The American Civil Liberties Union finally got its way. The pro-abortion wObama administration’s Health and Human Services Department, led by renegade Catholic Kathleen Sebelius, has cut off funding for the Catholic bishops' program to help victims of human trafficking.
The decision ends $2.5 million in funding for the bishops' office of Migration and Refugee Services, which provides help to women exploited by those who would force them into hard labor, and often into prostitution. The women become virtual sex slaves.
The ACLU sued the government in 2009, and having offered arguments in federal court just last week, pushed Sebelius and her boss into ending the subsidies.
Two weeks ago, Sebelius explained to a crowd of abortion proponents at a luncheon for NARAL Pro-Choice America that she and her allies were in a “war” for abortion.
Are the days of the European Union coming to an end? The riots in Athens, the popularity of the True Finns Party in Helsinki, and the growing tension between Paris and Berlin all indicate that more and more Europeans are seeing themselves as citizens of nations, rather than members of an amorphous bureaucracy headquartered in Brussels. In fact, the folks in Brussels are looking at a nation unable to form a government at all and teetering on the brink of splitting into the two logical nationalities — Flemish and Walloon — which language, religion, and custom divide more than unite.
Prime Minister David Cameron has a reputation as a technocrat and policy wonk rather than the tough leader of a clear political position. His coalition government with the Liberal Party (which is really the middle-of-the-road party in Britain) only makes that inclination toward a nuanced response to euroskeptics more politically natural.
The problem for Cameron is that significant members within his Conservative Party are demanding a popular referendum on British membership in the European Union. In parliamentary governments such as the United Kingdom, the head of government (Prime Minister Cameron) needs to have the confidence of a majority of the members in the lower chamber of the national legislature, or the House of Commons in Britain.
A “global political authority” and a “central world bank”: These are the solutions that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace recommends for the worldwide financial crisis. “Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority,” the document outlining the council’s recommendations, is, in the words of author and Roman Catholic Thomas E. Woods, Jr., “deeply confused,” at once recognizing that central bank-driven inflation and easy credit are at the root of the world’s financial woes and prescribing even bigger government and more highly centralized banking as the cure.
There is some debate over whether the document presents the church’s official position on the matter. While press accounts have often referred to it as if it were a papal pronouncement, National Review’s George Weigel insists that such attribution is “rubbish, rubbish, rubbish.” “The document is a ‘Note’ from a rather small office in the Roman Curia,” Weigel maintains, adding that it “doesn’t speak for the Pope, it doesn’t speak for ‘the Vatican,’ and it doesn’t speak for the Catholic Church.”
Woods, responding to similar criticism from a reader of his blog, argued: “I’m supposed to distinguish between the Pontifical Council and the Pope, you say. Fair enough. But did those people appoint themselves? Is Rome consistently surprised by how liberal its appointees turn out to be? Fewer and fewer people believe this anymore.” Indeed, the council’s recommendations mirror those of Pope Benedict XVI, who in a 2009 encyclical called for “a true world political authority” to, among other things, “manage the global economy.”
A Florida elementary school principal has been targeted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFR) for promoting a regular prayer gathering at his school. On October 11 the Wisconsin-based secular watchdog group sent a letter to Ben Wortham, superintendent of the Clay County school district near Jacksonville, to complain about the weekly “Prayer Around the Flagpole” meetings that principal Larry Davis was allowing at Clay Hill Elementary School. FFR was particularly alarmed that Davis had promoted the prayer meeting, which is led by local pastors, in a school newsletter to staff members.
“Our prayer around the school’s flagpole event is to pray for the nation, for each other, and for the school,” Davis explained in the newsletter. The principal referred to a Pastor Steven Andrew of USA Christian Ministries, whom he said was “calling Christians nation-wide to bring back the Holy Bible and Christian prayer to schools.”
In the memo, Davis quoted Andrew as saying that the First Amendment was meant “for Christianity, not other religions,” and that America’s Founding Fathers “fought for God’s unalienable rights of Christian life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Declared Andrew in a September press release, “Freedom comes from obeying God. Let’s get active to bring back the Holy Bible and Christian prayer to schools.”
The debate over sex education in public schools has always been contentious, but the often-graphic new sex-ed curriculum being taught in New York City public schools — declared by even the New York Times to be in violation of parental rights — is raising the bar on some of that controversy.
