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Entries in church and state (8)

Thursday
Apr112013

Eden Foods Files Suit Against Contraception Mandate, Citing Birth Control As Immoral | G8 Takes On Rape As War Crime

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Eden Foods Says Contraception Is Murder & Immoral

Salon drops the bombshell that Eden Foods CEO and founder, Michael Potter, is seeking in court to deny employees the right to contraception as part of Obamacare. Potter objects to contraception and argues that the contraception mandate violates his rights under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. 

Eden Foods also supports personhood amendments, believing that the rights of a fertilized egg are equal to those of the breast-feeding mom with three kids and an adoring husband who is eating those chips. Eden also believes de facto that this same woman should die in a Catholic hospital emergency room, rather than save her life — if such action could possibly harm her zygote or embryo. Salon continues:

Eden Foods, which did not respond to a request for comment, says in its filing that the company believes of birth control that “these procedures almost always involve immoral and unnatural practices.” The complaint also says that “Plaintiffs believe that Plan B and ‘ella’ can cause the death of the embryo, which is a person.” (Studies show that neither Plan B nor Ella interfere with fertilization, which is the Catholic definition of the beginning of life, if not the medical one. In other words, not the death of an embryo. Also, at that stage, it’s a zygote, not an embryo — let alone a “person.”) The filing also said that “Plaintiff Eden Foods’ products, methods, and accomplishments are described by critics as: tasteful, nutritious, wholesome, principled, unrivaled, nurturing, pure.”

Under no circumstances will Eden Foods ever work its way into my kitchen again — and I’ve bought plenty of their products over the years. ~ Anne

G8 Acts on Rape in War

Hosted by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who invited humanitarian Angelina Jolie to join the G8 ministers at today’s meeting in London, the ministers agreed to set up an international framework for investigating and prosecuting rape” while making no provisions for amnesties ever for sexual violence in peace treaties. 

Hague called the use of rape as a war tactic “the slave trade of our generation.”

Jolie, who is the UN special envoy for refugees, was joined the the UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Bangura.

Hague and Jolie announced a USD 35.4 million international agreement for action against sexual violence in war zone. 

“Our goal must be a world in which it is inconceivable that thousands of women, children and men can be raped in the course of a conflict, because an international framework of deterrence and accountability makes it impossible,” Hague told his fellow G8 foreign ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US in the run-up to the annual summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland in June.

Shocking Anti-Rape Bra

Three Indian engineering students led by Manisha Mohan, an engineering student at SRM University in Chennai, have developed ‘anti-rape’ lingerie in response to the brutal gang rape in Delhi. Mohan calls the bra SHE ‘Society Harnessing Equipment’.  

The garments are wired with pressure sensors and equipped with an “electric-shock circuit board” which delivers up to 82 shocks when the garments detect unwanted force. Using a GPS system, the lingerie is also designed to send an alert to parents or police. 

The students say that the inside of the garments are insulated with polymer — with a circuit placed near the bosom “because in the attempt of rape or roadside-eve-teasing, as per survey, women are attacked first on their bosom.”

A website for the project reveals what looks like what looks like a white nightgown with wiring between the breasts. Mohan cited India’s recent Delhi and Bangalore rape tragedies as inspirations for the development of the product.

Mohan explains that a woman can switch on an electric switch attached to the waist of the garment when she feels she is in potential danger. “When I know that there is no harm, I switch it off,” Mohan says. “But when I’m moving out of my office late at night, I could turn it on.” When the garment is in “on” mode, the sensors would be able to detect force from pinching or squeezing and unleash the shock, writes The Daily Beast.

In a related story, Forbes magazine writes ‘The Culture of Rape’ and a Smart Phone App: Activism Meets Technology in India

Created by a team led by Filmmaker Nancy Schwartzman, whose 2009 film The Line plumbed the controversial areas of sexuality and consent, debuted the Circle of 6 app in the United States last year 

“Basically, we saw the number of downloads in India increase by 1,000 percent after the gang rape in New Delhi – making India the No. 2 spot outside the U.S. for downloads,” said Schwartzman. “We were motivated to translate to Hindi and find the best on the ground resources in New Delhi we could find for women in need.”

Wednesday
Apr032013

Angelina Jolie Opens Girls School in Afghanistan | Jolie Visits Congo Women Ahead of G8 Meeting | Texas Title 10 $

1. Angelina Jolie opens Afghanistan girls school. Angelina Jolie inspired me to start writing AOC and she is a muse in many ways to the development of our content and philosophy. Jolie’s latest project is a school for girls she opened in Afghanistan, funding it with profits from her new Style by Jolie jewelry collaboration with Robert Procop.

The girls-only primary school is located just outside of Kabul, in an area known for resistance to educating girls. 

“The beauty of these creations is matched by the beauty of spirit behind Angelina’s most heartfelt mission — to empower children in crisis…For me it’s an honor to have the opportunity to be a part of creating this line with Angie, as we both believe every child has a right to an education.”

2. Angelina Jolie lends voice to DR Congo rape victims. On March 26, Angelina Jolie joined British Foreign Secretary William Hague in his efforts to raise commitments of G8 countries to tackle rape and sexual assault in war zones. Jolie and Hague are calling on the G8 to agree that rape and sexual violence constitute breaches of the Geneva Conventions governing warfare, as well as a new international protocol on the documentation and investigation of the issue.

“More often than not the international community looks away, the perpetrators of these brutal crimes walk free and the cycle of injustice and conflict is repeated. We have to shatter this culture of impunity,” Hague said.

