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Friday, November 30, 2012

Action alert: Oppose senate ratification of CRPD treaty

Many organizations recently sent the letter below to implore the U.S. Senate to oppose ratification of a treaty that would undermine parental rights and U.S. sovereignty. A vote in expected Tuesday, Dec. 4. Treaty ratification requires a yes vote from two-thirds of the senators present. Urge your senators to vote NO.
Contact your senators with this simple message: "I urge you to oppose ratification of the CRPD treaty, which would undermine parental rights and U.S. sovereignty."

RE: Please Oppose the UN CRPD

Honorable Senator,
We the below-signed leaders from forty national organizations represent millions of Americans. We respectfully urge the United States Senate to reject ratification of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
We are troubled that article 7 of this treaty, in establishing the “best interests of the child” legal standard, would override the traditional fundamental right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their child with special needs.
We are troubled that such a reduction in legal protection in cases of children with disabilities will create an atmosphere discriminatory against those children and their families.
We are troubled that New Zealand’s Education Act of 1989, which has been held to conform to the CRPD, allows the Secretary of Education to force any child with special needs into government-run schools “if the Secretary thinks [the student] would be better off.” This transfers the right to direct a child’s education from fit and loving parents to an officer of the State, in contravention of American tradition and the International Declaration of Human Rights. Yet it accords with this treaty.
We are troubled that accession to this treaty, despite assurances to the contrary, will lead to legal action against private individuals, as seen in the 2011 case of Bond v. United States. In this case, a woman was found guilty of violating the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act, a federal law over a matter formerly of state jurisdiction, which was adopted as a direct result of the eponymous treaty.
We are troubled that accession to this treaty would place our nation under the scrutiny and review of an international committee unelected by the American people, thus violating the vital principle of American self-government.
For these and other reasons, we urge you: please vote against any effort to ratify the CRPD.

Michael P. Farris

Phyllis Schlafly
Founder and President
Eagle Forum

Dr. Richard Land
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission Southern Baptist Convention

Morton Blackwell
The Weyrich Lunch

Tom McClusky
Senior Vice President
Family Research Council Action

Tom Minnery
Executive Director

Penny Young Nance
President and Chief Executive Officer
Concerned Women for America

Matt Staver
Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel

Erick Erickson

Mike Needham
Chief Executive Officer
Heritage Action for America

Austin Ruse
Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM)

William J. Murray
Religious Freedom Coalition

Jim Backlin
Vice President for Legislative Affairs
Christian Coalition of America

Gary A. Marx
Executive Director
Faith and Freedom Coalition

Al Cardenas
American Conservative Union

J. Michael Smith
Home School Legal Defense Association

Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow
Beverly LaHaye Institute

Deryl Edwards
Liberty Counsel Action

Dr. Jim Garlow
Renewing American Leadership Action

Jeff Gayner
Americans for Sovereignty

Mandi Campbell
Legal Director
Liberty Center for Law and Policy

Matt Smith
Catholic Advocate

Donna Rice Hughes
Enough Is Enough

Barbara Samuells
912 Super Seniors

C. Preston Noell, III
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

Richard and Susan Falknor
Blue Ridge Forum

Lisa Miller
Tea Party WDC

Seton Motley
Less Government

Colin A. Hanna
Let Freedom Ring

David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics)
Chief Executive Officer
Christian Medical Association

Ron Pearson
Council for America

Dr. William Greene
Founder and President

Maureen Van Den Berg
Legislative Director
American Association of Christian Schools

Emmett McGroarty
Preserve Innocence Initiative

Andy Blom
Executive Director
American Principles in Actions

Mark Williamson
Founder and President
Federal Intercessors

Peter J. Thomas
The Conservative Caucus

Teresa A. Citro
Chief Executive Officer
Learning Disabilities Worldwide, Inc.

Curt Levey
The Committee for Justice

William A. Estrada
Generation Joshua

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Is ideology or science driving decisions on reproduction-related drugs?

A recent radical recommendation by a pro-abortion medical group raises the question: Is ideology or science driving decisions on reproduction-related drugs?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now wants contraceptives sold without a prescription, age requirement or physician's exam or consultation about complications. Besides stated concerns about reducing pregnancies, ACOG also highlighted in its decision "the possibility of pharmacists inappropriately refusing to provide oral contraceptives." ACOG actively lobbies for abortion rights and to limit conscience rights for health professionals.
The Obama administration shares these political positions of ACOG yet earlier nixed the notion of moving contraceptives to drugstore shelves. Besides stated concerns about teen safety, moving contraceptives out of the pharmacy would undermine the administration's carefully politically calculated mandate that employers' health plans must pay for contraceptive prescriptions.
It is na├»ve to assume that ACOG or the administration completely separate deeply seated ideological and political dogmas from health policy decisions. This potential for personal persuasions to influence public health policy poses a threat to women's health and safety. Policy decisions on  reproduction-related drugs must be probed by media, researched by consumers and vetted by experts well beyond the coterie of abortion advocates in ACOG and this administration.

