Yesterday’s Religious Freedom Rallies: Throw Out Those Stereotypes! Look at These Video Clips!

Ray Noble

The reports from yesterday’s religious freedom rallies are remarkable in many ways.  In Orlando, I stood next to a Jewish rabbi as we joined hundreds in listening to a black minister deliver the opening invocation. A choir of young black schoolchildren led us in singing God Bless America. Hispanic women came, bringing a crucifix that tears at the heart. Strong women leaders,  including US Congresswoman Sandy Adams of Orlando, sounded a clear message that was echoed by state office holders, clergy of many faiths and

Orlando's Religious Freedom Rally

Orlando’s Religious Freedom Rally

other concerned citizens who spoke. Their clarion call: Everyone’s First Amendment liberty — indeed, freedom of conscience itself — is under attack, and it is coming from action of the federal government that has no legal or historic precedent. The HHS mandate would coerce many people of conscience who employ others– even religious entities — to violate those consciences by providing insurance that must, in turn, include coverage for abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilization for their employees . The Orlando rally was one of 150 held yesterday in cities throughout the USA.

And thanks to Chris Slattery on Facebook, just look at these clips from the rally on Wall Street! The MC, Father Agostino Torres of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, introduced Dr. Martin Luther King’s courageous niece, Alveda King. Watch what the most exciting ordained

Wall Street Religious Freedom Rally

Wall Street Religious Freedom Rally

Presbyterian minister in America and a leading Orthodox Jewish Rabbi had to say! I guarantee you, this is not what you expect! Some might even say that Pastor Bill Devlin went off message. He didn’t just talk about religious liberty but spoke about his personal religious belief: surprising in fact in some ways, coming from a Presbyterian minister: “Contraception is the mother of abortion”  See him here:

And the power of his message was matched by that of Rabbi Yehuda Levin, the founder of Congregation Mevakshei Hashem (Those Who Seek the Lord) Synagogue in Brooklyn (right near the Brooklyn Dodgers’ old Ebbetts Field in the Flatbush section!) . Besides being a charismatic speaker, Rabbi Levin also is the director of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. Hear his disturbing yet inspiring message here, introduced by Fr. Agostino:

The message everywhere: pray and act. Silence is not an option.

Posted in contraception, contraception mandate, Deus et Patria, Dr. Alveda King, First Amendment, Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, freedom of religion, Health and Human Services mandate, Orlando Florida rally for religious freedom, Pastor Bill Devlin, Rabbi Yehuda Levin, Rally for Religious Liberty March 23, Rep. Sandy Adams | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Marginalization of Religious Liberty: Mary Ann Glendon Sounds the Warning

Prof. Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor at Harvard University Law School. In the following article from the current America Magazine, Professor Glendon examines ongoing and unprecedented government assaults on religious liberty. At  the federal level, these include the NLRB’s recent, unsuccessful challenge to the right of the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran congregation to choose its own ministers that was recently blocked by the Supreme Court and, now, the HHS health insurance mandate that would allow federal regulations to co-opt both the First Amendment and an employer’s freedom of conscience. In analyzing how the government threatens religion’s traditionally robust contribution to public dialogue,  Glendon warns that these attempts not only pose a fundamental threat to religious liberty but to the unique vitality of American democracy itself.

Mary Ann Glendon, a former U S Ambassador to the Holy See, is Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and currently serves as the first female President of the Roman Catholic Church’s official Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Her expertise is in the fields of bioethics,  comparative constitutional rights and human rights in international law. Her many books include: Traditions in Turmoil, A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, A Nation Under Lawyers: How the Crisis in the Legal Profession is Transforming American Society, Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse, and (edited with David Blankenhorn) Seedbeds of Virtue: Sources of Competence, Character, and Citizenship in American Society.

The following links comes from

First of Freedoms?


How religious liberty could become a second-class right.

