Lawyer: "fix" for Indiana bill will drive religious people out of business

04/02/2015 Comments (145)

This morning, Indiana business leaders approved changes in Indiana's religious freedom legislation, which had sparked a wave of unprecedented protests, and prompted gay rights activists, the NCAA, tech business leaders and celebrities to call for a boycott of the state.

"The bill states the week-old law doesn’t give anyone the right to refuse services, employment or housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity, while also not allowing the law to provide a legal defense in a civil action over the refusal of service. It exempts churches and religious organizations," reported The Wall Street Journal.

Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, expressed...READ MORE

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Indiana Governor to Critics of Religious Freedom Bill: Is tolerance a two-way street or not?

03/30/2015 Comments (54)

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence appears March 29 on ABC's This Week.


On ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence pushed back against critics of his state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, said to be one of 20 plus such law passed in the country, with language similar to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

"In more than two decades, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never been used to undermine the laws protecting discrimination in our country," said Pence. He noted he was open to inserting language clarifying the intent of the law.

“The issue here is, you know: Is tolerance a two-way street or not?” asked Pence. "There is a lot of talk about tolerance in this country with people on...READ MORE

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Catholic vet training Iraqi Christians to fight ISIS says it would be an honor to give his life

03/23/2015 Comments (13)

Brett Felton

– Via

On March 22, CBS' 60 Minutes provided a report on Iraq's ancient Christian community that is under attack by ISIS.You can watch the segment here.

The Overtime segment included a striking profile of a Catholic U.S. vet, Brett Felton, age 28, who has returned to Iraq to help train outnumbered, outgunned and underfunded Christian militias fighting ISIS north of Mosul.

"I'm not here serving my country. I'm here serving Christians," Brett Felton told 60 Minutes. He returned to his cradle-Catholic faith during a previous tour with the U.S. Army in Iraq and then went back as a volunteer to train the Christian militias. 

He is showing the local militias how to spot suicide vests and...READ MORE

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Cath. seminarian with cancer opposes Conn. assisted suicide bill: My suffering has unleashed love

03/20/2015 Comments (11)
Photos courtesy of the Diocese of Raleigh

– Photos courtesy of the Diocese of Raleigh

I suffer, but this suffering has unleashed love into my life in ways that I could have never imagined. -- Seminarian Philip Johnson, in testimony before Connecticut legislators

This week, Connecticut state lawmakers heard testimony in response to proposed legislation that would legalize assisted suicide. One state representative testified that her father had needlessly suffered during the final stages of Parkinsons' disease, and finally killed himself by drowning. 

But Raleigh, N.C. seminarian, Philip Johnson, offered a very different message of hope amid the painful headaches and debilitating seizures that accompany his own battle with terminal brain cancer.  The Diocese of Raleigh...READ MORE

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San Fran Church Official to Union Critic: We Need Teachers Who Are Fulfilled in the Faith

03/17/2015 Comments (100)

The challenge is to really be in dialogue with the culture.  What the archbishop needs is for you to be bridging the gap between what appears to be ancient, awful teachings and where kids are. -- Father Anthony Giampietro, C.S.B. Archdiocese of San Francisco

Last night, various players in the ongoing dispute between Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and the local Catholic teachers' union and its allies, who oppose the proposed "morality clauses" to be added to the new teacher contracts, got a chance to air their arguments.   

The San Francisco forum, sponsored by City Visions, will serve as a wake up call for anyone who thinks it is still business as usual for Catholic...READ MORE

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Former Prez of Am.Congress of Obstetricians on NFP 'A 20% failure rate is unacceptable'

03/10/2015 Comments (36)

On March 10, PRI, a radio news program that airs on National Public Radio tackled the "debate over 'natural family planning': Does it work?" 

No, said one medical expert. And the show offered a narrative based on his view that NFP was especially ineffective 'in "places where women don’t necessarily have the power to say no to their husbands or partners.”

The show begins with a skeptical look at the position of Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, former president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. He opposes artificial birth control, backs natural family planning (NFP), and lives in an "upscale" neighborhood, PRI tells us. You can listen to the show here.

The archbishop's...READ MORE

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Did the Justices Signal that Notre Dame and the LIttle Sisters Will Prevail in HHS Lawsuits?

03/09/2015 Comments (6)

Kahunapule Michael Johnson/ Flickr (CC BY NC SA 20)

The U.S. Supreme Court today issued a ruling that vacated a circuit court decision against the University of Notre Dame, as it pursued its lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services' contraceptive mandate. 

The news media and some opponents of the mandate presented the ruling as another blow to the White House, which was still smarting from the high court's split decision last June that sided with Hobby Lobby, the for-profit family company that claimed the mandate violated its religious freeom.

"Supreme Court Says Obama Admin Can’t Make Notre Dame Obey Pro-Abortion HHS Mandate," read a headline from Life News.

"The justices asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to...READ MORE

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4 Lessons from Downton Abbey’s Fifth Season

03/02/2015 Comments (31)

“I think in life there are people who are unlucky — the bread always falls with the butter side down,” Julian Fellowes, the creator and writer of Downton Abbey told The New York Times, during an interview that marked the close of the PBS Masterpiece drama's 5th season.

“Edith is an example of that.

“Bates and Anna have that, with a key difference, which is that they have a very strong love with each other. Anna is one of the most admirable characterstv in the series. She’s come from a tough childhood, we know now, and yet she hasn’t allowed it to distort her,” Fellowes added, hinting at the Catholic-friendly natural law principles that undergird human relations at Downton.  “We live in...READ MORE

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About Joan Desmond

Joan Desmond
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Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in California..