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Why People Need to Stop Saying that the New Healthcare Law Violates their Freedom of Religion

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Just in case you may be throwing around the first amendment whether you fully know what it means or not, here is a quick reminder. In regards to religion, the amendment contains two clauses: the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment Clause states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” This has been interpreted to mean that a national religion cannot be established, nor can the government show preference of one religion over another. The Free Exercise Clause continues off of the Establishment Clause, by adding “or prohibiting the exercise thereof.”

The new healthcare plan states that “all religious institutions except for houses of worship would be required to cover birth control [in their employees’ health plans], including hospitals, schools and charities.” I have heard many times from “Catholics” that this law violates their freedom of religion. There are a certain number of errors with this belief.

First of all, no Catholic woman that has contraception covered in her health care is required to use it. They simply have the option to have it provided to them if they so choose. This seems like a no-brainer since polls show that 98% of sexually active Catholic women use some form of modern contraception (and 63% believe that it should be provided by insurance). Not to mention that people tend to forget that non-Catholics work for religious institutions as well.

You might still argue that these religious institutions are having their first amendment rights taken away by being forced to go against their beliefs and provide coverage of contraception to employees, right? Wrong. The 1990 United States Supreme Court case Employment Division v. Smith clearly states that the first amendment’s provision of “free exercise” does not allow a person to disobey a law based on religious reasons. A religious institution that follows the healthcare law is not being denied religious rights; they are following a U.S. law. In fact, if Catholic institutions were not required to provide access to contraception while other institutions were, that would be showing preference to a particular religion and the first amendment actually would be violated.

You can argue about the morality of using contraception all you want, but you cannot claim that the law violates anyone’s freedom of religion.  You would be wrong, and unless you are in the 2% of sexually active women who don’t use contraception, you would be a hypocrite as well. 

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Top 5 Game of Thrones Characters

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Season 1 of HBO’s Game of Thrones series was a wild success in 2011, and on April 1 the second season will start.  I am currently reading the series, and I am on the third book, titled “A Storm of Swords.”  I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a new series that will have you addicted.  I am so addicted, in fact, that I decided to make a list of my top 5 characters in the universe.  

 

5. Jon Snow

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We haven’t seen a lot of Jon so far, but you can certainly bet he will play a larger role later.  The Others, the White Walkers, the Wildlings, Giants, and Mammoths are only a few things that will be concerning him.  He decided to give up land and women to guard the Wall, plus his direwolf Ghost is extra badass.  Now we just need to figure out who his mother is. 

 

4. Tyrion Lannister 

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Half the size of a full grown man, with twice the attitude.  Smart enough to outwit anyone in the Seven Kingdoms.  Even though he is a Lannister, it is impossible not to care for him.  Author George R.R. Martin has been quoted saying that Tyrion is his favorite character, and it shows. 

 

3. Daenerys Targaryen 

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So what if her father was affectionately known as “the Mad King.”  She begins as a timid little girl, and ends the first book a queen.  Her father was killed, her brother is mean to her constantly, and she had her husband and child taken away from her.  She is a girl with a vengeance, and everyone else better watch out.  Not to mention she has dragons!!

 

2. Arya Stark

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Arya is the youngest daughter of the Stark family and my favorite by far.  She refuses to follow the role people tell her to.  Plus in a sword fight, my bet is on her. 

 

1. Ned Stark

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The best character in the entire Game of Thrones Universe is definitely Eddard “Ned” Stark.  He will follow his duty to the end, no matter what the cost.  Ned is strict but fair, and cares a lot about his family.  Lord of Winterfell, war hero, and played Sean Bean (Boromir). What’s not to like?

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Why Dungeons and Dragons Will One Day Save My Life

Source: www.xkcd.com

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Top 5 Worst Pokémon Evolutions

One of the most exciting parts of playing one of the games is when one of your pokémon evolve.  They usually evolve into something bigger, stronger, and cooler.  However, sometimes you end up just being disappointed at the waste of potential.  Here are the top five worst evolutions.

5. Jigglypuff to Wigglytuff

If anyone actually decided to use a Jigglypuff in their party, what they got was a normal-type pink balloon pokémon.  It’s only notable ability is to make things fall asleep.  That’s right, it’s so boring that all it can do is put things to sleep.  Well it worked on me, that’s for sure.  Unfortunately, it evolves into Wigglytuff, which is just a weird shaped balloon and also has dumb hair. 

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4. Diglett to Dugtrio

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t mind Diglett as a pokémon.  It is able to use dig, which is a fairly powerful move.  What I do mind is what it evolves into.  It shouldn’t even count as one, as all it becomes is Dugtrio, which is simply three Digletts working together.  Why doesn’t like 100 of them just work together if they can do that? BLAH

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3. Magnemite to Magneton

Just read everything I wrote about Dugtrio and it applies here. 

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2. Voltorb to Electrode

It starts out as a pokémon with eyes.  When it evolves, it becomes slightly bigger and turns upside down.  COME ON!

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1. Grimer to Muk

By now everyone knows how much I dislike Grimer.  It’s a pile of sludge.  Want to know what it evolves into? Muk, a larger pile of sludge. 

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Top Five Lamest Pokémon

The world of Pokémon is filled with many different wonderful and unique varieties.  This list, however, will focus on the lamest of the lame.  One has to wonder what the the design team was thinking when some of these were created. 

5.  Grimer

How much would your opponent laugh if during a battle you threw out a pokéball and a blob of gross sludge with eye balls came out?  Not very intimidating.  At least it evolves into something really cool right? (Stay tuned for the reason for this overly sarcastic remark)

4.  Voltorb

They must have really been running out of ideas by this point.  Someone must have said, “let’s just make it look like a pokéball that has eyes.”  Real creative guys.

3.  Metapod/Kakuna

Not only do these cocoon pokémon look lame, but odds are if you catch one the only move it knows is “harden.”  Oh that’s really going to scare the other pokémon, by becoming slightly better protected.  Psh yeah right.  The only good thing about them is the fact that once they evolve they make up for the total lameness.

2.  Magikarp

Sigh. While Metapod and Kakuna may have only been able to use “harden,” at least that move actually does something.  Try catching a Magikarp and then attempt to battle with it.  The only move it knows is “splash,” which is utterly useless.  The only redeeming quality is that Gyarados is so darn awesome.  If only getting that Magikarp to level 20 wasn’t so painful.

1.  Lickitung

It’s a pink thing.  It has a giant tongue.  I’m not even going to say anything more, the existence of Lickitung just makes me sad deep down.

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Pokémon Week!

I recently purchased the White Version of the new Pokémon game, and it has gotten me excited about the little critters all over again.  Therefore I have decided to dedicate this entire next week to all things related to Pokémon.  I have spent more hours than I care to admit playing the different games, and I feel that it is my duty to share my expertise with all of you. 

Some notes:

– I will only be talking about the original 150 pokémon from Blue/Red Version.  Although all of the games are fun, the first games were definitely the best and are the closest to my heart.  Besides, I don’t feel like studying over 800 pokémon that now exist.

– This week I am clearly limiting my reader base.  My parents are  probably my only readers anyway, and I can guarantee they will neither know nor care about anything I will be talking about.  Oh well!

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