Monday, August 03, 2015


While corporate America has been comfortable donating funds to Planned Parenthood for years, it has been far less willing to give—or even allow its employees to give—to Christian charities.

As their gifts to an organization whose senior officials have been caught on video haggling over money for baby hearts, lungs and livers have come under fire, many of these corporations have begun to back away from their relationship with Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood even had to pre-empt the controversy by hiding the names of its corporate donors. Many of the companies sought to diminish the significance of their gifts to Planned Parenthood, explaining that the contributions were simply matching gifts for employee contributions through the company’s charitable campaign.

But if this kind of employee-directed donations is no big deal, why are Christian charities often excluded?

Some of the companies matching employee gifts to Planned Parenthood are much more cautious with their money when it comes to Christian nonprofits. Whether through exclusions of Christian charities altogether or the application of religion and “sexual orientation” nondiscrimination rules to the employment practices of Christian organizations, corporations often exclude the Christian charities that are making a difference in our communities and our world.

For example, Pfizer has refused to match employee gifts to some charities because they are “religious.” But it has no problem donating to Planned Parenthood. Ben & Jerry’s gives to Planned Parenthood. And it will provide grants to charities its employees recommend to encourage “social change.” But not if they are “religious activities.”

Bath and Body Works funds Planned Parenthood (and Komen, which also provides grants to Planned Parenthood). But “religious or sectarian organizations” are generally excluded. It also imposes a broad “nondiscrimination” rule covering employment that would also exclude virtually any Christian charity. Deutsche Bank will not match any employee gifts to a Christian organization or to any organization that “promote[s] … religious causes.” But they will give to Planned Parenthood.

    Whether through exclusions of Christian charities altogether or the application of religion and “sexual orientation” nondiscrimination rules to the employment practices of religious organizations, corporations often exclude the Christian charities that are making a difference in our communities and our world.

Here and abroad Christian charities are serving the poor, feeding the hungry, providing immediate disaster relief and protecting the persecuted. Christian charities are among the most respected and effective charities in the world. They’re also right there in northern Nevada, from the Gospel Rescue Mission to the local crisis pregnancy center.

These exclusions of Christian charities have been struck down as unconstitutional when they are imposed by government workplace giving campaigns. But private companies are entitled to give to those charities they want to give to and exclude those they do not. They can even choose not to permit their employees to give through their workplace giving campaign to Christian charities. But a company that matches its employees’ gifts to Planned Parenthood, but won’t do the same for an employee gift to a pregnancy resource center in their community, should explain why.

It is no answer that some might deem controversial a gift to a volunteer pregnancy center receiving no taxpayer dollars and serving the practical needs of a mother so that she can choose whether or not kill or keep her baby. Even before the last few weeks, there were plenty of reasons for a company to avoid aligning itself with Planned Parenthood. The videos of senior Planned Parenthood officials that show the abortion behemoth haggling over prices for babies' organs. Americans across the political and ideological spectrum should just confirm that businesses should have nothing to do with the abortion giant.

It’s bad enough that these corporations are supporting an organization that holds a 40 percent share of America’s abortion market. It’s abhorrent that they would continue to do so in light of the revelations of Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in the body parts of unborn children.

That they would do so while simultaneously treating Christian nonprofits aiding those in need as too controversial or unworthy of their support is conclusive proof they don’t deserve our support.

As an example, one fast food chain with stores in Reno has refused to advertize on local radio station Renegade Radio (KRNG 101.3 FM) because it is “too controversial” in that it plays Christian oriented music.

As The Daily Signal and 2nd Vote have revealed, corporate America is a major source of revenue for Planned Parenthood. While less than the half-billion in taxpayer dollars Planned Parenthood receives annually, corporate contributions made up a healthy piece of the $127 million in “excess revenue” the ostensible nonprofit received last year alone.

Friday, May 08, 2015


The gospel from Sunday (John 15:1-8) presents us with an important meditation on the difference between love and kindness. Perhaps some further reflections from this gospel are in order today.

