Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Great Catholic response to the Supreme Court

June 30, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

For a long time now, I have felt that we have entered a post-Christian era in the history of western civilization. There is almost an embarrassment about being a Christian and a denial of the roots that Christianity has provided in the development of our society. In the European society, the Euro community refused to acknowledge the historical significance of Christianity in the development of European society. The pope made an impassioned plea for that recognition, but it fell on deaf ears. Now we have a European community that is clinging to its roots, as it is slowly being destroyed by its own hubris.

Here in the United States, we are apparently a European “wannabe.” We have been slowly disavowing ourselves of any connection to religion and separating ourselves from any symbols which may be offensive, though they have been in existence for decades.

Part of it can be attributed to the tyranny of the minority -- one person is offended by a statue or a picture reflecting some religious symbolism and off we go to an activist court for social reconstruction -- the sensitivity of the one is imposed on the many.

Oh! But we have separation of Church and state, they say (actually only by judicial edict). There was no separation of Church and state when the parochial schools were educating the masses because government lacked the capacity to do so. There was no separation when the religious hospitals were providing care in areas the government could not or would not.  Nor when religious charities were providing for the homeless long before state welfare organizations were instituted.

Separation seems to be a concept of when we need you it’s “okay, please participate” and when we don’t “get out of our political way because we don’t need to be tainted by your religious zeal.”  Religion is treated like the intellectually challenged adult that, in less enlightened times, would be kept separate from the family for fear of embarrassment and from the social elite who might think less of them.

As Catholics, we have weathered the governmental and societal bashing that has taken place for 2,000 years. We survived the Roman Empire, the monarchies, the “isms,” of Nazism, communism and self-proclaimed “rationalists.” And we will survive the rejection of our own society and its continued attempt to muffle our voice and isolate us from the decision-making table. We will pay a price. But, we will not do so without preaching and teaching the truth.
The recent decision of the Supreme Court legalizing same sex marriage is sad, because it once again takes upon itself the redefinition of the word. This time it’s “marriage.” The definitions of words seem to not matter to the court. The simple truth is that marriage is between a man and a woman. Why? Because from the dawn of civilization men and women were joined together to perpetuate our species. Marriage constitutes a family where individuals are raised, given an identity and form the basic building block of our society.
In our brave new world, we can generate human beings in a test tube -- no one need know who the father is. A surrogate can be used, as would an incubator, in order to fulfill the desire for a child by two males. The terms mother and father are now subject to redefinition. Perhaps it will take a village to raise the children, especially if they will not have identifiable role models. But, we have permitted same sex individuals to claim marriage as a right at the cost of family deconstruction and role model redefinition.
I haven’t even broached the subject that God ordained marriage. From the beginning he created them, males and females were told to go forth and multiply. The Church has established marriage as a sacrament and it is evident in its teachings how essential the understanding of marriage between a man and a woman is to the faith.
I know that you have often heard the term “cafeteria” Catholic. This is a Catholic that picks and chooses what is convenient in the teachings and ignores the rest. The Supreme Court decision was made by a court composed of six Catholics, with the majority opinion rendered by Catholic judge, Justice Anthony Kennedy (supported by another Catholic, Justice Sonia Sotomayor). Perhaps, he remembered another Kennedy claiming that he would not be guided by the pope or the teachings of the Church once he is elected president. The four dissenters were Catholic with an excellent dissenting opinion rendered by Justice Antonin Scalia (concurring Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Thomas and Justice Alito).   

This was not the first time that a terrible decision was influenced or rendered by a Catholic on the Supreme Court.  Chief Justice Tawney in the Dred Scott decision actually inferred that a slave, a man, a human being, was just a piece of chattel and must be returned to the owner. This decision was the seed of Civil War and the decision of the court to define a man as property. And Justice Brennan, the only Catholic on the high court, influenced the Court in the Roe v Wade decision, voting with the majority. This decision denied any rights to the child in the womb which has led to the destruction of more than 50 million lives since 1973 (read “The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court” by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong).
We will not be assuaged from what the Church teaches and I believe it calls for even greater courage in the face of this rejection of truth. Ever the social critic, Cardinal Francis George may be right when he said that he will die in his bed, his successor will die in jail and the one who follows his successor will die a martyr in the public square. He envisioned the social upheaval in our society as a mounting persecution of the Church. I will willingly wear the orange jumpsuit, if it means standing up for the truth and the Catholic faith.
I guess one doesn’t have to worry whether or not any Catholic judge or Catholic elected official would be compelled to follow the teachings of his or her faith. Unfortunately for some, it’s just a window dressing that can change with the seasons (political pressure, popular opinions and the polls). That’s a sad commentary on the effect of faith because so much truth and goodness (dignity of the human being) is found in the richness of a faith that mandates us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.                 

Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Where do Christians go from here? Has the Supreme Court become our enemy?

This week on FOT we’ll be joined by Edward Morse, professor of law at Creighton University School of Law, to discuss Friday’s decision by the U. S. Supreme Court that held that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.

For the past two years we have reported on the continued efforts of the militant LGBT community to not only establish homosexual relations as normative, but to shut down anyone who openly supports traditional marriage.  We have been branded as bigots, people have lost their businesses jobs and forced into bankruptcy simply because of support for traditional marriage. And thus far the courts and civil rights commissions have sided with the activists against the Christians.
Professor Edward Morse
There is a warning from Canada where same-sex marriage has been recognized for over ten years. This is from an April 24th column by Dawn Stefanowicz published in Pubic Discourse:
“I want to warn America to expect severe erosion of First Amendment freedoms if the US  Supreme Court mandates same-sex marriage. The consequences have played out in Canada for ten years now, and they are truly Orwellian in nature and scope.
“In Canada, freedoms of speech, press, religion, and association have suffered greatly due to government pressure. The debate over same-sex marriage that is taking place in the United States could not legally exist in Canada today. Because of legal restrictions on speech, if you say or write anything considered “homophobic” (including, by definition, anything questioning same-sex marriage), you could face discipline, termination of employment, or prosecution by the government.
* * *
“Over and over, we are told that “permitting same-sex couples access to the designation of marriage will not deprive anyone of any rights.” That is a lie.
“When same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2005, parenting was immediately redefined. Canada’s gay marriage law, Bill C-38, included a provision to erase the term ‘natural parent’ and replace it across the board with gender-neutral ‘legal parent’ in federal law. Now all children only have ‘legal parents,’ as defined by the state. By legally erasing biological parenthood in this way, the state ignores children’s foremost right: their immutable, intrinsic yearning to know and be raised by their own biological parents.”
Can this happen in the United States? Will it happen? When will it happen?
Well, as you know it is already happening (see Deacon Manno’s comments below); not only here in Iowa but around the nation as well: a wedding chapel closed because the owners are devout Christians and they refused to let it be used for a lesbian wedding; a florists who, after serving a gay man for years, drew the line at setting up for a gay wedding and is now in jeopardy of losing her business; the baker whose business was wiped out and now faces bankruptcy and a $130,000 fine for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding [ironically you apparently can refuse to bake a cake with a Confederate theme without harm]; the photographer who was fined $7,000 for failing to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony; Catholic Charities forced to leave three jurisdictions because it will not adopt to same-sex couples, and the list just keeps getting longer and longer, as regular listeners know.
So join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll for their conversation with Professor Morse. It should be an eye-opening program.
Faith On Trial is underwritten by Attorney Rick McConville, Confluence Brewing Company, and Financial Planner Rob denHartog and airs every Tuesday morning at 9 (CDT) on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streams on The program is re-broadcast each Tuesday at 9 p.m.

Friday, June 26, 2015

What the Supreme Court decision on marriage means to Christians

Today’s 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court that says bans on so-called homosexual marriage are unconstitutional, raises the fear that, not only will marriage itself be marginalized, but that the Church and church-related organizations will now be subject to legal attacks from the gay-rights community.

But many today are hailing the decision as one for “love” and claiming that today is a day to celebrate. Unfortunately they are wrong, both morally and legally.

The question is always put to us: What harm does recognizing a gay marriage do to your marriage? Well, the answer is simple: nothing directly. But what it does do is to undermine the bedrock of society: the family. One need only look at the rise in illegitimacy to see how falling sexual morals have eroded the lives of so many children born into single parent homes, and the strain it has placed on society at large. Over time the same type of fallout can be expected from gay-marriage.

But the harm will go further than that. “No one is forced to do anything against their conscience,” the gay-friendly crowd and many television pundits will say.  Nonsense! Ask the wedding photographer, the baker, and the florist who have been run out of business because they did not wish to participate in a ceremony that celebrates sodomy. Ask the former CEO of Mozilla who lost his job because he donated $1,000 to an effort to support traditional marriage. Ask the university administrator who lost her job because she wrote a letter to the editor supporting the Christian view of marriage.  

Across the nation the gay-friendly crowd is using public accommodation and non-discrimination laws and rules to force Christians to accept and participate in ceremonies that they find morally reprehensible. They have even attacked the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts as hateful and bigoted … remember Indiana and how its spineless governor capitulated rather than stand up for religious liberties?

And remember how the Obama Administration and many Democrats have changed the phrase from “Freedom of Religion” to “Freedom of Worship” in an attempt to narrow the focus and the religious liberties of Americans? Wait, it will get worse.   

While the harm to society will be long-term, some of the legal results will be immediate: Loss of tax exempt status for organizations that don’t support gay-marriage, a position that President Obama’s attorney at the Supreme Court admitted was a possibility; denial of the use of public facilities, remember the Boy Scouts?; disfavored status with charitable organizations such as United Way, again remember the scouts? And how about the already politicized IRS, do you really expect it to sit by and do nothing? Already Catholic Charities’ adoptions have been forced from three jurisdictions because of its refusal to adopt to same-sex couples.

And if you want a really good picture of what will happen look to Canada where you can be fined for even expressing your views against homosexual marriage.

How far will it go and can it be stopped? These are the lingering questions that we will have to face.  In the upcoming weeks we will explore these topics starting next Tuesday when Law Professor Ed Morse of Creighton University will join us to begin the conversation. 

Tune in to Faith On Trial every week Tuesday at 9 a.m. and re-broadcast at 9 p.m. on KWKY 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on All times are CDT.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Iowa tele-med abortion case: Next FOT

Last week the Iowa Supreme Court handed down its opinion on the Iowa Board of Medicine’s rule on the practice of tele-med abortion. The board had passed a rule that before a woman could be given abortion pills she had to be personally examined by a physician.
Matthew Heffron
Planned Parenthood, who had been providing the abortion pills after a video conference between the woman and a physician, challenged the board’s rule. The district court held that the rule was legal.  But last week the Supreme Court reversed the lower court and held the rule an unconstitutional burden on a woman’s right to an abortion, but stopped short of ruling that the right to an abortion is found in the Iowa Constitution.
Governor O'Malley
This week, Matthew Heffron from the Thomas More Society, who was on an amicus brief supporting the board, will give us his analysis of the case.
In addition, Gina Noll’s series on the religious liberty positions of the presidential candidates will take a look at former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D).
So join Gina and Deacon Mike Manno for a lively discussion of these and other items of interest at 9 a.m. (CDT) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on  The program will re-air at 9 p.m.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

What happened in the Irish vote for same-sex marriage?

