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Please read current events from a variety of sources.

February 2015


 Islamic state: Fears Grow For Abducted Syrian Christians
United Kingdom
BBC
Wednesday 25 Feb 2015

There are fears that more members of an Assyrian Christian community in north-eastern Syria were abducted by Islamic State militants than at first thought. Initial reports had put the number of missing at 90, but one activist said as many as 285 people had been seized on Monday in Hassakeh province. Efforts to try to negotiate their release are reported to be under way.

Some 1,000 local Assyrian families are believed to have fled their homes in the wake of the abductions.

Kurdish and Christian militia are battling IS in the area, amid reports of churches and homes having been set ablaze.

Thousands of Christians in Syria have been forced from their homes by the threat from IS militants.

In areas under their control, Christians have been ordered to convert to Islam, pay jizya (a religious levy), or face death. IS militants in Libya also recently beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians.
Kurdish offensive

The Assyrians were seized by the militants as they swept into 12 villages along the southern bank of the Khabur river near the town of Tal Tamr before dawn on Monday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said at least 90 people had been abducted, most of them women, children and the elderly.

However, the Syriac National Council of Syria put the figure as high as 150, while Afram Yakoub of the Assyrian Federation of Sweden said sources on the ground had told him that up to 285 people were missing, including 156 from the village of Tal Shamran and 90 from Tal al-Jazira.
 

"These were peaceful villages that had nothing to do with the battles," Nasir Haj Mahmoud, a Kurdish official in the YPG militia in north-eastern Syria, told the Reuters news agency.

There are conflicting reports as to where the families have been taken.

Kino Gabriel, a spokesman for the Syriac Military Council - a Christian militia fighting alongside the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) - told the BBC that it believed the captives had been taken to Abdul Aziz mountain.

Osama Edward of the Sweden-based Assyrian Human Rights Network told the AFP news agency that the captives had been taken to the IS stronghold of Shaddadi, as did Syria's state news agency, Sana.

Another report said they were in Raqqa, 145km (90 miles) to the west, the de facto capital of the "caliphate" declared by IS last June.
 
The BBC's Jonny Dymond in Beirut says the motive for the seizure of so many Assyrians is not yet clear. Our correspondent says it may be that the captives are to be used as part of a swap with the Kurdish forces.

Hundreds of Assyrians who were living in villages on the north bank of the Khabur river and elsewhere are reported to have fled following the attack to the largely Kurdish-controlled provincial capital of Hassakeh, to the south-east, and Qamishli, another city to the north-east.
 
Mr Edward said two historic churches had been burned down in captured villages - one in Tal Hurmiz and the other in Qaber Shamiya. The Syrian Observatory also reported that a church in Tal Shamran had also been damaged.

Mr Gabriel said IS had moved a big force into the area and were trying to take control of Tal Tamr.

The Syriac Military Council had about 400 fighters in the area and at least four had been killed in clashes with the jihadists, he added. The YPG has deployed between 1,000 and 1,500 fighters.

The YPG is also continuing a major offensive launched on Sunday against IS some 100km (60 miles) to the east, near the border with Iraq - an area of vital importance to the jihadists.

Click here to read the article and associated links on the BBC News Middle East page



 ISIS beheading of Coptic Christians on Libyan beach brings Islamists to the doorstep of Europe

United Kingdom
The Independent,
Thursday 19 Feb 2015

The beheading of 21 Coptic Christians on a beach in Libya has brought ISIS to the doorstep of Europe.

The mass murder, which provoked a volley of Egyptian air strikes on the group’s Libyan stronghold of Derna, realised long-held fears of militants reaching the Mediterranean coast.

ISIS started in Iraq and now controls swathes of adjoining Syria, including along the Turkish border, as part of its so-called Islamic State.

Its ideology has spread much further, with pledges of allegiance from terrorist groups in Egypt, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Yemen and now Libya.

Days before ISIS released its gory video depicting the Egyptians’ beheadings, Libya’s former Prime Minister warned that the group would soon reach the Mediterranean and even Europe if order was not restored in the country.

Ali Zeidan said Libya’s fractured government and easy access to weapons seized during the fall of Colonel Gaddafi made it more susceptible to the activities of jihadists, according to The Times.

“(ISIS) are growing. They are everywhere,” he added.

“In Libya, the situation is still under control. If we leave it one month or two months more I don’t think you can control it.

“It will be a big war in the country and it will be here in Europe as well.”

Libya has seen fierce fighting between rival militias since Gaddafi was overthrown during the 2011 Arab Spring.

Mr Zeidan, who fled to Europe after losing a parliamentary vote of confidence, reported that ISIS had a growing presence in some of the bigger cities and was trying to recruit fighters from rival Islamist groups.

Libya's former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan warned that Isis would reach the Mediterranean Aref Ali Nayed, Libya’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, also said Isis’s presence in Libya was increasing “exponentially”.

Its military gains last summer sparked a rush by other Islamist groups in the Middle East and North Africa to ally themselves with the group by pledging allegiance and changing their names.

The jihadists behind the beheadings in Libya call themselves the Tripoli Province of the Islamic State.

As the turmoil in Libya continued last year, they gained control of the port city of Derna and nearby Sirte, where Isis seized the murdered Coptic hostages in December and January.

The location of their murders could not be confirmed but footage showed them dressed in orange jumpsuits kneeling on a beach. Behind each of them were masked militants who wielded their knives to kill the bound hostages simultaneously.

ISIS affiliates have also claimed responsibility for attacks on the Egyptian military and police in the Sinai Peninsula, further along the Mediterranean coast between Egypt and Gaza.

England and Europe's greater concern than the United States is evident in this article, due to their proximity to the menacing Radical Islamic peril. Learn more about this with accompanying links at the UK's INDEPENDENT website by clicking here.


ISIS burn 45 people to death in captured Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi as Islamists attack the homes of security forces' families


United Kingdom's Daily Mail
Dailymail.com
Karen Pickles for Mailonline
February 17, 2015

ISIS burn 45 people to death in captured Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi as Islamists attack the homes of security forces' families
    Western town al-Baghdadi captured by ISIS fighters last week
    Victims thought to be members of security forces and their families
    Follows barbaric video of Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Muath al-Kaseasbeh
    Attack is only five miles from air base with 320 US Marines

Militants from Islamic State have burned 45 people to death in the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, according to the local police chief.

Col. Qasim al-Obeidi said the motive was unknown but he believed some of the victims were members of the security forces.

He has pleaded for help from the government and international community and said the compound, which houses the families of security personnel and local officials, was now under attack.

It follows the capture of al-Baghdadi, near Ain al-Asad air base, by ISIS fighters last week.

The unconfirmed reports have haunting similarities to the video published earlier this month, showing militants burning alive a Jordanian air force pilot, whose plane crashed in Syria in December.

Al-Baghdadi had been besieged for months by Islamic State fighters before its fall. It had been one of the few towns to still be controlled by the Iraqi government in Anbar province, where IS and allied Sunni Arab tribesmen launched an offensive in January 2014.

On Friday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm John Kirby, played down its capture, telling reporters it was the first time in the last couple of months that the jihadist group had taken new ground.

But with 320 US Marines stationed just five miles away at the Ain al-Asad air base, training members of the Iraqi army's 7th Division, it will cause concern.

The base was attacked by several suicide bombers, on Friday with the militant repelled by Iraqi troops backed by US-led coalition aircraft.

In a separate development on Tuesday, the influential Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr announced he was withdrawing his forces from an umbrella group of Shia militia fighting IS alongside the Iraqi army.

He cited what he called the bad behaviour of other militia within the Popular Mobilisation Forces, whom he accused of 'wreaking havoc through murdering, kidnapping and violating sanctuaries'.

Shia militia have been accused of kidnapping and killing scores of Sunni civilians since Islamic State launched an offensive in northern Iraq last June that saw it seize large swathes of the country.

 Elsewhere, there are reports at least 35 more Egyptian Christians are feared to have been kidnapped by jihadists in retaliation for air strikes on targets in Libya.

Militants from the Islamic State and Ansar Al-Sharia are understood to have rounded up dozens of farm workers in the wake of bombings by Cairo, it was reported by local media.

The move is believed to be a direct response to strikes by Egyptian warplanes yesterday which came after fanatics released a horrific video showing the beheading of 21 Christians on a beach.

Click here to read the article in its entirety with maps and links at The Dailymail.co.uk




Netanyahu: Israel is standing by Europe, Europe must stand by Israel


January 8, 2015
The Jerusalem Post
By HERB KEINON

In meeting with Norwegian FM, Netanyahu says radical Islam is a "threat to our common civilization." 


Israel is being attacked by the same forces attacking Europe, and just as Israel stands with Europe, so too Europe must stand with Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday.

Netanyahu, speaking following a meeting with visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende, said that Wednesday’s terrorist attack in Paris “clearly demonstrates the disdain of radical Islam for the values we hold dear. We cherish freedom and tolerance; they worship tyranny and terror. And through this terror they seek to impose a new dark age on humanity.”

Netanyahu said the terrorists were “part of a global movement and this necessitates a global response. I believe that with the strength of our resolve and the unity of our action, we can defeat this threat to our common civilization. And what the battle against terror requires is courage, clarity and consistency.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzahi Hanegbi said in an Israel Radio interview that precisely that type of determination has been missing up until now in France and elsewhere in Europe in the battle against terrorism.


Hanegbi said the French in the past tried to delude themselves regarding the true nature of threat, saying “maybe it was only sporadic incidents, maybe it is only anti-Semitism, maybe it is only against the Jews.”

He said that the French at times tried to understand the terrorists motivations, and at other times tried to downplay their ties to Islam. The sheer brutality of Wednesday attack, especially the murder of the policeman on the sidewalk, will compel the French government to “look at the reality square in the face” and realize there is a serious danger at their gates, he said.

Hanegbi predicted that France will be forced, like the US was after the September 11, 2001 attacks, to empower the security establishment with tools to effectively deal with the threats.

“France must deal with the threat coming from within,” he said. Hanegbi added that Israel,  unfortunately, has quite a deal of experience dealing with terrorism, and that “anyone who cooperates with a county as experienced [in dealing with terrorism] as Israel, only benefits.”

He said that Israel has the capability to help France a lot more than the French have requested in the past. Now, he said, France “ will have an interest in being helped by anyone who can help them, including israel.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, meanwhile, took the Paris attack and used it to prove a point regarding domestic Israeli policies.

If there was an important lesson to be learned from the attack, he said, it is that extremist movements must be dealt with early, and that there are only small legal and semantic differences separating those organizations from terrorist groups.

Those who demonstrate tolerance toward those organizations, he said, will ultimately pay a high price in blood, as well as in threats to their very democracies that allows those organizations to work.

Israel's lesson, he said, must be not to tarry and to stop the activities of Raed Salah and the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.

Liberman said Salah's organization was an inseparable link in the chain of terrorist organizations that includes Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaida and the Islamic State. He said the organization “shares exactly the same values of the perpetrators of the massacre in Paris and its intolerance of criticism and of anything inconsistent with its extreme world view.”

Liberman said the the northern branch is a threat to Israeli democracy and the country's citizens, and that it needed to be outlawed.

Please click here to see the article in the Jerusalem Post


http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Netanyahu-Israel-is-standing-by-Europe-Europe-must-stand-by-Israel-387083




Houston Subpoenas Pastors’ Sermons in Gay Rights Ordinance Case


By Sarah Pulliam Bailey
Religion News Service
October 15, 2014

Evangelical leaders are angry after city officials in Houston subpoenaed sermons given by local pastors who oppose an equal rights ordinance that provides protections to the LGBT community.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who drew headlines for becoming the first openly lesbian mayor of a major American city, led support for the ordinance. The measure bans anti-gay discrimination among businesses that serve the public, private employers, in housing and in city employment and city contracting.

Under one of the hotly contested parts of the ordinance, transgender people barred access to a restroom would be able to file a discrimination complaint.

The ordinance, which exempted religious institutions, was passed in May, though its implementation has been delayed due to legal complaints.

Opponents were hoping to repeal the ordinance through a ballot measure and claimed the city’s attorney incorrectly determined they had not gathered enough signatures to qualify for a ballot. Supporters of the repeal reportedly gathered 50,000 signatures, well over the 17,269 needed for inclusion on the November ballot. Opponents of the repeal have questioned the validity of the signatures.

A group of Christians sued the city. In response, city attorneys issued subpoenas to five local pastors during the case’s discovery phase, though the five pastors were not involved in the lawsuit.

The subpoenas sought “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

“The subpoenas were issued to pastors who have been involved in the political campaign to organize a repeal of Houston’s new equal rights ordinance,” said Janice Evans, chief policy officer to the mayor, in a statement. “It is part of the discovery process in a lawsuit brought by opponents of the ordinance, a group that is tied to the pastors who have received the subpoenas.”

An Arizona-based religious liberty group, Alliance Defending Freedom, has filed a motion on behalf of the pastors seeking to halt the subpoenas. The ministers call the subpoenas “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.”

“The pastors made their sermons relevant to the case by using the pulpit to do political organizing,” Evans said in her statement. “This included encouraging congregation members to sign petitions and help gather signatures for equal rights ordinance foes. The issue is whether they were speaking from the pulpit for the purpose of politics. If so, it is not protected speech.”

The lawsuit is scheduled for trial in January.

“It’s procedural — it’s common to ask for a wide range of documents — but the mayor is playing real hardball,” said David Skeel, professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania. “The fact that she’s subpoenaing pastors seems quite unusual in a case that’s mostly about politics, and the fact that she’s going inside the church is even more radical. It would be easy enough to get sermons, of course, but asking for them is clearly meant to send a signal.”

City Attorney David Feldman argues the subpoenas are justified because the churches are where opponents of the ordinance met to organize.

“We’re certainly entitled to inquire about the communications that took place in the churches regarding the ordinance and the petitions because that’s where they chose to do it,” Feldman told KTRH News. “It’s relevant to know what representations and instructions were given regarding these petitions.”

The issue has angered evangelicals nationwide, prompting outcry from people such as Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

“The separation of church and state means that we will render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and we will,” Moore wrote. “But the preaching of the church of God does not belong to Caesar, and we will not hand it over to him. Not now. Not ever.”

More than 1,800 pastors participated in ADF’s seventh annual Pulpit Freedom Sunday event on Oct. 5, daring the Internal Revenue Service to prosecute them for endorsing political candidates. Under IRS regulations, tax-exempt churches are not allowed to engage in partisan politics.

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC. Visit http://www.religionnews.com/2014/10/14/houston-subpoenas-pastors-sermons-equal-rights-ordinance-case-prompting-outcry/ the source of the above article by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, and updates and comments regarding this attempted overstep by Houston government.




Food for thought from-

The Khaleej Times - a daily U.S. language newspaper published in United Arab Emirates.  It is the second most popular English language newspapers published in the UAE.

Armageddon Can Wait


Mahir Ali

Kaleej Times

3 September 2014

Global threat is used to deflect attention from domestic woes

Barack Obama’s recent confession that his country did not so far have a strategy as far as the so-called ISIS is concerned has been pilloried as a gaffe. It could, however, also be seen as the plain truth.

The United States did not really have a strategy a decade or so ago either, when the administration of George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq, evidently expecting that the various pieces would magically fall into place once Saddam Hussein was toppled. The tactic represented a disastrous combination of hubris and ignorance.

