1. White Supremacy and Abortion, Are pro-lifers in bed with white supremacists?

By William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2019, Pg. A15, Opinion

That’s Marissa Brostoff’s contention in a Washington Post op-ed last week, wherein she alleged that “antiabortion politics” can provide “cover for white nationalist sentiments.” Her argument followed a Laurence Tribe tweet in which the Harvard law professor told his followers, “Never underestimate the way these issues and agendas are linked.”

The timing is likely not accidental. The hope may be that tarring pro-lifers with white nationalism will distract attention from the agenda the Democrats have rallied around as they head into 2020. That would include federally funded abortion on demand up to the moment of birth—and even after birth, if necessary, as Ralph Northam, the pediatric neurologist and Democratic governor of Virginia, awkwardly made clear earlier this year.

 As with all single-issue movements, pro-lifers can be accused of many things, from political rigidity to moral absolutism. But single-issue movements also offer undeniable clarity. The pro-life proposition is simple: Human life begins at conception, and every human life is equal in dignity and worth.

Whatever else this may be, it is incompatible with white supremacism. Perhaps that’s why so many African-Americans, especially African-American women, have been leaders in the pro-life cause.

 Against these white nationalists stand the pro-lifers, and not just on behalf of African-American babies. They also speak for the unborn child with Down syndrome, for the child conceived in rape or incest, for the unplanned pregnancy that will undeniably crimp any career plans a mother might have if she carries the baby to term. These are all hard cases, and the clarity of the pro-life proposition— the insistence that each of these lives is no less precious than any other human life—can make for a difficult political sell.

But no pro-lifer ever said life is easy. We say life is beautiful.


2. Can a State Rewrite a Movie Script?, Minnesota tried to compel Christian filmmakers to celebrate gay marriage.

By Jeremy Tedesco, The Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2019, Pg. A17, Opinion

You’ve heard about state officials who try to compel florists or bakers to violate their religious beliefs and participate in same-sex weddings. In Minnesota the state claims the authority to do the same to filmmakers. Last month the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rightly rejected this view.

The state argued that Telescope was a public accommodation performing a “commercial activity,” and that the state’s regulatory power included the authority to overrule the Larsens’ editorial decisions.

In rejecting the argument, the circuit judges noted that the First Amendment protects not only Christians but all of us.

The Supreme Court has often affirmed the “cardinal constitutional command” that government cannot force “free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable.”

Also in 2018 the court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in favor of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who conscientiously objects to same-sex marriage. The justices didn’t reach Mr. Phillips’s free-speech claim, holding instead that the process was unfair because officials were openly hostile to his religious beliefs. Eventually a case like Telescope Media Group will give the justices a chance to resolve the free-speech question they left open and protect the rights of all creative professionals.

Mr. Tedesco is a vice president of Alliance Defending Freedom. He represented Telescope Media Group before the Eighth Circuit.


3. W.Va. scandal muddies legacy of Vatican’s fixer.

By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, September 3, 2019, Pg. A1

Late last summer, Vatican officials realized they had an uncontainable mess — four whistleblowing priests alleging financial and sexual misconduct by the bishop of West Virginia. So they did what Catholic officials have done for decades: They turned to William Lori. 

From Rome and Washington to Connecticut and then Baltimore, where he is now archbishop, Lori is often on the front lines when the nation’s largest religious group is facing major scandals or perceived threats to its values and traditions. He is the Vatican’s fixer in the United States. 

When the clergy sexual abuse scandal exploded in the news in the early 2000s, Lori helped craft policies to hold abusive priests — but not bishops — accountable. When the Obama administration pressed for greater acceptance of same-sex marriage, contraception and abortion, Lori led a national campaign arguing that America’s religious freedom was at stake. And when the Vatican decided last fall to investigate the accused cleric in West Virginia, that job, too, fell to Lori.

The probe of the allegations against Michael Bransfield, conducted by five lay investigators and overseen by Lori, was intended to signal a new era of church accountability. But Lori’s handling of it, along with revelations of his own links to Bransfield, have made the Baltimore archbishop a focus of anger by some parishioners and threaten to complicate his legacy. 


4. Profiles of Pope Francis’ New Cardinals.

By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, September 2, 2019

Pope Francis unexpectedly named 13 new cardinals on Sunday, choices that have again revealed his wish for the Church to go out to the peripheries and the developing world.

But they also reveal Churchmen supportive of other issues close to his heart including open migration policies, concern for the environment and populism, a diplomatic rather than realist stance toward Islam, and sympathies for those supportive of homosexual issues.

“Their origin expresses the missionary vocation of the Church as she continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to every person on Earth,” the Pope said. 

The new cardinals, 10 of whom will be eligible to vote in a conclave, will receive their red hat during a cardinal-making consistory on Oct. 5, the vigil of the Oct. 6-27 Amazonian Synod. 

With Francis’ new choices, the number of cardinal electors will rise to 128, eight more than the number that was recommended by Paul VI (Pope St. John Paul II also on occasion exceeded the 120 limit), although the number is to swiftly decline in the coming months. 

Three electors — Congo Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Italian Cardinal Edoardo Menichelli, and Indian Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo — are soon to lose their eligibility to vote as they turn 80 later in October, with others exceeding the voting age next year.  

After the Oct. 5 cardinal-making consistory, which will be Francis’ sixth, the College of Cardinals will comprise 67 electors chosen by Francis, 42 created by Benedict XVI, and 19 by John Paul II.

The list of new cardinal electors, which the Holy Father nearly missed announcing after being stuck for 25 minutes in an elevator on his way to the Angelus, has further internationalized the College of Cardinals. But the choices also retain a European focus, comprising five Europeans as well as one from Asia, two from Africa, and two from Central America. 


5. 2020 Democrats Back Funding Abortion Overseas With Taxpayer Dollars.

By Lauretta Brown, National Catholic Register, September 2, 2019

As the 2020 Democratic presidential race heats up, many of the candidates have called for the repeal of a long-standing ban on the use of U.S. taxpayer funds for abortion overseas.

Seven of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates recently confirmed their opposition to the Helms Amendment, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, author Marianne Williamson and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke. 

Permitting taxpayer dollars to fund abortions overseas also was included recently on the wish list of a coalition of abortion groups and was added to the Democratic Party platform in 2016.

The Helms Amendment, named for its author, the late Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., says that “no foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.” It was enacted as a permanent amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1973 shortly after abortion was legalized in the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

The amendment has long been attacked by abortion advocacy groups who petitioned the Obama administration to repeal the amendment or clarify that it does not apply in cases of rape or incest. In 2016, both Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., came out in opposition to the Helms Amendment after a major push from abortion activists to do so.


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