Monday, May 21, 2012

The Anonymous Pastor

It is funny how some people will say anything when they think they are anonymous. As many of my readers know, I am coordinating another Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally on June 8, 2012. I've been putting up flyers and sending out notices.

Today, I received a nasty anonymous email response. I Googled the email address and found that it belonged to a local church. Interesting, right? I thought it was interesting that someone from a church would be so angered by our Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally that they would write several paragraphs and over 700 words to "tell me where to go".

I decided to call the church (the website says it is an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral) to find out who had written the email. The pastor answered the phone. I would have loved to be a fly on his wall (with a camera) when I told him of the nasty email coming from the church email address and then asked, "Do you know who sent the email?" Total silence.  I continued and said it really was a bit overkill to send such a long, nasty email in response to a simple notice about the rally. He fessed up to sending the email.  We talked for a few minutes.

Oddly enough, once he was no longer anonymous, he later sent another short email and signed his name. The second email wasn't so sour. No apology, but certainly not nasty as his first email had been.

Here are a few quotes from the email that I'd like to address:

  • "Folks like you created this monster, rallies like this show how stupid and gullible the mooing masses are. The sky is not falling and everyone's freedom is not in peril because some underprivileged person gets birth control. The earth will probably thank that person for not bringing more and more children into the world and overtaxing the resources. Get a life and stay out of mine."
  •   "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's. Jesus Christ spoke these words. Wake up and heed them and butt out of other people's business. Your own sins are enough to keep you occupied."

  • "If the government is sticking its nose in church business it's because mis-guided people are trying to make America a Theocracy, you kind of like the Taliban, only a Christian version." 

  • "I'm not a person that goes to meetings and checks my brain at the door. I'm not one of the mooing masses that the Republicans are trying to win over."

  •  "Quit trying to force your opinions on everyone. Live and let live. I'm as patriotic as the next person, but I'm not stupid enough to swallow this bull and believe my religion is under attack because someone gets birth control." 

Folks like me created this monster? Right. Those of us who want limited, constitutional government, created a bigger government with the extended power to force religious people and religious institutions to cover abortion drugs and contraception. Even atheists should have the right to purchase insurance that doesn't violate their moral convictions. . If Joe Smith, atheist, is opposed to abortion and owns a company, he should be able to purchase insurance for his employees in the marketplace that doesn't violate his beliefs. The HHS mandate forces him to purchase insurance that covers abortion drugs like Ella and Plan B. Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Baptists and Atheists are all affected and lose the freedom to choose insurance plans that fit their moral values.

Because I am the coordinator of this rally, I'm obviously part of the mooing masses and I am stupid. Right. Because I believe differently than he does, I'm obviously stupid and a gullible follower. This comes from a pastor? Isn't that amazing!?  Oh, wait, he didn't know I would figure out who he was, so he went ahead and let me have it. Character is what you do when no one is watching or doesn't know who you are. He was much nicer once his cover was blown. I have a simple philosophy: if I can't put my name to it, I shouldn't say or do it.

Will the earth really thank a person for not having more children and overtaxing the resources? The pill contaminates ground water with synthetic hormones (see links at the bottom of this post), increases a woman's risk of cervical and breast cancer and many women end up pregnant while on the pill. The fail rate is the reason Planned Parenthood pushes birth control pills. PP knows eventually, the sexually active woman on the pill will end up being pregnant and will come to them for an abortion. Cha Ching. PP makes lots of money as the largest abortion provider in America. Breast cancer and cervical cancer require expensive resources to treat and cure the disease. Does forcing people to provide the pill really keep people from overtaxing resources?

Get a life and stay out of mine!?  I'm not IN your life. As a pastor, surely he gets notices of many, many community events. I didn't do anything more than notify him of the rally. I didn't say anything bad would happen if he didn't participate. If he had not sent me a ranting, nasty email, I would never have spoken to him or emailed him again. I even told him that a simple, " I'm not interested in participating," would have been a response more fitting of a pastor.

Yes, Jesus did say that. I wonder if this pastor ever thought of the HHS mandate in this light. Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, but what to God what is God's, yep .... Jesus said that. Since when does Caesar have the right to force people to cover abortion drugs and contraception against their conscience and moral convictions? We aren't talking about paying taxes for roads or for national defense. We are talking about forcing people to pay for the murder of innocent babies. Even the pill is an abortifacient! Ella and Plan B are clear: they kill babies. Give to God what is God's? Exactly! By protesting forced abortion coverage, we are living the Gospel of Life and doing God's work. By standing up for our conscience rights protected by the first amendment, we not only stand up for God-given life from conception until natural death, we are defending our brothers and sisters in Christ. We defend those without a voice. Jesus was also clear when He told us to love our neighbor, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned....So forth and so on. This pastor may have a theology degree, but he certainly misses the mark on this one. He also told me on the phone that no one in his parish would ever have an abortion. I'm glad he is so confident. However, if they take the pill......... Hmmm.... I didn't bring that point up.

Yes, I have my own sins. Don't we all? My sins won't keep me from standing up for what is right and just. This rally isn't about my own sinfulness, it is about religious freedom for all people.

Next up.... Theocracy? um... Jews, Muslims and Atheists are also protesting this HHS mandate. If this mandate stands, it will be more like a theocracy, one in which a government, devoid of God, forces us all to render everything to Caesar, including our moral convictions and religious beliefs. No one is trying to keep women from having access to birth control. No one is trying to make it illegal for doctors to write contraception prescriptions or to make it illegal for pharmacies and free clinics to dispense it. What we ARE trying to do is to keep our conscience protections. No person or government has the right to force individuals or religious groups to violate their own consciences by paying for abortion drugs and contraception. Period. It is unconstitutional.

