Corporate Culture, Corporate Conscience

The removal of “Brendan Eich, Mozilla co-founder and creator of the JavaScript programming language” should make us all very concerned. He was not pressured to leave for what he did but what he believes. Here’s the central point that Joseph Sunde makes in his post at the Mozilla’s Statement of Faith and the Altars of Conformity:

…amidst all the pooh-poohing of the baker, the florist, and the photographer — whose complaints actually are bound up in the activities at hand – those very same critics casually proceed to make people the central thing. As the statement of faith clearly concludes, it is Eich who is the aggressor, and Eich who must be removed. The peace and tranquility of the interwebs is at stake, and influential proponents of archaic institutions mustn’t be allowed to stand in its way.

This isn’t to reject out of hand the right–even the obligation–of corporation to shape their business around specific moral norms.

Business are culture-makers at the core, and thus, conscience ought to guide such activities, from the bottom to the top and back again.

At the same time, however

…one can’t help but suspect this is less about a distinct corporate conscience than it is about blind cultural conformity. But then one remembers that, in this case, conformity the conscience, and there’s not a whole lot more going on “up there” than a raw fear of that looming Idol of Egalitarianism.

The central “virtue” of conformity is loyalty, to follow orders and to think along with the group. Nothing, it seems to me, can be further from what is necessary for a dynamic and growing business. Much less is it compatible with a free people and the value of the person.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

 

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Sexism and Same-Sex Marriage?

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Kelly Bartlett (Public Discourse).

It’s one thing for two guys to love each other; it’s altogether different for society to endorse this union by granting these two men the status of marriage. A male marriage might not look overtly sexist, but what about the long-term effects? Redefining marriage grants men the legal right to deprive children of a relationship with their mother simply because she’s female. Because she’s “born that way.” What if this gender discrimination continues?

Obviously, two men cannot reproduce with each other, but in tandem with marriage comes the right to adopt. If a male couple’s adopted son meets and marries a like-minded guy whose dads commissioned him from a surrogate mother, then we would see an extended family bereft of not only mothers but also grandmothers. On both sides. Under current law in many states, this chauvinism can continue for generations.

Decades from now, young Marvin can trace his family tree and compare it with that of his pal Leroy. The latter has one mom and one dad, two grandmothers and two grandfathers, four great-grandmothers and four great-grandfathers. Leroy’s family tree is gender-integrated and balanced.

Meanwhile, Marvin lists two dads, four grandpas, and eight great-grandfathers. His family has fourteen men and zero women; it’s gender-segregated and devoid of wives, mothers, grandmothers, and their feminine love.

Of course, we know that babies can’t actually be nurtured for nine months in a test tube using IVF, no matter how many thousands of dollars we thrust at researchers. And despite millions in research, no scientist has ever generated a single ovum. Marvin had to have a mom or he wouldn’t be here. And his parents had to have mothers as well. It’s not that Marvin doesn’t have a mom or grandmothers in his ancestry. These women are invisible to Marvin, but they are real. They were intentionally excluded from his family precisely because of their sex. This man-made barricade is more harmful than the glass ceiling at work since it prevents children from accessing their own mothers.

Man caves are fun. Man family trees . . . not so much.

*****

To be fair, same-sex marriage laws grant women the same right to segregate family trees and the same power to deprive their children of fathers. But this doesn’t advance equality. That’s simply the debunked “separate but equal” argument in new, gender-segregated clothing. Again, I know too many dads and I honor my own father far too much to endorse writing them out of generations of children’s lives for the supposed crime of being born male.

Of course, same-sex marriage lobbyists can argue that the likelihood of entire branches being segregated by sex is slim. (I sure hope so.) Yet they dare not criticize the right to create gender-segregated family trees, because doing so would automatically refute their case. After all, redefining marriage is predicated on the theory that gender diversity is unimportant in marriage. Supporting gender integration would automatically plant them on the side of pro-gender marriage.

