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cleanhippie's Journal
cleanhippie's Journal
October 21, 2015

If You Are Pregnant, Stay Away From Catholic Hospitals

If you're pregnant, and can choose which hospital to go to, do not go to a Catholic one. I'm serious. It is finally coming to light that Catholic hospitals are systematically denying pregnant women essential health care, even when their life is at stake. It’s unethical, illegal, and just plain wrong.

One horrifying recent example is Jessica Mann’s story. While Mrs. Mann was pregnant with her third child, her doctors explained to her that, because she had preexisting brain tumors, a subsequent pregnancy could kill her. They highly recommended that when she delivers her baby she get a tubal ligation to prevent another pregnancy, and that she do so at the same to time as she delivers her baby to avoid the serious (and completely unnecessary) risk to her health that would be caused by a second procedure. Even when brain tumors or other health concerns aren’t a factor, the safest and best time for a woman to have a tubal ligation is immediately after delivery while she is still in the hospital.

Mrs. Mann’s OB/GYN is trained and willing to tie her tubes, but the Catholic hospital where Mrs. Mann planned to deliver — and where she delivered her other children — is prohibiting Mrs. Mann’s doctor from performing the procedure because of religious rules written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that govern what care the hospital will offer to patients. Those rules, called the Ethical and Religious Directives, apply even when the patient’s doctor says that the care is medically necessary.

Catholic hospitals also routinely put the health of women suffering from miscarriages at risk, as well. That is exactly what happened to Tamesha Means. Ms. Means was in the middle of her pregnancy, looking forward to having another child, when her water broke. She rushed to the only hospital emergency room in her area — which happened to be a Catholic one — and she was turned away three times despite being in excruciating pain and eventually developing a life-threatening infection. The pregnancy was doomed, but because of the Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives, the hospital never told her that, giving her false hope that she could go on to have a healthy baby. The hospital also never told her that she was putting her life at risk by not terminating the pregnancy. Ms. Means finally started to deliver while she was being sent home for the third time. That’s when the hospital finally decided to treat her.

Sadly, these aren’t isolated incidents. Today, one in nine hospital beds is in Catholic-affiliated institutions that receive public money, but which abide by the Ethical and Religious Directives when providing medical care. That just isn’t right. Patients ought to be able to rest assured that their care is determined by their doctor’s best judgment, not someone else’s religious views, particularly when the hospital receives public funds.


October 18, 2015

Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents

Saudi Arabia has introduced a series of new laws which define atheists as terrorists, according to a report from Human Rights Watch.

In a string of royal decrees and an overarching new piece of legislation to deal with terrorism generally, the Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could "harm public order".

The new laws have largely been brought in to combat the growing number of Saudis travelling to take part in the civil war in Syria, who have previously returned with newfound training and ideas about overthrowing the monarchy.

To that end, King Abdullah issued Royal Decree 44, which criminalises "participating in hostilities outside the kingdom" with prison sentences of between three and 20 years, Human Rights Watch said.

Yet last month further regulations were issued by the Saudi interior ministry, identifying a broad list of groups which the government considers to be terrorist organisations - including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Article one of the new provisions defines terrorism as "calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based".


FYI to all the 'persecuted christians', this is what actual persecution looks like.
October 2, 2015

Shocked Liberals Discover Pope Is Actually...Catholic!

Here’s a newsflash for liberals who first swooned over Pope Francis’s U.S. visit, only to be stunned and dismayed by reports that he had met with Kim Davis at the Vatican Embassy before departing Washington on Thursday. Francis’s statements and gestures of inclusiveness for immigrants and the homeless, his exhortations to save the environment and address income inequality, his kisses and blessings to disabled children, and his meeting with Davis are all consistent with his role as head of the Catholic Church.

In other words, to use an old cliché, the Pope is still Catholic.

