Category archives: Health Care

Eden Foods Statement to Customers on HHS Mandate Suit

by Cathy Ruse

April 17, 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, this afternoon I emailed a letter of support to Michael Potter of Eden Foods encouraging him in his lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s HHS Mandate.

Moments later I received this email in reply. It appears to be the statement sent to any inquiries regarding the suit. 

Again I say:  Rock on, Michael Potter!

Greetings,

Please be discerning consumers. Grotesque mischaracterizations about Eden Foods’ action related to the Health & Human Services (HHS) mandate, Affordable Care Act, are most regrettable.

OnMarch 21st, 2013a press release announced our lawsuit against the unconstitutional government overreach in theHHSmandate. This announcement was made to the media and general public. We apologize for the unintended consternation given rise to by this action.

Eden Foods’ health care provider is required by theHHSto comply with all details of the Affordable Care Act. Parts of the mandate violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. This overreach of the federal government infringes on religious freedoms.

It is discriminatory that not all employers have to comply with theHHSmandate. Millions of people and thousands of companies are exempt. The exemptions under the Act are illogical, inconsistent, and contributing factors to our lawsuit. For instance, McDonald’s Inc. and 166 unions are exempt. Small employers are exempt. Individuals who practice certain faiths are exempt, while individuals who practice other faiths are not. Federal employees are exempt, and this is hypocritical. There is no exemption for the religious freedoms of employers.

Edenemployee benefits include health, dental, vision, life, and a fifty percent 401k match. The benefits have not funded “lifestyle drugs,” an insurance industry drug classification that includes contraceptives, Viagra, smoking cessation, weight-loss, infertility, impotency, etc. This entire plan is managed with a goal of long-term sustainability.

We believe in a woman’s right to decide, and have access to, all aspects of their health care and reproductive management. This lawsuit does not block, or intend to block, anyone’s access to health care or reproductive management. This lawsuit is about protecting religious freedom and stopping the government from forcing citizens to violate their conscience. We object to theHHSmandate and its government overreach.

This is an important matter that deserves attention from us all.

Our actions have been, and will remain, principled and transparent.Eden’s focus is pure food, ethical business practice, and the nurturing of all people and the planet.

Respectfully,

Michael Potter, President

I’m Not in Your Bedroom. Obama is in Your Bedroom”

by Cathy Ruse

April 17, 2013

I have a new hero: Eden Foods founder and CEO Michael Potter.

Eden Foods is an organic company popular among the “crunchy, liberal crowd” which has filed suit against the Obama administration over the HHS mandate. 

Potter is getting slammed over it, thanks in part to a hit piece last week in Salon magazine which publicized the suit and framed Potter as a man with an anti-birth control agenda. 

Don’t waste your time on the original article. Instead, enjoy the refreshing quotes from the no nonsense, plain-speaking Mr. Potter in Salon’s follow-up piece from Monday relating a telephone conversation between Potter and Salon writer Irin Carmen.

I’ve got more interest in good quality long underwear than I have in birth control pills,” Potter told Carmen. Then he elaborated:

I don’t care if the federal government is telling me to buy my employees Jack Daniel’s or birth control. What gives them the right to tell me that I have to do that? That’s my issue, that’s what I object to, and that’s the beginning and end of the story….I’m not trying to get birth control out of Rite Aid or Wal-Mart, but don’t tell me I gotta pay for it.

Rock on, M.P.!

When Carmen pressed Potter using the fallacy that “the mandate doesn’t cover abortion” but “only contraception,” Potter responded this way:

It’s a morass…I’m not an expert in anything. I’m not the pope. I’m in the food business. I’m qualified to have opinions about that and not issues that are purely women’s issues. I am qualified to have an opinion about what health insurance I pay for.

When Carmen said contraceptive coverage is cheaper to pay for than maternity coverage, Potter replied: “One’s got a little more warmth and fuzziness to it than the other, for crying out loud.”

Potter is not backing down:  “I worked my ass off at figuring out what to do on it. I worked hard on it and I made a decision,” he said. “The federal government has no right to do what they’ve done. No constitutional right, no standing.”

Carmen writes that Potter sounded annoyed that he’s receiving emails telling him to stay out of people’s bedrooms. “I’m not in your bedroom,” he said. “Obama’s in your bedroom.”

