The Supreme Court could have settled the question of whether federal bureaucrats may issue punishing, perhaps incapacitating, fines to faith-based organizations that refuse to participate in what we believe to be evil. Instead, the justices sent all of the cases in Zubik back to the four federal circuit courts that heard them first. The high court also asked those appeals courts to step away momentarily and give the two sides time to resolve the case on their own.
What will the administration do now? The White House’s latest “accommodation” proposal for religious nonprofit charities, schools and other organizations did not satisfy the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The proposal and each of its previous versions required faith-based groups seeking an exemption from the mandate to submit a form to an authority. Without this initiating action, abortion-causing drugs would not be made available to our employees. The basic requirement that we be complicit in the provision of abortifacients and other life-denying drugs, devices and procedures was a part of every government proposal. When we responded that we are forbidden by our faith to take part in this scheme—the government effectively retorted, “So what?
But both sides in Zubik have told the Supreme Court that a solution is theoretically possible.
For instance, the administration could, for once, actually listen to the Zubik petitioners—and to the scores of other faith-based groups that have lawsuits pending in lower courts—and propose a solution that does not hijack our health-insurance plans. The administration could, for example, make abortifacient/contraceptive coverage available to religious nonprofit employees through the ObamaCare exchanges, Title X (the federal program devoted to family-planning services), or separate arrangements with our own or another insurance company. In other words, don’t involve us, or the health-insurance plan we offer our employees, in the effort to expand coverage of abortion-inducing drugs.
The administration might be tempted to come up with a proposal that satisfies only those groups that have third-party insurance coverage—and not those that self-insure. This wouldn’t be acceptable, because self-insurers underwrite their own health-insurance plans and are, practically speaking, their own insurance companies. A government “accommodation” that offered as its only option a requirement that insurers of religious nonprofit groups offer the employees of those groups separate plans for abortifacients and contraceptives would still force self-insured religious groups to violate their faith.
“Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and he was obedient to them” (Luke 2:51).
Reflection: Though he was conceived of a virgin, Jesus nevertheless lived as a son in a human family. The family is the sanctuary of life. The family, above all, is where life is to be welcomed, no matter how fragile or inconvenient it may be. One of the many reasons why the Church sees abortion and euthanasia as pre-eminent issues is because these crimes are committed by one family member upon another.
Prayer: O Holy Family, bless our families, and lead us to a Culture of Life. Amen.
“Life is always a good. …Why is life a good?… The life which God gives man is …a manifestation of God in the world, a sign of his presence, a trace of his glory” (John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, n.34).
Reflection: Abortion advocates say that the embryo or fetus is “just a collection of cells.” But this is no argument at all. The same can be said of you and me. If someone does not see the dignity of the human person, their view of people is just reduced to cells.
Prayer: Fill us with wonder, Lord, at your glory shining through every human life. Amen.
Abortion is a sin committed by men as well as women.
Imagine that someone planned to kill his neighbor, obtained the weapon, but at the last minute was caught by the police before he could pull the trigger. Although the intended victim in this plan did not die, the one who tried to kill him still committed a sin. The sin is in the decision to do evil.
Abortions are usually the decision of someone else who pressures the mother to do it. Often, this is a man – perhaps the father of the baby, or the father of the woman getting the abortion. These men commit the sin of abortion, even if the abortion doesn’t occur. To decide that a baby should be killed is to sin against that baby and against the Lord of life.
ATLANTA — Dr. Alveda C. King, Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, today mourned the passing of the Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
“Howard will be sorely missed. He was a man of integrity and deep compassion,” said Dr. King
Rev. Creecy, 57, died Thursday, July 28, at his Atlanta home. The cause of death has not yet been determined.
He was elected to lead the SCLC in January, when Bernice King, the daughter of SCLC co-founder Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., declined the position. A third-generation preacher, he also was the senior pastor of Olivet Church in Fayette, Ga.
When he assumed the SCLC post, Rev. Creecy acknowledged that internal divisions had troubled the 54-year-old organization in recent years. His goal was to get past those divisions and move the organization forward with a clearly defined mission.
SCLC spokesman Maynard Eaton told Reuters that Rev. Creecy “saved this organization. It was on the brink of disaster. He became this organization’s lifeline with his charisma and his preacher passion.”
Dr. King was looking forward to working with Rev. Creecy to raise awareness of the devastating impact of abortion on the African-American community.
“Howard and I spoke just a few weeks ago at a women’s conference honoring both our mothers. He stopped me in the hallway and said, ‘Alveda, we should meet soon. I am with you in the fight for life.’ He went on to say that he had attended a pro-life prayer meeting with Dr. Billy Graham, and had also participated in Operation Rescue pro-life rallies.”
Isaac Newton Farris Jr., a nephew of Martin Luther King Jr., has been named interim president, the organization said.
Rev. Creecy is survived by his wife, Yolanda Grier Creecy, and two children. The funeral will be Saturday at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Pope Benedict addressed the Pontifical Academy for Life in February of 2011. Speaking of abortion, he said, “It would be useful to focus attention on the fathers of the children, who often abandon pregnant women. It is the duty of the moral conscience to discern good from evil in the different situations of existence. Abortion blinds the conscience of the child’s father, often ruining family life.”
While men can’t have abortions, they do commit the sin of abortion. The “abandonment” of which the Pope speaks often consists in the man saying it is the woman’s choice. This makes her feel alone and desperate, and increases the temptation to abort. The man, instead, is called to stand with the woman and the baby and say, “we can do the right thing.”
This weekend we observe Fathers’ Day. We thank God for faithful fathers who, like God himself, give and protect life.
Let’s also pray for fathers who are afraid to be fathers.
Thousands of times a day, children are aborted, not because of a choice of the mother, but because of the choice of a father, who fails to show the faithfulness and willingness to protect the child he has helped conceive.
At other times, fathers tried to stop the abortion. But the law excludes them from the final decision about the abortion.
Men do suffer grief after the abortion of their child. Healing programs are available for these fathers.
Let us pray today for all fathers. When their child is unexpected, may they welcome that child and encourage the child’s mother to say yes to life.
Why don’t more pastors speak out against abortion? Some of them actually do not know how to connect the issue with the Scripture readings. They know that the readings are supposed to be the basis of their homilies, but they do not find many references to the unborn child or to the killing of such children.
But the themes of pro-life are on every page of Scripture. Homilies are not simply Scripture lessons. Rather they apply the great Biblical themes to the day to day challenges that believers face as they live their lives.
So, for instance, the Bible is clear that only God has dominion over human life – he made it, he cares for it, he owns it. That is why no human being can own or kill or devalue.
I recently assisted in putting together a conference for hundreds of pastors, who received new courage in preaching the Word of Life. My friend David Barton of Wallbuilders gave a message in which he pointed out that public officials who don’t recognize the first inalienable right, life itself, will not be likely to recognize other inalienable rights we have. He showed specific voting records, and how those who get it right on life will also get it right on economic issues. He summed it up by saying, “If they can take your life, they’ll take your money, too.”
The founding fathers did write about abortion, and did declare that the right to life is the first right that government must recognize and protect. Those who fail to do so fail to govern.