Late last week, on Friday afternoon, while most of us were checking out of work (mentally if not physically) and focusing on the weekend, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a press release informing of yet another revision to its contraceptive/abortion pill mandate. As it turns out, we didn't miss much.
The HHS was obliged to make changes following the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which struck down the Mandate as it applies to closely held for-profit corporations. Also, the HHS could hardly ignore the string of subsequent court rulings casting doubt on the propriety of an "accommodation" the department set aside for religious non-profits.
Like a number of federal courts figured out, the "accommodation" given to religious non-profits is not very accommodating. The HHS decided they'd make the insurance company, and not the ministry, pay for contraceptive and abortion services, conveniently ignoring the real-world effect of increased premiums that cause employers to cover the additional costs in a back-door way. And, HHS glosses over the actual concern: More than just paying for it, Christian ministries are compelled to be deal-brokers between their own employees and providers of highly objectionable services. But for the employment, their employees do not receive free abortions. more >>
Terror group ISIS has demanded a $6.6 million ransom for the release of a 26-year-old American woman it captured over a year ago while she was doing humanitarian relief work in Syria.
The woman, whose identity was not released due to a request from her family, is the third of at least four Americans who are known to be held captive by ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, ABC News reported on Tuesday. The militants are also demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-trained neuroscientist convicted by the U.S. in 2010 of trying to kill two American officials two years before.
ISIS, which has captured significant territory in Iraq and Syria, beheaded American journalist James Foley last week, and warned President Barack Obama to stop air strikes against ISIS targets. more >>
Some religious freedom advocates have raised concerns that the Barack Obama administration's recent changes to the Health and Human Services Department's "preventive services" mandate have not adequately addressed their religious freedom concerns.
In light of recent major court defeats, HHS will now allow for-profit employers to contact the government directly for an exemption rather than a third party.
Last week, the federal government released a document about new "interim final regulations" regarding exemptions to the HHS mandate for entities to provide birth control coverage to their employees. more >>
Cornel West, a professor in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton,accused President Barack Obama of hypocrisy for his response to the situation in Ferguson, Missouri.
In a BBC interview, West spoke about the treatment of young black impoverished men.
"The American system is an abysmal failure when it comes to keeping track of the humanity of black poor, and in this case, black poor youth. " West stated. "Callousness, indifference has been the response of the Presidents no matter what color, Congress no matter what color." more >>
Pope Francis has called the family of American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by Islamic militants in a video posted by terror group ISIS earlier this week. The family is said to be "moved and grateful" by the pontiff's gesture.
"Pope Francis phoned the family of #JamesFoley this afternoon at their residence in New Hampshire. The family was 'moved and grateful,'" Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest, wrote in a Twitter message Thursday.
Martin clarified that a Vatican official gave him permission to share the news. more >>
In the wake of the gruesome beheading of American journalist, James Wright Foley, it is important to remember that the growing threat of radical Islam is very real.
Next month will mark 13 years since the tragic terror attacks on September 11th, 2001 as well as two years since the attacks in Benghazi. Evil is real and the threat of terrorism exists.
With growing unrest in the Middle East as well as other international crises, it is imperative that we are active in our efforts to combat these threats and to send a message that America is truly exceptional. more >>