Calif. Gay Marriage Ban Sparks Protests and Harrasment of Christians and Others
The ad ran all over California on Election Day-Two clean-cut young men knock at the door of a lesbian couple. The men identify themselves as Mormon missionaries. "We're here to take away your rights," they announce.
They snatch the women's wedding rings off their fingers and ransack their home. When they find the couple's marriage license, they rip it in half. "Say no to a church taking over your government," the voiceover says. "Vote no' on Proposition 8."
Despite such vicious attacks, California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman, passed on Nov. 4. But the assaults on churches have just begun.
Two days after the election, 2,000 homosexual protesters surrounded a Mormon temple in Los Angeles chanting "Mormon scum." Protesters picketed Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, holding signs reading "Purpose-Driven Hate." Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills was spray painted. Church members' cars have been vandalized, and at least two Christians were assaulted. Protesters even hurled racial epithets at African-Americans because African-Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of traditional marriage.
Prominent Catholic Obstetrician:
Abortion and Euthanasia Bringing about the Demise of Catholic Health Care
Believing Catholics are being pushed out of the medical professions, especially in areas like obstetrics, by the insistence of secularized medical services on "abortion rights," contraception and now, increasingly, physician-assisted euthanasia, claims a prominent Catholic obstetrician.
Dr. Walley, a Catholic obstetrician, emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Memorial University of Newfoundland and founder of Matercare International, said "There's a crisis in obstetrics. People don't want to go into it. When I started in obstetrics, it was what you might call a glamour specialty, all about delivering babies. Now, with everything being based on abortion and birth control, you're in a position where people are saying I don't want to be involved in doing the abortions."
The physician also drew a parallel between the development of abortion in obstetrics and the ongoing push around the world for medically assisted euthanasia. "You will get doctors who pull out of their specialties because they don't want to get involved in euthanasia." He added, "We might be looking at the demise of any Catholic involvement in health care."
Dr. Walley said that the conscience issue "has been acute for 35 years." Catholic OB/GYNs who adhere faithfully to the teaching of the church, he said, are being pushed out of the field all over the world.
"I left England over precisely what we're seeing now. I was told I had to do the abortions, or I could quit the specialty, or I could leave the country. So I left the country." And this message is being repeated around the world to Catholics in health care, particularly in OB/GYN specialties: "You can do the abortions or leave the profession."
Family Denied Permanent Residency in Australia Because of Down Syndrome Child
Bernhard Moeller, a German physician who has been helping fill the doctor shortage in Australia's Victoria state, has been denied permanent residency because his 13-year old son has Down syndrome.
"A medical officer of the Commonwealth assessed that his son's existing medical condition was likely to result in a significant and ongoing cost to the Australian community," a spokesman from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said.
A press release from the department on October 30th stated that Dr Moeller is able to seek a review of this decision. Meanwhile, the doctor and his family hold a temporary visa until 2010.
The department insists that the refusal is not due to discrimination against people with disabilities, but rather reflects the department's responsibility to not financially overburden the state's medical system. "It is long-standing government policy that high-cost medical conditions are a consideration in visa decisions," said the spokesman.
Health Care Providers in Washington State Refuse to Perform Assisted Suicide
Eastern Washington's largest hospital system, Providence Health Care, has said assisted suicide will not be permitted in its hospitals.
The owners of Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital, a branch of Providence Health Care, said, "Providence will not support physician-assisted suicide within its ministries. This position is grounded in our basic values of respect for the sacredness of life, compassionate care of dying and vulnerable persons, and respect for the integrity of medical, nursing, and allied health professions. We do not believe health care providers should ever be put in a position of aiding a patient in taking his or her own life."
The statement follows the deeply controversial passage of the ballot measure, I-1000, which on November 4th legalized assisted suicide in Washington State.
There is some concern among Washington physicians that they will be forced to participate in assisted suicides, but the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) has so far said they will not.
Providence Health Care is a not-for-profit medical organization founded and sponsored by the Catholic religious order, the Sisters of Providence. Numerous other Catholic organizations such as the Knights of Columbus of New Haven, Connecticut provided altogether approximately 57% of the funds to fight against I-1000.
Washington State Medical Association president Brian Wicks said, "Initiative-1000 gives doctors power which we do not want and which we believe is contrary to good medical practice," he continued. "The initiative is a dangerous distraction from symptom-directed end-of-life care that provides comfort for dying patients and their families. Our focus should remain on caring for terminally ill patients and should never shift toward helping them kill themselves."
Orissa Bishops Call on Government to Rebuild Churches
The bishops of three dioceses in Orissa, India, have sent a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in which they denounce the pervasive reign of terror that hangs over Christians who have been attacked by radical Hindu groups for months. In order to stop the Christian exodus from the state-many Christians have moved to neighboring states-the bishops urge the authorities to act quickly to rebuild churches.
Despite government reassurances that things have calmed down, local clergymen are reporting that members of their congregations are still unable to go back home for fear of death or re-conversion to Hinduism. They point out that aid pledged by the authorities for the reconstruction of villages and churches has not yet arrived and that Christians are still scared to harvest their fields and so are bound to lose their livelihood.
"The situation [in Orissa] is precarious," one bishop explained. "People are afraid and the fear of violence looms large; moreover, people are terrified of forced conversion to Hinduism [. . .]. Our priests are slowly returning to their parishes (or what is left of them), but they too are stalked by fear. They are prime targets for elimination or re-conversion by Hindu fundamentalists and their parents and families have often been compelled to return to Hinduism, forced to shave their heads and drink water mixed with cow dung and urine and perform Hindu chants. Even if people take comfort in the presence of their priest, they are still traumatized by their experience and by the suffering they have had to endure."
In order to rebuild a sense of normalcy, the bishops have called on the Orissa state government to rebuild the 180 or so churches that were destroyed, ideally before Christmas this year.
Institute on Religion and Public Policy