Read our extensive writing about women in the Congo. 

3. Hamas seeks to educate girls separately from boys. Palestinian boys and girls in Gaza should be educated at separate schools if a new Hamas-proposed law takes effect. The new policy is more symbolic than functional, since most older children are already educated in single-sex schools. Of greater concern is that the law is another example of Hamas flexing its muscle on its insistence on a strict, traditional interpretation of Islam.

The UN announced last month that it would cancel its annual Gaza marathon after Hamas insisted that women no longer participate. London’s The Independent writes that to date Hamas has not been tough on enforcing restrictions on women. 

4. Not so fast, Saudi ladies! Foreign Policy reports that Saudi Arabian women might not be riding bikes after all. On Monday reports were that an unnamed Saudi religious police official said that women will now be allowed to ride bicycles in the country for “entertainment” purposes only.

5. In France women will no longer have to pay to terminate a pregnancy and young women 15-18 will be allowed free and anonymous access to contraception. The French government seeks to reduce the number of abortions and teen pregnancies among poor women, reports NPR. 

6. In a massive win for the poor women of Texas, the The Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas (WHFPT), which includes Planned Parenthood, has received millions of dollars enabled by the federal government under Title X grants. No funds can be used for abortion, but it will allow women’s clinics to provide free contraception and other women’s health services to poor women.  

The state of Texas has gone to inordinate pain to put Planned Parenthood out of business, sacrificing women’s health across the state. We’ve reported in depth that current estimates are that 24,000 unwanted children will be born in 2013 to poor women with no access to contraception. 

7. Republican lawmakers in North Carolina are proposing the formation of a state religion. The bill would declare the state exempt from the Constitution and court rulings. The bill says each state “is soverign” and courts cannot block a state “from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.”

In Mississippi, writes Huff Po, the legislature is looking at a proposal to establish a state board with the power to nullify federal laws. 

Constitutional law professor Jeffrey Fisher from Stanford University says “It is elementary that a state cannot pass a statute that blocks enforcement of an otherwise enforceable federal law.”

8. Women’s rights activists in North Dakota want to put all abortion rights legislation laws up for a popular vote. The referral process would involve obtaining petition signatures to start a statewide vote over whether or not the recent bans should be allowed to go into effect. 

Sunday
Dec022012

Freedom From Religious Foundation Sues IRS Over Election Evangelicalism | Gay Marriage & Supreme Court Cases

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Experts don’t agree on last week’s Supreme Court decision in which it ordered the 4th U.S Circuit of Appeals to rehear a case filed by Liberty University that argues the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act violates its religious freedom by legislating that the Christian University must provide health insurance for its employees. Note that the Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional in June.

“On one level, it’s routine,” said Sara Rosenbaum, professor of health law and policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. “This is not an unusual way for them to handle a case that’s in front of them that they want to take, because it hasn’t been fully developed yet.”

But Mathew Staver, the lawyer in the case and vice president of Liberty University is encouraged that the court is willing to look again at the employer mandate, certainly as it applies to religoius institutions.

Mark Graber, law and government professor at the University of Maryland disagrees, saying: “Based on the Supreme Court’s past decisions, Liberty University has no case because this is a neutral law that doesn’t single out religions.” via Southern Maryland Headline News.

Freedom of Religion

Lawsuit Challenges Tax-Exempt Status for Pulpit Electioneering

The Freedom from Religion Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the Internal Revenue Service is violating the US Constitution by allowing tax-exempt churches and religious organizations to publicly endorse political candidates.

At the conclusion of an election season in which numerous religious figures including Catholic bishops told congregations how they should vote, the lawsuit argues that organizations have become increasingly more involved in political campaigns, “blatantly and deliberately flaunting the electioneering restrictions.”

IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman is named in the lawsuit, which also asks that the IRS initiative legal action against churches and religious organizations that engage in electioneering.

The lawsuit cites full-page ads run this fall in the New York Times and other newspapers by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Renowned evangelist Billy Graham urged Americans to vote along biblical principles after pledging to do “all I can” to elect Mitt Romney. Also mentioned in the lawsuit are Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenkins of Peroria, Ill, requiring all the priests in his diocese to read an order that Catholics only vote for a pro-life candidate. The lawsuit refers to ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ in which more than 1.500 pastors challenged the IRS ruling directly, seeking a court challenge.

US Abortion Politics

The Family Values Congressman and His Mistresses

Abortion politics in America hit a new low when details of the private life of recently re-elected, pro-life Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) became public. The Congressman says that God has forgiven him for his scandalous past, including pressuring a patient with whom he was having an affair to get an abortion.

Court papers revealed that DesJarlais’ former wife had two abortion by a “mutual” decision. The first abortion was because his wife was taking an experimental drug that carried risks during pregnancy; the second abortion came as the couple suffered from problems in their marriage.

The same divorce papers relating to the 2001 divorce of the family values Congressman DesJarlais revealed affairs with four women who were patients.

US Supreme Court & Gay Marriage

The Supreme Court has released a list of cases it will hear this term, and same-sex marriage is currently not on the docket.

On Friday the Supreme Court met behind closed doors with 10 appeals related to same-sex marriage on the agenda. It’s possible that the Court will announce this week plans to hear at least one of the cases. If the Court allows the federal appeals rulings to stand, it’s not the end of the gay marriage debate. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has predicted that the court will hear a gay marriage case this term.