Jun 28, 2012

Guest Op-ed: How Will the Catholic Church Respond to the Contraception Mandate?

Today, June 28, 2012, a great tragedy befell America in the ruling by the United States Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). This ruling will fall particularly hard on religions who have been targeted by the HHS mandate requiring religious employers to provide coverage for contraceptives even if it goes against their religion. In response to this abominable attack upon religious freedom in America, my colleague from New Agora, the incorrigible papist Chris Scribner, has written an excellent op-ed article detailing what the Catholic Church's response to the Supreme Court's ruling and the HHS mandate should be and it is re-posted here as a guest posting on The Subsidiarity Times.

How Will the Catholic Church Respond to the Contraception Mandate?

The June 28, 2012 Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (commonly termed Obamacare) quashed the hopes of conservative Catholics that a decision by the Obama administration to require religious employers to provide contraception might be repealed in the immediate future. In short, the mother of all clashes is brewing between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration.

On August 1, 2012, health plans for most organizations will be required to cover contraception, “emergency contraceptives,” and sterilization procedures. The mandate will be extended to non-profit religious employers on August 1, 2013. Narrow religious exemptionshave been granted, but as Cardinal Wuerl has pointed out, not even Mother Teresa would qualify for these exemptions.

In other words, the Obama administration is forcing institutions affiliated with the Catholic Church to pay for coverage of contraceptives, “emergency contraception,” and sterilization. After being pressured by religious groups, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) tweaked the mandate so that insurance companies would be forced to provide contraception instead of Catholic institutions themselves. But Catholic institutions would be paying insurance companies to provide birth control to employees, so the religious objections of Catholics have not been resolved. (Besides, since many Catholic companies and diocesesself-insure, the major sticking point remains for Catholics in a host of cases.)

If the Church did comply and provided contraception coverage to its employees, it would signify that the Church’s moral teaching on contraception could be changed. And the Church would instantly lose all credibility if She reversed herself on contraception or any of Her other moral teachings; if She could reverse Herself on one critical teaching at the whim of the state, any of Her teachings would be mutable.

Accordingly, the Catholic Church is treating the HHS mandate as a serious blow to religious freedom. Every single one of the Catholic bishops in America has sworn that the Church will not and cannot comply with the Obama administration’s mandate. President Obama refuses to budge on the matter. The Catholic Church is now celebrating a “Fortnight for Freedom” – two weeks of prayer and penance as part of a “great hymn of prayer for our country” – in response to the HHS mandate.

The Catholic Church can choose to respond to the HHS mandate in several different ways. Here is a brief overview of the ways the Church can choose to respond to it. This list will also examine historical precedents for these choices.

© 2012 Gray Matters and The Subsidiarity Times. Re-printed with the permission of article author and Gray Matters. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without written permission from the author of this article.

Jun 27, 2012

The Ideological Idols

When People think they possess the secret
of a perfect social organization which makes evil
impossible, they also think that they can use any
means, including violence and deceit, in order to
bring that organization into being. Politics then
becomes a “secular religion” which operates under
the illusion of creating paradise in this world.
– Pope John Paul II

Ideologies are a natural result of a democratic-republican form of government. People all have opinions on how problems should be handled at the level of government and in a free democratic-republican system, they are allowed to voice these opinions in debates, elections, and the public square (i.e. talk radio, television and the workplace). Unfortunately, many people believe in their ideologies to an extreme and so come to think their ideology is the be-all and end-all of their world. They worship what the ideology presents to them as the ultimate goal of those following that ideology. It is a sad reality.

Totalitarianism: The idol of those who follow the Totalitarian ideologies (Socialism; Communism; Nazism; Fascism) is Government; All-Powerful, Big Brother Government. They believe that government is the magic elixir which can solve all social, political and financial problems at every level and push for government to be given as much power as the world can give so they can solve these problems and thus produce Utopia. This “heaven on earth” cannot exist in this world because man is not perfect. Mistakes and abuses will be made and in a totalitarian system, wrongdoing and mistakes can be legalized or covered up because it is sanctioned by government which leads to greater harm for the people. {The failure and fall of the Soviet Union is a prime example of this}.

Liberalism: Power is the shrine at which liberals adore. They are similar to Totalitarians in that they believe government should be the vehicle to affect change that is needed, but they want the power for themselves and their friends because they believe they can solve everything that is wrong in the world if they are only given the power. What they fail to realize is that with power comes tremendous temptation and that temptation can corrupt anyone and so lead to the abuse of a system. {Good examples of this are scandal-ridden American presidencies such as those of Ulysses S. Grant and Warren G. Harding}.

