom, too. We cannot let ourselves fall for our ancient enemy’s new (old) trick: telling us that we have to keep our Catholic Christian selves to ourselves and in our Church on Sunday and out of the public square and out of our public lives. No matter how many people are going around proclaiming the good news that Christians are being shoved out of sight and out of mind, it just isn’t true. Because we are not going to let it be true. We can’t afford to let it be true. But it will be, if we don’t stand up and speak out and speak truth, in love but firmly. And for us to speak the truth with love and firmly, we have to be united with Christ. We have to get serious about our faith. We have to know our faith. And we have to live our faith.

Because if we don’t live our faith, we are going to lose it. That’s something we cannot afford to do. And the world can’t afford for us to lose our faith either: If we lose, the world loses, too. We need more Christian witness now, not less. We need faithful, loving, informed, intelligent Christian witness.

Get this book. Get ready. Get to it!

The World Over: More Commentary on the HHS Mandate, Feb 16

Watch the YouTube video of the Feb 16 2012 edition of EWTN’s The World Over with Raymond Arroyo with guest Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, DC and the author of a new book, Seek First the Kingdom, on the US Catholic Bishops’ response to the HHS mandate.

Losing our religion, Free to worship (but not to live) as Christians

Since the HHS Mandate was foisted upon us, I’ve been told many times that I can be a Christian all I want…as long as I keep it to myself and limit it to worship inside the church building. But is that what it means to be Christian? Yes, worship on Sunday (or daily for those who go to Daily Mass) is part of being Christian. But can we reduce Christianity to that one hour on Sunday (or seven hours a week for the Daily Mass attendee)?

This is My Body, which will be given up for you
This is My Body, which will be given up for you

For me being Catholic Christian is what I am at the very heart of my being. Catholicism shapes my thoughts and desires and I seek to live my faith through every moment I am alive; even when I fall short of that goal, the goal remains. Saying that I’m free to worship in the church building on Sunday but not free to live according to the teachings of Christ and His Church is absurd. The whole point of attending Mass and receiving grace in the Sacrament of the Eucharist is to be enabled to bring the light of Christ out from within the gathering and into the world where darkness reigns, for Christ to act upon me and make me into a new creation, to fill me with new life. A participation in His Divine Life. But what I’m hearing from various people is that I should keep that light within the sanctuary, that it has no place out in public where — horrors! — someone might see it!

I don’t demand that others be Catholic Christian. I don’t demand that they talk about atheism in the privacy of their homes but never around me. I listen to atheists preach at me nearly every day of my life. They witness to me, they evangelize me, they try to convert me. I fully expect them to come to my neighborhood, knocking on doors and inviting folks to the local atheist potluck supper and tent meeting any day now. And will I tell them to keep their un-worship to themselves? No! I won’t!

Truth is, I ‘d like to see what kind of party they throw. I might even take a covered dish.

Action Alert Feb 15: HHS Mandate Webcast Tonight at 9pm ET, 8pm CT

Priests for Life Webcast on the HHS Mandate, Feb 15 at 9pm ET, 8pm CT

Update: If you missed the webcast, you can still listen to or download the audio, access the excellent resources, find ways to take action, and participate in the novena of prayer. All of this can be found on the webcast page.

Action Alert: Please join a special webcast tonight at 9pm ET, 8pm CT, with Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, “Congressman Chris Smith, … a heroic pro-life leader in the US Congress, Doug Johnson, the Federal Legislative Director for the National Right to Life Committee, David N. O’Steen, Ph.D., Executive Director of National Right to Life, and Charles S. LiMandri, APC, the attorney who is filing the federal lawsuit on behalf of Priests for Life…Join us for an inspiring call to action this Wednesday night, and please spread the word to as many others as you can.” [Emphasis added.]

Join us for a Webcast Tonight Re: Obama HHS Mandate: http://www.priestsforlife.org/webcast