Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This Man Is An Elected Official in Virginia?!

You may not yet have heard about Eugene Delgaudio, an elected official on the board of supervisors in Louden County, Virginia. But the gay community has had to listen to his hideous hatred for more than a decade. He won reelection as recently as 2007. I'm on the GOPUSA mailing list and the nastiness below came by my inbox today. Beware. It's a hideous mass that I post for one reason: only awareness can kill discrimination and hatred this deep.

Some extra reading for you, if like me, you're in shock that someone with this resume can hold elected office:

Kyle at RightWingWatch, 2010.
Dana Milbank at the Washington Post, 2005.
The Corner, National Review Online, 2005.
Michael Laris, Washington Post, 2002.

You see, the Radical Homosexuals are storming through Washington demanding passage of their agenda.

And with the passage of Thought Control last year, they say NOW is the time to push their perverse "life-style" on every man, women and child in America.

And they insist YOU actually support them.

The Homosexual Lobby played a major role in electing Obamaand the majorities he enjoys in both houses of Congress.

I can only begin to imagine all the damage the Radical Homosexuals will do with their allies controlling the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House.

As the President of Public Advocate of the U.S., I've devoted twenty-seven years to battling the radical homosexuals in Washingtone.

Backed by Hollywood celebrities, the media and millions of your tax dollars, the Radical Homosexuals have many Congressmen quivering with fear -- and they have a Radical Homosexual-friendly majority in control of Congress.

That is why pro-family Senators and Congressmen are counting on me to find out if you really support the Gay Bill of Special Rights and homosexual marriage as the radical homosexuals claim.

Frankly if you really do support the radical Homosexual Agenda -- or if you just no longer care enough to stand up for the family -- insiders in Congress say the entire Homosexual Agenda could pass in a matter of months.
*** Special job rights for homosexuals and lesbians. Businesses may have to adopt hiring quotas to protect themselves from lawsuits. Every homosexual fired or not hired becomes a potential federal civil rights lawsuit.

Radical homosexuals will terrorize day care centers, hospitals, churches and private schools. Traditional moral values will be shattered by federal law.

*** Same-sex marriages and adoptions. Wedding-gown clad men smooching before some left-wing clergy or state official is just the beginning.

You'll see men hand-in-hand skipping down to adoption centers to "pick out" a little boy for themselves.

*** Homosexual advocacy in schools. Your children or grandchildren will be taught homosexuality is moral, natural and good. High school children will learn perverted sex acts as part of "safe sex" education.

With condoms already handed out in many schools, Radical Homosexuals will have little trouble adopting today's "if it feels good do it" sex-ed curriculum to their agenda.
And to add insult to injury, lobbyists for the Homosexual Agenda are paid off with your tax dollars!

That's right, radical homosexual groups like the Gay-Lesbian Task Fo! rce and ACT-UP receive millions from the government.

Hundreds of millions of dollars flow from taxpayers to homosexual activists through funding for homosexual "art," so-called AIDS-awareness programs, and research grants.

And yet, Public Advocate receives absolutely no taxpayer assistance. My small office of volunteers and low-paid staffers are making quite a sacrifice to defend America's morals and values.

But hard work is not enough. Items like mail, stamps, and even this email cost money.

That is why I ask you to make a generous donation after youcomplete the American Morality survey today.

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Catholic Hospitals Falling Away.

A fantastically telling article from Sue Ellen Browder at the National Catholic Register on Catholic hospitals not really telling the whole truth to their bishops. There are more than 600 Catholic hospitals in the U.S., making them the second largest deliverer of health care in the country. In order to be "Catholic" a hospital has to abide by the 72 Ethical and Religious Directives the Catholic church imposes.

But some keep the Catholic only in name - perhaps for the seemingly good reputation that such an affiliation brings? Dissent is not a new thing to the Catholic hierarchy, they've been battling misbehaving parishioners for centuries. And when their discriminatory dictates overlap with modern medicine, doctors, patients, and nurses all chafe.

