Nel's New Day

February 24, 2013

Aim for Freedom from Religion

All the scandals swirling about the Catholic Church and the pope may be shaking up the leadership. Cardinal Keith O’Brien, head of the Catholic Church in Scotland and the only cardinal invited to next month’s conclave, said that priests should be able to get married:

“For example the celibacy of the clergy, whether priests should marry–Jesus didn’t say that. There was a time when priests got married, and of course we know at the present time in some branches of the church–in some branches of the Catholic church–priests can get married, so that is obviously not of divine of origin and it could get discussed again. I would be very happy if others had the opportunity of considering whether or not they could or should get married.”

Celibacy has not always been a mandate in the Catholic Church. Most of Jesus’s apostles were married, and priests could be married until the eleventh century when Pope Gregory VII required that priests be celibate. Before then six popes had families with some of their sons then becoming popes.

The German Bishops Conference now says that Catholic hospitals can give emergency contraception to rape victims. After two Cologne Catholic hospitals turned away a rape victim, Cardinal Joachim Meisner said that the church was “deeply ashamed by this incident because it goes against our Christian mission.” Pope Benedict XVI’s secretary, Georg Gaenswein, told him that it was “justifiable” in rape cases to provide drugs to prevent conception. The Catholic Church, unlike many Evangelical fundamentalists, understands that “the ‘morning-after pill,’ …  has a preventive and not an abortive effect.”

At this time, however, the Catholic Church is confused about whether a fetus is a person. To some of the leaders, it may depend on whether denying the “personhood” of a fetus, as they are wont to do, will save them money. The decision goes back to a case in 2006 when a woman seven-months pregnant with twins went to the emergency room at St. Thomas More hospital in Canon City (CO) and suffered a massive heart attack. Her obstetrician, on call for emergencies that night, failed to answer a page, and the woman died. The fetuses did not survive.

The woman’s husband filed a wrongful-death lawsuit, maintaining that the doctor should have answered the page, told the hospital staff to perform a C-section, and possibly saved the fetuses. The hospital’s defense was to claim that this was not a wrongful-death case because the fetuses were not people.

Recent publicity surrounding the Catholic hospital’s defense of the lawsuit led them to declare that their original defense was “morally wrong,” but they blamed the lawyers for using this defense without the hospital’s approval.

This past week the National Organization of Marriage accused state Sen. Pat Steadman of being contemptuous of religion in response to Steadman’s speech on discrimination and marriage equality:

“Don’t claim religion as a reason the law should discriminate. We have laws against discrimination. Discrimination is banned in employment, and housing, and public accommodations, and so bakeries that serve the public aren’t supposed to look down their noses at one particular class of persons and say ‘we don’t sell cakes to you.’ It’s troubling, this discrimination. And it’s already illegal.

“So, what to say to those who claim that religion requires them to discriminate? I’ll tell you what I’d say: ‘Get thee to a nunnery!’ And live there then. Go live a monastic life away from modern society, away from people you can’t see as equals to yourself. Away from the stream of commerce where you may have to serve them or employ them or rent banquet halls to them.

“Go some place and be as judgmental as you like. Go inside your church, establish separate water fountains in there if you want, but don’t claim that free exercise of religion requires the state of Colorado to establish separate water fountains for her citizens. That’s not what we’re doing here.”

LGBT people aren’t the only ones who suffer from religious bigotry. After 16-year-old Jessica Ahlquist sued a Rhode Island school because of its prayer mural dedicated to “Our Heavenly Father,” a florist refused to send a dozen red roses that the Freedom from Religion Foundation ordered for her, citing “religious reasons.” The FtF is now suing Marina Plowman, owner of Twins Florist in Cranston, on the basis that she violated state laws. Metaphorical roses have now been sent by Hemant Mehta: he started a scholarship fund for her which has reached almost $50,000.

Another Colorado organization is using a biblical passage for positive results. According to Isaiah 2:4,

“And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

That’s exactly what the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission did. Partnering with Mike Martin of RAWtools—“war” spelled backwards—the group promoting social justice and sustainability has launched the “Guns-to-Gardens Tools” project. Colorado Springs Mike Warren, kicked off the event by donating the AK-47 assault rifle that he bought after the 9/11 attacks.

“I always had it in the back of my mind, there might be something I needed it for,” Warren said. “Sounds stupid now.” He added, “This thing will turn a human being into rags. The fact of the matter is, upon reflection, I concluded that it would be stupid for me to keep thing.” Martin said the gun will be “a garden trowel, a cultivator and a weed puller,” donated to Ranch Community Garden, a non-profit project that provides plots to local residents who lack garden space.

Religion is losing its control over government. Barna Group found that 66 percent of Americans believe that no one set of religious values should dominate in the U.S. On the other hand, 23 percent believe “traditional Judeo-Christian values” should be given preference over competing faiths. Only among evangelical Christians does that percentage rise to 54 percent.

It gives hope to those of us who believe that constitutional separation of church and state means freedom from religion for all.


Rethinking Before Restarting

the way of improvement leads home

reflections at the intersection of American history, religion, politics, and academic life

© blogfactory

Freely reported with that local taste

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily News

Quaker Inspired, Evidence Based, Art And Science Of Sustainable Health Plus Success - How To Create Heaven On Earth - Education For Seventh Generation Rainbow Warriors


Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

Rainbow round table news

Official News Outlet for the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: