Baby Cassandra decided to make her debut a week early, at 3:36pm on Thursday, April 3rd. She was 7lbs, 5oz. Â She’s a wonderful addition to our family, and we’re so blessed to have her!
Sheâ€™s a cuddle bug, quiet and content as long as sheâ€™s in someoneâ€™s arms. Thankfully she doesnâ€™t seem to care who holds her, which makes it easy for me to hand her off when I need a break, but if Iâ€™m at home by myself and try to lay her down to get something done, I have 5 or 10 minutes max before sheâ€™ll cry to be picked up again. Cassie loves looking at faces, so her big sisters like to help out by hovering over her and cooing, or jingling baby toys over her head to look at. When that doesnâ€™t work, Iâ€™ll wear her in a sling, which she finds soothing. Itâ€™s a challenge learning once again how to get things done with older children and a baby in tow, but weâ€™re managing.
I want to thank my patient readers as I have taken a hiatus from blogging during this pregnancy.
It’s been a long 9 months of nausea, exhaustion, hope, fear and anticipation. Â Now our rainbow baby is due any time, and I can hardly believe I’ll actually get to hold her in my arms.
I hadn’t originally intended to suspend my blog, but with so many other demands on my body, energy and sanity during this period, something had to give. Â I’ve spent the past several months focused on staying rested and healthy in the midst of homeschooling my older three children, acting as Troop Coordinator for our local American Heritage Girls troop, and volunteering for the Oregon Tea Party.
These days my political activism is focused primarily on running theÂ Oregon Tea Party Facebook Page, soÂ please â€œlikeâ€Â and follow my posts there.Â Then click â€œshareâ€Â on the ones you find most important.Â Itâ€™s a simple way to spread the word and make a difference.
One important note: Facebook is now hiding up to 97% of posts of from pages you “like” from your news feed, in an attempt to force those pages to pay for “promoted posts.” So how do you get around Facebook censorship and make sure you don’t miss anything? Hover your mouse over the “Liked” button on our page, and select “Get Notifications” and “Add to Interest Lists.” That’s it.
I don’t know when I’ll be able to take up blogging again, but in the meantime, thank you for your patience and support, and keep up the good fight in whatever sphere of influence you have!
Thereâ€™s a tradition in our society that says itâ€™s not a good idea to tell people about your pregnancy until youâ€™re past the â€œsafe markâ€ of 12 weeks, when the risk of miscarriage diminishes. The unspoken message is that miscarriage is best kept quiet. Nobody wants to know about the ones that didnâ€™t make it. In fact, our culture barely regards them as even human. Thatâ€™s why you hear statements like â€œthank goodness you werenâ€™t that far along,â€ â€œdonâ€™t worry, Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll have another, â€œ or â€œat least you have (your older children),â€ as if youâ€™d lost a dream instead of a living child. These are things people would NEVER say to parents whoâ€™d lost an older child, but because of our cultureâ€™s dismissive attitude towards unborn life, these children are viewed as less valuable. Their mothers are expected to grieve in private silence, if they are given permission to grieve at all.
For those who find themselves pregnant after losing a baby, we know there is no such thing as a â€œsafe mark.â€ We know that life is fragile, and that it can just as easily be lost after 12 weeks as before. There are no guarantees. We have lost our innocenceâ€¦the ability to look at that little plus sign and instantly be filled with the joyful expectation of holding that little bundle in nine months. We walk a tightrope of joy and sorrow, hope and dread, knowing that the next appointment may bring the words that we fear most: â€œIâ€™m sorry, I canâ€™t find a heartbeat.â€
Even though I never got to hold Autumn, Eden and Hope, theyâ€™re still my babies. Iâ€™m still their mother. The only way I know to parent them is to honor their brief lives here on earth, and acknowledge that they are real children, now waiting in heaven for me. They werenâ€™t just blobs of tissue. They werenâ€™t just lines on a pregnancy test. They were precious, individual soulsâ€¦and so is the one I carry now.
