Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Big Business & consumers' role in religious freedom

After caving to pressures from major companies like Disney and Apple that they would boycott his state, Georgia’s Republican Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a bill that would protect clergy from being forced to perform same-sex “weddings”.
Though LGBT activists insist they do not want to violate anyone’s religious freedoms, the vetoed Free Exercise Protection Act (H.B. 757) would have also specified that religious organizations do not have to rent out their facilities for such a ceremony, nor do they have to hire anyone if doing so would violate the group's sincerely held religious beliefs about human sexuality.
Politicians like Hillary Clinton love to remind Christians that she supports our “freedom to worship” within church grounds (they don’t ever say they support our Constitutional freedom of religion, a big difference), but now LGBT protectionist laws are invading the grounds of the church and directly seek to force those inside the church to go against their beliefs.
What stands out so vividly here is the power of the dollar. Just as Indiana lost an estimated $60 million in tourism revenues in the wake of its Religious Freedom bill episode last year, states like Georgia, North Carolina and others are facing economic boycotts from major players like the NFL, soft drink companies, airlines, movie studios and the like. Facing economic losses of this magnitude, governors are trembling under the powerful hand of Big Business, which itself trembles under the power of the consumer, especially the 18-34 demographic, the group most likely to support LGBT legislation despite, perhaps unbeknownst to them, that such legislation is increasingly at the expense of religious rights. Businesses are of course fearful of mass boycotts by this group and other consumers.
But consider what might happen if governors of all 50 states were to face similar religious freedom legislation and didn’t cower to economic threats. For every state that signed Religious Freedom bills into law that simply protect private citizens from being forced to violate their faith (or in North Carolina’s case, to protect citizens from sharing a public restroom with someone who could be pretending to identify as a different gender) some economic loss may occur at the onset. For instance, the NFL may have moved the Super Bowl out of Georgia to another state had Deal signed the bill. Yes, that would be a big loss initially for Georgia.
But as state after state were to sign into law basic religious protections (which simply enforce the Constitution, by the way), the NFL is going to still want to have a Super Bowl. Apple is still going to want to sell phones everywhere. Disney will still want to make movies. What would these organizations do if all 50 states had religious freedom bills? 

Maybe if governors stiffened their spines and stood up against economic bullying, eventually the bullies would back down. After all, it's not cheap to relocate headquarters, and companies no longer offering their products or services in a state would take a big revenue hit as well. 

As for consumer boycotts, perhaps it's up to Christians to not let the few control what most of us believe to be a violation of the Constitution. Imagine if all Christians and supporters of religious freedom were to stop using the products or services of companies that didn't support religious rights. I bet it wouldn't be long before these companies reversed their positions. In other words, let's use the power of the dollar to work for freedom, not against it. 

On the other hand, keep in mind what happened when Chick-fil-A was hounded because its founder voiced support for traditional marriage. Mass boycotts were called - but supporters outnumbered the boycotters and record sales were made. In other words, maybe businesses should look more closely at how mass amounts of Americans actually feel about the issue before voicing their threats to depart.

If the businesses did make good on their word, though, and left the state in question, at the very least, it would create an opening for entrepreneurs who would be more than willing to take on the market share for products and services abandoned by businesses who don’t want to fight for religious freedom. 
It's of course an overly simplistic speculation, but as I see it, it could be a win-win for both religious freedom and capitalism - the very two things that helped make America great in the first place. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holy Thursday: Love manifested in humility and sacrifice

Courtesy of Catholic News Agency....Except for the resurrection on Easter, Holy Thursday (a.k.a. Maundy Thursday) is possibly one of the most important, complex, and profound days of celebration in the Catholic Church. Holy Thursday celebrates the institution of the Eucharist as the true body and blood of Jesus Christ and the institution of the sacrament of the priesthood.
During the Last Supper, Jesus offers himself as the Passover sacrifice, the sacrificial lamb, and teaches that every ordained priest is to follow the same sacrifice in the exact same way. Christ also bids farewell to his followers and prophesizes that one of them will betray him and hand him over to the Roman soldiers.
Around the world, Bishops and priests come together at their local Cathedrals on Holy Thursday morning to celebrate the institution of the priesthood. During the Mass, the bishop blesses the Oil of Chrism that will be used for Baptism, Confirmation, and Anointing of the sick or dying.
At this Mass, the bishop washes the feet of twelve priests to symbolize Christ’s washing of his twelve Apostles, our first bishops and priests.
Later that night, after sundown – because Passover began at sundown-  the Holy Thursday Liturgy takes place, marking the end of Lent and the beginning of the sacred "Triduum,” or three, of Holy Week. These days are the three holiest days in the Catholic Church.
This Mass stresses the importance Jesus puts on the humility of service, and the need for cleansing with water, a symbol of baptism. Also emphasized are the critical importance of the Eucharist and the sacrifice of Christ’s Body, which we now find present in the consecrated Host.
At the conclusion of the Mass, the faithful are invited to continue Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the night, just as the disciples were invited to stay up with the Lord during His agony in the garden before His betrayal by Judas.
There is such an abundance of symbolism in the solemn celebration of the events of Holy Thursday layer upon layer, in fact that we can no more than hint at it in these few words. For many centuries, the Last Supper of Our Lord has inspired great works of art and literature, such as the glorious stained glass window in Chartres cathedral, Leonardo da Vinci's ever popular (and much imitated) Last Supper in the 16th century, and the reminiscence called Holy Thursday, by the French novelist, Franasois Mauriac, written in the 1930s.

