Mikey Weinstein Does Well At His “Foundation”
Monday, September 8, 2014, 3:22 PM

On these pages, I have written a number of blogs regarding the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (“MRFF”) over the past several years.  The MRFF’s stated objective is to ensure “that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom to which they . . . are entitled.”  In actual fact, the MRFF’s goals have been precisely the opposite, and it seeks to take away the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of religion for Christian believers in our nation’s military.  The MRFF has reportedly been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize numerous times, but has not won yet.  The MRFF founder, president, and sole employee is Michael L. (Mikey) Weinstein, Esq.  A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Mr. Weinstein served as one of the White House West Wing attorneys for President Reagan, and later served as the general counsel for H. Ross Perot and his company.  He is the author of several books which describe his fight against “coercive” Christian practices in the military.  In 2012, Defense News named Mr. Weinstein as one of the most influential members of today’s military-industrial complex (ahead of former CIA Director, General David Petraeus), and Mr. Weinstein has important contacts at the highest levels in the Obama Administration.  As one example of his immense power and influence, Mikey Weinstein will testify on September 19, 2014, before the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, regarding the current state of religious freedom in the military.  Mr. Weinstein also recently spoke at the Military College of Georgia, and at Duke University Medical School’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health.  He is scheduled to address the students and faculty at the evangelical Patrick Henry College in late September.  (I hope that the College is not paying much in a speaker’s fee.)  My most recent blog regarding MRFF, Mikey Weinstein Strikes Again, available here. is prominently featured on the front page of the MRFF website.  (Thanks, Mikey!  But I am not so sure that you are going to link to this one.)

The past few years have been tough on the MRFF, but they have been very good for Mikey.  MRFF revenues decreased from $698,698 in 2011 to $584,347 in 2012.  Importantly, as MRFF’s annual revenues are well below $1 million, most charity-rating agencies, such as Charity Navigator, do not evaluate the efficacy of expenditures for smaller non-profit entities.  However, the MRFF is quite a sinecure for its sole employee.  Mikey Weinstein’s salary from the MRFF in 2011 and 2012, as reported in its Form 990 tax filings, were $263,098 and $284,009, respectively.  (Did you get a $21,000 raise in 2012?)  Although his salary might seem high to a few of my readers, Mikey affirmed in his tax filings under penalties of perjury that he worked an average work week of 80 hours at the MRFF.  Given that the MRFF asserts that more than 38,000 active duty, veteran, and civilian personnel of our nation’s armed forces have sought out MRFF assistance, with “hundreds more contacting MRFF each day,” it is little wonder that Mikey has had to work so hard.  So in light of his important and powerful influence, and all of his hard work and dedication to his cause, one should not be surprised that he earned in salary almost one-half of MRFF’s total revenues for 2012.  It will be interesting to see how well he continues to do for 2013 when those numbers are published in the coming weeks.  I am certain that his donors see his valuable contributions to the MRFF, but to put things into some perspective, in its 2013 CEO Compensation Report, Charity Navigator determined that the typical CEO at a non-profit entity receiving between $1 million to $3.5 million in annual revenues earned $95,661 in 2011.  The median CEO salary for a larger non-profit entity receiving up to $100 million in annual revenues was $285,753, an amount similar to Mikey’s salary.  Of course, the other CEOs are not among the most influential members of the defense establishment, and few will claim, under penalties of perjury, to work an average of 80 hours each week.  Some jokesters have quipped that the MRFF actually stands for “Mikey’s Religious Fund Foundation.”  It seems to me that our Internal Revenue Service might wish to investigate the MRFF’s 501(c)(3) status.  After all, should donors to the MRFF be entitled to a tax deduction when the primary “charitable” purpose is to pay Mikey’s high salary?  So for having earned over $547,000 over two years, it is too bad that Lois Lerner, Esq., is no longer in the saddle at the tax-exempt division at the IRS.  She would certainly know what to do to investigate the MRFF fully.  Christians do not and should never fear religious freedom, for where there is freedom, God’s Holy Word and his Son, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, will be known, for He only is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  But those opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ have throughout history sought to silence the voices of His children.



Mere Links 09.09.14
Monday, September 8, 2014, 10:00 AM

Rape and Rotherham
Ross Douthat, New York Times

So instead of looking for ideological vindication in these stories, it’s better to draw a general lesson. Show me what a culture values, prizes, puts on a pedestal, and I’ll tell you who is likely to get away with rape.

