Ash Wednesday Ushers in Lent

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Today is Ash Wednesday, which brings in the first day of Lent — 46 days of reflection and penitence that precede Easter.  Observant Christians visit church for special services and to receive ashes on their foreheads.  St. George’s Episcopal Church in Maplewood describes the ritual this way on its website:

On Ash Wednesday the imposition of ashes on our foreheads with the words “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” acknowledges the reality of the limitations in our human nature. We do not always behave the way we would like and we will not live in the way we are accustomed forever. Though it is difficult, once we accept those realities we begin to see the sheer joy of grace that is in both God’s forgiveness and promise of eternal life.

Around Baristaville, priests and lay people are offering ashes at train stations and other locations; although most took place during morning rush hour, Christ Episcopal Church in Bloomfield/Glen Ridge will dispense ashes at the Glen Ridge and Bloomfield train stations and at the bus stop in front of Christ Church, from  5:30 – 7 p.m.

Here is a partial list of Ash Wednesday Services in our area:

Bloomfield

St. Thomas the Apostle Church, ashes will be distributed during Ash Wednesday Mass  at 4:00 p.m. &  at 7:30 p.m. Prayer Service

Sacred Heart Church, Ash Wednesday Mass 8am, 12:10pm and 7:30pm. There will also be a service with ashes at 4:00pm.

St. John’s Lutheran Church of Bloomfield, AshWednesday Mass & Ash Distribution, 7:30 pm

Park United Methodist Church, Ash Wednesday Worship Service, 7:00 pm

The Church of St. Valentine, Ash Wednesday Mass & Ash Distribution, 7:00 pm

Montclair

Montclair State University’s Center for Faith & Spirituality (SC 112), Imposition of Ashes any time 12 – 6 p.m.; Services of Word, Healing & Ashes: 1:30 – 2 p.m., 3:30 – 4 p.m., 5:30 – 6 p.m.

Maplewood

St. George’s Episcopal Church, Services for imposition of ashes are at 7:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m. for children, and 8:00 p.m. with choir (preceded by prayer and meditation at 7:30 p.m.).

Morrow Memorial Church, Ash Wednesday service at 8:00pm in the Sanctuary.  The service will feature the chancel choir, the jazz vespers ensemble and ashes will be offered to anyone wishing to receive them.

South Orange

The Episcopal Church of St. Andrew’s and Holy Communion, ashes distributed at 5:30 p.m. Children’s Mass and at 7:30 p.m. Mass.

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74 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder if there are any Christians out there willing to get their ashes today, considering how oppressed Christians are under the Kenyan socialist’s rule!

  2. I got my mine at St. Peters Church on Barclay St this morning. As a RC these days I know I’m taking my chances. Just a matter of time before the Catholic bashing starts.

  3. The christian persecution complex totally baffles me. Currently, someone deemed insufficiently Christian could never be elected president of the United States. And yet, as soon as something religious comes up, here comes the “woe is me crowd.”

    I’m still not seeing the Jeremy Lin bashing you predicted, are you herb?

    And if I may give a piece of advice, ashes are supposed to remind us of our mortality. Life is too short to go around with that chip on your shoulder.

  4. Spiro here.

    herbeverschmel, greetings on your holy day. BTW, despite your insistence, I take issue on with corrupt religious leaders and politicians who use the religion as an excuse to gain power or stay in power, or lay people who use the religion as an excuse to murder. Same goes for fanatics of all religious stripes. That would include AlQaida Moslems and the most extreme Jewish settlers on the West Bank. All religion is tainted.

    deadeye, I just checked the Jewish calendar on google for you and nothing is up today. Next festival is in March.

  5. Oh, that’s a good one nickycharles. Because we all know that tyranny always happens, literally, overnight. You might not know this, but it took the Nazi’s well over two full years to enact the Nuremberg Laws, in an already dictatorial environment. Martin Luther King’s belief that the arc of the universe tends towards justice is, after a brief survey of human history, kind of naïve. Oppression is the rule in human affairs, the last 230+ years notwithstanding. Intelligent people remain on guard and jealous of their liberties while they have them. But I do love that mocking Baristaville tone.