A couple of weeks ago the predominately Catholic nation of Ireland voted overwhelmingly to legalize so-called same-sex marriage.  Why? What happened in Ireland and does it bode any warning for the United States? And finally, what was the role the Church played in the Irish vote and what lessons can we learn from it?
Deacon Fournier
Joining us this Tuesday to discuss these issues will be Deacon Keith A. Fournier, founder and chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance and a regular contributor to The Stream. A deacon of the diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he is a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate who served as the first and founding executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice. Deacon Fournier has long been active at the intersection of faith and culture and serves as Special Counsel to Liberty Counsel. He is also the Editor in Chief of Catholic Online. You can read some of Deacon Fournier’s commentaries here.
Join Deacon Mike Manno and co-host Gina Noll this Tuesday for a lively discussion of this and other issues affecting how we practice our faith. In addition to Deacon Fournier, our research associate Stephanie Crowley will have another movie review, so tune-in Tuesday at 9 a.m. (CDT) to Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM and 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on The program will be re-broadcast at 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Faith On Trial is supported by our underwriters, Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC, 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; Confluence Brewing, off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road where there is entertainment in the tap room every Thursday; and Rob denHartog, Wealth management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW corner of 128th Street and Hickman Road, 515-210-4472.
Faith On Trial is broadcast every Tuesday at 9 and 9 on Iowa Catholic Radio. This Tuesday will be our 100th broadcast!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Threat To The Charitable Tax Status Of Churches And Houses Of Worship

Mike Farris, constitutional lawyer, an original co-author of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, outlines the continued assault on America’s religious liberty including new threats to the funding for religious institutions, particularly schools and colleges.

Mike Farris on the threat to the charitable tax status of churches and houses of worship: 

“Christian colleges and churches need to get prepared. We must decide which is more important to us — our tax exemption or our religious convictions. Keep in mind, it is not the idea that the college itself might have to pay taxes that is the threat. Schools like Patrick Henry College, which I started, never run much of a profit. But since PHC refuses all government aid, all of our donations for scholarships and buildings come from tax deductible gifts. Cutting off that stream of revenue is effectively the end of such colleges absent a team of donors who simply don't care if gifts are deductible.”

Farris’ latest piece in USA Today highlights these new threats: Christians schools will have no choice about gay marriage

This week on Faith on Trial Deacon Mike and co-host, Gina Noll will discuss these trends with Mike Farris, widely known for his leadership on homeschooling, religious freedom, and the preservation of American sovereignty.  Mike currently serves as Chancellor of Patrick Henry College and Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

We will continue our new series looking at the presidential candidates’ stands on religious liberty. Joshua Mercer,  political director at, will take a look at how a Ben Carson, neurosurgeon, administration might fair for religious liberties . We will follow with similar profiles on each of the declared candidates every second and fourth Tuesday.

Faith On Trial is heard every Tuesday at 9 a.m. (CDT) and rebroadcast at 9 p.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streamed on

Monday, June 1, 2015

Was there bias by the prosecution in Oregon’s Sweet Cakes by Melissa case?

The Daily Signal is reporting that the government agency responsible for enforcing Oregon’s anti-discrimination law appeared to be working closely with a powerful gay rights advocacy group in its case against the baker who refused to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding celebration.

“Communication between the agency, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, and the LGBT organization, Basic Rights Oregon, raise questions about potential bias in the state’s decision to charge the [bakery owners] with discrimination for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding,” the Daily Signal reported Monday.
Kelsey Harkness
In April the agency recommended the bakery owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein, be fined $135,000.
This week on Faith On Trial, the author of the report, Kelsey Harkness, Daily Signal’s news producer, will discuss this matter with Deacon Mike Manno and his co-host Gina Noll.
According to the Daily Signal story, unearthed emails appear to challenge the Bureau of Labor’s contention that the case was fairly administered and decided.
This week we'll also have our monthly visit from our media critic, former Des Moines Register reporter Todd Erzen.
Faith On Trial is heard every Tuesday at 9 a.m. (CDT) and rebroadcast at 9 p.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streamed on