Watch for a major fight in Congress over taxpayer subsidies for religious and other private schools.
In his Republican response to the State of the Union this week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) touted “school choice,” a euphemism for vouchers.
“We need to give all parents, especially the parents of children with special needs, the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice,” Rubio said.
The next day, the Florida senator rolled out his “Educational Opportunities Act,” a neo-voucher bill that lets corporations and individuals donate money to “scholarship granting organizations” that pay for tuition at private schools. The donors get a dollar-for-dollar tax credit - for corporations up to $100,000 and for individuals up to $4,500 - and private schools, most of them religious, get a windfall of new money.
Call it a Rubio Goldberg Machine that takes tax dollars, spins them around and puts them into the collection plates of various religious schools that are then free to use the cash to indoctrinate and discriminate.
It’s more than a little ironic that Rubio, who spent a lot of time in his speech talking about the federal debt problem, told The Miami Herald that he doesn’t know how much his scheme will cost.
The newspaper said Rubio’s private school slush fund reflects his close ties with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Bush has relentlessly pushed private school subsidies in the Sunshine State for years, and the Herald said some of his former associates helped Rubio concoct his plan.
The senator’s neo-voucher campaign is likely to have a companion effort in the U.S. House of Representatives. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has announced plans to put forward a “school choice” scheme, and it’s certain to have the enthusiastic backing of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Boehner is positively obsessed with taxpayer subsidies for religious and other private schools. He used all his political clout - and backroom political wheeling and dealing - to keep in place a federally funded voucher program in the District of Columbia that underwrites tuition at Roman Catholic, fundamentalist Protestant and Muslim schools.
Russ Campbell’s Blog: Apparently, What’s Sauce for the Roman Catholic and Muslim Goose Is Not Sauce for the Evangelical Gander
Given recent statements by the federal New Democrats’ leader, Thomas Mulcair, one might see a Canada led by this man as a grim, gray place in which we all think alike, and in which those with opposing/differing views are shunned and shut-out of public funding.
During the summer of 2010, the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer would bring two young brothers to his camper trailer, parked in the lot of the St. Paul church where he presided.
Inside, he showed the boys, then 12 and 14, pornographic movies and provided alcohol and marijuana as he allegedly molested one and exposed himself to the other, authorities said this week. After he was arrested in June in the rectory at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Wehmeyer saw the boys’ mother and said, “[your son] doesn’t lie. I intend to plead guilty and spare your family the embarrassment,” according to charges filed Thursday in Ramsey County District Court.
Wehmeyer, 47, who was removed as the Roman Catholic church’s pastor in June, faces three counts of criminal sexual conduct.
On Friday, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi was asked whether his office was reviewing other possible cases involving Wehmeyer. Choi replied, “Stay tuned.” Also Friday, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released a statement saying it “deeply regrets the pain caused by clergy misconduct or by others within the Church, and is offering its support and assistance to all concerned.”
A ban on Muslim students wearing the hijab at a Catholic-run school in the Philippines, has sparked complaints and controversy.
Pilar College in Zamboanga has defended its decision to ban Muslim students from wearing the hijab. Many of the schools 3,000 pupils are Muslim. Ciibroadcasting reported the college president, Sister Maria Nina Balbas, defied the complaints the ban has generated by maintaining the school will continue to enforce the ban. Balbas said “Our origin is Roman Catholic and we cannot deviate from that origin.”
The school is the first in the Phillipines to ban the hijab, breaking the country’s tradition of religious tolerance. Alarabiya reported Mehol Sadain, head of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, had demanded the school reverse the ban.
As the Catholic Church devolves into fundamentalism, it has become obvious that the celibate patriarchy is the only voice, and that in today’s Catholic Church women have no voice.
Four years ago, a Vatican group called “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” began an assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic nuns in the United States. The assessment was designed to take a careful look at whether the nuns were acting in accordance with the teachings of the church.
In the assessment, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the leadership conference is undermining Roman Catholic teachings on homosexuality and birth control and promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” It also reprimanded the nuns for hosting speakers who “often contradict or ignore” church teachings and for making public statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.”
Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, is the bishop who assessed the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Along with Archbishop Peter Sartain and Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, he will be working with the nuns of the LCRW to make sure the group is aligned with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The bishops and the nuns’ group leaders were also told to develop material “that provides a deepened understanding of the church’s doctrine of the faith.”
An American Nun Responds To Vatican Criticism
Sister Pat Farrell, the president of the LCWR, talked with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross on July 17. Farrell addressed the major criticisms of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, including the LCWR’s decision to abstain from taking a public position on abortion, contraception and women’s ordination.
Just because a woman is a nun doesn’t mean she is immune to sexual violence or possible impregnation, or STD transmittal.. She can get breast and ovarian cancer. She needs the same health care other women need. She is very aware of the issues surrounding women, not only because of her work, but because she, herself, is a women.
This interview from NPR shows the sanity and humanity of the Women Religious:
… .”We would question, however, any policy that is more pro-fetus than actually pro-life. If the rights of the unborn trump all of the rights of all of those who are already born, that is a distortion, too — if there’s such an emphasis on that. However, we have sisters who work in right-to-life issues. We also have many, many ministries that support life. We dedicate to our lives to those on the margins of society, many of whom are considered throwaway people: the impaired, the chronically mentally ill, the elderly, the incarcerated, to the people on death row. We have strongly spoken out against the death penalty, against war, hunger. All of those are right-to-life issues. There’s so much being said about abortion that is often phrased in such extreme and such polarizing terms that to choose not to enter into a debate that is so widely covered by other sectors of the Catholic Church — and we have been giving voice to other issues that are less covered but are equally as important.”
On the criticism from the Vatican regarding human sexuality
“We have been, in good faith, raising concerns about some of the church’s teachings on sexuality. The problem being that the teaching and interpretation of the faith can’t remain static and really needs to be reformulated, rethought in light of the world we live in. And new questions and new realities [need to be addressed] as they arise. And if those issues become points of conflict, it’s because Women Religious stand in very close proximity to people at the margins, to people with very painful, difficult situations in their lives. That is our gift to the church. Our gift to the church is to be with those who have been made poorer, with those on the margins. Questions there are much less black and white because human realities are much less black and white. That’s where we spend our days.”
A jury has found a former Roman Catholic priest guilty of plotting the death of a man who accused him of sexual abuse.
The Dallas Morning News ( bit.ly) reports the Dallas County jury of three men and nine women returned its verdict on John M. Fiala Thursday afternoon after a few hours of deliberation.
Fiala could be sentenced to up to life in prison for solicitation of capital murder.
The Catholic church as an institution has now decided to jump into politics pure and simple. Remember that all of this faux outrage comes from opposition to birth control when the world population is quickly on path to 9 billion and Family planning is the only thing with any hope of stemming the tide of starvation, poverty, and misery that overpopulation brings. Remember that this is about birth control and the Catholic church’s opposition to condom use across Africa in the face of an AIDS epidemic there. Remember this is about their opposition to 3rd party insurers paying for birth control in the plans they provide to non Catholic employees of the church in non religious institutions like hospitals.
But Diocese Chancellor Patricia Gibson rejected the outrage, explaining that Jenky ‘offered historical context and comparisons as a means to prevent a repetition of historical attacks upon the Catholic Church and other religions.’
She added: ‘We have currently not reached the same level of persecution.
‘But Bishop Jenky would say that history teaches us to be cautious. … (He) is concerned that our government is truly treading on one of our most dear freedoms, which is religious freedom.’
Jenky’s comments came a few days after the nation’s Roman Catholic Bishops called for a national campaign in defense of religious liberty and urged resistance to laws church officials considered unjust. The bishops said Catholics must work to change recent state and federal laws church leaders believe violate religious freedom.
The highest-profile clash has been over the mandate in the Obama administration’s health care overhaul that most employers cover birth control costs for workers.
A German court has convicted a Roman Catholic priest of some 250 counts of sexually abusing children over a several-year period and sentenced him to six years in prison.
German news agency dapd reported that the state court in Braunschweig on Thursday convicted the priest, who was found guilty of abusing three boys aged 9 to 15 between 2004 and 2011.