Too many American progressives have pinned unrealistic hopes on Francis being a breath of fresh air, a new kind of Pope, a man of the people, a liberal, a magician who could not only singlehandedly reform a byzantine institution but miraculously quell the American culture wars with his winsome ways.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard progressives, even ardent secularists, sigh with admiration, “I love that guy.” Which is fine. There are things to love about him. But he is a religious leader of a religious institution whose framework for seeing the world defies contemporary American political categories. He’s not a liberal. He’s not a conservative. He’s a Catholic.

The catechism of the Catholic Church declares “homosexual acts” to be “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law,” even as it also states that “men and women with deep-seated homosexual tendencies” should be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” Francis’s actions have been consistent with this teaching, on the one hand opposing any change in Catholic doctrine on homosexuality, but on the other according gay people—for instance, Mo Rocca—some basic respect.

Many of Francis’s pronouncements are opaque, but it is hard not to see what he meant when, in his speech to Congress last week, he worried that “fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family.” Sure, there are other issues that concern Catholics about “the very basis of marriage,” like pre- and extra-marital sex and divorce, but same-sex marriage is unquestionably part of that equation, too.

Francis also made pointed comments about religious freedom, the heart of the claim that Davis should be permitted to deny same-sex couples marriage licenses. He paid an unexpected visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor, the order of nuns that has engaged in protracted litigation with the Obama administration over whether signing a form exempting the group from providing contraception coverage violates their religious liberty. Francis also praised the American bishops, who have planted their feet firmly in the culture wars with campaigns to oppose LGBT and reproductive rights in the guise of religious freedom, for “remind[ing] us all. . . to be vigilant. . . to preserve and defend [religious liberty] from everything that would threaten and compromise it.”


WHAT? Catholic doctrine and teachings are homophobic, misogynistic, and bigoted? REALLY? Wow, that's news!

Does that make all Catholics homophobic, misogynistic bigots? Hardly. But it should make one question why those Catholics who claim to be liberals continue to give time, money, and support to this homophobic, misogynistic, and bigoted organization. Maybe they themselves could answer that question for us. Just don't hold your breath.
October 2, 2015

What Pope Francis gets wrong about religious freedom

In recent days, Pope Francis has talked a lot about tolerance and freedom of conscience. But he has failed to distinguish between those who truly suffer from persecution and discrimination and those who claim to be persecuted when told they may not discriminate.

True prisoners of conscience are even now suffering punishments grotesque and medieval for exercising their right to criticize religion. But during his visit to the United States last week, the Pope chose instead to focus his attention and sympathies on a government employee who decided that her faith trumped her legal obligations and the constitutional rights of others.

Pope Francis met secretly with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who refused to sign off on marriage documents for same-sex couples, citing religious objections. Speaking to journalists on the plane back to Europe, Francis explicitly endorsed this kind of discrimination, calling it "conscientious objection" and a "duty."

But what does the Pope have to say about atheists and secularists who have been jailed, attacked or killed for expressing their own conscientious objections to religion?



What really surprises me is that so many seem unable or unwilling to recognize just how much of a bigot this man really is and how awful his church is.

Fuck. The. Pope.
September 24, 2015

Pope held sick baby, what happened next is amazing

And if by amazing you mean that a person attributed an unlikely-but-certainly-possible-because-its-happened-before event to the Pope miraculously healing a serious heart condition because he's got magical powers, you win the prize.

"The Pope healed our baby's heart."

Lynn Cassidy has no other words to explain what happened to her 3-month-old daughter Ave. Ave was born with Down syndrome, eye problems and hearing complications. Most concerning were the two holes in her heart.

"It seems like it was really meant to happen," Lynn said. "And it's as close to a miracle as we'll ever see, I'm sure."

In Easter of 2014, the family planned a Rome trip to see Pope Francis in person during the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII.

"It was raining," Lynn said. "We were told that if we stood on a barricade in St. Peter's Square, the metal fences in front, the Pope would come by in his 'Pope'-mobile."

