Moving Day

March 29, 2010 at 1:16 pm (Welcome) (, , , )

Moving Day on BoxWell, the day has finally come.

This blog has been moved to its own new, permanent hosting site.

The new address is http://biblenewstoday.disciplerob.com.

Click the link above to access all previous content plus exciting new content.  Then, be sure to subscribe through the FeedBurner icon on the right to stay up-to-date.

I appreciate everyone who has been a part of this blog’s community and I look forward to seeing you at the new site.

Bible News Today

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Mother Furious After In-School Clinic Sets Up Teen's Abortion

March 25, 2010 at 8:00 am (Christian news) (, , , , , )

Ballard High SchoolSEATTLE — The mother of a Ballard High School student is fuming after the health center on campus helped facilitate her daughter’s abortion during school hours.

The mother, whom KOMO News has chosen to identify only as “Jill,” says the clinic kept the information “confidential.”

When she signed a consent form, Jill figured it meant her 15 year old could go to the Ballard Teen Health Center located inside the high school for an earache, a sports physical, even birth control, but not for help terminating a pregnancy.

“She took a pregnancy test at school at the teen health center,” she said. “Nowhere in this paperwork does it mention abortion or facilitating abortion.”

Jill says her daughter, a pro-life advocate, was given a pass, put in a taxi and sent off to have an abortion during school hours all without her family knowing.

“We had no idea this was being facilitated on campus,” said Jill. “They just told her that if she concealed it from her family, that it would be free of charge and no financial responsibility.”

The Seattle School District says it doesn’t run the health clinics at high schools. Swedish Medical Center runs the clinic at Ballard High and protects the students’ privacy.

T.J. Cosgrove of the King County Health Department, which administers the school-based programs for the health department, says it’s always best if parents are involved in their children’s health care, but don’t always have a say.

“At any age in the state of Washington, an individual can consent to a termination of pregnancy,” he said.

But Jill says she not only didn’t have a say in her daughter’s abortion, but also didn’t know about it.

“Makes me feel like my rights were completely stripped away.”

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Mother Furious After In-School Clinic Sets Up Teen’s Abortion

March 25, 2010 at 8:00 am (Christian news) (, , , , , )

Ballard High SchoolSEATTLE — The mother of a Ballard High School student is fuming after the health center on campus helped facilitate her daughter’s abortion during school hours.

The mother, whom KOMO News has chosen to identify only as “Jill,” says the clinic kept the information “confidential.”

When she signed a consent form, Jill figured it meant her 15 year old could go to the Ballard Teen Health Center located inside the high school for an earache, a sports physical, even birth control, but not for help terminating a pregnancy.

“She took a pregnancy test at school at the teen health center,” she said. “Nowhere in this paperwork does it mention abortion or facilitating abortion.”

Jill says her daughter, a pro-life advocate, was given a pass, put in a taxi and sent off to have an abortion during school hours all without her family knowing.

“We had no idea this was being facilitated on campus,” said Jill. “They just told her that if she concealed it from her family, that it would be free of charge and no financial responsibility.”

The Seattle School District says it doesn’t run the health clinics at high schools. Swedish Medical Center runs the clinic at Ballard High and protects the students’ privacy.

T.J. Cosgrove of the King County Health Department, which administers the school-based programs for the health department, says it’s always best if parents are involved in their children’s health care, but don’t always have a say.

“At any age in the state of Washington, an individual can consent to a termination of pregnancy,” he said.

But Jill says she not only didn’t have a say in her daughter’s abortion, but also didn’t know about it.

“Makes me feel like my rights were completely stripped away.”

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Pakistani Christian Burned Alive Dies

March 24, 2010 at 4:18 pm (Christian news) (, , , , )

Arshed MasilArshed Masih died last night in hospital from the serious injuries – burns covering 80% of his body – which the 38 year old Pakistani Christian suffered when he was set on fire because he refused to convert to Islam. The funeral of man, who died after three days of agony, should take place in the late afternoon, but the family has asked that “before an autopsy is performed.” The Christian community of Pakistan condemns “with firmness” the latest episode of violence and denounces the “slowness” of the federal and provincial government to punish those responsible.

