A Time for Prayer

We, the contributing authors of MittRomneyCentral, the Article 6 Blog and Evangelicals for Mitt have come together in a common purpose today. Many of us consider ourselves religious, but not all of us are comfortable being open about that. While religion and faith in God are an important part of all of our lives, we do not take the following requests lightly. But we have come together at this time, despite any personal discomfort we may have, with the following request:

We believe this is a time for prayer.

First and foremost, hurricane-strength Isaac is bearing down on the United States’ gulf coast. New Orleans, a city hard hit by hurricane Katrina seven years ago, appears likely to be affected once again. We believe it is appropriate for all Americans to pray on behalf of those in the storm’s path.

In addition, in the next two days, tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people across the globe will be tuning in to hear Ann and Mitt Romney speak. Many more will see the speeches on YouTube or by other electronic means. Ann and Mitt are right now putting the finishing touches on those speeches and practicing their delivery.

Among those that will be watching, many will never have heard Ann or Mitt speak before. Many will be looking to form an opinion, wondering in the tumult of words by both sides who they can believe, who can be trusted. Others may have pre-dispositions to discount what Ann and Mitt say as a result of whatever personal biases they may have, whether they be political, religious or other. But the significance of Ann and Mitt’s message, both spoken and unspoken, must come through and touch the hearts of those listening. So we think it’s a time for prayer. People will then vote for the person they believe in good conscience represents the right direction for this country. But we all believe that decision should be made on the basis of a firm understanding of the truth.

All the authors of these contributing sites feel strongly about the importance of this election. Not just because of the state of the economy or of the many issues that face our country, but because of the state of religious freedom. Never have we, in our collectively long lives, seen the kinds of disdain and bitterness directed at religion and people of faith. By way of example, and not political demagoguery, we do not take it lightly that under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) religiously-affiliated institutions are now required to violate their own conscience to comply with the law. We do not take it lightly that the current administration tried to limit a church from terminating its own ministers. We think there are legitimate reasons people of all faiths should be concerned about what we’re seeing. If it’s not your faith that’s threatened by legislation or popular culture today, it may be tomorrow.

Ann and Mitt are not professional politicians. While both are trying their hardest to convey why Mitt is the right person to be president, they, like all of us, are limited by their human capacities of speech and intellect. As humans we don’t always think of the right things to say. Sometimes we make mistakes in the words we choose. Sometimes the message we intend to convey is lost in our words, despite the sincerity and intensity of our efforts.

But being people of faith, we collectively believe in miracles. We can say we’ve seen a few. Some involve the power of prayer, and even the power of many people coming together in prayer. We have faith that there is a God, and that he hears and answers prayers. Ann said in April of this year that “the kindest and sweetest of all” things she hears on the campaign trail are women who “tell me how much they care for me and how much they’re praying for me,” and that “I do need everyone’s prayers.”

So whatever form of God you believe in, Christians, Jews, Muslims, all, will you join us? Ann Romney speaks at 10 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time today. Mitt speaks at the same time Thursday. We invite all who read this post to request the blessings of God on Ann and Mitt as they prepare. We invite all to pray that those hearing them speak will do so with an open mind, and be willing to hear their message. We invite all to take an attitude of prayer throughout the convention, but in particular, at the commencement of each of Ann’s and Mitt’s speeches, at 10 p.m. today and Thursday, to offer a silent prayer in their behalf, and to continue with a prayer in your heart for them and their audience throughout their delivery.

We don’t ask for a miracle in the form some would expect we might. While many of us will be privately praying the election goes the way we would like, today we ask that all unite in a prayer that God extend his grace to those in the path of hurricane Isaac, for the protection and safety of our troops, that he attend Ann and Mitt, that they will be strengthened beyond their usual limits, and that they and their audience receive the help of God that Ann and Mitt’s message will be understood.

Please join us.

MittRomneyCentral, Article 6 and Evangelicals for Mitt authors

Religious Liberty at Grave Risk — “We’re All Catholics Now”

How often have you heard of a church bringing a lawsuit against the President of the United States? It has happened, but certainly not often. This week it was not just any church that brought suit against the Obama administration — it was the Roman Catholic Church no less! I honestly believe that Mr. Obama couldn’t care less if his signature health plan seriously erodes religious liberty in extraordinary ways. I doubt that Mr. Obama wanted to energize religious voters against him, but he has done it.

