Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Organizations’

Thankful Nuns Celebrate Sotomayor’s Contraceptive Mandate Stay.


Image: Thankful Nuns Celebrate Sotomayor's Contraceptive Mandate Stay

By Andrea Billups

A group of Catholic nuns celebrated Wednesday the decision by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to issue a stay in a crucial portion of the Obama healthcare law that would have forced religious groups to provide health insurance coverage for birth control and other medications designed to induce abortions.

The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Baltimore-based order that operates nursing homes for low-income elderly around the country, issued a statement praising the justice’s actions.

“We are grateful for the decision of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granting us a temporary injunction protecting us from the HHS contraceptive mandate,” the nuns said. “We hope and pray that we will receive a favorable outcome in order to continue to serve the elderly of all faiths with the same community support and religious freedom that we have always appreciated.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

The sisters were represented in the case by attorneys from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which issued its own statement in the case.

“We are delighted that the Supreme Court has issued this order protecting the Little Sisters,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund. “The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people  it doesn’t need to force nuns to participate.”

In defending its healthcare law, the Justice Department had argued that such a mandate for contraceptives offered “no substantial burden on their (nuns) exercise of religion.” The administration said the nuns could complete a self-certification form to opt out of the coverage requirements, turning it over to their health care provider.

“To opt out of providing contraceptive coverage, Little Sisters need only certify that they are nonprofit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and that, because of religious objections, they are opposed to providing coverage for some or all contraceptive services,” attorneys for the Justice Department defended in the appeal.

The nuns would have faced “draconian” fines if they did not comply to the original law,the Los Angeles Times noted.

The Obama administration has until Friday to file a response in the justice’s stay order, which applies only to the nun’s case. Other religious groups and corporations that object to the contraceptive mandate have filed similar motions, which are expected to be heard in March by the high court.

Sotomayor’s Tuesday ruling gave Roman Catholic Church-affiliated organizations temporary exemptions from a part of the Obamacare healthcare law that requires employers to provide insurance policies covering contraception.

She granted the temporary injunction to the Little Sisters of the Poor and Illinois-based Christian Brothers Services, plus related entities.

Sotomayor is giving the government until Friday morning to respond to her decision.

Two different appellate courts had granted stays in three other cases that were pending at the high court, filed by various organizations, including Catholic University of America and non-profits in Michigan and Tennessee, said a lawyer representing the groups. The lower-court actions meant the Supreme Court did not need to act in those cases.

The groups were all asking the courts to exempt them temporarily from the so-called contraception mandate while litigation continues. The mandate, which was to take effect for the organizations on Wednesday, is already in place for many women who have private health insurance.

The organizations accuse the federal government of forcing them to support contraception and sterilization in violation of their religious beliefs or face steep fines.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, requires employers to provide health insurance policies that cover preventive services for women, including contraception and sterilization.

The law makes an exception for religious institutions such as houses of worship that mainly serve and employ members of their own faith, but not for schools, hospitals, and charitable organizations that employ people of all faiths.

As a compromise, the administration agreed to an accommodation for nonprofits affiliated with religious entities, which was finalized in July.

Under the accommodation, eligible nonprofits have to provide a “self certification” — described by one lower-court judge as a “permission slip” — that authorizes the insurance companies to provide the coverage. The challengers say that step alone is enough to violate their religious rights.

In separate cases, the Supreme Court already has agreed to hear oral arguments on whether for-profit corporations have a basis to object to the contraception mandate on religious grounds. The court is due to hear those arguments in March and decide the two consolidated cases by the end of June.

Reuters contributed to this story.

Related Stories

 

 

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Incandescent Light Bulb Ban Ushered in With New Year.


Image: Incandescent Light Bulb Ban Ushered in With New Year

By Andrea Billups

Incandescent light bulbs, which have been in use in the United States for more than a century, are on their way out in the new year. The federal government has prohibited their manufacture and import starting Wednesday.

The latest ban covers 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs. The 100-watt and 75-watt varieties had already been phased out. The bans were signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act.

Opponents of the law protest that the government is making decisions for consumers rather than letting the marketplace determine the products people want.

“When we make a purchase, it’s about quality, price, how much money we have now, can I use that money for a better investment? I don’t need the government to say that I am making the incorrect decision and therefore I should buy energy-efficient products,” said Daren Bakst, research fellow in agricultural policy at the Heritage Foundation.

He decries the light-bulb ban as representing heightened government overreach.

“The light-bulb issue is about a complete ban of a product. It’s overkill. Now you have something you can no longer buy. That’s really indefensible,” he said.

“Forget about choice. It’s basically saying not only can you not make smart choices, we have so little faith in you that we will make sure you can’t buy those goods anymore.