*     *     *     *     *

On March 19 a group of Islamic extremists burned alive Arshed Masih, a driver employed by a wealthy Muslim businessman in Rawalpindi. His wife worked as a maid in the same estate, situated in front of a police station. Recently disagreements had arisen between the employer, Sheikh Mohammad Sultan, and the couple because of their Christian faith. The couple had suffered threats and intimidation to force them to convert to Islam.

Arshed Masih (pictured) died last night at 7.45 local time after three days of agony and suffering at the Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, Punjab province. His wife Martha Arshed was raped by police en she sought to denounce the violence inflicted on her husband. The couple’s three children – ages 7 to 12 years – were forced “to witness the torture inflicted on their parents.

Since 2005 Arshed Masih and his wife had worked and lived on the estate of the late Sheikh Mohammad Sultan. The pressure on them to renounce Christianity had lately become incessant.The owner had come so far as to threaten “dire consequences”, to persuade them to embrace Islam. The couple were also accused of a recent theft by the owner who has promised to drop the complaint for their conversion.

Arshed Masih’s funeral should be held in the late afternoon, although tension remains high in the area. Local witnesses tellAsiaNews that “the whole family is in shock and I s demanding an autopsy is carried out before burial.” Several Christian associations and human rights activists – including Life for All, Christian Progressive Movement, Pakistan Christian Congress and Protect Foundation Pakistan – “protests are being stepped up outside the hospital.”

Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church of Pakistan (NCJP), expresses to AsiaNews his “strongest condemnation” for the crime against the man and the rape of women perpetrated by police who should protect law and order . The Catholic organization has been active to ensure protection to the woman and children, of whom there are no immediate reports.

The Catholic activist notes with regret the silence of the Federal Minister for Minorities, the Catholic Shahbaz Bhatti, and denounces “the slow pace and the inaction of the federal and provincial government.  “The executive – said Peter Jacob – has not yet taken concrete steps to prevent violence and abuse on minorities and punish the guilty.”

The site BosNewsLife.com adds that yesterday the provincial government of Punjab blocked a protest march of Christians, under the pretext of “terrorist threat”. The local community wanted to demonstrate against the “refusal” of the police to arrest the perpetrators of the crime.

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NY Christian Suddenly Arrested, Jailed in Park Prayer Case

March 24, 2010 at 4:06 pm (Christian news) (, , , )

ELMIRA, N.Y. — A man who had been arrested after praying in 2007 at a public park was suddenly arrested again last week by Elmira police while his case is still on appeal. The arrest of Julian Raven came suddenly on March 15 while he was at his office. According to his wife, police escorted him out of a court hearing Tuesday in handcuffs in front of his crying children to begin serving his 9-day jail sentence.

“Christians shouldn’t be punished for expressing their religious beliefs. It’s ridiculous to consider the act of peacefully exercising one’s faith in a public park to be ‘disorderly conduct’ worthy of a jail sentence,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster. “We are surprised at how eager the city was to arrest Mr. Raven again in light of his appeal. Now he will serve time in jail; however, we will continue to aggressively pursue his appeal in court.”

Raven’s original arrest in the case People of the State of New York v. Raven is currently on appeal to the New York Court of Appeals. In 2007, Raven and other Christians entered Wisner Park in Elmira with their heads bowed to pray for the participants of a “gay pride” event. Materials advertising the event stated that it was open to the public and that all were invited.

The group made their way to an area in front of the stage and began to pray silently while lying prostrate in the grass. A police sergeant had earlier informed Julian Raven that he could not enter the public park, walk through the park, or talk to anyone in the park about his religion. After the group began to pray silently on their faces, all were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Since then, the charges have been dismissed against everyone but Raven.