After Holy Thursday, no Mass will be celebrated again in the Church until the Easter Vigil celebrates and proclaims the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I know not everyone reading this may practice the Catholic faith, but I just wanted to share this in the spirit of goodwill. May we all be reminded of the generosity and humility of Christ, and share those virtues with all those we meet as we continue to uphold and speak up for the Truth that God established in love, and manifested through His Son's tremendous and complete sacrifice. As we await His glorious Resurrection, God bless you all.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Global tax for abortion on its way

As reported by C-Fam, "UN radicals are clamoring for a global tax on financial transactions that will be an independent revenue stream for UN programs that promote abortion and 'various forms of the family.'

This is among the most dangerous ideas promoted at the UN and around the world in years.

A Global Tax for Abortion would inevitably result in forcing Christian countries to legalize abortion or liberalize existing laws restricting abortion.

C-Fam is partnering with LifeNews to fight back. Please go to www.c-fam.org/stop-un-global-tax and sign the petition and then send the link to your whole address book, to all of your friends and family. (Don't worry - it doesn't ask for any financial donation and takes literally about 20 seconds to complete.)

Is the Global Tax for Abortion real? It sure is. It has been discussed for years by global elites. Called the Tobin Tax, it would tax all international financial transactions, including airline tickets and when you change money when you travel. Under this initiative, the UN would also put pressure on corporations to increase  costs of goods and services and funnel those increases to the UN.

The Global Tax for Abortion was on the agenda of the World Humanitarian Summit that will bring government leaders to Istanbul this May. It is also a part of the Sustainable Development Goals that will be the biggest development  program in history that will end up costing trillions of dollars.

Please go here: www.c-fam.org/stop-un-global-tax and sign the petition now which will be presented to UN policy makers this fall. It will also be presented to members of the US Congress.

The Global Abortion Tax can be stopped, but not without your immediate help. Thousands of names are needed to have an impact."

Thank you!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Supreme Court ruling jeopardizes some women, but so what?

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has filed a lawsuit against a Kentucky abortion facility, with state documents saying the premises were "filthy," used prescriptions that were nearly two decades past their due date, performed abortions without any state license, and had no ambulance agreement to transport women injured during botched abortion procedures.

The facility, EMW Women's Clinic in Lexington, serves no medical purpose aside from abortion, and does not have proper licenses to perform abortions, state inspectors said.

"This does not comply with Kentucky law and jeopardizes women's safety and lives,” the governor's 10-page lawsuit says.

Meanwhile, last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a very brief order allowing several Louisiana abortion clinics to reopen after a federal appeals court forced them to shut down because of unsafe conditions that didn't meet or violated regulations. The Supreme Court's decision mirrors one made last summer about Texas's admitting privileges law which aimed to increase safety regulations at abortion clinics. 

Opponents of safety regulations at abortion clinics argue that women should not be forced to run to court year after year to protect their "fundamental rights". 

But it's time people understand that terminating a pregnancy for no other reason than "convenience" to the mother is not a fundamental right, and has nothing to do with reproductive health because no reproduction is taking place. Only intentional actions to end reproduction are taking place, often surgically, which, like any surgical procedure, always, always carries risks. 

And it should be noted that when a medical emergency arises where a baby's life may need to be forfeited in order to save the mother, that is not abortion as the term is widely used, because typical abortion is the deliberate ending of the baby's life for the sole sake of ending it. Doctors do everything they can to save both the mother and baby in these types of circumstances, which are considered tragic by all parties involved, and even the Catholic Church teaches that the mother's life need not be sacrificed for her baby's life (though some mothers do of course choose their baby's life over their own in certain cases, e.g., those with cancer who choose life for their child rather than undergoing risky chemotherapy that may harm their baby). Unfortunately abortion advocates who term abortion as "reproductive health" miss the whole point of reproduction. Sadly, it has become an over-used phrase to give the abortion industry cover in its practice of ending human lives for profit, while major safety violations are ignored.

In fact, one of the complaints about the Texas law is precisely because the law tried to require abortion clinics to undergo renovations in order to comply with safety and ambulatory surgical center regulations where women undergo surgical abortions, and to have physician admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. For some reason, abortion proponents believe that clean facilities at an abortion clinic and the ability to rush a woman to a hospital should an emergency occur undermine women's rights.

I would bet though that if a dental clinic had filthy conditions, rats, unsterilized instruments, no license to practice, and no admitting privileges to a nearby hospital should a patient suddenly start hemorrhaging uncontrollably and need transport to the nearest emergency room (as is the case of too many of these abortion clinics), these same so-called pro-women's health advocates would be screaming for tighter controls. 

But as long as a clinic exists for the main purpose of extracting, not a tooth, but a baby prematurely from the womb, carry on. What does it matter if the woman's very life may be at risk? After all, abortion advocates are not concerned if the baby lives (obviously). Why would anyone believe they really care about the woman's life, physically, emotionally or spiritually? I'm not seeing the evidence.