The extent to which the subsequent implosions and explosions in the region are a direct consequence of that particular debacle is arguable, but there can be little doubt that the big picture would have been decidedly different, and in all probability considerably less unpleasant, in the absence of that monumental neoconservative folly.

Of course, what’s done cannot be undone, and the present crisis demands a resolute response. It’s by no means undesirable, however, for that response to take account of all that has gone wrong in the recent past.

Obama has come under attack, for instance, for hesitating to strike Syria in the early days of the revolt against the Bashar Al Assad dictatorship, and thereby purportedly facilitating the expansion of Islamist outfits such as ISIS and Jabhat Al Nusra. Too many of the critics are inclined, however, to ignore in this context the consequences of NATO’s role in Libya.

Washington allowed itself to be catapulted into that conflict, partly on the basis of Paris and London’s aggressive enthusiasm, and NATO’s mission was a success in terms of achieving the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. But Libya today is being torn apart by rival militias, many of them distinguishable not so much by ideology as by tribal affiliations.

Under similar circumstances, would the outcome the Syria have been remarkably different? Who can claim with any confidence that Assad’s early overthrow would have prevented Islamist forces from sooner or later gaining the upper hand?

The US has lately been thinking aloud about launching airstrikes in Syria with the ostensible aim of undermining ISIS rather than Assad, based on the assumption that Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi’s troops cannot be quelled by focusing on Iraq alone. That may be so, but there is the wider question of whether they can effectively be tackled at all mainly through air assaults.

There have evidently been some tactical successes in Iraq in this respect, beginning with the besieged Yazidis stranded on Sinjar Mountain — most of whom appear to have made it to relative safety in Iraqi Kurdistan, although the reported numbers are open to question. Then there was the recapture of Mosul Dam, and most recently the apparent rescue of Amerli.

In the latter instance, the US airstrikes were effectively in aid of Shia militias spearheading the assault against ISIS — the same militias, with links to Iran, that not many years ago were dedicated to undermining the American occupation of Iraq. “Should such military actions continue,” The New York Times noted on Monday, “they could signal a dramatic shift for the United States and Iran, which have long vied for control in Iraq.”

Naturally, neither Washington nor Tehran is keen to emphasise this aspect of the emerging situation. Matters are further complicated by the fact that some of the militias betray a penchant for sectarian brutality that, although no match for the revolting atrocities that ISIS is so keen to broadcast, nonetheless provides cause for concern.

The United Nations this week decided to investigate “acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale” by ISIS, as well as atrocities by Iraqi government forces. Whether or not such an investigation serves any practical purpose in the murkily unfolding circumstances, the ostensible even-handedness of the approach is interesting.

Meanwhile, there has been considerable concern across several nations in Europe as well as in the US and Australia over young Muslim citizens’ tendency towards jihadist adventurism, with thousands — the numbers are again uncertain — travelling to Syria or Iraq as Islamist volunteers.

This is hardly a novel trend — it can be traced back at least to Afghanistan in the 1980s. The worries over it are understandable, although there is thus far no clear evidence of returnees planning domestic acts of terrorism. It is at the same time difficult to altogether dispense with the notion that projecting ISIS as an unprecedented global threat helps some Western governments to deflect attention from domestic woes.

The ISIS threat should not be underestimated, but exaggerations can have the perverse effect of increasing its cachet both within and outside the region. Nobody has a clear idea of precisely how this story will unfold, let alone end. But there’s not much value in pretending it portends some kind of Armageddon.

The Western insistence on “no boots on the ground” is open to interpretation as insufficient commitment or even cowardice. But in fact it’s a welcome augury, not least in the light of recent experience. When, since the Second World War, have Western boots on the ground produced positive consequences in the Middle East (or, for that matter, anywhere else)?

The ideal response to the regional dilemmas of the moment would be an unprecedented level of cooperation, coordination and collaboration between Middle Eastern states, notwithstanding longstanding rivalries in some cases. That, unfortunately, cannot be described as an imminent prospect, despite the tentative emergence of intriguing alliances. But there’s never been a better time for it.

Article in full at Kaleej Times


Iraq's largest Christian town abandoned as Isis advance continues

UN officials say an estimated 200,000 new refugees are seeking sanctuary in the Kurdish north from Islamic extremists

US considering humanitarian relief to Iraqis trapped by Isis
    by Martin Chulov  
    at theguardian.com
    Thursday 7 August 2014

Thousands of Yazidi and Christian people flee to Erbil after the latest wave of Isis advances. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Iraq's largest Christian city was all but abandoned on Thursday as the jihadist advance through minority communities in the country's north-west rampaged towards the Kurdish stronghold of Erbil.

UN officials said an estimated 200,000 new refugees were seeking sanctuary in the Kurdish north from Islamic extremists who had pursued them since the weekend. The city of Qaraqosh, south-east of Mosul, home to around 50,000 Christians was the latest to fall, with most residents fleeing before dawn as convoys of extremists drew near.

Other Christian towns near Mosul, including Tel Askof, Tel Keif and Qaramless have also largely been emptied. Those who remained behind have reportedly been given the same stark choice given to other minorities, including Yazidis: flee, convert to Islam, or be killed.

Christians, Yazidis and Turkmen have been at the frontlines of Iraq's war with the Islamic State (Isis) ever since the jihadist group stormed into Mosul and Tikrit and mid-June. The Iraqi army capitulated within hours, with at least 60,000 officers and soldiers fleeing on the first day of the assault alone.

Ever since, the jihadists have continued to make advances, while Iraqi troops have concentrated on defending Baghdad and the Shia south, leaving the defence of minorities in the north to the Kurdish peshmurga.

However, even the much vaunted Kurdish forces were no match for the heavy weapons wielded by the jihadists as they advanced in recent days. Peshmurga officers ordered troops to withdraw to areas administered by the Kurdish regional government – a clear sign of priorities and of where the battle lines are being drawn.

Without any protection, Yazidis, Christians and Turkmen are being uprooted from communities they have lived in for millennia and the geo-social fabric of Iraq is being rapidly shredded.

While those who have managed to flee the Christian areas have so far had a relatively safe passage to Erbil, tens of thousands of Yazidis remain besieged on a mountain top near Sinjar, with little food or water.

The UN said on Thursday it was able to get some supplies overland to the stranded hordes – avoiding Isis fighters who have surrounded most of Mount Sinjar. Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that Turkish helicopters had dropped food and water on the mountain top. Iraqi helicopters have also made food drops, but stranded Yazidis say they do not have enough to survive.

The Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk, Joseph Thomas, described the situation in northern Iraq as "catastrophic, a crisis beyond imagination". He demanded urgent intervention to save what remained of the area's Christian heritage.

Kurdish officials on Thursday demanded more help in catering for refugees. The Kurdish administered areas have seen staggering numbers cross their notional border since the original Isis onslaught two months ago. In the first week alone, some 500,000 people are thought to have fled towards Erbil.

The capital of the Kurdish north is already home to a new Chaldean Christian community, which fled Baghdad in the wake of an Isis-led massacre inside a cathedral in October 2010. Many fleeing Christians have headed for the Ainkawa neighbourhood, which is home to Baghdad's Christian exiles.

The past 11 years of war and insurrection since the US invasion have led to most of Iraq's Christians fleeing. Numbers have plummeted starkly from an estimated one million before 2003 to around 150,000 now. A large number of those who remain are now displaced.

Miriam Dagher, 53, from Qaraqosh, said churches in the city had already been torched and religious insignia smashed. "We stayed as long as we could," she said. "But nothing could save us. This is the end of our community.

Click here to read the article at the Guardian





Amnesty On Trial


May 28, 2014
By KrisAnne Hall

If the federal government were a person, if Congress were subject to the laws they create, they would face fines, prison or both for many of their actions. The ENLIST Act, being touted as a “pathway” to citizenship for illegal aliens may be one of those actions. It could be argued that the very act itself violates federal law. Consider this:

Immigration law, 8 US Code 1324 states that it is a crime to, either knowingly or recklessly, “conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, or attempt to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection… transport, or move or attempt to transport or move” or to even “encourage or induce” an illegal alien “to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowingly or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.”

It is not only a crime to actually commit these offenses, but it is a crime to even attempt to do so. Anyone found guilty of violating 8 US Code 1324 is subject to fines, prison or both. However, if it can be proven that this person has committed this act for personal gain, the fines go up and the prison sentence can be as much as ten years.

The Act also appears to violate 8 US Code 1611 which sets forth specific federal benefits that cannot be given to illegal aliens.
- See more at: http://krisannehall.com/amnesty-trial/#sthash.9AOkP6WK.dpuf
 







 May 8, 2014 2:19PM

Is the Constitution Relevant Today?

By David Boaz
From The Cato Institute

  May 8, 2014 2:19PM
 
In the Washington Post, Paul Kane reports that recent experiences with ultra-conservative Senate candidates have made Republican leaders fearful of candidates like Rep. Paul Broun in Georgia. There may be reasons for party leaders or voters to have doubts about Broun, but I hope they aren’t actually concerned about the purported problem that Kane identifies:

Broun is prone to fiery speeches invoking the Founding Fathers and applying those 1789 principles to issues 225 years later.

Seriously? He thinks the Constitution is still the law of the land? And that the framework it established for individual rights and limited government is still relevant today? Do Republican leaders really think that’s a bad message? Or does the Washington Post?

Thomas Jefferson and his followers hailed “the principles of ‘76” or “the spirit of ‘76” in their battles with Federalists. As historian Joseph Ellis put it, “Jefferson’s core conviction was that what might be called ‘the spirit of ‘76’ had repudiated all energetic expressions of government power, most especially power exercised from faraway places, which included London, Philadelphia or Washington.” Good thing there isn’t an actual Jeffersonian running!

But the principles of 1789, or actually of 1787, also protect freedom from government power and are just as essential today as they were at the Founding. The Framers knew their history. They knew that people with power tend to abuse it and to restrict freedom. In his last letter, 50 years after the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote:

    All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.

Because they feared the exercise of power, the Framers wrote a Constitution that established a government of delegated, enumerated, and thus limited powers. Then the people insisted on a Bill of Rights to further protect their rights even from the very limited federal government established in the Constitution. Then, after identifying specific rights that individuals retained, they also added, “for greater caution,” as James Madison put it, the Ninth Amendment to clarify that “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

One would hope that all members of Congress – and voters, and political reporters – believe that those principles and those constitutional rules should be applied to issues of today. Surely the First Amendment remains relevant. And the Fourth. And the limits on unconstrained power in the basic structure of the Constitution. The merits of any particular candidate aside, support of the Constitution and the principles it embodies seems like a good, even minimal, qualification for public office.

Click here to read the article in its entirety at The Cato Institute



 

A Timeless Message
PAYDAY - SOMEDAY

 
"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls."
Jeremiah 6:16

Dr. Robert G Lee was the pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee for thirty-two years. During his lifetime he was a strong leader in the Southern Baptist Convention, known as a preacher’s preacher, and was highly respected among his peers. This sermon has been accepted as a classic by all that have heard and read it, and through its message, the Lord still speaks to mankind.

Dr. Lee originally published the following message in 1926. It is said that he developed it following the suggestion of a deacon at a prayer meeting in 1919 and that he preached it at least once a year at his home church. All total, it is related that he preached the messsage over 1,000 times. Like many Baptists, Lee was known more as a preacher than a theologian but his doctrine was sound to the core. Lee believed in and preached a doctrine often overlooked in our day, that of the necessity of regeneration.

If you have 60 minutes to listen to Dr Lee's sermon "PAYDAY- SOMEDAY", Click here.

Or if you're a reader with time to read 17 pages, Click here.



Ala. Supreme Court: 'Unborn Child Has Inalienable Right to Life From its Earliest Stages

CNSNews.com | Apr 23, 2014

   In a case about a pregnant woman who used cocaine and endangered her unborn child, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed (8-1) that the word "child" includes "an unborn child," and that the law therefore "furthers the State's interest in protecting the life of children from the earliest stages of their development."
In his concurring opinion, Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore wrote that "an unborn child has an inalienable right to life from its earliest stages of development," and added, "I write separately to emphasize that the inalienable right to life is a gift of God that civil government must secure for all persons - born and unborn."
The court decision on April 18 was in reference to Sarah Janie Hicks v. State of Alabama. Hicks had been charged in 2009 with violating Alabama's chemical-endangerment statute, which in part says that a "person commits the crime of chemical endangerment" by "knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally causes or permits a child to be exposed to, to ingest or inhale, or to have contact with a controlled substance, chemical substance, or drug paraphernalia," a felony.
In Hicks' case, she was charged with using cocaine while pregnant. Her child, "J.D.," tested positive for cocaine "at the time of his birth," reads the court document. 
In January 2010, Hicks pleaded guilty to the crime but also "reserved the right to appeal the issues" she and her attorneys had presented earlier in trying to get the charges dismissed. Hicks got a three year suspended prison sentence and was placed on probation.
Hicks appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals in Alabama, arguing that because the chemical-endangerment statute did not specifically use the words "unborn children" or "fetuses," the law was ambiguous and could not have applied to her unborn child.
The Appeals Court ruled against Hicks, stating that "the plain language of 26-15-3.2 [chemical-endangerment statute] was clear and unambiguous and that the plain meaning of the term 'child' in [the statute] included an unborn child or viable fetus.'"
Hicks then petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012 to review the Appeals Court decision.  Last Friday's ruling affirmed the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals.
In their conclusion, eight of the nine Alabama Supreme Court justices said: "Consistent with this Court's opinion in Ankrom [a similar chemical-endangerment case], by its plain meaning, the word 'child' in the chemical-endangerment statute includes an unborn child, and, therefore, the statute furthers the State's interest in protecting the life of children from the earliest stages of their development."
The law to protect the life of unborn children "is consistent with many statutes and decisions throughout our nation that recognize unborn children as persons with legally enforceable rights in many areas of the law," said the justices.
In his own concurring opinion, Chief Justice Moore argued that natural rights come from God, not from the government. He cited the Declaration of Independence that there is a "self-evident" truth that "all Men are created equal, [and] that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights," particularly "life."
The Declaration of Independence "acknowledges as  'self-evident' the truth that all human beings are endowed with inherent dignity and the right to life as a direct result of having been created by God," said Chief Justice Moore.
He also cited Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, which says, "This law of nature, being co-eval [beginning at the same time] with mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this."
Chief Justice Moore went on to explain how at the Nuremburg Trials at the end of World War II, Nazi criminals could not argue that they were only following orders or just following the laws of the German government because there is a higher law, the "very law of nature."
"Although the Nuremberg defendants were following orders and the laws of their own officials and country, they were guilty of violating a higher law to which all nations are equally subject: the laws of nature and of nature's God," wrote Justice Moore.
That law binds all nations, including the State of Alabama, said Justice Moore. "In 2006, the AlabamaLegislature amended the homicide statute to define 'person' to include 'an unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability," he wrote, "thus recognizing under the statute that, when an 'unborn child' is killed, a 'person' is killed."
In conclusion,  he wrote, "The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment provides that a state may not 'deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Unborn children are a class of persons entitled to equal protection of the laws."
"States have an obligation to provide to unborn children at any stage of their development the same legal protection from injury and death they provide to persons already born," wrote Justice Moore. "Because a human life with a full genetic endowment comes into existence at the moment of conception, the self-evident truth that 'all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights' encompasses the moment of conception." 
"Legal recognition of the unborn as members of the human family derives ultimately from the laws of nature and of nature's God, Who created human life in His image and protected it with the commandment: 'Thou shalt not kill,'" wrote Chief Justice Moore.  "Therefore, the interpretation of the word 'child' in Alabama's chemical-endangerment statute, § 26-15- 3.2, Ala. Code 1975, to include all human beings from the moment of conception is fully consistent with these first principles regarding life and law."

