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Don't read that bill


Twenty-seven years in Washington -- as press secretary and legislative assistant to a member of the House Budget Committee, political correspondent and public relations pitchman -- has, to be sure, its drawbacks. It is easy to fall victim to the unreality of the Washington bubble, the "inside the beltway" mentality and all that.

But such experiences also provide an ear for the demagogic sound bite, the trite but false phrase, the Astroturf manufactured message masquerading as grass-roots wisdom.

Case in point: the oft-repeated cry from those who opposed the $787 billion economic stimulus bill that no one had "read the bill."

The chorus of false outrage was large. On the House floor, Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) yelped that members of Congress had not "read the bill." Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal joined the choir in his Feb. 24 response to President Obama's address to the joint session of Congress, saying "we can rid our Capitol of corruption and ensure we never see the passage of another trillion-dollar spending bill that Congress has not even read [italics added] and the American people haven't even seen."

26 prominent Catholics back Sebelius pick


A group of 26 Catholic leaders, scholars and theologians Mar. 1 publicly expressed support for the nomination of Governor Sebelius as the next HHS secretary .

They issued a statement calling attention to Sebelius’ successful efforts at reducing abortion in Kansas as well as the Catholic faith’s long standing support for universal health care.

Sebelius Feb. 28th accepted President Obama's request to become his Health and Human Services secretary.

“As faithful Catholics we proudly offer our support to Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who has been nominated to head the Department of Health and Human Services,” statement read.


Conservatives denounce Sebelius nomination


Catholic group defends Gov. Sebelius record


Catholics United today, a Washington-based Catholic group, announced an initiative intended to educate Catholic leaders and laity on Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius’ record.

Sebelius Feb. 28th accepted President Obama's request to become his Health and Human Services secretary, stepping into a central role in the new administration's ambitious effort to overhaul the nation's health care system.

The effort features a Web site – Catholics for Kathleen Sebelius – which includes facts about Sebelius' record on issues important to Catholics, and a grassroots petition to demonstrate Catholic support for her nomination.

“Gov. Sebelius is a proven and tireless advocate for children's health care, education, adoption, and support for pregnant women, all components of a public policy agenda intended to benefit the common good. Under her leadership, the state of Kansas has witnessed sharp declines in both abortions and teen pregnancy,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United.

Brownback questions foes' Catholicism


Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback, in a fundraising letter for a new Washington-based antiabortion group distributed under his signature, questioned whether six of his Democratic colleagues and the Speaker of the House are genuine Catholics.

"Real Catholics need a new voice — not the likes of Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi who have campaigned as Catholics while voting to undermine the values that we hold most dear," according to the undated Brownback letter.

NCR received the letter in the mail Feb. 17.

Lincoln's faith remains an enigma


WASHINGTON -- Seven score and four years ago, Abraham Lincoln stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and said North and South alike must suffer for the sin of slavery.

"If God wills that (the war) continue until ... every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, so it still must be said 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether,'" Lincoln said in his second inaugural address, quoting the Psalms.

Protecting unborn life: human law and Godís law


It is argued by some that President Obama’s approach of using social and economic support to bolster the protection of unborn life is inadequate without a legal effort to reverse Roe v. Wade. As it is generally appreciated now, however, reversing Roe in itself does not necessarily secure legal protection for life -- indeed, it could invite the opposite.

African-American Catholic elected to head GOP


Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele won a sixth ballot victory today to become the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

A prominent Catholic lay person, Steele serves on the Administrative Board of the Maryland Catholic Conference -- the church’s lobbying arm in the state capitol of Annapolis -- and is a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Landover Hills, MD, where he attends mass regularly with his wife Andrea and their two sons Michael and Drew.

Rumors aside, FOCA no threat to Catholic hospitals


WASHINGTON -- Internet rumors to the contrary, no Catholic hospital in the United States is in danger of closing because of the Freedom of Choice Act.

As a matter of fact, the Freedom of Choice Act died with the 110th Congress and, a week after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, has not been reintroduced.

But that hasn’t kept misleading e-mails from flying around the Internet, warning of the dire consequences if Obama signs FOCA into law and promoting a “FOCA novena” in the days leading up to Inauguration Day.

The Catholic Health Association “is strongly committed to opposing FOCA and (the board) is unanimous that we would do all we could to oppose it,” said Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., an elected member of the CHA board of trustees since June 2006.

“But there is no plan to shut down any hospital if it passes,” he added in a Jan. 26 telephone interview. “There’s no sense of ominous danger threatening health care institutions.”

Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who is CHA president and CEO, was equally sure that FOCA poses no threat to Catholic hospitals or to the conscience rights of those who work there.

Obama rescinds controversial abortion policy



President Obama late Friday, through an executive order, reversed an eight-year Bush Administration policy, allowing the movement of tens of millions of U.S. foreign aid dollars to flow into family planning organizations abroad which advocate abortion or provide abortion services.

The Bush administration had restricted such aid to family planning organizations that had no abortion related activities in their family planning programs.

“For the past eight years, they have undermined efforts to promote safe and effective voluntary family planning in developing countries,” Obama said of the restrictions. “For these reasons, it is right for us to rescind this policy and restore critical efforts to protect and empower women and promote global economic development.”

In a written statement, Obama said he would work with Congress to restore financial support for the United Nations Population Fund. But he bemoaned the “politicization” of abortion and promised to reach out to all sides to initiate a new dialogue about reducing unintended pregnancies.

Essay: How to end the Abortion Stalemate??


Few rulings in American history reverberated across the political and social landscape with as much seismic fallout as the Roe v. Wade decision handed down 36 years ago.

Liberals cheered the landmark case as a breakthrough in women's rights. Conservatives and religious leaders railed against the Supreme Court's decision as an affront to human life and a classic display of judicial overreach.

Decades passed, ideologies hardened and bumper sticker slogans ruled the day. The abortion culture wars rewarded the shrillest voices and shattered bridges to common ground.

Today a new generation of Catholic, evangelical and other faithful Americans who believe that over 1 million abortions performed a year represent a profound moral failure are pushing to end the abortion stalemate.

Recognizing the tragedy of terminating a pregnancy will never be solved by harsh rhetoric or through legal battles alone, these religious voters support bipartisan efforts to reduce the number of abortions by preventing unintended pregnancies, expanding adoption opportunities and increasing economic supports to vulnerable women.



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November 21-December 5, 2014


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