My last three babies didnâ€™t make it to the â€œsafe zoneâ€ of 12 weeks. I live with the knowledge that there is a very real possibility that I wonâ€™t get to meet this baby on this side of heaven, either. My childrenâ€™s lives, like my own, are in Godâ€™s hands, and I have no control over them. But whatever the outcome, I have peace that God is in control, and I WILL meet my babies someday, although perhaps not as soon as I would hope. In the meantime, I best way I know to honor their lives is simply by acknowledging their presence. By recognizing that every life matters, no matter how brief.
So for now, I will partner with God in carrying this little life as long as He allows me to, and accept each day we have together as a gift.
This is the kind of stuff I used to read about in biographies of people who survived persecution in the Soviet Union and other communist countries. Â I can’t believe it’s happening here, and so many Americans are still asleep!
Remember when you lived in that America where you had freedom of expression? Well, itâ€™s easy to imagine that the old America doesnâ€™t exist any more with the story of the Secret Service agents that harassed a Twitter user because he dared criticize President Obama.
Tom Francois is an outspoken critic of President Obama on Twitter and has some 12 thousand followers that watch his every Tweet. (@Tom_Francois) But apparently his fans arenâ€™t the only ones hanging on his every Tweet.
As Tom found out, the Secret Service has blown in a â€œfollowâ€ to Tomâ€™s feed, too. But instead of laughing as Tom makes funny photoshopped, anti-Obama images and reveling in Obamaâ€™s many scandals, the Secret Service was watching and making plans to come pounding at his door to harass him for his political opinions.
On April 11, 2013, he heard relentless pounding on his door shouts of “Police!” The officers introduced themselves as members of TheÂ Secret ServiceÂ and asked if they could “take a look around.”
Since Tom had nothing to hide (and he didn’t want any return visits) – he complied fully with their request. He even signed a consent to search his premises AND an “Authorization To Review Medical and Mental Health Records!”
They asked Tom if he ever left his state or traveled to Washington, D.C.
One Agent asked Tom if he has any intentions of “whacking” the President.” To which Tom replied- “Of course not. I wish him no harm. I disagree with his policies and actions and I make no bones about it. It’s my First Amendment Right and I intend to exercise it.”
When I spoke to Tom he said, “Yes, I am EXTREMELY critical of Obama in my posts, but I never cross the line and threaten his being. EVER. It’s just the idea of Obama’s Secret Service intruding on my life when they knew I wasn’t really a threat.”
The Secret Service had a thick FBI file- filled with screenshots of hundreds of posts. Said Tom, “I flat out told them ‘I have NEVER threatened Obama’s life! Yes, I despise him as you can plainly see, but I have that right!’ They actually ADMITTED and agreed with me that I hadn’t threatened Obama.”
They had run a background check and discovered that Tom legally owned two guns- and they asked to see them. Tom showed them his firearms. They asked, “Are they loaded?” Tom replied in the affirmative. “What good are guns if they aren’t loaded?”
So why harass Tom? “The Secret Service officers claimed that “they were concerned that since I have a largeÂ TwitterÂ following, and the things I said could be acted upon by some nut case out there! What the hell? They turned my life upside down for THAT?”
Tom didn’t refuse the search because they just would have gone and gotten a warrant. “They would have proceeded to tear my house apart. No thanks. I have nothing to hide. They left empty-handed and my house is still intact.”
When they left Tom’s house, one Secret Service Agent ‘advised’-Â “Keep in mind, if you step over the line, we’ll come back for your guns.”
After the “visit” to Tom, the Secret Service also visited Tom’s 22 year old daughter- terrifying her and making her fear for her father’s safety. She asked them what they were going to do with the information about her Dad.Â They said they were going to “turn it over to Eric Holder- he has the last word on what to do, if anything.”
Notice that the raid on this innocent American came only four days before the Boston marathon bombing. While Islamic extremists were planning to kill people in Boston, the government was all worried about a Twitter user that made funny photoshopped pictures of Obama.