“Here you have a central-planning bureaucrat that knows everything, saying we’re going to make sure you do the right thing. Granted, Congress passed the law, but this looks like the state knows better than the public does,” Bakst said.

The prohibition has also led to U.S. job losses, as factories that made incandescent bulbs have been forced to close.

Because of the ban, General Electric closed a factory with 200 employees in Winchester, Va., that was the last major incandescent manufacturing facility in the United States. Now the work is going to places such as China, where some of the new compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are made.

Energy efficiency experts say the new light bulbs benefit consumers, who will pay more on the front end for the new-generation bulbs but will save money over time because they last longer — up to 23 years for LED bulbs and about nine years for CFLs.

CFL bulbs use about 75 percent less energy, government estimates say, while LEDs use about 85 percent less than incandescent bulbs, but they cost about 10 times more.

“The reason why the federal government legislated the change is because these incandescent bulbs use four times or more energy than other technologies,” Kevin Hallinan, a University of Dayton engineering professor who studies renewable energy,told the Dayton Daily News, noting that incandescent bulbs emit more heat.

“That’s more pollution coming out of the power plants, that’s more carbon emissions, so this is really a good thing for the U.S,” Hallinan said.

Consumers can still purchase the incandescent bulbs as long as supplies last, and they remain in stock at many home-product retailers around the country. Once those are gone, however, the newer bulbs will be the only ones available.

Some Republican members of Congress have sought a repeal of certain elements of the ban, but have had no success despite cries of a “nanny state” imposing its will on consumers.

In 2011, a trio of Republican lawmakers — Reps. Joe Barton and Michael Burgess of Texas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee — offered the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, but the legislation failed to pass the House.

The Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, sponsored by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and eight co-sponsors, was also floated in 2011 but died in a House subcommittee.

Current laws under the federal government’s Energy Star program are enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency, which is in charge of new guidelines for light fixtures. The guidelines for a fixture to earn Energy Star ratings increased in 2013 as part of the federal law’s broader energy efficiency plan.

The light bulb issue marks a continued pattern of what some say is the federal government’s overextending its power in recent years, including spying on news reporters’ sources, forcing menu labeling laws in an attempt to change what people eat, and intimidating certain groups, including conservatives, through IRS intrusion.

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain said in a speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition‘s annual conference:

“We’ve got the IRS abuse. FEC intimidation. EPA discrimination. DOJ intimidation. NSA corruption. And it goes on and on and on in terms of the abuse and the corruption in the government that wants to control all of our lives.”

Said Bakst, of the Heritage Foundation:

“We certainly have seen far more government intrusion in the last few years than we have before. It has become the expectation that the government has the proper role in the free choices that we make.”

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

3 Ways to Grow Your Church By Subtraction.


Artie Davis

Artie Davis

I heard a phrase on a business radio program that I wasn’t familiar with … “Addition by subtraction.”

It was explained that quite often, an organization or department can add to its effectiveness by actually taking someone off the team (not replacing them). I understand the genius of less is more, but addition by subtraction? … awesome idea!

Here are 3 things you may need to subtract (take away) from your church if it’s not moving…

1. Subtract a Ministry. Too many ministries and not any operating at full capacity is dangerous. We need to systematically measure the success of all we do, and subtract those that are sub par.

Not that they aren’t good. We just need to subtract them until we have the energy and resources to do them passionately well.

Which ministry are you going to pray about shelving?

2. Subtract a Meeting. Can I get an Amen?? O yeah, Glory! Unproductive and unnecessary meetings are draining and they kill passion. Only gather together when needed, not necessarily scheduled.

A meeting mentality feeds the need to talk and not do. What regularly scheduled meeting will you reduce or eliminate?

3. Subtract a Member. Yeah, sometimes we just have take someone off the team. That means you have to be willing to make the difficult call. If that one staff, volunteer, leader or whatever isn’t contributing, they are draining! If you don’t subtract them, your team will begin to dwindle.

What member of your team (if any) should you seriously consider subtracting?.

Written by Artie Davis

Artie Davis is the pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Orangeburg, S.C. He heads the Comb Network and the Sticks Conference. He speaks and writes about leadership, ministry, church planting and cultural diversity in the church. You can find his blog at ArtieDavis.com or catch him on Twitter @artiedavis.

For the original article, visit artiedavis.com.

Rep. Trey Gowdy: NY Times Report on Benghazi Protects Hillary.


Image: Rep. Trey Gowdy: NY Times Report on Benghazi Protects Hillary

By Greg Richter

 

Rep. Trey Gowdy says a New York Times article that concluded al-Qaida was not involved in last year’s Benghazi attacks never mentioned then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but Gowdy had no problem quoting her to make a point of his own.

“First of all, I want to congratulate The New York Times. It only took 15 months for them to figure out how to spell Benghazi,” Gowdy, R-S.C., said Monday on Fox News Channel’s “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren.” 

“So, in another 15 months, maybe their reporting will actually catch up with the truth,” Gowdy said.

The Times concluded there was no evidence that al-Qaida was involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. It also said the attacks were not meticulously planned, as House Intelligence Committee members have said, but was a reaction to an anti-Muslim video produced in the United States.

“Whether it was al-Qaida or a subsidiary or a holding company or a limited partnership, to quote Hillary Clinton, ‘What difference does it make?'” Gowdy told Fox News. “Who cares whether it was al-Qaida proper or a subsidiary? Four Americans are dead, and it wasn’t a spontaneous reaction to a video. It was planned.”

Intelligence Committee members Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., both agreed on “Fox News Sunday” that al-Qaida was in some way involved and that there was planning.

People should believe Rogers, who is a former FBI agent, and Schiff, who is a former federal prosecutor, over The New York Times, Gowdy told guest host Dana Perino. Both men have dedicated their professional lives to following evidence wherever it leads, he said.

Gowdy also took issue with the assertion that the anti-Muslim video caused the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The video in question was translated into Arabic in early September 2012, Gowdy said, just days before the fatal attack.

That couldn’t explain a prior attack on the U.S. consulate or the attempted assassination of the British ambassador or attacks on the International Red Cross in Benghazi, he said.

“I thought we had no business being in Benghazi. We were the last flag flying in Benghazi,” Gowdy said. “But that begs a bigger question: Why were we there? Why was Chris Stevens in Benghazi that night?”

Gowdy didn’t explain whether he had any suspicions, but Sen. Rand Paul and others have suggested Stevens was in Libya because the CIA was using the area to run guns to Syrian rebels.

Gowdy did make clear that he suspects The Times published the article to bolster the expected presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Clinton, as secretary of state, came under fire after Benghazi for reportedly ignoring requests from Stevens for additional security.

“I’ve read this New York Times article, Dana, six times,” Gowdy told Perino. “I want you to read it six times and tell me if you can tell who the secretary of state was when Benghazi happened.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Ex-NSA Director Hayden: Report Shows Spying Keeps US Safe.


Image: Ex-NSA Director Hayden: Report Shows Spying Keeps US Safe

By Greg Richter

Former NSA and CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden says he is surprised people are surprised at the detailed spying the National Security Agency is able to do.

German magazine Der Spiegel published a story on Sunday that laid out the NSA’s ability to hack into the computer systems and phones of its targets, and even to stop computer equipment mid-shipping to install spyware.

The article says current NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander and his crew are “pretty good at this. And that’s good news for the American people,” Hayden said Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report.” 

Traditional signals intelligence used to be passive and “midpoint,” Hayden explained. If someone being targeted decided to send a message, spy agencies tried to get between points A and B and intercept the communication.

With the digital age, he said, spies have gone to “active” signals intelligence. They don’t just intercept at the midpoint, but go to the endpoint, he said.

“Go to a point where sometimes they have not even yet decided to transmit,” he said.

Hayden called the new collection methods “a good thing for American security and American liberty.”

Der Spiegel’s article no doubt damaged the NSA’s abilities, Hayden said. Now, legitimate foreign intelligence targets will read such reports and begin to take action to get around the methods, and that will make the United States less safe, he said.

Hayden told Fox News he read the article in Der Spiegel with his “antennae up” to see whether there was anything that should concern the U.S. public, but said he couldn’t find it.

The targets discussed were legitimate foreign intelligence targets, he said.

Hayden also said he was pleased that U.S. companies are surprised their products were  hacked by the NSA. They should be surprised, Hayden said, because they had nothing to do with it; it was all the NSA.

Turning to the New York Times story on Saturday that said al-Qaida was not involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Hayden compared the argument to medieval theological discussions about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

Hayden said it was reminiscent of President Bill Clinton’s parsing the meaning of the word “is.”

Whether the terrorist group behind the 9/11 attacks was also linked to the Benghazi attacks “depends on your meaning of the word ‘al-Qaida’,” he said.

There are three levels to the group, he explained: “al-Qaida prime, al-Qaida-affiliated, and groups who are like-minded.” Within days of the attacks, he said, he termed them “either high-end like-minded or low-end affiliated.”

So, while al-Qaida probably did not directly order the attacks, they were carried out by people under its influence, he said.

“No one has suggested that somebody with a Motorola Push to Talk in the Hindu Kush was sending detailed instructions to somebody in Benghazi,” he said.

Republican lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee have called the Times report “misleading.”

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rep. Grimm: New York Times Wrong, Benghazi Attacks Were Terrorism.


Image: Rep. Grimm: New York Times Wrong, Benghazi Attacks Were Terrorism

By Greg Richter

Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.,  is among the lawmakers who don’t buy a New York Times report over the weekend that the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was a spontaneous act fueled by anger over an anti-Muslim YouTube video.

The former Marine and FBI agent says the attack that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead was without a doubt a military operation, and anyone with a military background could recognize it as such.

“This was a methodical, military attack. This was not some group of individuals that was upset,” Grimm said Monday on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”“These were trained individuals. This was a military op.”

The attackers were weaponized, trained, and methodical, Grimm told CNN. If a YouTube video had gotten ordinary citizens upset, they might have thrown Molotov cocktails or rocks, he said. Someone might have even had a firearm or an AK-47, he said, but there would not have been the same amount of weaponry as the attackers had.

The Times story also concluded that al-Qaida, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, was not involved in the Benghazi attack, which occurred on Sept. 11, 2012, the 11th anniversary.

“The New York Times is wrong,” Grimm said. “And I would not say that’s a Republican point of view. For me, this is apolitical.”

Both Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee who have been briefed on Benghazi have “tangible evidence, empirical data” that show the attacks had al-Qaida ties, he said.

“If al-Qaida is funding an offshoot, an affiliate, to carry out a terrorist act, then they’re a terror proxy for al-Qaida” even if they call themselves by another name, Grimm said.

Al-Qaida, he said, has “morphed” since the 9/11 attacks and now funds other groups that can act in its stead. He said he has seen secret intelligence documents that tie al-Qaida to the attacks, even if somewhat tenuously, but said he cannot divulge publicly what those documents say.

Grimm said the Times report may spur further investigation, especially because the United States should get to the bottom of how security was handled in Benghazi. Unless such threats are recognized, he said, the lives of innocent Americans are placed at risk and the country appears weaker in the eyes of terrorists.

He said the United States was right to offer security help to Russia in light of two  bombings linked to the coming Winter Olympics in Sochi.

But the United States could lack authority on the world stage, he said, unless it can honestly discuss its own security breaches in places such as Benghazi.

“For Russia to be able to rely on us and to work with us, there has to be an underlying understanding that we come to the table openly and honestly about security,” he said.

Still, the United States should not have second thoughts about attending the games, Grimm said.

“When we stop doing things like the Olympics, then they’ve won. We can’t allow that to happen,” Grimm told CNN. “We can’t live in a state of terror or panic. But you do have to take the appropriate precautions.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rep. Westmoreland: NY Times Wants to ‘Absolve’ Clinton of Benghazi Blame.


Image: Rep. Westmoreland: NY Times Wants to 'Absolve' Clinton of Benghazi Blame

By Wanda Carruthers

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland joined Donald Trump Monday in claiming The New York Times is trying to “absolve” Hillary Clinton of any blame for the 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya to make it easier for her to run for president in 2016.

“I don’t know why they put it out, unless it was for political reasons,” the Georgia Republican said on “Fox & Friends,” referring to a Times report over the weekendclaiming that al-Qaida and other terrorist groups weren’t responsible for the attack.

The Times also reported, as the Obama administration initially claimed, that an American-made anti-Muslim video was partly responsible for setting off the violent outbreak in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012 that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.

Westmoreland suggested the report is aimed at “laying the groundwork” for a presidential run by former Secretary of State Clinton, who Republicans blame for the lax security in Benghazi.

“This thing is eventually going to fall back on the State Department, when all the truth gets out there. Of course, Secretary Clinton was in charge at the time,” Westmoreland said.

“I think they’re just . . . trying to absolve her from the lack of security that was sent over there, the number of requests for security that was turned down. So, I think they’re just trying to take the pressure off her and the administration,” he added.

Earlier on “Fox & Friends,” Trump all but accused the Times of trying to help cover up what actually happened the night of the attack in Benghazi to make it easier for Clinton to make another run for the White House.

Westmoreland continued to maintain that the anti-Islam video “never came into play” in the Benghazi bombing, saying that watching a video “doesn’t give you instructions on how to shoot five mortar rounds.”

“If you go to some of the research, or the people that study these media, social media outlets, and stuff, there was nothing even on the radar in Libya or in Benghazi actually until the next morning,” he said, referring to some reports the video may have spurred a crowd to form and then attack the U.S. compound.

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Tag Cloud