    So, no, we’re not oppressed. And most of us don’t think we are today. But disdained and under assault politically, at least here on the coasts, yes. If contraception is inimical to Catholic doctrine, why should their private insurance plans be forced to accept paying for it? Should they also be forced to pay for the brains to be sucked out of babies about to be born, in the course of late-term abortions? Maybe that is what is next.

    (Here’s where you throw out the “98% of catholic women use birth control” line.)

    Why is he dictating that Catholic plans do this? He obviously doesn’t care about the Church’s sensibilities. So, aside from hostility, Catholics are left to wonder what is his motivation? Is it to help the downtrodden afford the egregious cost of the pill, topping out well under $100 a month, at the top end? Ever hear of the saying, “You have to pay to play?” I would venture to assume that the overwhelming majority of women’s lives are not hanging in the balance for lack of the pill. So, why can’t this expense be considered elective and excluded from Catholic insurance plans?

    Remember, work-related health insurance coverage is a benefit, not a right (as of today). Women working for Catholic entities (or men who may insure them under their plans) know full well what the contraceptive policy is. They can work somewhere else or pay for it themselves. Or, if forced to pay against its wishes, the Church can always dump the benefit altogether, and dump it’s workers into the public system, when it becomes available in 2014. There’s a motive for a seemingly senseless political move.

  6. If contraception is inimical to Catholic doctrine, why should their private insurance plans be forced to accept paying for it?

    Catholic institutions pay their employees correct? What’s the difference between using the salary benefit on contraception, and the health care benefit on contraception?

    Also, when I was in Catholic school, I was taught the concept of free will. Why don’t I hear the bishops talking about it now? In the meantime, lots of people that work for Catholic institutions aren’t Catholic. And here’s where you throw in, “go find another job, sinner.”

    Is it to help the downtrodden afford the egregious cost of the pill, topping out well under $100 a month, at the top end?

    Care to guess what a teacher at a Catholic grade school makes? Think they’re in it for the money?

    I would venture to assume that the overwhelming majority of women’s lives are not hanging in the balance for lack of the pill.

    And I have never seen a bishop acknowledge that the pill has other medical uses than contraception either.

  7. As one who still considers himself to be RC, all I can say is that the Church’s stand on birth control is pure BS.

    And there are millions more like me who feel the same.

  8. “Catholic institutions pay their employees correct? What’s the difference between using the salary benefit on contraception, and the health care benefit on contraception?” — if the employee uses their salary to buy contraception, that’s their free will as you reference. The Church deosn’t control the money it gives in salaries. It does control what extra benefits it dispenses. There is a big difference.

    Free will? Individuals have free will. Institutions have doctrine.
    That’s right Mike, Free Will of the INDIVIDUAL. If the person doesn’t want to use contraception, that’s their choice. If they want to use it, it is their free will to go out and buy it. You must have missed the second part of the free will lesson — consequences. Free will and nanny statism do not work together, because consequences are removed from the equation.

    The religion of a given employee is also irrelevant — they must abide by the doctrine of the Church in this matter. If they want to work for the Church AND use contraception, they have to pay for it themselves. Life is full of tough choices.

    “Care to guess what a teacher at a Catholic grade school makes? Think they’re in it for the money?” — Again, that is irrelevant. If they want the contraception, they have to figure out a way to buy it themselves because the institution they are supporting with thier labor forbids it. Again, free will.

    The purpose, and overwhelming intentional use of the pill is to prevent conception. That is against Catholic doctrine. That is all that is relevant here, not a bishop’s acknowledgement of its other, derivative uses, or a person’s low salary. Longstanding, and well-known church doctrine rules here. At least until the Church is dictated to stop it, or sued into oblivion by grievance mongers.

  9. “I would venture to assume that the overwhelming majority of women’s lives are not hanging in the balance for lack of the pill.”

    For a great number of women, the pill is prescribed as a remedy for a number of hormonal imbalances, some more serious than others. If the church is acting as an employer, there should be provision for women’s health care. The same should be true for any religious institution acting as an employer. Someone who works for a Christian Science organization should be, and actually is, covered for transfusions.

