First Amendment

Shut thy pie hole, knave!

At the Daily Caller via Weasel Zippers:

A California county has banned a veteran employee from criticizing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because a coworker who overheard the criticism was offended...
Almost don't need to say any more than that but you could read the rest anyway, just for kicks.
Watch that water cooler chit-chat, you scurvy swabs.

In case you still aren't convinced...

...that our freedoms are under attack and that we're in imminent danger of losing them.  

At Lifesite News, via The Line in the Sand:

After a fiery homily last weekend urging the faithful to oppose President Obama’s “radical pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda” at the ballot box in November, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria has been hit with an IRS complaint from a national secularist lobby group...

...On Thursday, the Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State claimed the homily violated federal law by taking sides in a political campaign...

Read the whole thing.

By the way, 

In [Americans United (For Separation Of Church And State)] AU's estimation, conservative congregations are the primary offenders who violate the prohibition against electioneering in the sanctuary:
“Every weekend, millions of Americans attend houses of worship to hear sermons, study scripture and participate in other religious activities. If some politicians and Religious Right activists have their way, however, people in the pews might soon be doing other things during services -- listening to partisan political speeches, being solicited for campaign contributions and getting instructions about whom to vote for on Election Day.”
...AU has condemned the Christian Coalition “Voter’s Guides” that are distributed to churches during election seasons. In an October 2001 letter addressed to nearly 300,000 houses of worship nationwide, Barry Lynn warned churches that they “should be extremely wary of distributing voter guides” lest they lose their tax-exempt status...
AU responds very differently, however, when restrictions against church electioneering are violated by leftists. For instance, the organization chose not to file a complaint with the IRS after presidential candidate Barack Obama had given a speech at the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) 2007 national convention. In fact, when the IRS eventually announced that it would be investigating the UCC, Americans United protested the decision. “We saw no evidence of UCC officials seeking to appear to endorse his candidacy,” said Barry Lynn.
Nor did AU complain that candidate Obama had spoken to congregants at Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) in Chicago, or that TUCC pastor Jeremiah Wright had aggressively supported Obama's candidacy from the pulpit...
What does the first clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution say?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
How does AU interpret that?
...“religion and government must stay separate for the benefit of both,” a meaning that bears little resemblance to the actual wording of the First Amendment.

Seeing double

The fishwrap of record accepted one of these ads and rejected the other (click on the images to embiggen).  Care to guess which is which?











Wee bit of a double standard at the Grey Lady?

If you'd like to read an actual "open letter," try United for Religious Freedom from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

...we wish to clarify what this debate is—and is not—about. This is not about access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, even when it is not provided by the Church’s hand and with the Church’s funds. This is not about the religious freedom of Catholics only, but also of those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block. This is not about the Bishops’ somehow “banning contraception,” when the U.S. Supreme Court took that issue off the table two generations ago. Indeed, this is not about the Church wanting to force anybody to do anything; it is instead about the federal government forcing the Church—consisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutions—to act against Church teachings...

...So what is it about?

An unwarranted government definition of religion...

A mandate to act against our teachings...

A violation of personal civil rights...

The masks are starting to slip

Last spring, we spent a fair number of bits on the NY-26 race in which Dem Kathy Hochul won and replaced Republican Chris Lee who had resigned because of—well, never mind.

Hochul seemed surprised at the pushback from her constituents yesterday.  Oh my:

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

This claim from Hochul is categorically false:

“We’re not gonna agree on this one. I’m gonna tell you that I will stand for our religious freedoms. But I don’t see a conflict here. Now that there’s been an accommodation that says religious institutions do not have to provide these services. So we’re just going to have to disagree on that.”
They still have to provide insurance to their employees that includes free contraception and abortifacients.  Who pays for the insurance?  The religious organizations that get forced to facilitate those transactions, since they can no longer opt out of offering the insurance and must pay a large part of the premiums — and in some cases, the religious organizations self-insure, which means the money comes directly out of their pockets rather than indirectly.  Either way, they most certainly still do have to “provide these services.”  Hochul either is woefully misinformed or willfully lying to her constituents.
Beware.  People like Kathy Hochul are not your grandma's Democrats.

Reductio ad absurdum

"I'm sorry, being forced to sell out your beliefs should not be a price you have to pay for going into business and taking on employees."

That's Tom Blumer at NewsBusters. He's writing about an editorial that appeared in the WSJ entitled "Immaculate Contraception":
Under the original Health and Human Services regulation, all religious institutions except for houses of worship would be required to cover birth control, including hospitals, schools and charities. Under the new rule, which the White House stresses is "an accommodation" and not a compromise, nonprofit religious organizations won't have to directly cover birth control and can opt out. But the insurers they hire to cover their employees can't opt out. If that sounds like a distinction without a difference, odds are you're a rational person.
If you're still having trouble wrapping your mind around the absurdity of the Obama administration argument, once again here's Bud and Lou to explain it all for you.  From contributor Tom Reynolds:
Abbott:     I see the Catholic Church will not have to offer abortion in their medical insurance plans.

Costello:  Their employees will not have insurance coverage for abortions?

Abbott:     No, their insurance company will have to cover it.

Costello:  But you just said the church doesn’t have to cover it.

