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Why Religious Conservatives Have Birth Control Benefits Wrong

In a country of alarmingly high unplanned pregnancy, American women need access to affordable birth control for economic and health reasons.

June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, AlterNet

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The Obama administration’s recent decision to require most religious-affiliated employers to cover birth control for their employees is good news for the women who work for religious employers and do not share the male hierarchy’s opposition to birth control. It is also good news for a country with the one of the highest unplanned pregnancy rates in the developed world.

More Than Just Using Condoms

Contraception, as every woman knows, is a system that depends on developing the right habits and getting consistent reinforcement from partners, parents and/or friends. In other words, effective contraception takes more work than simply remembering to use condoms. As a result, many women are more devoted to their gynecologists than other doctor in their lives – and gynecologists can be expensive. One of us visited hers after the birth of a third child. By the late thirties, pregnancy becomes riskier for mother and child and few families feel they can afford a fourth even on a law professor’s income. The gynecologist explained that methods of contraception that work for young women often don’t work as well after childbirth. The solution: an IUD. There was only one problem, the doctor sheepishly explained: It cost $400 and insurance wouldn’t cover it for an employee of a Catholic university. For a professional, $400 is not out of reach; for many women it is.

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What Kind of Christianity Is This?

Though founded by a pacifist, Christianity has justified some of the most brutal slaughters in human history, from the wars of the late Roman Empire to the Crusades to the Inquisition to world wars to genocides against “heathens,” Muslims and Jews. Yet, Gary G. Kohls says the essence of Christianity can still be reclaimed.

Gary G. Kohls, Consortium News

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Jesus delivering the Sermon on the Mount (painting by Carl Bloch)

From time to time, I read about condemnations of religion coming from non-religious groups, especially concerning the all-too-common violence perpetrated in the name of religious gods. Indeed there is plenty to condemn.

Altogether too many religions sects of both major and minor religions, despite verbally professing a desire for peace and justice in the world, are actually pro-war, pro-homicide and pro-violence in practice (or they may be silent on the subject, which is, according to moral theology, the same as being pro-violence).

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Christianity Is Not a Jewelry Store

  • Christianity is about loving; I believe that when you don't love then you're committing a slow suicide because there is nothing to nurture your soul. Love is L ife, O pportunity , V oice and E xpression. Wake up and find the strength to love your sons, daughters and others who are different; they are God's gifts to you and to our world, that's what Christianity is all about.
  • Gay marriage - a Lutheran leader's plea to Catholic bishops
  • The Gospel of the Penniless, Jobless, Marginalized and Despised

Milton Lee Norris, OpEdNews.com

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This article is about Christianity and Christians, real vs. so-called Christians. It speaks of Christianity as not being a jewelry store where people get to pick and chose whom they should love. It speaks of the rock b/w Christianity and God's love. It points out how Gays and the LGBT people aren't the real dilemma of the Christian Church but plainly how being evil and hateful are the real issues.

When I think of Christianity I think of God, love and goodness; when thinking of what doesn't fall into the realm of Christianity many other things enter my mind.   It comes to light that Christianity is not like going to a jewelry store or to an exclusive retail store; we don't get to pick and choose which way is the right way to love. We cannot go into a store and pick out people to love like diamonds, gold, silver, cell phones, PCs or any other electronic equipment; people are not things. Jesus' example of love is simple; "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

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Gay marriage - a Lutheran leader's plea to Catholic bishops, Herbert W. Chilstrom, Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune
May I share a word with all of you who now lead the Roman Catholic community of faith in Minnesota?

The Gospel of the Penniless, Jobless, Marginalized and Despised, Chris Hedges, Common Dreams

  • "If you are gonna worship somebody that was nailed to a tree, you must know that the life of a disciple of that person is not going to be easy. It will make you end up on that tree. And so in this sense, I just want to say that we have to take seriously the faith or else we will be the opposite of what it means.” --James Cone
  • How the GOP Tries to Transform America into a Selfish, Souless Place
     

Bloomberg blasts use of anti-Muslim movie during NYPD training

The screening of the film inside the 36,000-member police department has been known for months, but police previously said only a few officers had seen it. They stopped showing the film after a trainee complained.

Chris Hawley,  Associated Press / Washington (DC) Post

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday (Jan 24) that New York police used "terrible judgment" in showing officers undergoing counterterrorism training a graphic, hard-hitting film that says Muslim extremists are bent on establishing a worldwide Islamic regime.

Bloomberg said police have stopped showing "The Third Jihad," a 72-minute documentary-style movie that has been branded inflammatory by some Muslim groups and was bankrolled, according to The New York Times, by a conservative group called the Clarion Fund.

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As Attacks on Planned Parenthood Aim for Sex-Ed Funding, Let's Remember How Bad Religious-Backed Abstinence Only Programs Are

  • Live Action and Lila Rose want to replace Planned Parenthood's sex-ed funding with false information and religious fundamentalist preaching.
  • In 2012 Bishops Join Fight to Repackage Discrimination as ‘Religious Freedom’

Andy KopsaAlterNet

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It is being reported that Live Action’s Lila Rose is planning the next step in her ongoing effort to defund Planned Parenthood: take away its sex-ed money. Rose is lamenting the fact that Planned Parenthood got federal money to implement evidence-based comprehensive sex education via PREP funding (Personal Responsibility Education Program).  