  10. I’m Catholic too, and I choose to not obey that particular rule. I’m not enraged and it doesn’t bother me at all. If I had a daughter I would encourage her to use contraceptives. Call me a hypocrite, but at the end of the day I’ve got other fish to fry.

  11. The Church deosn’t control the money it gives in salaries. It does control what extra benefits it dispenses. There is a big difference.

    So because they can take away their employee’s free will, they should? I still don’t see how this doesn’t come down to an individual’s decision.

    Of course, what you totally haven’t mentioned yet is that Obama, bowing to pressure from the Church, worked out a compromise.

    So you were disdained and under assault politically for what? A week?

  12. Jerseygurl:

    “For a great number of women” — because some (number undetermined) of Catholic entity employees have a condition, does not mean that the entire doctrine of the Church should be overturned.

    “Someone who works for a Christian Science organization should be, and actually is, covered for transfusions.” — good for the Christian Scientists. they should mold their doctrine and healthcare plans however they see fit. I’m fine with that.

  13. Deadeye:

    “I’m Catholic too, and I choose to not obey that particular rule.” — and again, I think that is great. Free will at work. No one is questioning the use of contraceptives in this issue at all.

    The issue is ENTIRELY whether Obama has the right to dictate to the Catholic church that they must violate their own doctrine and change the parameters of their insurance coverage to supplicate him.

  14. “does not mean that the entire doctrine of the Church should be overturned.”

    No one is asking them to overturn their doctrine. They provide insurance and the employee gets the health care required. They can preach whatever they want. Their doctrine is their doctrine and they can demand that all Catholics should adhere to it. Since we live in a country in which the only health care most of us can get is paid for by insurance through employers, if employers start denying coverage based on corporate policies, or corporate doctrines if you will, this will open the door for denying all kinds of care. What if an adoption agency decided it didn’t want their insurance plan to cover pregnancy and childbirth? Or a rape center deciding men shouldn’t be covered for Viagra or erectile dysfunction treatments? ‘t opens the door for arbitrary decisions regarding health.

  15. Mike91:

    “So because they can take away their employee’s free will, they should? I still don’t see how this doesn’t come down to an individual’s decision.

    Of course, what you totally haven’t mentioned yet is that Obama, bowing to pressure from the Church, worked out a compromise.

    So you were disdained and under assault politically for what? A week?”

    Lots of non-points here. Firstly, the Chrusch is NOT taking away anyone’s free will. In fact, they are enhancing it by giving the employee a choice to either not use contraception or pay for it themselves, and deal with the conseqeunces. I am not seeing how free will is diminished here at all. These people are adults and can make their own choices. I don’t see how you don’t see how it is a person’s decision as to whether or not they use contraception. I am nonplussed at that one.

    So, about Obama bowing (yet again, but not really) . . . that speaks directly to the point I made in my original post. Again, he bowed not an inch. He is directing the insurance carriers used by these companies to pay it directly. However, the Catholic entities still have to pay the company for the cost of the coverage, which will be rolled into the costs thrown back on the Church. Otherwise, Obama is telling private insurance organizations to pay for a seervice out of their own pockets. This is a distinction without a difference.

    “So you were disdained and under assault politically for what? A week?” — there’s that Baristaville smugness and tone we all love. I can tell that you are one of those “It can’t happen here” types. That’s ok, there’s LOTS of you ’round here.

    But again, no one has addressed the point of motivation. Why the unnecessary and targeted meddling?

  16. Nbony, You caught me offsides. He ha no right whatsoever to dictate to The Church on this matter, and neither should it’s adhetents feel compelled to listen to him. He is a narcissistic egomaniac testing the boundaries of his influence. He just found them.

  17. JG:

    “No one is asking them to overturn their doctrine. They provide insurance and the employee gets the health care required.” — uuuhhh, that is directly overturning their doctrine. I would say that is the definition of it. How can you say you have a doctrine and then undermine it, insitutionally, by financially supporting activity that flies in the face of said doctrine? It is that kind of schizophrenic “policymaking” that has given us the governement we currently live under.