Ironically, the city recently settled with ADF attorneys in a separate federal civil suit involving Raven and two other men. In that case, Elmira police threatened the men with arrest while they attempted to share their faith in June 2008 at a public park during another “gay pride” event open to the public. The men were wearing shirts with the message “Liberated by the blood of Jesus,” handing out Christian literature, holding up signs on a public sidewalk surrounding the event, and speaking with event attendees about their faith.

ADF attorneys filed suit against the city in August 2008 and then filed a voluntary dismissal of the suit, Barnes v. City of Elmira, in February of this year when the city agreed to settle in favor of the three men. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York subsequently issued a judgment in the men’s favor, and final details were wrapped up this month.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

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House Passes Health Care Bill on 219-212 Vote

March 23, 2010 at 3:00 am (Other News) (, , , , )

Washington (CNN) — President Obama won a historic victory in the struggle for health care reform Sunday as the House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill overhauling the American medical system.

The bill passed in a 219-212 vote after more than a year of bitter partisan debate. All 178 Republicans opposed it, along with 34 Democrats.

The measure, which cleared the Senate in December, will now go to Obama’s desk to be signed into law. It constitutes the biggest expansion of federal health care guarantees since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid more than four decades ago.

A separate compromise package of changes expanding the reach of the measure also passed the House over unanimous GOP opposition, and is now set to be taken up by the Senate.

The overall $940 billion plan is projected to extend insurance coverage to roughly 32 million additional Americans. It represents a significant step towards the goal of universal coverage sought by every Democratic president since Harry Truman.

Most Americans will now be required to have health insurance or pay a fine. Larger employers will be required to provide coverage or risk financial penalties. Total individual out-of-pocket expenses will be capped, and insurers will be barred from denying coverage based on gender or pre-existing conditions.

The compromise package would add to the bill’s total cost partly by expanding insurance subsidies for middle- and lower-income families. The measure would scale back the bill’s taxes on expensive insurance plans.

Numerous House members insisted they would not back the Senate bill without a clear promise that senators would approve the changes.

The rare Sunday vote occurred after a long weekend of intense negotiations between the White House, House leaders and individual congressmen. Obama traveled to Capitol Hill Saturday to make a last-minute plea to the entire House Democratic caucus. He spent much of the last week trying to personally convince dozens of members.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, worked with administration officials to defuse a potentially fatal rebellion among socially conservative Democrats concerned that the bill won’t do enough to prevent taxpayer-funded abortions.

She also brokered a last-minute deal among several Democrats worried about disparities in Medicare funding for individual states.

Republicans failed to stop the Democratic health care initiative despite utilizing almost every weapon in their legislative arsenal. GOP leaders repeatedly have warned the plan will lead to a government takeover of America’s private employer-based health care system.

They have also argued it will lead to higher premiums and taxes while imposing harsh Medicare cuts and doing little to control spiraling medical costs.

Pelosi and Boehner make final comments

Shortly before the House voted on the bill, Pelosi said health care reform was necessary to end insurance industry abuses and bring greater economic stability to most Americans.

Congress will be “making history, making progress and restoring the American dream” by passing reform, she said.

It it time to “complete the great unfinished business of our society.” Health care “is a right and not a privilege,” she said.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, argued that Democratic leaders had betrayed the trust of the public by pushing ahead with a bill that lacks broad public support.

“We have failed to listen to America and we have failed to reflect the will of our constituents,” he said. “And when we fail to reflect that will, we fail ourselves and we fail our country.”

He also slammed what he characterized as a legislative process marked by a lack of transparency and accountability.

“Look at how this bill was written,” he said, his voice steadily rising. “Can you say it was done openly? With transparency and accountability? Without back room deals that were struck behind closed doors? … Hell no you can’t!”