At the time, the arrest almost seemed secondary to the actions that the school was taking, but now that arrest is the story that is front and center as prosecutors move forward in actually pursuing the charges against the student. To be honest, I really assumed that the charge (obstruction of an officer) would be dropped.
According to a report byÂ WTRFÂ the prosecuting attorney is moving forward with that charge and a judge is allowing the case to move forward. Fourteen year old Jared Marcum could face up to a $500 fine and up to a year in jail (weâ€™ll seriously hope that isnâ€™t a real possibility) if found guilty.
According to theÂ report, the arresting officer alleges that when Jared refused to stop talking he hindered the officers ability to do his job and that is where the obstruction arrest came from. Iâ€™m guessing a 14 year old kid who felt intimidated was trying to explain himself, but letâ€™s throw him in jail for good measure.
Under the Gang of 8â€™s backroom immigration deal with Senators Schumer, Corker and Hoeven, formerly illegal immigrants who are amnestied will be eligible to work, but will not be eligible for ObamaCare. Employers who would be required to pay as much as a $3,000 penalty for most employees who receive an ObamaCare healthcare â€œexchangeâ€ subsidy, would not have to pay the penalty if they hire amnestied immigrants.
Consequently, employers would have a significant incentive to hire or retain amnestied immigrants, rather than current citizens, including those who have recently achieved citizenship via the current naturalization process.
Beginning in January,Â businessesÂ with 50 or more full-time employees, that do not currently offer healthcare benefits that are considered â€œacceptableâ€ by the Obama administration, must pay a penalty if at least one of their workers obtains insurance on a new government-run â€œexchange.â€ TheÂ penaltyÂ can be as much as $3,000 per employee.
Many employers have been preparing to cope with the new regulations byÂ slashing the hours of full-timers to part-time status. Since â€œfull-time,â€ in the language of ObamaCare, is averaging 30 hours per week, employers will, in general, receive the penalty if they have 50 or more employees who are working an average of 30 hours per week.
If the immigration bill becomes law, many employers could receive incentives of hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire amnestied immigrants over American citizens. In addition, these newly legalized immigrants could work â€œfull-time,â€ an advantage for companies and businesses as well, while employers could lay off or diminish to â€œpart-timeâ€ status, American workers.
A Louisiana lawman is livid over the federal governmentâ€™s decision to cut off funds for two programs to help troubled young people, all, he says, Â because he refused to sign a pledge to bar prayer or any mention of God at their meetings.
Julian Whittington, the sheriff of Bossier Parish, La., told Fox News the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights defunded $30,000 for their Young Marines chapter as well as a youth diversion program.Â Federal officials objected to a voluntary student-led prayer in the departmentâ€™s youth diversion program and an oath recited by the Young Marines that mentions God, according to Whittington, who blasted what he considers the governmentâ€™s Â â€œaggression and infringement of our religious freedoms.â€
â€œWe were informed that these are unacceptable, inherently religious activities and the Department of Justice would not be able to fund the programs if it continued,â€ Whittington told Fox News. â€œThey wanted a letter from me stating that I would no longer have voluntary prayer and I would also have to remove â€˜Godâ€™ from the Young Marineâ€™s oath.â€
â€œI flat said, â€˜Itâ€™s not going to happen,â€™â€ he told reporters. â€œEnough is enough. This is the United States of Americaâ€”and the idea that the mere mention of God or voluntary prayer is prohibited is ridiculous.â€
Whittington further emphasized that heâ€™s more concerned about the censorship than he is the lost funds.
â€œThe money is not the issue,â€ he stated. â€œItâ€™s the principle of the matter. What is going on here? Who is dictating what can or canâ€™t be said in Bossier Parish?â€
Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington was greeted with loud applause and shouts of â€œAmenâ€ when he said he will not remove God from the Young Marines program during its 27th class graduation ceremony today.
The program has lost about $30,000 in federal funding because of a voluntary prayer cadets recite.
â€œHe doesnâ€™t need the politicians,â€ Lindea McCroix, whoâ€™s 9-year-old daughter Savannah Truelove graduated. â€œGod will take him through it.â€
The department has never received a complaint about the voluntary prayer, which states â€œâ€¦ I will set an example for all other youth to follow and I shall never do anything that would bring disgrace or dishonor upon my God, my Country and its flag, my parents, myself or the Young Marinesâ€¦â€
The prayer has been a part of the program since its inception 10 years ago. A random audit showing the federal funding sparked the controversy.
â€œWeâ€™ve never had one complaint from anybody for anything,â€ Whittington said, noting the department tried to compromise with the Department of Justice, which said God must be removed in order for federal funding to continue.
â€œI said, â€˜Keep it. Weâ€™re not doing it. Game over.â€
On Thursday the Examiner providedÂ an exclusive reportÂ indicating that theÂ Obama administrationÂ had implemented a covert program beginning in 2009 that was intended to spy on conservative, evangelical Christian churches.
That program involved infiltration — sending in government operatives to join churches for the purpose of data collection. The government snoops would keep their eyes and ears open for criticism of the Obama administration, talk of Tea Party participation, conversations about gun ownership, and a number of other issues.
But aÂ special report issued today by Fox NewsÂ indicates that the program went far beyond infiltration and snooping. The IRS was used to harass Christian churches if they were identified as places where large numbers of anti-Obama citizens congregated for worship.
The Obama administration, according to the report, considered any public criticism of administration policies to be political in nature and should therefore impact whether or not these congregations were allowed to gain or keep their tax exempt status.
What most people don’t realize is that the IRS has been acting as the speech police for decades. Ever since 1954, when then-Senator Lyndon Johnson pushed for a law enabling the IRS to punish non-profits who opposed him politically, the IRS has been in the business of government censor. Whatâ€™s worse is that one of the biggest targets of this censorship has been religious people and houses of worship. In fact, one of the IRSâ€™s first targets in the 1950s was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was subjected to a searching IRS audit because of his religious advocacy for civil rights for African-Americans.
The IRS of course has the crushing power to deny or revoke the non-profit status of a synagogue, church, or mosque if it says something the IRS decides is too “political.” But it can also put houses of worship and other religious organizations through the wringer of intrusive, costly, and time-consuming audits.
There are two ways the targeting works. One way is for an outside group, often one that is anti-religion, to file a complaint asking the IRS to investigate a church they donâ€™t like. The IRS responds to the complaint by opening an investigation and asking the church often hundreds of questions about its activities, with the threat of revocation of non-profit status. This is what lawyers call â€œselective enforcementâ€ and it is unconstitutional. No one should be singled out in this way, especially because of collusion between the IRS and outside groups with an ax to grind.
The second way the censorship starts is for IRS officials to take their lead from high government officials, including the President, to decide which groups to target for disfavor. This is apparently what happened to the â€œtea partyâ€ groups, but religious groups have also been targeted in this way.
Don’t believe it? Just ask Billy Graham. Last fall, the famed Christian evangelist publicly advocated on behalf of a ballot measure in his home state of North Carolina, taking a position that the President and other high government officials publicly opposed. The tax man was knocking at the door almost immediately. And while the expensive, time-consuming audit eventually ended without any finding of wrongdoing by Graham, a message was sent to every other religious group that might oppose government policy: the IRS can use its audit powers to harass you or shut you down simply for saying what you believe. That kind of intimidation is wrong–and unconstitutional.
As Egyptians prepare for massive protests against the U.S. government-backed Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohamed Morsi, the Obama administration is set to deploy hundreds of American troops to Egypt. While more than a few analysts have argued that U.S. forces will be used to continue propping up â€œIslamofascistsâ€ in the Middle East, authorities from both governments claim the soldiers are merely being sent as part of a nine-month international â€œpeacekeepingâ€ scheme.
To add insult to injury, Obama is telling Egyptian Christians to quietly submit to dhimmitude (second-class status) where they cannot own property, are forced to pay the jizya (extortive taxes for “protection” from the mob), surrender their religious liberties andÂ live in constant fear of beatings, prison, rape, forced “marriages” and conversions, and even execution if one of their Muslim neighbors decides to falsely accuse them to settle a score or try to extort a bribe.
As Egyptians of all factions prepare to demonstrate in mass against the Muslim Brotherhood and PresidentÂ Morsiâ€™sÂ rule on June 30, the latter has been trying to reduce their numbers, which some predict will be in the millions and eclipse theÂ TahrirÂ protests that earlier ousted Mubarak.Â Â Among other influential Egyptians, Morsi recently called on Coptic Christian PopeÂ TawadrosÂ II to urge his flock, Egyptâ€™s millions of Christians, not to join the June 30 protests.
While that may be expected, more troubling is that the U.S. ambassador to Egypt is also trying to prevent Egyptians from protestingâ€”including the Copts.Â Â The June 18thÂ edition ofÂ SadiÂ al-BaladÂ reports that lawyer RamsesÂ Naggar, the Coptic Churchâ€™s legal counsel, said that during Pattersonâ€™s June 17 meeting with PopeÂ Tawadros, she â€œasked him to urge the Copts not to participateâ€ in the demonstrations againstÂ MorsiÂ and the Brotherhood.
[…] Â Among other things, underÂ Morsiâ€™sÂ rule, the persecution of Copts has practically been legalized,Â Â as unprecedented numbers ofÂ Christiansâ€”men, women, and childrenâ€”have been arrested, often receiving more than double the maximum prison sentence, under the accusation that theyÂ â€œblasphemedâ€ Islam and/or its prophet.Â Â It was also underÂ Morsiâ€™s reign that another unprecedented scandal occurred: the St. Mark Cathedralâ€”holiest site of Coptic Christianity and headquarters to the PopeÂ TawadrosÂ himselfâ€”wasÂ besieged in broad daylightÂ by Islamic rioters.Â Â When security came, they too joined in the attack on the cathedral.Â Â And theÂ targeting of Christian childrenâ€”for abduction, ransom, rape, and/or forced conversionâ€”has also reached unprecedented levels underÂ Morsi.Â Â (For more on the plight of the Copts underÂ Morsiâ€™sÂ rule, see my new bookÂ Crucified Again: Exposing Islamâ€™s New War on Christians.)
Yet despite the fact that if anyone in Egypt has a legitimate human rights concern against the current Egyptian government, it most certainly is the Christian Copts, here is the U.S., in the person of Ms. Patterson, asking them not to join the planned protests.
In other words, and consistent with Obama administrationâ€™s doctrine, when Islamistsâ€”including rapists and cannibalsâ€”wage jihad on secular leaders, the U.S. supports them; when Christians protest Islamist rulers who are making their lives a living hell, the administration asks them to â€œknow their placeâ€ and behave likeÂ dhimmis, Islamâ€™s appellation for non-Muslim â€œinfidelsâ€ who must live as third class â€œcitizensâ€ and never complain about theirÂ Â inferior status.
Speaking to about 2,000 young people, which included many Catholics, Obama seemingly argued that religious education can promote division and resentment.
â€œIf towns remain dividedâ€”if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we canâ€™t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to hardenâ€”that too encourages division and discourages cooperation,â€ Obama said, according toÂ the Scottish Catholic Observer.
JustÂ two days beforeÂ Obama made his comments, Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,Â spokeÂ to a crowd in Glasgow, Scotland. Mueller told his listeners that religious education upholds the dignity of the human person, and Catholic schools should promote â€œall that is good in the philosophies of societies and human culture.â€ Mueller said that Catholic education is â€œa critical component of the Church.â€
In addition, MuellerÂ advocatedÂ for an understanding of â€œCatholicâ€ which includes the breadth of â€œall that is good in the philosophies of societies and human culture.â€ The archbishop spoke of relativism as a threat to education because the objects of educationâ€”the true and the goodâ€”â€œstand in some way outside the personâ€ and are transcendent.
â€œA danger in the relativism of modern society is the assumption that human freedom essentially entails creating oneâ€™s own truth and moral good.â€
Mueller said that the implications of relativism â€œwould lead to the breakdown of society… if pursued to their logical conclusion.â€
How ironicâ€”and perhaps providentialâ€”that Archbishop Mueller spoke his faith-filled words in Scotland at about the same time President Obama spoke his words of sabotage in Ireland.
As is often the case, Obama begins his process of undermining faith, the Constitutionâ€”whateverâ€”by speaking to young people, hoping to divide them from those who will hand down the traditions and the culture to them. In truth, it is Obamaâ€”not faith or the Churchâ€”who is the Great Divider, the promoter of class warfare, envy, racism, etc.
A landmark Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act has set up a stand-off between Republican-led states and the Obama administration over controversial voting laws that until now had been stalled.
The 5-4 ruling on Tuesday addressed a 1960s-era provision that largely singled out states and districts in the South — those with a history of discrimination — and required them to seek federal permission to change their voting laws.
The court ruled that the formula determining which states are affected was unconstitutional.
In doing so, the court potentially opened the door for certain states to proceed with voter ID laws and other efforts that to date had been held up because of the Voting Rights Act. Prominent among those are voter identification laws in Alabama and Mississippi.
The Voting Rights Act is what unscrupulous Attorney General Eric Holder used to block states from implementing voter ID laws aimed at combating election fraud. The Left relies on fraud to win closely contested elections.
[…] Â The ruling recognizes that widespread systematic voting discrimination is a distant memory. Today black Americans fully participate in the democratic process by voting, running for, and winning elective office at every level of government up to and including the highest office in the land.
But this is bad news for the race industry which thrives on making mountains out of molehills.
Predictably, leftist demagogues and community organizers across the fruited plain are howling now that a key tool they used to frustrate electoral integrity efforts has been taken away.
The radical, Marxist Environmentalist agenda has always been about destroying capitalism and industry. Â It has nothing to do with “saving the planet.” Â Since the “science” facade of Global Warming is quickly falling apart, their goal is to impose their agenda by force as quickly as possible before the game is up.
So much for the denials. An administration that throughout its 2012 election campaign denied it was waging a War on Coal has now come out and publicly declared its intention to shut down coal-fired power plants â€“ putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work and sending electricity prices skyrocketing.
This is not what the American people voted for.
[…] Â Obama made clear in his speech that he intends to impose regulations on existing coal plants that can only be met through carbon capture and storage (technology that doesnâ€™t exist on a commercial scale), switching to natural gas, or shutting down completely.
Coal still producesÂ 37 percentÂ of U.S. electricity. AÂ Heritage Foundation analysisÂ found that implementing Obamaâ€™s proposed regulation on existing coal plants would destroy more than 500,000 jobs, slash the income of a typical family of four more than $1,400 a year, and increase electricity prices at least 20 percent.Â Price spikes could be much higher in states that depend heavily on coal-fired power plants, especially in the Midwest.Â President Obama once famously explained that he intended to make electricity prices â€œnecessarily skyrocket.â€
Under pressure from environmentalists, President Barack Obamaâ€™s new plan to tackleÂ global warmingÂ relies on executive power to corral power plants.
The president calls for theÂ EnvironmentalÂ Protection Agency to â€œexpeditiouslyâ€ set limits on carbon dioxide emissions for new and existing power plants, a move that will be hailed by environmentalists and decried as debilitating by the struggling coal industry.
â€œTo accomplish these goals, President Obama is issuing a Presidential Memorandum directing the Environmental Protection Agency to work expeditiously to complete carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants,â€ states the Obama plan.
[…] Â Obamaâ€™s announcement comes at a time when cracks are starting to show in the science surrounding global warming, as global temperatures stopped rising about 15 years ago.
When I was 8 weeks pregnant, I went with some friends to a 3-hour women’s self defense seminar offered by a local Krav Maga studio. Â I put a name tag on my belly that said “baby” so nobody would grab me around the waist, and enjoyed every minute of it. Â They gave everyone a coupon for a month of free classes, but I didn’t want to push it as my pregnancy progressed.
When the studio offered a summer special on classes, I decided to take them up on it. Â I’ve been wanting to learn self-defense for awhile and need to get the baby weight off. Â Though most people I know do Zumba, my mood right now is much more towards fighting than dancing.
During my first class the instructor told me, “you’ve got a lot of aggression and fight in you.” Â No one has ever told me that before. Â I immediately knew it was coming from all the frustration of trying to fight something that can’t be conquered. Â The only reason I was even able to take the class was because I was no longer pregnant. Â No matter how hard I try, I can’t change that fact. Â I can’t bring my babies back. Â Suddenly I was slammed by a wave of grief and anger. Â The lump in my throat strangled me far more than my partner’s practice choke-hold.
The next day I argued with myself over what I had gotten myself into and whether I should go back. Â I hate it when my grief catches me off-guard in public, and was afraid of losing it in the middle of class. Â I forced myself to go back at the next available opportunity, knowing that if I didn’t face the fear immediately, I would find an excuse never to return.
Towards the end of my second class they did a drill where they exhausted you and then had you fight off an attacker with pure instinct and adrenaline. Â I was ready to give up and the instructor and two other students kept telling me I could do it. Â It reminded me of being in labor, when I’d be convinced I couldn’t go on and everyone around me would encourage me. Â But the difference was, there was a wonderful reward at the end of all that labor. Â And the last time I had been pushed to my limit like this, there had been no reward. Â Nobody to cheer me on. Â Just silence, and the remains of my babies to be buried. Â Another grief trigger. Â I managed to fight off my opponent but I couldn’t stop the tears once the class was over. Â They probably thought I was nuts.
It’s amazing how raw emotion rises to the surface when you’re pushed to the limits. Â The ache in my muscles is nothing compared to the aching chasm in my heart, and no amount of Advil can touch it.Â Right now I’m faced with two choices: keep learning to swim in this ocean of grief, or allow myself to drown in it. Â I’m coming to terms with the fact that sometimes the only way to heal is simply toÂ fight through the pain.
Congress is taking action on religious liberty in the military, a story that wasÂ originally reportedÂ by Breitbart News. New legal language passed a key committee this week and next goes to the full House and then the Senate; it could become federal law later this year.
[…] Â The first amendment was offered by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). It protects the rights of chaplains to speak and pray in a manner consistent with their faith, such as ending a prayer in Jesusâ€™ name. This amendment passed by voice vote.
A second amendment was offered to create â€œatheist chaplains,â€ as Breitbart NewsÂ reportedearlier this week. This mockery of the chaplaincy was proposed by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), pushed by groups often hostile to Christians and observant members of other faiths. The committee rejected this amendment by a vote of 43-18. The military already provides secular counseling to service members, while chaplains are by definition religious and spiritual counselors.
The third amendment is the most consequential. Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) offered an amendment specifying that the religious speech and actions of all service members is a protected right, and that the Department of Defense will enact regulations to allow and accommodate those beliefs in both word and deed.
The Obama Administration â€œstrongly objectsâ€ to a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have protected the religious rights of soldiers â€“ including evangelical Christian service members who are facing growing hostility towards their religion.
The amendment was authored by Rep. John Fleming, R-La. It would have â€œrequired the Armed Forces to accommodate â€˜actions and speechâ€™ reflecting the conscience, moral, principles or religious beliefs of the member.â€
The Obama Administration said the amendment would have a â€œsignificant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.â€
â€œWith its statement, the White House is now endorsing military reprimands of members who keep a Bible on their desk or express a religious belief,â€ Fleming told Fox News. â€œThis administration is aggressively hostile towards religious beliefs that it deems to be politically incorrect.â€
The White House released a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on H.R. 1960, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014. Â […]
The SAP includes a veto threat: â€œâ€¦if the bill is presented to the President for approval in its current form, the Presidentâ€™s senior advisers would recommend that the President veto the bill.â€
In other words, Obama says he will veto any bill that forbids his appointees or officers from telling a soldier that he cannot mention Jesus during prayer or have a Bible on his desk, or that keeps those appointees from telling a chaplain (who is an ordained clergyman) what religious teachings he is allowed to give in worship services, or what spiritual counseling he can give to another soldier.
