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Our Own Worst Enemies

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Yesterday, the Supreme Court was very good to Christians.  It is very hard to tell if you peruse the mainstream news sources, but it was a great day.  Read about it here and here.  We should be celebrating!  So why is it my inbox has come upon two very nasty anti-Catholic musings in the last 24 hours?  Perhaps it is just coincidence, but it does seem to be the way of our faith; the greater success we enjoy the more infighting we engage in.  It’s ugly – it’s very, very ugly and it is not good for our public witness or our political action.  I do not find it purely coincidental that the very serious setbacks faith suffered during the Obama years coincided with Mitt Romney’s two runs for office.  Actually I find it a source of some shame.

A couple of weeks ago, Jonathon Tobin wrote a piece on the politics of Kamala Harris and what they bode for the future of the nation.  Being a Californian, I’ve had to pay attention to Ms. Harris for quite some time, and I concur with Tobin – it is not a pretty picture.  And yet it is a very similar picture to the one we paint when we start pointing fingers around religious circles.

There is a base for Ms. Harris’ brand of political nasty just as there is a market for anti-Catholic nonsense (or at least strong Catholic suspicion – just ask Dan Brown).  The political ghettoization of Evangelicalism that has resulted from the great Romney religious debates has left the Catholic church as the only effective religious force standing in the nation.  (The Mormons could also be standing with them but seem to be in a minor retreat after the blow back from their efforts in California on Prop 8.)  Envy is understandable. But said envy works against our goal of a better nation.  Why then is our impulse to tear down and oppose rather than concur and perhaps join?

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Avik Roy RE: the Need For Senate Action on Health Care Repeal/Replace Now

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The Audio:

06-27hhs-roy

The Transcript:

HH: Joined now by Avik Roy, who is probably the leading authority on the center-right when it comes to health care reform. Avik, good morning, thank you for joining me.

AR: Hey, Hugh, it’s always a pleasure to be with you.

HH: Health care’s on life support this morning, because Susan Collins, Dean Heller on the left in the Republican caucus and Ron Johnson and Rand Paul on the right are refusing to move the bill forward to debate. If in fact that turns out to be the case, what will be the consequences for American health care of staying in place with what we have?

AR: Well, look, if Republicans fail to pass health reform, I don’t see why frankly they deserve to have a majority. They certainly are likely to lose it. And I am still hopeful, however, that that’s not where we are. I think that the bill can still be improved, but if the goal of Republican health reform is to please the Congressional Budget Office, we should just give up now, because the only way you’re going to get a good score from the Congressional Budget Office is to keep the individual mandate in place. That’s what this is all about. I’ll give you an example of the history here, Hugh. About 16 months ago, Republicans, as you may remember, passed a bill that would completely defund Obamacare without a replacement. And it was vetoed by President Obama, then-President Obama. That bill, according to the CBO, would cover 22 million fewer people. Well, now we have a Senate health care bill that does exactly what you and I talked about a few months ago. It directs a lot of tax credits for the low income population to buy health insurance, $616 billion dollars is the value of the replacement of Obamacare in this bill. And what does the CBO say? The CBO says that 22 million fewer people will have health insurance because of this bill. So in other words, they’re spending $616 billion dollars over ten years to help low income people afford health insurance, and the CBO believes this will have zero effect, zero effect on coverage, because according to the CBO, basically most of that 22 million number is driven by people being forced to buy health insurance through the individual mandate. So you know, what I think they should do, Hugh, is they should sent two versions of this bill to the CBO – one with an individual mandate, and one without one, just to show how much that’s what’s driving what the CBO is doing.

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David Cortman, Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel, RE: Trinity Lutheran and Masterpiece Cake Shop

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The Audio:

06-27hhs-cortman

The Transcript:

HH: So pleased to welcome my friend, David A. Cortman, and to congratulate him. David, welcome and congratulations.

DC: Well, thank you. It’s good to be back again.

HH: David is the senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation with Alliance Defending Freedom. He joined ADF in 2005. Yesterday, he had a most unusual thing happen. He won a major United States Supreme Court decision which will be taught in law schools and will protect people of faith for generations to come in Trinity Lutheran, and on the same day, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Masterpiece Cake Shop, another of David’s cases, meaning that not only does he win, he has to go right back to work. Am I right, David?

DC: (laughing) We do. That seems to be the story, these days.

HH: You don’t even get a day off. You win this big, huge constitutional landmark case, and then they hand you down another one. No vacation for you.

DC: (laughing) It’s okay. We’ve got a great team handling all of this.

HH: David, let’s talk with Trinity Lutheran first, 7-2. And I worried about this. I prayed about this. It’s very gratifying. Explain to people what the case was about, and what the Chief Justice said, and what Justice Gorsuch said in concurrence?

DC: Yeah, I mean, the case is about, you know, it’s interesting. Simple facts about a scrap tire program in Missouri that takes their recycled tires, tries to get them out of the landfills and that of the rivers and the streams, and do something good with them. You can get a reimbursement grant to put them down for to recover playground surfaces so when the kids fall, it’s a little bit of give, they don’t get as hurt. So they open the program to all not-for-profits, including not-for-profit preschools. Our client applies for one, goes through the long application process, all the vendors quotes and diagrams and estimates and all things it’ll do. It actually gets ranked high enough, number 5 out of 44 applications, to actually receive a grant. But once the state recognizes that it’s owned and operated by Trinity Lutheran Church, it says well, we have to disqualify you based on our state establishment clause, our state separation of church and state. And solely because of that, they disqualify them from the program.

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