Friday, March 23, 2012

My Take on the News: Yemen, Washington, and Alabama

I'm still focusing rather tightly on religious freedom, and living in a distinctly imperfect world:
  1. Religious Freedom in America: It Could be Worse
  2. Refusing to Kill
  3. Bad News, Good News, and Alabama
There's a lot more going on in the world than the three items I picked: but I'm trying to make these posts shorter. Stuff I'm not writing about includes:That distinction between liberty of worship and religious liberty is, I think, important. Being allowed to believe something, but not to act as if that belief mattered, is frustrating. At best.

1. Religious Freedom in America: It Could be Worse

"School that employed American shot in Yemen denies he proselytized Christianity"
Associated Press, via (March 19, 2012)

"The school employing an American teacher gunned down in Yemen has denied accusations that he was proselytizing Christianity.

"A text message that circulated by mobile phone in Yemen said that 'holy warriors' had killed 'a senior missionary' in the central city of Taiz, shortly after the teacher was shot dead Sunday by two gunmen on a motorcycle...."

"...The school denied that Shrum was proselytizing, saying that he 'highly respected' Islam. It said Muslims and Christians work together on 'human development, skill transfer and community development' projects there and that religious and political debates are not permitted...."
Joel Shrum's death is a loss for his family: and for Yemen. I have more to say about that killing:

2. Refusing to Kill

"Religious liberty group calls new mandate proposals inadequate"
Michelle Bauman, CNA/EWTN News (March 22, 2012)

"A legal group that works to defend religious freedom says new government recommendations on implementing the federal contraception mandate fail to address religious groups' concerns.

"Hannah Smith, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told CNA on March 19 that the Obama administration is 'trying to make it sound like an easy fix.'

"However, its claims are 'simply false' and its fundamental premise 'defies basic economics,' she said....

"...The administration has drawn heavy criticism over the mandate, which will require employers to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs...."
I've been over that HHS mandate, and what is at stake, before. Basically, America's national government says that virtually all employers must pay to have very young people killed.

The Catholic Church says that it's wrong to kill innocent people. Even if a local ruler says we must. The 'don't kill' rule isn't absolute: we're allowed to defend ourselves. But people who haven't even learned to walk yet? They're no threat: and do not deserve death.

3. Bad News, Good News, and Alabama

"Alabama attorney general joins EWTN lawsuit against HHS rule"
Benjamin Mann, CNA/EWTN News (March 22, 2012)

"The state of Alabama is joining the world's largest religious media network in its lawsuit against the U.S. government's contraception and sterilization coverage mandate.

" 'We are grateful to Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange for taking such a strong stand on this issue,' said Michael P. Warsaw, president and CEO of the Eternal Word Television Network, in an announcement made after Strange filed in federal court as a co-plaintiff on March 22.

" 'This suit demonstrates that the Alabama motto, "We dare to defend our rights," is no mere slogan,' Warsaw observed.

" 'The state could simply have chosen to file a brief advising the court of the impact of the case on its citizens. Instead, it is intervening in the suit as a co-plaintiff with EWTN.'

"The move sends a message 'that this unjust, unconstitutional mandate hurts not only EWTN, but the entire community,' Warsaw said...."
Bad news: The American president is trying to get control of how folks are allowed to practice their faith.

Good news: Not all Americans think this is a good idea. Folks who don't agree with the Catholic Church may realize that they may be the next target.

Moving on.

"Crime and/or Evil"

I've mentioned the old "Chicken Man" radio program before. He drove around in the Chicken Coupe, and fought "crime and/or evil."

The show was anything but serious: but that "crime and/or evil" slogan reflects an uncomfortable truth. Sometimes secular law is based on sound ethics. Sometimes it's not.

In today's America, it's quite legal to kill an innocent person. Provided that the victim is too young, too old, or too sick to be 'wanted.' There are much nicer-sounding ways of putting it, but that's the unpleasant reality.

Who Says I Can't Kill?

I might feel squeamish about killing a baby, or some sick person. But someone else might not feel that way. How can I say that killing an innocent person is wrong?

It boils down to my believing that there's an authority higher than whoever is President of the United States at the moment. I even think there's an authority higher than the United States Supreme Court and opinion polls.

Here's why I think it's wrong to kill an innocent person:Killing someone doesn't seem all that "loving."

High Ideals, Real World

Although I think human life is sacred, I'm not a strict pacifist. On the other hand, I think that a country like America can afford to not kill people who have been convicted of serious crimes. That doesn't make me a hate-filed warmonger, or a bleeding-heart liberal.

It does make me someone who has read what the Catholic Church says, and thought about how that applies to the culture I live in:
  • Just war
    (Catechism, 2307-2314
  • Legitimate defense
    (Catechism, 2263-2267)
    • Capital punishment
      (Catechism, 2267)
    (Not even close to a complete listing)
I'd like to live in a world where everybody decides to be nice. But that's not the way things are: and that's another topic.

Related posts:
More posts about forcing Catholics to violate our conscience:
The Department of Health and Human Services vs. Conscience

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Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.