This is an opportunity to hear speakers and meet with legislators on issues of importance to the Catholic church at large (including economic justice, housing, access to health care, child welfare, life issues (abortion, assisted suicide, and death penalty), environment, criminal justice. If interested, please refer to the January 26th bulletin for details.
National (Washington D.C.) and State (Olympia, Washington) legislative items There are a number of important issues of immediate interest (and needing action) at both the federal and the state levels. Below are details on some of the issues, and how to contact your legislators on matters that are important to you and the Church.
H.R. 7…"No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" with more than 145 co-sponsors in the House, this legislation would ensure that you and I aren't reluctant shareholders in the nation's abortion business -- in ObamaCare, domestic spending, and even foreign aid. This is important because the current “Hyde Amendment” is not permanent. This bill has passed in the House. Please contact your U.S. Senators now and ask them to also pass this bill. https://www.votervoice.net/WSCC/Campaigns/34333/Respond
“Health Care Conscience Rights Act” Under the new health care law (ACA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requires most health plans to cover “preventive services for women,” including drugs and procedures that many citizens find objectionable for moral and religious reasons. These objectionable items include sterilization, FDA-approved birth control (such as the IUD, Depo-Provera, “morning-after” pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella), and “education and counseling” to promote these to all “women of reproductive capacity,” including minor girls. Under the final rule released by HHS, the mandate allows only a very narrow exemption for a “religious employer,” chiefly aimed at what HHS calls “houses of worship.” Other religious organizations offering education, health care and charitable services do not qualify for the exemption. The mandate will be enforced beginning January 1, 2014, under an “accommodation” that only changes the way the objectionable items must be provided to all employees and their dependents. There is no exemption or delay for individuals, for non-religious pro-life organizations, or for businesses owned and operated by families with moral or religious objections. Please support passage of this legislation. https://www.votervoice.net/WSCC/Campaigns/33887/Respond
H.R. 3133, the “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” – would prohibit the federal government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether non-profit or for-profit, based on their religious beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman, or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. H.R. 3133 would prohibit the federal government from discriminating in tax policy, employment, licensing, or contracting against such groups and individuals. It would also prohibit the federal government from making tax-exempt status contingent on a group’s beliefs about marriage. Please support passage of this bill.
Internal Revenue Service Contact the IRS to OPPOSE proposed regulations found in REG-134417-13. It would restrict good citizenship by redefining voter registration, non-partisan voter guides, legislative records, candidate debates or forums, get-out-the-vote reminders, even the mention of any issue that has been raised by a candidate as regulated political activity. This is yet another serious First Amendment issue.
Find your state legislators http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/ and contact them immediately on these issues.
OPPOSE HB 2148 Abortion Insurance Mandate. Concerning health plan coverage for the voluntary termination of a pregnancy, is now moving on to the House floor for a vote. It is also now being taken up in the Senate (SB 6359). This bill is a reintroduction of a nearly identical bill which passed the House but failed in the Senate in 2013. Advocates raised concerns that the abortion coverage mandate not only violated a fundamental right to religious liberty, but also stood in violation of the Hyde/Weldon Amendment of the federal Labor/HHS appropriations bill.
HB 2148 presents a clear challenge to the conscience rights of those who do not wish to participate in health plans which offer abortion coverage. This bill does not offer conscience protections for employers who do not wish to provide insurance coverage for abortion services. It also does not offer an exemption to an employee or anyone who do not wish to support abortion through their insurance premiums.
Please contact your state Senator and Representatives to OPPOSE this bill. https://www.votervoice.net/WSCC/Campaigns/34227/Respond
SUPPORT SB 5156 (& HB 1257) Parental Notification for Abortion…this bill would require parental notification prior to abortions performed on girls who are unemancipated and under 18. Unless the parent or guardian has waived their right to notice, or there is a medical emergency, the abortion practitioner must give notice to one of the minor’s parents or legal guardian at least 48 hours before the procedure. An exemption, known as a judicial bypass, would allow minors to undergo an abortion without parental notification. Petitions for judicial bypass are confidential and free. If the court finds the girl to be “sufficiently mature and well-informed” or a victim of abuse, or if the court fails to rule within 48 hours, the petition is granted. https://www.votervoice.net/WSCC/Campaigns/30547/Respond
Please contact your state Senator and Representatives to SUPPORT passage of this bill.