Moderatism: Moderates glorify public opinion as their deity. Moderates believe that if the people want something then it should be given to them. They believe this will result in true peace and, by default, utopia. If the majority of the people want it, then it must be good for them and so bring about good results for them. The problem here is that deception is possible at any level and when the general public is deceived about certain ideas or facts, then caving in to public opinion can lead to disastrous results. {The French Revolution is a great example of this}.

Conservatism: Money is the bottom line for conservatives. The commonly accepted priority of most conservatives is fiscal responsibility, but this degenerates into simple money hunger. Money is what they are most interested in because to them it is what buys happiness and ensures that they have the ability to keep that happiness. They acknowledge that utopia cannot be accomplished on this earth but that does not bother them as much so long as they have the money to solve their own ills. They only wish to limit government when it hampers their ability to make money. This attitude is wrong, however, because it has been proved time and again that money cannot buy happiness or solve every ill. Some issues can only be solved by things that money cannot buy, such as love and truth. {Charles Dickens eloquently proves this in his classic story A Christmas Carol}.

Libertarianism: Libertarians worship personal freedom. A large number of libertarians believe that, as long as they do not infringe on someone else’s personal freedom, they should be free to do whatever they wish to themselves and that no form of authority has a right to say otherwise. They think that if everyone is left to rise or fall based on their own virtues or vices regarding their personal habits, then a more complete and happy society can be achieved. This view is dangerous in the sense that it does not acknowledge the legitimate place of authority on many levels, sometimes not even at the family or community level. This mindset tends to absolve people from the obligation to “Love Thy Neighbor” whereby one person can help another avoid inflicting great harm to himself/herself. While libertarians are correct in feeling that certain levels of government should not dictate personal habits because government is force, they are incorrect in feeling that the decisions that an individual makes regarding their own personal habits or livelihood should be left unaddressed by anyone at all. The family has the authority to talk to a person about their personal habits and way of living and in some cases this responsibility extends to members of the community such as the individual’s neighbors and co-workers. {Tragic deaths from bad personal habits such as drug abuse and irresponsible driving often stem from the same mindset as that which would fuel a libertarian society}.

Subsidiarism: Subsidiarism believes in problems being resolved at the most local level possible. People following this ideology wish to govern themselves by setting forth most of their own laws that they wish to follow in their own communities rather than always looking to the provincial or national government to run their lives and set their laws. Subsidiarists hold that the Creator is the one who is to be worshipped and respected because human beings receive their dignity from the Creator, Who made them as individuals and gave them their rights. They acknowledge that, as human beings, they are not perfect and cannot achieve total perfection, but that the faults that individual human beings show, (whether its in dealing with their fellow human beings, or in their own personal habits), can be best handled and settled at the appropriate level, whether it be the family level, the community level, the provincial level (for serious faults such as murder), or the national level (for grave crimes, such as treason). This will not bring about utopia, but it can isolate the instances of abuse and poor management of problems which arise and so keep the harm that comes as a result restricted to the lowest number of people possible. {The argument could be made that the early United States is the closest historical example of this kind of society}.

© 2012 New Agora and The Subsidiarity Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without written permission from blog author.

Jun 26, 2012

Dan Liljenquist’s Senate run in Utah exposes the neo-conservative infiltration of the Tea Party

June 26th, 2012, the voters of Utah will vote for candidates to be the standard-bearers for their respective parties in the run for many federal and state offices which will take place this November. The most contested of all of these primary races will apparently be the primary race for the Republican nomination for United States Senate in which Senator Orrin G. Hatch, who has held the seat since 1977, is being challenged by Tea Party-backed state legislator Dan Liljenquist. While certain polls predict that Hatch might succeed in holding off Liljenquist and so avoid the fate which befell his former (or soon-to-be former) Senate companions Bob Bennett and Richard Lugar, Liljenquist will still be able to claim a moral victory in the primary, even if it does not include winning the Utah GOP’s nomination for United States Senate.