Photo: Associated Press

Fascinating it is to observe the Obama administration’s trampling of centuries honored religious liberty under the guise of “women’s rights.” The Wall Street Journal carried three excellent articles on this unprecedented move by the Catholic church; one was on the front page of the printed version yesterday — Catholics Sue Over Health Mandate:

The University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York and 41 other Roman Catholic institutions sued the Obama administration in federal court Monday, the latest push against a requirement in the health-care-overhaul law that employers cover contraception in workers’ health plans.

The lawsuits were brought in a dozen different jurisdictions in the U.S., and plaintiffs included the Catholic University of America and archdioceses serving Dallas, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.

“The government…cannot justify its decision to force Notre Dame to provide, pay for, and/or facilitate access to these services in violation of its sincerely held religious beliefs,” Notre Dame’s lawsuit argues. “If the government can force religious institutions to violate their beliefs in such a manner, there is no apparent limit to the government’s power.”

Consider the centuries old traditions of Catholics and their families.

The plaintiffs object to a provision that requires most employers to cover all preventive health services including contraception as part of their insurance policies, without out-of-pocket costs for consumers. Sterilization was one of the methods of birth control included, as was the so-called morning-after pill.
[...]
“We have tried negotiation with the administration and legislation with the Congress—and we’ll keep at it—but there’s still no fix,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now.”
[...]
“We do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others; we simply ask that the government not impose its values on the university when those values conflict with our religious teachings,” he said.
[...]
That law says the government can “substantially burden” people in practicing their religion only if it can show that there is a “compelling governmental interest” and that its policy is “the least restrictive means of furthering” that interest.

An Op-Ed piece appeared in yesterday’s Journal as well: Why the Bishops Are Suing the U.S. Government:

Like most Americans, the bishops have long taken for granted the religious freedom that has enabled this nation’s diverse religions to flourish in relative harmony. But over the past year they have become increasingly concerned about the erosion of conscience protections for church-related individuals and institutions. Their top-rated program for assistance to human trafficking victims was denied funding for refusing to provide “the full range of reproductive services,” including abortion. For a time, Catholic Relief Services faced a similar threat to its international relief programs. The bishops fear religious liberty is becoming a second-class right.
[...]
Continued attempts to solve the problem by negotiation produced only an announcement by the Obama administration in February that insurance providers would pay for the contested services. Since many Catholic entities are self-insured and the others pay the premiums, the bishops’ concerns were not alleviated.
[...]
The main goal of the mandate is not, as HHS claimed, to protect women’s health. It is rather a move to conscript religious organizations into a political agenda, forcing them to facilitate and fund services that violate their beliefs, within their own institutions.

The media have implied all along that the dispute is mainly of concern to a Catholic minority with peculiar views about human sexuality. But religious leaders of all faiths have been quick to see that what is involved is a flagrant violation of religious freedom. That’s why former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, declared, “We’re all Catholics now.”

More is at stake here than the mission of all churches, including the Catholic Church, to provide social services like health care and education to everyone regardless of creed, and to do so without compromising their beliefs. At the deepest level, we are witnessing an attack on the institutions of civil society that are essential to limited government and are important buffers between the citizen and the all-powerful state.

If religious providers of education, health care and social services are closed down or forced to become tools of administration policy, the government consolidates a monopoly over those essential services. As Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, put it, we are witnessing an effort to reduce religion to a private activity. “Never before,” he said, “have we faced this kind of challenge to our ability to engage in the public square as people of faith.”

With this week’s lawsuits, the bishops join a growing army of other plaintiffs around the country, Catholic and non-Catholic, who are asking the courts to repel an unprecedented governmental assault on the ability of religious persons and groups to practice their religion without being forced to violate their deepest moral convictions.

A third article in the WSJ was published yesterday as well — Catholics in Court — The religious-liberty lawsuit against ObamaCare is historic:

[...]The nation’s most prominent Catholic institutions are saying that the same federal government they have viewed for decades as an ally in their fight for social justice is now a threat to their religious liberty.