In preparation for what may eventually be another Lila Rose grainy expose trumpeted by the Right, it’s helpful to brush up on where millions of tax dollars are going to pay for sex “education” -- ineffective and stigmatizing abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

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In 2012 Bishops Join Fight to Repackage Discrimination as ‘Religious Freedom’ Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches

  • Don’t be surprised if the “religious freedom” argument finds its way into conservative arguments about “big government” in 2012. It’s not just for the religious right anymore.
  • Protest against Cardinal George Gay Rights-KKK Comparison planned
  • Catholic bishops assault health and religious freedom
     

Supreme Court Ruling Grants Religious Groups Broad Right To Discriminate

  • “Blatant discrimination is a social evil we have worked hard to eradicate in the United States,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “I’m afraid the court’s ruling today will make it harder to combat.”
  • Church-State Watchdog Says ‘Ministerial Exception’ Has Been Taken Too Far
  • Does Clarence Thomas Care About Prosecutors Behaving Badly?

Americans United

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Americans United for Separation of Church and State today expressed disappointment over a Supreme Court decision that affirms the right of religious groups to ignore anti-discrimination laws in some cases.

The high court today handed down a ruling in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The case dealt with a Michigan religious school that fired a teacher because of a medical condition.

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Does Clarence Thomas Care About Prosecutors Behaving Badly? Adam Serwer, Mother Jones

  • The more prosecutors feel like they can get away with railroading defendants, the more they're likely to do it, and the more likely an innocent person is to be punished. The possibility isn't an abstract one.
  • The prosecutors' behavior in the Smith case was so egregious that even Thomas' conservative colleagues were unwilling to join him this time around in upholding the original verdict.
  • Clarence Thomas is not above the law
     

The Gospel of the Penniless, Jobless, Marginalized and Despised

  • "If you are gonna worship somebody that was nailed to a tree, you must know that the life of a disciple of that person is not going to be easy. It will make you end up on that tree. And so in this sense, I just want to say that we have to take seriously the faith or else we will be the opposite of what it means.” --James Cone
  • How the GOP Tries to Transform America into a Selfish, Souless Place

Chris Hedges, Common Dreams

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Steve Clemens

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

(Credit: Mr. Fish)

“The Cross and the Lynching Tree are separated by nearly two thousand years,” James Cone  writes in his new book, “The Cross and the Lynching Tree.” “One is the universal symbol of the Christian faith; the other is the quintessential symbol of black oppression in America. Though both are symbols of death, one represents a message of hope and salvation, while the other signifies the negation of that message by white supremacy. Despite the obvious similarities between Jesus’ death on the cross and the death of thousands of black men and women strung up to die on a lamppost or tree, relatively few people, apart from the black poets, novelists, and other reality-seeing artists, have explored the symbolic connections. Yet, I believe this is the challenge we must face. What is at stake is the credibility and the promise of the Christian gospel and the hope that we may heal the wounds of racial violence that continue to divide our churches and our society.”

So begins James Cone, perhaps the most important contemporary theologian in America, who has spent a lifetime pointing out the hypocrisy and mendacity of the white church and white-dominated society while lifting up and exalting the voices of the oppressed. He writes out of his experience as an African-American growing up in segregated Arkansas and his close association with the Black Power movement. But what is more important is that he writes out of a deep religious conviction, one I share, that the true power of the Christian Gospel is its unambiguous call for liberation from forces of oppression and for a fierce and uncompromising condemnation of all who oppress.

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How the GOP Tries to Transform America into a Selfish, Souless Place, Leo Gerard, AlterNet

  • In the spirit of their self-centered mentor Ayn Rand, Republicans are trying to disfigure America so she resembles Pottersville, the 'bankers town' in "It's a Wonderful Life."
  • A Republican Insider Looks at the Rise of the Religious Right
     

Should People and Governments Shun the Totalitarian Catholic Church?

  • When a totalitarian regime aids and abets the rape of tens of thousands of children one would expect it to be shunned by governments and citizens alike.
  • In 2012 Bishops Join Fight to Repackage Discrimination as ‘Religious Freedom’
  • What is the moral standing of the Catholic Church?

David Morris, Defending the Public Good

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When a totalitarian regime aids and abets the rape of tens of thousands of children one would expect it to be shunned by governments and citizens alike. And any statements it might issue on matters of morality accorded no respect.

Why should we make an exception when the regime is the Catholic Church?

That the Roman Catholic Church is totalitarian is undeniable. Church law itself makes this clear. Canon 331 declares the Pope “the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.”

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Related:

In 2012 Bishops Join Fight to Repackage Discrimination as ‘Religious Freedom’ Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches

  • Don’t be surprised if the “religious freedom” argument finds its way into conservative arguments about “big government” in 2012. It’s not just for the religious right anymore.
  • Protest against Cardinal George Gay Rights-KKK Comparison planned
  • Catholic bishops assault health and religious freedom
     

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