Prince Charles Offers Prayerful and Financial Support to Iraqi Christians
Greg Daly, Aleteia

Ecumenical leaders gather at Lambeth Palace to voice concern for the persecuted.

How to Avoid Death Panels
Wesley J. Smith, First Things

So, why is it controversial to pay doctors for these conversations? Blame a toxic soup of money combined with advocacy in bioethics, among assisted-suicide proponents, and in a media in favor of a “quality of life” ethic.

Protestant Prelates Oppose Force Against ISIS
Mark Tooley, Juicy Ecumenism

Why do oldline Protestant spokespersons and officials continue to ignore historic Christian teachings about Just War and pretend that our fallen world is other than what it is?



Feast: The Nativity of the Theotokos
Sunday, September 7, 2014, 7:00 AM

September 8 – The Nativity of the Theotokos (EO)/The Nativity of Mary (RC)

My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.

(From the CD “Panagia, Orthodox Hymns to the Mother of God” by Archangel Voices.)



Mere Links 09.05.14
Friday, September 5, 2014, 10:00 AM

Why so many Christians won’t back down on gay marriage
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Week

A traditional view of marriage is about much more than today’s politics. It’s deeply woven into the 2,000-year-old ethic at the heart of our faith.

Why Do Many Pro-Life Catholics Vote Democrat?
Napp Nazworth, Christian Post

Forty-three percent of [pro-welfare/pro-life] Catholics believed a pro-choice Democratic candidate was pro-life, which was much higher than the rate of misperception among other Catholics. Hussey described the misperception as a psychological coping strategy to deal with the cognitive dissonance that results from being PW/PL. “Pro-life, pro-welfare Catholics generally seem to deal with this dissonance by projecting their church’s [views on abortion], which also happens to be their own view … onto their candidate of choice,” Hussey said during her panel presentation.

U.S. evangelicals headed for showdown over gender roles
Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post

In recent decades, parts of American religion have been transformed by feminism, from women serving as rabbis to Catholic girls becoming altar servers. Now the heart of U.S. evangelicalism may be heading for a gender showdown.

Pope Francis ranked among Washington’s political elite
Michael O’Loughlin, Crux

While he prefers to associate with the poor and marginalized, Pope Francis has shown up on a list of the powerful and elite. Politico Magazine ranked the Argentine-born Catholic leader No. 6 on its “The Politico 50” list, dubbing him “Washington’s Favorite Populist.”



Feminist Professor Convicted of Grand Theft, Vandalism, and Battery
Thursday, September 4, 2014, 10:49 AM

photo 150x150 Feminist Professor Convicted of Grand Theft, Vandalism, and BatteryThe University of California at Santa Barbara (“UCSB”) is one of the elite public universities in the United States.  It is often described as one of America’s “Public Ivy” universities, recognizing its important contributions to research and academic excellence.  Among its many degree programs, it offers various degrees in feminist studies. One of the UCSB star faculty in feminist studies, Mireille Miller-Young, an associate professor, teaches courses involving black cultural studies, pornography, and sex work.

Last March, two teen-age sisters and pro-life activists, Thrin and Joan Short, were in the “free speech zone” at UCSB (I suppose that in California, First Amendment free speech rights are limited in public forums. Who knew?)  The Short sisters were exercising their freedom of speech and displayed photographs of the aftermath of abortion on posters to engage students in discussion about abortion and the alternatives to abortion.

Professor Miller-Young was walking past the young women, and became deeply incensed at the pro-life literature and photos. She forcibly took their posters, and later assaulted the sisters. You can watch a video of the incident here.  Afterwards, police were called, and Professor Miller-Young told police that she found the prof-life literature and graphic photos “disturbing” because she teaches reproduction rights. (One could think that she would welcome, as an esteemed and learned professor, an opportunity to challenge the thinking of two teen girls. But I digress.)  Following the police investigation, Professor Miller-Young was charged with multiple offenses. After trial in July, she was convicted of grand theft, vandalism, and battery, which are non-trivial offenses. In August, as Professor Miller-Young sat in the front row dabbing her eyes, Judge Brian Hill handed down his lenient sentence: 108 hours of community service to be performed in conflict-resolution workshops (no, I am not making this up), ten hours of anger management classes, restitution of $493 to the Short sisters, and three years of probation. No response was received for requests for comments by Mere Comments to UCSB Chancellor Henry Tang and Professor Miller-Young.