Another sign that the hyper-right current leadership of the Catholic church are out of touch? Of course. Can we start calling for Vatican III? Who's stopped calling for it since Vatican II?

St. Charles Medical Center in Bend lost the title “Catholic” on Feb. 15 due to its refusal to stop doing tubal ligations to sterilize women. Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1918 but no longer run by them, St. Charles is Oregon’s only Level II trauma center in the central and eastern part of the state.

“The crux of the conflict was the hospital and ethics board’s intentional misinterpretation of ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ sterilizations,” said Diocese of Baker Bishop Robert Vasa. After several years of negotiations with St. Charles, Bishop Vasa made the difficult decision to strip the hospital of its “Catholic” status.

Tubal ligation, informally known as “getting one’s tubes tied,” is always a direct form of female sterilization not permitted in Catholic health-care institutions. But, based on the Catholic principle of double effect, other procedures that indirectly induce sterility — the removal of cancerous fallopian tubes or ovaries, for example — are permitted in situations where no simpler remedy is available.

“The heart of my conflict here is that the hospital and the ethics board identified all of these 200 to 250 sterilizations they do a year as indirect,” Bishop Vasa said.

A typical case at issue would be that of a mother with three children. A doctor may decide it could be “dangerous” for her to get pregnant again. In such a circumstance, St. Charles’ hospital and ethics board claimed it was permissible under the directives for a surgeon to sterilize the mother with the “indirect” intention of keeping her healthy.

“Clearly, that’s a direct sterilization with the secondary hope of preserving her health,” Bishop Vasa said. “So it was in my mind an intentional misrepresentation and misinterpretation of that teaching.”

Further, the bishop stated, “It is possible that this teaching about sterilization may be misunderstood and misrepresented in a number of Catholic hospitals nationwide.”

To be called “Catholic,” a health-care institution must follow the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Paragraph 53 of the directives states: “Direct sterilization of either men or women, whether permanent or temporary, is not permitted in a Catholic health-care institution.” A second sentence reads: “Procedures that induce sterility are permitted when their direct effect is the cure or alleviation of a present and serious pathology and a simpler treatment is not available.”

This second sentence is often made the illegitimate pretext for sterilizations at Catholic hospitals.

Don't miss this bit on the new directive regarding artificial nutrition and hydration:

Nevertheless, Hamel is executive editor of the quarterly CHA publication Health Care Ethics USA: A resource for the Catholic health ministry, which until Feb. 24, 2010, was posted on CHA’s website. In one article, Hamel posed the question, “The CDF Statement on Artificial Nutrition and Hydration: What Should We Make of It?” in which he personally interpreted the Vatican’s position on the matter.

Speaking as CHA’s senior director of ethics, Hamel wrote that there are “questions about the accuracy of the medical assumptions in the CDF statement and commentary.” An unsigned “primer” on the Vatican’s statement published in the same issue stated that if a patient has “objective discomfort that a reasonable person would describe as unacceptable subjective discomfort, the withdrawal of [artificial nutrition and hydration] would appear to be permissible.”

Another Health Care Ethics USA article, not authored by Hamel, stated, “The ethical distinction between allowing-to-die and euthanasia depends, for the most part, on the medical condition of the patient,” while a third article noted that the “autopsy after [Terri Schiavo’s] death belied any thought that she would have recovered.”

The fall 2007 issue of Health Care Ethics USA published “A Resource for Evaluating Levels of Authority in Church Teaching,” with the “pope’s [sic] ordering of a document’s publication” by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said to carry the least “theological weight.”

The title page of Health Care Ethics USA grants permission to Catholic Health Association members “to copy and distribute” the publication free “for educational purposes.”

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Palliative Sedation By Degrees.

From the recent issue of Annals of Internal Medicine: Timothy Quill, Daniel Brock and others respond to an article by Cellarius and Henry on the double-effect and palliative sedation. Their letter, in full below, is concise and informative and I am delighted with their assertion that sedation at the end of life should depend on informed consent and proportionality to pain. If you want more history on the discussion, see the links here.

