in Pennsylvania's First Congressional District's_1st_congressional_district
and the Central Garden State

Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Were not our hearts burning within us while He spoke to us on the way & opened the Scriptures to us?"

Federal Issues of Concern to Our Bishops

"The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Now it will be considered in the Senate....Urge our Senators to support H.R. 7 to permanently protect our tax dollars from paying for or promoting elective abortions."

Urge Congress to Enact the Conscience Protection Act of 2017! 
"The Conscience Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 644) has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Diane Black (R-TN) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and in the Senate (S. 301) by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)" (Urge Congress to Enact the Conscience Protection Act of 2017).

Tell Your Representative to Insist on Changes to the American Health Care Act 
"While the AHCA, laudably, restricts funding which flows to abortion providers and prohibits federal funding for abortion or the purchase of plans that cover abortion, it also makes changes that would result in loss of affordable coverage for those on the margins....[While it acknowledges that we should] "Retain the AHCA's life protections for the unborn"...[it notes that Congress needs to] "Add conscience protections for those who participate in the delivery or coverage of health care services and against mandates like the contraception and sterilization regulatory requirement from the DHS."

Say, Hasn't the Church Already Said a Few Things about Marriage/Family/Sexuality?

 Urge President Trump to Sign Executive Order Respecting Religious Freedom
"Religious freedom in America has suffered years of unprecedented erosion.  President Trump can correct some of this within the executive branch.  He can restore the federal government's respect for the religious freedom of individuals and organizations by signing an Executive Order that establishes a government-wide initiative to respect religious freedom."  The USCCB also supports Civil Rights Uniformity Act and the First Amendment Defense Act (cf., Marriage Unique for a Reason's March 2017 Newsletter,).
  • "The Civil Rights Uniformity Act would stop all references to the words 'sex' or 'gender' from being misinterpreted to mean 'gender identity' in Federal civil rights law" (Heritage Action, 9/16/16
  • "The First Amendment Defense Act...would bar the federal government from discriminating against individuals and organizations based upon their religious beliefs or moral convictions that marriage is the union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage" (USCCB)

 "The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (CWPIA) protects the religious liberties of child welfare service providers, including adoption and foster care agencies.  The Act would prohibit the federal government and any state that receives certain federal funding from discriminating against child welfare service providers on the basis that they decline to provide a child welfare service that conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions....The Inclusion Act has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 1881) and the Senate (S. 811)."


    Catholic Social Teaching/International Issues
    This blogger believes that communications about "international assistance" MUST specifically state that contraceptives/abortifacients are to be excluded from supposed "assistance."

    "An estimated 58,000 Haitians are at risk of having their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) terminated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). TPS allows these individuals to temporarily remain in the United States and support themselves legally while Haiti is being rebuilt.  Haiti is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, which struck in October 2016 and is said to be the nation's largest humanitarian emergency since the 2010 earthquake. Additionally, Haiti is plagued with a severe cholera epidemic and food shortages."

    "President Donald Trump has issued an Executive Order that has devastating impacts on refugee resettlement in the United States."

    Please Support the BRIDGE ACT and DACA Youth
    "The BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy) Act, S.128/H.R. 496, was...introduced in Congress as a bipartisan effort to sustain the temporary relief from deportation and employment eligibility offered to youth through the Department of Homeland Security's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Under the BRIDGE Act, young people who came to the United States as children would maintain their eligibility to work and live in the U.S. without the fear of deportation and family separation so long as they meet certain requirements, such as showing a commitment to education or honorable service in our military and having no history of serious crime."

    Speak up for the 1% that does a world of good.

    "Much of U.S.-funded international poverty-focused humanitarian and development assistance, particularly through the Department of Labor's International Labor Bureau (DOL/ILAB), already combats this modern day slavery and reduces the risk of human trafficking. Therefore, I strongly urge you to oppose any cuts to the foreign aid budget."

    Help People Facing Hunger and Climate Change
    "I strongly urge you to protect poverty-focused international humanitarian relief and development assistance, including the Green Climate Fund."