There is an unfortunate tendency in our times to reduce love to kindness. Kindness is an aspect of love, but so is rebuke. It is an immature notion of love that reduces it merely to affirming, or that refers to proper correction as a form of “hate.”

We saw in yesterday’s gospel that proper care involves the Lord “pruning” us so that we bear more fruit. But in soft times like these, many would not consider pruning, which is painful, to be proper care. Any reasonable, mature, balanced assessment yields the truth that pruning is necessary and is part of proper care.

Though I am less familiar with grape vines, I know my roses. And while I feed and water them, treat their common diseases, and pull the weeds that seek to choke them, I also prune them—sometimes quite severely. At this time of year, my fall pruning vindicates itself as proper care—the first rosebuds and the luxuriant foliage are in glorious evidence! Through the year I will continue all my care, including pruning, cutting away diseased branches, and shaping the plants. Who of you will question me for what I do to my beautiful roses?

It is no less the case with us that the Lord must prune us. And who would question the Lord for this necessary work? Yet many in our times do question Him and His Body, the Church, for doing just this.

First of all, He does this by proclaiming His Word: You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you (Jn 15:3). In this proclamation is a kind of pruning of the intellect; our worldly thinking and priorities are pruned away by the truth of God’s wisdom and His Word, which is like a scalpel or pruning hook.

Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account (Heb 4:12-13).

The Word of God prunes away our error by shining the light of truth on our foolishness and worldliness; it exposes our sinfulness and silly preoccupations. It lays bare our inordinate self-esteem and all the sinful drives that flow from it: pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. A steady diet of God’s Word prunes and purifies our mind, reordering it gradually.

Yet for many of us, the Word of God alone (while sufficient in itself) is not enough due to our stubbornness and tendency to rationalize our bad behavior and “stinking thinking.” Too easily we call good or “no big deal” what God calls sin and surround ourselves with teachers and “experts” who tell us what our itching ears want to hear (cf 2 Tim 4:3).

And thus further pruning is needed. Such further pruning can be accomplished in two ways: active and passive purification. Active purifications are things that we undertake ourselves such as fasting or other mortifications. These help to prune away what stunts healthy growth and the fruits of righteousness.

But honestly, none of us will ever really do enough active purification to accomplish what is really needed—not even close. Consider an analogy I have used before: could you perform an appendectomy on yourself? Of course not! First, you could not really see enough to be able do it properly. Second, you would never be able to inflict that much pain on yourself. Such things must be accomplished for us by others.

Therefore, since active purifications are not enough to prune us properly, we must also accept passive purifications. Passive purifications are those things that God does or allows in order to prune us. And frankly some of them are quite painful: serious losses or setbacks, struggles with our health, difficulties in marriage or other vocations, the death of loved ones, the end of relationships, humiliating occurrences, accidents, and so forth. Other passive purifications are less painful, involving minor irritations, disappointments, or discomforts.

And when these occur we cry out in pain. Pruning hurts. But it may well be just what we need. The honest truth is that we human beings are so gifted, talented, and capable that if we didn’t have a few things to keep us humble, we’d be so proud we’d just go to Hell.

So God prunes. And whether we like to admit it or not, it is a form of care. We need these passive purifications; we need the pruning that keeps us bearing the fruit of holiness and righteousness.

In soft times like these, when the application of limits or the use of the word “no” is deemed “unloving” or “hateful,” we who would be Christians and light to the world must become clearer ourselves about the need for pruning. Even in the Church there is a hesitancy to speak of this need or of anything considered “negative” or “challenging.” To all this we can only reply that it is necessary at times for the surgeon to wield the scalpel, the vinedresser to apply the pruning sheers, the Lord to use passive purifications. It is hard and painful at times, but there is no other way given our stubborn and sin-prone souls.

There is also a communal dimension to this that was mentioned in yesterday’s gospel: He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit (Jn 15:2). This is not the pruning of a single branch; it is the cutting away of any branches that do not bear fruit and thus sap energy from the others.

In these highly individualistic times it is harder for people to grasp the common good and why it is sometimes necessary for the Lord to wholly remove from His Body (the Church) those who refuse to bear fruit. But the common good really is the answer.

And now back to my roses: one of my rose bushes tends to go wild. In the last two years it has become gnarly, losing its shape. Its roses have lost their wedged-tulip shape and are becoming small and rounded. I have taken to pruning it severely in the hopes of saving it. So far this has yielded limited success. This year, if it does not respond and return from the wild side, I will have to remove it. This is not only due to my preferences; I am concerned that the other bushes will cross-pollinate with it and also lose their dignity and form. One wild rose bush tends to exert its influence on others. Who of you will question me for what I do to protect my roses?

And who of us should protest against God for what He does to keep His vine strong and Heaven pure?

Pruning is needed both to help us bear fruit and to save us. It falls to us, like a faithful remnant, to recover this notion and teach it without apology or embarrassment. God knows what He is doing. He knows what makes for good disciples and perfect souls. It is hard, though, and it’s OK to ask God to be gentle with us. But in the end, may God never do anything less than is necessary to prepare heavenly glories for us.

Thursday, January 01, 2015


Planned Parenthood clinics did 327,653 abortions in its fiscal year 2014 (which ran from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014), according to Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s newly released annual report. That works out to an average of 37 abortions per hour or nearly 1 every 90 seconds. Planned Parenthood also received $528.4 million from government grants and reimbursements, which equaled 41 percent of its revenue.

What if someone DID something about this?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Did you know that ISIS militants crucified a 17-year-old boy in Raqqa, Syria a few days ago?
If you follow a number of news sources, you probably read about it online. Or you may have seen the photo in your Facebook feed. But you probably didn’t see it on television news. It may have been reported on one of the news channels, but if it was, I never saw it.
I read about it in a Daily Mail article. The boy was taking photos of the Islamic State headquarters in Raqqa, and they caught him and crucified him for three days before he finally died.
I can’t imagine dying that way. I don’t even want to think about it.
The sign they placed around around his neck charged him with apostasy. I suppose any Muslim who doesn’t fall in line with the Islamic State’s extreme religious and political beliefs would be accused of the same.

Jesus willingly gave himself, and his death was part of God’s eternal plan. But the boy who was crucified by ISIS did not have a choice. If you had been in Raqqa watching this unfold, and you’d had the ability to stop it, would you have done it? Even if it meant killing his captors?
I would have.
We don’t even know the victim’s name. With ISIS, we’re dealing with a group that’s just as evil and ruthless as the Nazis were. We must intercede for these people, many who have been brainwashed and misguided by a wicked, cancerous ideology. And when we ask God to thwart evil, we should also pray that as many lives be preserved as possible.
But sometimes a spiritual battle moves into the physical realm, and defending the defenseless and preserving life means making tough choices.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


When our children are young, their doctors are our partners. They guide and aid us in ensuring our children are as healthy as possible.
Unfortunately, about the time our children hit adolescence and start to look at us with a jaded eye, their medical providers are doing the same thing. All too often, we are no longer seen as useful for the healthy development of our children. We are left outside the exam room, while the doctor or nurse practitioner or physician assistant offers our children a myriad of options and the assurances that “Mom and Dad will never know!”
I know, because I have been on both sides of that exam room door.

Mother Doesn’t Know Best?

Back in the day, I accepted what the medical school taught me: Parents do not know what is best for their children, especially when it comes to their sexual health. As the doctor, only you know.
As the doctor, it is your job to take care of children in spite of their parents. Separate them from their parents so that you can get the real story and don’t tell their parents any more than you have to. Make sure the children know they can trust you, and make sure they know they cannot trust their parents.
But then I became a mother. No one loves my children more than I do. I realized how utterly wrong it is to exclude parents from important intimate decisions about their child’s health.
As a doctor, I am prevented by law from discussing sexual and reproductive health issues with parents without their child’s consent. These adolescents are too young to vote, buy beer, buy cigarettes, get a tattoo, or even get their ears pierced without parental consent; yet they are considered mature enough to make decisions about using contraceptives, which have potentially dangerous — sometimes lethal — consequences, without parental consultation.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


One of the things I’ve found most refreshing about Catholic culture is the understanding of the importance of modesty.