We generally agree with Dr. Cellarius and Mr. Henry that the main justifications for the different levels of palliative sedation are proportionality and informed consent. For mild levels of distress, mild sedation is appropriate. For more severe distress, heavier sedation (even to the level of unconsciousness) may be needed. With PPS, the level of sedation and the pace of increase are directly related to the severity of otherwise unrelieved suffering. The level of sedation used will be the least amount that can relieve the distress. Although PPS may end with the patient being unresponsive, that is not the intended end point.

We also agree with Dr. Sulmasy and colleagues that the double effect can generally justify PPS (for clinicians who endorse the rule). Relief of suffering is the clinician's primary intent, and although there may be a foreseen risk for hastening death, this is not the clinician's intent (1, 2). However, we do not agree that PPS can only be justified by double-effect reasoning and would not justify it that way ourselves. Intent can distinguish PSU from euthanasia but does not mark the difference between the morally permissible and impermissible, as proponents of double-effect reasoning claim. Death may or may not be intended by patient or clinician in PSU; in some circumstances, intent may be only to relieve suffering and to respect the patient's right to refuse nutrition and hydration, whereas in others intent may be more multilayered (3). How intent applies to PSU is more controversial than how it applies to PPS, but this is less important to us than to Dr. Sulmasy and colleagues in distinguishing between permissible and impermissible actions.

Proportionate palliative sedation is adequate to deal with most but not all intractable end-of-life suffering. We stand by our assertion that PSU will still be needed from the outset in certain compelling cases in which lesser levels of sedation would be insufficient. Consider these real examples:

A terrified patient with advanced oropharyngeal cancer is bleeding from a progressively rupturing carotid artery.

A patient with advanced pulmonary fibrosis is prepared to die rather than be intubated for the third time in 1 month, provided that we promise to aggressively manage his dyspnea. He is now extremely short of breath and agitated, with a carbon dioxide level of 90 mmol/L.

A patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis wants to be taken off his mechanical ventilator but is very afraid of suffocation.

For us, these cases are more difficult to justify by using strict double-effect reasoning because death can be both foreseen and to some extent intended by both patient and clinician (4). Stopping at less than total sedation made no sense to the patients, their families, or the clinicians caring for them, and prolonging the patients' extreme suffering by continuing other life-prolonging therapies would have been inappropriate. In each case, the criteria of proportionality were met, informed consent was obtained, and the clinician's primary intent was to relieve the patient's severe suffering; however, to say that assisting these patients to die was completely unintended seems false (3). Rather than relying exclusively on a rule from a particular religious tradition with sometimes unrealistic requirements about intention, it seems better to develop clear guidelines that include ways of responding to some of the most challenging cases.

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Mostly Dead.

Arri Eisen has this tid-bit over at Science and Religion Today:

We’ve gotten good at thwarting death, which can be good, but Western medicine, with close collaboration from science, has invented the following strange idea and carried it out beautifully: Death is failure. We are committed to keeping people alive as long as possible, no matter what. Have you heard the story of a man who was recently resuscitated by EMTs despite the fact that he had “DO NOT RESUSCITATE” tattooed on his chest?

Science and technology have forced us to think about what it means to be dead: When your brain stops? When your heart stops? When you can’t move or respond? And they have inspired us to create ways of measuring these vital signs and to invent ways of reviving them when they stop working.

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I'm 13, Cute As A Button, And Telling You What Your Rights Are.

What is it with conservatives finding smart-ass pre-teens to be their most beloved spokespeople? Here's little Lia, 13 years old, talking to us - with few facts, all the Religious Right talking points, and a whole host of "what-ifs" - like we're stupid.

I know she means well - she's 13! - but that she is the best "superstar" out there to debate the nuanced and rigorous issue of assisted suicide bothers me. That I have a gazillion links in my inbox proclaiming that she's doing God's good work makes me sad and irritated. The last thing we need is an uninformed kid telling us what our medical rights should be.