This can’t have been an easy decision, especially because the plaintiffs are hardly founding members of the tea party. They include the Archdioceses of New York and Washington but also Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and even the University of Notre Dame.
[...]
So much for that. The lawsuit signals that far from engaging with “those who disagree,” Mr. Obama has rebuffed Catholic leaders in their attempt to work out a compromise over the Administration’s mandate that all insurance plans offer contraception and sterilization services, including abortifacients. . . .
[...]
The Department of Health and Human Services offered a fig leaf in February, foisting the mandate onto insurance companies rather than religious employers. [...] As Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York put it, this so-called “safe habor” effectively gives religious institutions “a year to figure out how to violate [their] consciences.”

The suit charges that the mandate violates the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, as well as the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which requires that the federal government meet a higher legal standard for any law that interferes with religious liberty.
[...]
The real and startling question at issue is whether the entitlement state can pound everything, including religious belief, to its political will. Few previous Administrations would have dared such a high-stakes Constitutional battle, but Mr. Obama’s willfulness reveals the change that is taking place in liberal politics.

Once upon a time the political left viewed Catholics and especially the bishops as their allies in using government to create more equal opportunity and redistribute income. But today’s Democratic Party puts a higher cultural value on sexual politics and expanded reproductive freedom. We trust the courts will instruct the Administration that the Constitution still puts religious liberty first.

“Religious freedom is too sacred a right to be restricted or prohibited in any degree without convincing proof that a legitimate interest of the state is in grave danger.” ~ Frank Murphy

Twitter Follow: @VicLundquist

Newt, Ya Listening? Conservative Leaders Praise Romney on Life, Marriage, Religious Freedom

While Southern Baptist leader Richard Land and other social conservatives are huddling in Texas next weekend to figure out how to stop Mitt Romney, nine conservative leaders from Massachusetts think so highly of Governor Mitt Romney that they’ve penned a letter on his behalf. They write about his record in the uber-liberal Bay State and praise him for protecting life, defending traditional marriage, and standing for religious freedom.

Uh… Newt, are you paying attention?

An Open Letter Regarding Governor Mitt Romney
December 30, 2021

Dear conservative friends:
We hail from a broad spectrum of organizations dedicated to fighting for the pro-family agenda in Massachusetts. As you know, Mitt Romney served as the governor of our state from January 2, 2022 to January 3, 2007. During that time, we worked closely with him and his excellent staff on that agenda.

Some press accounts and bloggers have described Governor Romney in terms we neither have observed nor can we accept. To the contrary, we, who have been fighting here for the values you also hold, are indebted to him and his responsive staff in demonstrating solid social conservative credentials by undertaking the following actions here in Massachusetts. The following is not an endorsement of Governor Romney but our account of the facts to set the record straight.

Staunchly defended traditional marriage. Governor Romney immediately and strongly condemned the November 18, 2021 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) decision that legalized “same-sex marriage” in our state. More importantly, he followed up on that denunciation with action – action that saved our nation from a constitutional crisis over the definition of marriage. He and his staff identified and enforced a little-known 1913 law that allowed them to order local clerks not to issue marriage licenses to out-of-state couples. Absent this action, homosexual couples would surely have flooded into Massachusetts from other states to get “married” and then demanded that their home states recognize the “marriages,” putting the nation only one court decision away from nationalizing “same-sex marriage.”

We do not agree with the claims that Gov. Romney had bogus Party A and Party B marriage licenses printed and ordered Justices of the Peace and Town Clerks to perform same-sex “marriages” when asked or be fired. As May 17, 2022 (the SJC’s declaratory judgment date) approached, the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel issued provisional advisory instructions to the justices of the peace and prepared revised license applications. These executive actions did not result in the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples before May 17. The new policies were carried out only after and as a direct result of the judiciary’s final action in Goodridge on May 17. They did not generate same-sex marriages; that responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

We do not agree with the claims that Gov. Romney issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The governor does not issue marriage licenses in Massachusetts. Only the town clerks can do that. But the governor can issue one-day justice of the peace authorizations to an individual who wants to perform a marriage ceremony but is not a licensed minister, town clerk or justice of the peace. The governor’s office issues thousands of those in a four year term with the only criteria being that the individual doing the ceremony is in good standing and the parties getting married have a valid marriage license.