In our society, one can disagree vehemently with pro-life activists, but even at UCSB, disagreeing doesn’t give anyone, particularly one in a power position as a university professor, the right to steal the young women’s property, and then to attack them when they tried to get it back. Of course, one can expect that Professor Miller-Young will soon receive a promotion to full professor, and an invitation to the Obama White House for being another “victim” in the evil, pro-life war on women reproductive health rights by people of faith. Why are pro-death advocates afraid of two teen girls and depictions of the aftermath of abortion? Kudos to the Short sisters for reminding us about the horrific effects of abortion in a society where the institutions of influence hate any notion of protecting the unborn.

 



Mere Links 09.04.14
Thursday, September 4, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Abortion Industry’s ‘War’ on Rural Women
Mailee Smith, National Review Online

Women without access to a doctor face real dangers when they take RU-486.

We Cannot Afford To View Children As Commodities
Allison Kieselowsky, The Federalist

Here’s how to think about the new figure claiming children cost their parents a quarter-million to raise.

ISIS terror threat gives impetus to ‘just war,’ strategists say
David Roach, Baptist Press

With ISIS beheading a second American journalist and controlling a large section of Iraq and Syria, analysts say military action against the terrorist group aligns with traditional just war principles.

Federal Judge, Bucking Trend, Affirms Ban on Same-Sex Marriages in Louisiana
Campell Robertson, New York Times

A federal judge here upheld the state’s ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, going against what had been a unanimous trend of federal court decisions striking down such bans since the Supreme Court ruled on the matter last year.



Sept. 15th Lecture and Dinner with Professor Rocco Buttiglione
Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 4:16 PM

A few Touchstone staffers will be attending this event as well as manning a table. Chicago area Catholics will be especially interested in this lecture and dinner. Please consider joining us!

The Board of Trustees & Board of Founders of The Quiroga Institute of Chicago Cordially Invite You to Join Us for “In The Coming Years”

“My Friendship with the Pope of the Family
By friend and advisor to Pope John Paul II & leading European Statesman
Prof. Rocco Buttiglione

*Special Note to Our Friends: Cardinal Archbishop, Francis Eugene George OMI, will be joining his long-time and respected friend, Rocco Buttiglione, on September 15. We hope you and your guests will be able to join us as well.

Purchase Tickets

Monday, September 15th, 2014
University Club of Chicago
5:30 p.m. Reception
6:30 p.m. Dinner & Lecture

Learn more about this event and about the Quiroga Institute—Universidad Vasco De Quiroga’s first international location. visit www.uvaq-chicago.com



Mere Links 09.03.14
Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Five Stages of Religious Persecution
Msgr. Charles Pope, Archdiocese of Washington

The usual transformation from respect to vilification progresses in stages that grow in intensity. And thus the Catholic Church, once a respected aspect of American life (along with the Protestant denominations), has become increasingly marginalized and even hated by many.

The Myth of Catholic Social Teaching
John Zmirak, The Catholic Thing

Self-styled Catholic critics of the free market and “Americanism” have adopted the term “social Magisterium” to suggest that there is a coherent and morally binding body of papal teaching on politics and economics, from which we can derive specific policy initiatives and firmly condemn alternatives as “un-Catholic” or even (that dreaded word) “dissenting.”

Beards in Prison Hold Next Religion Test for Supreme Court
Adam Liptak, New York Times

The new case, to be argued on Oct. 7, the second day of the next term, concerns whether prison officials may prohibit Muslim inmates from growing the beards required by their faiths.

The Osteens’ Donald Sterling Moment
Hans Fiene, The Federalist

The flap over Victoria Osteen’s recent comments is anticlimactic, given the Osteens have said a thousand even more theologically indefensible things.



Mere Links 09.02.14
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 10:00 AM

Demons Believe and Tremble before the Real Presence
Msgr. Charles Pope, Aleteia

A reflection on the theft of the eucharist by satanists.

Many religions heavily concentrated in one or two countries
Conrad Hackett and Joseph Naylor, Pew Research Center

While Christians and Muslims are more widely distributed around the world, the other groups have a majority of their populations in just one or two nations, according to 2010 estimates from our Global Religious Landscape report.

