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churchstate

Family Institute of Connecticut Action has expended more energy in opposition to the HHS abortifacient mandate than any other federal issue with which we have ever been involved–an issue that, please God, will be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of religious liberty before the end of June.

The mandate is part of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and our friends at Defenders of the Faith have alerted us to a June 8th event about that law. Details are below. We encourage FIC members to attend.

The Developing Conflict: The Church and the Affordable Care Act Sunday, June 8, 2014 1PM Russell Hall St. Catherine of Siena 265 Stratton Brook Road West Simsbury Special Guest Panelists Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. Director of Education The National Catholic Bioethics Center Philadelphia, PA Daniel P. O’Connell Chairman St. Francis Care Board of Directors Jeff Mateer, Esq. General Counsel The Liberty Institute, Dallas, TX What it means for Faith, Family and Freedom.

An RSVP would be greatly appreciated so we can better prepare for the event: email: stcathy@comcast.net Phone: 860-658-1642 Defenders of Faith The Second in the Series: The Catholic Church in the Public Square Presented by Defenders of Faith.

 

weicker

Former Governor Lowell Weicker says the Connecticut GOP is “irrelevant.”

No one disputes that the CT GOP has been in an exceedingly weak position for decades, a legislative superminority at certain points in the Rell years and even less influential in the Malloy era, with the Democrats now in control of the Governor’s office as well as both chambers of our General Assembly, every other constitutional office and all seven seats of our Washington delegation.

How did it come to this? Here’s Weicker’s explanation:

On WNPR’s Where We Live, Weicker said the GOP needs ideas that are focused on Connecticut, and not just on following the national party’s playbook. “A southern strategy does not work in the state of Connecticut,” Weicker said. “We’re not a religious right state…”

Someone please tell me, when did the CT GOP ever do the things Weicker complains of? When did it ever pursue a Connecticut-as-religious-right-state strategy?

Was it when Jodi Rell signed gay civil unions into law? How about when Rob Simmons voted to keep partial-birth abortion legal? Maybe it was when Nancy Johnson voted AGAINST the Born Alive Infants Protection Act? Was that it?

When was this mythical time when the CT GOP supposedly employed this strategy? Because we here at Family Institute of Connecticut are still waiting for our “irrelevant” CT GOP to at least give it a try.

Mom Dad

You matter…why else would people carve this into their bicep?

One hundred years ago this month, Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday. Officially originating in the United States, it became popular worldwide – celebrated in many places, as it is here, on the second Sunday of May – in tandem with local traditions. Anna Jarvis, honoring a wish her mother expressed during a prayer, observed it for the first time in Grafton, West Virginia, not far from my own childhood home. Jarvis herself never married or had children.

Like Jarvis, not every woman will be a mother, at least biologically. Some have had their hopes dashed by health conditions. Some will be adoptive or spiritual mothers. Nor does every child have access to his mother. Some become estranged or bereaved. Others never really knew theirs. Still, this is a universal holiday in that each of us (notwithstanding the technical claim of Shakespeare’s Macduff not to have been born of a woman) has a mother somewhere, and a women’s holiday in essence because of the unique potential that lies within us.

Sometimes we only fully taste the significance of a thing through its absence or loss. This video taps into an uncannily deep, personal, convincing emotion with a song that arose from, and speaks directly to, the human experience.

Reviews of P.D. Eastman’s classic children’s book “Are You My Mother?” at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com show that the story and associated memories can bring grown men to tears. Here are a few poignant excerpts:

My son was very interested in the story through the entire narration. At the end, he was asking me questions such as “Do all kids have a mom?” … With a lot of care, but with sincerity, I explained to him my thoughts on this.

“Are you my mother?” means: Are you the one who loves me? Are you the one who will take me in and care for me? Are you the one upon whom I can rely, trust, and find this to be a safe world? Because I need to know the one who has brought me into the world and given me life.

I gave my grand daughter this book for her seventh birthday. Why? Her father got a divorce when she was two years old. … Recently,when I read a book of Dr. Seuss to her class and asked the question, “What is your favorite Dr. Seussbook”, every student was ready to give their favorite Dr. Seuss title. But my grand daughter spoke up and said, “My favorite book is “Are You My Mother?”

Fathers would have until the Nixon administration to wait for a proclamation, partly due to backlash against commercialization. However, it did not take long for a natural counterpart to emerge through the efforts of women of faith like Sonora Dodd, the daughter of a Civil War veteran and widower, and Grace Clayton, whose father was among more than 300 men killed in the infamous Monongah mine disaster.

How intelligible is ‘mother’ without ‘father,’ and vice-versa? I once had a professor who talked of “correlative opposites” that imply and make sense of one another. Without grounding in philosophy, it went over my head for years. I think I get it now. Men and women, mothers and fathers, are the yin to each other’s yang.

In times when familial bonds are frequently disrespected, ‘gender deconstruction’ is a vogue idea, and children are treated as possessions, accessories or science projects, our clinging to these twin holidays is a sign of stubborn health and persistent sanity. Mother and father are realities indelibly etched on the human heart.

As I was meditating on all this, a song came over the radio – I kid you not: “When a maa-an loves a woooman…” God, as usual, has a sense of humor!
I’m close with my parents. I’m a lucky girl. This animates my work for the Family Institute: the desire for every child to experience the joy of being known and loved by his mother and father, the way I have been. That would be the case in an ideal world. I know the world is not ideal, but the closer we can move it, the better.

newhaven1

In a July 26, 2012 email alert we told you that FIC and our allies had succeeded in getting the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange Board of Directors to receive a recommendation implementing ObamaCare that did NOT include abortion as an “essential health benefit”. That was the result of some hard work that summer, particularly by two young women members of FIC who testified before the state advisory committee responsible for creating the Health Insurance Exchange.

But it was not the end of the story. Access Health CT offered only health plans that covered abortion anyway, and they are now being sued because of it.

If our state and federal governments had listened to FIC and others when we fought against the inclusion of abortion mandates in ObamaCare, this lawsuit would not be necessary. We will seek a legislative remedy at the state Capitol next year, to have Access Health CT offer a health plan that does not force its members to pay for abortion. In the meantime, our prayers are for the success of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit.

Hotline sign

On Monday, The New London Day ran this story about Connecticut College leading a suicide prevention effort that would put signs on a city bridge – similar to what has been done on prominent bridges in other states – and on campus. The signs would read “You are not alone” and include a hotline number. Since no students have jumped from the bridge, but there have been a handful of attempts (both complete and incomplete) by locals in the last few years, it would appear that they are acting out of an abundance of caution.

These quotes in particular caught my eye:

The effectiveness of suicide prevention signs at bridges is unknown, said Jill Harkavy-Friedman, vice president of research at the American Federation for Suicide Prevention.

…She suggested that the college test the wording of the message on the signs it plans to install with focus groups comprised of those who have contemplated suicide.

“I wouldn’t want to put up a sign without checking the message,” she said.

I couldn’t help but be reminded that, only a few weeks ago, there was an especially contentious battle over prime messaging real estate — not a bridge, but space in the Capitol concourse. Both Connecticut College and Ms. Harkavy-Friedman demonstrate boatloads more common sense than The Group Formerly Known as Hemlock Society, who present slogans like “My Life, My Death, My Choice” and “Oh, to die on my terms” as dandy for school-age children. Test THAT on your focus group.

Speaking of The Day: if you haven’t already, you can still read Paul Choiniere’s excellent editorial ‘Assisted suicide bill deserves a speedy demise’ here.

Boster-300x168

We told you yesterday how Boster’s bloviating was the fruit of Herbst’s hectoring. Now, according to The Hartford Courant, the University of Connecticut has put out the following statement:

Everyone has the right to exercise free speech on our campuses. At the same time, we expect our faculty to act in a way that promotes civil discourse and to express themselves respectfully. The use of abusive language and a confrontational posture are inconsistent with UConn’s values.

That’s it? No condemnation of Boster getting students to chant “Praise Darwin?”

The University is showing a dearth of analytical skills–something noble institutions propose to instruct–to conclude that Coach Jones’ telling the media that “Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddle” was prohibited activity but Professor Boster’s public invocation directly to students to “Praise Darwin!” and to “feel your spiritual kinship not just with other humans, but also with your fellow mammals” . . . was not. The University is pandering in an abuse of reason, something they profess to uphold, when they promote one Professor’s slavish devotion to the book of Darwin and secularism over another staff member’s expressed faith.

We must conclude that it is Christianity that President Herbst finds so disgusting as to ban it from the huddle, while permitting such obvious proselytizing by Professor Boster in public, without rebuke to content. Is this is the “clear message” they intend to send to staff and students?

Nutty Professor

Some headlines write themselves, but the first person to commit them to print goes down in legend. For instance, Mel Blanc’s epitaph: “That’s all, folks.” I wish I had been responsible for “UConn Professor Goes Ape.” That’s precisely what happened as UConn’s James Boster publicly disgraced himself, becoming flat-out belligerent toward an anti-evolution demonstrator. See the video here.

The Wolfgangs have their own nifty title here. And this being the second incident of its kind, I do hope our friends in the legislature will call out Professor Boster with the same vehemence they did Professor Terry.

