Evangelical and Catholic groups on Friday blasted the Obama administration over its decision not to expand religious exemption from the new health care law that will require them to provide insurance plans covering contraceptives, sterilization and some abortion-causing drugs.
Christian groups joined together in condemning “Obamacare” after the Health and Human Services announced its decision, which officials claimed was reached after reviewing more than 200,000 comments from interested parties and the public.
“Despite the fact that certain drugs and devices approved by the FDA can work after conception to destroy a newly developed baby, the Obama Administration mandate still forces all insurance plans to carry these drugs and devices even if employers are morally opposed,” Tom McClusky of Family Research Council Action said in a statement.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said religious groups would have one additional year to comply with the mandate (until August 2013 rather than August 2012). “I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.”
But McClusky said the one-year delay “does nothing to change the anti-religious, anti-conscience, and anti-life contraceptive mandate, rather it only postpones its implementation until after the presidential election.”
The new rule also mandates that religious groups with a one-year reprieve in the meantime be “forced to tell their employees where to obtain contraceptives,” FRC Action pointed out. “This completely violates the conscience rights of many Americans. As we approach the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade tomorrow may all voters who respect life take note of the Obama Administration’s ardent policies against life and religious liberty and vote accordingly in November.”
The National Association of Evangelicals also said it was “deeply disappointed” by the White House decision that was announced Friday. Freedom of conscience is a “sacred gift from God, not a grant from the state,” said Galen Carey, vice president for Government Relations at NAE. “No government has the right to compel its citizens to violate their conscience. The HHS rules trample on our most cherished freedoms and set a dangerous precedent.”
The HHS policy includes a thin exemption for religious organizations that focus only on religious services to their own members.
“The exemption leaves the vast majority of religious employers who serve the entire community unprotected,” the NAE stated. “If this narrow definition of ‘religious employer’ is adopted in other areas of law, it may lead to further erosion of the conscience protections Americans have historically held.”
FRC Action also contended that the mandate, issued in August, violates the principles of the Church Amendment which protects conscience rights for those who object to contraceptives and other services on moral or religious grounds,. “Additionally, the U.S. government already funds domestic family planning at a level of $1.9 billion annually.”
Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York also lambasted the Obama administration’s health care law. “Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience,” he said in a statement. “This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.”
He encouraged his community to tell their elected leaders that “you want religious liberty and rights of conscience restored and that you want the administration’s contraceptive mandate rescinded.”
Religious groups are not likely to comply, the Washington-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has hinted.
Given the anger among religious groups, they might choose to pay fines rather than act against their conscience, some believe.
Seeks global-warming data on Earth rather than moon mission
Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert, the premium online newsletter published by the current No. 1 best-selling author, WND staff writer and columnist. Red Alert subscriptions are $99 a year or $9.95 per month for credit card users. Annual subscribers will receive a free autographed copy of “The Late Great USA,” a book about the careful deceptions of a powerful elite who want to undermine our nation’s sovereignty.
The Obama administration plans to ax NASA plans to return astronauts to the moon, according to anticipated 2011 federal budget the White House aims to release to Congress in the first week of February, Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert reports.
Instead, the administration plans to reorient NASA to a much more terrestrial mission – monitoring earth climate changes in an effort to document global warming.
Forget about the moon
An article in the Orlando Sentinel reported the Obama administration 2011 budget would eliminate money for the constellation program that was supposed to return Americans to the moon by 2020.
Also cut by the Obama administration were two rockets key to the NASA plan to return to the moon – the Ares I rocket to replace the space shuttle to ferry humans to space stations orbiting the earth and the Ares V cargo rocket that was to launch the fuel and supplies to take humans back to the moon.
“There will be no lunar landers, no moon bases, no constellation program at all,” Robert Block and Mark Matthews of the Orlando Sentinel wrote. “In the meantime, the White House will direct NASA to concentrate on Earth-science projects – principally, researching and monitoring climate change.”
CIA to investigate global warming
WND has previously reported on the Obama administration’s determination to pursue an ideologically driven global-warming agenda, despite Climategate disclosures that the science underlying the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was fraudulently contrived.
Despite terrorist attacks against the United States recurring with the Fort Hood shooting and the December underwear bomber, President Obama has tasked the CIA with investigating global warming.
The CIA’s environmental surveillance, Measurements of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis, or MEDEA, operating out of the CIA’s National Reconnaissance Office, has now been tasked by the Obama administration to supply classified satellite intelligence to a group of government-chosen scientists to measure climate changes, including Arctic sea ice.
While Democrats in the Senate appear to be backing off Obama’s efforts to pass cap-and-trade legislation, the Obama administration has decided to reduce carbon emissions through bureaucratic measures, utilizing the existing Clean Air Act to have the Environmental Protection Agency declare carbon dioxide to be a harmful chemical and to implement stricter smog standards.