    “Since we live in a country in which the only health care most of us can get is paid for by insurance through employers, if employers start denying coverage based on corporate policies, or corporate doctrines if you will, this will open the door for denying all kinds of care.” — it is very telling that you equate corporate policy and religious doctrine. If contraceptives were thousands of dollars per month, then you MIGHT have a case to be made under the issue of cost. Anything else is hypothetical and not relevant to the demolition to one of the primary protections of the first amendment – religious conscience. And consequently, corporations that deny coveraeg because of lifestyle choices (ex: smoking) have had those policies challenged successfully. But that is basically a cost-driven consideration, not one fo religious doctrine.

  18. He ha no right whatsoever to dictate to The Church on this matter, and neither should it’s adhetents feel compelled to listen to him. He is a narcissistic egomaniac testing the boundaries of his influence. He just found them.

    Nearly half the states in the nation already compel The Church to provide birth control in their health insurance plans. The only issue now is that the right-wingers thought they could attack Obama over it. Too bad most people don’t agree with them, and see through their phony arguments. Happy Lent!

  19. Why the unnecessary and targeted meddling?

    Oh its obviously part of his plan to outlaw religion. Give me a break. Maybe he thought women’s health, regardless of where they worked, should be covered?

    As I said in my original post, let me know when a non-Christian is even considered for President. The current congress is about 91% Christian. Poor Mitt Romney has to continually tell everyone that Mormonism is a christian religion.

  20. If you choose to “ignore”some of the Catholic Church’s dogma. Then you are an ex-communicated Catholic.
    I don’t think you can pick & choose what you believe as a Roman catholic or Orthodox. Many Catholics have tried and failed. You might want to look into the “American National Catholic Church” https://www.stfrancisnj.org/. They are REAL “liberal” catholics. The church is in Glen Ridge.

  21. That’s right nick. Under state law in 28 states many diocese are forced to provide the coverage. That is done under duress after the Church lost lawsuits. Is that the kind of country you want to live in, where religions are under that kind of doctrinal stress from government? I suppose we alerady know the answer to that.

  22. PAZ: again that goes to the choice of the individual. That has nothing to do with the goverment dictating doctrinal issues to the Church.

  23. I always paid for my own contraception, for what it’s worth. It never put a crimp pn my lifestyle even when I knew the girl behind the pharmacy counter. Hopefully it always worked…

  24. That is done under duress after the Church lost lawsuits. that the kind of country you want to live in, where religions are under that kind of doctrinal stress from government?

    If this is truly a 1st amendment issue, how did they lose the lawsuits?

    The country I want to live in is ruled by the constitution, not the doctrine of religions.

  25. Now that Obama has been tarred and feathered and dragged through the Mississippi mud by toothless banjo players, Donald Plump, and the CPACs, all on account of his being an alleged Moslem who swears fealty to Reverend Wright, all I can say is, God (or natural law ) I beseech you to see fit to help the first Jewish, Mormon, Druze, Buddhist, Shinto, Wiccan, Aetheist or Bahai’i president.
    …Or the second Catholic president (no, not you, Ricky S). ( not you herb or cathar, either )
    But over time, the underdogs will prevail, for, theoretically, The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth, unless the laws protecting the has-beens are unchanged. When the forest burns down, the saplings prevail.

  26. Mike91:

    “Oh its obviously part of his plan to outlaw religion. Give me a break. Maybe he thought women’s health, regardless of where they worked, should be covered?” — that’s great and all, but why go after a well-known Catholic doctrine. that speaks ill of any supposed “Constitutional Scholar” to pick a fight with a religion over an isue like this. He could just have easily went out and campaigned for a new Birth Control Pill Subsidy to pay for all of those whose free will was being wrenched away so callously.

    “As I said in my original post, let me know when a non-Christian is even considered for President. The current congress is about 91% Christian.”

    Well, when nearly 80% of adults in the country self-identify as “Christian”, I don’t see the scandal in us not having a non-Christian president. It kinda makes sense. Baristaville is a very small place in a very left-leaning state.

  27. Jeez Nick, If you want to have sex badly enough, you’re not going to depend on govt paid contraception. I mean REALLY!?!?

  28. “If this is truly a 1st amendment issue, how did they lose the lawsuits?” — well, how did the Supreme Court find a right to abortion in the Constitution? Anything can happen in a court. Religious doctrine IS a first amendment issue. Remember the “separation of Chruch and State” that libs love to throw around? It works both ways — if the Church can’t meddle in gov’t, the gov’t should be dictating to churches.