Click here to view this article at cns news where we found this affirmation of God's truth.


April 24, 2014
the clarionproject.org

Tony Blair: Fighting Islamism –

 A Defining Challenge of Our Time

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair gave a landmark speech yesterday calling on the world to unite against Islamism.

Tony Blair, the Former British Prime Minister, delivered a keynote speech at Bloomberg HQ in London entitled 'Why the Middle East Still Matters.' In it he described radical Islam as the greatest threat facing the world today.He argued "there are four reasons why the Middle East remains of central importance and cannot be relegated to the second order."

 Blair rapidly moved on to the fourth and most important reason: Islamic extremism also known as Islamism.

He identifies the conflict in the Middle East as one between an open and tolerant viewpoint and a fundamentalist Islamist ideology. He said "wherever you look – from Iraq to Libya to Egypt to Yemen to Lebanon to Syria and then further afield to Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan – this is the essential battle."

Addressing those who regard these conflicts as distinct he said "there is something frankly odd about the reluctance to accept what is so utterly plain: that they have in common a struggle around the issue of the rightful place of religion, and in particular Islam, in politics." It is this central point that he hammered home again and again over the course of his 40 minute speech.

He argued that this struggle does not end at the borders of the region. Rather, "The reason this matters so much is that this ideology is exported around the world."

Click here to read in its entirety at the clarion project at
http://www.clarionproject.org/news/tony-blair-fighting-islamism-%E2%80%93-defining-challenge-our-time


You can listen to several minutes of Tony Blair's speech here:
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/apr/23/tony-blair-west-take-sides-growing-threat-radical-islam


The full text of the former PM's speech can be read here:
http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2014/04/full-text-tony-blairs-speech-on-why-the-middle-east-matters/



  More Attacks on the Freedom of Speech,
In the Form of Religious Persecution
Of our Air Force Cadets


From The Traditional Values Coalition:

Earlier this month, an Air Force Academy cadet was forced to remove a Bible verse on his personal white board after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation claimed offense.

 

"I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

 

MRFF President Michael "Mikey" Weinstein, self proclaimed "undisputed leader of the national movement to restore the obliterated all separating church and state" in the military, described the student's white board quoting of scripture as pouring "fundamentalist Christian gasoline on an already raging out-of-control conflagration of fundamentalist Christian tyranny, exceptionalism, and supremacy."

 

The Air Force Academy complied with Weinstein's demands, having the scripture removed. But that's not enough -- Weinstein is demanding that not only should the cadet be punished, but that their entire chain of command should be as well.

 

At least a dozen cadets responded in support of religious freedom, posting Bible verses on their personal white boards. Please join me and thousands of others in standing with our cadets for their right to express their religious beliefs without fear of persecution <http://capwiz.com/traditional/utr/1/KTQOTSLPVY/KFTWTSLUWE/10253908236> .

 

No one, especially those who volunteer to risk their lives to defend our freedoms, should be denied their constitutional rights and religious freedoms. Groups like the Military Religious Freedom Foundation are seeking to silence those who profess their faith, stripping them of their religious liberties in the name of political correctness.

 

Our Constitution protects the free exercise of religion. Yet that doesn't seem to be enough for some groups.

 

View this article at the original Traditional Values Coalition website, where you can also sign a petition of support:

 http://www.capwiz.com/traditional/issues/alert/?alertid=63153151&type=CU




  The Clash of Law: Parsing the Modern War against Catholics, Catholicism and the Church

From  CatholicCulture.org

By  Dr. Jeff Mirus

Date  March 25, 2014

Opposition to Catholicism in the modern West is brought to a head almost universally through the pressure of today’s legal systems. .... what bother us are the increasing restrictions on the exercise of our Christian duties by bureaucratic laws and regulations, administered by people who otherwise do not care much about our religious identity one way or another.

This is the result of a utopian vision of the future implemented at the highest levels of the social order. It is not the cruel and unthinking persecution of those who have simply been raised, in their local enclaves and neighborhoods, to hate Catholics. It is rather a relatively high brow and carefully orchestrated process of civic improvement. As such, the anti-Catholic prejudice today wears a mantle of utter reasonableness and courtesy. Whatever is done is portrayed as necessary for the noblest of reasons, to serve an exalted vision of human good. As we will see shortly, this is a deception which even its proponents probably do not understand.

Consider how varied are the pressure points which have been attacked in exactly this way. There is the progressive public pressure for Catholic social service agencies to conform to the values of our secular elites. There is the growing impossibility of running Catholic organizations as a part of student life on college campuses. There are the battles over freedom of conscience in an ever-widening array of professions, beginning with doctors, nurses and pharmacists and extending now to anyone who might provide business services to same-sex couples. There are escalating battles over religious liberty. There is the HHS Mandate in the United States and similar rules in other Western nations which force even private individuals to actively participate in mandated actions which they find deeply immoral.

Meanwhile, in another part of the world, there is the unending pressure against Catholic life imposed by the theocratic laws of Islamic states, called Shari’a law. This alternative form of coercion is in the process of entering the West through Europe, where the presence of high percentages of Islamic immigrants raises the question of alternative legal systems for different communities and regions. Almost nowhere can we any longer find a legal system which is not essentially hostile to Catholicism, with its own transcendent source of moral knowledge.

A Striking Parallel

Interestingly, in his Regensburg Address in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI drew a close parallel between the habits of thought which underlie Islamic law and those that lie at the basis of contemporary European (or Western) law. Benedict saw that neither Islam nor the contemporary West (any longer) assigns to reason the role of identifying natural moral principles which can allow people of different beliefs and cultural backgrounds to share a common good and a common polity. Islam believes Shari’a Law covers all of life and is rooted purely in the will of God, completely unbound by any rational characteristic of consistency or fairness. Similarly, the old natural law tradition of the West—in which rational consistency and fairness were perhaps the most easily-grasped components—has given way to the sovereignty of the human will to remake reality according to whatever happens to be desired by those who have political, social and cultural power.

One of the greatest Christian gifts to the world has been the distinction between two fonts of law which arise without any possible contradiction from the same profoundly rational Divine source. On the one hand, there is the natural law, which is accessible to human reason and which opens to the human community a common ground of morality as the basis for human flourishing in the social order. On the other hand, there is the law derived from Revelation, equally rational but containing mysteries which are accessible only by faith. While in no way conflicting with the natural law—and in fact presupposing it in the created order—this Revelation enables the believer to rise to greater perfection through grace, in a direct relationship with God Himself, expressed in voluntary service to others.

.......

Fortunately, reading through the material has at least enabled me grasp the central issue more clearly, and to stress three important principles which might be used to guide our thinking and our response to the characteristic anti-Catholic pressures of our time. First, the practical points of serious clash and conflict are now primarily creations of law. Second, when it comes to law, the primary problem is not an attack on Faith but an attack on reason—the presumption that law derives its authority from the specific will of those in power, and is not limited by clear and consistent natural or supernatural principles. Third, and precisely because rational consistency is lacking, it will take great creativity to navigate this increasingly repressive legal landscape.

In closing, I should emphasize one even deeper truth: The will darkens the intellect by ordering it to cease its independent explorations in order to serve what the will desires. This is not something that we can expect to counteract naturally; it is in fact the mechanism which human nature uses to refuse cooperation with grace. Yet paradoxically the pandemic loss of the recognition of reason, and even of nature itself, must be remedied by grace. And so, in the midst of growing suffering and sacrifice for Catholics, it is not only arguments and creativity that we need, but prayer.

 Please click here to read this thoughtful original article in its entirety:

http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=1173









What Do The Neighbors Think?

From The Canada Free Press
By Jim Yardley
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Checking to make sure that there was an easily understandable definition of the word, the dictionary defines Constitution as “the fundamental political principles on which a nation-state is governed, especially when considered as embodying the rights of the subjects of that nation-state and the statute embodying such principles.”

One would think that the President of the first nation to create that very thing, a legal statute that embodied the fundamental political principles, and who also was a college level lecturer on the topic of the Constitution, would have absolutely no problem in dealing with the concept.

Unfortunately for us, and for several other nations, Mr. Obama seems to view constitution to be infinitely malleable, and are subject to change upon a change in his whims of the day.

As far back as 2001, Barack Obama said in a radio interview with Public Radio station WBEZ-FM that the U.S. Supreme Court (under Chief Justice Earl Warren)

    “…didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf…”

So even at that time, the President announced clearly that he disagreed with the judgments of the Founding Fathers and two centuries of successfully working within the framework of the U.S. Constitution.  He had a different view of how the Constitution should have been written, and that had he been alive in 1789, he would have made sure it was different.

Of course he would have been limited to having only a pen at that time, since his Blackberry wasn’t even a science fiction fantasy at that time.

Apparently Obama’s disdain for Constitutions is not limited to only home grown ones, or limited to only with regard to “negative liberties.”  Fast forward to June 2009 and look at Honduras.

Manuel Zelaya, who was then in his second term as president of Honduras, violated that country’s Constitution (specifically Article 239) which bans presidents from holding office if they even propose to alter the constitutional term limits for presidents.

Apparently Mr. Zelaya really liked being president of Honduras, and wanted to change his country’s Constitution so that he could continue in the job.  Note again that any president of Honduras loses the right to serve as president if he even proposes a change like that.  The Honduran Supreme Court, expressly had the right to remove the president for seeking to alter the constitutional term limit, under Article 272 of the Honduran Constitution.

But apparently this made Obama upset, so he declared the Constitutional crisis in Honduras to have been a “coup”.  It wasn’t, of course. Sadly, for Obama, if he were to snivel that he didn’t like that part of the Honduran Constitution it probably would have been a public relations nightmare for him.

One might infer that Obama personally wanted that presidential term limit article to be ignored by the citizens of Honduras because it might set a bad precedent if he wanted to run for a third term himself.  Then Senator (and now Secretary of State) John Kerry agreed with Obama’s idea that the removal of a president who had acted contrary to the clear language of his nation’s Constitution must have been a “coup.”  This view was vocally supported by the then Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton who lusts after the idea of being Obama’s replacement.

Mr. Obama’s disdain for the U.S. Constitution has been demonstrated on a continuing basis over the five years that he has been in office, with “recess appointments” to the NLRB when the Senate was not in recess, the innumerable delays, waivers, interpretations and so on related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and so on.

Given Obama’s disdain for any constitutional limits on doing whatever pops into his head at any time, his reaction to the situation in Ukraine becomes almost comical. Sadly, even the always irreverent magazine The Onion couldn’t have seen the idea that Obama would leap to the defense of Ukraine by saying that the Crimean referendum was illegitimate and (wait for it) unconstitutional.  Even Nancy Pelosi was probably tempted to ask “Are you serious?”

The idea that Barack Obama would demand deference to any nation’s constitution is on a par with, well, nothing readily comes to mind.

Well perhaps it would be like seeing Dr. Jack Kervorkian leading a Right-to-Life rally, or perhaps seeing Willy Sutton doing an infomercial telling people how safe banks are.

It’s possible I suppose that Obama’s defense of Ukraine’s constitutional authority would be equivalent to listening to Bill Clinton lecturing on the benefits of sexual abstinence.

But given his history on the subject of adherence to constitutional principles, is it any wonder that no one, anywhere in the world, believes one word of what the man is saying?

Click here to read the original article in its entirety




 Trust, but Verify

  March, 2014

They are still at it. I am thankful for the newsletters of people like Dave Gaubatz who report current affairs that are ignored or overlooked by most news sources. It is hard to imagine how people like Dave can be so vilified for  reporting well documented FACTS. Although the truth may set one free it can also become tiring to be a target and cause grey hairs and ulcers. But enough about the messenger.... on to the message.

There are many Muslim organizations in America, raising money that sometimes end up supporting known terrorist organizations (viz: the well documented CAIR connections). Recently a united alliance of these organizations was formed, with the purpose of becoming more influential. Our presidential election of 2016 was the example cited, once a consensus would be agreed upon by individual members.

Dave's recent newsletter linked to the report about this new alliance at religiousnews.com. Click here to read it.

While I wouldn't bet the farm on it, my prayer is that the uniting voice of American Muslims is the foremost recognition of individual freedom and opportunity that has drawn so many families to America. EACH individual's freedom of beliefs, associations, and speech (to mention a few of our inalienable God-given freedoms) are worthy principles that all Americans should recognize, be thankful for, and do our level best to protect and preserve. In the meantime I will continue to "Trust, but verify."

To find Mr Gaubatz blogspot, click here, and you can send him an email to subscribe to his newsletter.



The Brave German Woman

February 14, 2014

One can recognize that sometimes well meaning people and institutions can err in the side of trying to "be nice". However the mentality of automatic acceptance and accommodation, when institutionalized, can, and has, placed free societies in peril; it is the dangerous side of "political correctness."
 Please click here to view the video of Heidi Mund, who has become known as "The Brave German Woman" for speaking the truth. If  more people spoke the "Truths that Free" we would go far in ridding this old world from the inroads of the evil tentacles of that totalitarian philosophy that goes by the name of Islam, which does not condemn murder in the name of Allah.


Thanks to David Barton of WallBuilders.com

December 20, 2013

Many of us are aware of hostility toward Christians in foreign countries.
But has there even been a more Biblically-hostile administration in Washington DC, towards its own citizens? David Barton of WallBuilders doesn't think so.
After reading his list (and documentation) of the many dozens of offensive hostile acts towards Bible believers in America ask yourself- how can this be?  We are a God fearing people living in a free country that was founded on the recognition that our life and liberty originates from God (NOT at the whim of some officeholder or bureaucrat!)
 The encroachment by the current administration does not resemble actions of a government "of the People, by  the People, and for the People".  Offer a prayer for protection by our Father above. Ask Him to throw light upon the hearts and minds of those in power and those who elect some of those bureaucrats. Be vigilant and protect our children and their future.
Click here to read David Barton's December article and list.




   Military Priests Face Arrest For Defying Shutdown And Celebrating Mass

Huffington Post

Posted: 10/07/2013

Updated: 10/08/ 2013

 Is religious freedom the latest casualty of the government shutdown?

Some priests are being actively prevented from ministering to service members and their families, even on a volunteer basis, and they run the risk of arrest if they disobey. As a result, military families serving at home and abroad who depend on the government for their religious services, are now actively being denied communion on bases that are served by civilian priests. Active-duty priests are still holding services.

John Schlageter, General Counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, wrote in an op-ed, "With the government shutdown, many GS and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer. During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so. "

He told The Huffington Post that many civilian priests had contacted him to say that Mass had been cancelled on their local installations, because non-active-duty priests are deemed "non-essential personnel" under the terms of the shutdown. Schlageter wrote the op-ed in order to encourage members of the faithful to contact Congress and get their attention about the issue, which he called "a residual effect of the government shutdown that no one contemplated."