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev: No Winners in a World War
Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, Breitbart

A century ago, the First World War began. On 28 July 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, then on 1 August, Germany declared war on Russia, and over the course of a few short days, several more world powers joined the conflict either on their own initiative or by needs.

Why the Abortion Rate Is Declining
Chuck Donovan, The Daily Signal

Over the most recent decade for which data are available (2001–2011), the overall U.S. abortion rate, calculated as the annual number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age (15 to 44), has dropped, continuing a trend that first appeared in 1980.



Obama Administration Doubles Down After Hobby Lobby
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 9:48 AM

It has been observed by many that President Obama has a fundamental disrespect for the traditional concept of rule of law.  Many have observed that Mr. Obama’s administration strictly follows laws it likes, completely disregards laws that he doesn’t like, makes up constitutional principles out of whole cloth, and disregards other rights and principles in the Constitution.  But then again, he did promise the “fundamental transformation” of this country, and our constitutional principles and notions of the rule of law make such a transformation difficult without an overwhelming national consensus.  As one recent example, even after his Administration’s loss last June at the Supreme Court about whether family-owned businesses and non-profit organizations that objected to paying for abortions and abortion-causing drugs for their employees could be compelled to do so, the Obama administration has now doubled down to ignore the 5-4 Supreme Court decision.

The Obama administration recently released a fact sheet on the newly-proposed federal mandate rules pertaining to non-profit organizations and closely held for-profit entities, such as Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, the plaintiffs in the case decided by the Supreme Court last June.  A copy of the federal government’s fact sheet is available here.

On the surface, the government factsheet on the new rules makes it clear that the new rules will also violate the conscience rights of the leadership of both non-profit organizations and family businesses.  According to the factsheet, the Obama administration will publish two new regulations relating to the “preventive services” mandate.  One is an interim final rule regarding an additional mechanism for non-profits to notify the government of their objection to the mandate.  The second is a proposed final rule and request for comment on applying an accommodation procedure to for-profit businesses, like family-owned companies Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties.  Under the new rules, upon an objection by the entity, then the federal government will:

notify the insurer for an insured health plan, or the Department of Labor will notify the [Third Party Administrator, the “TPA”] for a self-insured plan, that the organization objects to providing contraception coverage and that the insurer or TPA is responsible for providing enrollees in the health plan separate no-cost payments for contraceptive services for as long as they remain enrolled in the health plan.  Regardless of whether the eligible organization self-certifies in accordance with the July 2013 final rules, or provides notice to HHS in accordance with the August 2014 IFR, the obligations of insurers and/or TPAs regarding providing or arranging separate payments for contraceptive services are the same, as discussed in this Fact Sheet.  The interim final rule solicits comments but is effective on date of publication in the Federal Register.

Failure to comply will result in fines of $100 per day per employee.  As reported in LifeNews, Arina Grossu, Director for the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, explains in real English what these new rules mean:

Effective immediately, this latest rule still orders charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor, non-profit Christian colleges like Wheaton College, and religious broadcasters like EWTN to violate their consciences simply because they legally contract for health coverage.  The government uses their contract as the basis to force their insurers to provide their employees with free contraception and drugs that can kill human embryos, against their sincere conscientious beliefs.  [This creates] the threat of crippling fines on non-profits who stand up for their freedom of conscience.  What remains an insulting accounting gimmick does not protect the rights of Americans with sincere conscientious objections.  It is simply another clerical layer . . . because the employer still remains the legal gateway by which these drugs and services will be provided to their employees.  It’s very disappointing that the Obama administration is doubling down on its plans to punish charities and non-profits that assist the poor and homeless, who in some cases have nowhere else to turn for assistance.

Emphasis added.  Yes, Ms. Grossu, these rules are very disappointing, but hardly surprising.  Abortion, to Mr. Obama and the members of his party, is the highest social “good.”  With these new rules, Mr. Obama, paraphrasing Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, takes the Hobby Lobby decision and ignores its meaning.  “’When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’”  Of course, in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby, the proper government rule would be to offer a full exemption from these mandates to charities and family-owned businesses that have sincerely-held conscientious objections.  But in Obama World, religious liberty must move to the back of the bus for abortion absolutism.  But I can see how many could reasonably ask the important question about how God could bless my business and employees if I were complicit in the murder of unborn children.


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