    “The country I want to live in is ruled by the constitution, not the doctrine of religions.” — answered above.

  29. nboney & Deadeye….Just saying as an ex-cath, there is no such thing as a liberal Roman catholic. if they are they are ex-communicated. So you “Liberal” Catholics…..beware!

  30. PAZ: I actually find the ban on contraception to be pretty stupid and pointless. But I don’t like the idea of the government meddling in doctrinal issues. Eventually, the church will change that policy, I believe. It is an institution almost 2000 years old, it moves slowly. But to be FORCED to by our government is wrong.

  31. Well, when nearly 80% of adults in the country self-identify as “Christian”, I don’t see the scandal in us not having a non-Christian president.

    Its not a scandal (although a religious test is strictly forbidden in the constitution). It just shows how silly your alarmist comparisons to Nuremberg really are.

  32. Speakin’ of toothless UPPA mountain hillbillies…..Where’s the Prof been? Winter break away from the ivy towers??

  33. mikey91 — it is NOT a religious test. It is the personal decision and conscience of each and every voter, which as a leftist you seem to really have a problem with.

    The applicability of the lesson of the Nuremmberg Laws to the current state of our political affairs remains to be seen at this point in history. I am certain there was a Weimar Republic equivalent of Baristaville clinging to the “It-Can’t-Ever-happen-Here” mentality. so, if you strip beneath the surface of the Nurember reference, you might intuit that this was not a direct analogy of Germany 1935 and Amerika 2012. Rather, I was commenting on the original poster’s obviously willing historical blindspot — because he wants to see no evidence of tyranny, there is none.

    I would say that is hardly “silly alarmism” like saying “If we don’t pass this trillion dollar stimulus bil RIGHT now the reepublic is dead.” Or how about “if we don’t pass this trillion dollar healthcare mandate NOW, children and single mothers will be dying in the gutter (even though the bill doesn’t get implemented for 4 years after passage)”.

  34. Jeez Nick, If you want to have sex badly enough, you’re not going to depend on govt paid contraception.

    The government isn’t paying. Insurance companies are. And they are mostly happy to, because paying for birth control is cheaper than paying for abortions and WAY cheaper than paying for babies.

    The idea that this is unconstitutional is laughable. No less a right-winger than Antonin Scalia has ruled that the government has a right to tell religious organizations what they can and cannot put in the healthcare plans.

  35. “The purpose, and overwhelming intentional use of the pill is to prevent conception. That is against Catholic doctrine…”

    So then why is the rhythm method OK according to Rome ?? Anyone of you Opus Dei fans want to tackle that one ?

  36. nickcharles, if you are taking about the 1990 Employment Division v. Smith case, there are a couple of interesting points to this case. Firstly,
    in that case an indivual’s unemployment benefit was denied because he was using peyote, which happened to be in a religious context. Scalia and the majority held that the First Amendment does not prohibit a state from denying umeployment benefits for persons using drugs, even if those drugs are used in a religious ceremony. So, if drugs are illegal in a state, the state is free to act accordingly. In my reading, this has little bearing on the issue here, in which the government is attempting to compel a religion to denounce its own doctrine. these are two entirely separate issues.

    Secondly, Scalia used the federal ban on Mormon polygamy, in part, justify the government meddling in the religous affairs of INDIVIDUALS. So if same-sex marriage eventually wins national approval, that anti-polygamy ban WILL be challenged. I don’t know exactly how a successful challenge on that ground will change his thinking on this subject, through the prism of this case.

    In either event, this case and Scalia’s ruling do not really speak to the religious institution. It concerns itself with the actions of the individual practicing the religion.

  37. johnnyq — good one, but that is irrelevant. The issue is whether the US government can or should be allowed to compel the Church to pay for something it thinks is wrong.

  38. Nobody has mentioned that Catholic hospitals take Medicaid and Medicare payments. And parochial schools accept subsidies for special ed, busing, and in some states, vouchers. So, given that public tax dollars go to them, should they not subscribe to the law of the land?