Until recently the status of religious liberty as one of the most fundamental rights of Americans has seldom been seriously challenged. Despite lively controversy about its precise scope and limits, citizens of all faiths have long taken for granted the unique model of religious freedom that has enabled this nation’s diverse religions to flourish and to coexist in relative harmony. continue here:

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Masterful Confrontation: The Unprecedented Threat to Religious Liberty

The Jesuits’ America Magazine (which still calls itself “the national Catholic weekly”) published an editorial  chiding the bishops. Bishop Lori’s reply follows. Responding to the gravest threat to religious liberty in American history, this statement may long be remembered for its urgency, boldness and intelligence as well as its skillful use of well-directed irony and humor almost never seen in past statements of its kind. We are now witnessing US bishops at their finest as they address the Administration’s unprecedented attack on religious liberty.

Bishop Lori’s Reply:

The March 5th America  editorial takes the United States Bishops to task for entering too deeply into  the finer points of health care policy as they ponder what the slightly revised  Obama Administration mandate might mean for the Catholic Church in the United  States. These details, we are told, do not impinge on religious liberty. We are  also told that our recent forthright language borders on incivility.
What details are we talking about? For one thing,  a government mandate to insure, one way or another, for an abortifacient drug  called Ella. Here the “details” would seem to be fertilized ova, small  defenseless human beings, who will likely suffer abortion within the purview of  a church-run health insurance program.
What other details are at issue?  Some may think  that the government’s forcing the Church to provide insurance coverage for  direct surgical sterilizations such as tubal ligations is a matter of policy.  Such force, though, feels an awful lot like an infringement on religious  liberty.
Still another detail is ordinary contraception.  Never mind that the dire societal ills which Pope Paul predicted would ensue  with the widespread practice of artificial contraception have more than come  true. The government makes the rules and the rules are the rules. So, the  bishops should regard providing (and paying for) contraception as, well, a  policy detail.  After all, it’s not like the federal government is asking  bishops to deny the divinity of Christ. It’s just a detail in a moral  theology—life and love, or something such as that. And why worry about other  ways the government may soon require the Church to violate its teachings as a  matter of policy?
More details come to mind. Many if not most church  entities are self-insured. Thus, Catholic social service agencies, schools, and  hospitals could end up paying for abortifacients, sterilizations, and  contraception. If the editorial is to be believed, bishops should regard it not  as a matter of religious liberty but merely policy that, as providers they teach  one thing but as employers they are made to teach something else. In other  words, we are forced to be a countersign to Church teaching and to give people  plenty of reason not to follow it. The detail in question here is called “scandal”.
Then there is the detail of religious insurers and  companies that are not owned by the Church but which exist solely to serve the  Church’s mission. The new “accommodation” leaves them out in the cold. And if I  really wanted to get into the weeds I’d mention the conscience rights of  individual employers.
Have I forgotten any other details we bishops  shouldn’t be attending to? Well, I guess we’re policy wonks for wondering if the  government has a compelling interest in forcing the Church to insure for  proscribed services when contraception is covered in 90% of healthcare plans, is  free in Title X programs, and is available from Walmart (generic) for about $10  a month. Pardon me also for wondering whether the most basic of freedoms,  religious liberty, isn’t being compromised, not by a right to health care, but  by a claim to “services” which regard pregnancy and fertility as diseases.
And didn’t President Obama promise adequate  conscience protection in the reform of healthcare? But maybe it’s inappropriate  for pastors of souls to ask why the entirely adequate accommodation of religious  rights in healthcare matters that has existed in federal law since 1973 is now  being changed.
Oh, and as Detective Colombo used to say: “Just  one more thing.” It’s the comment in the editorial about when we bishops are at  our best. Evidently, it’s when we speak generalities softly and go along to get  along, even though for the first time in history the federal government is  forcing church entities to provide for things that contradict church teaching.  Maybe Moses wasn’t at his best when he confronted Pharaoh. Maybe the Good  Shepherd was a bit off his game when he confronted the rulers of his day.
But those are just details.
Most Reverend William E. Lori
Bishop of Bridgeport
Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee on Religious  Liberty
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Posted in America Magazine, Bishop William Lori, Catholic, contraception, contraception mandate, freedom of religion, health care compromise, Health care mandate, Jesuits | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why The Catholic Church Will Not Comply

In the following article from Catholic World Report, a professor of moral theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio  discusses why the Catholic Church must refuse to comply with the HHS contraception/abortifacient/sterilization health insurance mandate:

 From Catholic World Report:
We Must Not Comply
February 28, 2012 – Catholic World Report
The HHS mandate: Assessing the current situation and looking to the future
Msgr. Kevin T. McMahon, STD
On January 20, 2012, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized its August 2011 mandate requiring ….
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Posted in abortifacient, abortion, birth control, contraception, contraception mandate, freedom of religion, health care compromise, Health care mandate, religious liberty, STD, The Catholic Church | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Liberal Catholic Pawns in Political War Against Religion

“The Obama religious wars”: neither words of hyperbole nor an empty epithet but an apt description of an unfolding crisis that encompasses the United States Constitution and fundamental religious liberty. Just last month, in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC, the United States Supreme Court unanimously (yes: 9 to 0!) slapped down the Obama Administration’s attempt to countermand a Protestant congregation’s choice of its own minister. Now the Administration is telling the Catholic Church that it must either compromise its conscience or close its hospitals, universities and tens of thousands of outreaches to the poor and the vulnerable of all faiths and of none. As in Hosanna-Tabor, the Administration even claims for itself the right to intrude upon a most fundamental right of any religious body:  to decide who it is who speaks for a church, synagogue, mosque or other religious entity and its members.

By its manipulation of the media message, the Administration has been saying, in effect, that its own dissident Catholic allies — not the bishops — are the legitimate voice of the Catholic Church. And, as a corollary, they even seem to suggest that their collaborators are entitled to impose their views on both the Church itself and also on other Catholics: namely, those whose consciences won’t let them become complicit in the Administration’s mandated health insurance for contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization. Even people of other faiths who don’t share the same Catholic moral objections are sounding the alarm. As in the Hosanna-Tabor case, the Administration’s principal adversary in these religious wars is not the Catholic Church but, rather, First Amendment religious liberty itself.

Despite this developing solidarity among people of diverse faiths against the threat to religious liberty, vocal and well-positioned Catholic dissenters on the left are serving as the Administration’s willing pawns in this war. In the following article in First Things Magazine, George Weigel argues that the credibility of these Catholic collaborators of the Administration is becoming the first casualty in these religious wars, as these Administration apologists reveal the “utter incoherence into which post-conciliar liberal Catholicism in America has tragically fallen”:

George Weigel

The Catholic Diaspora and the Tragedy of Liberal Catholicism

February 29, 2012
George Weigel

In a February 14 note to his people, Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., the archbishop of Chicago, commented on the question of “who speaks for the Catholic Church,” which had become a subject of public controversy thanks to the Obama administration’s “contraceptive mandate”—which is, of course, an abortifacient and sterilization mandate as well. The cardinal noted the administration’s crude attempt to play divide-and-conquer with the Catholic Church in the United States, a ploy to which some nominally Catholic groups quickly acquiesced. . . . Continue Reading »

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Posted in abortifacients, birth control, Cardinal Francis George, Catholic colleges, Catholic Health Association, Catholic Hospitals, Catholic nuns, contraception, contraception mandate, George Weigel, health care compromise, Health care mandate, Hosanna-Tabor Church v. EEOC, John Courtney Murray, Jr., Obamacare, religious liberty, Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2012, Sister Carol Keehan, The Catholic Church, United States Constitution, United States Supreme Court | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From the National Catholic Register: Crossing the Rubicon

‘We Are Crossing the Rubicon’: House Tackles HHS Mandate  Threat   (143)

Bishop Lori, legal and policy experts raise concerns; a  representative of the Institute of Medicine defends the federal rule.

by  JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND02/29/2012 Comments (1)

WASHINGTON — Yesterday a full House Judiciary Committee hearing provided opponents of the HHS contraception mandate  with a forum to explain why President Obama’s “accommodation” failed to address

Read more:

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Posted in abortifacients, abortion, birth control, Bishop William Lori, Catholic, Catholic Health Association, Catholic Hospitals, Conference of Catholic Bishops, contraception, Deus et Patria, freedom of religion, National Catholic Register, Obamacare, politics, pro-life, religious liberty, Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2012, Sister Carol Keehan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Scholarly Medical Ethics Journal: Why Not Baby Killing?