Though each woman may have different ideas about exactly what it means to be modest, there is a general agreement that putting forth some level of conscious effort to avoid looking like a backup dancer in a Snoop Dogg video is a good thing. And it’s fascinating to see the effect that it has on women’s interactions with one another.

When I was in my 20s, I worked at a startup company where there were no standards for appropriate dress. Over time, an unspoken tension developed among the females of the office. Sally from marketing showed up to a board meeting in a startlingly short skirt, then Jane the office manager started wearing shirts with lower and lower cuts. Kelly the analyst would turn heads when she breezed through the break room in jeans so tight they looked like they were sprayed on. And this kind of thing didn’t just happen in the office where I worked; though I wouldn’t have used this term to describe it at the time, immodesty was rampant in the culture of women who worked in that particular industry during the high-tech boom.

And whether or not this was the intent, wearing revealing clothing always came across as a power play, and even sometimes as an act of aggression against other women who were wearing more reasonable attire. The effect of all of this was that the female friendships in these social circles were always on rocky ground.

It’s a fact of human nature that women are judged by their physical appearances more than men are, and therefore it’s easy for a feeling of competitiveness to arise in this area. When a girl would arrive at the office wearing a tight little outfit that commanded everyone’s attention, there was an unmistakable—though unspoken—feeling that a competition had been initiated. Even among the women who couldn’t care less about engaging in office beauty contests, who even pitied the scantily-clad girl for drawing the wrong type of attention to herself, there was a vague feeling of resentment that she had tried to initiate this “game” in the first place. All of these interactions remained below the surface, but they were very much present.

To describe how it felt to be a woman in that culture, imagine if men walked around displaying their annual incomes on name-tags. To allow no-holds-barred competition in an area where men are particularly sensitive to judgment would inevitably poison their relationships with one another. And so it is with women.

Discussions about the benefits of modesty tend to focus on preserving the dignity of women and respecting men who are seeking chastity. Those are great points, but I think that the impact that it has on relationships among women is a huge benefit that is too often overlooked.

The other day I saw a group of young adult women chatting after a meeting at church. They were about the same age as I was when I worked at that startup, and seeing them brought back memories of that time. In contrast to the culture I remembered, all of these girls looked beautiful and stylish while observing some basic ideas about modesty—and the effect was that there wasn’t that vibe that some of them were trying to be the center of attention with their dress, unlike back in my career days. It made me smile to see how well this system works. For women to embrace modesty is to declare a truce with one another. They can still aim to look nice, but mutual agreement on of reasonable standards of dress draws the boundary lines so that it doesn’t break out into a distracting competition.

Let me hasten to add that when I say that I’m now in social circles that value modesty, I don’t mean that we show up with pitchforks and torches at the house of any women who dare to wear skirts above the ankles, or that it’s something that is ever discussed at all (the occasional internet flare-up aside).

I’m referring here to some basic ideas about how to dress that are so deeply embedded in this subculture that I doubt the average Catholic woman even realizes she’s doing anything different than women in some segments of society. As I’ve seen it practiced, embracing modesty isn’t about following a specific clothing checklist or mistaking fashion choices for holiness. Rather, it’s just a decision that women make, mostly in the back of their minds, not to make their bodies the center of everyone’s attention. It’s a small gesture, but the impact is striking. It brings an air of peace to a gathering of women that you just don’t have if a couple of gals have shown up in tiny tank tops and super-short shorts.

It’s as if we simply say to one another, “I won’t show up in hot pants to your barbecue, you won’t wear a cleavage-bearing dress to my wine tasting, and we’ll all have a lovely time.”

