The Catholic Church is suing the Obama administration, including Kathleen Sebielus, HHS Secretary, for being engaged in a "conscious political strategy to marginalize and delegitimize religious views on contraception by holding them up for ridicule on the national stage."
A city has refused the last wish of a local Baptist pastor's wife to have her cemetery marker engraved with an "ichthys," an early Christian fish symbol, and the name of "Jesus" inscribed in it, as a remembrance of her love for the Lord.
The city initially said no and compared it to a "swastika."
These are not isolated incidences. Unfortunately, this fits a pattern we find in local government, public education and in the federal government. The details are below.
But first I want to make you aware of a new book that has just been released titled, "Home For Christmas," available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others. It is in e-Book format with print to follow next week.
The book is written by Seattle area resident Stephanie Wilson.
She is a native of the Northwest, born in Bellevue. She has produced television programs for CBS affiliates that were syndicated nationally. She has written and produced a television series that won a national Angel Award for excellence in the media.
In addition, she has written news copy for a local CBS affiliate and directed marketing programs for successful humanitarian organizations.
Stephanie earned her degree from Seattle Pacific University in history and in communications.
She and her husband have one son.
The novel storyline is based in Seattle.
For a quick overview, click here.
This is Wilson's second novel. Her first, "Whispers Of The Heart," also based in the Northwest, was read widely here and across the country.
Stephanie is a devout Christian and contributes a great deal of time and talent to Faith and Freedom.
I strongly recommend her book. Its a great read as we move toward Christmas.
Is government trying to deliver a kiss of death to all who do not embrace the current far left secular agenda?
It seems so.
CNS News says, "At issue in the lawsuit is whether the administration can force the archdiocese to secure a third-party administrator for its self-insurance plan who will provide sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs at no cost to church employees at some of the archdiocese’s separately incorporated subunits."
They report, "These subunits include a number of Catholic schools and charities, including Archbishop Carroll High School and Catholic Charities of Washington."
Lawyers representing the archdiocese are arguing that actions and statements made by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius demonstrate that the administration is deliberately targeting the Catholic Church for its religious views.
The archdioceses says, “When the government promulgated the mandate, it was acutely aware that the gap in coverage for contraception was due primarily to the religious beliefs and practices of employers such as the Catholic Church.”
It does indeed seem that the Obama administration is targeting the Catholic Church.
The Government itself has already conceded that 85 percent of health plans already cover contraception, and has said that adding contraception to the remaining 15 percent is "cost-neutral.”
The Catholic Church is not the only government target, but it certainly sheds light on what looks like dark deeds.
Instead of pursuing one of a wide variety of options for increasing access to contraception without forcing these religious groups to participate in the effort, the government has deliberately chosen to pick a high-profile fight by forcing religious groups to provide or facilitate access to contraception in violation of their core Christian beliefs.
Why is our government seemingly obsessed with picking these kinds of fights with citizens---80 and 90-year-old veterans and now the Catholic Church.
A memo sent to the court by the archdiocese says, “The record, moreover, establishes that the mandate was part of a conscious political strategy to marginalize and delegitimize plaintiffs’ religious views on contraception by holding them up for ridicule on the national stage.”
The Memo gives several examples. Here's one of them:
At a NARAL Pro-Choice America fundraiser, Defendant Sebelius mockingly said, "Wouldn’t you think that people who want to reduce the number of abortions would champion the cause of widely affordable contraceptive services? Not so much.”
The archdiocese says in their memo to the court, “This is further confirmed by the fact that it was directly modeled on a California statute, see 77 Fed. Reg. at 8726 (explaining that the federal Mandate was modeled on state law); … whose chief legislative sponsor made clear that its purpose was to strike a blow against Catholic religious authorities: ‘59 percent of all Catholic women of childbearing age practice contraception.’ ‘ percent of Catholics believe . . . that someone who practices artificial birth control can still be a good Catholic. I agree with that. I think it’s time to do the right thing.’”
“Thus,” says the memorandum, “not only the ‘real operation’ but also the intended effect of the mandate is to target and suppress plaintiffs’ religious practices.”
The sponsor of the California legislation cited in the archdiocese’s memorandum was Jackie Speier, who formerly served as a member of the California state senate and is now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1999, Speier pushed legislation in the California state legislature that required any health care plan that covered any prescription drugs to also cover artificial contraceptives.
CNS reports, "A study done by PriceWaterhouseCoopers at that time discovered that 'coverage of reversible forms of contraception is available to approximately 90 percent of insured Californians.' Catholic organizations—which adhered to the teaching of the Catholic Church that artificial contraception is intrinsically immoral--stood conspicuously outside that fold."
"Speier’s California legislation included a very narrow exemption for religious organizations that was essentially limited only to houses of worship--leaving out Catholic charities, hospitals and schools," they say.
CNS reports that, "The original wording of the religious exemption in the Obamacare sterilization-contraception-abortifacient regulation issued by the Department of Health and Human Services was modeled on this California exemption."
Like HHS Secretary Sebelius, Rep. Jackie Speier is a Catholic, who, in contradiction to the church teaching, ardently advocates legalized abortion.
We witnessed the same behavior with former WA Governor Gregoire in regard to redefining marriage. Although she said she was conflicted because of the teaching of her parents and her church (the Catholic Church) that marriage is between one man and one woman--she caved to the pressure of the secular left and got behind their efforts to redefine marriage in Washington State.
The secular progressive agenda seems to be more important to this administration than the "fairness" and "equality" they say they champion. And to Christians and the Christian faith, upon which this country was founded.
Fox News reports, "Linda Baker, the wife of Mark Baker, Pastor of Harvest Baptist Church near Sterling, Colorado, lost her battle with cancer last week."
A devout Christian, Linda had asked that her tombstone be engraved with the "ichthys," a fish symbol made by early Christians to identify each other because of the persecution.
She also wanted the name of her Lord and Savior "Jesus" inscribed in the fish. The inscription is 6 inches long.
The city that owns the cemetery said, "No."
First they said the inscription wouldn't fit. The family pressed. Finally the city, including the city attorney said, "It might offend someone."
The family persisted, the answer remained the same. "No."
The director of the city owned cemetery said, "What if someone wants to put a "swastika" in the cemetery?"
Finally, the family in deep grief, decided to put their story on Facebook.
Then a miracle happened. The city discovered that there was, indeed, enough room for "Jesus."
They also discovered their was room for the fish, as well.
This episode turns the light on what is happening too often across America. Nothing has changed in the Constitution or the Amendments over the last several decades.
Take a walk through the Sterling Cemetery. Fox News says there are many tombstones that have Bible verses inscribed on them as well as angels and numerous other Christian symbols.
Why is our government so intent on taking the name of Jesus out of the American culture? Are they trying to give Christianity the "kiss of death?"
It's been tried before. It won't work. The more governments and authorities persecute Christians, the more Christianity spreads.
Todd Starnes with Fox News made this observation: "As for the cemetery manager—comparing the name of Jesus to a swastika? Really, sir? My only wish is that on Judgment Day Mrs. Baker is standing at the Pearly Gates watching you explain yourself to Saint Peter."
Be Vigilant. be Strong. Be Brave. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.