All the links you could ever want:

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Commonweal Magazine on Baxter v. Montana.

The latest issue of Commonweal features an article by Cathleen Kaveny on what she calls "the other pro-life issue," assisted suicide. Citing the oversight of the New Year's Eve decision on Baxter v. Montana - which states that the state constitution does not prevent assisted suicide - as a result not only of the holiday and the health care debate but an assumption that the decision is not as bad as "pro-life" advocates had feared it would be. She uses the rest of the article - and the usual "judicial activism" complaints - to explain why it is:

But like most states, Montana treats the consent of the victim as a defense to some crimes—unless doing so violates public policy as reflected in state law. Thus the question the Montana Supreme Court set itself in Baxter was whether the physician’s assistance in a patient’s suicide violated the state’s public policy. It answered no, for two reasons, both of which are highly flawed.

First, the majority recognized that in Montana (as elsewhere) public policy does not allow the victim to give legally valid consent to crimes destructive of the person, such as assault. The majority attempted to distinguish this situation from PAS by saying that the public-policy exception applied centrally to “violent, public altercations [that] breach public peace and endanger others in the vicin- ity.” In contrast, it argued, death by PAS is “peaceful and private.”

This line of reasoning fundamentally misconstrues what counts as “private.” Our legal tradition has always recognized that when one member of the commu- nity seriously injures or takes the life of another, it is always an issue of public concern—no matter where it might take place or how serene the action itself might appear. The opinion’s requirement that the consensual attack be “private” and “peaceful” doesn’t hold up under examination. An assault consisting of a consensual strangling in a hotel room won’t spark a riot, nor will the consen- sual smothering of one sleeping spouse by the other. But these are still matters of public concern.

Second, the majority opinion points to Montana law as requiring doctors to withdraw life-sustaining treatment at the request of the patient or surrogate decision-maker. It asks how PAS can be against public policy when withdrawal of treatment isn’t.

There is a significant distinction be- tween a doctor’s respecting the wishes of a patient or surrogate to withhold or withdraw treatment, on the one hand, and assisted suicide and euthanasia on the other, as the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized. Doctors cannot force compe- tent patients to receive treatment they don’t want, no matter what the reason. But that is a far cry from saying they can help patients kill themselves with legal impunity.

Kaveny's conclusion? That "pro-lifers" should be worried. Because the decision now puts the onus to make assisted suicide illegal on the legislature, she fears that a public unwilling to vote for legalized AS might also be unwilling to make it a crime, as any bill would require. She claims that citizens may want to keep the possibility around "just in case." And she tells us that the decision is portable because the same construct of laws in other state constitutions like Montana's could allow aid in dying activists to make the same case elsewhere.

She's right. It wasn't as bad a decision as it could have been. Yet, the "pro-life" machine is incredibly powerful. The types of grassroots work, aided and abetted by powerful Legal Right and Medical Right organizations, has proven effective with initiatives like Proposition 8, for instance.

But I also find the bit in Kaveny's article about privacy to be interesting. Of course Roe v. Wade was decided on the grounds of privacy: that a woman had a right in consultation with her doctor to make the decision about her reproductive future in private. Kaveny then pulls out all the typical "pro-life" arguments against assisted suicide like coercion and financial concerns to scare us into thinking that assisted suicide is not a right, appealing to the state as keeper of laws surrounding murder and other life-ending crimes.

She makes no note of the fact that those who request aid in dying must self-administer the lethal drugs, instead it seems, arguing that doctors who abide by their patients wishes by prescribing the drugs should be liable for prosecution - and that giving such a prescription is very different from those doctors consenting with a patient's wish to not receive artificial treatments or to be removed from such treatments.

There is a firestorm coming to Montana as "pro-life" groups work to pressure state legislators to introduce bills that will render assisted suicide illegal. Abortion may be the primary "pro-life" issue but the battle to prevent legalization of aid in dying will soon focus resources and emotions on the other issue on the platform.