Michael Potter is doing the right thing, for the right reasons, and he’s getting slammed by left-wing activists who have lots of time on their hands. He needs to hear from the rest of us.

Here’s where to write: websales@edenfoods.com and info@edenfoods.com

I just did, and here’s what I said: 

Dear Mr. Potter:

I know you’re getting heat for your lawsuit from people who like the idea of free birth control and abortion drugs, courtesy of a heavy-handed federal government mandate on employers.

But you should know there are many people who agree with you that it is not the federal government’s place to dictate to employers that they must buy these things for their employees in their health plans. And yes, the mandate does include drugs that can cause an early abortion, not just contraception.

As a woman and a lawyer, my message is this: contraceptives and abortion pills are widely available, they’re legally unrestricted, and they’re cheap. Anyone who wants them can get them. There is no reason for the federal government to force every employer in America to provide them “for free.”

Thanks for standing firm. I can’t wait to buy lots of Eden Foods!

Support Hobby Lobby as they Take a Stand Against the Obamacare Abortion Drug Mandate

by Krystle Gabele

January 9, 2013

Obamacare has been in the news lately, as the new regulations are being enacted in a swift manner.  Now, employers must decide whether or not to abandon their principles and comply with the regulations which include a mandate requiring coverage of the morning after pill, a drug that can cause an early abortion.  One company, however, refuses to surrender its religious freedom and is disobeying the mandate.  The owners of the Hobby Lobby retail chain is facing daily fines of $1.3 million for their refusal to comply with the mandate.  As of today, they have incurred fines totaling $ 11.7 million.  Unless the courts intervene, the company will accumulate a half a billion dollars in fines by the end of this year.

FRC released a video today regarding Hobby Lobby standing for their beliefs, and you can also support them by visiting our Facebook page.

Also, my colleague, Ken Klukowski, has been covering the news regarding Hobby Lobby and the Obamacare mandate’s attack on religious liberty.  You can read his recent op-eds, which were featured on Breitbart.com.

We commend Hobby Lobby, as they take a stand for religious liberty. 

 

Hey Dennys, Please Call it the ObamaCare Surcharge

by Cathy Ruse

November 15, 2012

The Daily Mail Online is reporting that the owner of 40 Dennys restaurants in will add a 5% surcharge to customers bills in order to meet the costs he will be forced to incur under ObamaCare beginning in 2014. To pay $5,000 per employee would cost us $175,000 per restaurant and unfortunately, most of our restaurants dont make $175,000 a year. I can’t afford it.

Were trying to get more restaurant operators rallied around the concept of adding a 5 percent surcharge to their bill to cover the costs of Obamacare as opposed to raising prices, he said.

Heck, why stop at restaurants? Lets see all businesses with full-time employees add an explicit ObamaCare Surcharge to customer bills. Theyre going to have to pass along the costs to consumers anyway. Why not be up-front with us?

Obamacare Puts Freedom in the Balance

by Robert Morrison

November 5, 2012

On July 4, 2010, the National Archives announced that they had just discovered an original draft of Thomas Jeffersons Declaration of Independence. In it, the young member of the Continental Congress struck out the word subjects and penned the word citizens. Archivists were very excited by this discovery: It was the first time Americans had referred to themselves as citizens, they said.

Citizens make their own decisions on vital matters of life and faith. Subjects have to obey an endless series of government mandates.

Obamacare has already revealed its iron fist. The HHS mandate, a key part of Obamacare, would force every American to become complicit in providing or paying for the destruction of innocent human lives. It would also force us to subsidize sterilization procedures. Many of these sterilizations would be done on minors without their parents knowledge or consent.

Religious communities in America have been alarmed by this HHS Mandate. Rev. Billy Graham is nearing his 94th birthday this week. He might easily have avoided controversy by remaining quiet. But this great evangelist has taken out ads in major newspapers all over the country appealing to Christians to vote for biblical values. These include the Sanctity of Human Life, which theHHS Mandate for Obamacare so seriously jeopardizes.