SUPPORT HB 2174 – Upholding Parental rights. Recognizing that the right of a parent to make decisions regarding the care, custody, supervision, and administration of his or her child is a fundamental right. (please “Support” this legislation). Ask for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.
Local With all of the debate that continues to rage around the country, and particularly here in the Seattle area on the issue of “marriage”, have you asked yourself recently ‘just what DOES the Catholic church teach about marriage’?
Of course, the best place to start researching this topic is in the Holy Scriptures, since it is the official source of Catholic teaching. On this specific matter, both the Gospels of Matthew and Mark (Matthew 19: 4-6, 12; and Mark 10: 6-8) document what Jesus had to say on this very important topic: “…from the beginning the Creator made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh… Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”.
Needless to say, what Jesus (Our Lord & Savior) said about marriage is what the Catholic Church (and most Christian churches) teach about marriage (http://old.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt2sect2chpt3art7.shtml). The Catholic Church is hardly in a position to 'change' what is such a direct and fundamental teaching of Jesus Christ and reality of our existence as the human family. But it isn’t just what Jesus and Christianity says about marriage that is relevant. This is what science (biology specifically) states on this subject. “Human reproduction is a biological process by which descendants are created by combining of the parent's genetic material. Sexual reproduction involves two different adult sexes (male and female) that produce sex cells (sperm and ovum) ....Offspring are then produced following the fusion of the sex cells.” (creationwiki.org).
To the point, scientific law (as well as natural law) states what we all know to be true: that ALL children are the product of the genetic materials (sperm from the father, and ovum from the mother) of their biological parents. Accordingly, consistent with natural law or scientific law or Scriptural law, there is no such thing as “marriage equality”. If it’s two men having sexual relations or two women having sexual relations, in neither case are they capable of producing children through their sexual relations and thus establishing a family. As such, there is no equality when comparing heterosexual and homosexual relationships. This is not a discrimination of human origin; this is the fact of natural law, or God’s law, and there’s truly nothing that we as humans can do to change it. This is also not a matter of judgment, but rather acknowledging what is fact and truth.
Just because people in some places have chosen to establish laws (of human origin) does not change basic reality. Just because it is a man-made “law”, doesn’t mean it has any basis in truth. Abortion is legal in our country. Up to 1865, slavery was legal in our country until President Lincoln and his party succeeded in passing the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Just because it’s a law, doesn’t make it right. When such man-made laws conflict with the teachings of Jesus Christ, then we have a direct challenge to consider and evaluate.
As the future Pope Francis wrote in 2010 when the debate about same-sex marriage was at its peak in Argentina, “Let’s not be naïve: This is not a simple political struggle, but an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill, but a move of the Father of Lies, who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.” Further, Jesus said…"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18: 6). Our Holy Father points directly at the devil for creating confusion and deception, but Jesus goes further to warn anyone who misleads His children of the serious consequences.
Pope Francis has frequently been quoted as saying ‘who am I to judge’, just like Jesus said ‘do not judge others’. Paul said that ‘all sin and fall short of the glory of God’. Lucky for us all, in John 8:11 as Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery… "neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, do not sin anymore."
We all sin, and need God's mercy that comes through the blood of Jesus. We are called to love one another, as Christ loves the Church. We are to treat one another with the dignity as being the children of God. We are called to “repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.’ As Jesus told the women caught in adultery…”from now on, do not sin anymore”. None of us are in a position to judge; Jesus is the judge. However, Jesus also said that we must acknowledge Him before men, or He will not acknowledge us before the Father. Therefore, we must stand up as Catholics for what we know to be true, as taught by Jesus himself and defended by the Catholic Church as truth.