The $875 billion bill now headed to Obama’s desk is projected to cut the federal deficit by $118 billion over the next 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

If the compromise plan clears the Senate, the bill’s total cost will rise by $65 billion. Projected deficits, however, will be reduced by another $25 billion.

Key details of the bill

The plan, according to CBO projections, will cut budget deficits by over $1 trillion in its second decade.

It will subsidize insurance for a family of four making up to roughly $88,000 annually, or 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

It also creates a series of health insurance exchanges designed to make it easier for small businesses, the self-employed and the unemployed to pool resources and purchase less expensive coverage.

Medicaid will be significantly expanded, ensuring coverage to those earning up to 133 percent of the poverty level, or just over $29,000 for a family of four.

The bill cuts projected Medicare spending by roughly $500 billion, in part through reductions in the Medicare Advantage program. Democratic leaders have promised the reductions will not affect service to Medicare recipients.

The bill hikes Medicare payroll takes on families making more than $250,000. Starting in 2013, it also imposes a 40 percent tax on insurance companies providing expensive “Cadillac” health plans valued at more than $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for families.

Proponents of the tax on high-end plans argue it’s one of the most effective ways to curb medical inflation. However, many Democrats oppose taxing such policies because it would hurt union members who traded higher salaries for more generous health benefits.

If the compromise bill becomes law, the threshold for imposing the Cadillac tax will be raised to health plans valued at over $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. The tax won’t kick in until 2018.

Buy insurance or pay a fine

Under the plan now headed to Obama, individuals are required to purchase health insurance coverage or face a fine of up to $750 or 2 percent of their income — whichever is greater. It includes a hardship exemption for poorer Americans.

Companies with more than 50 employees that don’t provide coverage are required to pay a fee of $750 per worker if any of its employees rely on government subsidies to purchase coverage.

The compromise package would drop the individual fine to $695 or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is greater. The fine on companies failing to provide coverage would jump to $2,000 per employee.

Federally funded abortion coverage for people purchasing insurance through the exchanges will be banned under the bill now passed by Congress. Exceptions will be made in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother.

Individuals receiving federal assistance who want abortion coverage will have to purchase the coverage using private funds.

Illegal immigrants will be barred from buying insurance in the health insurance exchanges.

Parents, however, will be entitled to keep their children on their health care plans until age 26.

While passage of the Senate bill is a major win for Democrats on a major party priority, Pelosi had to take a number of steps in recent weeks to assuage House members unhappy with the measure.

A deeply unpopular special exemption for Nebraska from all new Medicaid expenses — known as the “Cornhusker Kickback” — would be eliminated under the compromise plan. The federal government will instead assist every state by picking up 100 percent of the costs of expanded Medicaid coverage between 2014 and 2016, and 90 percent starting in 2020.

The speaker also tried to sweeten the deal for some progressive members of her caucus partly by adding additional subsidies and a major student loan reform measure to the compromise plan.

The reform measure — a priority for Obama — would end the practice of having private banks offer student loans and would expand direct lending from the government.

Closing the “doughnut hole”

In addition, the compromise plan closes the Medicare prescription drug “doughnut hole” by 2020. Under current law, Medicare stops covering drug costs after a plan and beneficiary have spent more than $2,830 on prescription drugs. It starts paying again after an individual’s out-of-pocket expenses exceed $4,550.

Senior citizens stuck in the doughnut hole this year would receive a $250 rebate.

A key group of anti-abortion rights Democrats was reassured by a last-minute promise of an executive order from Obama stating that the provisions in the health care bill comply with the 32-year-old Hyde Amendment, which sharply restricts federal funding for abortion.

Several fiscally conservative Democrats, meanwhile, were assuaged by the CBO’s estimate of the bill’s long-term impact on the federal deficit.

The speaker considered trying to help unhappy House Democrats by allowing them to avoid a direct vote on the Senate bill. Numerous congressmen had advocated passing a rule that would have deemed the Senate bill approved once the separate package of changes had passed.

