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Author Topic: CAF Accuses this Forum of 'silence' on recent HHS Directive  (Read 1421 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 02, 2012, 12:28:38 PM »

In a recent thread on CAF, we Orthodox were accused of 'silence' in the face of the recent promulgation of rules by the US department of HHS mandating contraception and abortificant coverages in all employer sponsored health plans by the end of 2013 with no 'conscience' exception. (I will provide the link if requested but I don't think it is necessary.)

We need to speak as one on this issue and not allow ourselves to be caught up in Byzantine style political machinations or in personality conflicts among our Bishops.

Likewise, I simply can not stand to have the Orthodox view presented solely in the words of the agenda-driven Orthodox priest, Fr. Hans Jacobes and his friends at Monamarkos and elsewhere on the conservative side of the American political spectrum. This is a MORAL ISSUE - NOT A POLITICAL ONE and I hope this discussion is not relegated to the private politics forum.

As to CAF, in order to feel smug with respect to the Orthodox,  when all else fails, quote a Catholic 'defector', Rod Dreher, who has his own agenda and found himself neck deep in internecine Orthodox in-fighting last year. Yeah,right....

I will be the first to concede that trying to get a joint statement out of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of North America on anything other than what day of the week it is, and even there the calendar issue would probably get in the way, is a real problem and an embarrassment. However, the constant whining by the political conservatives within the Orthodox Church about the supposed 'liberalism' of the non-OCA Bishops on social and moral issues is a red herring and a pile of you know what.

Fellow Orthodox Christians: Regardless of your political affiliation and your secular ideology, we must be of one mind on this issue. Please contact the Episcopal Assembly and respectfully ask that they consider issuing a joint statement. The Good Lord likely cares not what order of signing His Bishops place on such a document, but I suspect He does care that such a statement does not exist. For goodness sake, cast lots if you must for the d###med pecking order if it comes to that. We have had enough of egos and protocol. Fiddling while Rome burns is a western thing, get over it. Please contact Monk Benedict at the EA and NICELY express your hopes that a firm, joint statement is forthcoming. But BE POLITE, not angry or argumentative.  email removed by request

(The following is my attempt to make an observation the whole issue from the political trenches, having worked in them for a long time over the years. If the mods want to delete it, I understand, but I think it is on point without picking a favorite. 

Frankly, the whole issue reeks of cynical manipulation and focus groups. I suspect that the current administration knows full well that the proposed rule will not pass constitutional muster and will never come to play. They assume that the furor over this will subside while they can say to their 'hard liners', well, we tried.... They play the same games with the left that the other party plays on the right - lip service but no intention to really change the status quo. Our country should demand better from all of them.)

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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2012, 02:06:41 PM »

RE "... we must be of one mind on this issue."

Well said.  When the EA does issue a statement, if someone could post it here - that would be great!
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2012, 02:13:09 PM »

Frankly, the whole issue reeks of cynical manipulation and focus groups. I suspect that the current administration knows full well that the proposed rule will not pass constitutional muster and will never come to play. They assume that the furor over this will subside while they can say to their 'hard liners', well, we tried.... They play the same games with the left that the other party plays on the right - lip service but no intention to really change the status quo. Our country should demand better from all of them.)

You may get a ministerial exception for priests, monks, and nuns employed by the church proper (as opposed affiliated non-profits); but thinking that the court will declare the rule unconstitutional for universities, hospitals, or even laity working for the church proper is wishful thinking without an express congressional exemption...and, even then, a congressional exemption for these groups may even be ruled unconstitutional by the Court (see City of Boerne v. Flores).
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2012, 02:18:15 PM »

Although I appreciate the call for a statement, I must play devil's advocate. What would such a statement do? The Orthodox Christians are already united (pretty much) on this matter, to other Christians, the statement wont matter at all, and to those in favor of such a law, it wont change their minds.

If you really want to do something, stop with the time wasting statements and flood your Congressman's office with your angst.

I guarantee you that members of Congress will care far more if they think they'll lose/win an election because of this issue instead of a C page headline for 24 hours about some joint statement issued by people with funny beards.

NOTE: My last statement is not an insult, but just how it would be viewed.

