By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District Bronx County, New York
It is a never-ending story. All we need to do is open a newspaper to find that bad news is being reported everywhere. Here are some highlights from the past two weeks:
In the Bronx, a defenseless 18 year-old man, Ramarely Graham was fatally shot by a New York City Police Officer. Mr. Graham was cornered in his bathroom in his own home. You should know, dear reader, that Mr. Graham’s case is regrettably similar to the case of Amadou Diallo, another unarmed Bronx resident who was shot and killed by four NYPD officers thirteen years ago. And like the fatality of Amadou Diallo, elected officials, religious and community leaders, friends and neighbors continue to offer sympathy and support to Mr. Graham’s family. You should know, dear reader, that we also continue to demand justice in our communities.
President Obama has mandated under Health and Human Services regulations that Catholic churches and religious institutions throughout the United States must provide and pay for abortion services, sterilization and birth control devices. You should know that by doing this, the President of the United States is strangling religious liberty by mandating policies that violate some core religious principles.
The Ninth Circuit Court in California has decided to overrule Proposition 8, a ballot measure that added a provision to the California Constitution that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”. You should know that this Ninth Circuit Court panel of unelected judges has decided that they know better than the will of more than half of California’s population.
In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has expelled churches from worship services in public school buildings when the schools are empty. Naysayers insist that religion has no place in school buildings - even empty ones. You should know that this same Mayor prevented any member of the clergy from participating at the official 10 year Memorial Service of the 911 World Trade Center Terror Attacks.
The Susan B. Komen Foundation – famous for their pink ribbon to support breast cancer awareness - has bowed to the intense political and reflexive media pressure on behalf of Planned Parenthood and reversed their decision and will again contribute money to America’s largest abortion providers. The original reason the Komen Foundation gave to bar funds to Planned Parenthood this year was because their by-laws disallowed funding groups under federal investigation.
You should know that Planned Parenthood is under federal investigation by a Florida Congressman. You should also know that Planned Parenthood refers much of their breast cancer screening requests instead of providing those services themselves.
These are just some of the more publicized injustices from the past two weeks. People often ask me how I cope with all of the chaos that surrounds us. I tell them that as a Christian, I am not afraid. I know that no matter whatever trials and tribulations life presents to any of us, I trust the Lord.
This does not give me nor anyone else the right to sit back and do nothing. We live in a participatory democracy, and we have a responsibility to raise our voices, fight for justice, fight for our religious beliefs and use our right to vote and elect public officials that will represent us.
I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.