GOP leaders objected furiously to the so-called “deem and pass” maneuver. House leaders backed away from the idea on Saturday.

Republicans are still fuming over Democrats’ decision to use a legislative maneuver called reconciliation, which will allow the compromise measures to clear the Senate with a simple majority of 51 votes.

Senate Democrats lost their filibuster-proof 60-seat supermajority in January with the election of GOP Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts.

Republicans contend that reconciliation, which is limited to provisions pertaining to the budget, was never meant to facilitate passage of a sweeping reform measure such as the health care bill. Democrats point out that reconciliation was used to pass several major bills in recent years, including George W. Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

House Democrats have been continually reassured that the compromise package will be approved by the more conservative Senate. Pelosi said Friday that “when our members go to vote, they will have all the assurances they need” that the Senate will approve the compromise plan.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, attended the Saturday meeting between Obama and House Democrats. He presented a letter indicating that the Senate would use reconciliation to pass the House’s changes.

“We believe that health insurance reform cannot wait and must not be obstructed,” the letter said. “We support an up-or-down majority vote and will vote to make these improvements.”

The letter was not signed, though Reid told the House members a majority of the Senate now backs reconciliation.

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Girl Scouts Hiding Secret Sex Agenda?

March 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm (Christian news) (, , , , )

Happy Healthy Hot Brochure Front Cover

A witness who attended the 54th session of United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women has unleashed a firestorm of controversy after reporting copies of Planned Parenthood’s teen-sex promoting guide, “Healthy, Happy and Hot,” were provided for Girl Scouts in attendance.

The Girl Scouts organization, in turn, has issued a denial statement, distancing itself from any involvement in “family planning,” despite clear evidence to the contrary.

*** Warning: Explicit Information! ***

You can see the brochure for yourself by clicking here.

*** Warning: Explicit Information! ***

Sharon Slater of Family Watch International and Stand for the Family was at the New York City event when organizers ushered all adults – save for one from each of seven sponsoring organizations – out of the room for a “girls only workshop” that the Girl Scouts of the USA reports 30-35 teenage girls attended.

Slater told WND when the doors opened at the conclusion of the workshop, she went back in and found the “Hot” brochure among various materials made available on the back table.

The guide itself, produced by the International Planned Parenthood Federation for young people with HIV, depicts both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, contains graphic details on “exploring” sexuality and encourages casual sex in many forms.

“Many people think sex is just about vaginal or anal intercourse. But, there are lots of different ways to have sex and lots of different types of sex,” the guide states. “There is no right or wrong way to have sex.”

It continues, “Improve your sex life by getting to know your own body. Play with yourself! Masturbation is a great way to find out more about your body and what you find sexually stimulating. … Mix things up by using different kinds of touch from very soft to hard. Talk about or act out your fantasies. Talk dirty to them.”

Slater further told WND the brochures appeared again a few days later at a panel discussion for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, or WAGGGS, of which Girl Scouts of the USA is a member organization.

“I had team of 30 volunteers monitoring meetings, and I sent two volunteers to another event in the same building by WAGGGS, ” Slater told WND. “The packets were on their table also; our volunteers picked up a copy.”

A spokesperson for Girls Scouts of the USA, however, referred to an official statement denying distribution of any IPPF brochures:

“The girls received a copy of the only document they were working on, titled ‘The Girls’ Statement,'” the spokesperson quoted. “No other documents were given to the girls as part of this event.”

Where, then, did the brochures on the back table come from?

“The room in question was also used to host other events over the course of the multi-day conference,” the statement explains. “Prior to our girls entering the room, we did not ‘sanitize’ the room to ensure that no trash or other items were left behind.”

Slater, however, disputes the explanation, as the “girls only workshop” was held on the first day of the conference, and the only events held earlier in the day in the same room were on climate change, orientation for non-governmental organizations and counterterrorism – not meetings likely to leave behind brochures on teenage girls’ sexuality.