His efforts have not been in vain, as the House of Representatives passed a resolution on Saturday 400 to 1 which will allow GS and contract priests to return to work once passed by the Senate.

Schlageter went on to explain in his op-ed that the First Amendment guarantees the "free exercise" of faith, and because military personnel are considered a "captive audience," the laws requires the government to provide access to their faith. This particularly applies to military families stationed abroad who may not be able to attend services regularly, depending on the religious rules of their host country. Those that have active-duty chaplains will not be affected.

"Until the Federal Government resumes normal operations, or an exemption is granted to contract and GS priests, Catholic services are indefinitely suspended at many of those worldwide installations served by contract and GS priests," Schlageter wrote. He told the Huffington Post that some priests that contacted him had been informed that they could be arrested if they returned to base to administer services during the shutdown.

The Antideficiency Act prevents those on furlough from volunteering their services, and violators may be subject to disciplinary action, suspension, fines, and imprisonment. It was passed in 1870 in order to stop the government from "incurring any monetary obligation for which Congress has not appropriated funds."

Click here to read article in its entirety at the Huffington Post




Tenth Amendment

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


NEW STATE LAW BANS CALIFORNIA FROM COOPERATING WITH FEDS ON INDEFINITE DETENTION

Sweeping measure also applies to other laws that violate Constitution or state law

By Miriam Raftery

October 7, 2013

(Sacramento) – In a rare show of bipartisanship, Governor Brown has signed into a law that passed the Legislature almost unanimously.  The measure makes California the third state to nullify provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allowing indefinite detention of citizens.

However California’s law goes farther, banning state cooperation with federal authorities on enforcement of any federal law that violates the U.S. Constitution, the California Constitution or California law.  The bill also prohibits use of state funds for such purposes.

Read article by Miriam Raftery is found at http://eastcountymagazine.org/taxonomy/term/22670




 Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to Coptic Christians: Convert to Islam, or pay ‘jizya’ tax

By Jessica Chasman

The Washington Times

September 10, 2013

The Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters have began forcing the roughly 15,000 Christian Copts of Dalga village in Egypt to pay a jizya tax as indicated in Koran 9:29, author and translator Raymond Ibrahim reported on Sunday.

Jizya is the money, or tribute, “that conquered non-Muslims historically had to pay to their Islamic overlords ‘with willing submission and while feeling themselves subdued’ to safeguard their existence,” Mr. Ibrahim explained.

According to Fr. Yunis Shawqi, who spoke yesterday to Dostor reporters in Dalga, all Copts in the village, “without exception,” are being forced to pay the tax.

“[The] value of the tribute and method of payment differ from one place to another in the village, so that, some are being expected to pay 200 Egyptian pounds per day, others 500 Egyptian pounds per day,” Mr. Shawqi said, according to the translator.

In some cases, families not able to pay have been attacked. As many as 40 Christian families have now fled Dalga, Mr. Ibrahim reported.

The taxes are not unique to Egypt either.

Just over the weekend Syrian rebels went into a Christian man’s “shop and gave him three options: become Muslim; pay $70,000 as a tax levied on non-Muslims, known as jizya; or be killed along with his family,” Christian Science Monitor reported.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/sep/10/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-convert-islam-or-pay-jiz/#ixzz2g2pKeDRS




 Egypt's Christians under attack since Morsi's ouster

Rights groups say Egypt not doing enough to stop the violence.

Sarah Lynch, Special for USA TODAY  August 15, 2013

 

CAIRO – Stained glass windows generated a luminous glow inside a Coptic Christian church one recent morning as prayers were chanted in steady hums and incense wafted through the nave, soothing worshipers.

But the serenity only masked the unease here. Since the July 3 coup that ousted former president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Christians have faced a spike in violent attacks that Egyptian authorities have not prevented, rights groups allege.

"I'm very afraid, and I'm afraid for my daughter," said Mona Roshdy, 55, as she left the church with her family.

She had reason to be. On Wednesday, as the police in Cairo assaulted two protest camps of the Muslim Brotherhood's, Morsi supporters directed their anger at Christians.

Churches, houses, monasteries, orphanages, schools and businesses belonging to Copts were attacked in nine provinces "causing panic, losses and destruction for no reason and no crimes they committed except being Christians," the Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic activist group, said Thursday.

As if sensing trouble, just two days before Wednesday's violence, Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II called on all Egyptians to prevent bloodshed.

"With all compassion I urge everyone to conserve Egyptian blood and ask of every Egyptian to commit to self-restraint and avoid recklessness and assault on any person or property," Tawadros wrote on his official Twitter account Monday.

Youssef Sidhom, editor-in-chief of the Christian weekly Watani, said the recent attacks are painful and vicious but it could be worse if they are allowed to divide the two faiths.

"Christians shouldn't be moved by this, shouldn't be dragged to fulfill the target that lies behind this, which is segregating the national solidarity between Christians and Muslims in the very difficult time Egypt is passing through," Sidhom said.

Christians make up about 8 million of Egypt's population of 80 million and have been victims of Muslim attacks for years. Some Christians were worried when Islamists took over Egypt's government in 2012 and relieved when the military ousted them from power last month.

But the ancient Coptic communities here that predate Islam by centuries say they now see a new wave of violence against them since the ouster.

In Upper Egypt – a swath of arid land from south of Cairo to Sudan that is home to many hard-line Islamist Egyptians – four Christians were killed when a mob of several hundred people in the Luxor governorate attacked with knives, tree limbs and hammers two days days after the overthrow of Morsi, Amnesty International said.

They also vandalized Christian homes and set properties on fire, Amnesty said.

In a village in Upper Egypt's province of Minya, an argument erupted between Muslim and Christians over a pro-military song playing in a coffee shop last week. The next day thousands of people ransacked Christian homes and stores, the Associated Press reported.

And in the north Sinai Peninsula, a hotbed for growing militant activity, an orthodox priest was murdered last month. There were attacks in Port Said and Marsa Matrouh as well.

On Wednesday, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said Morsi supporters damaged or torched seven churches nationwide. They also stormed 21 police stations, he said.

Many Christians participated in massive protests against Morsi at the end of June, and Tawadros sat with a row of officials behind Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi when the army chief gave his speech that overthrew Morsi.

In a 15-minute audio recording posted online earlier this month, al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri accused Coptic Christians, the military and secular-minded elites of conspiring against Morsi because he is an Islamist.

In Egypt, human rights groups accused Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists of inciting violence.

Ibrahim said incendiary speeches indicate Islamist leaders think Copts were heavily involved in anti-Morsi protests.

"I'm not scared, but I'm very sad about the situation in the country – the relationship between Muslims and Christians," said Margaret Naby as she walked into church on Sunday. "There is so much fanaticism."

Egypt is home to wider sectarian unease that authorities don't control. In June, four Shiite Muslims were beaten to death by a mob of Sunni Muslims, apparently for their beliefs, in a village near the capital, in Giza.

"The Egyptian government should make ending sectarian violence a priority, or risk letting this deadly problem spiral out of control," Nadim Houry, acting Middle East director of Human Rights Watch, said in a recent report about attacks on Christians.

"Prosecutors should thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible, including security forces, if they want to show they are capable of preventing future bloodshed," he said.

Last week, 16 human rights groups condemned rhetoric used by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies that the organizations said incited violence and religious hatred for political gain. They also denounced state agencies for failing to protect Christians, confront sectarian attacks and enforce the law by holding responsible parties or individuals accountable.

"This negligence reveals that the pattern of impunity which spread during the Mubarak era and remained in place throughout the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood continues to this day, even after both of these regimes were overthrown," a statement by the groups said.

 In Coptic Cairo, which was a Christian stronghold until the 7th-century rise of Islam, Zarour Ayzut Dawoud propped her son on her hip as she visited the place where Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus are believed to have stayed when they escaped King Herod's execution of young male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem.

"I want to go to America," said Dawoud. "The situation in Egypt is no good."

Peter Fakhry, 22, said the feeling is shared by non-Christian Egyptians.

"Many people want to leave – Christians and Muslims, too, because of the situation and lack of work," he said.

"Do you see this? There are no tourists," he said about the Coptic site that is no longer as much a residential space as it is a place for visitors, who come to see relics of an almost forgotten past in which Egypt was dominated by Christians.

Click here to read article in its entirety at USA Today

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/08/15/egypt-coptic-church-islamists/2640419/






  The Feds vs the Fourth Amendment

By Tenth Amendment on August 5, 2013 in Featured, Founding Principles

 

by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation

 Keep in mind that this amendment is directed to federal officials, specifically those in the executive and congressional branches. Our American ancestors knew that the federal government would inevitably attract the types of people who would do the things proscribed by the amendment. Thus, to deal with that threat our ancestors made it clear that whoever was elected or appointed to federal office would be prohibited from engaging in the type of conduct prohibited by the amendment.

What does the Fourth Amendment do? It prohibits federal officials from searching people’s homes, businesses, and personal effects indiscriminately. If a crime has been committed, the feds cannot simply go out and search every house and business in the neighborhood to seek out evidence of the crime. And they cannot search everyone’s things with the aim of preventing a crime.

Instead, the Fourth Amendment requires that to conduct a search of a person’s home or business, they have to first go to a member of the third branch of the government— the federal judiciary — and seek out a search warrant from a judge or magistrate. In order to get such a warrant, law-enforcement officers have to swear out an affidavit specifying the exact nature of the evidence that is being searched for. Moreover, they have to provide sworn evidence that rises to the level of “probable cause” for the judge to consider. If they fail to do those two things, the judge’s responsibility is to deny the application for the search warrant.

Like it or not, that’s the system that our American ancestors put into place with the Fourth Amendment.

That’s obviously not the system that we have been living under for many years, given the massive secret surveillance scheme that has now come to light thanks to former NSA employee Edward Snowden. We now know that the U.S. national security state is doing — and has been doing — precisely what the Fourth Amendment was designed to prohibit. It has been gathering and compiling massive amounts of information about the private affairs of hundreds of millions of people, most of whom, needless to say, have never made the target of a specific search warrant request.

U.S. officials say that such a massive surveillance scheme on everyone is necessary to keep Americans “safe.”

Well, let’s see. If we go back and read the Fourth Amendment, we immediately notice one important thing: Our American ancestors did not provide an exception to the restrictions based on keeping Americans “safe.”

That is, the amendment doesn’t have the following sentence at the end of it: “The provisions of this amendment are null and void in cases where the government is keeping people ‘safe.’”

If our ancestors had added such a provision, then the NSA and its supporters might have a point. But they didn’t.

Is there anything to prevent the advocates of the NSA’s surveillance scheme from seeking a constitutional amendment that modifies the Fourth Amendment to include such a safety exception?

No, there isn’t. Then why shouldn’t the supporters of such a scheme be required to go that route — the route of seeking a “keep people safe” amendment to the Fourth Amendment, rather than the super-secret, illegitimate route that they have taken?

Proponents also say that the 9/11 terrorist attacks provided the feds with the authority to avoid the Fourth Amendment.

Well, let’s see. If we go back and read the amendment, we notice something else important: There is no exception for terrorist attacks in the amendment.

If the amendment had provided such an exception, then the proponents of the NSA’s massive secret surveillance scheme might have a point. But they didn’t. Our ancestors provided no exceptions for terrorist cases or any other crime. So, if proponents of such a scheme don’t like what our ancestors did, why shouldn’t they be required to seek a constitutional amendment seeking the modification of the Fourth Amendment?

Our American ancestors knew exactly what they were doing. When you see people like Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein, Peter King, Mike Rogers, and others who are coming to the defense of the massive, secret NSA surveillance scheme that is searching, gathering, and compiling personal information on millions of innocent Americans, you are seeing precisely the types of people that our ancestors knew would end up serving in the federal government and doing the types of things the Fourth Amendment expressly prohibits. You are also seeing precisely why our ancestors believed the Fourth Amendment was absolutely necessary to our freedom, privacy, and well-being.

Remember the wise and immortal words of Justice Louis Brandeis in his dissent in the case of Olmstead v. United States:

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.

Click here to see article at

http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2013/08/05/the-feds-vs-the-fourth-amendment/#.UgPkA6xXfFw




 


 

FREEDOM IN AMERICA

Speech delivered by Dr. Gene A. Youngblood

July, 2013

Jacksonville, Florida


Our Constitution (Amendment I) says:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”          AMENDMENT #2  -“And the Right to Keep and Bear Arms!” Our Constitution: 56 men who pledged their Lives, Fortunes, and Sacred Honor.

  • Ladies and gentlemen, our government, under the leadership of  Obama’s socialist agenda that is determined to shred our beloved Constitution, thus destroying our freedoms and liberties.
  • We live in a very dark era, our national media have determined not to present real truth in news, or they report with such bias as to nullify the facts.
  • We are watching a complicit Senate give right-of-way to the Executive Branch of Government to control our nation, out of the White House!   ILLU: National Scandals as IRS, NSA, Benghazi, etc. 
  • We now have a nation being directed and dictated to by about 200 un-elected czars that are proud socialists and/or  active sodomites.  God help us to stand up, speak up, and act as the ethical, moral nation we once were.  Believers are to be “salt” and “light.”
  • We have seen the NSA, IRS, BATF, HOMELAND SECURITY, FBI, and other Federal Agencies strangle Americans and Demand us to Bow in Fear!
  • WHAT IS FREEDOM?  Where do we get our freedoms?

God has given us our freedoms and we have codified them in our Constitution, “...All men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...”

·        Ladies and gentlemen, God has provided us with the greatest nation and Constitution on the face of the earth.  He has charged us with the responsibility of vigilance, commitment and involvement in the protection of our freedom.  What is freedom?

·        FREEDOM IS:

  1. FREEDOM IS – A raw milk farmer not fearful of the Gestapo breaking into his home.
  2. FREEDOM IS – praying in Jesus’ name without fear or intimidation.

3.       FREEDOM IS – a child that can take a sack lunch to school without fear of it being taken.

  1. FREEDOM IS – being able to fly the American flag without breaking a law.
  2. FREEDOM IS – to be able to read the Bible in a public classroom without arrest.

6.       FREEDOM IS – being able to reject Shariah Law as unconstitutional without threats from C.A.I.R.

7.       FREEDOM IS--Being able to make a phone call, without the Government Listening.

8.       FREEDOM IS—Being FREE to travel without the Feds Tracing Your Movements.

9.       FREEDOM IS – to be able to go to bed at night without fear of invasion by U.S. officials under the NDAA, which will give the president sole authority without Congress’ approval, if deemed a “national emergency.”

10.   FREEDOM ISNot Being Forced to Accept Sodomite Marriages!

11.  FREEDOM IS – to have openness in Washington in our government, not “provda-style” dictatorship.

12.  FREEDOM ISAllowing the Voice of the Moral Majority to be Heard!

13.  FREEDOM ISHaving a Right to Confront and Evil-Illegal Presidency!

14.   FREEDOM IS – to be able to decide our own food menu, our own diet and medical care without governmental intervention or directive.

