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Missouri Family E-News

November 15, 2011

U.S. House
"In God We Trust" Motto



The United States House of Representatives has approved a resolution reaffirming "In God We Trust" as our country's national motto.  The resolution also encourages the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions.


Congressman Randy Forbes of Virginia, the sponsor of the resolution, says the action was needed to "confront a cloud of confusion" concerning our nation's spiritual heritage.  "This bill sends a message that 'In God We Trust' is not only written in the halls of our federal buildings, but it is a bedrock upon which our nation is built."      


Congressman Forbes deplores what he calls "a disturbing trend of inaccuracies" concerning the national motto, and continuing efforts "to remove God from the public domain by unelected bureaucrats."


Forbes points to speeches given by President Barack Obama in which he has incorrectly asserted that the national motto is "E Pluribus Unum."  Forbes also cites the erroneous display at the new Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, D.C., which also declared that "E Pluribus Unum" is our national motto.


"Federal agencies and departments have been instructed that the phrase 'In God We Trust' not be posted in government buildings,"  Forbes states.  "The effect on our public schools has been chilling, as teachers and administrators do not know whether they can post our national motto on their walls."


President Obama criticized the House action.  "That's not putting people back to work.  I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work."


The Forbes resolution was overwhelmingly approved by the U.S. House on a vote of 396-9.  All Missouri Representatives voted in favor of the resolution with the exception of Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver of Kansas City.   Cleaver said, "We need to work on creating jobs, not fooling around with mottos."  Cleaver is an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church.       


Petition Drive Approved for Legalization of Marijuana  



Organizers of of an initiative campaign to legalize marijuana in Missouri have received the green light to solicit citizen support of their effort.  Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has approved the petitions filed by a group called Show-Me Cannabis, and authorized their public circulation for signatures.


The petitions seek to legalize the possession, use, and sale of marijuana in Missouri.  One proposal seeks to amend Missouri's Constitution to authorize marijuana use, while the other would create a new state law legalizing marijuana.  Unlike proposals debated in other states, legal marijuana use would not be limited to so-called "medicinal" purposes.


While the group's goal is to decriminalize marijuana use in the State Constitution, the statutory referendum is being circulated in tandem as a backup.  It takes signatures from eight percent of voters in six of Missouri's nine Congressional districts to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot.  It only takes the signatures from five percent of voters in six districts to place a statutory referendum on the ballot.


Should sufficient signatures be obtained by the May deadline, the issues would be voted on by Missourians in the November 2012 election.  If approved by Missouri voters, the changes would take effect in July of 2013.    


The proposal would require that the state issue licenses to "cannabis establishments" who would be authorized to "cultivate, prepare, manufacture, package, transport, and sell" marijuana, as well as the paraphernalia used for ingesting or inhaling the drug.   Adoption of the language in the ballot issues would result in Missouri having the most liberal laws governing marijuana use of any state in the country.   


Judge Blocks Hospital From Forcing Nurses to Assist in Abortions

A federal judge will hear oral arguments this Friday in a case involving a group of hospital nurses in New Jersey who were ordered to assist in abortions or be fired.  U.S. District Judge Jose Linares will hear the lawsuit filed by twelve nurses employed by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark.

Judge Linares issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the hospital from requiring the nurses to "undergoing any training, procedures, or performances related to abortion" until he rules on the merits of the case.  Linares also ordered the hospital not to discriminate against any of the nurses in matters of employment, promotion, or termination of employment due to their refusal to participate in the performance of abortions or abortion training.

The hospital announced a new policy change in September that all nurses in the Same Day Surgery Unit would be required to assist in abortion procedures.  The hospital forced the entire staff of nurses to undergo abortion training beginning last month.  When the twelve nurses objected that assisting in "violence against innocent human life" would violate their religious beliefs, they were told that their religious convictions were of no consequence.

"As a Christian, I don't believe in abortion," says nurse Fe Esperanza Vinoya.  "I think it's murder.  It's against my religious conviction and it's against the law for them to force me to assist in something against my religious conviction."

Vinoya says the hospital edict was a crushing blow to the nursing staff.  "It felt like the whole word crashed on me.  You could sense the sadness in all of us.  We felt betrayed."  Vinoya has been a nurse for 21 years, and says she believes nursing is not just her job--but is God's calling on her life.

The Alliance Defense Fund is representing the nurses in the case.  Matt Bowman, legal counsel for ADF, says the hospital's actions are "flatly illegal."  "These twelve nurses have encountered threats to their jobs at this hospital ever since the policy change required them to participate in abortions regardless of their religious and moral objections."

"The hospital's coercion of the nurses is a blatant violation of federal and state law, which explicitly prohibits them from penalizing employees because they object to assisting abortions," Bowman says, adding that officials at the University of Medicine and Dentistry Hospital have demonstrated "an extreme level of arrogance."  "It is disturbing that this hospital may fight to continue violating laws that clearly protect conscience rights."

Bowman makes reference to a federal law known as the Church Amendment which forbids hospitals which receive federal funds from forcing its employees to participate in abortions.  New Jersey law also provides conscience protections for pro-life doctors and nurses, similar to a statute on the books in Missouri.

Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey sharply condemned the hospital's actions.  "Because the nurses recognize the innate value and dignity and preciousness of the child in the womb and have refused to participate or be complicit in an act of violence against a vulnerable child, they are being punished."

The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey already has a tarnished reputation following a court-ordered investigation five years ago.  A report issued by a court-appointed monitor concluded that eighteen cardiologists were engaged in an illegal kickback scheme, and that the hospital had defrauded Medicare and Medicaid of $36 million.  The report's author, former U.S. Attorney and federal judge Herbert Stern, also charged that no-bid contracts were awarded to vendors with political connections who often performed no work, and that the university's president was involved in a coverup of the financial misconduct.

The Alliance Defense Fund is asking Judge Linares to order that the New Jersey hospital forfeit the $60 million in federal funds it received this year because of its violation of federal health care workers' conscience protections.  The lawsuit also asks that the University of Medicine and Dentistry be disqualified from receiving future federal funds until it demonstrates compliance with federal conscience provisions.

ADF has already been engaged in a similar case involving a pro-life nurse in New York.  Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo was threatened with termination by Mt. Sinai Hospital if she refused to provide nursing support for the performance of late-term abortions.  DeCarlo was also threatened with loss of her professional nursing license.

We thank God for Fe Vinoya and Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, and other pro-life health care professionals who have the courage to put their jobs on the line to take a stand on behalf of innocent human life.  Vinoya says she has been sustained by her faith in God, through prayer, and through the support of her fellow church members at Life Christian Church.

Please be praying for Fe Vinoya and her colleagues as this case proceeds--that justice will be done and their conscience rights will be preserved.  The other nurses in the case are Sharon Danquah, Beryl Otieno-Njoge, Jacqueline DeSeo, Marites Linaac, Milagros Mananquil, Julita Ching, Cristina Abad, Lorna Jose-Mendoza, Virna Balasa, Ossie Taylor, and Ronette Harbaradas.  These are women of true Christian valor.  May their testimony be an inspiration to each of us to be bold in standing for righteousness in our own professions regardless of the personal cost. 


Joe's Signature