PP
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2012, 02:36:58 PM »

Although I don't share the Vatican's views on birth control:
http://www.facebook.com/isamikhailstephanalmisry/posts/246175058793781
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2012, 02:53:11 PM »

I will be the first to concede that trying to get a joint statement out of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of North America on anything other than what day of the week it is, and even there the calendar issue would probably get in the way, is a real problem and an embarrassment. However, the constant whining by the political conservatives within the Orthodox Church about the supposed 'liberalism' of the non-OCA Bishops on social and moral issues is a red herring and a pile of you know what.

Fellow Orthodox Christians: Regardless of your political affiliation and your secular ideology, we must be of one mind on this issue. Please contact the Episcopal Assembly and respectfully ask that they consider issuing a joint statement. The Good Lord likely cares not what order of signing His Bishops place on such a document, but I suspect He does care that such a statement does not exist. For goodness sake, cast lots if you must for the d###med pecking order if it comes to that. We have had enough of egos and protocol. Fiddling while Rome burns is a western thing, get over it. Please contact Monk Benedict at the EA and NICELY express your hopes that a firm, joint statement is forthcoming. But BE POLITE, not angry or argumentative.  monk.benedict@gmail.com

It's funny that you bring this up - I was speaking to the chair of the committee of the EA responsible for drafting the joint statements not even a week ago, and he stated that they're drafting messages about abortion, marriage, etc.  So, at least to one point, they're working on it. 

However, he gave no indication as to how quickly said statements would be issued; I cannot imagine that they'll come out before the next full meeting.
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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2012, 03:02:42 PM »

I will be the first to concede that trying to get a joint statement out of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of North America on anything other than what day of the week it is, and even there the calendar issue would probably get in the way, is a real problem and an embarrassment. However, the constant whining by the political conservatives within the Orthodox Church about the supposed 'liberalism' of the non-OCA Bishops on social and moral issues is a red herring and a pile of you know what.

Fellow Orthodox Christians: Regardless of your political affiliation and your secular ideology, we must be of one mind on this issue. Please contact the Episcopal Assembly and respectfully ask that they consider issuing a joint statement. The Good Lord likely cares not what order of signing His Bishops place on such a document, but I suspect He does care that such a statement does not exist. For goodness sake, cast lots if you must for the d###med pecking order if it comes to that. We have had enough of egos and protocol. Fiddling while Rome burns is a western thing, get over it. Please contact Monk Benedict at the EA and NICELY express your hopes that a firm, joint statement is forthcoming. But BE POLITE, not angry or argumentative.  monk.benedict@gmail.com

It's funny that you bring this up - I was speaking to the chair of the committee of the EA responsible for drafting the joint statements not even a week ago, and he stated that they're drafting messages about abortion, marriage, etc.  So, at least to one point, they're working on it. 

However, he gave no indication as to how quickly said statements would be issued; I cannot imagine that they'll come out before the next full meeting.

Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2012, 03:07:06 PM »

Frankly, the whole issue reeks of cynical manipulation and focus groups. I suspect that the current administration knows full well that the proposed rule will not pass constitutional muster and will never come to play. They assume that the furor over this will subside while they can say to their 'hard liners', well, we tried.... They play the same games with the left that the other party plays on the right - lip service but no intention to really change the status quo. Our country should demand better from all of them.)

You may get a ministerial exception for priests, monks, and nuns employed by the church proper (as opposed affiliated non-profits); but thinking that the court will declare the rule unconstitutional for universities, hospitals, or even laity working for the church proper is wishful thinking without an express congressional exemption...and, even then, a congressional exemption for these groups may even be ruled unconstitutional by the Court (see City of Boerne v. Flores).

I don't think it is that clear. 24 states have similar legislation with a conscience exemption, including liberal bastions like New York and Massachusetts. We will have to wait and see, but I shall remain cynical about the motivations of the rule's promulgators and their expectations.
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2012, 03:11:56 PM »

Putting the issue aside for a moment... who cares people on CAF think? Just a little niche in the vast cosmos of internet crankdom (OC.net of course is another such niche).
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« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2012, 03:13:32 PM »

Putting the issue aside for a moment... who cares people on CAF think? Just a little niche in the vast cosmos of internet crankdom (OC.net of course is another such niche).

There's some truth to that.
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« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2012, 03:29:08 PM »

Putting the issue aside for a moment... who cares people on CAF think? Just a little niche in the vast cosmos of internet crankdom (OC.net of course is another such niche).

There's some truth to that.