Fortunately for my fame and posterity, Boster’s performance invites comparison to film’s Nutty Professor – or, more specifically, the Professor’s testosterone-soaked alter ego. A word of advice to Dr. Boster: assuming that this is not in fact the real you, next time, leave Buddy at home…preferably under lock and key. This ain’t a Hollywood stage, and you’re no Jerry Lewis or Eddie Murphy!

At the point when you resort to bellowing, shaking your fists, and shouting obscenities, you’ve not only lost – you’ve become a spectacle. I’m reminded of my experience at 40 Days for Life when a man got in my face, called me a “retard,” and (irony is always lost on such individuals!) lectured me about women’s rights as I stood in a public place holding a pretty tame sign.

As Boster’s revivalist zeal draws a crowd, one gets a sense from the students’ nervous tittering while they humor his shouts of “Praise Darwin” that they are, in fact, laughing at the man and not with him. They don’t need a gray beard or PhD to recognize an immature, unbecoming tantrum. That’s both encouraging and sad. They probably are also highly aware that stuff like this hits Youtube or Facebook in mere minutes.

Here at FIC, we know that evolution is a hotly debated topic. Personally, witnessing this exchange, I come away sympathetic to the man with the sign – the man who maintains a calm, reasonable decibel level – regardless of what the facts are or aren’t. Nobody should be subject to this kind of abuse anywhere, let alone on a college campus, for expressing an opinion. It’s absolutely chilling. Unfortunately, our pro-life, pro-marriage friends know this is all too common. In addition to my experience, our Executive Director has fielded numerous colorful threats over the years.

What more can I say about this? I think I’ll summarize with the timeless wit of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes.

Calvin: Do you believe in evolution?
Hobbes: No.
Calvin: You don’t think humans evolved from monkeys?
Hobbes: I sure don’t see any difference.

Boster-300x168

You may have missed the news Tuesday, University of Connecticut professor James Boster, a devout secularist, routed “heretics” on campus who questioned The Origin of Species as not being sola scriptura, and much “praise” was given to Darwin. . . literally.

Regardless of who they were, this lack of respect toward dissenting views by staff on campus is surely the fruit of UConn President Susan Herbst’s prolonged and excessive public preaching against Football Assistant Coach Earnest Jones’ statement in January that “Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddle”.  Coach Jones later recanted and resigned.

I wonder if President Herbst will similarly condemn Professor Boster’s endorsement and advocacy of a particular philosophy on campus . . .which has clearly taken on a spiritual dimension, whereas he encouraged visitors to “accept Darwin” as their “Lord and Savior” and in his interaction with students intoned them to say “Amen” – and some did.

We at FIC don’t condemn Professor Boster . . .we encourage his open-air preachings and hope with continued light, allegiances can be revealed and truth can be discerned. After all, a college campus should be a place where all ideas are welcome . . .not just those that conform to liberal dogma.

Pig mud

“He who slings mud generally loses ground.” – Adlai Stevenson

I don’t need to go looking for outrage. Therefore, I am not a regular reader of Huffington Post. Because I’m on Facebook, outrage comes right to me. I am often chagrined, though not entirely surprised at what passes for a stunning, righteous exposé, when it is really a desperate, logically weak hit piece.

At issue are Hobby Lobby’s investment ties to Pfizer and Teva, pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptive drugs and devices, and also to major health insurance companies Aetna and Humana. Mother Jones, the originator of the story, admits that

MorningStar, an investment research firm, provided Mother Jones with the names of the companies in nine of those funds as of December 31, 2012. Each fund’s portfolio consists of at least dozens if not hundreds of different holdings.

This is why people outsource their portfolio management, especially if they’re no Warren Buffett.

I try to be a mindful, responsible consumer. It can be extremely difficult to the point of mental paralysis. Does the name Foxconn ring a bell? If you own a computer, you are probably remotely tied to Third World slave labor. Unfortunately the alternative handicaps one’s ability to function in modern society. It is impractical if not impossible to eliminate every taint of evil from our purchasing decisions — it would require us to live essentially like John the Baptist, wearing camel hair (ethically sourced!), subsisting on locusts (organic!). He is a hero and role model to me in many ways, but frankly, most of us aren’t called to the austerity of a desert hermit.

The average person is engaged in some degree of compromise. My job is to share information, not to lambast friends for drinking Starbucks coffee, eating Girl Scout cookies, shopping at Wal-Mart, and so on. I have certain big-name debit card for my humble funds, because in my neighborhood one can’t spit without hitting one of their ATMs. Why would I hold anyone else to a standard too absurd for me?

