Daily Archives: May 11, 2008

Archdiocese of Kansas: Governor’s Veto Prompts Pastoral Action

What makes the governor’s rhetoric and actions even more troubling has been her acceptance of campaign contributions from Wichita’s Dr. George Tiller, perhaps the most notorious late-term abortionist in the nation. In addition to Dr. Tiller’s direct donations to her campaign, the governor has benefited from the Political Action Committees funded by Dr. Tiller to support pro-abortion candidates in Kansas.
In her veto message, the governor took credit for lower abortion rates in Kansas, citing her support for “adoption incentives, extended health services for pregnant women, providing sex education and offering a variety of support services for families.” Indeed, the governor and her administration should be commended for supporting adoption incentives and health services for pregnant women.

However, the governor overreaches by assuming credit for declining abortion rates in Kansas. Actually, lower abortion rates are part of a national trend. Our neighboring state of Missouri has actually had a steeper and longer decline in its abortion rate.

Governor Sebelius’ inclusion of public school sex education programs as a factor in the abortion rate decline is absurd. Actually, valueless sex education programs in public schools have been around for years, coinciding with increased sexual activity among adolescents, as well as increases in teen pregnancy and abortion. On the other hand, the governor does not acknowledge the significant impact of mass media education programs, such as those sponsored by the Vitae Caring Foundation, or the remarkable practical assistance provided by Crisis Pregnancy Centers which are funded through the generosity of pro-life Kansans.

What makes the governor’s actions and advocacy for legalized abortion, throughout her public career, even more painful for me is that she is Catholic.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Henry Boldget: US Puppet State Dances on OPEC's Strings

Eventually, OPEC will open the taps and oil prices will recede–a bit, for a while. But our dependence on a small group of countries whose interests are often diametrically opposed to ours will continue, and as long as it does, they’ll hold the fate of our economy in their hands.

Time to drill in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge? No. Time to cut us gas-subsidy checks? No. Time to work on a tax and consumption policy that encourages less oil usage and more investment in alternative, renewable energy.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources

Obama takes lead in superdelegate count

Barack Obama erased Hillary Rodham Clinton’s once-imposing lead among superdelegates Saturday when he added more endorsements from the group of Democrats who will decide the party’s nomination for president.

Obama added superdelegates from Utah and Ohio, as well as two from the Virgin Islands who had previously backed Clinton. The additions enabled Obama to surpass Clinton’s total for the first time in the campaign. He had picked up nine endorsements Friday.

The milestone is important because Clinton would need to win over the superdelegates by a wide margin to claim the nomination. They are a group that Clinton owned before the first caucus, when she was able to cash in on the popularity of the Clinton brand among the party faithful.

Those party insiders, however, have been steadily streaming to Obama since he started posting wins in early voting states.

“I always felt that if anybody establishes himself as the clear leader, the superdelegates would fall in line,” said Don Fowler, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Religion and Ethics Weekly: Food Aid Ethics

DE SAM LAZARO: More importantly, Pomeroy says he fears any changes could jeopardize fragile congressional support for what remains the world’s largest food aid program, even though it accounts for just $1.2 billion of the $280 billion U.S. farm program.

Rep. POMEROY: One of the things about the structure of our program is that it’s been able to sustain congressional support through all kinds of political circumstances. Even in the years I’ve been in Congress, I’ve seen very different environments relative to the receptivity of members of Congress to supporting foreign aid.

Ms. MCGROARTY: So for purchasing we want to be targeting associations. I mean, it’s impossible for us to deal individually with each farmer and each farm.

DE SAM LAZARO: World Food Program officials say they make local purchases carefully. They reject criticism that this causes prices to rise. But they’re not about to reject Food for Peace donations.

Mr. SCALPELLI: I am asked this question quite a bit, and I’m not going to bite the hand that helps feed essentially a million Malawians today, and the United States government is indeed the number one largest donor to Malawi still.

DE SAM LAZARO: Other food aid agencies, unlike CARE, say they must continue to monetize their U.S. donations.

(to Nick Ford): Would you not prefer just straight cash assistance?

NICK FORD (Catholic Relief Services): Absolutely, and that’s going to be a much more efficient use of the American taxpayers’ money. We still have a service to provide the target communities for our development activities. Monetization provides resources that do address the root causes of hunger and poverty in these countries.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

Stem cell research – Playing God?

Monstrous to some, but representing a ray of hope in the fight against debilitating diseases to others, stem cell research has been steeped in controversy for over a decade.

While scientists, doctors, patient groups and medical charities welcome the ground-breaking advances it could bring, the Roman Catholic Church and several other faiths are vehemently opposed to stem cell research on the grounds that it compromises the sanctity of human life. Central to the religious objectors’ argument is that using stem cells amounts to deriving benefit from the destruction of human embryos – fertilized eggs in the early stages of development – and is therefore tantamount to murder, and certainly little better than abortion.

Yet supporters of the revolutionary research techniques are thrilled that stem cells taken from embryos can be made to grow into any cell in the human body, providing an extraordinary resource in the fight against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Motor Neurone Disease, diabetes and other conditions.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Theology

In Michigan Trinity Episcopal Church moving forward, growing congregation with new pastor

According to a Flint Journal article, regular attendance at the 66-year-old church was about 70, but dipped to 30 after Kulchar left. Today, attendance is at 45 and growing.

“We went through a great time of healing as a congregation and we are ready to move on,” said Norb Birchmeier, senior warden of Trinity Episcopal Church. “I believe we are a stronger congregation because everyone became closer to each other.”

Congregants often believe they are better at performing some of the management tasks of the church, he said, which leaves new pastor Rev. Lori Johnson more time to address spiritual growth. Johnson’s first service at the church was April 13.

“They seem to be connecting to something in each message,” Johnson said of the Sunday services. “They seem happy and excited to have a new priest and are looking toward the future.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes