Acknowledging that it is “not good for Democrats” to go “head-to-head” with “any church,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told The Daily Caller that he and his Democratic caucus “totally” support President Barack Obama forcing religious institutions to cover contraception in employee health insurance plans or pay a federal fine.
Catholic bishops across the country are speaking out against this provision of the health care law.
TheDC asked Reid if he thinks it is a good idea, politically, for the president to go against the Catholic Church on the issue.
“Of course it’s not good for the Democrats to go head-to-head against any church, so we certainly don’t intend to do that,” Reid said at the Capitol on Tuesday. “But we had a good discussion in our caucus today and the caucus totally supports the president. I do.”
Addressing reporters with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republican leaders, Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said the GOP will attempt to “repeal” the provision.
“This is just the latest intrusion here into individual religious liberty but represents what we believe is an unacceptable growth in the size and scope of the federal government most clearly evidenced by the president’s health care bill, the so-called Affordable Care Act which limits the liberties and choices that Americans get to make in their lives,” he said Tuesday.
“I hope the administration will back down from this rule that violates conscience. If it does not, I can guarantee you that we will do everything within our power to repeal it.”
Read more here.
As America prepares to draw down from wars abroad, it faces a new conflict as a vicious drug war spills across our southern border with Mexico.
Former Border Patrol Agent Zachary Taylor told The Blaze just how grave the threat really is.
Taylor broke down the imminent dangers and expanded upon the case that the U.S.-Mexico border has become the soft underbelly of U.S homeland defense.
It’s not just an immigration problem, Taylor insisted, but also a major national security vulnerability.
A former US Border Patrol Agent himself, Taylor says all these threat have been exacerbated by current Obama administration policies and deliberate distortions in much of the media.
To understand the scope of the problem, Taylor first wants the public to recognize that the dominant media narrative is intentionally false. As a former and longtime Border Patrol Agent, Taylor balked at the notion that illegal immigration is simply a function of people seeking a better life.
Read more here.
No matter your thoughts on President Obama’s citizenship, members of both sides will likely be interested in this story.
Remember Terrence Lee Lakin? If the name doesn’t ring a bell, how about Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin. Still no dice? How about this: he’s the birther Army officer who refused to obey orders to deploy to Afghanistan because he said those orders were coming from a president with questionable citizenship. He was put before a court marshal and sentenced to jail. After serving six months, he was released and dishonorably discharged from the service.
So why are we talking about him again?
Well a shocking new charge has emerged from Lakin’s attempt at a civilian career in Kansas. According to him, he was denied approval of a medical license not because he wasn’t qualified, but because of his political views.
“The dishonorable discharge had no bearing on Lakin’s license to practice medicine in Maryland or Colorado,” reports KCTV in Kansas. “But the Kansas board ruled Lakin‘s refusal to deploy to Afghanistan ’…potentially jeopardized the health, safety and welfare of the military troops for with applicant was employed to provide medical care.’”
So Lakin – a doctor of osteopathic medicine — went before the medical board. The hearing lasted about 16 minutes and a transcript shows the board was mostly concerned with his politics, not his practice. KCTV reports:
Lenexa physician Michael J. Beezley kicked off the questioning about Lakin’s thoughts on the president.
“So I guess you need to explain the difference between going to Afghanistan in 2004 and going over there after President Obama was elected,” said Beezley. “Is that the big kick?”
“Yes,” replied Lakin.
Ellsworth Dr. Ronald Whitmer then followed up.
“Do you believe he was a U.S. citizen, President Obama?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Lakin replied.
“…the long form of his birth certificate has been publicized,” Whitmer said. “What does it take to make you believe that he is a U.S. citizen?”
“I think that I have a question and I don‘t think that question’s been answered, but if this has to do with my medical capabilities…,” said Lakin.
“What would make you have that answered?” said Whitmer.
Whitmer kept pressing Lakin.
“Say if and when he’s elected again and the Reconciliation Act becomes law, which it already is, and all of a sudden we have 20 million more people who’ve got healthcare, are you going to refuse those people because this is?” asked Whitmer.
“No. No. No,” insisted Lakin. “I was being ordered to a combat zone to, you know, put my life on the line.”
Read more here.
A federal appeals court on Tuesday declared California’s same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional, putting the bitterly contested, voter-approved law on track for likely consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that a lower court judge correctly interpreted the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedents when he declared in 2010 that Proposition 8 was a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians.
It was unclear when gay marriages might resume in California. Lawyers for Proposition 8 sponsors and for the two couples who successfully sued to overturn the ban have repeatedly said they would consider appealing to a larger panel of the court and then the U.S. Supreme Court if they did not receive a favorable ruling from the 9th Circuit.
“Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted,” the ruling states.
The panel also said there was no evidence that former Chief U.S. Judge Vaughn Walker was biased and should have disclosed before he issued his decision that he was gay and in a long-term relationship with another man.
The ruling came more than a year after the appeals court heard arguments in the case.
Proposition 8 backers had asked the 9th Circuit to set aside Walker’s ruling on both constitutional grounds and because of the thorny issue of the judge’s personal life. It was the first instance of an American jurist’s sexual orientation being cited as grounds for overturning a court decision.
Walker publicly revealed he was gay after he retired. However, supporters of the gay marriage ban argued that he had been obliged to previously reveal if he wanted to marry his partner — like the gay couples who sued to overturn the ban.
Walker’s successor as the chief federal judge in Northern California, James Ware, rejected those claims, and the 9th Circuit held a hearing on the conflict-of-interest question in December.
California voters passed Proposition 8 with 52 percent of the vote in November 2008, five months after the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage by striking down a pair of laws that had limited marriage to a man and a woman.
The ballot measure inserted the one man-one woman provision into the California Constitution, thereby overruling the court’s decision. It was the first such ban to take away marriage rights from same-sex couples after they had already secured them and its passage followed the most expensive campaign on a social issue in the nation’s history.
The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and the Law, a think tank based at the University of California, Los Angeles, has estimated that 18,000 couples tied the knot during the four-month window before Proposition 8 took effect. The California Supreme Court upheld those marriages, but ruled that voters had properly enacted the law.
Read more here.
The Catholic bishop of Harrisburg, Pa., has apologized for offending anyone with his recent comments that Hitler and Mussolini “would love” the public school system in Pennsylvania, because it is similar to what they sought to create in their totalitarian states.
But in a statement issued by the diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop Joseph McFadden did not retract comments he made during an interview on Jan. 24 with WHTM-TV, the ABC affiliate in Harrisburg.
The bishop made a comparison between the interests of the public school system and totalitarianism, while discussing what he sees as a lack of school choice in Pennsylvania.
“In the totalitarian government, they would love our system,” McFadden said. “This is what Hitler and Mussolini and all them tried to establish — a monolith; so all the children would be educated in one set of beliefs and one way of doing things.”
McFadden’s comments drew immediate criticism from the Anti-Defamation League and the American Civil Liberties Union – which complained that the bishop had raised the specter of the Holocaust.
“We respect the Bishop and his position in the Church. We appreciate his commitment the education of children and the viability of Catholic schools. However, he should not be making his point at the expense of the memory of six million Jews and millions of others who perished in the Holocaust,” Barry Morrison, Eastern Pennsylvania/Southern New Jersey regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.
“The Holocaust was a unique experience. It does not lend itself to inappropriate analogies. We have an obligation to protect the memory of those who suffered because of it from those who would distort it and undermine and trivialize the history of the Holocaust, however inadvertently. Our role should be to honor those who fought to defeat the murderous Nazis, and not to inappropriately draw reckless comparisons.”
Read more here.