Liljenquist will win a moral victory in his challenge against Hatch by the fact that his candidacy has exposed the extent to which big-government neo-conservatives have sought, and in many cases succeeded, to infiltrate and claim leadership positions in the small-government-demanding Tea Party movement. Hatch has backed many laws unpopular with the Tea Party movement during his time in the Senate, among them the TARP bailout, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (which he co-sponsored with the late Senator Edward Kennedy), the No Child Left Behind Act, the Bridge to Nowhere, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts, Medicare expansion, raising the debt limit and many other laws of that nature. Yet, despite all of Hatch’s support in favor of these things which the Tea Party despises, there is a very large lineup of so-called “Tea Party leaders” who have backed Hatch’s re-election bid and that should be disturbing to the grassroots Tea Party organizers. The list of these supposed “Tea Party leaders” includes names such as Tea Party Express co-leader Sal Russo, two members of the neo-conservative “talk radio mafia”: Mark Levin and Sean Hannity, and, most disturbingly of all, former Alaska Governor and 2008 GOP Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. With such Tea Party-oriented names as these lining up against Liljenquist, is it any wonder he is trailing in the polls to Hatch?

Win or lose, however, what Liljenquist has done by challenging Hatch in the primary and so forcing these so-called “Tea Party leaders” to choose sides in the primary battle between himself and Hatch, is expose the neo-conservative infiltration of the so-called “Tea Party leadership positions” for all to see. This fact had originally begun to show during Congressman Ron Paul’s 2012 candidacy for President, but many tried to dismiss it as evidence of the Tea Party being infiltrated by the neo-conservatives by following Rush Limbaugh’s lead when he proclaimed “Ron Paul is NOT the Tea Party and he is not the founder of the Tea Party”. Limbaugh is wrong of course as evidenced by the fact that the Tea Party movement arose “from the ashes of Paul’s 2008 Presidential Campaign” to quote one political commentator and the evidence to support this lies in the fact that Ron Paul organized the fantastically successful “Tea Party Moneybomb” on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party in 2007 which is the first recorded Tea Party protest. All that aside, however, no one can dispute Liljenquist’s Tea Party credentials as opposed to where Hatch has stood over the past several years and so in a primary such as this, the true Tea Party supporters would be and should be endorsing, supporting and voting for Liljenquist. As people such as Levin, Hannity, Russo and Palin have failed to support Liljenquist, this shows them for what they truly are: neo-conservative infiltrators of the Tea Party movement.

Liljenquist’s moral victory in exposing these infiltrators for the rest of the nation to see makes a victory by Hatch in the primary a pyrrhic victory for the neo-conservatives in their attempt to infiltrate the Tea Party. Their opposition to Liljenquist has shown them for who they truly are and the news should be shouted from the rooftops to the many Tea Parties across America that the Tea Party members must no longer look to these neo-conservative infiltrators for leadership, but to the people who actually stand for the true principles of the Tea Party and will back those candidates who are going to stand by those principles of limited government both at home and abroad.

© 2012 The Subsidiarity Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without written permission from blog author.

Jun 16, 2012

Senator Ron Johnson: “Ron Paul has done a real service to this nation”

(The Subsidiarity Times) In an interview with talk show host Jason Lewis, United States Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin expressed high praise for Ron Paul and the work that Paul has carried out in his two presidential campaigns.

“Ron Paul, I think, has done a real service to this nation, the way he talks about liberty, the way he has energized our young people. You know, I kind of count on the youth’s natural propensity to rebel, to start rebelling about their university professors, you know, start reclaiming their freedom, it is their future that is being immorally mortgaged here” said Senator Johnson.

Jason Lewis followed the Senator’s comments with an observation about how the youth of the late 1960s and early 1970s were all about free speech and rebelling against authority in their youthful days and now that they are older and in positions of power, they are demanding total compliance of the youth of today’s world.

“The good news is,” replied Senator Johnson “and that is the example of Ron Paul, the youth is starting to get it. They will value their liberty when they are taught that it is their right, not government’s right, it is their right and they will defend it and I find that when I talk to people on the universities, Ron Paul certainly tapped into that, the Republican Party and Conservatives need to tap into the energy of the youth.”

Very telling observation from Senator Johnson, who, unlike the mainstream media, has actually noticed the thousands upon thousands of young people who greeted and cheered for Ron Paul at every speech he gave during his campaigns.

© 2012 The Subsidiarity Times. Audio courtesy of The Jason Lewis Show; re-published with permission. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written, re-transcribed or re-distributed without written permission from author.

Jun 2, 2012

Judge Napolitano: If drones had existed in 1776, Jefferson would have had any sent to spy on him by George III shot down.

(The Subsidiarity Times) In a radio interview with radio talk show host Brian Wilson of “Brian Wilson and the Afternoon Drive” on the afternoon of May 30, 2012, Judge Andrew Napolitano, speaking on the controversy surrounding the President’s assumed authority to use drones to spy on and kill people, made the comment that if drones had existed in 1776, he felt that Jefferson would have had any drones sent to spy on him shot down.

“Can you imagine if drones existed in 1776 and George III had sent one to hover around the bedroom of Monticello? Everybody that worked for Jefferson would have had muskets in their hands to shoot it down! And they would have been heroes for having done so!” said Napolitano

Wilson and Napolitano were discussing a recent New York Times article detailing some very disturbing aspects of Obama’s undeclared wars along with a piece recently written by Napolitano himself containing some very strong criticisms of Obama’s law-usurping actions in pursuing these undeclared wars. They also discussed Napolitano’s statement in his article that “Obama has a morbid fascination with his plastic killing machines” (a reference to the drones) and what the impact of drones employed domestically would have on the American populace.

“There are three hundred fifteen, three hundred sixteen local and state police departments that already have drones but they don’t have the permission from the Federal Government to fly them. So the question is, what will they do with them? I mean, will they have them hover outside people’s bedrooms? Will they hover over people’s backyards? Or will they use them to kill people?” asked Napolitano.

He then added that “I caused quite a stir when I said on Special Report with my colleague Bret Baier that, in my view, the government would have a difficult time finding a jury to convict someone who shot down a drone that hovered over his family and children in his backyard; in fact such a person might very well be viewed by the jury as a hero. I’m not suggesting this should be done and I’m certainly not advocating violence, but I am suggesting that this use of drones would really turn the Constitution on its head”.

© 2012 The Subsidiarity Times. Audio courtesy of Brian Wilson and the Afternoon Drive Show; re-published with permission. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written, re-transcribed or re-distributed without written permission from author.

Jun 1, 2012

Schiff: The real financial crash hasn’t happened yet and I think its coming soon

(New Agora & The Subsidiarity Times) In a radio interview promoting his new book The Real Crash: How to Save Yourself and Your Country, financial analyst and former candidate for the United States Senate, Peter Schiff, warned Americans that the real crash he has been warning about has not happened yet and will likely happen soon.

“I described what was going to happen to the U.S. economy when the housing bubble burst, but that was not the crash I was trying to get people to guard against; it was going to be the next wave that was going to come, that was going to follow the government’s response to the smaller crash that happened first. So I just reiterated that in this book that the actual crash, the one I have been forecasting all along, hasn’t happened yet and I think its coming soon” said Schiff to radio talk show host Brian Wilson in the May 30th, 2012 interview.

Following up Schiff’s point, Wilson then asked him “You point out in the book, you give the history of how we got here, you point out how if we continue doing what we’re doing: we’re broke, we’re in debt up to our kazonkas, we’re in hoc to China and all the rest of that, we’re printing fiat money, and all the rest of that, and we’ve talked about that a lot here on this station, including our conversation with you and if we continue doing this, we’re going to have this currency/sovereign debt crisis thats going to just blow up and rain all over the place, its going to be very bad. There is another road to take in this fork in the road and as you point out in the book, that one has got a much happier ending, its a little rocky at the beginning, but its a much happier ending, but, and here is the conundrum as I see it, the dichotomy, is that road, while it has a happier ending, has to go through hell involving politicians making decisions and doing things that they absolutely have never done in the past and, quite frankly I don’t think have any intention, of doing in the future as long as there is a can to kick down the road. So where does that leave us?”

Schiff responded with a tough, but honest assessment of the situation: “(It leaves us) between a rock and a hard place. Its not going to be easy. I mean, doing the right thing never is easy, look if it was easy, Europe would have done it. But its not easy and we have to understand that. But the alternative is actually worse, I mean yes, if we opt for the easy road we postpone the pain, but we ultimately are going to feel it and its going to be worse. Now for the politicians, they would rather have the pain tomorrow then today because tomorrow is after the election and today is before it. But for Americans who care about their country and who care about their children and their grandchildren, you know, lets get it over with! Lets do the right thing now! Lets stop making these mistakes so we can start fixing the mistakes and preparing the country for a future prosperity instead of continuing to dig ourselves into a deeper hole that is so much more difficult to get out of!”

© 2012 New Agora and The Subsidiarity Times. Audio courtesy of Brian Wilson and the Afternoon Drive Show; re-published with permission. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written, re-transcribed or re-distributed without written permission from author.