Monday, December 27, 2010

As 2010 Ends (What The Wolf Has To Offer)

Interesting... from Man faces criminal charges for reading wife's e-mail, under the category Technically Incorrect, dated December 27, 2010:

Specifically, according to the Detroit Free Press, 33-year-old Leon Walker is charged with using his wife's Gmail password to read her most intimate messages.

It so happens, the paper said, that having gleaned her password from a book his wife kept next to her laptop, Walker learned she was having an affair with her previous husband.

Walker reportedly claims that the laptop was one he had bought for his wife and that it was a laptop he used regularly. In addition, he told the Free Press that, having discovered the affair, he was concerned for his wife's son from her first marriage. (Leon Walker is her third husband.)

Clara Walker's second husband was reportedly arrested for beating her in front of her small son. So Leon Walker felt it right that the son's father should see the e-mails.

Mr. Walker is now facing five years in prison, though I wonder if the real reason he is being prosecuted is not that he read his wife's email, but that he passed it on to a third party without her consent. That is a critical issue, if not legally, then at least morally.

One thing he could perhaps do is to claim that he has been a Muslim, and has been hiding his religious affiliation for fear of persecution (Islamophobia). He could then murder his wife, and claim the honor-killing was justified under Islamic law, and that therefore any government prosecution would violate his civil rights under the First Amendment.

A little extreme? Maybe it won't hold up under US law (then again, maybe it will), but a very vocal segment of Islamic society will support him.

(Seriously, Mr. Walker, I'm sure you are a decent guy, I apologize for my joking suggestion that you do physical harm to your wife, and I wish you and your family the best with this current situation.)

In other developments, the ACLU is at it again.

Let me back up by pointing out that the ACLU was on the right side of the issue regarding the Sibel Edmonds case, although the ACLU seems to have an affinity for being on the wrong side of issues, and in the long run, I wonder if their support helped or hurt Edmonds.

Anyway, from ACLU Urges CMS To Ensure Access To Emergency Reproductive Care At Catholic Hospitals, dated December 24, 2010:

In a letter to CMS on Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union asked federal health officials to ensure that Catholic hospitals provide emergency reproductive care to pregnant women, arguing that refusal to provide abortions at religiously affiliated hospitals is a growing problem, the Washington Post reports. Five ACLU attorneys in the letter cited the case of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz., which had its Catholic status revoked Tuesday after physicians in 2009 performed an emergency abortion to save a pregnant woman's life (Stein, Washington Post, 12/22).

The woman, a mother of four children, was 11 weeks pregnant and had pulmonary hypertension, a rare condition in which continuing the pregnancy often jeopardizes the life of the woman. Physicians concluded that the placenta had to be removed to prevent the patient from dying. The Catholic Church condemns direct abortion -- meant to terminate a pregnancy -- but permits indirect abortion in which fetal death is a secondary effect of another necessary procedure.

On Tuesday, Bishop Thomas Olmsted revoked St. Joseph's Catholic status because he said the hospital violated Catholic moral teaching by authorizing the abortion (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/22). In announcing his decision, Olmsted said that "subsequent communications" with St. Joseph's officials "have only eroded my confidence about their commitment to the Church's ethical and religious directives for health care."

If I understand this correctly, the woman got the procedure that saved her life. However, the Bishop had concerns about the hospital's commitment to the Catholic Church's pro-life position, so the Bishop revoked the hospital's Catholic status.

It looks to me like the issue here is not whether the patient gets the care she needs - because she did - but rather that the Catholic Church is pro-life, and the ACLU wants to pummel the Church for its position.


Letter Cites 'Heavy-Handed' Actions

ACLU said in the letter -- addressed to CMS Administrator Donald Berwick and his deputy Marilyn Tavenner -- that Olmsted's "drastic and heavy-handed actions send a chilling message to Catholic hospitals throughout the country, as well as their employees: If hospitals comply with federal law and provide emergency abortion care there will be consequences." ACLU added that the "dioceses cannot be permitted to dictate who lives and who dies in Catholic-owned hospitals."