The abstract below comes from this month’s Journal of Medical Ethics, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. It embodies the icy, amoral detachment of utilitarian medical ethics.  The argument of the Australian authors from the University of Melbourne echoes that made for many years by Princeton University bioethics professor Peter Singer.

Based on utilitarian premises, the article concludes that newborn babies, like infants in the womb,  are not fully human persons. Therefore (to use a “nuanced” word) the conclusion is that it is ethical to “terminate” newborns. The professors emphasize that this is true “even if the baby is not disabled.” In the absence of limits, is it then ethical, to use the less nuanced word, for parents to kill the baby if she doesn’t quite look like “the Gerber baby” … or cries annoyingly at night?

Remember: this new article appears in a leading, peer-reviewed “scholarly” journal of medical ethics. It not alarmist conjecture.

The article argues that killing newborn babies is moral whether or not the child is disabled. Of course, if the baby does happen to be sick or disabled, others besides the parents often are affected, especially in a future world of national health insurance. In an amoral, utilitarian society, why wouldn’t the Department of Human Services defend the low cost of health insurance by deciding to end the baby’s life, trumping the pleas of her parents?

Following the abstract, see also the rebuttal by a noted Princeton scholar and opponent of abortion who has long disputed Peter Singer’s utilitarian “logic”:

JOURNAL OF MEDICAL ETHICS An international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in medical ethics Journal of Medical J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100411                 

After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?

Alberto Giubilini, Department of Philosophy, University of Milan, Milan, Italy; Centre for Human Bioethics, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia                      Francesca Minerva, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Oxford University, Oxford, UK  Contributors AG and FM contributed equally to the manuscript.                                                                                                                              Published Online First 23 February 2012

Abstract                                                                                         Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

REBUTTAL: See the analysis by Princeton University’s McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Robert P. George, who is also one of the foremost scholars who opposes abortion:

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Posted in abortion, after birth abortion, Alberto Giubilini, Deus et Patria, Eobert P. George, Francesca Minerva, Health care mandate, Journal of Medical Ethics, Obamacare, Peter Singer, politics, pro-life, Robert P. George, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments


Some women who get love, housing, food and all kinds of help choose to live at a Good Counsel home for as long as a year with their babies, helping other women like themselves

Two days ago, Jessica was seven months pregnant, homeless and sleeping on a park bench so she sent a note to TV reporter Monica Morales at New York City’s WPIX-TV, channel 11. Monica, who is six months pregnant herself, identified with the plight. After she ran the story, Monica contacted the wonderful Good Counsel Homes, who came to Jessica’s aid immediately. Jessica now has a nice, safe place where she and her baby can stay as she gets other help and job training and maybe volunteers to help other women like herself, too.

The short video clip shows when Monica brings Jessica to GC’s Bronx home. See it here:

Visit Good Counsel’s website to learn more about their outstanding work for women and children. Note the website’s full posting of the charity’s IRS forms showing how it spends every dollar received!  The program, run by Chris and Joan Bell and aided by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal  and others, has served women and their babies remarkably for many years. Here’s their website:
Posted in abortion, Catholic, Chris Bell, Good Counsel Homes, Help to women | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments


Mary Anne Marks, 2010 Harvard Valedictorian, is now Sister Maria Veritas OP of Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist. She is one of many, holy, bright young religious vocations in member communities of the faithful Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious.

The Holy Spirit is working overtime these days! The Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR) has 100 or so holy, faithful, communities of American women religious. It represents a renaissance of American Catholicism that has been steadily taking place below the radar. Large numbers of young, intelligent, personable women have been quietly dedicating their lives to God. The CMSWR is personified by holy young women like Harvard University’s 2010 valedictorian Mary Anne Marks who has now become Sister Maria Veritas, OP of the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

This gospel readiness to go beyond self, leaving everything to follow the Lord, stands in marked contrast to the Carl Rogers psychological distortions, still evident more than forty-five years after he served as the catalyst for the falsehoods that he managed to instill in other misguided communities of sisters, all in pursuit of a quest for supposed “self fulfillment”.