The Catholic Bishops have gone into court to sue against this unprecedented intrusion into the life of the church. Catholic lay groups are carrying the message to grassroots citizens, urging them to stand for life and to oppose abortion. One such prominent group, Catholic Answers, is distributing voter guides that dont tell their brethren for whom to vote, but do plead with them to uphold life, marriage, and religious freedom when they vote. Pope Benedict is alarmed about what is happening inAmerica, they say, and you should be, too.

The Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod has boldly proclaimed we must obey God rather than men, and has launched a website titled Free to be Faithful The LCMS takes no position on Obamacare, per se, but they do resist being forced to participate in violating the commandment: Thou shalt not kill. It was to escape mandates from the authoritarian rulers of Germany in the 19th Century that these Lutherans left their homes and fled to this home of freedom, Synod leaders say.

Not only churches and religious organizations are threatened. In recent action before a federal district court in Detroit, the Weingartz Supply Company sought and received from Judge Robert Cleland a temporary injunction allowing them not to obey the HHS Mandate. The Catholic owner of this small, 170-employee family firm, argued that demands of Obamacare would violate his First Amendment rights. Judge Cleland agreed, saying: Violation of a First Amendment right in itself constitutes irreparable harm, even for a brief period.

Irreparable harm done under Obamacares HHS Mandate ironically contrasts with the first rule of medicine, thousands of years old, brought to us by the Greek philosopher Hippocrates: Above all, do no harm.

How can it be that a law that has care and protection in its title (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) can present such a mortal threat to caring and protection? It may be because the Supreme Court in 1973 ruled against justice itself. When the court said innocent human lives may be taken for any reason or no reason, the court pulled that first thread of our national garment and the fabric of society has been unraveling ever since. It can never be just directly to target and kill the innocent.

This is certainly Christian teaching, but it is also Jewish teaching. Orthodox Jewish leader Rabbi Meir V. Soloveichick gave strong testimony in Congress against the HHS Mandate.

That this is direct and intentional slaughter of innocents is wrong was known even by the pagans of ancient Greece. Thucydides, in his classic Peloponnesian War, records the Melian Debate. In that debate, powerful, democratic Athenians demand that the unoffending people of Melos join them in a war against Sparta. The men of Melos, a small beautiful island, wish only to be left alone to live their lives in peace. The Athenians will not permit that, saying to the Melians: The strong do what they will; the weak endure what they must. Thucydides is a patriotic Athenian, but he loves justice first. And he records the killing of the innocent Melians with obvious anguish. His book, a work secular scholars recognize as the first history, was intended to last forever.

The lesson of the Melian Debatethat the shame of killing the innocents is indeliblehas come down to us from ancient times. Pagans, Jews and Christians then recognized an ethical foundation for human existence. Life without such a moral basis is not truly human, they taught us.

The HHS Mandate puts freedom itself on the ballot. If this election affirms Obamacare, then this violation of our consciences is but the first taste of the bitter cup that will be proffered to us. And we will be forced to drink that bitter cup to the dregs.

HHS Mandates will cascade upon us. Will we also be forced to pay for sex changes and violent abortion procedures, as well as abortion drugs and sterilizations? What logic or law would stop these liberal activists who have already trodden our First Amendment rights under foot? They will render the Constitution itself a mere paper barricade.

That is why tomorrow, freedom itself is on the ballot. Let us pray for this great republic; may we remain citizens and not subjects.

From the Industrial Revolution to the Contraceptive Revolution

by Sharon Barrett

October 11, 2012

As MARRI intern Alex Schrider points out in Student Debate: Taxing Conscience, the HHS contraceptive mandate is a direct attack on religious freedom. It does more than require employers to deny their personal beliefs about life and contraception; it forces many (primarily conservative Catholics and Evangelical Protesants) to violate church teachings and religious convictions..

This is significant for more reasons than the obvious wrong of asking religious Americans to violate their conscience. It represents an attack on religion itself.

Historically, religious practice formed the fabric of American culture. From New England Puritans to Maryland Roman Catholics, colonists came to the New World seeking religious freedom. After the nation was established, revival meetings helped unify the ragged frontier. Immigrants from all ends of the globe relied on religion to keep their families and communities intact.

The twentieth century, however, saw a cultural about-face. The ostensibly conservative, religious postwar era gave way to urban riots and juvenile delinquency. America left the 1950s baby boom for the 1960s free love movement, followed by four decades of increase in non-marital births and decrease in the overall birth rate.

