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U.S. bishops testify on behalf of anti-abortion funding bill

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The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released the following statement Feb. 8.

WASHINGTON

A permanent ban on abortion funding is long overdue, which is why the U.S. bishops support the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act (H.R. 3), said a representative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in February 8 testimony to the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Judiciary Committee.

"H.R. 3 will write into permanent law a policy on which there has been strong popular and congressional agreement for over 35 years: The federal government should not use tax dollars to support or promote elective abortion," said Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). "Since 1976 this principle has been embodied in the Hyde amendment to annual appropriations bills funding the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and in numerous similar provisions governing a wide range of domestic and foreign programs. It has consistently had the support of the American people."

Write a letter to U.S. ministers with ties to Uganda

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As I wrote in my column earlier this week, the growing tide of violence against lesbian, gay and transgendered people in Uganda has been linked to three U.S. evangelical pastors.

Just months before the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was put before Uganda’s Parliament, these three pastors held a conference in Uganda. The conference presented misinformation and propaganda about LGBT people.

The Human Rights Campaign has set up a website where you can write letters of concern to these pastors and sign a petition to help stop them from leaders from exporting hate in the name of religion.

You can find the petition and sample letter here.

Egyptian President Mubarak warned US not to invade Iraq

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Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney "three or four times" not to invade Iraq in 2003, according to a report from Britain's Telegraph on a diplomatic cable leaked today by WikiLeaks.

From the report:

Mr Mubarak made the comments during a breakfast meeting with US congressmen at the presidential palace in Cairo in December, 2008.

He told one of the delegation, Sen Byron Dorgan, that the US needed to ''listen to its friends” in the region.

“When George Bush Senior was president, 'he listened to my advice. But his son does not’,” he said, according to a US cable sent on Jan 14, 2009. It continued: “Mubarak said that when President Bush Sr had called and asked what Mubarak thought about invading Iraq to get to rid of Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf war, Mubarak had told him not to because 'you won’t be able to get out and you will drown in Iraq’. Mubarak said he had tried to convey the same message to the current administration, only to be ignored.

Military spending: Much more than 'defense'

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How much do we spend on the military? $719 billion.

To help us understand how much $719,000,000,000 is, the American Friends Service Committee designed a 3 foot strip of paper, two inches high, where the Department of Defense budget stretches in red for more than half the space: 59 percent.

A little more than a foot of the paper strip is divided among Health and Human Services, 6 percent; Transportation, 6 percent; State Department, 4 percent; Education, 4 percent; and everything else the government spends money on.

American Friends doesn’t include Social Security and Medicare in the federal budget. We’ve made “entitlements” a bad word, but these are funds we’ve paid into our whole lives and they are reserved for our use.

The Feds didn’t used to include them in the budget either. But inclusion of Social Security and Medicare in the federal budget dilute the impact of interest on the debt as well as our arms budget that I refuse to refer to as “defense.”

Ten companies that take faith (somewhat) seriously

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Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor, offers a list of 10 companies that take faith (somewhat) seriously:

Many folks know that Chick-fil-A, which recently kicked up a controversy by giving food to a group opposed to gay marriage, has a proud Christian identity. It's been branded into the memory of anyone who's gone salivating to one of the fast-food chain's stores on a Sunday, only to find its doors locked and the lights out.

But there are plenty of other name-brand companies that have intensely religious sides - even if they're not always visible to consumers.

On this day: President Jefferson Davis

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On this day, 150 years ago, at Montgomery, Alabama: "Hon. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, is unanimously elected President of the Confederate States of North America, and Hon. A. H. Stephens, of Georgia, elected Vice-President, unanimously."

Click http://www.newsinhistory.com/blog/confederacy-gets-its-man-jefferson-davis-elected-president> here for some contemporary newspaper accounts.

German priest charged with pilfering $1.4 million

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According to Reuters:

A retired German priest has been charged with 50 counts of fraud over the theft of $1.4 million worth of church donations, state prosecutors in Wuerzburg said on Tuesday.

The former Roman Catholic priest, aged 77, was detained in May on suspicion of taking donations and collection money from his church in Bavaria. Most of the money, including a large number of coins, was found in his apartment and bank accounts.

"A large portion of the money was recovered," Wuerzburg state prosecutor Dietrich Geuder told Reuters.

Attn: Catholic Republicans

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That conservative Catholics pick and choose which teachings they want to follow is not news to readers of this blog. But that they're being called out for it by Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson is.

"Gaps in the justice and compassion of a society require government intervention to secure the common good, which is not common until it includes the poor, the immigrant, the sick, the disabled, the unborn. Catholic teaching elevates the primary importance of families, charities and strong communities - while rejecting the simplistic notion that such institutions render government unnecessary," Gerson writes in today's column titled "Catholic Republicans' political beliefs challenged by their faith."

He's talking to you, Catholic Tea-Partiers, especially those with a Libertarian slant. "Catholic social teaching is simply not libertarian," Gerson writes. And he's right.

He also scolds some liberal Catholic politicians "who elevate autonomy and choice as the highest political values - higher even than the rights of the weak."

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February 12-25, 2016

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