    Deadeye, you make a big show of paying for your own birth control. Nboney, you talk about how little it costs. Let’s see you lecture the hospital cleaning lady making pennies over minimum wage while you argue against a minimum wage increase. And neither one of you would front a dime in taxes toward the continuing care of the child born from a lack of affordable access to birth control.

  39. From a favorite comment on one of my left-wing news sites:

    “Dear God, please hear my prayer. PLEASE make Deadeye & NBoney pregnant. I’ll never ask for another thing, I swear. “

  40. OK kit schackner, so the only thing missing from that post is the obligatory picture of emaciated children, preferably orphans, right? I thought that “let’s do it for the children” mantra died in the 90s. Jeez, cue the violins . . .

    Unlike your typically over-emotionalized screed, I have yet to lecture anyone in this thread. I have merely pointed out that the government should not compel a religion to deny its own doctrine. Asking someone to take personal responsibility (outside the Baristaville Bubble) is not lecturing. So, this hypothetical minimum wage hospital cleaning lady — that’s a pretty good deal if she has health insurance while making minimum wage. That seems kind of rare. Nevertheless, she’s got options here besides forcing the entire Catholic religion to change for her, or dump her responsibilities onto the public:

    1) Get married, or enter into some other kind of benefit-riding relationship, to a guy who has non-Cathloic-linked insurance;
    2) Don’t have sex if she can’t afford it;
    3) Juggle the budget to make room for a monthly prescription;
    4) Have sex, have a kid illegitimately and deal with it. That was the old way of doing things. Somehow, people did it, WITH THE ADDED SOCIAL STIGMA, which we do not have to deal with today.

    This is not 1940. No one is saying she can’t have access to contraception. But it would be nice if she could either suck it up and pay for it or deal with the consequences of her inability to refrain from sex.
    And that last point is just laughable. You have no idea what I would contribute to a private charity that would help children born to severely irresponsible parent(s). I do, however, begrudge every penny I am forced to surrender to the government.

    I just don’t see how this woman’s choices have become my problem, or my government’s problem. What happened to this country? And I don’t understand how overly-emotionalized personal stories have come guide the formation of public policy.

  41. That’s funny kit schackner, but if I were a woman, given my upbringing, I’d be smart enough to avoid putting myself in a situation leading to that before I was ready to deal with the conequences. People, read WOMEN, used to think like that. I don’t understand what has happened that has divorced people from the consequences of their behavior?

    Nanny statism destroys the survival instinct in otherwise intelligent people.

  42. Keep it up, NBoney, keep it up, and every independent female voter in the country will support Obama. Or not vote at all, which will result in the same thing.

    And if you were a woman, I doubt you would have had much opportunity for temptation.

  43. The church shouldn’t be forced to pay for something that goes against its doctrine. If there can be respect on both sides of the issue, a compromise can be worked out. It may be an election ploy, but Obama is at least trying in this respect.

    A co-worker of mine is a Jehovah’s Witness and part of their doctrine is not participating in birthday and Christmas parties (I admittedly don’t know much about their beliefs). So she is excused from such events in the office. Should she be forced to participate?

    Today is a solemn holy day for many (maybe not on here), but comments like “I’ll take my ashes straight up” are not appreciated. I’m not asking you to go to Church if you don’t want to, but be big enough to show a little respcet.

    I received my ashes tonight at a beautiful Mass at St. Catherine of Siena in Cedar Grove.

  44. Nellie, maybe you’re right, and you expressed yourself with civility, as usual: maybe the church shouldn’t be forced to pay for something that goes against its doctrine. Nor perhaps should taxpayers be forced, with public funds, to subsidize a church or its institutions whose doctrine goes against the laws of the land, or the majority of taxpayers’ beliefs. So if the church wants to uphold its doctrine, then it is free to forego all state and federal subsidies which might interfere with its doctrine, and hope it holds up in court.

    It is a slippery slope, however, toward allowing religious institutions to discriminate — against women, against homosexuals, against children of those who would deny their blood transfusions, against anyone who doesn’t subscribe to a particular religion’s doctrine.

    This is a dialogue which is going to have to be hashed out.