The curriculum, designed by NYC school chancellor Dennis Walcott, was recommended for the school system’s new sex-education classes, which were mandated for the first time in nearly two decades.
Walcott said of the curriculum, “We have a responsibility to provide a variety of options to support our students, and sex education is one of them.”
The New York Times reports that the new mandate “is part of a broader strategy the Bloomberg administration announced last week to improve the lives of black and Latino teenagers. ... According to city statistics, those teenagers are far more likely than their white counterparts to have unplanned pregnancies and contract sexually transmitted diseases.”
Students from a public high school in Hartford, Connecticut, walked out on a school assembly after realizing that the play they were seeing had a homosexual theme and included a kiss between two boys. The play, entitled Zanna, Don’t, is a musical set in a universe where homosexuality is normal behavior, while heterosexuals must remain “in the closet” with their relationships. According to Baptist Press News, the play, which was produced by a local community theater and included high school and college actors, was performed for the student body at Hartford Public High School, “and kids weren’t given the option ahead of time not to watch it.”
Hartford Public High School is divided into four different academies based on student interests and aptitudes, and the play was performed for students in the “Nursing” and “Law and Government” academies. Adam Johnson, principal of the Law and Government school, told the Hartford Courant that he had no second thoughts about compelling the kids to see the salacious play. “This is as important of a topic to discuss as anything in math, anything in social studies,” he said. “I’m completely glad that we did it.” Similarly, while Nursing Academy principal David Chambers said he had considered sending a letter home allowing students to opt out of the objectionable play, he decided to forgo the courtesy to students and their parents because, he reasoned, as health care workers his students would be exposed to a wide variety of people.
Back in the 1920s, the intelligentsia on both sides of the Atlantic were loudly protesting the execution of political radicals Sacco and Vanzetti, after what they claimed was an unfair trial. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote to his young leftist friend Harold Laski, pointing out that there were "a thousand-fold worse cases" involving black defendants, "but the world does not worry over them."
Holmes said: "I cannot but ask myself why this so much greater interest in red than black."
To put it bluntly, it was a question of whose ox was gored. That is, what groups were in vogue at the moment among the intelligentsia. Blacks clearly were not.
The current media and political crusade against "bullying" in schools seems likewise to be based on what groups are in vogue at the moment. For years, there have been local newspaper stories about black kids in schools in New York and Philadelphia beating up Asian classmates, some beaten so badly as to require medical treatment.
But the national media hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil. Asian Americans are not in vogue today, just as blacks were not in vogue in the 1920s.
Former Massachusetts Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is now under fire for a provision in his 2006 healthcare law commonly known as RomneyCare that allows illegal immigrants to access medical care along with other uninsured residents. Because of the law’s Health Safety Net program, poor, uninsured immigrants may receive taxpayer-subsidized care at a hospital or health clinic in Massachusetts at basically no cost, regardless of their immigration status.
The Massachusetts healthcare program yielded costs of more than $400 million last year and covered more than one million hospital and health clinic visits, but details on the number of illegal patients receiving medical care are not available, as the state does not record that specific data.
The Health Safety Net is funded through a blend of state money and hospital and insurer fees, and is redistributed to providers, which file claims for patients under the program. In building on a previous plan, Massachusetts established the Health Safety Net as an anchor for all state residents "who do not have access to affordable health coverage." People of any income level with "large medical bills that they cannot pay are also eligible" and "citizenship or immigration status does not affect your eligibility," notes MassResources.org, an online information center for Massachusetts residents.
Activists in Clallam County, Washington are celebrating their government's decision to pull the plug on membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), a worldwide association of more than 1,200 local governments dedicated to promoting the United Nations' sovereignty-eroding sustainable development program known as Agenda 21. The county will save $1,200 in annual membership dues, but ICLEI critics say they've salvaged much more than that.
ICLEI is a threat to private property ownership and constitutional rights. So says Clallam County GOP Chairman Dick Pilling who submitted to the county commissioners in August a resolution his party passed unanimously to withdraw ICLEI membership and end Agenda 21 programs. His remarks, detailed at Citizen Review Online, include the warning that ICLEI's idea of sustainable development is to promote UN Agenda 21, a plan drafted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. He quoted official documents stating the published agenda of UN habitat programs is to protect the environment by moving people from rural areas into cities and that "land ... cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals, [as this] contributes to social injustice."
"Have you guys really signed onto an organization that would eliminate our property rights?" Pilling asked the commissioners.