Ambassador Ken Blackwell, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, tells Breitbart News:
President Obama is waging a war on religion. He and Chuck Hagel are denying the most basic rights to those who put their lives on the line to protect all of our rights. It is shameful and appalling. I am confident that congressional leadership will show courage to stand up for our troops against this radical assault on religious liberty in the military.
This is the most compelling expression yet of the aggressive approach of the Obama-Hagel Defense Department to soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who are observant Christians or devout members of other peaceful faiths, as seen in Breitbart Newsâ€™Â previous reportsregarding the unconstitutional infringements of one of Americaâ€™s most treasured, fundamental rights.
He was one of the most quiet and softspoken students of the Joshua High School graduating class, and what the valedictorian wasn’t allowed to say at commencement exercises is making national news.
â€œMost people have never ever heard me speak much less see me smile,â€ said Remington Reimer, as he addressed the large crowd gathered Thursday at Owl Stadium.
And then, the Burleson resident began what would have appeared to have been a traditional graduation speech â€“ thanking his parents and naming special teachers that have helped him along the way and telling the crowd how proud he was of his class and how close they all were.
He discussed perseverance in life, and told fellow graduates its the finish that matters. He then told a story about a runner who finished a race with a broken leg. He added that, years from now, it wouldn’t matter that he was valedictorian or first in his class but, rather, that he and his classmates finished the race and finished well.
Nice words. Nice kid. Another graduation day in America.
Then Reimer discussed his faith and thanked God for â€œsending His only son to die for me and the rest of the world.â€
Reimer, who has secured an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, talked about free speech and the U.S. Constitution and how that â€œyesterday, I was threatened with having the mic turned off and…â€
And then the mic was turned off.
[…] Â Another Facebook posting emailed to the Burleson Star clarified what Reimer had said after the microphone was cut off:
â€œWe are all fortunate to live in a country where we can express our beliefs, where our mics won’t be turned off, as I have been threatened to be if I veer away from the school-censored speech I have just finished. Just as Jesus spoke out against the authority of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who tried to silence him, I will not have my freedom of speech taken away from me. And I urge you all to do the same. Do not let anyone take away your religious or Constitutional rights from you.â€
The crowd roared with enthusiasm and Reimer sat down.
Unfortunately, it didn’t stop with censorship. Â Afterwards, the principle apparently threatened to put his future in jeopardy by disparaging his character to the Naval Academy, where he had been recently accepted:
A Texas high school principal threatened to sabotage a valedictorianâ€™s appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy after the student delivered a speech that referenced God and the U.S. Constitution, the boyâ€™s attorney alleges.
Hiram Sasser, director of litigation with the Liberty Institute, said Joshua High School principal Mick Cochran threatened to write a letter to the U.S. Naval Academy disparaging the character of Remington Reimer.
â€œIt was intimidating having my high school principal threaten my future because I wanted to stand up for the Constitution and acknowledge my faith and not simply read a government approved speech,â€ the teenager said.
Sasser is now representing the teenager and is calling for the Joshua Independent School District to issue a public statement exonerating him of any wrongdoing.
He said the speech was edited and reviewed by four different school officials â€“ including an officer in the JROTC. Sasser said the censorship violated federal and state laws.
[…] Â The following day the principal met with Reimerâ€™s father and informed him â€œthat he intended to punish Remington for his perceived misdeed.â€
â€œSpecifically, he threatened to send a letter to the United States Naval Academy advising them that Remington has poor character or words to that effect,â€ Sasser told Fox News.
After consulting with a school attorney, the principal temporarily retracted the threat, Sasser said.
â€œThe principal said he wanted to try to ruin him for what he did â€“ for talking about the Constitution and his faith,â€ Sasser said. â€œI donâ€™t know if heâ€™s going to be able to continue to be the principal of that school.â€