When confronted with Marvin’s ancestry, same-sex marriage activists can only applaud as they continue to support excluding either husbands and dads, or wives and mothers from homes. They consider this such an important benefit to society that they have persuaded judges or legislatures in sixteen states and a handful of countries to enact laws enabling gender segregation in families for generations.

That’s not marriage equality. That’s same-sexism marriage.

*****

As SSM advocates scatter seeds of gender alienation, we can focus attention on our collective family tree, which is inclusive and integrated. Every time you’re online reading an article that supports same-sex marriage, prune away the focus on homosexuality in order to shine a light on the roots of gender discrimination. Call attention to the fact that these are gender-exclusive unions. That they are missing one half of humanity. They deliberately deprive children of either a mother or a father. Their grandchildren will therefore lack either a grandmother or a grandfather. If they call it marriage equality, ask why treating the children of gays differently and banishing their mothers from the home is equality.

And when they refer to same-sex marriage, invite them to join the right side of history by rejecting sexism and supporting pro-gender marriage. Because gender matters to everyone, including homosexuals, as well as their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren . . .

- See more at: Gender, Discrimination, and Marriage | Public Discourse.

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When Tolerance Turns to Coerced Celebration

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Jennifer Marshall (The Gospel Coalition Blog).

The legal freedom to live and love according to one’s preferences does not imply that government should compel others to celebrate all relationships. The law should uphold the freedom to speak and to act publicly consistent with biblical beliefs about marriage.

*****

Tolerance means recognizing others’ right to refuse to celebrate what they don’t agree with. Religious liberty protections defending that right take nothing away from anyone. But compelling celebration certainly does.

Jennifer A. Marshall is director of domestic policy studies at Heritage Foundationwhere she also directs the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society. She is the author of Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Single Life in the 21st Century. You can follow her on Twitter @MarshallJenA.

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President Obama’s Remarks At National Prayer Breakfast

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Elise Hilton (Acton PowerBlog).

obama prayer breakfastThe National Prayer Breakfast, a D.C.-event going back to 1953, was held this morning. The keynote was USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and President Obama added remarks. Obama chose to focus on religious freedom, calling it a matter of “national security,” and commenting that he was looking forward to his trip to the Vatican next month to meet with Pope Francis.

Obama also said,

Yet even as our faith sustains us, it’s also clear that around the world freedom of religion is under threat. And that is what I want to reflect on this morning. We see governments engaging in discrimination and violence against the faithful. We sometimes see religion twisted in an attempt to justify hatred and persecution against other people just because of who they are, or how they pray or who they love. Old tensions are stoked, fueling conflicts along religious lines, as we’ve seen in the Central African Republic recently, even though to harm anyone in the name of faith is to diminish our own relationship with God. Extremists succumb to an ignorant nihilism that shows they don’t understand the faiths they claim to profess — for the killing of the innocent is never fulfilling God’s will; in fact, it’s the ultimate betrayal of God’s will.


While the president clearly wanted to focus on religious freedom outside the United States, those words are true within our nation as well. For instance, the Little Sisters of the Poor make it their mission to love, care for and minister to indigent elderly, yet the Obama Administration’s HHS mandate puts their mission in peril. The president’s administration has tried to quell the furor over forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor (and other organizations like them) by offering to have them sign a “waiver” that would allow a third party to provide artificial birth control, abortifacients and abortion coverage, which the government says isn’t a big deal, but those asked to sign say it violates their conscience. That doesn’t seem like an administration truly committed to freedom of religion.

In 2012, the Supreme Court heard the case of Hosanna Tabor v. EEOC, a case where the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged that a church had unfairly dismissed an employee for “insubordination and disruptive conduct,” and that she should be re-instated. The government

…escalated the dispute, arguing that there should be no ministerial exception and that any minister — even a priest, a rabbi, or a pastor of a congregation — should be able to sue the church that employs him.  This would be a revolution in church-state relations.

