Monday, July 27, 2015

What is happening to religious liberty in the military?

Attorney Michael Berry
This week we’ll be discussing the challenges to religious liberty in the U. S. Military. In recent weeks and years we’ve seen at least two military chaplains – the Army’s Joe Lawhorn and Navy’s Wes Moldder – disciplined or court marshaled for the content of their religious messages.  Additionally, a young Marine lance corporal was recently court marshaled when she had a bible verse posed in her cubical and at least one national cemetery (Houston) has either banned reference to God during military funerals or required prayers be submitted in advance.

Returning to FOT to discuss these matters with Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll will be Michael Berry, senior counsel and director of military affairs for Liberty Institute. He joined Liberty Institute in 2013 after serving for seven years as an attorney with the U.S. Marine Corps. From 2009 until 2013, Mr. Berry served as an appellate litigator, arguing numerous cases before various federal appeals courts.  In 2008, Mr. Berry was selected for a high-profile combat deployment to Afghanistan with a Marine Corps infantry battalion. From 2009 - 2012, Mr. Berry served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the United States Naval Academy.
Senator Rand Paul R-KY

As Director of Military Affairs for Liberty Institute, Mr. Berry’s practice focuses on religious liberty within the armed forces. A recognized subject-matter expert, Mr. Berry has testified before Congress on matters affecting religious liberty in the armed forces and is routinely invited to speak before audiences across the nation about matters affecting religious freedom within the military. 

In addition, we Gina will have her next installment on the religious liberty views of the presidential candidates with Josh Mercer of CatholicVote.org. This week she’ll look at what religious liberty might look like in a Rand Paul Administration.
So join Deacon Mike and Gina for a lively discussion this and every Tuesday at 9 (live) & 9 (rebroadcast) – CDT – on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com
FOT is underwritten by our loyal sponsors: Attorney Rick McConville, Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC, 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; Confluence Brewing Company, off the Bike Trail just south of Grey’s Lake, 1235 Thomas Beck Road; and Financial Planner Rob denHartog, Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, NW corner of 128th Stret and Hickman Road, 515-210-4472.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Planned Parenthood is selling what???

Sad and upsetting news this past week when it was revealed that Planned Parenthood has
Jennifer Bowen
been selling the body parts of aborted babies! Of course, this comes as no real surprise to those in the pro-life community who have seen many times the lists of parts available for purchase and the price for each, including shipping.


As gross as it sounds there is a way to fight back. Tuesday on FOT Jennifer Bowen, executive director of Iowa Right to Life, will join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll to discuss this very disturbing story and what people of faith can do about it.
Also on the program will be our monthly movie review with our star reviewer and research associate Stephanie Crowley.  Stephanie will be reviewing the movie “Faith of Our Fathers.”
So join Deacon Mike, Gina, Jennifer, and Stephanie for a lively half-hour of new of interest for our faith communities at 9 a.m. (CDT) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM and 88.4 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com.
Faith On Trial is underwritten by Attorney Rick McConville, 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; Confluence Brewing, 1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines – right off the bike trail at Grey’s Lake; and Financial Planner Rob denHartog, Northwestern Mutual Life, Northwest corner of 128th and Hickman Road, 515-210-4472.

Monday, July 13, 2015

This Tuesday on Faith On Trial

This week on Faith On Trial we’ll be joined by our old friend Lisa Bourne of LifeSiteNews.com. Lisa has been following and writing on numerous topics in which we’re interested and we’ll be discussing many of them with her, including her latest report that insurance may not cover damages for religious institutions that do not accept so-called same-sex marriage.

We’ll also have another installment of Gina’s interview with CatholicVote.org about the religious liberty views of the presidential candidates. This week we will profile former Florida governor Jeb Bush.
So join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll Tuesday at 9 a.m. (CDT) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com. The program will be re-broadcast at 9 p.m.
Faith On Trial is underwritten by Attorney Rick McConville 2100 Westown Parkway,  West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; Confluence Brewing Company, 1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines; and Financial Planner Rob denHartog NW corner of 128th & Hickman, 515-210-4472.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

How has 10 years of same-sex marriage affected Canada?

Gerald Chipeur
Tuesday’s guest on Faith On Trial is Gerald Chipeur, a partner in the Calgary, Alberta law offices of Miller-Thomson LLC. His practice over the last three decades has focused on public policy. He'll be discussing some of the legal ramifications for Canadians since so-called same-sex marriage was legalized there 10 years ago.

We’ll also have our monthly visit from our media critic Todd Erzen on the media focus of issues affecting people of faith. Join Deacon Mike Manno and Gina Noll at 9 a.m. (CDT) on Iowa Catholic Radio 1150 AM; 88.5 & 94.5 FM and streaming on IowaCatholicRadio.com. The program will be rebroadcast at 9 p.m.

Faith On Trial is underwritten by Attorney Rick McConville of Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise PC, 2100 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, 515-453-1055; Confluence Brewing Company, 1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines; and Financial Planner Rob denHartog, wealth management advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life on the Northwest Corner of 128th Street and Hickman Road, 515-210-4472.

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 IowaCatholicRadio.com. 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 IowaCatholcRadio.com. All times are CDT.