 

MARRIs Patrick Fagan and Henry Potrykus suggest part of the impetus behind this shift:

The contraceptive mindset…is of one cloth with the West shifting its economic orientation from family enterprise to individualist labor activity while simultaneously moving from religious to secular social values.

The Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century weakened both family life and the American economy, because industrialism severed the workplace from the home. Urbanization in the twentieth century further undermined ties to family and local community. As this shift happened, the religious values that emphasized marriage and the family as a context for childbearing also declined.

The shift in values has economic effects, as Alex Schrider explains:

MARRI has documented the effects of widespread contraceptive use: when birthrate decreases, the average age of a population increases, eventually leading to population decline. An aging and declining population is associated with economic problems, not the least of which is the substantial burden placed on the shoulders of the smaller, younger generation, which must provide for the disproportionately large elderly generation.

There is a solution, but it does not lie in the HHS mandate. Rather, according to Fagan and Potrykus,

Remediation lies in a re-adoption of stable marriage as a societal norm and the rejection by governments and peoples of this non-sustainable model of society a religious, sexually polymorphous, serial polygamy and its replacement by a less secular, more traditional, family-oriented life.

Rebuilding our culture and economy requires us to return to family-oriented values. To start this process, our culture must return to religion, which creates these values. The federal government should not attack the very bedrock of society with an ill-conceived mandate that smothers religious freedom.

The Casualties of the Healthcare Law

by Family Research Council

August 30, 2012

As we close out this historic month of August, 2012, I cant help but comment on a very sad day that marked the start of a new moment in American history. The infamous contraceptive mandate began its implementation stage on August 1, 2012, and on this day the landscape of the separation of Church and State as we have known it in the United States was drastically altered. On that day groups were forced to violate religious dictates and consciences on such matters as insurance coverage of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

Those who have been following this debate will well remember that one year ago, the department of Health and Human Services used its regulatory power to mandate that the full range of Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptives be included in all health insurance plans, minus a very small group of religious employers, namely places of worship.

A massive public outcry ensued this decision, resulting in the Obama Administration announcing a purported accommodation last February (one that is yet to be worked through in any level of detail) as well as a one year safe haven for certain religious employers while they worked through the logistics of violating their consciences.

Organizations that do not fulfill the safe haven criteria include businesses, and groups that must not have provided any kind of contraception coverage before the February 10th regulation was issued. A number of lawsuits have been filed in response, including many asking for immediate injunctions against the mandate set to begin on Wednesday.

So who are the first casualties of the healthcare law? One such group is Weingartz Supply based out of Ann Arbor,Michigan. The organization provides supplies for lawn-mowing and snow removal. Until now the business, owned by a Catholic has not included contraception coverage, but now will be required to do so. Representing Weingartz and a Catholic business organization, Legatus, the Thomas More Law Center in Michigan filed a suit asking for an injunction from the mandate, but a hearing has not yet been set despite a May filing.

Similarly, a family-owned heating and cooling business in Colorado, Hercules, sought and received a temporary injunction the Friday before the mandate was to be implemented. But the injunction is specific to their family business, other groups are not covered.

Other casualties of the healthcare law include insurers and participants in the individual market who must to comply with the HHS Mandate as well as schools that have already removed health insurance coverage because of the HHS Mandate. To date this includes Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio as well as Ave Maria University in Florida. Note the irony, given that the goal of the healthcare law was to have more people covered, not less.

By far the vast majority of religious groups impacted by this mandate will feel the pinch once the safe harbor period (and the election) is over.

As we reflect upon this defining moment in history where HHS has in essence used regulatory power to redefine Church and State relations, I can still find comfort in the balance of power existing in our U.S. democratic system. The constitutionality of this regulation will ultimately be decided by the courts, where approximately 50 suits related to the HHS mandate currently wait to be heard.

Wheaton President Explains their Fight for Religious Freedom

by David Christensen

July 20, 2012

Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review Online posted an insightful interview with Wheaton Colleges President, Philip Ryken. Wheaton College is known for being conservative in the sense of being evangelical, but it is not a political right wing institution. Its quite telling that President Ryken admits to being not overly political, yet, this HHS mandate on religious organizations was an eye opener. As recounted in Kathryns piece:

I am only moderately engaged in political issues,Wheatons president adds, and so it has been interesting to observe how precious liberties appear to me when they are in danger of being taken away. This has sort of awakened for me a latent passion for religious liberty. And I think plenty of our board members would say the same thing.