The court “unanimously rejected its [the government's] narrow view of religious liberty as ‘extreme,’ ‘untenable’ and remarkable.’”

Mr. President, while religious freedom anywhere should be a concern to all good people, perhaps your administration could pay a bit more attention to it in your own backyard.

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The Nation State vs. the Market State

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The state in the West has itself changed dramatically in the last generation. It has moved from a nation state to become a market state. Nation states can control their boundaries, their economies, their cultures, and their security; they seek to provide in varying degrees health care, education, and old-age security. A cocktail of changes in communications, technology, the failure of socialism, and globalization have undermined the nation state. In their place we have market states. Market states concentrate on maximizing opportunity. They balance public and private means of delivering public goods; and they look to the market place and its practices as a criterion of success in what they do. This is true of Moscow, London, Tokyo, Brussels, Berlin, Dublin, Seoul, and the like. Politics and religion reflect the background music of the market state. So we have market churches, market preachers, and market research driven politicians. Even philanthropy is now administered on the model of market practices. We can rave and rant all we want about this, but this is where we now live. It will take time for the new religious, political, legal, and military dust to settle; it is not surprising that we feel blinded and disoriented.

William J. Abraham, Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, “Just War, Terroism, and Christian Ethics.”  Diane Knippers Lecture, Institute on Religion & Democracy, Washington, DC, 7 October 2013.

Read the whole address here.

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Good for the US Catholic Bishops!

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I’ve written before on the threat to religious liberty inherent in the HSS regulation that employers pay for artificial contraception and abortion inducing drugs for their employees. Besides the morally dubious nature of what is required, there regulation provides only very narrowly defined religious exemptions (primarily for houses of worship). More worrisome still is the Obama administrations contention that for-profit business owners have no legal right to object to the mandate and that, as a state court in New Mexico said in a different matter, providing services that violate the individual’s conscience just “the cost of doing business.”

At the conclusion of their meeting yesterday in Baltimore, the Catholic bishops in the United States told the administration they would not comply with the mandate. While the Orthodox position on contraception is slightly different, we hold the same position on abortion. In any case, through our own bishops we have already offered our support to the Catholic Church on this matter.

The mandate is simply an offense to conscience and religious liberty. Good for the Catholic bishops for standing up to the administration’s bullying tactics! May God prosper the works of their hands as the offer a witness to the freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and the freedom of the Church!

You can read more in the article below the signature line.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

U.S. Bishops to President Obama: NO, We Will Not Comply

Source: Seasons of Grace.

U.S. Bishops to President Obama: NO, We Will Not Comply

The Catholic bishops of the United States, at the conclusion of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, have issued a SPECIAL MESSAGE which takes aim at the policies of President Obama and the current Administration.

The statement, which was passed by unanimous vote, concerned the HHS Mandate and the threat which the Mandate poses to religious freedom in this nation.  The statement asserts:

Not only does the mandate undermine our ministries’ ability to witness to our faith, which is their core mission, but the penalties it imposes also lay a great burden on those ministries, threatening their very ability to survive and to serve the many who rely on their care. 

 

Cardinal Dolan addressing the Fall General Assembly of the USCCB

Lifenews.com explains the force of the bishops’ resolve:

Given a choice of paying millions of dollars in fines or complying with a government mandate he thinks is morally wrong, Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh testified in court this week that he would rather pay the fines. From a report on his appearance:

“I would not be able to live with myself knowing that we’re contradicting what we believe,” he said during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab.

Under the law’s penalties, Catholic Charities would be subject to a daily fine of $100 per employee if Zubik doesn’t sign, said Susan Rauscher, the nonprofit’s executive director. That would total $2 million to $4 million a year for an organization with a $10 million operating budget, she said.

