The controversy continues surrounding Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius’s decision not to make Plan B, the morning after pill, available to girls under the age of seventeen without a prescription. As I noted last week, critics of the decision espouse a new religion, scientism, and believe that anything the high priests of the laboratory conclude is safe and effective must be just fine.
Robert P. Jones, of the Public Religion Reserach Institute, looks the evangelical attitudes towards the candidacy of Newt Gingrich, the gender differences among evangelicals on the issue of marital infideltity and, critically, the need for Gingrich to consistently work in his redemption narrative if he wants to win over evangelical voters. Jones' analysis is, per usual and as expected, spot-on and highly instructive.
And, you have to love the quote from Pastor Jeffress: "I think there’s now an evangelical tri-lemma. Do you vote for a Mormon who’s had one wife, a Catholic who’s had three wives, or an Evangelical who may have had an entire harem?" Jeffress made his remarks before Cain dropped out, but it is more than a little ironic, is it not, that the candidate with one wife is the Mormon.
Over at the Christian Post, Napp Nazworth makes the case that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was trying to help the administration secure the Catholic vote by deciding not to allow girls as young as 11 to access Plan B without a prescription. It is true that the USCCB applauded the decision, but this has not been at the top of their agenda. The decision had less to do with the Catholic vote than it had to do with the parent vote. As the President said yesterday in his comments on the decision, this was a victory for common sense.
Peter Berkowitz, writing at the Wall Street Journal, has a splendid essay on why we need Civics classes in our schools. We wouldn't go to see a physician who had not been to Med School, why would we entrust our democracy to people unschooled in the basics of government?
At yesterday's Natonal Prayer Vigil for the Jobless and Jobs, our friend Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network, addressed the crowd. You can read my earlier article about the Franciscan Action Network here.
Here is the text of his remarks:
Statement by Patrick Carolan Executive Director Franciscan Action Network
Faith Advocates for Jobs National Prayer Vigil
For the Jobless and Jobs Prayer Service
12-08-2011 Upper Senate Park US Capitol
Brothers and Sisters Good Morning
Peace and All Good:
I would like to start with a reading from the Gospel of Matthew 25 34-40
Yesterday, the blogging was a little thin because I attended an all-day conference at the Pew Research Center on media coverage of religion and politics. The event brought together journalists and scholars to look at past coverage, analyze current polling data, and discuss issues regarding news coverage of religion.
John Green, a senior research adviser at Pew and professor at the University of Akron, and Alan Cooperman, the Pew Forum’s associate director for research, provided some interesting data on a survey conducted in the beginning of November. The Republican race has changed quite a bit since then – Cain was then in the lead and Gingrich had not begun his race to the top of the polls – but much of the data was still enlightening.
According to a new survey, President Barack Obama continues to receive high marks from both African-American and Latino voters. His numbers among Latinos are down slightly from 2008: Then, he received the votes of 67 percent of Latinos according to exit polls, but the new survey only shows him taking 64 percent. That downturn, however, comes before what you can expect will be some hard-hitting ads about the increasingly virulent anti-immigration stances of the various GOP candidates. Key states such as Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina and Florida may all depend on how well Obama does among Latinos.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius yesterday overruled the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to make Plan-B, the morning-after pill, available without a prescription to any woman of child-bearing age. Sebelius’s decision is a victory for common sense and it is not, as it is being portrayed, a defeat for science. It is only a defeat for scientism, the reduction of science to that status of an ideology, an "ism."
Plan B is currently available without a prescription to any woman aged 17 or over. Anyone younger than that needs a prescription. The FDA’s recommendation would have allowed girls as young as 11 to purchase the drug in any drug store without any parental consent or doctor’s prescription. “There is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential,” FDA Administrator Margaret Hamburg said in a statement.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols is being attacked by some conservative catholics for remarks he made regarding civil unions for same-sex partners, according to a report at vatican Insider.
This is silly. The Archbishop did not endorse civil unions, which are already the law of the land, but he insisted that they allow some of the objectives sought by those seeking same-sex marriage in the UK and are, in his estimation, a preferable alternative to changing the legal definition of marriage. More importantly, how is what Abp Nichols said different from what then-Abp, now Cardinal, William Levada endorsed when, as Abp of San Francisco, he worked out a compromise with the city government regarding the extension of health care and other benefits to same sex partners? Levada and the city agreed that those who work at agencies that receive government funds can name anyone they want to receive benefits, provided that person lives with them legally. It can be an unemployed cousin, a retired aunt, or a same sex partner.
Rick Perry has launched a new ad that claims he will end what he calls "Obama's war on religion." Given Perry's sometimes tenuous grasp on the facts, I suppose we should all be grateful that he did not accuse Obama of renewing the Hundred Years war. But, as I have warned previously, again and again, the narrative that Democrats are hostile to religion is alive and well and the administration should not feed that narrative by doing something really stupid on conscience exemptions.
Here is the video of Perry's ad.