“Why America needs to confront the Vatican”

@ the site, churchandstate.org.uk, they have reposted some parts of Dr Stephen D Mumford’s book, “American Democracy and the Vatican”. The book was first published in 1984 during the Reagan administration. In it, Mumford describes how the Vatican – the Catholic establishment – worked to influence public policy and public opinion. For example, prior to Reagan, people were becoming more aware and concerned about global overpopulation. During Reagan’s term, that all came to an end – along with concern for the environment and concern for women’s equality (the Equal Right’s Amendment was defeated in 1982).

A few paragraphs:

If the stakes are high for the Church as an institution, they are critical for all nations and people, including Americans. That world popula­tion growth poses a serious security threat has been well established.[2] Under the Carter Administration, the National Security Council first acknowledged this threat,[3] which was subsequently reaffirmed.[4] The election of President Reagan has introduced an administration that is the most Catholic in American history. His first National Security Advisor, Richard Allen, a Catholic, halted within the Council further discussion of population growth as a national security threat. His second National Security Advisor, William Clark, a Catholic, announced that the Carter council had “erred” in this determination and that this “error” must be corrected. Reagan’s CIA director, William Casey, a Catholic, ignores any intelligence that would indicate that overpopulation is a security threat. Alexander Haig, a Catholic who was Reagan’s first secretary of state, supported the Carter council’s position on this issue but, according to Haig, was drummed out of office by his Catholic colleagues. His replacement, George Shultz, a Catholic, remains silent in this regard.

Margaret Heckler, a Catholic, as secretary of Housing and Human Services, is responsible for the U.S. government’s support of domestic family-planning services. She is both anti-abortion and supportive of the administration’s restrictions on family-planning services. Attor­ney-General William French Smith, a Catholic, is responsible for the Immigration and Naturalization Service and for the execution of U.S. immigration laws. The attorney-general has chosen to give little atten­tion to this responsibility and to ignore the fact that our bishops and thousands of clergy commit a felony every time they aid or abet an ille­gal alien (90 percent of our illegal aliens are Catholic). The mathe­matical odds of this arrangement happening by chance are fantastically low in this nation which is only 20 percent Catholic. The Church has managed to cover all key highest level positions that would be con­cerned with the population growth and security issue….

The successes of the Church have occurred despite a large unsatis­fied demand for family planning. Among countries studied by the World Fertility Survey, typically one-half of the fertile married women who want no more children are not using any method of contracep­tion. On the Indian subcontinent these levels exceed 90 percent. As a rule, one-third to one-half of those interviewed reported that their last child was unwanted.[7] Worldwide, more than two in three women at risk of pregnancy (about 450 million out of 670 million women) lack access to modem contraceptive methods.

The decline of the world population growth control effort of the past couple of years has coincided with the activities of Pope John Paul II and his Vatican. Virtually every American is familiar with his position on family planning and population growth control: “The will of God and the law of reason demand an unrelenting fight against immoral contraception.” His position has been well covered by the American press. It is indeed unfortunate that the actions of the Vatican to intervene in our national affairs have not been equally publicized. This silence of the American press has given the Vatican enormous power to undermine family planning worldwide. The Church is completely candid about its implorable opposition to birth control and professes that it will do everything possible to accomplish its purposes.

The Vatican has called on its bishops, all of whom are completely loyal (though they may appear at certain moments to be otherwise) to thwart efforts for population growth control. The Church, through its two thousand years of experience, has learned that responsiveness to the chain of command in this truly monolithic organization can best be guaranteed by selecting persons for leadership positions who have an intense lust for power….

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On the one hand, this could read as a bigoted opinion. People are supposed to be tolerant of other’s religions, etc. The problem in that the Catholic religion is extremely powerful and adversely affects many inside and outside of their religion.

I have problems with their insistence on the superiority of men, and the adverse long-term effects on the planet of their anti-birth-control stance.

Link

The Avenging Uterus and Other Cartoons of Feminist Backlash

“Life Begins at Incorporation: Cartoons and Essays by Matt Bors”  book being offered as a ‘premium’ for donations to truth-out:

Glenn Greenwald says of Matt Bors, who is often featured on Truthout, “Bors embodies the highest virtues of political cartoonists: fearless, provocative satire and cutting, acerbic insights. He’s also unfailingly funny.”

Whose Afraid of Cornelia Pillard?

In June, Obama nominated Cornelia “Nina” Pillard to be a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Apparently, the GOP has an issue with her because she is a ‘Feminist’.

The Maddow Blog quoted Dahlia Lithwick on the issue:

She is a well-respected professor at Georgetown Law School; co-director of its Supreme Court Institute; a former lawyer at the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Justice Department; and a successful Supreme Court litigator.

She is also a “feminist.”