The Pittsburgh and Erie diocese are suing the government, claiming that the requirement violates their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. They’re asking Schwab to temporarily block enforcement of the mandate on their nonprofits while the dioceses pursue the lawsuits.

Bishop Lawrence Persico, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, testified that signing the document would cause the church to cooperate in the provision of “immoral” services.

Following is the USCCB statement in its entirety. 

A Special Message from the Bishops of the United States

The bishops of this country have just concluded their traditional fall meeting in Baltimore and have spent time on issues important to them and their people: help to those suffering from Typhoon Haiyan; an update on the situation in Haiti; matters of worship and teaching; service to the poor; and comprehensive immigration reform. Among those priorities is the protection of religious freedom, especially as threatened by the HHS mandate.

Pope Francis has reminded us that “In the context of society, there is only one thing which the Church quite clearly demands: the freedom to proclaim the Gospel in its entirety, even when it runs counter to the world, even when it goes against the tide.”

We stand together as pastors charged with proclaiming the Gospel in its entirety. That Gospel calls us to feed the poor, heal the sick, and educate the young, and in so doing witness to our faith in its fullness. Our great ministries of service and our clergy, religious sisters and brothers, and lay faithful, especially those involved in Church apostolates, strive to answer this call every day, and the Constitution and the law protect our freedom to do so.

Yet with its coercive HHS mandate, the government is refusing to uphold its obligation to respect the rights of religious believers. Beginning in March 2012, in United for Religious Freedom, we identified three basic problems with the HHS mandate: it establishes a false architecture of religious liberty that excludes our ministries and so reduces freedom of religion to freedom of worship; it compels our ministries to participate in providing employees with abortifacient drugs and devices, sterilization, and contraception, which violates our deeply-held beliefs; and it compels our faithful people in business to act against our teachings, failing to provide them any exemption at all.

Despite our repeated efforts to work and dialogue toward a solution, those problems remain. Not only does the mandate undermine our ministries’ ability to witness to our faith, which is their core mission, but the penalties it imposes also lay a great burden on those ministries, threatening their very ability to survive and to serve the many who rely on their care.

The current impasse is all the more frustrating because the Catholic Church has long been a leading provider of, and advocate for, accessible, life-affirming health care. We would have preferred to spend these recent past years working toward this shared goal instead of resisting this intrusion into our religious liberty. We have been forced to devote time and resources to a conflict we did not start nor seek.

As the government’s implementation of the mandate against us approaches, we bishops stand united in our resolve to resist this heavy burden and protect our religious freedom. Even as each bishop struggles to address the mandate, together we are striving to develop alternate avenues of response to this difficult situation. We seek to answer the Gospel call to serve our neighbors, meet our obligation to provide our people with just health insurance, protect our religious freedom, and not be coerced to violate our consciences. We remain grateful for the unity we share in this endeavor with Americans of all other faiths, and even with those of no faith at all. It is our hope that our ministries and lay faithful will be able to continue providing insurance in a manner consistent with the faith of our Church. We will continue our efforts in Congress and especially with the promising initiatives in the courts to protect the religious freedom that ensures our ability to fulfill the Gospel by serving the common good.

This resolve is particularly providential on this feast of the patroness of immigrants, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. She was a brave woman who brought the full vigor of her deep religious faith to the service of the sick, the poor, children, the elderly, and the immigrant. We count on her intercession, as united we obey the command of Jesus to serve the least of our brothers and sisters.

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ObamaCare & Marriage

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Source: John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog.

By Devon Herrick Filed under  on November 8, 2013 with 11 comments

Consider two young people living together, each earning 200% of the FPL (about $22,980 annually). If that same couple were to marry, their combined household income would rise from 200% of the poverty level (individually) to 296% for a family of two. As individuals, the ObamaCare exchange would cap their premiums at no more than 6.3% of income; but as a couple their premiums would be capped at 9.4%. Their marriage penalty is $1,421 annually.

See additional estimates in the chart below.

 

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