Obama science czar favors ‘geo-engineering’
Red Alert has previously reported that despite evidence the earth is cooling, White House science czar John Holdren favors geo-engineering the climate to save the planet.
In a videotaped interview with the Associated Press archived on YouTube, Holdren made clear that “we have to keep geo-engineering on the table because we might get desperate enough to want to use it.”
Red Alert warns readers that President Obama is an ideologue who can be expected to pursue a global-warming agenda to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions despite evidence that the science behind climate hysteria has been fabricated.
Red Alert’s author, whose books “The Obama Nation” and “Unfit for Command” have topped the New York Times best-sellers list, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in political science in 1972. For nearly 25 years, beginning in 1981, he worked with banks throughout the U.S. and around the world to develop financial services marketing companies to assist banks in establishing broker/dealers and insurance subsidiaries to provide financial planning products and services to their retail customers. In this career, Corsi developed three different third-party financial services marketing firms that reached gross sales levels of $1 billion in annuities and equal volume in mutual funds. In 1999, he began developing Internet-based financial marketing firms, also adapted to work in conjunction with banks.
In his 25-year financial services career, Corsi has been a noted financial services speaker and writer, publishing three books and numerous articles in professional financial services journals and magazines.
For financial guidance during difficult times, read Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert, the premium, online intelligence news source by the WND staff writer, columnist and author of the New York Times No. 1 best-seller, “The Obama Nation.“
People’s Republic marking anniversary at White House
By Bob Unruh
The administration of President Barack Obama, whose official blogger while Obama was a candidate came under attack for hanging a Communist Party flag in his Harvard apartment, apparently has given permission to raise the emblem of Communist China over the south lawn of the White House.
According to the Global Times English-language edition, the national flag of the communist People’s Republic of China on Sept. 20 will be raised for the first time on the White House’s south lawn – a secured area seldom available for public events – in recognition of the Chinese anniversary.
“The ceremony has gotten official approval,” Xiao Shuigen, secretary of the Union of Chinese American Professional Organizations, told the Times.
“It was always my dream to raise a Chinese flag in the center of Washington, D.C.,” Chen Ronghua, chief of the U.S.-Fujian Association, told the newspaper. “This year, my motherland’s 60th birthday, is the perfect time for it.”
According to China Daily, Chinese associations in the United States applied to have a ceremony.
Such emblems were an issue during Obama’s presidential campaign, when a Houston Fox TV affiliate captured images of a volunteer in an Obama campaign office working in front of a flag featuring the image of Che Guevara, the South American revolutionary who became Fidel Castro‘s executioner after the communist takeover in Cuba.
At that time, the Obama campaign issued a statement calling the flag “inappropriate” and noting that the office where it was displayed was funded by “volunteers” and was not the official campaign headquarters.
However, it was Sam Graham-Felsen, a journalist-on-leave from The Nation, who joined Obama for America in 2007 and worked as the official blogger. He, according to a 2003 article in the Harvard Crimson, adorned one corner of his shared student apartment with “a Communist Party flag … bought on their trip to Russia the summer after sophomore year.”
The proposed event at the White House was condemned on the forums page on Fox News commentator Sean Hannity‘s website.
“People could understand if there was a Chinese visitor at the White House and the Red flag was placed on the stage behind the speakers, but to hoist the commie pinko flag in ‘honor’ of the founding of the People’s Republic of China is absurd,” the forum participant said. “This only goes to prove the Obama administration is out-of-touch with the American people.”
William Gheen, chief of Americans for Legal Immigration, the pre-eminent organization battling against illegal immigration, said it’s the message that is sent to the world that will be significant.
“Our concern is that sovereign wealth funds, like the Chinese, now control the executive branch more than the American people,” he said. “China is not our friend. China is our enemy. Our enemy is coming and raising their own flag in a type of proclamation.
“I expect the Chinese media will make a big thing of it,” he said, saying something like, “‘Look how strong and powerful China is, raising our flag on the White House.’”
He said it conveys the same message as if Old Glory would be raised on the property of the Kremlin.
Gheen said the issue becomes clear “why the new water stations at illegal alien crossings into the United States have instructions in English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.”
At the Red County blog, the author said, “Celebrating Americans of Chinese descent is one thing. Celebrating Communism is another. Now our president will hoist the Communist flag over the White House. How fitting and in sync with his political belief system.”
A spokesman for the American Legion told WND that if the proper protocols are followed, there should be no issue with the actual display of a Chinese flag, especially since diplomatic visits routinely include the display of foreign flags.
But those with obviously U.S. leanings on the Global Times forum page were outraged.
- “Another public short coming and failure by the Obama administration.”
- “It can now be official – leave the flag there.”
- “So let me get this straight – the Chinese are going to celebrate the founding of their country on the south lawn of the White House! Did we celebrate the 4th of July in Beijing in front of their Leader’s House? What other proof do you need that Obama is the Manchurian Candidate.”
- “Oh Crap, Have the Chinese foreclosed on us already?
JERUSALEM – The Obama administration has set up an apparatus to closely monitor Jewish construction in Jerusalem and the strategic West Bank to the point of watching Israeli moves house-to-house in certain key neighborhoods, WND has learned.
Obama has called for a complete halt to what he refers to as settlement activity, meaning Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem or the West Bank. Obama’s edict extends to natural growth, or accommodating for the housing needs of existing local settler population centers. The demand is an apparent abrogation of a deal Israel struck with the Bush administration to allow natural growth.
For the past few months, Obama’s Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, has protested to the highest levels of the Israeli government about evidence found of any Jewish housing expansion in those areas, informed Israeli officials said.
The officials, who spoke on condition that their names be withheld, said that last March Mitchell oversaw the establishment of an enhanced apparatus based in the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem that closely monitors the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods, incorporating regular tours of the areas, at times on a daily basis.
Previously, under the Bush administration, the consulate kept a general eye on Jewish Jerusalem and West Bank construction, receiving much of its information from nongovernmental organizations.
“Mitchell’s apparatus takes things to a whole new level. They are watching very closely,” said an Israeli official.
Jewish leaders in the West Bank said the consulate takes no pains to hide their activities.
“They drive around the towns, check up on what’s going on. They try to mingle with us to get more information on what we’re up to and what we’re doing,” he said.
Ha’ivri said the consular officials present themselves as advisers to the U.S. consul-general.
“But we know they are really spies for the Obama administration,” he said.
Jerusalem officials affirm the consular staff report to Obama’s envoy, Mitchell.
The U.S. the past few weeks has been publicly protesting Israeli actions in Jerusalem on the municipal level, making an international incident out of individual homes. Yesterday, for the second time the past few weeks, the Obama administration summoned Israel’s ambassador to Washington to protest Israel asserting its municipal rights in eastern sections of Jerusalem which the Palestinians claim as a future capital.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman summoned Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, with a message that the Obama administration views the eviction Sunday of two Palestinian families from homes in eastern Jerusalem as “provocative” and “unacceptable.”
In the case, Israel last week enforced its own property law in Jerusalem by evicting Arabs from a Jewish housing complex they purportedly had been illegally occupying for almost a century.
Oren reportedly responded today by explaining that the housing complex has been Jewish-owned since before Israel’s founding in 1948. Oren explained a court ordered the families’ eviction since they had been living there illegally.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week also denounced the evictions, calling them “deeply regrettable” during a joint press conference in Washington with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.
Much of the U.S. and international media the past few days have been reporting on Israel’s eviction of Arab families from a house in eastern Jerusalem.
The housing complex is located in the Sheik Jarra neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem. The home was originally Jewish, but its Jewish occupants were chased out during countrywide anti-Jewish Arab riots in 1929. Arabs then squatted on the property, with one family, the Hejazi family, becoming the de facto occupants despite never having purchased the property.
Even though documentation shows the complex is owned by Jews and that Arabs have been squatting on it illegally for almost a century, Jewish groups say they still legally re-purchased the property from the Hejazi family.
Following pressure from the Palestinian Authority, however, the family later denied selling the complex back to the Jews despite documentation and other evidence showing the sale went through.
The PA in April warned Palestinians against selling their homes or properties to Jews, saying those who violate the order would be accused of “high treason” – a charge that carries the death penalty.
Israel’s court system twice ruled the property belongs to Jews.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office earlier this week released a statement to WND objecting to U.S. condemnation of the Israeli government for enforcing property law in Jerusalem.
“The eviction in Jerusalem was a result of a ruling by our Supreme Court that had to decide in a dispute between two parties over the legal control of a property,” Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, told WND.
Continued Regev: “The Supreme Court ruled for one side and not the other. In all democracies the rulings of the courts must be upheld, and it is incumbent on the executive branch to implement such decisions.”
Regev said the Israeli Supreme Court “is renowned internationally for both its independence and its professionalism. There are countless examples of the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Palestinians in land disputes.”
Yesterday marked the second time the past three weeks Israel’s ambassador has been summoned by Washington to protest Israeli conduct in eastern Jerusalem. Last month, Oren was summoned by the State Department to demand a Jewish construction project in eastern Jerusalem be immediately halted.
The construction project, financed by Miami Beach philanthropist Irving Moskowitz, is located just yards from Israel’s national police headquarters and other government ministries. It is a few blocks from the country’s prestigious Hebrew University, underscoring the centrality of the Jewish real estate being condemned by the U.S.
Netanyahu strongly rejected the State Department demand, telling a cabinet meeting Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem was not a matter up for discussion.
“Imagine what would happen if someone were to suggest Jews could not live in or purchase [property] in certain neighborhoods in London, New York, Paris or Rome,” he said just after his ambassador was summoned.
“The international community would certainly raise protest. Likewise, we cannot accept such a ruling on eastern Jerusalem,” Netanyahu told ministers.