Worked hard to overturn “same-sex marriage” in the Commonwealth with substantial results. In 2004 he lobbied hard, before a very hostile legislature, for a constitutional amendment protecting marriage – an amendment later changed by the legislature to include civil unions, which the Governor and many marriage amendment supporters opposed. Working with the Governor, we were successful in defeating this amendment.

Provided strong, active support for a record-setting citizen petition drive in 2005 to advance a clean constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The petition drive collected the largest number of signatures in Massachusetts history.

Rallied thousands of citizens around the state to focus public and media attention on the failure of legislators, through repeated delays, to perform their constitutional obligation and vote on the marriage amendment. In November of 2006, Gov. Romney held the largest State House rally in Massachusetts history with over 7000 supporters of traditional marriage.

Filed suit before the Supreme Judicial Court asking the court to clarify the legislators’ duty to vote and failing that, to place the amendment on the 2008 ballot. That lawsuit, perhaps more than any other single action, was by all accounts instrumental in bringing the ultimate pressure on the legislators to vote. The SJC unanimously ruled that the Legislature must vote and the historic vote was taken on January 2, 2022 winning legislative support. This cleared a major hurdle in the three year effort to restore traditional marriage in the Commonwealth.

Fought for abstinence education. In 2006, under Governor Romney’s leadership, Massachusetts’ public schools began to offer a classroom program on abstinence from the faith-based Boston group Healthy Futures to middle school students. Promoting the program, Governor Romney stated, “I’ve never had anyone complain to me that their kids are not learning enough about sex in school. However, a number of people have asked me why it is that we do not speak more about abstinence as a safe and preventative health practice.”

Affirmed the culture of life. Governor Romney vetoed bills to provide access to the so-called “morning-after pill,” which is an abortifacient, as well as a bill providing for expansive, embryo-destroying stem cell research. He vetoed the latter bill in 2005 because he could not “in good conscience allow this bill to become law.”

We do not agree with the claims that Gov. Romney is responsible for tax payer funded abortion under the Massachusetts health care system. That blame lies solely on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court who ruled in 1981 that the Massachusetts Constitution required payment for abortions for Medicaid-eligible women. In 1997, the Court reaffirmed its position that a state-subsidized plan must offer “medically necessary abortions.”

Stood for religious freedom. Governor Romney was stalwart in defense of the right of Catholic Charities of Boston to refuse to allow homosexual couples to adopt children in its care. Catholic Charities was loudly accused of “discrimination,” but Governor Romney correctly pointed out that it is unjust to force a religious agency to violate the tenets of its faith in order to placate a special-interest group.

Filed “An Act Protecting Religious Freedom” in the Massachusetts legislature to save Catholic Charities of Boston and other religious groups from being forced to violate their moral principles or stop doing important charitable work.

All of this may explain why John J. Miller, the national political reporter of National Review, wrote that “a good case can be made that Romney has fought harder for social conservatives than any other governor in America, and it is difficult to imagine his doing so in a more daunting political environment.”

We are aware of the 1994 comments of Senate candidate Romney, which have been the subject of much recent discussion. While they are, taken by themselves, obviously worrisome to social conservatives including ourselves, they do not dovetail with the actions of Governor Romney from 2003 until now – and those actions have positively and demonstrably impacted the social climate of Massachusetts.

Since well before 2003, we have been laboring in the trenches of Massachusetts, fighting for the family values you and we share. It is difficult work indeed – not for the faint of heart. In this challenging environment, Governor Romney has proven that he shares our values, as well as our determination to protect them.

Mitt and Ann Romney are pictured with their grandchildren (16 of them!). Dec 2011
Click on image to enlarge.

For four years, Governor Romney was right there beside us, providing leadership on key issues – whether it was politically expedient to do so or not. He has stood on principle, and we have benefited greatly from having him with us.

It is clear that Governor Romney has learned much since 1994 – to the benefit of our movement and our Commonwealth. In fact, the entire nation has benefited from his socially conservative, pro-family actions in office. As we explained earlier, his leadership on the marriage issue helped prevent our nation from being plunged into even worse legal turmoil following the court decision that forced “gay marriage” upon our Commonwealth.