The statement also fails to explain where the brochures made available for the second WAGGGS event originated.

Furthermore, the statement insists, “The Girl Scout organization does not take a position on family planning. Our membership is a cross-section of America with regard to opinions on religious and social issues and practices. We believe these matters are best decided by girls and their families.”

Yet on the sixth day of the U.N. commission event, WAGGGS brought together young people from over 20 nations to drafta statement advocating for “sexual and reproductive rights.”

Included in the rights, services and supplies “demanded” by the group were the following, according to the WAGGGS website:

  • All young people must have access to comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception and emergency contraception, in order to avoid unintended pregnancies.
  • Accessible, affordable and safe abortions should be made part of the minimum packages of sexual and reproductive health services.
  • All young people should have access to psycho-social health services for prevention of gender-based violence and violence against women.

And despite claiming to “not take a position on family planning,” national Girl Scouts leaders have admitted in the past to widespread partnerships with organizations like Planned Parenthood.

In 2004, after parents and activists waged a boycott of the famous Girl Scout cookies over the organization’s distribution of a Planned Parenthood book listing nine “good reasons” that women have abortions, Girl Scout CEO Katy Cloninger defended the association on national television:

“We have relationships with our church communities, with YWCAs and with Planned Parenthood organizations across the country, to bring information-based sex education programs to girls,” Cloninger told “Today” show co-host Lester Holt. “It’s really impossible for girls to grow up in today’s society without having access to good information. And so we will continue to partner with organizations across this nation, and local community Girl Scouts will make decisions based on their local community partnerships and the local needs of both the girls and their families.”

Slater told WND she would rather see the Scouts denounce the “Healthy, Happy and Hot” brochure than continue denying it.

“I have no way of knowing if anyone there was from the IPPF, but someone put that brochure on the table for the girls to pick up and read,” Slater said. “If they really don’t have a position on family planning, and if they insist that they had nothing to do with the sex education manual, then they need to make public statement denouncing it, to say it was inappropriate and, ‘We would not have supported it, had we known it was going to be made available.'”

Through her Stand for the Family website, Slater is planning to call on parents and Girls Scouts supporters to wage an e-mail campaign demanding the Girl Scouts of the USA organization disassociate from WAGGGS and Planned Parenthood, “so parents who want to send their girls to the Girl Scouts can know their daughters aren’t being given these kinds of materials.”

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People With Disabilities Better Off Dead?

March 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm (Christian news) (, , , , , )

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Alliance Defense Fund and allied attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief Monday with Pennsylvania’s highest court on behalf of a mentally disabled patient, arguing that his legal guardians should not be allowed to deny him life-sustaining treatment while he is in a stable and conscious condition. The legal guardians of David Hockenberry, a 50-year-old man with acute mental retardation since birth, unsuccessfully attempted to deny him temporary life-sustaining medical treatment for pneumonia and have appealed to the high court for the right to refuse such treatment in the future.

“Having a disability shouldn’t be a death sentence when treatable medical complications arise,” said Independence Law Center Chief Counsel Randall L. Wenger, one of more than 1,600 attorneys in the ADF alliance. “Mr. Hockenberry is healthy and conscious. His life doesn’t become worthless when he sustains a life-threatening condition and his legal guardians aren’t satisfied with how he’s living.”

In December 2007, Hockenberry developed aspiration pneumonia after vomiting from swallowing a hairpin, resulting in his transfer from Edensburg Center, where he resided for 45 years, to Memorial Hospital for treatment. Hockenberry’s parents, who were appointed as his legal guardians in 2002 by a trial court, attempted to decline his required ventilator treatment to assist his breathing, but the hospital proceeded despite their objection. After three weeks on the mechanical ventilator, he recovered from pneumonia and no longer required the treatment.