  45. I try to Spiro. Anyway this is just a lose lose subject and figured I’d to sit this one out. There are just too many opinions about religion even within its own ranks. Yes I’m a Roman Catholic who struggles with various aspects of my religion as I’m sure most people do with theirs. I don’t want to get up there one day and the big guy is pointing down. So I try to do the right thing and at the end of the day if it teaches you to be a positive member of society and put your kids on the right track then I’m fine with it. There are a lot of things they focus on that I can careless about. I’ve gone into my upbringing many times here and there are things I did that I’m certainly not proud of. However, marrying a great lady and having children certainly put me on a different track and my kids are far more religious than I ever was and better people. They are active in our church and devote a lot of their free time in benevolent causes. However, two of them have no problem with things like gay marriage, does that make them bad Catholics? I dunno. Some might think so but I don’t because I see the good they work for. I try to lay off the religion subject accept for an occasional pot shot to wind someone up on this board. Similar to Priests, Rabbi’s and leaders in all religions there is good and there is bad. I choose to focus on the positive aspects of it. A perfect Catholic hardly. I walked out of church with ashes yesterday and there was a smokin Hispanic girls walking down Broadway and I couldn’t take my eyes off her ahem back side. Does that make me bad? Maybe. Some things are just far more appealing than religion haha.

  46. Question for nboney :

    Is “1815” a some kind of veiled reference to a particular era that you would like to see all women in this Country return to ?

  47. You mean, because wanting the government to back off of forcing the Church to pay for women’s birth control, and asking them to take some personal responsibility makes me a misogynist, right? Yeah, yeah, I get it.

    But no, I wouldn’t wish 1815 on any American alive today. None of us have the requisite moral compass, reservoir of internal strength, fortitude or common sense to survive in that kind of physical and social environment.

  48. Kit, I am still not seeing where the Church is getting a subsidy. A subsidy is something given to someone so that they do not do something. In each of the exampls above (medicare/school vouchers, etc) the Church is providing a service to the public, and receiving payment in return. That is not a subsidy/welfare.

    If an eldery patient goes to a Catholic hospital, they have to accept Medicare, because Medicare is an insurance plan, not a subsidy. Likewise vouchers; the parent is using good sense to take their kid out of public school and put them in private. If the governement was paying Catholic schools to not take students (like paying farmers to not grow corn), that would be a subsidy. The voucher, like Meidcare/Medicaid is a payment of fees.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” . . . to pay a subsidy to a religious group would be against the First Amendment, as a subsidy would imply that the religion was now an Establishment of government. So, the Church can take all the taxdollars it wants, as payment for services rendered.

  49. I just went on the Planned Parenthood website and apparently they provide birth control pills for between $15 and $50 per month. Abortions are around $300 in the 1st trimester. Why can’t someone making the choice to have sex afford to pay what amounts to some fraction of their cable or cell phone bill to support that activity and it’s potential consequences.

  50. Why can’t someone making the choice to have sex afford to pay what amounts to some fraction of their cable or cell phone bill to support that activity and it’s potential consequences.

    Because they just don’t, OK? Because they are humans, and for however long humans have been on this Earth, they’ve had sex without thinking of the consequences.

    But it’s 2012, and maybe it’s about time we figured out how to make it easier for men and women to access birth control, rather than waste time trying to make it so they refrain from sex because of its consequences. That’s a losing battle right there.

    For a clue as to why we need to do this, tune into “Teen Mom” on MTV. Because abortions are evil and sex education is evil, we have a whole swath of the country where teen girls are toting around little babies they’ve named Aubreey and Kaytlyn, and spending more time trying to get back their at-times abusive, always irresponsible baby daddies than they are trying to raise their children. Talk about a reason to flood the country with cheap prophylactics and birth-control pills.

  51. They wouldn’t use it if it was free… Anyhow, without Teen Mom where would the future contestants on Toddlers and Tiaras come from?

  52. This isn’t about how cheap birth control pills are. Or personal responsibility. It’s about making sure that people who want them – or need them are covered under an employer’s insurance plan. Contraceptives are used to treat a whole slew of female maladies, so it’s not just about birth control. It’s a health issue.