    Urge Congress to press Israel to stop confiscation of Christian lands in Cremisan Valley
     "Israelis should not have to live in fear of Hamas' indiscriminate rocket attacks on civilian areas. At the same time, Palestinians should not have to live in fear for their lives from air and ground attacks or to suffer the humiliations of occupation....In August 2015, Israel's Supreme Court granted approval for the building of a separation barrier through the pristine Cremisan Valley. The Cremisan Valley lies in the West Bank on the Palestinian side of the Green Line, adjacent to Beit Jala and Bethlehem. The separation barrier through the Cremisan Valley will have devastating effects for the local community, confiscating Palestinian agricultural and recreational lands of over 50 Christian families. This threatens the livelihoods of the remaining Christian community of Bethlehem....The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has long supported a two-state solution, secure and recognized Israel living in peace alongside a viable and independent Palestinian state. USCCB asks you to urge Congress to press Israeli authorities to stop the work on the Separation Wall in the Cremisan Valley."

    Urge Congress to help Syrian refugees
    "I urge you to protect funding for poverty-focused international humanitarian and development assistance....With more than 21 million refugees around the globe, now is not the time for the United States to retreat from our global leadership to protect and welcome refugees."

    State Issues/Pa Catholic Conference

    Prioritize Funding for Women's Primary Health Care
    "Health care facilities that provide a wide range of women's services should have priority for receiving our limited federal and state tax dollars over those that offer limited services and focus on abortion....Please support Senate Bill 300."

    Support Positive Reform for Sexual Abuse Statutes of Limitation
    "The positive, prospective changes in SB 261 will hold more abusers accountable for their crimes and will require all organizations, public and private, to improve their vigilance for keeping the children in their care safe. The Senate determined that amendments to allow retroactive lawsuits to be filed would be unconstitutional in Pennsylvania.  Regardless, it is definitely unfair to today's individual Catholics. Bankrupting my parish, Catholic school, or diocese today penalizes the wrong people for the crimes of the past."

    Support a Better Life for Human Trafficking Victims
    While the Pa Catholic Conference is supporting SB 554, the  fact that Senator Daylin Leach is one of its prime sponsors suggests that there should be careful assessment of  whether this legislation and its implications are truly consistent with Catholic teaching

    Invest in Success: Expand EITC and OSTC Scholarships

    End Brutal Dismemberment Abortions
    "To the best of my knowledge, all the other pro-life organizations in Pa. also support running S.B.3 in the Pa. House instead of H.B.77.  We wish to prevent another 'pride of authorship' stalemate in which the Senate will not run the pro-life House Bill and the House will not run the pro-life Senate Bill....Please contact the following Pa. House leaders and urge them to run S.B.3 in the House as soon as possible.
    Speaker Mike Turzai

    Majority Leader Dave Reed

    Health Committee Chairman Matt Baker
    717-772-5371" (Pro Life Coalition of Pa, 4/21/17)

    Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Religious Liberty
    "proposals like these expose even more Pennsylvanians to discrimination based solely on their religious beliefs. Simply put, this legislation is intolerant and prejudiced against people of faith."


    State Issues/Pa Pro Life Federation

    Let your state Senator know you don't want your right to vote for judges to be taken away (2/16/17)

    Oppose HB 111 (3/6/17

    "House Bill 643, sponsored by state Rep. Matthew Baker (R-Bradford, Potter, Tioga Counties), would ensure that there are no time limits for prosecuting infanticide. The measure would also expand the window of opportunity for prosecuting illegal late-term abortions to five years after the alleged crimes occurred.  The legislation stems from recommendations made by the grand jury in abortionist Kermit Gosnell's 'House of Horrors' case....House Bill 643 is one additional legislative effort to ensure that the horrors of Gosnell are not repeated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" (3/13/17) 

    State Issues / Pro Life Coalition of Pa (4/21/17)

    • "PP's evils include the routine and extensive cover-up of sexual assaults against minors by failing to make legally required reports on the abortions that they commit on minors....our Legislative Director, Ted Meehan, has been attempting to persuade Pa. DOH Secretary Karen Murphy to take the proper corrective actions....A response from an assistant to Sec. Murphy indicated that DOH would not be taking any actions against PP.  So, Ted has led an effort to persuade members of the Pa. General Assembly to request certain records from the DOH that would indicate the extent of the failure of PP (and other abortion committers) to make legally required reports regarding suspected sexual assaults against minors.  Ted's efforts have resulted in a letter from Rep. Matt Baker to Secretary Murphy that requests these reports....Please ask your State House member to add his or her name to this letter....
      "Our organization has scheduled another Stand Up For Life Rally on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 from 11:00 AM-12:00 noon in our State Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg." 

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