Hockenberry’s guardians filed a “Petition to Grant Guardians Authority to Exercise the Powers of a Health Care Agent on Behalf of the Incapacitated” with a trial court in January 2008. The Department of Public Welfare objected, stating that Hockenberry was neither terminally ill nor permanently unconscious and never appointed a health care agent to refuse healthcare necessary to the preservation of his life. The trial court subsequently entered an order in the case, In re: Hockenberry, denying the petition before month’s end.

After the lower court’s denial, Hockenberry’s parents appealed the ruling to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, which issued an opinion denying the petition in February 2009. The guardians then filed an appeal in May to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which agreed to hear the case last December. In their friend-of-the court brief to the state’s highest court, ADF attorneys argue that people should not be considered better off dead just because of a disability. The court will decide whether legal guardians have the authority to decline potentially life-sustaining treatment for a lifelong incapacitated person who is neither suffering from an end-stage medical illness nor is in a permanent vegetative state.

“A person’s value is not based on his or her physical or mental abilities,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “No one should be allowed to decide that a person’s life is not worth saving just because he or she has a medical condition.”

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

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Brouhaha in Boulder: A Tough Witness

March 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm (Christian news) (, , , , )

Brouhaha in Boulder
A Tough Witness

March 19, 2010

Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Boulder, Colorado, recently informed the parents of two students that their children wouldn’t be re-admitted for next fall’s term.

Normally, that would be a matter between the parents and the school and not the stuff of national news. But not this time.

That’s because the parents in question are a lesbian couple.

Father Bill Breslin, the parish priest, explained that the decision was motivated by concern for the children’s well-being. According to Breslin, “If a child of gay parents comes to our school, and we teach that gay marriage is against the will of God, then the child will think that we are saying their parents are bad…We don’t want to put any child in that tough position.”

That prompted Breslin to ask an obvious question: “Why would good parents want their children to learn something they don’t believe in?” He noted that “there are so many schools in Boulder that see the meaning of sexuality in an entirely different way than the Catholic Church does. Why not send their children there?”

Not surprisingly, what’s best for the children isn’t what’s at stake for the Church’s critics. Students from Iliff School of Theology, a liberal Protestant institution, protested outside of the Archdiocese of Denver’s offices, holding up signs that read “Standing on the Side of Love.”

Please.

As Archbishop Charles Chaput, a formidable defender of orthodoxy, explains, Catholic schools “exist primarily to serve Catholic families with an education shaped by Catholic faith and moral formation.” So it’s reasonable, he says, to expect “school families to live their Catholic identity faithfully.”

Now, Catholic schools do accept students of other faiths and no faith. They accept children of single parents and divorced parents. But they also expect that these parents will not offer a “serious counter-witness” to Catholic teaching in their actions.

It’s difficult to imagine a more obvious “counter-witness” than the case of the lesbian couple in Boulder. Orthodox Christians of all denominations hold that sexual intimacy outside a marriage is morally wrong and that marriage is a covenant which can only occur between a man and a woman.

As Chaput says, these teachings “are central” to a Christian understanding of “human nature, family and happiness, as well as the organization of society.” Ignoring the contradiction would undermine the purpose for which Christian schools exist.

A Boulder gay rights group vowed that “decisions like this aren’t going to be tolerated.” I guess that means that in the name of “tolerance” and “love,” they won’t let Christians impose their faith on themselves.

This is exactly why Christian leaders from all denominations, including Archbishop Chaput, wrote the Manhattan Declaration—and why now nearly half a million Christians have signed it. Please, come to BreakPoint.org, and we’ll show you how you can sign the Manhattan Declaration yourself and take a stand for religious freedom, traditional marriage, and the sanctity of life.

We have to act. Because, given the trajectory of our culture, it won’t be long before many, indeed most of us, are facing the kind of challenges the Sacred Heart of Jesus School did. May we, please God, all of us stand for Truth.