For that our country ought to be thankful. We certainly are.

Sincerely,

Rita Covelle
President, Morality in Media Massachusetts

Gerald D. D’Avolio
Former Executive Director, Massachusetts Catholic Conference

Raymond L. Flynn
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See

Professor Mary Ann Glendon
Harvard Law School
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See

Kristian Mineau
President, Massachusetts Family Institute

Dr. Roberto Miranda
COPAHNI Fellowship of Hispanic Pastors of New England

James F. Morgan
Chairman, Institute for Family Development

Joseph Reilly
Former Chairman of the Board, Massachusetts Citizens for Life

Thomas A. Shields
Chairman, Coalition for Marriage and Family

(emphasis added)

Note: The signatories are all acting as individual citizens, and not as representatives of their respective organizations. Organizational affiliations appear for identification purposes only.

Hoping to slow/stop Romney in South Carolina, Gingrich is trumpeting false claims about Governor Romney’s record in MA. It’s up to each of us to spread this far and wide.

► Jayde Wyatt

One Nation Under God

Given all that is taking place in America, including yesterday’s approval vote of the Affordable Health Care for America Act H.R. 3962 (words that smear lipstick on a pig!) in the House of Representatives, it’s good to step back and reflect on the BIG picture. With that in mind, I want to share an interactive link to a magnificent piece of art that captures the tipping point in which we Americans now find ourselves.

Characterized as what may be the most important new painting of the 21st century, Artist Jon McNaughton’s One Nation Under God came as inspiration to him in the middle of the 2008 elections. The research for this amazing new work took McNaughton about six months to complete; the actual painting was a four month effort. According to the artist, he “had one shot at this and he had to get it right.”

Artist McNaughton describes his painting: “Christ is holding up the U.S. Constitution while behind him are the Founding Fathers and other patriotic heroes from the past two centuries speaking to us from the dust. (Note the symbolism of  dust at their feet.) They are asking us to remember the foundation of our country’s greatness and the liberties defined under the Constitution.”

Summarizing One Nation Under God as something “that would make people talk and think,” McNaughton emphasizes that he doesn’t want people to conclude from his painting that everyone in America has to be a Christian.  He wants his painting to express the origin of our nation’s strength.

Feast your eyes upon One Nation Under God here. Rich in symbolism, it includes over 60 images, including 40 patriotic heroes. McNaughton also depicts figures that lean toward socialism - which is contrary to his belief in the U.S. Constitution. As you run your cursor over each image, a description and reason why it was included in the painting is revealed on the right-hand side of your screen. Taking time to ponder this painting – even down to the scattered papers on the steps – will evoke feelings of deep appreciation for our beloved Republic, the United States Constitution, and the blessings of freedom. It also reminds that our independence and freedoms are eroding. It calls us to action.

GESVCAC2J66RCA413CMDCALOYACACACNIGEOCA6CFTS0CAAXPXOUCANLUF46CACEYS52CAA50U50CA83W6TVCA21Z7L2CAIKLBJYCA11P64UCAXTVOS3CA3QUTUACA8ABLVNCAC9XEWSCAMDENB0CAMTYLJIMitt Romney (Faith in America speech):

“…We can be deeply thankful that we live in a land where reason and religion are friends and allies in the cause of liberty, joined against the evils and dangers of the day. And you can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: We do not insist on a single strain of religion — rather, we welcome our nation’s symphony of faith.

Recall the early days of the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia, during the fall of 1774. With Boston occupied by British troops, there were rumors of imminent hostilities and fears of an impending war. In this time of peril, someone suggested that they pray. But there were objections. They were too divided in religious sentiments, what with Episcopalians and Quakers, Anabaptists and Congregationalists, Presbyterians and Catholics.

Then Sam Adams rose, and said he would hear a prayer from anyone of piety and good character, as long as they were a patriot. And so together they prayed, and together they fought, and together, by the grace of God, they founded this great nation.

In that spirit, let us give thanks to the divine author of liberty. And together, let us pray that this land may always be blessed with freedom’s holy light.

God bless this great land, the United States of America.

May we never tire in upholding life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness while defending our United States Constitution.