15.   FREEDOM IS – to allow every child conceived to have “lifeprotection under our Constitution.

16.   FREEDOM IS—Not having IRS Enforcement Agents Stealing our Hard-Earned Income and Sending it to Islamic Nations!

17.   FREEDOM IS—Having a President that Honors God, and Our Constitutional Controls on Government!

18.   FREEDOM ISHaving Pastors with Backbone to Publicly Stand on Issues Without Fear of Government!

19.   FREEDOM ISWhen Government is Afraid of the PeopleNot People Fearful of Government.

20.   FREEDOM IS—Where the Tea Party, Patriots, and Conservatives Are Not Targeted by our Government, Directed by the President!

21.   FREEDOM IS – to live in a land where the government cannot intrude into the church.

    1. Separation of church and state is Biblical. (Not found in our Constitution.)
    2. King Uzziah entered into the temple to offer sacrifice (81 priests begged him not to).  It is the duty and responsibility of the church—Uzziah did it anyway, and God killed him, therefore, we must say,Government—hands off God’s church, stop the marginalization of believers.

22.   FREEDOM IS – to be able to render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and render unto God what belongs to God, without the government—(city, state or national) using back door fees to rob God’s offering plate.  Where would America be today without our churches?

23.  FREEDOM IS – to have a government that is restrained by the U.S. Constitution: American law and NO international, foreign, or Koranic-Shariah law in our courts.  SB-58 & H.B. 351 Defeated by Pressure on FL. Lawmakers by Islamic Terrorists!

24.  FREEDOM IS – to have our educational system returned back to our state and local leaders, NOT czars in Washington.

25.  FREEDOM IS – to not have the government mandate faith/religious, Christian people to have to choose between conscience, constitution or confiscation by government.  Our churches, church schools and universities should not be forced to provide abortion or contraception against our Biblical, theological or spiritual convictions.

  1. FREEDOM IS – not to be forced to provide murder by abortion at taxpayer’s expense.

56 Million Murdered since 1973Roe vs Wade!

27.  FREEDOM IS – is to have presidential candidates provide a legitimate birth certificate and proof of citizenship before running for office.

28.  FREEDOM IS—To be Able to Go to a Public Park, Beach, or Public Venue and Proclaim Truth, Including Preaching the Gospel.

29.     FREEDOM IS – knowing that we have the Constitutional Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, not Just for Hunting, But to Protect U.S. From the Intrusions and Tyrannies of Government!

30.   FREEDOM IS – knowing that our children in school are being taught TRUE American History without the distortions, deletions and promotion of Islam in our textbooks.

31.  FREEDOM ISknowing that our fee simple title deeds to our properties are secure without fear of the EPA Gestapo seizing it to protect a snail or rodent.

32.  FREEDOM IS – in the final analysis knowing God, through His son, Jesus Christ, and NOT being fearful to call the name of Jesus from the highest mountain.

  1. FREEDOM ISnot apologizing for breaking things and killing people in a just war.

o      

ILLU:

 
Daniel Chapter 3 tells us of three young men that refused to bow to a law.  They were thrown in the fiery furnace, but because of their faith in God, they would NOT burn! They Did Not Bow to the Godless Law, When Threatened They Did Not Bend, and Thrown into the Furnace They Did Not Burn!!!

o       Daniel was thrown into the den of lions for refusing to obey a godless law.  The lions became his pillowGod delivered him! (Daniel, Chapter 6)

·        Ladies and Gentlemen—may I read you some quotes from our founding fathers:

·        Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as liberty without freedom of speech.”

Benjamin Franklin

·        Those who would give up essential liberties to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Benjamin Franklin

·        If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a republic?  The answer would be an inviolable respect for the Constitution and laws—the first growing out of the last---a sacred respect for the Constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.”

Alexander Hamilton

·        When the people fear their government there is tyranny; when government fears the people, there is “liberty.””

Thomas Jefferson

·        “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

Thomas Jefferson

·        In matters of style, swim with the current.  In matters of principle, stand firm like a rock.”  Thomas Jefferson

·        Ladies and Gentlemen—let’s send a message to Washington, LOUD AND CLEAR—“We the People.”

o       We will not surrender our Constitution on the account of convenience.

o       We will not sacrifice our convictions on the altar of coercion.

o       We will not submit our church rights to the rule of unelected czars in Washington.

o       We will not be silent and allow socialism to subvert our Constitution.

o       We will be vigilant, visible, vocal, and vote in every election.

o       We will have “revolution” at the “ballotbox.

o       The Bible is very clear (Acts 5:29) we ought to obey God rather than man.

 

 

MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA!


 






 4 Ways the Fourth Amendment's Already Being Pummeled in a Non-Top Secret Way

The government will always insist it's acting within the law.

Last week The Guardian and The Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency collects information on the phone and Internet habits of millions of Americans. Since then we've seen President Barack Obama argue against the strawman of combining “100 percent privacy and 100 percent security.” We've seen the Director of National Intelligence and apologists point to federal statutes that allegedly permit the behavior. And, on the brighter side, we've seen Sen. Rand Paul introduce the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act.





  Our View: Illinois, meet U.S. Constitution

Journal Star article
Posted May 20, 2013

Last update May 21, 2013

So Chicago doesn’t want concealed carry of handguns to be the law in the Land of Lincoln. Obviously.

Nonetheless, last time we checked, Chicago is a city in the United States of America, which has a Second Amendment that permits the citizens of this country — even those living in Chicago — the right to gun ownership. The U.S. Supreme Court specifically told Chicago so in 2010 in striking down its ban on guns (McDonald v. City of Chicago). Then late last year, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals informed the state of Illinois, in which Chicago sits, that its prohibition on guns carried outside the home also was unconstitutional.

We have not always been thrilled by the prospect of people packing heat everywhere you go, either, but fundamentally, the federal courts carry a bigger gavel than the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois here. The June 9 deadline established by the court for state government to come into compliance with the U.S. Constitution is a solid one.

Yet that has not stopped Chicago-area legislators from doing everything they can to drag this thing out and neuter it as much as possible. Case in point is state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, sponsor of the concealed carry measure (House Bill 183, which is sponsored by Lou Lang, D-Skokie, in the House).

Raoul initially wanted to give Chicago’s police chief and county sheriffs the authority to veto these gun permits, with applicants having to show “proper reason” for carrying and “good moral character” to get law enforcement’s “endorsement.” He has since dropped the latter, but the former remains. In any case, who defines “proper reason” or “moral character,” and how do you implement that on a consistent basis? Those are so vague as to be unworkable, if also ripe for abuse. The Second Amendment doesn’t say that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed ... unless the police chief or some other government official says so.” It really is no wonder that the National Rifle Association objected to that. Moreover, it’s hardly in keeping with the spirit of the federal appellate court’s ruling that “to confine the right to be armed to the home is to divorce the Second Amendment from the right of self-defense.”

Meanwhile, Raoul also wants to give home-rule communities — like Chicago and Peoria — the ability to expand the state’s list of gun-free zones, which critics have charged would create a “patchwork” of regulations that virtually no one can follow and that risks making criminals of people who are not. We feel strongly that any concealed carry law should be uniform throughout the state.

 Please click here to read the article in its entirety in the Journal Star
http://www.pjstar.com/opinions/ourview/x83395221/Our-View-Illinois-meet-U-S-Constitution





Cameron says London attack was betrayal of Islam

LONDON | Thu May 23, 2013 11:55am BST

(Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron said the brutal killing of a soldier who was hacked to death in London by two men shouting Jihadist slogans was a betrayal of Islam.

"We will never give in to terror or terrorism in any of its forms," Cameron told reporters outside his Downing Street residence on Thursday.

"This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life, it was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country. There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act."

Comment:

That  is like calling the Fort Hood Texas incident over three years ago,  of an  Islamist Major who yells 'AllahuAkbar’  fires, and kills twelve soldiers and one civilian “Workplace Violence”.

 No wonder modern Western “Civilizantion”  is in deep trouble.


Click here to see this on reuters.uk




Top Senate Democrat: DOJ action against AP ‘inexcusable’

 

 

By Chris Moody, Yahoo News, Tue, May 14, 2013

While the White House remains quiet about whether the Justice Department was right to seize the phone records of Associated Press reporters, on Capitol Hill the top Democrat in the Senate was unequivocal about his opposition.

In his weekly press briefing on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., blasted the DOJ for its behavior, which included tracking reporters' phone records within the House press gallery over a leak related to an attempted terror plot last year.

"I have trouble defending what the Justice Department did in looking at the AP," Reid said. "I really believe in the First Amendment. I think it's one of the great things we have as a country. I don't know who did it or why it was done, but it was inexcusable. There is no way to justify this. In my career, I've stood consistently for freedom of the press."

Reid added that he would make a determination about whether "legislative action" is needed in response.

Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday defended the department's tactics, saying that the AP's reporting about a foiled airline bomb plot in 2012 "put the American people at risk." He called the information the AP received from undisclosed sources the “top two or three most serious leaks I’ve ever seen.”

Click here to see the original yahoo article

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/top-senate-democrat-doj-action-against-ap-inexcusable-204546359.html





Pentagon: Proselytizing Punishable by Court-Martial

CBNNews.com

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Pentagon says soldiers can be prosecuted for sharing their faith.

The Defense Department released the statement to Fox news, which reads, "Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense"  and punishments can include court-martial.

This comes after Pentagon officials met with Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, who said even the presence of a Bible on a desk can amount to proselytizing.

He added that even a Christian bumper sticker on an officer's car or a Bible on a desk can amount to "pushing this fundamentalist version of Christianity on helpless subordinates."

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin told CBN News he believes there's an agenda to get Christians out of the military.

"It's not just about officers or commanders sharing their faith, it's about every individual soldiers, sailor, airmen or marine being able to exercise their faith," Boykin said.
 
"The First Amendment talks about the 'free exercise, thereof,' speaking of our faith. This will destroy our military because mom and dad in the central part of the U.S. are not going to want Johnny and Janie to join the military knowing that they would not be able to exercise their faith at the same time that they are protecting those constitutional rights to do so," he warned.

Please click here to view the article in it's entirety at Christian Broadcasting News Network



Rhetoric heats up in debate over proselytizing in the military

Published: Wednesday, May 1 2013

A war over the religious freedom of military chaplains and the troops they serve is being waged in the Pentagon.

The latest salvo came this week when conservative blogger Todd Starnes wrote on Fox News and the Christian Post that the Pentagon confirmed that "religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense."

The regulation is not new. In August, the Air Force issued a policy telling its chaplains that they must balance an airman's right to religious exercise with a prohibition against government establishment of religion. A violation of the policy could result in a court-martial.

What is new is a recent demand to enforce the rule. It came after a private meeting last week between Pentagon officials and Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, former Ambassador Joe Wilson and civil rights attorney Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein.

Conservative Christians are particularly upset that the Department of Defense is taking advice from Weinstein, who heads the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

"God help us now when someone with such visceral hatred of conservative Christians — literally tens of millions of Americans — who says sharing this gospel is 'spiritual rape' is helping develop policies for how to deal with Christians in the military," wrote Ken Klukowski, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council.

He draws his conclusions about Weinstein's view of Christianity from a Huffington Post blog in which Weinstein referred to so-called fundamentalist Christians as monsters, bigots, bandits and evil, among other things.

Weinstein told Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn that “there is systematic misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the military.” He called such a culture "a national security threat. What is happening (aside from sexual assault) is spiritual rape. And what the Pentagon needs to understand is that it is sedition and treason. It should be punished.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, reacted by saying the military meeting with Weinstein on religious freedom is "like consulting with China on how to improve human rights."

The FRC has launched a petition drive urging Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to "not to proceed with the purge of religion within the ranks called for by anti-Christian activists."   (Click here to sign petition)

Ron Crews, the executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, told the Christian Post that deciding "a service member cannot speak of his faith is like telling a service member he cannot talk about his spouse or children.

"I do not think the Air Force wants to ban personnel from protected religious speech, and I certainly hope that it is willing to listen to the numerous individuals and groups who protect military religious liberty without demonizing service members."

Two other stories this week signaled that military chaplains are on edge over what they can and cannot say to the troops they advise. Barry Black, the U.S. Senate chaplain and a former military chaplain, said military chaplains could be accused of "hate speech" for teaching what scripture says about homosexuality, according the Christian Post.

"I can see many military chaplains having some problems because, to teach the passages of Paul with exegetical integrity would mean being accused of engaging in hate speech," Black told a Heritage Foundation audience. "So, this is a challenge that I think we're going to have to deal with going forward."

Same-sex marriage may affect more than what a chaplain preaches, says a candidate for the chaplaincy, who wrote under a pseudonym in American Thinker for fear of hurting his chances to become a military chaplain.

"What will happen when a military chaplain turns down gay soldiers who want the chaplain to marry them?" he asked hypothetically. "The military has already seen a major shift in policy towards homosexuals as well as significant rules towards political correctness. If the Army decides that gay marriage is more valuable than the religious beliefs of their chaplains there will likely be a significant change to the Chaplain Corps."

Please click here to read the article in its entirety at the Deseret News





Baptist Website Blocked by Army

Thursday, 25 Apr 2013 02:18 PM

Newsmax.com

By Bill Hoffmann

 

The United States Army has blocked the website of the Southern Baptist Convention from some of its computers — a move that family values groups say is a disturbing continuation of the Pentagon’s hostile attitude towards religion.

The Defense Department insists the blocking is a “glitch’’ in the system which is being corrected.

But the American Family Network, which is affiliated with the American Family Association, says the issue comes just weeks after an Army email called Christian ministries like the Family Research Council and American Family Association “domestic hate groups.’’

“This is just another example of the Christian faith coming under attack in the military,’’ Tim Wildmon, president of American Family Network,’’ told The Tennessean newspaper, which broke the story.

Roger Oldham, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, said he has been assured the problem is “a random event with no malicious intent.’’

But he added: "This is deeply disturbing . . . The First Amendment exists to protect the church from governmental censorship of or infringement upon religious speech and the free exercise of religion."

Lieutenant Col. Damien Pickart, a department of defense spokesman, told the newpaper the military is working to resolve the problem and is “not intentionally blocking access.’’

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Click here to read the article in its entirety
http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/baptist-website-blocked-army/2013/04/25/id/501396




American Family Association Notified: U.S. Army Now Labels Southern Baptist Convention ‘Hostile’

By Mel Fabrikant

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Paramus Post (New Jersey)

Congressman Speaks out on Behalf of Christians in Military

The United States Army has blocked the website of the Southern Baptist Convention from government computers, saying the Christian site contains “hostile content.”
An Army officer assigned to a U.S. base said he tried to access SBC.net from his government computer, but instead, he got a message that said the site was being blocked by “Team CONUS.” The message he received read:

 The site you have requested has been blocked by Team CONUS (C-TNOSC/RECERT-CONUS) due to hostile content.

Team Conus is the Department of Defense management and computer network overseer of the military’s Continental US Theater Network Operations and Security Center (CTNOSC) Regional Computer Emergency Response Team.
“So the Southern Baptist Convention is now considered hostile to the U.S. Army…it just corroborates the recent string of events highlighted by AFA,” the officer wrote in an email to American Family Association.(www.afa.net)
According to Tim Wildmon, president of American Family Network, “This is just another example of the Christian faith coming under attack in the military. Earlier this month, an Army email labeled prominent Christian ministries like the Family Research Council and American Family Association as ‘domestic hate groups.’ Their list continues to grow as is evidenced by their new addition of the Southern Baptist Convention as ‘hostile.’”
This prompted Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA) to question Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel about religious liberty issues during a House Armed Services Committee meeting just two weeks ago.
For more information on American Family Association, visit www.afa.net .