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Fundraising on Fears of Health Care.

In my inbox today, a call for donations from the Catholic Advocate president Deal Hudson. Boy, the health care scare must be good for collections! I'm always talking about how organized and prepared and funded the groups who are fighting to limit women's right to patients' rights are and here is a look at how they round up their resources.

By acting like the new bill will expand federal funding of abortion (a phrase that exists only in their minds: the Hyde amendment specifically - and discriminatorily - limits abortion funding in Medicaid, and the prohibition of funding for abortion in health care for government employees wasn't enacted until 2005), they've got the "pro-life" groups around the country rabid with fear that they're losing their game under our new "socialist" president. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

As women move from private health care plans or as women receive government subsidy for their health care insurance, the new guidelines will require new and excessive payment obstacles for women with plans that cover abortion. Currently 87% of women have plans that cover abortion services. The new health care bill is an enormous set back. It says that women have no right to their own consciences. It says that they can't be trusted to make their own decisions about their families and reproductive health.

It says that women are not equal in society and must be told how to act. Deal Hudson plans to tell them.

Dear Friend,

At Catholic Advocate we are committed to the cause of preserving the Sanctity of Life from conception until natural death. We know that there is an army of Catholics working tirelessly at the local level, devoting prayer and action to saving the lives of millions of children per year. We believe it is our mission to provide a vibrant community where those on the ground can get up-to-the minute information on the impact of their work in Washington and on a national level. We also believe that it is our mission to provide a strong, national voice to those who understand how important it is to preserve the lives of the most innocent in our society. Faithful Catholics MUST speak out and be heard on candidates, on issues, on legislation...and on their Church!

Our mission needs your support. In order to be effective advocates and to provide quality resources for grassroots Catholic activists, we count on the generosity of our members and supporters.

Your online donation of $25, $50, $100 or $500 will help us grow to become the resource and voice the Catholic grassroots community deserves - the resource that will help committed Catholics to actively participate in the political process and help them support elected officials and policies that remain consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.


Your donation goes to support strong initiatives that are bringing Catholic issues to the forefront in Washington DC and in our own Catholic hierarchy. Just this week, Catholic Advocate kicked off a major pro-life push that, when accomplished, will provide grassroots pro-life advocates with the financial and personal support they so desperately need.

On Monday, Catholic Advocate called upon the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to establish a National Collection for Life. On Monday, Catholic Advocate President Deal W. Hudson and Vice President Matt Smith delivered a personal letter to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Bishop Kevin Farrell (Dallas), Chairman of the Committee on National Collections, asking that the USCCB dedicate monies received in church collections the Sunday before the annual March for Life to national pro-life activities. This collection would provide a huge financial boost to grassroots pro-life efforts nationwide by expanding the resources of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities. This will open up fantastic opportunities to promote the sanctity of life at all stages.

Without the help of our community, such an initiative is not possible. DONATE TODAY to be part of a bright future!


Deal W. Hudson, President, Catholic Advocate

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What Is This Religion Blogosphere?

As many of you know, I'll be debuting my editorship of The Revealer, a website published by New York University's Center for Religion and Media, starting next month. Inshallah! We've got to give the site a little make-over and then we'll be ready to go with more of what Revealer lovers have always come to the site for: analysis of how religion is reported by the media.

And so, to get us all ready, it seems fit to note a new study published by another religion website, The Immanent Frame, a publication of the Social Science Research Council, that looks at the state of the religion blogosphere. And admits that it may be the first to find that there is a religion blogosphere.

The report has caused quite a bit of discussion amongst other sites on the report's list of 100 religion blogs (of which The Revealer, even in it's current semi-conscious state) is one.

At GetReligion, folks get all picky about being included in a list of religion blogs, then about how they are described in the report! Terry Mattingly writes:

That “conservative” label is certainly accurate, if they are describing your GetReligionistas when it comes to matters of faith and doctrine. We are also very “conservative” when it comes to the basics of journalism.