The Cassidy family waited for hours at the barricade. When the motorcade turned into the square, Lynn's husband Scott held Ave up in the air.

"It was like the Lion King," Lynn said. "The secret service person, Johnny, stopped and took her from Scott and held her up to the Pope. The Pope asked my husband, 'How old is she? What's her name?' He told (the Pope) she has two holes in her heart. When we got home in May, we went back to the cardiologist for a check-up. One of the holes was completely closed and one was half the size."


"I mean it's possible that it closes just over time," she said. "But when you see the picture that the professional photographer took, his hand is here and he's a servant of God."


Yes, people can believe all manner of things, some more harmful than others. I'm just happy that the child is doing ok because they kept taking her to actual doctors instead of relying on some god.

September 23, 2015

Dalai Lama: A Female Dalai Lama Must Be Attractive, 'Otherwise Not Much Use'

On Monday, the BBC posted an edited interview with the Dalai Lama in which, among other things, the highest-ranking Tibetan Buddhist expresses some unexpectedly fucked-up opinions about women and their “use.”

Around 4:50 in the video, journalist Clive Myrie asks if there will be a 15th incarnation of the Dalai Lama after him—and if so, could the next Dalai Lama be a woman?

“Yes!” he replied. “The female biologically [has] more potential to show affection... and compassion.”

The Dalai Lama said that a reporter in Paris had asked him the same question awhile back, and he had responded similarly.

“Today in a more troubled world, I think females should take more important roles, and then I told that reporter, if a female Dalai Lama comes, their face should be very attractive.”

“So you can only have a female Dalai Lama if they’re attractive? Is that what you’re saying?” asked Myrie, trying valiantly to let him take it back.

“I mean if female Dalai Lama come, then that female must be very attractive, otherwise not much use.”

“You’re joking, I’m assuming,” says Myrie. “Or you’re not joking?”

“No. True!”

September 16, 2015

Op-Ed: How secular family values stack up

The number of American children raised without religion has grown significantly since the 1950s, when fewer than 4% of Americans reported growing up in a nonreligious household, according to several recent national studies. That figure entered the double digits when a 2012 study showed that 11% of people born after 1970 said they had been raised in secular homes. This may help explain why 23% of adults in the U.S. claim to have no religion, and more than 30% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 say the same.

So how does the raising of upstanding, moral children work without prayers at mealtimes and morality lessons at Sunday school? Quite well, it seems. Far from being dysfunctional, nihilistic and rudderless without the security and rectitude of religion, secular households provide a sound and solid foundation for children, according to Vern Bengston, a USC professor of gerontology and sociology.

For nearly 40 years, Bengston has overseen the Longitudinal Study of Generations, which has become the largest study of religion and family life conducted across several generational cohorts in the United States. When Bengston noticed the growth of nonreligious Americans becoming increasingly pronounced, he decided in 2013 to add secular families to his study in an attempt to understand how family life and intergenerational influences play out among the religionless.

He was surprised by what he found: High levels of family solidarity and emotional closeness between parents and nonreligious youth, and strong ethical standards and moral values that had been clearly articulated as they were imparted to the next generation.

“Many nonreligious parents were more coherent and passionate about their ethical principles than some of the ‘religious' parents in our study,” Bengston told me. “The vast majority appeared to live goal-filled lives characterized by moral direction and sense of life having a purpose.”


September 3, 2015

Itís Pope Francis Who Should Apologize on Abortion

Pope Francis has a limited-time offer just for women who have abortions: Confess, and you won’t be excommunicated. Hurry! Only women who confess to a priest before November 20, 2016—during the “Year of Mercy”—will remain eligible to kneel and pray at the instruction of an all-male hierarchy that insists upon the subordination of women.

“I am well aware of the pressure that has led [women who have abortions] to this decision,” the Pope said. He suggested women “believe they have no other option.” Priests will have the “discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.”