While the organization "continue[s] to applaud St. Joseph's for doing what is right by standing up for women's health and complying with federal law," ACLU argued in the letter that "this confrontation never should have happened in the first place, because no hospital -- religious or otherwise -- should be prohibited from saving women's lives and from following federal law."

The letter was a follow up to a previous letter sent to CMS in July seeking a federal investigation of similar problems at Catholic hospitals across the U.S., including refusals to provide emergency contraception to rape survivors or perform abortions in cases of miscarriages. CMS spokesperson Ellen Griffith said that the original complaint is still pending and that officials have not yet reviewed Wednesday's letter.


From Phoenix bishop strips hospital of Catholic status over abortion, other ethics violations, December 21, 2010 (I have added some emphasis to make a point):

Phoenix, Ariz., Dec 21, 2010 / 06:58 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Citing numerous and ongoing violations of Catholic teaching, including an instance of abortion, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix has declared that St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center can no longer call itself a Catholic institution.

The bishop announced his decision in a press conference at diocesan headquarters Dec. 21. It follows months of negotiations with officials for St. Joseph's and its parent company, Catholic Healthcare West.

These talks, aimed in part at getting the hospital to admit its ethical wrongdoing in performing the abortion, reached an impasse last month. The bishop had given officials a Dec. 17 deadline to reach an understanding. When that date passed, he extended the deadline to Dec. 21.

"They have not addressed in an adequate manner the scandal caused by the abortion," Bishop Olmstead said in making his announcement.

"Unfortunately," he said, the talks "have only eroded my confidence about their commitment" to the Church's Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. These directives are a set of standards drawn up by the U.S. bishops to guide treatment in Catholic institutions.


In a letter he wrote this past November that was leaked to the press on Dec. 15, Bishop Olmstead voiced frustration with the hospital's continued justification of the abortion and its refusal to cooperate with him.

"In effect, you would have me believe that we will merely have to agree to disagree," he told Catholic Health Care West president Lloyd Dean.

But this resolution is unacceptable, because it disregards my authority and responsibility to interpret the moral law and to teach the Catholic faith as a successor of the Apostles.

The bishop had been insisting that St. Joseph's admit to its ethics violation, commit to avoiding abortion under all circumstances, and retrain staff members through an institution of his choosing.

Ultimately, the negotiations failed and Bishop Olmstead said he had concluded that St. Joseph is not committed to following the teaching of the Catholic Church [and] therefore, this hospital cannot be considered Catholic.

He said that in the process of the negotiations he had discovered a pattern of serious ethical violations at both St. Joseph's and in the wider Catholic Healthcare West system in Arizona.

He said the abuses had been going on "throughout my seven years as bishop of Phoenix and far longer."

He faulted the institutions' participation in the so-called "Mercy Health Plan," through which it receives federal and state monies to provide health care services to the poor -- including abortion, birth control, and sterilization.

Although St. Joseph's does not provide these services itself, by setting up and managing the conditions under which other hospitals provide these services, St. Joseph's was "formally cooperating" in these unethical procedures, the bishop charged.

The bishop said that representatives of St. Joseph's and Catholic Healthcare West had acknowledged they understood that their administration and participation in the Mercy Health Plan made them morally responsible for its actions.

In his press conference, Bishop Olmsted also questioned the hospital's motivations and priorities, noting that revenues from its participation in the Mercy Health Plan will reach nearly $2 billion this year.

For the past 26 years that the plan has been in existence, he said, St. Joseph's hospital has made more than $100 million per year.

So now we see what is really going on here. The hospital is part of a health plan - in other words, it receives MONEY, which comes with strings attached. This is no longer a First Amendment issue about freedom to practice the pro-life Catholic religion, but it is now a contractual issue.

The Bishop is right to revoke the hospital's Catholic status - it sold its soul and departed from the Catholic fold, and now has opened itself up to bludgeoning by the Left, which would like nothing better than to force Christians to stop being Christians.

The Bishop is trying to shepherd his sheep, and preserve them until the Great Shepherd returns, but these sheep are too tempted by what the wolf has to offer.

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