To read the full article, see here.

Evangelicals and Catholics Together? You bet.

by David Christensen

July 18, 2012

You may have heard about multiple Catholic organizations suing the government over the contraceptive mandate which forces religious organizations that are not churches to provide free abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations in their health plans.

But this isnt just a Catholic issue, as many protestant denominations have spoken against the threat of religious freedom this mandate poses.

Today, Wheaton College, an evangelical college, joined The Catholic University of America in yet another lawsuit. Wheatons President, Dr. Philip Ryken, describes the contraceptive mandate this way:

Wheaton College and other distinctively Christian institutions are faced with a clear and present threat to our religious liberty.

To read more, see Wheatons press release.

Independence Day on Cook’s Point

by Robert Morrison

July 6, 2012

[caption id=”attachment_8278” align=”alignright” width=”224”] American, Maryland and Gadsden flags on Cook’s Point[/caption]

I hadn’t really expected to see the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag flying at an Independence Day celebration on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. But I knew this would be a special celebration. Peter and Margarete wanted to include a reading of the entire Declaration of Independence at their gathering of family, friends and neighbors. The Chesapeake Bay breezes, very warm, ruffled and flourished the American,Maryland and Gadsden flags on Cook’s Point.

The waters of the bay invited, but we were warned of jellyfish beneath the cooling waves. A boat ride may be better than a swim today. Maryland is just beginning its Bicentennial of the War of 1812. Two hundred years ago, it was stinging British warships that posed a greater danger than jellyfish in these waters. You cannot go anywhere these days, it seems, without pointed reminders of the country’s heritage.

We began our July 4th observance with prayer. A priest reminded us of the rare privilege we have in this country to pray publicly and how this right is the basis for our civil liberty, as well. Then, we all faced the flagstaff as the Star-Spangled Banner was played.

Following this, our hosts’ 13-year-old daughter stood atop a picnic table and read the first two stirring paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence.

She read with the enthusiasm and conviction that only a bright teenager can bring to this venerable 236-year-old document.

I had the honor of reading the middle part, everything from “…pursuit of happiness” to “…let facts be submitted to a candid world.”

My portion of the Declaration included that line stating that “governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.” I cannot help but consider the process of passing Obamacare when we talk about consent of the governed.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the White House rammed through the Senate a bill that did not include protections from abortion coverage—on Christmas Eve, 2009. This in a country that Gallup tells us is increasingly pro-life. (51%-41% in the latest survey.)

Then, they spoke of having to go to a conference committee of the House and Senate to reconcile the different versions of the bill. That was because the House of Representatives in November 09 had passed Obamacare with the famous pro-life Stupak Amendment. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) joined with Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Penn.) to attach a pro-life provision to the Obamacare measure that passed the House.

Earlier, on November 7, 2009, the Stupak-Pitts Amendment passed the House by a vote of 240-194. It was the highest vote cast on any measure related to the overhaul of health care. If you were seeking consensus, if you yearned for bi-partisanship, if you cared about the consent of the governed, you must look to this historic vote.

The Senate might have taken up the House-passed version, and passed it, with its pro-life provisions. Or, it might have gone to a conference committee, reconciled the two versions and then re-passed the result.

But the Senate had passed a milestone with the Jan. 2010 special election in Massachusetts. Republican Scott Brown had been elected promising to be “#41” —a decisive vote to stop Obamacare from passing. In that famously liberal state, in a special election to fill the unexpired term of Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Massachusetts voters emphatically did not give their consent to Obamacare.

Faced with the possibility of the Senate’s having to swallow the House version, with the Stupak Amendment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pledged to go down the chimney, around the gate, over the wall; in short, to do whatever was necessary to steamroll the bill through. Stupak and most of his pro-life Democratic House colleagues were pressured and arm-twisted into swallowing an Executive Order from President Obama. They were gulled into believing this measure from the most pro-abortion president in history would protect Americans from having to pay for abortions. It wasn’t a fig leaf; it wasn’t even a bay leaf to hide their nakedness.