Abbott:     They won’t, but their insurance carrier will cover it.

Costello:  So, the church will have to offer it.

Abbott:     No, just their insurance carrier.  It will pay for it for employees covered by the church’s policy.  The church won’t have to pay for it.

Costello:  So, who will pay for it?

Abbott:     The insurance company.

Costello:  Where will the insurance company get the money to pay for it?  

Abbott:     They will have to raise the church’s premiums.

Costello:  So the church will have to pay for abortions that are not covered by their insurance policy.

Abbott:     No, that’s not what Obama says.  The church won’t have to pay for abortions through their insurance policy.

Costello:  Wait a minute.  You just said that the insurance company will raise the church’s premium to pay for abortions.

Abbott:     Right.

Costello:  So, the church will pay higher premiums to pay for abortions.

Abbott:     Right

Costello:  But they won’t have to cover abortions in their insurance policy because they are paying for abortions by their insurance company.

Abbott:     Right

Costello:  Didn’t Obama say that Obamacare would not cover abortions?

Abbott:     That was just when he was trying to get it passed.

Costello:  And didn’t he say premiums would go down?

Abbott:     Yep.

Costello:  But you just said that the church’s premium would go up to pay for abortions it is not  covering.

Abbott:     Right.

Costello:  Won’t that conflict with the principles of their faith?

Abbott:     Obama has given them a year to work that out.

Costello:  So at the end of a year, the church will have to find a loophole in their principles so they can pay for abortions.

Abbott:     That’s basically it.

Costello:  What if God objects?

Abbott:     Obama has a rule that allows God to take an exception while not having any impact on abortion coverage. 

Costello:  How will that work?

Abbott:     They’ll require God to agree before he reads the agreement.

Costello:  What if God figures it out?

Abbott:     The Mayan calendar may turn out to be correct.

Oh, that guy on the right?  Another Tom.  Tom Aquinas.  Here at Redneck Mansion we appreciate a little claritas in our arguments.



An art history "teachable moment"

Barbarians at the gate? That painting behind BO is "The Sack of Rome."  Rich Terrell nails it again:


Those pesky social issues just won't go away but it isn't for lack of trying on the part of the MSM.

At Newbusters last night (Monday, 2/6):

NBC Nightly News on Monday lifted its two-plus week blackout of the Obama administration’s decision to force religious institutions, such as Catholic hospitals and charities, to provide birth control coverage in health insurance provided to employees, but ABC’s World News and the CBS Evening News have still yet to utter a syllable about what has enraged people across the political spectrum while having plenty of time to champion Planned Parenthood’s attacks on the Komen foundation...

Ah. No mention of the HHS diktat that would force Catholic and other institutions to include sterilization, abortifacients and contraception in virtually all health plans offered to employees. Religious freedom? Freedom of conscience?  Fuhgeddaboudit.

And Planned Parenthood and the Komen Foundation?  You've heard about that one but maybe not this part:

Karen Handel, a senior vice president of public policy for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, resigned after the breast-cancer group decided to overturn a decision to end grants to Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Ms. Handel joined Dallas-based Komen after an unsuccessful run for governor in Georgia. During that race, Ms. Handel wrote in a blog that she would eliminate any state grants for organizations that supply abortions such as New York-based Planned Parenthood which, she wrote, “I do not support"...
...“Today I accepted the resignation of Karen Handel,” said Komen CEO Nancy Brinker, the group's founder, in a statement...
...Ms. Handel declined a severance package in her letter.......

Planned Parenthood earlier had said Komen was pressured to end the grants by anti-abortion forces.Komen had said it ended the grants because Planned Parenthood was under investigation by Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, into whether Planned Parenthood is illegally using government money for abortions.

Komen had originally said it changed its criteria to deny money to any organization under federal, state, or local investigation. The criteria were later amended to make it clear that the investigations must be criminal and conclusive.
Which, in the current environment and as far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, it will never be. How convenient.
Back to media bias.  At Accuracy in Media, via New Zeal:
So we made it a point to tune into the Big Three network newscasts on Friday night—hours after Nancy Brinker of Komen had caved. We wanted to see if this story would be treated in a neutral manner, or if the stories would be written from the standpoint that Brinker did the right thing—and, why did it take her so long? We did receive a shock, though it was a mild one. One of the three networks actually did a fairly nice job.
NBC was first. Brian Williams handed the story off to Lisa Myers. She had a packaged piece in which she featured several pro-abortion video bites, but no sound-on-tape from any pro-life people. She provided one very short pro-life quote, as a throwaway. It was advocacy journalism, pure and simple.
On ABC, Diane Sawyer did not hand off to a field reporter and did just a brief rundown of the story. But she was giddy about “people power.” There simply was no thought that anyone in the audience might have disagreed with her viewpoint.
It was a different story on CBS. Anchor Scott Pelley put the story later in his broadcast, opting for some national/international stories that he considered more important. When he handed off to Nancy Cordes, she presented a more balanced report with on-camera reaction from both sides of the issue. We suspect Pelley is influencing the CBS Evening News, and taking it down a more journalistic path.
Maybe not so much, as demonstrated at the top of this post.
So tell me again—why would we trust the MSM?
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