However, I just looked up at the framed portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that is above my desk and asked the old Democrat if he thought that word fit me, when it comes to politics. He said that the label was too simplistic. Honest, that’s what he said.

Brad Greenberg of The God Blog shows up in the comments, as do some links and comments about other blogs on the list.

Frederick Clarkson of Talk to Action wrote about his inclusion on the list at DailyKos recently, taking the occasion to note that not everyone thinks renegade religion blogs are a good thing. Clarkson writes:

But significantly, the first thought from the editor of the blog First Thoughts, was to say that religion bloggers really ought to be subject to ecclesiastical authority.

First Thoughts is the blog of the religiously neoconservative journal, First Things.

Noting the report's mention of the Vatican's concern about unsanctioned blogs, Clarkson continues:

Of course, most American religious individuals and institutions have no such censorious impulse. But that does not change the fact that religious rightism may not only express itself via blogging (as it already does), but will be considering how to silence bloggers with whom they disagree.

At Talk to Action, as I mention in my comment about the report at The Immanent Frame, we take a different view:

Our featured writers come from a variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds and represent a range of progressive political perspectives. But we all write from the standpoint of recognizing the importance, as well as the historic and constitutional significance, of religious pluralism and the separation of church and state. It is this unity of perspective about the nature of the threat to these values from the Religious Right that animates our conversation and gives structure to how we learn from one another...

Even as we think and write critically about the Religious Right, we seek to do so without resorting to unfair labeling and demonization tactics. In this way, we seek to model effective civic —and civil— discourse. We embrace a common understanding that we all share the same rights, but that the religious supremacism of most elements of the Religious Right is a threat to the rights of all.

It was really just a matter of time before the theocratically inclined began to cast wether eye at the blogosphere. And that time has come.

The discussion following Clarkson's post is telling: many tend to find criticism of the church overblown - in this case the concern that the Catholic church and others may work to censure online content by and about their denomination - or they find that criticism of the church doesn't go far enough, shutting down all constructive and productive conversation.

Justin Whitaker at American Buddhist Perspective reacts to his inclusion in the report and it's content.

I encourage you to read the report. And as you get ready for the revival of The Revealer, let me know what your thoughts on the religion blogosphere are.

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Larry Beresford Hosts Hospice and Palliative Grand Rounds.

You can find his list of the best stories, some of which I've touched on this month, here.

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Repealing the Conscience Clause.

After more than a year of waiting for the Obama administration to address the hideous provider refusal laws that Bush passed in his last weeks of office, 365Gay reports that there may be movement to rescind - at least in part - some of the discriminatory restrictions:

(Washington) The Obama administration is expected this week to begin the process of repealing so-called “provider conscience” regulations that could have been used to discriminate against gays, people with HIV/AIDS, and women seeking abortions.

The regulations, instituted in the last days of the Bush administration, strengthened job protections for doctors and nurses who refuse to provide a medical service over religious beliefs.

Human rights groups say the regulations could impair LGBT patients’ access to care services if interpreted to permit providers to choose patients based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or family structure.

The regulations also threaten women’s access to comprehensive health care by permitting pharmacists to refuse to dispense contraception even when doing so significantly burdens the patient’s access, or to refuse to participate in an emergency abortion even when the woman’s health is at risk.


The Bush administration rule was quickly challenged in federal court by several states and medical organizations. As a candidate, President Barack Obama criticized the regulation and campaign aides promised that if elected, he would review it.

Late last week the White House released a statement saying that Obama supports a “carefully crafted” conscience clause – not Bush’s version.

The administration early this week will publish notice of its intentions, opening a 30-day comment period for advocates on both sides, medical groups and the public.

The administration already held a comment period regarding the laws. I hope that the "carefully crafted" regulations will protect the conscience of all individuals, not just those of health care providers and denominational institutions hell-bent on discriminating agains gays, women, and elders.

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