    Let the church preach it’s doctrine all it wants. Catholic doctors don’t have to prescribe contraceptives. But as long as Churches are using taxpayer money to provide services, the people they hire to provide those services should not be discriminated against because their beliefs are different from their employer’s. Women also have the right of privacy and religious freedom.

  53. Nboney, I disagree with your definition of subsidy. According to Websters: “Pecuniary aid directly granted by government to an individual or commercial enterprise deemed productive of public benefit.” So a hospital caring for the elderly or indigent performs that benefit. A school educating children performs that benefit.

    We all know that you, Herb & Cathar would howl in rage if federal programs had to accommodate Sharia Law. So why must your doctrine be applied to those who do not practice or share your beliefs?

  54. Good point kit, but the key word in that definition is “aid”. The money the Church receives in medicare/medicare and voucher disbursements are not “aid”, but fees. That money is not being dispensed for anything other than services rendered, as part of a contract. So are non-Cathlic hospitals that treat medicare/medicaid patients also subsidized? If so, then we are already under a universal care system. By your understanding of that definition, every company that sells any widget to the government is subsidized, which I do not believe to be acurate.

    Another solution, if you and the government insist on calling these fees a subsidy, is to withdraw the money altogether. And in turn, Catholic hospitals should deny care to medicaid/medicare patients, and refuse access to students using these vouchers, usually the neediest of kids from the inner cities, to top notch parochial schools that they otherwise could not afford. Then we can just throw them all back into the public/government system, and everyone’s conscience is clear.

    Churches are not “using taxpayer money”, they are being paid public monies for services to people that the republic has deemed need relief from the decrepit public system that has failed them in the first place. These are not subsidies, these are not handouts to the institution — they are handouts to the individuals using the system.

    So happy that you brought up Sharia . . . the Church is not foisting its views upon the body politic, as is the case in Sharia. The Church is enforcing its doctrine within its own confines, that is the opposite of Sharia. People like me would indeed howl if Sharia was fully instituted (as it is now recognized in places like Oklahoma and among some of the geniuses we have elevated to the Superme Court), as we would if Catholic church law were to becomae the law of the land.

    If I may be so bold as to speak for Herb and Cathar, I would say the only law we would/should recognize in the public arena is the Constitution of the United States, which R’s and D’s seem to be doing their best to ignore.

  55. “…I would say the only law we would/should recognize in the public arena is the Constitution of the United States, which R’s and D’s seem to be doing their best to ignore.”

    Do you mean the 1815 era version of the Constitution ?

  56. Funny john, very funny. I would prefer the document in its pre-Wilsonian form, and we can work from there on updating it to include Women’s voting rights, skipping the garbage about Federal revenues and the 17th amendment.

    But, I suppose I would prefer any version to what we are doing today, which is operating in an environment where the Constitution is being virtually ignored. Why bother having one if we’re not going to use it, even as a reference?

  57. But, I suppose I would prefer any version to what we are doing today, which is operating in an environment where the Constitution is being virtually ignored. Why bother having one if we’re not going to use it, even as a reference?

    Totally ignored! Except that the mandate in NY state has been in place for ten years, and gone through appeals all the way to the Supreme Court, who refused to hear the case in 2007. How dare they implement a rule that was already deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court.

  58. So much of what nboney puts forth is pure boilerplate stuff–

    subsidies versus fees… sharia law “fully instituted” in Oklahoma…

    The usual drivel.

    Catholic and other religious hospitals, schools, and the like receive subsidies (which is not “money for doing nothing”) but rather monetarry assistance in support of an enterprise regarded as being in the public interest.
    I don’t know of many people who feel that overcrowded hospitals and overcrowded public schools are in a position to take on all of these ill people and students who would be thrown onto their shores should the religious organizations shut down their facilities. So it is in the public interest that the organizations continue to provide these services, and to receive these subsidies.
    As for sharia, the courts found that Oklahoma could not single out Sharia, as was done in the legislation. Even those who put forth the original legislation said that they could not name even one instance wherein sharia law was invoked in a court case in Oklahoma.
    Perhaps, had the sponsors worded the legislation differently, it might have withstood the challenge. But they didn’t because they wanted to make a point. In doing so, they violated the Constitution.
    Far from being ignored, the Constitution is, as it was intended to do, protecting the country from bigots and ideologues.

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