Friday, August 15, 2014


Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) recently introduced a bill in the Senate titled the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014. Its purpose is “to prohibit governmental entities from discriminating or taking an adverse action against a child welfare service provider on the basis that the provider declines to provide a child welfare service that conflicts, or under circumstances that conflict, with the sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions of the provider.”

Here are the headlines that followed:

“Some Conservatives Would Rather Keep Kids in Foster Care than Let Gays Adopt Them”

“New ‘religious freedom’ adoption bill criticized as being anti - LGBT”

“Religious freedom bill could spur adoption discrimination”

“GOP bill would give adoption agencies the right to discriminate against same-sex couples”

And the list goes on. It’s no mystery what the liberal media think about this issue.

In recent years, some religious child welfare providers who believe that children deserve to be placed with married mothers and fathers have lost government funding and have shut down because of laws requiring them to serve the lesbian, gay, bi and transsexual (LGBT) communities,despite their contradicting religious convictions. In Illinois, unmarried heterosexual couples and homosexuals may legally adopt children and become foster parents, leading to the discontinuation of the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockford’s adoption services. In Washington D.C. a similar adoption program was shut down due to another law that requires religious organizations serving the general public to provide services to homosexuals regardless of religious beliefs. Comparable cases are found in California, Massachusetts, and all across the nation—cases which offer a choice between sincere religious beliefs and punishment under law, or compliance and the forsaking of religious conscience.

Interestingly enough, LGBT adoption agencies exist all across the nation, and this bill does nothing to discriminate against their clients or services. The bill would protect the religious liberty of those adoption agencies already functioning under religious organizations while respecting the right of alternative agencies to equally serve whomever they like. Unfortunately, it may not be equality that is at stake here. Perhaps those in favor of these laws are not interested in alternative programs that respect LGBT communities and religious liberties. Perhaps they want to force religious organizations to change their beliefs—at any cost.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) state on their website that “equality is not the finish line. Simply removing discriminatory laws from the books should be the bare minimum of what we seek. The ultimate prize is not equality—it’s justice. We need laws that address the obstacles that we face as a community, instead of treating us exactly the same as everyone else. … Think about this for a moment. What would it look like if we weren’t content with simply making sure that our youth are not beat up in school? Instead, what if schools were required to teach about LGBT history?”

Clearly no one should be beaten up at school or mistreated for any reason. But when does one group’s concept of justice become injustice for another group? The situation in Massachusetts, California, Illinois, and D.C. is one such example. In those places, the government refuses to contract with religious organizations that are unable, due to sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions, to provide a child welfare service that conflicts with those beliefs or convictions. Thus ends their “long and distinguished history of excellence in the provision of child welfare services.”

While some child welfare services are closing shop in order to maintain their religious standing and comply with government regulations, a small group’s concept of justice has become an injustice for large religious organizations with hundreds of dependent children.

LGBT issues are constantly exaggerated in the media as if in an effort to rekindle the legacy and thrill of the civil rights movement, and to smear conservatives as bigots for not agreeing with all of their tactics.

According to a Gallup Poll , U.S. adults estimate that 25% of Americans are gay or lesbian.

But reality contradicts popular estimates.

Starting in 2013, the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)—an organization charged with monitoring the nation’s health since 1957—included questions in its survey to ascertain the identity component of the sample adult’s sexual orientation. The results were significant.

NHIS reports that 96.6% of adults identified as straight, only 1.6% identified as gay or lesbian, and 0.7% identified as bisexual. The remaining 1.1% identified as “something else,” or stated that they didn’t know the answer or they didn’t answer.

That is a world of difference from the 25% that American adults have been led to believe.

With more accurate data now provided by the NHIS, Americans ought to be better informed and able to go about solving discrimination issues in a more personal, effective, and equal way. Must 1.6% of the population insist that religious institutions forsake their deeply held convictions while alternative options for child services already exist? The NHIS findings ought to raise many red flags as the government overreaches into the lives of the large majority of Americans on the pretext of protecting those who might be discriminated against.

Jace Gregory is an intern at Accuracy in Media’s American Journalism Center. For any inquiries, please e-mail

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