I was more concerned about the posturing and malicious attacks made by fellow Orthodox upon some of our Bishops and the false charges that those people perpetuate. Remember Lincoln's words that a house divided can not stand.
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« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2012, 03:40:20 PM »

Putting the issue aside for a moment... who cares people on CAF think? Just a little niche in the vast cosmos of internet crankdom (OC.net of course is another such niche).

There's some truth to that.

I was more concerned about the posturing and malicious attacks made by fellow Orthodox upon some of our Bishops and the false charges that those people perpetuate. Remember Lincoln's words that a house divided can not stand.


I have been more concerned about the squabbling among the bishops and metropolitans in World Wide "canonical" Orthodoxy.
The problems with the hierarchy in the OCA and in the Antiochian Archdiocese have done more damage to Orthodoxy than laymen. It is scandalous.

Dante said that the streets of hell are paved with the heads of priests and that the lampposts are the bishops.
Sadly, that might just be true as the shepherds will be held more accountable than the flocks.

Lord have mercy and save us.
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2012, 03:51:11 PM »

Putting the issue aside for a moment... who cares people on CAF think? Just a little niche in the vast cosmos of internet crankdom (OC.net of course is another such niche).

There's some truth to that.

I was more concerned about the posturing and malicious attacks made by fellow Orthodox upon some of our Bishops and the false charges that those people perpetuate. Remember Lincoln's words that a house divided can not stand.


I have been more concerned about the squabbling among the bishops and metropolitans in World Wide "canonical" Orthodoxy.
The problems with the hierarchy in the OCA and in the Antiochian Archdiocese have done more damage to Orthodoxy than laymen. It is scandalous.

Dante said that the streets of hell are paved with the heads of priests and that the lampposts are the bishops.
Sadly, that might just be true as the shepherds will be held more accountable than the flocks.

Lord have mercy and save us.

It is my personal experience that the 'squabbling' exists more in the heated imaginations of certain clergy and lay people who have their own agendas than with the Bishops themselves and such people exploit normal human interactions (and, yes, shortcomings) for their own purposes. And really, there is nothing to be gained by trying to make a distinction about 'canonical' Orthodoxy. For better or worse, the system of national organization of Orthodox churches has historically lent itself to 'squabbles' among the Patriarchs over the centuries. I'll take our squabbles over the alleged universal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome.
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2012, 04:40:00 PM »

Putting the issue aside for a moment... who cares people on CAF think? Just a little niche in the vast cosmos of internet crankdom (OC.net of course is another such niche).


I think it is a compliment.  CAF thinks that OC.net has a significant enough presence in the American Orthodox world to be of some influence.
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2012, 05:19:02 PM »

Frankly, the whole issue reeks of cynical manipulation and focus groups. I suspect that the current administration knows full well that the proposed rule will not pass constitutional muster and will never come to play. They assume that the furor over this will subside while they can say to their 'hard liners', well, we tried.... They play the same games with the left that the other party plays on the right - lip service but no intention to really change the status quo. Our country should demand better from all of them.)

You may get a ministerial exception for priests, monks, and nuns employed by the church proper (as opposed affiliated non-profits); but thinking that the court will declare the rule unconstitutional for universities, hospitals, or even laity working for the church proper is wishful thinking without an express congressional exemption...and, even then, a congressional exemption for these groups may even be ruled unconstitutional by the Court (see City of Boerne v. Flores).

I don't think it is that clear. 24 states have similar legislation with a conscience exemption, including liberal bastions like New York and Massachusetts. We will have to wait and see, but I shall remain cynical about the motivations of the rule's promulgators and their expectations.

A legislative exemption is certainly a borderline case; for one thing, even if the exemption is unconstitutional, to challenge it one needs standing. You basically have to convince an employee to sue and even that might not a guarantee of standing. But I'm willing to predict that an exemption for hospitals and universities will not be forthcoming from SCOTUS; they may very well strike down large portions of the law (though this particular part of the legislation is safer than most), but I would be quite surprised to see them grant such a large scale exemption, it would just be too big of a departure from stare decisis
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2012, 05:23:29 PM »

Frankly, the whole issue reeks of cynical manipulation and focus groups. I suspect that the current administration knows full well that the proposed rule will not pass constitutional muster and will never come to play. They assume that the furor over this will subside while they can say to their 'hard liners', well, we tried.... They play the same games with the left that the other party plays on the right - lip service but no intention to really change the status quo. Our country should demand better from all of them.)