We are like the Taliban because we want people to have the freedom to purchase these items ($9 a month without insurance at Target) and also want people to have the freedom not to participate in paying for and providing things that violate their own conscience? Right.  I'm sure the Taliban cares about freedom.

I'm not one of those people who checks my brain at the door, either. I really don't know anyone who is like that. Is it even humanly possible to do such a thing? Oh, wait.... I get it, you were implying that I'm stupid again and that I can't think for myself...I MUST be part of the mooing masses if I dare stand up for religious liberty. Right. Such a nice sentiment coming from a pastor. I've never read the part of the Gospel where Jesus tells the disciples to go out and insult the flock.

Finally,I wasn't trying to shove my opinion down your throat. I sent out notices to all local churches about the rally. I didn't tell you anything would happen if you didn't support the rally, I simply let you know when, where, why..... And again, you insult me by saying you aren't stupid enough to swallow this bull about your religion being under attack. Brilliant words coming from a pastor. My religion is under attack. Your religion may not be under attack. If your conscience is not violated by being forced to cover abortion drugs and contraception, then certainly, this rally is not for you!  I am proud to be a practicing Catholic. I'm proud to stand with my bishops, my pastor and with the Catholic Church.

I hope our short conversation today was enlightening for you and that you might come to see reality a bit better. Just because I disagree with you, doesn't mean I'm stupid. Just because you disagree with me doesn't mean you are stupid or less patriotic. I'm not sure where you got the idea from, but nowhere in my notice about the rally did I say anything about the opposition. We are all created in the image and likeness of God and I hope the next time you email someone anonymously you'll pause before hitting send. I hope the next time you are angered by a notice of a local event you'll respond in love and with charity. I'm shocked that any pastor would respond with such venom.


The Pill Kills

Birth Control Harming State's salmon

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Talk to People

I talk to people. What I don't understand is how some people can accept ANYTHING that infringes upon another person's freedom simply because they benefit from the law or policy. I prefer to err on the side of freedom, the side of the constitution.

On a recent trip to Asheville, NC (aka Liberalville, USA) we had a woman approach our 1999 Suburban to talk to us and hand me a note. She felt if we heard her woes, we would certainly come to love Obamacare. She said she had some preexisting health conditions and until Obamacare, she could not get insurance. That's a flat out lie, because while Obamacare forced insurance providers to pay for preexisting conditions in children in 2010, Adult preexisting coverage is not mandated under the law until 2014. See the government's own website here. It even includes videos of President Obama talking about Obamacare.

 She handed me the note, told me a bit....and I think she was shocked when I got out and told her my name and a bit about the life-threatening, chronic illnesses my boys have. I think she was expecting that we could never have any medical issues and be opposed to Obamacare. I really believe she felt she was on some sort of moral high ground and she was going to set us straight. If only we big, bad conservatives knew what real people deal with, if only we knew that people have real medical problems, then we would change our minds. She was going to BE that person. I don't think she ever considered that the anti-Obama message on our Suburban could be displayed by a family who spends lots of time in and around hospitals.

 If ever there was a time to have a camera implanted in my forehead, this would be it. To capture the utter shock on her face when I told her our story! I don't think it ever occurred to her that there are people out here who do not live based on situational ethics. I don't think it ever occurred to her that there are people out here who would never infringe upon another person's personal freedom for their own gain. It is not the government's responsibility to pay for my children's medical care. It is not your responsibility. The government does not have the right to put a gun to your head (taxes) and force you to pay for the healthcare my boys receive. She must have been writing the letter when we walked up. Here is her unfinished letter:
When we spoke, I had not read her letter, so I only responded to her verbal announcements. My reply to her letter would be:

 Dear Lauren,

 My name is Pattie. I am an ex-Army officer (who was also enlisted for many years), used to be social worker and stay at home, homeschooling mom. We live on one income and support two chronically ill children. This year, we have already paid out over $5,000 in out of pocket medical expenses and that doesn't included my two boys' upcoming bone marrow biopsies. My youngest has had several resistant infections and currently battling a resistant infection for the past four months. In the last 16 years, we have not had one year without at least two surgical procedures minimum... sometimes we've had six. So, as you can see, we can fully appreciate that you have preexisting health conditions. You are not alone.

 I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the adult preexisting condition coverage under Obamacare doesn't kick in until 2014. So, it wasn't Obamacare that helped you. I am sure $250 a month is difficult for you. Our monthly premiums are over $1300 for our family. Again, we can appreciate the cost of health insurance.

You just thought you would "show us", right? You didn't know you were walking up on a family with astronomical medical bills-- most years we pay at least $20,000 in out of pocket medical expenses. You never dreamed that an old, beat up 1999 Suburban with "repeal Obamacare" and "Stop Obama's HHS Mandate" would tote a family with special needs kids around. You trotted over on your moral high ground to lecture us and I hope YOU received an education.

We do not live by situational ethics. We would never dream of forcing people by way of big government to pay for our children's medical care. We would never strip people of freedom for our gain. No, we are not rich. We owe thousands and thousands in medical bills with more rolling in daily.

My husband was laid off for nine months and he never drew unemployment. We paid $1100 a month in COBRA each month that he was laid off, so we can understand your employment plight, too. 

Lauren, we know what it is like living with kids that could develop leukemia at any time-- they have myelodysplastic marrow because they have a genetic bone marrow failure syndrome called Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome. They also have secondary mitochondrial disease. My youngest son does a medical procedure at home every 4 hours and we have home delivery of medical supplies and specialty pharmacy medications. You own your own business and we hope our boys are healthy enough when they are older to do the same. I hope you learned something from our encounter today. I didn't start it, but I hope your ego was brought down a few notches.