Read this article in its entirety at
http://www.paramuspost.com/article.php/20130425110747845



Kansas set to enact life-starts-"at fertilization" abortion law

KANSAS CITY, Kansas | Apr 6, 2013

(Reuters) - Kansas is set to enact one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation which defines life as beginning "at fertilization" and imposes a host of new regulations.

The Kansas House of Representatives passed the bill 90-30 on Friday night, a few hours after the Senate backed it on a 28-10 vote. Strongly anti-abortion Republican Governor Sam Brownback is expected to sign it into law. Republicans hold strong majorities in both houses.

In addition to the provision specifying when life begins, the bill prevents employees of abortion clinics from providing sex education in schools, bans tax credits for abortion services and requires clinics to give details to women about fetal development and abortion health risks. It also bans abortions based solely on the gender of the fetus.

The Kansas bill comes on the heels of anti-abortion measures passing in states across the country, including one in Arkansas banning abortions in the 12th week of pregnancy and a law in North Dakota that sets the limit at six weeks.

The Kansas language stating that life begins "at fertilization" is modeled on a 1989 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court, said Kathy Ostrowski, legislative director of Kansans for Life, anti-abortion group.

Ostrowski said the language protects the rights of the unborn in probate and other legal matters.

If the bill is signed into law, Kansas will become the eighth state declaring that life begins at fertilization, said Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager of the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, which researches abortion-related laws nationwide.

While it would not supplant Kansas law banning most abortions after the 22nd week of pregnancy, it does set the state up to more swiftly outlaw all abortions should the U.S. Supreme Court revisit its 1973 ruling making abortion legal, Nash said.

"It's a statement of intent and it's a pretty strong statement," Nash said. "Should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade or should the court come to some different conclusion, the state legislature would be ready, willing and able to ban abortions."

States that already have such language are Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, North Dakota and Ohio, Nash said.

The Kansas bill prohibits use of public funds, tax preferences or tax credits for abortion services. It prevents state-provided public health-care services from being used in any manner to carry out abortions, according to a summary.

Taking away tax benefits would amount to 12 tax increases for abortion providers, women and their families, said Elise Higgins, Kansas coordinator for the National Organization for Women. Even abortions to save a mother's life would not be a deductible cost, she said.

The bill bars school districts from letting abortion providers offer, sponsor or furnish course materials or instruction on human sexuality or on sexually transmitted diseases. Higgins said that creates an unfair stigma for employees of abortion providers.

 (Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Greg McCune, Doina Chiacu and Gunna Dickson)

Please click here to read this Reuters article in its entirety
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/06/us-usa-kansas-abortion-idUSBRE93501220130406

 


 

China: House church accused of being religious cult raided

By: Release International

1 April 2013

Christians in remote Xinjiang province have been interrogated on suspicion of being a cult after a violent armed raid on their house church.

One Christian named as Sister Xu remains in detention after being arrested during a raid in which police armed with guns and electric batons ransacked her home and seized property.

Another Christian, house church leader Brother Shen, was summoned for interrogation separately, which caused him to suffer an 'episode' relating to a heart condition, says Release partner China Aid. A second leader named as Sister Cao fled the area, fearing she too would be detained.

All three are members of a house church in Qimo County, Kurla city, in north-west China. On March 15, 21 Public Security Bureau officials visited Sister Xu's home while she was hosting a prayer meeting. The 14 assembled Christians did not answer the door and officials departed without forcing entry 90 minutes later.

However, that evening, armed police arrived. As well as confiscating property, they took fingerprints and blood samples from Xu, her son and husband, and took all three to the local police station for written statements. It was there that Xu's husband saw information on a computer alleging links between the house church and a Chinese religious cult.

Xu's son and husband were both released the following day, after the latter claimed he was not a Christian. Brother Shen, who was interrogated on March 18, was released within three hours, after his health deteriorated. 'The police made his family guarantee that there was nothing seriously wrong with his health,' says China Aid.

(Source: China Aid)

Please click here to read article on Christian Today in its entirety
http://au.christiantoday.com/article/china-armed-raid-on-house-church-accused-of-being-religious-cult/15188.htm






Tensions Rise as Israel and Gaza Swap Strikes

New York Times
By ISABEL KERSHNER
Published: April 3, 2013

JERUSALEM — Israeli-Palestinian tensions rose sharply on Wednesday, with a resumption of clashes at the Gaza border as Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails declared a three-day hunger strike to protest a fellow inmate’s death, saying Israel was responsible.

In response to rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel, apparently in support of the Palestinian prisoners, the Israeli military said it carried out an airstrike in Gaza late Tuesday night, its first since a cease-fire that ended eight days of fierce cross-border fighting in November. Warplanes struck two open areas in northern Gaza, causing no damage or casualties, the military said.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, called the airstrikes a clear violation of the cease-fire. “We call on international parties to intervene immediately to end the Israeli escalation and also the violations against the prisoners,” he said in a statement.

The rocket fire from Gaza was the third such violation of the cease-fire brokered by Egypt in November, evidence of its fragility. There have also been several episodes of Israeli gunfire directed at fishermen and farmers approaching newly relaxed security perimeters, sometimes with deadly consequences.

An Islamic extremist group in Gaza, the Mujahedeen Shura Council — Environs of Jerusalem, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, saying in a statement that it was in support of the Palestinians held by Israel. The group criticized other Palestinian factions for their inaction on the prisoner issue.

On Wednesday morning, Gaza militants fired two more rockets into southern Israel. One landed at the entrance of the Israeli border town of Sderot, according to the police, and the other fell on open ground. No one was hurt.

The death of the prisoner has also stirred unrest in the West Bank. On Wednesday night, a Palestinian youth was fatally shot and three others were wounded in a clash with Israeli soldiers near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, according to Palestinian news reports.

The Israeli military said that several Palestinians had attacked a military post with firebombs and that soldiers responded with live fire. A spokeswoman said the episode was being reviewed.

The United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert H. Serry, called the situation volatile and said it was “of paramount importance to refrain from violence in this tense atmosphere and for parties to work constructively in addressing the underlying issues.”

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon of Israel said in a statement on Wednesday, “We will not allow shooting of any sort, even sporadic, toward our citizens and our forces.”

He added, “As soon as we identify the source of the fire, we will take it down without hesitation, as we did last night and in previous cases.”

But analysts said that neither Israel nor Hamas appeared eager to escalate the situation and that both sides were acting to restore the calm.

The highly charged issue of Palestinian prisoners came to the fore again after the Palestinian leadership accused Israel of deliberately delaying the treatment of the prisoner who died, Maysara Abu Hamdiya, 64. He had received a diagnosis of throat cancer two months ago and died in an Israeli hospital on Tuesday.

Mr. Hamdiya, a resident of the West Bank city of Hebron and a retired general in the Palestinian Authority security services, was detained by Israel in 2002, at the height of the second Palestinian uprising, and was serving a life term for attempted murder after sending a suicide bomber to a cafe in Jerusalem, Israeli officials said. The bomb failed to detonate.

Mr. Hamdiya’s death came amid efforts by the Western-backed Palestinian leadership to place the prisoner issue high on the diplomatic agenda, with Secretary of State John Kerry expected in the region next week to press for a renewal of peace talks. Emotions over the prisoner issue have been running high among Palestinians in recent months, leading to protests in support of prisoners on hunger strikes and over the death of a prisoner in February under disputed circumstances.

Israel’s Ministry of Health said in a statement that an autopsy, held on Wednesday in the presence of a Palestinian expert of forensic medicine, showed that Mr. Hamdiya had died from complications of cancer and noted that he had been a heavy smoker, a factor that it said contributed to throat cancer.

The Palestinian Authority distributed a copy of an affidavit that it said was signed by Mr. Hamdiya’s lawyer, Rami Alami, who visited him in jail on March 12. Mr. Alami said he found Mr. Hamdiya to be tired and weak and unable to walk without help.

Fares Akram contributed reporting from Gaza.

Click here to view the article in its entirety at nytimes.com
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/04/world/middleeast/israel-palestinians-gaza.html?_r=0





New U.N. arms treaty faces rough road in U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON | Wed Apr 3, 2013

(Reuters) - The new global arms trade treaty was overwhelmingly approved by the United Nations, with U.S. backing, but it was clear on Wednesday it faces a tough fight for ratification by U.S. senators who contend it could affect Americans' gun rights.

The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly approved the pact by a vote of 154-3 on Tuesday, with 23 abstentions, many by major weapons exporters.

Washington was one of the 'yes' votes, but to go into effect for the United States it must win at least 67 votes - a two-thirds majority - in the 100-member Senate. Last month, the Senate supported a measure calling for the treaty's rejection even before U.N. negotiations on its text were completed.

The powerful National Rifle Association gun industry lobby promised to fight against ratification. Several senators, mostly Republicans, quickly issued statements opposing the pact.

The United States is the world's largest gun exporter, accounting for 30 percent of global volume. Russia, No. 2, accounts for 26 percent. Moscow, which along with China abstained from the U.N. vote, said it would take a hard look at the treaty before deciding whether to sign it.

The treaty, the first of its kind, seeks to regulate the $70 billion business in conventional arms and keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers.

A U.S. commitment to the treaty is important to get China, Russia and other big arms producers on board, diplomats and activists say.

The United States is already in compliance with the treaty's terms because of its weapons export and import laws, they said, but U.S. approval could put pressure on other nations to adopt similar limits.

The White House said on Wednesday it had not yet decided whether President Barack Obama would sign the pact, and gave no timeline for doing so. Such a signing seems likely, however, given White House support for the pact at the United Nations.

If Obama signs, government agencies would review the treaty before the administration decides whether to seek ratification by the Senate.

"Timelines for the treaty review process vary and given that we're just beginning the review, I wouldn't want to speculate about when we'll make a decision," said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

The Senate voted 53-46 on March 23 for a nonbinding amendment to its budget resolution calling for the treaty's rejection. Supporters said they were worried it would infringe on U.S. gun rights.

'DON'T EXPECT A CAKEWALK'

Winning 67 votes for ratification would require the support of all Democrats, including eight who voted for the amendment, as well as at least 12 Republicans, or a quarter of the entire Republican caucus, which strongly opposes almost any limits on gun sales.

"Don't expect a cakewalk," one Democratic Senate aide said.

The U.S. Senate has often been skeptical of international treaties, seeing them as limiting U.S. power. Among the unratified pacts signed by a U.S. president is the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear explosions.

As with some other unratified treaties, however, Washington has implemented that treaty's terms, refraining from nuclear testing.

Several senators issued statements after the U.N. vote reiterating their opposition.

"The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty ... would require the United States to implement gun-control legislation as required by the treaty, which could supersede the laws our elected officials have already put into place," said Senator James Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, who sponsored the budget amendment.

He, fellow Republican Jerry Moran and Democratic Senator Max Baucus issued a press release objecting to the treaty after the U.N. vote.

(Additional reporting by Lou Charbonneau at the United Nations and Doug Palmer and Roberta Rampton in Washington; Editing by Warren Strobel and Mohammad Zargham)


Click here to view the entire article on Reuters

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/03/us-arms-treaty-un-usa-idUSBRE93216F20130403




A Christian Catastrophe

Islamist ‘cleansing’ in Mideast

  • By RALPH PETERS
  • Last Updated: April 1, 2013

Islamist terrorists and fanatics are methodically exterminating the 2,000-year-old Christian civilization of the Middle East through oppression, threats, appropriations and deadly violence.

Our media ignore the intensifying savagery against Christians in Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egypt. Unconfirmed reports assert that, last month, Muslim Brothers dragged Christian protesters to a mosque and tortured them — but our reporters won’t look into an Islamist Abu Ghraib.

For a century and a half, the varied strands of Middle East Christianity have faced increasingly fierce pogroms and, for the Armenians, outright genocide. But with the rise of Wahhabi and Salafist terror, the long, slow-motion Holocaust accelerated.

Another attack on Egypt’s 10 million Coptic Christians: Firemen dousing a blaze at a New Year’s car bombing outside a Coptic church.

Western liberals romanticize barbaric cultures but have no interest in the destruction — before their averted eyes — of a great and brilliant religious civilization. It’s as if they accept the Islamist creed that Christians don’t belong in the realms of Islam.

But the Middle East was more than just Christianity’s birthplace. The faith we know matured in the Middle East and North Africa, from Ephesus and Antioch to Alexandria and beyond. St. Augustine, the most influential church father after St. Paul, was a North African.

Rome was a latecomer to Christian authority. Through the Middle Ages, substantially more Christians lived east of Constantinople (now Istanbul) than in Europe, the faith’s backwater, whose northern reaches had yet to be evangelized.

Christianity’s greatest thinkers, greatest monuments and greatest triumphs for its first 1,000 years rose in the Middle East. Even the Muslim conquest and relative servitude could not dislodge Christianity. In the worst of times, Christianity turned the other cheek and endured. Some Christians flourished.

Today, the end is in sight.

In Iraq, cities such as Mosul and Saddam’s hometown, Tikrit, were once vital centers of Christianity. But the country’s Christian population, estimated at up to 2 million a decade ago, has fallen by half — perhaps by three-quarters.

Over 2 million Christians in Syria dread Islamist terror and religious cleansing so much, they lean toward the vicious Assad regime, which at least shielded minorities. Those who can, flee the country.

Christians were early supporters of Arab nationalism. One of the fiercest Palestinian leaders, George Habash, was a Christian, as was the wife of Yasser Arafat. Their thanks? Two-thirds of the West Bank’s and more of Gaza’s Christians have been driven out. They’re now a small minority even in Bethlehem.

Egypt has the region’s largest remaining Christian population, at least 10 million Copts. With rare exceptions, they’ve long been confined to squalid quarters and treated as third-class citizens. Now the Salafist fanatics have been unleashed. The nation’s Muslim Brotherhood rulers could put a stop to anti-Christian violence, but appear willing to let the Salafists do the dirty work for them. They’re playing bad cop, not-so-bad cop.

And we’ll send the regime at least a billion dollars this year — with no stipulations or conditions except that military-related funds must purchase US-made or US-licensed equipment. With Egypt’s economy in desperate straits and the Brotherhood’s popularity fading, we’re propping up religious-cleansing bigots.

Christians in Iran? Gone. Turkey? Almost gone. Saudi Arabia? The once-thriving Christian and Jewish populations of Mecca and Medina were finished off centuries ago.

And in Lebanon, the only Middle East country that until recently had a Christian majority, Christian rights have been so threatened by Sunni fanaticism that some Christians have reached out to Shia Hezbollah in their desperate hunt for allies.

Far to the east, in Pakistan, Christians face trumped-up charges of insulting Islam or rape, beatings, murder and church bombings. And we still pour billions into Pakistan.

It’s the end of a world as we know it.

If Islam is a “religion of peace,” it’s time to show the evidence to the endangered Christians of the Middle East.

Of course, not all Christians are angels, nor are all Muslims demons. Most humans of any faith just want to get through the day. And some Christians have collaborated with odious Baathist regimes (usually, to ensure their community’s survival). Nor are most Muslims active supporters of the religious cleansing of Christians from their shared homelands.