A “feminist” insofar as she has spent part of her career advocating for women’s equality (including a successful brief challenging the men-only admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute, and a successful challenge to gender-biased family leave policies). Pillard’s “radical feminism” appears largely to take the form of seeking equality for women, which would certainly be a disqualifying feature of her advocacy work. If it were 1854.

This episode has some of the same-old, same-old quality that has led most Americans to tune out the judicial confirmation wars as partisan and predictable on both sides. But to do so is to misunderstand the nature and basis of right-wing attacks on Pillard. She isn’t being condemned for what most Americans view as radical feminist activism. She’s being shellacked for academic and litigation work devoted to pushing for basic women’s equality.

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From theblaze.com

CONSERVATIVES BLASTING ‘MILITANT FEMINISM’ AND ‘PRO-ABORTION VIEWS’ OF OBAMA JUDICIAL NOMINEE

Even with her opponents, some conservatives have come out to support Pillard. Former Assistant Attorney General of the United States Viet Dihn, now known as the founder of a conservative law firm, wrote in a letter of support:

 

As we do not share academic specialties, I have not studied Professor Pillard’s writings in full, but I know her to be a straight shooter when it comes to law and legal interpretation. She is a fair-minded thinker with enormous respect for the law and for the limited, and essential, role of the federal appellate judge– qualities that make her well prepared to taken on the work of a D.C. Circui judge.

 

Some of the notable court cases for the Harvard and Yale graduate include “United States v. Virginia (1996), which opened the Virginia Military Institute to women, and Nevada Dept. of Social Svcs. v. Hibbs (2003), sustaining Family and Medical Leave Act rights against constitutional challenge.” 

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http://www.lifenews.com complained that Pilliard made remarks such as, 

that abortion “free[s] women from historically routine conscription into maternity.” 

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It sounds to me that she would be an excellent choice for the court.

Nahla Mahmoud on the problems of Sharia Law

This is quite a good piece @ the National Secular Society site:

Here is why Sharia Law has no place in Britain or elsewhere

It is important that we secularists demand not only a secular Britain, but also a secular Middle East, North Africa, and world. Sharia as such is a law of a religion with state power in many regions around the world. We have also witnessed in the last two years a grand hijacking by Islamists of the achievements of civil society in the Middle East. Not only that, but here in Britain there are now 85 Sharia councils implementing Sharia law on the streets of London, Birmingham, Bradford and elsewhere.

It is important for me to clarify what I mean by Sharia. To be precise, I am discussing the laws and legislation which are already in practice in the UK and abroad, not theoretical or utopian ideas that only exist in the minds of those who defend and are usually in favour of Sharia. The examples below include Islamic laws in countries around the world that claim to be implementing Sharia — the right Sharia — and are legislated based on the main sources in Islam, the Quran and Hadith, and sometimes in Fatwas….

One: Women
Sharia discriminates against women (and Muslim women specifically): compared to feminist victories elsewhere, women are still not considered equal in most Islamic settings. A woman’s testimony is worthy half a man’s in Islam. She gets half the inheritance of her male siblings; a woman’s marriage contract is between her male guardian and her husband. A man can have four wives and divorce his wife by simple repudiation using the word “Talig”, whereas a woman must give specific reasons, some of which are extremely difficult to prove. Child custody reverts to the father at a pre-set age, even if the father is abusive. Women who remarry lose custody of their children. <more>

Two: Children
Sharia discriminates against children. Not only does it affect children when they are young, but the implications will last their entire life. Top of the list is child marriage. Under Sharia law, a girl is eligible for marriage as soon as a girl begins her first period…

Other discrimination against children that must be considered is the lack of exposure to different ideas and thoughts. Children from an Islamic background are often taught to close their minds to new ideas and some are brought up to hate their Jewish, Christian and Hindu classmates, as well as any gay students in their class. <more>

Three: Homosexuals
Sharia discriminates against homosexuals. On this particular issue, Islam, as well as Christianity and Judaism, hold the same intolerant view. Homosexuality is forbidden in most Islamic states with punishments ranging from a fine or public flogging to life imprisonment. Ten Islamic states impose a death penalty for homosexuals…

Four: Non-Muslims
Sharia discriminates against non-Muslims, including other sects within Islam such as Bahia’s, Ahmadia’s, and Shia if under Sunni ruling government or the reverse….

Five: Non-Believers and Atheists
Sharia discriminates against non-believers, atheists and apostates. It truly disgusts me that apostasy and blasphemy laws are still in practice in some regions of the world. Did you know that free thinking and freedom of speech are a crime punishable by death, public flogging and imprisonment in the 21st century? I have seared in my memory the brutal persecutions and executions of many atheists and scientists for the simple crime of critical thinking. <more>

I believe this is everyone’s battle, including progressive, secular and liberal Muslims. The right to live, think and express freely your opinions is one of the great achievements of human civilization. These values belong to all of us regardless of our background or geographical regions. We cannot limit these achievements to ‘western values’ or ‘cultural sensitivity’.