Monday, November 26, 2012

ObamaCare autocrats, get with democracy

USA Today's in-your-face editorial headline, "ObamaCare resisters, get with the program" and demeaning assaults on opponents of government-run health care reveals the same partisan belligerence and arrogance that shoved ObamaCare through Congress and down the throats of half of the country's citizens who opposed it.
The snarky editorial compares ObamaCare opponents to Japanese soldiers hiding after the war's end, labels them "dead-enders" and "refuseniks" intent on "pointless" and "quixotic" opposition simply because they have been mindlessly "egged on by the conservative group FreedomWorks."
Like this USA Today editorial, ObamaCare autocrats managed to alienate and exclude the very people who could have moderated an extremely partisan, ideological bill into a pragmatic compromise that more Americans could support. Now the administration is wielding the unchecked federal power of ObamaCare to bludgeon into submission states that resist federal intrusion and against religious organizations and individual citizens who conscientiously object to abortion.
This is not how republican democracy is supposed to work, and this is not how American civil dialogue is supposed to resolve our differences.
It's challenging to all of us who hold strong views on health care, but we've got to learn to dialogue respectfully with our fellow citizens who are political opponents and to focus on pragmatic yet principled ways to attain our shared goals of compassion, quality, affordability and financial sustainability.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christian medical groups defend pharmacists in conscience court case

November 20, 2012 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:  Kim Colby, Senior Counsel, (703) 894-1087

WASHINGTON, DC – Today Christian medical professionals filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to defend pharmacists against a regulation that would force Washington State pharmacists to dispense abortion-inducing drugs despite their religious and moral convictions.  “At a time when there is a critical shortage of pharmacists, a regulation that forces pharmacists to choose between their jobs and their religious beliefs needlessly threatens the health care of all citizens of Washington State,” explained Kim Colby, Senior Counsel for Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law and Religious Freedom.
In February 2012, a federal district court declared Washington State’s regulation unconstitutional because it violated the pharmacists’ federal right to freely exercise their religion.  The regulation unconstitutionally targets pharmacists’ religious objections to dispensing abortifacients, even though any pharmacist may refuse to dispense any drug for various nonreligious reasons.  Singling out religious beliefs for prohibition, while leaving non-religious beliefs unrestricted, is unconstitutional.  The state appealed the district court decision. The brief filed today urges the Ninth Circuit to affirm the district court’s liberty-respecting decision. 
In a national survey, over nine in ten (91%) of faith-based physicians indicated, "I would rather stop practicing medicine altogether than be forced to violate my conscience." Protecting faith-based health care professionals should be a top-priority in order to insure health care access for millions of Americans --especially the poor and medically underserved patients who are most likely to count on faith-based health care.
The friend-of-the-court brief was joined by Christian Medical Association, American Association of ProLife Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Catholic Medical Association, Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, and Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International.  The brief was prepared by attorneys at the Bioethics Defense Fund and the Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law and Religious Freedom.
The Christian Legal Society is a nationwide association of Christian attorneys, law students, and law professors.   

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election 2012 reflects America's changing values landscape

"Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs." - President Barack Obama, acceptance speech Nov. 6, 2012
When the smoke cleared from the landmark Nov. 6 election shoot-out, the shifting opinions and deeply held beliefs of Americans became clearer:
·       Americans reelected Barack Obama, whose policy decisions, appointments and speeches have marked him as the most pro-abortion president in history.
·       Despite national law to the contrary, Colorado, California and Washington legalized the "recreational" use (i.e., getting stoned) and sale of marijuana, setting up a potential clash of state and federal governments.
·       After 32 other states had rejected the notion, Maine and Maryland became the first states where voters legalized same-sex marriage, and Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
·       Massachusetts voters only narrowly rejected a proposal to legalize assisted suicide, preventing the state from joining Washington and Oregon in sanctioning medical killing via ballot initiative.
Big government proponents basically beat small government advocates. Democrats largely bested Republicans by retaining control of the White House, federal agencies and foreign affairs while also keeping their judge-confirming, treaty-ratifying, House bill-blocking majority in the Senate. Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives. The partisan combination potentially sets up more Congressional gridlock, since pragmatic compromise seems unlikely as Democrats continue to slant toward the left and Republicans to the right ideological wings of their constituencies.
The election results reflect the changing American values landscape underscored recently by a Pew survey (you can read my analysis) indicating a sharp rise in citizens who do not claim or seek any religious affiliation. The results also reflect the political clout of unions, the homosexual community and women focused on "reproductive rights." While many evangelicals and Catholics put aside theological concerns regarding Mitt Romney's Mormon religion and focused on religious liberty and life issues, their votes proved insufficient to help the challenger win key battleground states.
Losing presidential candidate Mitt Romney noted in his concession speech,
"We look to our teachers and professors, we count on you not just to teach, but to inspire our children with a passion for learning and discovery. We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family. We look to our parents, for in the final analysis everything depends on the success of our homes."
Gov. Romney hit upon a key to our future as a nation when he looked past politics to the real culture-changers--parents, pastors and school teachers. To that traditional list I would add musicians, movie makers, athletes, artists, philosophers, academics, journalists, doctors and scientists. Add in also everyone who influences peers by tweeting, posting on Facebook and circulating YouTube videos.
If we Christians are to influence our culture with biblical values, we must first infiltrate these cultural centers of influence. Elections, laws and policies matter greatly, but we can't reach our nation by politics alone; we must also influence our culture. One of the main reasons that this organization keeps an office in Washington, DC is to educate our leaders and our nation with biblical values.
In influencing our culture, we must practice what we preach. Perhaps we Christians sometimes have relied too heavily and too soon on our words when the world first wants to see our works.
Christian influence in America may continue to decline until our nation experiences a spiritual revival that leads to cultural renewal. Our job is to pray fervently and work ceaselessly toward that end. Scripture assures us that God has always been eager for such revival:
"[If] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. --2 Chronicles 7:14
Besides humility, prayer and penitence, we can also help lay the groundwork for such revival by following the command of Jesus:
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. --Matt 5:16
Finally, we can faithful pray for all in authority:
"…I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." --1 Tim 2:1-4