You may get a ministerial exception for priests, monks, and nuns employed by the church proper (as opposed affiliated non-profits); but thinking that the court will declare the rule unconstitutional for universities, hospitals, or even laity working for the church proper is wishful thinking without an express congressional exemption...and, even then, a congressional exemption for these groups may even be ruled unconstitutional by the Court (see City of Boerne v. Flores).

I don't think it is that clear. 24 states have similar legislation with a conscience exemption, including liberal bastions like New York and Massachusetts. We will have to wait and see, but I shall remain cynical about the motivations of the rule's promulgators and their expectations.

A legislative exemption is certainly a borderline case; for one thing, even if the exemption is unconstitutional, to challenge it one needs standing. You basically have to convince an employee to sue and even that might not a guarantee of standing. But I'm willing to predict that an exemption for hospitals and universities will not be forthcoming from SCOTUS; they may very well strike down large portions of the law (though this particular part of the legislation is safer than most), but I would be quite surprised to see them grant such a large scale exemption, it would just be too big of a departure from stare decisis
yeah thats is way too big of an exemption. 20% of all hospitals are under control of a religious entity (http://lsrj.org/documents/factsheets/08-09_Religious_Hospitals.pdf). There's no way the government would let that fly.
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2012, 05:39:15 PM »

RE "... we must be of one mind on this issue."

Well said.  When the EA does issue a statement, if someone could post it here - that would be great!

It is up on the EA site...  http://assemblyofbishops.org/news/releases/protest-against-hhs

Quote
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, which is comprised of the 65 canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States, Canada and Mexico, join their voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and all those who adamantly protest the recent decision by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and call upon all the Orthodox Christian faithful to contact their elected representatives today to voice their concern in the face of this threat to the sanctity of the Church’s conscience.

In this ruling by HHS, religious hospitals, educational institutions, and other organizations will be required to pay for the full cost of contraceptives (including some abortion-inducing drugs) and sterilizations for their employees, regardless of the religious convictions of the employers.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. This freedom is transgressed when a religious institution is required to pay for “contraceptive services” including abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization services that directly violate their religious convictions. Providing such services should not be regarded as mandated medical care.  We, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, call upon HHS Secretary Sebelius and the Obama Administration to rescind this unjust ruling and to respect the religious freedom guaranteed all Americans by the First Amendment
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2012, 07:01:45 PM »

This statement has been in the works for over a week now. When dealing with multiple jurisdictions and bishops these things take time. Without the EA this statement would have taken even longer. I would suggest that those who are passonate about these issues contact their bishops and encourage them to work with the EA.
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2012, 07:14:39 PM »

This statement has been in the works for over a week now. When dealing with multiple jurisdictions and bishops these things take time. Without the EA this statement would have taken even longer. I would suggest that those who are passonate about these issues contact their bishops and encourage them to work with the EA.

The truth is that I do know that this statement has been in the works in the days since the original HHS ruling. Even in our electronic age, it is difficult to reach sixty-five equal representatives and obtain their consent on wording and timing. No wonder why things got so out of hand in the early days of the church without the benefit of instant communication, when we reflect upon the way rumor passes for fact in our enlightened age.

I feel that it is important though for us to share this important statement as there are those from within, and without our Orthodox family who irresponsibly accuse some of us of being 'soft on moral issues.'
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2012, 07:56:24 PM »

Son of a gun!

OC.net starts a thread about the need for a letter from the EA and... BANG... later that same day the letter appears on the EA's web site.

Now THAT is power!!!  Careful how you use it.   Wink
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« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2012, 09:04:20 PM »

Putting the issue aside for a moment... who cares people on CAF think? Just a little niche in the vast cosmos of internet crankdom (OC.net of course is another such niche).

Oh the sanity!
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« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2012, 09:54:47 PM »

Son of a gun!

OC.net starts a thread about the need for a letter from the EA and... BANG... later that same day the letter appears on the EA's web site.

Now THAT is power!!!  Careful how you use it.   Wink

Faster than a speeding bullet . . .
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« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2012, 10:07:55 PM »

Putting the issue aside for a moment... who cares people on CAF think? Just a little niche in the vast cosmos of internet crankdom (OC.net of course is another such niche).
Post of the month?
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