That’s insane. Naturally, it is exactly what HuffPo and Mother Jones expect from Hobby Lobby. If I dug deeply enough, I’m confident I could uncover filthy associations on their end, too. We find what we look for; I suppose they count on a lack of scrutiny. HuffPo has already shown a breathless credulity toward any story that makes same-sex “marriage” opponents look bad — even if it is a complete (and, to any skeptic, transparent) fabrication. Mother Jones implies that, because conservative Christian investment firms exist, Hobby Lobby has done actual wrong by – hint, hint – not availing itself. But possessing information does not always constitute an obligation to act on it in a specific way, or even to care.

So, Where to Draw the Line?

I’ve agonized over the investment problem myself, causing me some delay in setting up an account, always thinking I’d figure it out later. Perhaps not the best plan. In Hobby Lobby’s case, is there a proportionate good to be gained by divesting Pfizer and Teva, who produce literally hundreds of drugs — some of them lifesaving, many of them far bigger sellers than any contraceptive/abortifacient (in fact, I have looked at two recent, long lists of top-selling drugs and have yet to see those classes represented at all)? Or Aetna and Humana, two insurance giants? I might be inclined to say yes, but I can’t answer for Hobby Lobby. Only Hobby Lobby can.

The HHS mandate differs substantively in degree and in kind from paying taxes into a general fund or diversifying investments, a point perpetually lost on the HuffPos and MoJos who are so desperate to throw anything at the wall that might stick. It is direct; it is coercive; it leaves no doubt about where the money goes; and, most frustrating of all, it is unnecessary. If it stays, the First Amendment is not worth the paper it was written on.

Meanwhile in Connecticut…

Mrs. Richard Blumenthal, in a mass e-mail, has latched onto the Hobby Lobby case as an excuse to plug the ever-obstinate Senator’s “Women’s Health Protection Act,” more accurately called the “Unrestricted Abortion Protection Act.” HuffPo & MoJo at least have the vigor to try digging up fresh dirt; the Blumenthals rehash the same canned talking points about “access,” “telling women what to do with their bodies,” “personal decisions between women and doctors,” yada yada yada…similar to what I received in one of the most un-politic of responses when I pleaded with him in favor of the Blunt Amendment. Am I held in contempt? What, am I not a woman and a constituent? I know for a fact I’m not the only one, and the pro-life movement is aging in reverse like Benjamin Button. Love us, hate us — you can’t ignore us forever, Senator.

Mozilla Madness

Mozilla-Firefox-638x358

Yet another same-sex “marriage”-related boycott is in the news.

To be clear up front, I’m down with boycotts, conceptually; however, I’m happy to offer my cynical observations on particular boycotts and their apparent motivation. For instance: New York City mayor DeBlasio’s refusal to attend the St. Patrick’s Day parade because the organizers of that privately-run event will allow everyone to participate, but not to hijack it to serve a personal platform – a right they have defended in the nation’s highest court and retain under the First Amendment. DeBlasio, insistent on seeing a minority rights or free speech issue where none exists, makes himself look like more of a petty purist than Giuliani or Bloomberg, one who inexplicably lacks enough real problems while running a city of 8 million people.

Enter, now, the dating site OkCupid. They’re willing to throw the web browser Firefox, tied with Google Chrome for second place in popularity at about 17% market share (they’re lucky it wasn’t Internet Explorer at nearly 60%), under the bus for the sake of 8% of couples who meet using their website, all because Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich donated money to support Proposition 8. Always the skeptic, I note that their statement doesn’t actually say that these couples are “married,” but they claim anyway that these “relationships” would become “illegal” if Eich had his way…details, details.

To their methods I say, “Whatever. That’s your risk to take, if you think it’ll work out for you.” I don’t think it will, not least of all because they come off as bossy toward users who don’t pay to use a browser and in all likelihood don’t give a hoot about anything but their web surfing experience. I ditched Google search in favor of charity-supporting Goodsearch a while back, but realistically, I just don’t expect that of everyone.

So what am I criticizing? Quite simply, their allegation that anyone with the audacity to disagree with their stance does so out of the fanatical desire to make innocent people miserable — to “deny love,” whatever “love,” that twisting mirage, happens to mean in the current zeitgeist! This is utterly toxic demagoguery.

But wait! Lest you think Mozilla will strongly assert itself, its spokespeople are anxiously performing the sacrificial dance of appeasement. They do seem a bit miffed that OkCupid didn’t reach out to get the facts straight, but those facts consist of already doing contortions to please their overlords. They’re enthralled. We’ve seen the circular firing squad before, notably in the case of Barilla Pasta. There is hardly a more pathetic routine.

I really wish I could pick a sympathetic party in such stories. Understandably, many businesses are cowed by such a militant lobby, and they need support. It’s about time more of them demonstrated a little backbone, though, because if allowed to run rampant this will only get worse…to the detriment of all.

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