It seems the Pope Francis Sex TalkTM brand is expanding. With his latest comments, Pope Francis has built a shiny new smokescreen to distract from the grave and immoral harms caused by the Vatican’s opposition to abortion and women’s equality.

This has practically become a formula: Cool Pope says something that sounds like he cares about the huge swaths of people routinely discriminated against by the biggest patriarchy in the world for being women, gay, or unwilling to have children. But the doctrine doesn’t change, which means that nice comments don’t make for nice policy. Lobbyists representing the Catholic Church’s leadership continue to wreak great destruction around the world, whether messing with the Affordable Care Act at home or insisting on denying condoms to people in AIDS-ravaged areas abroad. And billions of public dollars are funneled into Catholic institutions that insist they have a right to discriminate on the taxpayer dole.


A woman who has had an abortion has done nothing wrong. She doesn’t need to apologize, and she certainly doesn’t need to apologize to a man representing an institution that denies her equality. (Remember when Pope Benedict compared the ordination of women to pedophilia? Pope Francis has enforced the same toxic nonsense about keeping women out of the priesthood; he just says things that make it sound nicer.) So, then, this isn’t actually about reassuring women who have had abortions. This is about continuing to single them out and shame them.


Fuck. The. Pope.
August 29, 2015

Italy struggles to pass gay rights law for same-sex couples (due to RCC opposition)

Everything is ready for the wedding between Fabio and Franco, a young Italian gay couple. The announcement has been made, the guest list drawn up, the suits selected and the cake topper chosen. Yet, one important detail is missing: the location.

The possibility of celebrating in Rome, where they live, will depend on the ability of Italy’s parliament to approve a pivotal yet contentious law on same-sex civil unions.

“We don’t have much hope, to be honest. Political opposition, fostered by part of the [Catholic] Church, is fierce,” says Fabio. “ I think we will have to get married abroad, probably Portugal.”

Italian lawmakers have attempted to pass gay rights laws in the past but legislation has stalled amid strong opposition from Catholic parties and centre-right inertia. Matteo Renzi, prime minister, on Sunday repeated his pledge to pass legislation by the end of the year, but his centre-left Democratic party has struggled to find a unified position on the issue.

Pressure increased last month when the European Court of Human Rights condemned Italy for not giving same-sex couples legal recognition and protection. The country is the only large western European country that does not recognise either civil partnerships or marriage for gay couples, although some cities including Rome and Milan have opened registries for same-sex partnerships, leading to limited local rights.


Yet ANOTHER example of the RCC working against the will of the laity. When will they stop giving their time and money to this terrible institution that actively fights against equality?
August 29, 2015

Southern Baptist Convention Will Lay Off Hundreds of People as Part of Godís Sovereign Plan

The Southern Baptist Convention is deeply in the red, coming in $21 million under budget. That means they will have to lay off 600-800 people from its International Mission Board.

What’s striking is how they’re trying to let everyone down gently by saying this is all part of God’s Plan:

… God is not surprised by these financial realities. He has reigned sovereign over the IMB for 170 years, and He will continue to reign sovereign over the IMB for years to come. God has reigned sovereign over the direction of each personnel’s life to this point, and He will reign sovereign over these lives in the days to come. Because He is sovereign, IMB leadership encourages all of its personnel to seek Him, and ask Him how and where He is guiding each of them for the sake of His name. IMB leadership believes that, without question, God will continue to lead every one of its personnel on mission. It is expected that the 600-800 people who step aside from the IMB in the next six months will not be stepping “onto the sidelines of mission,” but instead will be moving into a new phase of involvement in mission.

That’s one way to put it.

You’re fired! But don’t take it personally. God just wants you to work from home now… without pay. Even though we might have been able to prevent this by not spending $210 million more than we had over the past six years. But Jesus didn’t come by to say no, so we figured it was cool.

I’m sure God will also wipe away the tears of everyone who’s about to be let go.


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