But disappointingly few Muslims actively defend religious minorities. It’s not unlike Nazi Germany, where most Germans didn’t want to murder Jews, but were complicit through their silence.

If a Michigan mosque is defaced with graffiti, it makes national news and the Justice Department views it as a hate crime. It’s time for our government and media to apply the same standard abroad on behalf of Christians.

Read the article in its entirety at nypost.com

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/christian_catastrophe_lX4yqB48KfKyKuUgQPreDM





When the government demands silence -- the ugliness of the Patriot Act

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

Published March 21, 2013

FoxNews.com

In 1798, when John Adams was president of the United States, the feds enacted four pieces of legislation called the Alien and Sedition Acts. One of these laws made it a federal crime to publish any false, scandalous or malicious writing -- even if true -- about the president or the federal government, notwithstanding the guarantee of free speech in the First Amendment.

The feds used these laws to torment their adversaries in the press and even successfully prosecuted a congressman who heavily criticized the president. Then-Vice President Thomas Jefferson vowed that if he became president, these abominable laws would expire. He did, and they did, but this became a lesson for future generations: The guarantees of personal freedom in the Constitution are only as valuable and reliable as is the fidelity to the Constitution of those to whom we have entrusted it for safekeeping.

We have entrusted the Constitution to all three branches of the federal government for safekeeping. But typically, they fail to do so. Presidents have repeatedly assaulted the freedom of speech many times throughout our history, and Congresses have looked the other way. Abraham Lincoln arrested Northerners who challenged the Civil War. Woodrow Wilson arrested Americans who challenged World War I. FDR arrested Americans he thought might not support World War II. LBJ and Richard Nixon used the FBI to harass hundreds whose anti-Vietnam protests frustrated them.

In our own post 9/11 era, the chief instrument of repression of personal freedom has been the government’s signature anti-terror legislation: the Patriot Act. It was born in secrecy, as members of the House of Representatives were given 15 minutes to read its 300 pages before voting on it in October 2001, and it operates in silence, as those who suffer under it cannot speak about it.

The Patriot Act permits FBI agents to write their own search warrants and gives those warrants the patriotic and harmless-sounding name of national security letters (NSLs). This authorization is in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says that the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures, and that that security can only be violated by a search warrant issued by a neutral judge and based upon probable cause of crime.

The “probable cause” requirement compels the feds to acquire evidence of criminal behavior about the person whose records they seek, so as to prevent politically motivated invasions of privacy and fishing expeditions like those that were common in the colonial era. Judges are free, of course, to sign the requested warrant, to modify it and sign it, or to reject it if it lacks the underlying probable cause.

The very concept of a search warrant authorized by law enforcement and not by the courts is directly and profoundly antithetical to the Constitution -- no matter what the warrant is called. Yet, that’s what Congress and President Bush made lawful when they gave us the Patriot Act.

When FBI agents serve the warrants they’ve written for themselves -- the NSLs as they call them -- they tell the recipient of the warrant that he or she will commit a felony if he or she tells anyone -- a lawyer, a judge, a spouse, a priest in confessional -- of the receipt of the warrant. The NSLs are typically not served on the person whose records the FBI wants; rather, they are served on the custodians of those records, such as computer servers, the Post Office, hospitals, banks, delivery services, telephone providers, etc.

Because of the Patriot Act’s mandated silence, the person whose records the FBI seeks often never knows his or her records have been seized. Since October 2001, FBI agents and other federal agents have served more than 350,000 search warrants with which they have authorized themselves to conduct a search. Each time they have done so, they have warned the recipient of the warrant to remain silent or be prosecuted for telling the truth about the government.

Occasionally, recipients have not remained silent. They have understood their natural and constitutionally protected right to the freedom of speech and their moral and fiduciary duty to their customer or client, and they have moved in federal court either to suppress the warrant or for the right to tell the customer or client whose records are being sought that the FBI has come calling. Isn’t that odd in America -- asking a judge for permission to tell the truth about the government?

What’s even more odd is that the same section of the Patriot Act that criminalizes speaking freely about the receipt of an agent-written search warrant also authorizes the FBI to give the recipient of the warrant permission to speak about it. How un-American is that -- asking the FBI for permission to tell the truth about the government?

Last week in San Francisco, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston held that the section of the Patriot Act that prohibits telling anyone about the receipt of an FBI agent-written search warrant and the section that requires asking and receiving the permission of the FBI before talking about the receipt of one profoundly and directly infringe upon the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. And the government knows that.

We all know that the whole purpose of the First Amendment is to encourage open, wide, robust debate about and transparency from the government. Our right to exercise the freedom of speech comes from our humanity, not from the government. The Constitution recognizes that we can only lose that right by consent or after a jury trial that results in conviction and incarceration.

But we can also lose it by the tyranny of the majority, as Congress and the president in 1798 and 2001 have demonstrated.

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written seven books on the U.S. Constitution. His latest is “Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom.”

Click here view the original article and comments

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/03/21/when-government-demands-silence-ugliness-patriot-act/






Obama urged: act tough on Israel or risk collapse of two-state solution

By Chris McGreal, US correspondent

The Guardian,

19 March 2013

 

Barack Obama begins his first official visit to Israel on Wednesday amid growing warnings among some of its leading supporters in the US that the president needs to act more forcefully to save Israel from itself.

The White House has played down expectations that Obama will put any real effort into pressing Israel toward the creation of a Palestinian state after he was burned by an attempt early in his first term to pressure the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, into halting Israeli settlement construction in the occupied territories.

But there is increasing concern among some of Israel's backers in the US that without White House intervention the much promised two-state solution is doomed – and that will endanger Israel.

Among those sounding the warning is the US secretary of state, John Kerry, who said earlier this year that "the possibility of a two-state solution could shut on everybody and that would be disastrous, in my judgment".

The inclusion of hardline pro-settler ministers in Netanyahu's new government, who are expected to press for the continued expansion of Israel's colonies in the West Bank, has heightened concerns in Washington that physical realities on the ground are making the prospect of a negotiated agreement ever more difficult.

Others have pointed up a recent Hebrew University demographic study, which showed that Jews are now in a minority in the territory covered by Israel, Gaza and the West Bank – suggesting that Israel's democratic and Jewish character are threatened by its reluctance to give up territory to an independent Palestine.

That led David Aaron Miller – a negotiator in efforts by the Clinton administration to broker an Israeli-Palestinian agreement and an adviser on Middle East policy to six US secretaries of state – to advise Obama to "take a quick tour around Israel's demographic neighbourhood" in order to understand the issue that might be most persuasive in pressuring Israeli leaders to take negotiations with the Palestinians seriously.

"Demographic trends mean that Israel can't have it all. It can't be a Jewish state, a democratic state*, and a state in control of its whole historical land. It can only have two of its objectives at a time," he wrote in Foreign Policy.

"The demographic imperative probably appeals to Obama, a rational thinker who understands the importance of acting in the present to avoid future catastrophes. He has at least once referred to the demographic realities in his speeches on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the president also knows from his own political choices that getting politicians to take risks now to prevent disasters and gain rewards later isn't so easy."

It is a warning echoed earlier this month by S Daniel Abraham, a US billionaire, confidante of American and Israeli leaders, and founder of the Center for Middle East Peace in Washington, who chided the president for not using his visit to press Israel's leaders to confront the looming "tipping point".

"Obama should realize that Israel's continued presence in the West Bank is an existential threat to its continuity as a democratic, Jewish state — and time is not on Israel's side," he wrote in the Atlantic.

"Right now – not in five or 10 years, but right now – only 50% of the people living in the Jewish state and in the areas under its control are Jews. The dreaded tipping point – which advocates of the two-solution have been warning about for years – has finally arrived."

That is a warning reinforced by an Oscar-nominated documentary, The Gatekeepers – in which former heads of the Israel's internal security organisation, the Shin Bet, warn that the occupation is endangering Israel – which has shaken up the assumptions among some in the Jewish community and among Israel's other supporters in the US.

Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel and now vice-president of the Brookings Institution, said it is clear there is a growing sense of alarm among some policymakers in the US. But he said it may be misplaced.

"My sense is that this is the view of Secretary Kerry – that there's an urgency to try to not just resume negotiations but to resolve at least some of the critical issues in the conflict because the two-state solution is in danger of cardiac arrest. I think there is an urgency, but I don't actually think that if the window closes it can't be prised open again," he said.

"The simple reason for that is there is no alternative to the two-state solution – except no solution. And no solution for the time being may suit both sides… in preference to the kind of compromises and the hard decisions that have to be made in order to achieve a solution. We are fond of saying, and our leaders are fond of saying, the status quo is not sustainable. But if you go out there on both sides, especially compared to what is going on around them – in Syria to the north and Egypt to the south – the status quo, it's OK."

Indyk said there will not be movement until leaders on both sides are prepared to make hard decisions, and that Obama is probably unwilling to force that after his "searing experience" of dealing with Netanyahu over the Jewish settlements four years ago.

"I think that there is something achievable, and I actually think it's very important. And that is that President Obama has the opportunity to reintroduce himself to the Israeli public. The first time he introduced himself to them was in Cairo, wherein he gave his speech in June 2009, which was, of course, addressed to the Arab world and not to Israel … And (Israelis) got the impression that he wants to distance the United States from Israel in order to curry favour with the Arab world," he said.

"It is hard to imagine that the president himself is going to do much more than make this visit. There are greener pastures that beckon him in Asia, and you can see, from a variety of other actions that he's taken or hasn't taken in the Middle East, that he would rather turn away from this region. John Kerry has exactly the opposite instinct. He wants to engage in the Middle East and, in particular, he wants to take on the Israeli-Palestinian challenge, and it's a high priority for him."

 

To read this article in its entirety, click here
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/19/obama-urged-israel-two-state-solution


 *Democratic     "Straw man" word and argument. Forget Democracy. How about a Republic? where people as diverse as the people spanning the United States can live in relative peace and freedom. Caveat: A Republic can only work to the extent that  The People have the ability to think and access information and knowledge, an emphasis that is fading from the government educational system.


Ian Black's analysis after the President’s key speech of his trip

 (March 21, 2013)

"It was a very clever speech” says the Guardian’s Middle East editor Ian Black.

First he pressed all the buttons that matter to a mainstream Israeli Jewish and Zionist audience. He went to great lengths to recognize the legitimacy of the Zionist dream ...

He attacked all of Israel’s enemies: Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. He made a link, very interestingly, between Iran’s nuclear program and the holocaust something that the Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu often does.

But having done all that, he then moved to the second message of trying to achieve a just and viable solution for the Palestinians. Israel must recognize the right of Palestinian self determination, he said. It should look at the world through Palestinian eyes ... He talked about settler violence that went unpunished. All very very hot-button issues. Again cleverly using a phrase that’s very resonant for Israelis, he said Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their homeland. That’s a phrase that is taken directly from the Israeli national anthem.

There was nothing in this speech that gives us any practical pointers as to how the long-stalled peace process can be revived ... It gave positive messages to Israelis, it made important points about the need to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians, it provided no obvious ways forward, but will I am sure have created a positive mood in Israel towards the message he was trying to put across.

He set out quite a compelling vision of a country that needs to come to terms with an existential problem for itself, and a matter of fundamental justice for the people who are suffering from it at the moment.

Click here to see source of this speech analysis




FLORIDA ETHICS

 March 14, 2013


This “Truths That Free”  section of “Ethics” has not been updated for quite some time... that is not for want of material. Located in Jacksonville, Florida, in the United States, one doesn’t have to look far to find corruption, among elected or appointed officials and/or leaders or local organizations. That includes organizations with the power to arrest, detain and generally make your free life miserable.

 

Growing up with my parents included  the “larning” that  honesty and abiding by the law were virtues to be cultivated if at all possible. “if at all possible” has caveats. Don't forget or neglect  the value and importance of CIVIL disobedience or as Gandhi called it, “satyagraha” nonviolent resistance, or obedience to truth- THE TRUTH AND RIGHT IS- independant, inalienable, and proceeding before all institutions of people- although no one said that was always easy or convenient.

 

Why do citizens have  an expectation of good character and ethical behavior from those we elect or appoint to govern  or to head unions, or to populate our many civic departments? Surely part of the reason is that we are their bosses, we pay their salaries (often higher than their counterparts in the private sector) and they are accountable to us.

 

 If you have not felt your blood pressure rise, or your anger mount often enough today here are a couple  links to a few articles about our finest in Jacksonville and the state of Florida.

 

http://www.news4jax.com/news/Appeals-court-affirms-ex-JaxPort-chairman-s-convictions-on-corruption-charges/-/475880/19314344/-/rsbyruz/-/index.html

 

http://www.news4jax.com/news/Allied-Veterans-executives-top-officers-at-FOP-face-judges/-/475880/19294694/-/s3b9dxz/-/index.html

 

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/topstories/article/303230/483/57-busted-in-illegal-gambling-investigation

 

http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=538987

 

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2013/mar/07/carl-hiaasen-leadership-at-florida-citizens-has/

 

After reading these articles consider shooting off (er... maybe that is not a good metaphor anymore) sending an email or making a phone call to one of your representatives and let them know that you back their honest effort (in a few rare cases) or that you demand that they make an effort to discourage graft, dishonesty, waste, and corruption from among their own ranks.






Hearing on Religious Freedom Next Week

By Peter Kirsanow

from The National Review

March 13, 2013  

 

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold a public hearing next week on recent developments involving the intersection of religious freedom and anti-discrimination laws. The hearing will take place on Friday March 22, at 9:30 a.m. at the Commission’s headquarters, located at 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.

Witnesses will address, among other things, the HHS mandate, the implications of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez and Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, and religious-liberty claims under First Amendment provisions other than the religion clauses.

Interested members of the public are invited to attend. Further, members of the public may also submit comments until April 21 on any of those topics by sending them to the above address or emailing them to publiccomments@usccr.gov.

This may be one of the few opportunities members of the public will have to address comments on the above topics to an agency of the federal government. Note that there’s no page limit on comments — they may range from a short paragraph to a treatise.

Click here to see the notice in the National Review





Debating the 'religious freedom' bill Rejection would be serious blow

from Louisville Courier-Journal

MARTIN COTHRAN

Senior Policy Analyst

March 13, 2013

In Kentucky, the Religious Freedom Act (HB 279) has been passed by both chambers of the state legislature and is now on Gov. Steve Beshear’s desk awaiting his signature. The bill would return long-standing legal protections to people of faith that the Kentucky Supreme Court took away in a decision last October. But some groups are urging Gov. Beshear to veto it.

The campaign against the bill being conducted by the ACLU, the Fairness Alliance, and a small minority of lawmakers has sadly turned into an ugly and virulent campaign of hateful rhetoric and misinformation.

If there had been no evidence before of the anti-religious sentiment that now threatens religious freedom in Kentucky, these groups have provided it.

The Religious Freedom Act is a response to a decision last year in which the state’s high court ruled against several Amish men who were being forced to put brightly colored orange reflectors on their buggies in violation of their religious strictures. The court ruled against them. In doing so, the justices announced that the former standard courts applied to religious freedom cases, called “strict scrutiny,” would now be replaced by a lower standard.