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Stupak: Healthcare Fight Has Been a 'Living Hell’

March 19, 2010 at 8:00 am (Christian news) (, , , , , )

Bart Stupak

Leading a revolt against President Barack Obama’s healthcare legislation over abortion has been a “living hell” for Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.).

The telephone lines in his Washington and district offices have been “jammed” and he’s gotten more than 1,500 faxes and countless e-mails — most of which he says don’t come from his constituents.

The fight has taken a toll on his wife, who has disconnected the phone in their home to avoid harassment.

“All the phones are unplugged at our house — tired of the obscene calls and threats. She won’t watch TV,” Stupak said during an hourlong interview with The Hill in his Rayburn office. “People saying they’re going to spit on you and all this. That’s just not fun.”

Stupak has become a nationally known figure because of his demands for tough language in healthcare legislation to prevent any federal subsidies from being used for abortion services.

He voted for the House healthcare bill in November after leaders met his demands, but has vowed to lead a group of 12 Democrats in voting against the Senate healthcare bill.

Stupak deems language in the Senate bill too weak on restricting federal funds from being used for abortion services.

Stupak said he didn’t anticipate how big the abortion issue would become during the healthcare reform debate, nor did he figure to find himself a household name.

“I’m a little surprised,” Stupak said.

The worst part has been the pressure from groups and individuals from outside his district on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“How’s it been? Like a living hell,” Stupak said.

The 57-year-old Democrat said he has a history of working behind the scenes with Democratic leaders on abortion.

“In the past, we’ve always been able to work it out,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve not been able to work it out.”

Other anti-abortion-rights Democrats have said they’ll support the Senate bill.

Rep. Dale Kildee, another Democrat from Michigan known for opposing abortion, released a statement on Wednesday supporting the Senate bill, which he said would prevent federal funds from going to abortion services.

But the intensity of the resistance to Stupak’s position has, if anything, stiffened his resolve. He shows no signs of voting for the Senate healthcare bill, which could hit the House floor this week.

“I’m pretty stubborn,” said Stupak, who keeps in his shirt pocket a list of lawmakers who are willing to vote no. The so-called Stupak Dozen met Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill to strategize and exchange stories of the pressure they are under.

Being seen as the one Democrat standing between the party and the achievement of one of its most coveted accomplishments weighs heavily on the lawmaker, who said it’s not fair to paint him as the chief obstacle to passing healthcare reform.

“I can’t block it. Bart Stupak and his ‘dirty dozen,’ however you want to call it, we can’t block it. There’s 39 other people who didn’t vote for it,” said Stupak.

Stupak claims while Democratic leaders have peeled off a few of his group, he always had more than 12 and he stresses he still has 12 now.

The ideal outcome, Stupak said, might be for the House Democratic leadership to get the votes they need without him and for the bill to pass.

“You know, maybe for me that’s the best: I stay true to my principles and beliefs,” he said, and “vote no on this bill and then it passes anyways. Maybe for me is the best thing to do.”

Beyond the abortion issue itself, Stupak said he feels conflicted because he has always supported healthcare reform.

Stupak sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which authored much of the House’s healthcare bill, and chairs its powerful Oversight and Investigations subcommittee. Stupak chaired memorable hearings last year at which he and his fellow panelists took health insurance executives to task over the practice of rescissions, or canceling policies when a patient’s bills get too high.

“It’s caused a lot of internal conflict. ‘Am I doing the right thing,’ you know?” he said. “I believe everyone should have healthcare. In all my correspondence — I’ve been saying for years — it’s a right, not a privilege.”

Stupak has never signed up for federal health benefits because he promised voters in 1992 that he wouldn’t until universal healthcare was enacted.

He also said was denied coverage for a pre-existing injury when he got his insurance from the Michigan Legislature: “I can identify with those people who have been before my committee.”

But in the end, the abortion issue has trumped other concerns. “It’s a belief for me, so it’s easier to do. And it’s a belief for my district, so I guess it’s easier to do,” he said.

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