Dozens of those faux-life Democrats went down to defeat the following November as voters gave a “shellacking” to the president’s party. But not before the whipped and tricked House Members voted through the Senate version of the health care bill, 219-212. It was a hair’s breadth victory, but it met the Pelosi test of doing anything to jam and sham it through.

It was to this dog’s breakfast of a process that Chief Justice Roberts gave his blessing in his infamous ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius late last month. Then, continuing a wholly dishonorable tradition, the Chief absconded to the island fortress of Malta. He left the country perhaps to avoid having to answer any questions about his tortured reasoning and its suspect timing.

The American people at every point had rejected this bill. They had voted in an avowed opponent in the nation’s most liberal state. They had voted out scores of Obamacare backers in the House. And yet, Chief Justice Roberts genuflected to this bizarre legislation as evidence of his judicial restraint. He tells us he is constrained to respect this abuse of power, this rape of the representative process, as the prerogative of the legislative and executive branches.

One of the classic political science texts on Congress is called The Dance of Legislation. This bill might more properly be called the St. Vitus Dance of Legislation. And the four-Justice minority pointed out that if this is a tax, then tax bills have to originate in the House of Representatives (Art. 1, Sec. 7, Clause 1).

The pretzel pundits in many an elite journal are tying themselves in knots trying to see a silver lining in the dark cloud Chief Justice Roberts pulled over us.

He labeled the Individual Mandate a tax, they say, thus making it harder for this administration, or any liberal successors to do anything worse.

If you allow them to keep this scaffold in place, why do they need anything worse? Roberts’ ruling merely takes away one rope. Just as then-Speaker Pelosi swore back in 2010, they will find another rope.

Let’s understand what Obamacare is: It is the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. It is the basis for the HHS Mandate against hospitals, schools and para-church ministries. The HHS Mandate is the gravest threat to religious freedom in our nation’s history. It will force all of these private and religious groups, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, to provide coverage that includes abortion-inducing drugs. If they can Mandate abortion drugs now, why not Mandate abortion procedures and sex-change operations after election day? Then, as we’ve all overheard, Vladimir Putin and the rest of the world may see an even more “flexible” administration.

I believe the Roberts Ruling and the media reaction to it reflects a bottomless, Inside-the-Beltway cynicism. The best example of cynicism I’ve read comes not from Washington but from Paris. In 1815, France’s Foreign Minister Talleyrand waited impatiently for the Russian Minister to meet him. When the Russian failed to show up on time, Talleyrand tapped his foot in irritation. Told that the Russian had collapsed and died in his carriage en route to the meeting, Talleyrand stroked his chin pensively and said: “I wonder why he did that.” That’s how I read the pretzel pundits.

Chief Justice Roberts may actually come back to the Constitution when the many lawsuits against Sec. Sebelius’ HHS Mandate get to the Supreme Court. Let us pray he does. But that is no reason to go silent now. If his outrageous ruling of June 28th was a mere maneuver intended to give him more latitude later, that ignoble tactic can only work if conservatives help him out by raising a hue and cry against his unprincipled opinion. We must beat the drums of opposition to this appalling decision.

After he was confirmed in 2005, reporters asked Chief Justice Roberts if he would wear the three gold stripes that the late Chief Justice had added to his robes as a badge of rank. “I think I’ll have to earn them,” Roberts said with becoming modesty then. Now, unfortunately, it is the liberals and the pretzel pundits who are sewing on those gold stripes.

As the sun set over the Chesapeake, I was encouraged by the faith and courage of the good people I met on July 4th on Cook’s Point. Our beloved Declaration was crafted with such folks, the “good people of these colonies,” in mind.

After our reading of the Declaration, I pored over the names of those intrepid Signers of 236 years ago. Two names stood out:New Jersey’s Rev. John Witherspoon andMaryland’s Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Witherspoon was a Presbyterian pastor, a leader among hundreds of clergy in the “Black Regiment” of preachers who rallied to Freedom’s cause. Charles Carroll lived in my home town of Annapolis. A wealthy landowner, he was the only Catholic to sign the Declaration. Witherspoon and Carroll pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Can we do any less? In that Catholic-Protestant alliance our nation was forged. In such a strong faith coalition, it may yet be saved.

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