In sharp contrast to those unfortunate communities that have been aging and not growing, the Leadership Conference of Women is made up of faithful communities, most of them both young and growing. One of these is a group of Dominicans in Ann Arbor known as the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist. This was the community that captivated Oprah and her TV audience twice. These are young, brilliant, faithful, holy and witty women…  exemplified by Harvard’s 2010 valedictorian Mary Anne Franks: now Sister Maria Veritas, OP. By the way, check out her Harvard valedictory speech — in Latin!– here): Harvard Valedictorian Joins Convent.

It’s one of the best kept secrets in the Catholic Church that there are more than 100 similar communities of holy, faithful, intelligent and committed women — many of them with average member ages in the thirties. They include Mother Teresa’s selfless Missionaries of Charity in the South Bronx, the classy yet never prideful Sisters of Life, the holy and joyous Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal and many more.

These remarkable communities belong to the dynamic and inspiring Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR). Check them out at ) And CMSWR stands up for what they believe. When American bishops responded to the Obama Administration on behalf of religious liberty, freedom of conscience and Catholic faith,  CMSWR’s response was a supportive call for a national novena of prayer and fasting: “We beg God for the preservation of our great and beautiful country…. The CMSWR invites you to join with us in a novena of prayer and fasting, asking Mary, Patroness of the United States of America, to implore God’s loving mercy on us at this critical time. The novena will begin March 25 and end April 2, 2012….”

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Posted in Catholic nuns, CMSWR, Conference of Catholic Bishops, Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious, Dissident Catholic nuns, Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, freedom of religion, Health care mandate, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

October Baby: A Movie Review

Ray Noble

Ray Noble

Here’s a movie review of October Baby that I posted today:

Jaded movie critics will ridicule October Baby as implausible — Andrew O’Hehir of already has. What about it fails O’Hehir’s smell test: The failed abortion? The daughter’s search? The biological mother’s response? But counselors know many women who grieve a past abortion and even know some who grieve the medical consequences of a failed abortion attempt. The victims are our neighbors but, understandably, they prefer anonymity.

Shari Rigby

Shari Rigby

Actress Shari Rigby, the fine actress who plays the birth mother, was one of them. Only after she was sought for the role did she reveal her own post abortion grief from years ago, under circumstances bearing an eerie resemblance to this film story.

Rachel Hendrix delivers a first-rate, starring performance as the daughter.Nonetheless, this movie won’t win any Oscars and probably won’t fill many theaters. But that is only because it is more truthful than we are. It tells a story that is all too frequent, but one that, in the thinking of many, seems better to pretend doesn’t exist.

Rachel Hendrix plays the daughter, Hannah, in October Baby, in theaters now

Rachel Hendrix plays the daughter, Hannah, in October Baby, in theaters now

Here’s the movie trailer:
Posted in October Baby movie review, Rachel Hendrix, Shari Rigby, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment


Edward Morrissey of The Fiscal Times analyzes the HHS mandate’s effect on the poor and on underserved rural areas by forcing Catholic hospitals to close:$100-Billion-if-Catholic-Hospitals-Close.aspx#page1


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Posted in abortifacients, abortion, birth control, Catholic, Catholic Hospitals, contraception, contraception mandate, freedom of religion, health care compromise, Health care mandate, medical care for the poor, medical care for underserved rural areas, religious liberty, The Fiscal Times, United States Constitution | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Rally for Religious Freedom Across America

In major cities across America there will be a noon-time rally on March 23 against the government’s demand for people to reject their consciences. People of widely divergent religious beliefs (even including amicus briefs by Hindus, Sikhs, animists, Hara Krishnas etc. as well as Christians, Jews and Moslems) united in opposition when the Administration attempted to trump an Evangelical Lutheran congregation’s choice of its own ministers. That even got the attention of the US Supreme Court and all nine justices rejected that Administration intrusion on religious liberty in January.
Once again, this is an issue that transcends religious beliefs. The liberty of every American is at stake. Please spread the word. Visit   Please attend the one nearest you. Please let others know.
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Posted in abortifacients, abortion, birth control, Catholic, contraception, contraception mandate, Evangelical Lutheran Church, freedom of religion, health care compromise, Health care mandate, Hindus, Hosanna-Tabor Church v. EEOC, Islam, Jews, Muslims, Protestants, Rally for Religious Liberty March 23, religious liberty, Sikhs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment