Missouri lawmakers have ignored the warnings of the Obama administration and overrode their governor’s veto to enact religious exemptions to the abortion pill mandate, reports lifenews.com. The bill, which passed through the state senate on a 26-6 vote and through the house on a 109-45 vote last week, is now law in Missouri and provides citizens of that state with serious religious freedom protections. The new law also provides the extra safeguard of giving Missourians grounds on which to sue should their religious exemptions be violated. According to the Associated Press, “The new law allows individuals, employers and insurers to cite religious or moral exemptions from mandatory insurance coverage for abortion, contraception, and sterilization. It also gives the state attorney general—or other individuals and entities—grounds to file lawsuits claiming an infringement of rights if they are compelled to cover contraception.” The Missouri Catholic Conference contends this new law protects freedom of conscience by “[upholding] religious liberty in a very practical way.” And this means that “under this bill, no one can be forced to pay for surgical abortions, abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives or sterilizations when this violates their moral or religious beliefs.” This law is said to represent one more step Americans have taken to fight for freedoms that used to be held inviolate before ObamaCare and the subsequent abortion pill mandate were placed upon their backs. It follows in the steps of Hercules Industries, Hobby Lobby, Seneca Hardware Lumber and others in suing to stop the mandate from taking effect. It also follows Geneva College, Wheaton College, Biola University, and Grace College and Seminary, to name just a few who are seeking legal protection from the freedom crushing mandate.
- Americans United for Separation of Church and State recently announced that it sent over 60,000 letters to churches across the country, warning them from becoming involved in “partisan politicking” during this election season. The letter tries to intimidate churches, according to The Christian Post, by ominously warning, “If the IRS determines that your house of worship has engaged in unlawful intervention, it can revoke the institution’s tax-exempt status or levy significant fines on the house of worship or its leaders.” Letters like this are a favorite tactic of AU, contends the report. “For years now, it has attempted to intimidate churches into silence during election season. But here’s the problem. AU is using an unconstitutional law to try and intimidate and scare churches. The Johnson Amendment, upon which AU bases its letter, is blatantly unconstitutional. Under the First Amendment, the pastor has the right to determine what is said from the pulpit, not the IRS. It’s ironic that an organization committed to the ‘separation of church and state’ is arguing for more governmental monitoring and control of churches and pastors. AU wants the IRS to monitor a pastor’s sermon, and to censor that pastor if the IRS agent happens to think that the pastor crosses the line. This is especially problematic because the line of what is prohibited under the Johnson Amendment is very fuzzy. That makes it convenient for AU to argue that churches have crossed the line when in fact they have not. It’s time to remove the Johnson Amendment from the hands of AU. It has been used as a weapon of intimidation against churches for far too long. That’s why Pulpit Freedom Sunday [October 7] is so important. Because the whole goal of Pulpit Freedom Sunday is to protect the sanctity of the pulpit and to prevent the IRS, or radical groups like AU, from intimidating churches.”
- Dr. James Dobson, whose advice about parenting, child-rearing, marriage, and faith has guided millions of Americans and whose counsel on family matters has been sought by presidents, today blasted the Republican Party for abandoning a strong GOP candidate to be U.S. senator, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, reports conservativebyte.com. Dobson, the founder and president of Family Talk, which produces his regular radio program, Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk, said it is “disgraceful” that the “GOP political bosses” have told Akin to drop out of his race, have withdrawn financial support, and publicly maligned the congressman. “I regret to say that Congressman Akin has been subjected to disgraceful treatment at the hands of the GOP political bosses,” Dobson said. “They have withheld funds for his campaign, even though he won the GOP primary for the Senate seat. Karl Rove and Haley Barbour have said things about his character that are untrue. Their vicious opposition could get his Democratic opponent elected in his stead. That is curious since an Akin win could give the Senate majority to the Republicans.” Akin has endured a gauntlet of rebuke during the past few weeks over what he explained was a misstatement in an interview, when he used the phrase “legitimate rape” (i.e., actual rape) as an awkward synonym for forcible rape. He apologized repeatedly for the error, as well as for mentioning a controversial medical theory regarding rape and conception. He also made it clear he is remaining in the race against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, and says he intends to win. Dobson says he doesn’t minimize the unfortunate impact of Akin’s misstatement about rape and noted Akin has apologized profusely for his careless words. “However, every one of us has experienced such a moment when thoughtless comments came out wrong. I certainly have,” he said. “When conservatives make such a mistake they are rarely forgiven. The difference is that liberals typically do not apologize and are given a pass by the mainstream press.” He continued, “Consider for example, Joe Biden’s recent gaffe about putting minorities back in chains. It is almost forgotten today, and he has not apologized. Furthermore, the vice president has not been asked to resign. Bill Clinton’s egregious sexual behavior in the Oval Office, and his committing perjury before a committee of Congress, did not prevent him from giving the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.”
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a direct appeal to American voters on Sunday to elect a president willing to draw a “red line” with Iran, comparing Tehran’s nuclear program to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and reminding Americans of the devastating repercussions of failed intelligence, newsmax.com reports. Netanyahu’s remarks were an impassioned election-season plea from a world leader who insists he doesn’t want to insert himself into U.S. politics and hasn’t endorsed either candidate. But visibly frustrated by U.S. policy under President Barack Obama, the Israeli leader took advantage of the week’s focus on unrest across the Muslim world and America’s time-honored tradition of the Sunday television talk shows to appeal to Americans headed to the polls in less than two months.
- On Sept. 30, 2011, the Pentagon issued a directive to all military chaplains to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies and to make military chapels available for any such private ceremonies. In response to the Pentagon directive, the Catholic Archdiocese for Military Service issued a statement that no Catholic chaplains serving in the military will perform or participate in any same-sex marriage ceremonies at any military chapels. In conjunction with the Catholic response, members of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty have issued a statement indicating that they will also not participate in performing same-sex ceremonies. The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty represents over 2,000 military chaplains. Serving as a military chaplain for 28 years, now retired Col. Ron Crews, executive director of the organization, said, “They made a very strong statement saying that no Catholic chaplains serving in the military will participate in any same-sex ceremonies at any chapels. We appreciate that strong stand. So we just wanted to let the Department of Defense know that it’s not only the Catholic chaplains, but that some 2,000 chaplains who come from evangelical backgrounds are saying our chaplains will not participate in same-sex ceremonies in the military.” Then earlier this year, the contraception mandate went into effect. In all of the news and discussions, no one paid any attention to the effects this was having on our military personnel, especially the chaplains. The Catholic Church had issued a denomination wide letter in which they informed parishioners that the Church “cannot and will not comply with this unjust law.” The Army immediately issued orders to all chaplains, especially Catholic chaplains that they are not allowed to read the letter in its entirety and that certain portions of it are to be blacked out and not read aloud. Former Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt said, “The secretary of the Army said you have to line out some of the language, or else we’re going to charge the chaplains with sedition and treason for opposing the Obama administration. Can you believe this? They are actually threatening chaplains with court-martial if they dare to preach against sin in their own church.” Some Republicans are now taking steps to introduce legislation designed to protect military chaplains from being forced to act against their faith or face a military court martial, reports lastresistance.com. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has now been joined by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) in introducing the Military Religious Freedom Act. Their bill specifies that the Defense of Marriage Act, which has never been repealed, should be applied to all military chaplains and facilities.
- Google will leave a controversial video clip about the Islamic prophet Muhammad on YouTube despite a White House request that the company review it under its own policies, reports Americanthinker.com. The White House confirmed Friday that it asked Google to review whether the clip violated its policies and should be taken down. Google decided that the video does not violate its policies. “We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions,” a YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement. “This can be a challenge because what’s OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere. This video—which is widely available on the Web—is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube.” “However, we’ve restricted access to it in countries where it is illegal such as India and Indonesia, as well as in Libya and Egypt given the very sensitive situations in these two countries,” the spokeswoman said. The video, deemed offensive by many Muslims, is claimed to have spurred violence in Libya last week where four Americans were killed.
- Many people are lamenting the White House’s response to the atrocities of last week in Libya and elsewhere. Said Nathaniel Davidson on patriotupdate.com, “On the 11th anniversary of the 9-11 atrocity, more Islamofascists launched a murderous assault on several American embassies in the Middle East. According to centuries of tradition and international law, an embassy from any country is a part of that country. Even worse, the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was brutally raped and murdered, then dragged through the streets by the baying bloodthirsty mob. Ambassadors legally have the full authority to represent the government of their host country, and are formally addressed by a form equivalent to that of the head of state himself, ‘Your Excellency.’ The twin outrages of attacking American soil and the representative of the American head of state should make it clear that they were acts of war against America. But what has the Obama administration done? Why, it apologized for offending the delicate sensibilities of the Muslim darlings. The most infamous came from the US embassy in Egypt, and it was actually before the atrocities: ‘The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims—as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.’ Among other things, it shows that the Islamofascists don’t care about apologies. Most patriots would rather see an apology to the families of the ambassador and the three other murdered staff. And while they’re at it, how about apologizing to Catholics and Evangelicals (like Hobby Lobby) for having their religious consciences trampled by Obamacare, casualties of Obama’s war against the Church. Newt Gingrich showed up the Democrats’ cowardice and self-delusions in his usual brilliant fashion: ‘President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton again perpetuated the kind of intellectual dishonesty that cripples the U.S. response to radical Islamists. The president asserted we have to oppose ‘the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.’ Clinton reinforced his analysis when she said, ‘We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence. This concept of ‘senseless violence’ is at the heart of the left’s refusal to confront the reality of radical Islamists. These are not acts of senseless violence. These are acts of war.’”
- Several details about teachers involved with the current Chicago teachers’ strike, reported by conservativebyte.com: They make $71–76,000 a year average; they turned down a 16 percent pay increase, which amounts to $11,360; they work nine months out of the year, but say that this strike is benefits oriented; and, according to CBS, almost 40 percent of Chicago’s public school teachers send their kids to private schools.
- A student is questioning whether his faith or his fashion is under fire at his high school in Loveland, Colo., reports KDVR.com. Thompson Valley High School officials have confiscated his rosary beads twice since school started three weeks ago. And he says they never told him or his family why. “They tell me I can’t wear them,” says Manuel Vigil, showing us an identical rosary to the one seized by his school. The junior says he wears rosary beads to protect himself from harm. But his school district thinks the religious necklace will harm students.
- A prominent ratings firm downgraded the U.S. government’s credit rating from “AA” to “AA-” one day after the Federal Reserve announced it would pump more money into the economy by buying more than $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities per month, reports patriotupdate.com. Ratings firm Egan-Jones said it cut its credit reating on the U.S. government because it felt the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing “would hurt the U.S. economy and the country’s credit quality” by devaluing the the dollar while doing nothing to “raise the U.S.’s real gross domestic product.” This is the second downgrading in recent days.