They made it easier for the government to violate someone’s First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.

Previously, the government had been required to show that it had a compelling interest in overturning someone’s religious rights. It also required the government to use the least restrictive means to accomplish its purposes. This bill would simply restore these requirements.

The bill’s language is almost identical to the language in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1993 after the U.S. Supreme Court lowered the religious freedom standard in a 1990 decision.

RFRA, whose protections were later limited only to the federal government, was passed almost unanimously by the U.S. Congress, signed by Bill Clinton, sponsored by Ted Kennedy — and supported by the ACLU.

Given what this bill is really about, it is sad and disappointing that the groups opposing it have chosen to misrepresent the nature of the bill to the public and to malign the many good people involved in supporting the legislation.

When HB 279 passed the State House in a bipartisan 82-7 vote, Rep. Kelly Flood, D-Lexington, took to the floor and attacked the Catholic church, charging them with wanting to protect abusive priests. And when the state Senate passed the measure in a 29-6 vote, state Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, charged that the bill would promote racism.

The ACLU and several gay rights groups also argue that the bill would be used to gut civil rights protections.

But if this is true, then why did none of this ever happen before Oct. 25 of last year, when the standard this bill reinstitutes was in force? If there were any such cases, these groups would have produced them, but they haven’t — and they can’t.

Because they don’t exist.

The bill has absolutely nothing to do with the sexual abuse of children and nothing to do with federal civil rights protections. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that preventing racial discrimination is a compelling state interest — the very standard used in this bill.

No one supporting the bill has used one hateful word in arguing for it. Not a single person speaking for the bill has maligned the character of those who oppose it. And not a single supporter has misrepresented the nature of the bill.

Ironically, the group leading the charge against the bill, the ACLU, was the very group who represented the Amish in the case before the Supreme Court four months ago. They argued their case under the standard of strict scrutiny, the same standard they are now opposing.

If Gov. Beshear succumbs to pressure from the ACLU and other groups and vetoes HB 279, it will be a serious blow to religious freedom in Kentucky.

To view the article in its entirety in the Courier-Journal, click here




Jihad? What Jihad? Media Shrug At Islamic Threat

 Posted 

An Investors Business Daily Editorial  

Homeland Insecurity: The attorney general says the threat from local jihadists is now worse than terrorist plots hatched overseas. He warned Americans not to grow "complacent." Tell it to the media.

The major news gatekeepers have ignored the jihadist element in no fewer than four recent cases of sensational killings of non-Muslims by mostly young Muslim men inside the U.S., including:

• Yusuf Ibrahim, a 27-year-old Egyptian immigrant who on Feb. 5 allegedly beheaded two Coptic Christians living in New Jersey.

• Ali Syed, a 20-year-old Muslim who allegedly randomly killed three people in Southern California on Feb. 18 before killing himself.

• Ammar Asim Faruq Harris, a 26-year-old reported black Muslim convert who on Feb. 21 is said to have killed three people in Las Vegas.

• Ali Salim, a 44-year-old Pakistan-born doctor who is accused of raping and killing a pregnant woman and her 9-month-old fetus last year in his Ohio office.

This rash of homicides by Muslims has triggered a giant media yawn, despite telltale signs of jihadist motive. Jihad? What jihad? Reporters seemed to be collectively shrugging in another fit of extreme PC.

Here's another key piece of information denied the average American watching the evening news: the majority of convicted terrorists in the U.S. are American citizens. A study found the terrorist threat is increasingly in our backyard.

Equally stunning, more than half of the 171 terror convicts analyzed by the London-based Henry Jackson Society are college-educated. Many are black converts. Nearly half were born and raised here, according to the report prefaced by former CIA director Mike Hayden.

Yet they want to kill fellow Americans simply because they believe that's what their creed tells them to do. But instead of confronting this homegrown threat, our society is fig-leafing it, even glorifying it.

Even in red-state Texas, educators are indoctrinating kids into the Islamic faith. At Lumberton High School, a geography class was recently told to dress up in Islamic garb — including burqas — and refer to the 9/11 hijackers not as terrorists but as "freedom fighters."

This isn't an isolated event. There's a coordinated effort by leftist do-gooders and multiculturalists to de-link Islam from violence and terror and rewrite history.

When educators, journalists and politicians hear no Islamic violence, see no Islamic violence and report no Islamic violence, beware, it's Sept. 10, 2001, again.

Read article in its entirety at

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/030113-646461-media-misreporting-jihadist-violence-as-random-crime.htm






Email tells feds to make sequester as painful as promised

by Stephen Dinan
March 5, 2013
The Washington Times

The White House announced Tuesday that it is canceling tours of the president’s home for the foreseeable future as the sequester spending cuts begin to bite and the administration makes good on its warnings of painful decisions.

Announcement of the decision — made n an email from the White House Visitors Office — came hours after The Washington Times reported on another administration email that seemed to show at least one agency has been instructed to make sure the cuts are as painful as President Obama promised they would be.

In the internal email, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service official Charles Brown said he asked if he could try to spread out the sequester cuts in his region to minimize the impact, and he said he was told not to do anything that would lessen the dire impacts Congress had been warned of.

“We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be,” Mr. Brown, in the internal email, said his superiors told him

Neither Mr. Brown nor the main APHIS office in Washington returned calls seeking comment, but Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack, who oversees the agency, told Congress he is trying to give flexibility where he can.

“If we have flexibility, we’re going to try to use it to make sure we use sequester in the most equitable and least disruptive way,” the secretary told Rep. Kristi L. Noem, a South Dakota Republican who grilled Mr. Vilsack about the email. “There are some circumstances, and we’ve talked a lot about the meat inspection, where we do not have that flexibility because there are so few accounts.”

Ms. Noem told Mr. Vilsack that the email made it sound like the administration was sacrificing flexibility in order to justify its earlier dire predictions.

“I’m hopeful that isn’t an agenda that’s been put forward,” the congresswoman told Mr. Vilsack.


Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/5/email-tells-feds-make-sequester-painful-promised/#ixzz2Mswed6KN






Florida bill would require anger management courses for bullet buyers
By Joshua Rhett Miller
Published March 5,2013
Fox News

A Florida legislator wants anyone trying to buy ammunition to complete an anger management program first, in what critics say is the latest example of local lawmakers reaching for constitutionally-dubious solutions to the problem of gun violence.

The bill filed Saturday by state Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, would require a three-day waiting period for the sale of any firearm and the sale of ammunition to anyone who has not completed anger management courses. The proposal would require ammo buyers to take the anger management courses every 10 years.

“This is not about guns," Gibson said. "This is about ammunition and not only for the safety of the general community, but also for the safety of law enforcement.”

Gibson said she’s concerned with citizens stockpiling ammunition, potentially creating dangerous situations should those individuals ever come in contact with law enforcement agencies or criminals.

“It’s about getting people to think, really, about how much ammunition they need,” Gibson said. “It’s a step, I think, in a safer direction. It’s about getting people to think before they buy.”



Benghazi Documents Reveal White House 'Specifically Warned of Imminent Attack

March 6, 2013
Jason Howerton
The Blaze

CBS News investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson on Tuesday night reported that the Obama adminsitration has turned over documents relating to the Benghazi terrorist attack to the Senate Intelligence Committee. She made a number of revelations that don't bode well for the White house via her official Twitter account.

She also reported that an “official familiar with the docs” said there were advanced warnings in the days leading up to the attack, including ones that “specifically warned of an imminent attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi.”

The CBS reporter also referenced another source familiar with the Benghazi documents that said nearly all communication between Libya and Washington, D.C., since the attack began referenced al-Qaeda as being the likely “instigators.” That portion is significant because there are still unanswered questions as to why the Obama administration initially blamed the attack on an anti-Muslim YouTube video.

“A source who viewed the docs says the few that mentioned a protest” on night of Benghazi “were not first hand references,” Attkisson reports.

Click here to read the article in its entirety on The Blaze



Christian Science Teacher Fired Over Creationism to Head to Ohio Supreme Court

By Leonardo Blair , Christian Post Contributor

February 26, 2013|

A 20-year Ohio middle school science teacher who was fired in 2011 for teaching creationism in his class will have his day in the Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday when his lawyers will argue that his firing was a violation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to free speech and religion.

"In oral arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court tomorrow, February 27, The Rutherford Institute will defend the right to academic freedom of a science teacher fired for encouraging students to think critically about the school's science curriculum, particularly as it relates to evolution theories," said the Rutherford Institute in a statement released in response to questions from The Christian Post on Tuesday.

"In coming to veteran science teacher John Freshwater's defense, Institute attorneys argue that the Mount Vernon City School District violated John Freshwater's academic freedom rights – and those of his students – by firing him in January 2011," said the statement.

The Mount Vernon School Board had spent almost $1 million fighting John Freshwater's case when they decided to end his contract, according to a report in the Mount Vernon News. Board president Margie Bennett told the Mount Vernon News at the time that Freshwater's fired was a difficult decision.

Freshwater, however, appealed his termination in state court arguing that the firing violated his rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments and constituted hostility toward religion. The Board's decision was upheld by a Common Pleas judge as well as the Fifth District Court of Appeals. But according to the Rutherford Institute, these decisions were made without an analysis of the constitutional claims. The appeal was made to the Ohio Supreme Court to examine theme. According to the Institute, the Mount Vernon School Board attempted to have the court strike the First Amendment claim from the lawsuit but they were unsuccessful.

"Academic freedom was once the bedrock of American education. That is no longer the state of affairs, as this case makes clear," said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, in the release. "What we need today are more teachers and school administrators who understand that young people don't need to be indoctrinated. Rather, they need to be taught how to think for themselves. By firing John Freshwater for challenging his students to think outside the box, school officials violated a core First Amendment freedom – the right to debate and express ideas contrary to established views."

In June 2008, the Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education in Ohio voted to suspend John Freshwater citing concerns about his conduct and teaching materials, particularly as they related to the teaching of evolution. Freshwater, who had served as the faculty appointed facilitator, monitor, and supervisor of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes student group for 16 of the 20 years that he taught at the school, was ordered to remove "all religious items" from his classroom. Freshwater agreed to remove the items except for his Bible, which spurred a sequence of events that led to his eventual firing.

The Rutherford Institute is a nonprofit civil liberties organization that provides legal assistance at no charge to individuals whose constitutional rights have been threatened or violated.

Click here to read the article on the Christian Post web site in its entirety

http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-science-teacher-fired-over-creationism-to-head-to-ohio-supreme-court-90830/




Constitution 201: Founders vs. Progressives

December 3, 2012
The Hawaian Reporter
By Stephen Zierak

This lesson is taught by Dr. Thomas West, the Paul & Dawn Porter Professor of Politics at Hillsdale College.  Dr. West teaches courses in American politics, focusing on the U.S. Constitution, civil rights, foreign policy, and the political thought of the American Founding.  He also teaches the political philosophy of Aquinas, Hobbes, and Locke.  Dr. West is a Senior Fellow of the Claremont Institute, and he has previously taught at the University of Dallas.  He received his BA from Cornell, and his PhD from Claremont Graduate University.  Those interested in seeing and hearing this lecture, or any of the others in the series, may register at constitution.hillsdale.edu.  There is no fee.

 

The Founders believed that the purpose of government was to secure the unalienable rights of American citizens to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by protecting against violations by foreign or domestic enemies.  The Progressives believe that the purpose of government is to give you the benefit of government programs, while changing you into a more socially responsible individual.

As we watch the Founder’s vision slip away with the advent of big government and the welfare state, we might wonder what went wrong.  Some American conservatives blame the language of the Founding.  They believe that the equality and rights talk has led to Obama, that Progressivism was derived from expressions in our revolutionary documents.  Actually, nothing could be farther from the truth.  Progressivism was a radical departure from the Founding, as can be seen in comparisons around six points of contrast:  (1)  What is freedom?  (2)  Purpose of government?  (3)  Domestic policy?  (4)  Foreign policy?  (5)  Consent of the governed?  (6) Government limited or unlimited?

Click here to view and read this lesson in its entirety at the Hawaiian Reporter.




Open Doors: Violence Targeting Christians Increasing in Syria

Contact: Jerry Dykstra, Open Doors USA, 616-915-4117, jerryd@odusa.org

SANTA ANA, Calif., Nov. 1, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- The targeting of Christians in war-torn Syria is increasing, according to Open Doors sources.

"The car bomb in Jaramana was targeting the Christian and Druze community as a group, since the area has no political ties or buildings," a local Christian source explained about the large bomb blast in the Damascus suburb on Monday.

According to contacts in the neighborhood, 11 Christians where killed and one Muslim killed in the explosion. The blast left 69 people, all Christians, wounded. Twenty are in critical condition.

Open Doors' country coordinator for Syria says: "The attack took place during the final day of Eid al-Adha (Muslim holiday). Observers hoped the four-day holiday would mark a temporary ceasefire, but that hope proved to be false. I see this as another example that Christians are increasingly targeted."

A believer from Damascus reports that last Sunday a car bomb was found in a Christian neighborhood in the old part of the city. The car was parked next to two churches, a Maronite and Latin church. The two churches were warned and church officials instructed all their parishioners to go home in case the bomb exploded. Authorities were successful in disabling the bomb.

Situation in Aleppo, Homs and Christian Valley

An Open Doors contact in Aleppo reports that, "the situation is not getting any better, but we are hoping the situation will cool down."

Last week Open Doors received a report from a believer in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, that about 100 insurgents infiltrated a main street in a Christian area of the city. Aleppo is one of the hot spots in the 21-month civil war between rebels and the Syrian government. According to the report, the Syrian army quickly surrounded the insurgents and drove them out.

Another believer reports that in some of the predominantly Christian villages in the Homs area there is not a threat against the entire Christian community, however, individual Christians are being targeted.

In a village in the Christian Valley, a region west of Homs and Hama, three Christian men were kidnapped and one killed. "One of my contacts is stuck there, waiting to find a way back to Damascus. The roads are the worst now," the believer shares.

The Open Doors country coordinator for Syria adds: "The violent situation deeply hurts the entire Syrian population, the Christian community as well as other people groups. But about two or three weeks ago we observed an increase of violence that specifically is targeting Christians or Christian neighborhoods. Bombs now are placed in Christian areas where there is no strategic or military target at all. We are deeply concerned about our brothers and sisters and call all churches and all Christians to continue praying for this dangerous situation for Christians."

Jerry Dykstra, media relations director for Open Doors, says the request for prayer from Syrian Christians comes as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) will be observed in the United States on Sunday, Nov. 11.

Click here to see entire article at http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/7527470787.html




Christian Science Monitor

Global News Blog

All politics is local, even the US election as seen by Kenyans

Villagers in the home village of President's Obama's father are cheering on the Democrat, while Kenyan Mormons are excited by challenger Mitt Romney’s run.

By Fredrick Nzwili, Correspondent

November 1, 2012

Nairobi, Kenya

Kenyans are closely watching the US presidential election, with two groups in particular rooting for each of the candidates. 

US President Barack Obama’s reelection bid is preoccupying the people in Nyang’oma Kogelo, his Kenyan father’s home village, as challenger Mitt Romney’s run is invigorating Mormons in the East African country.

Mr. Romney’s candidacy has thrust the Christian group into the spotlight here, with its leaders on Monday unveiling a website called Kenya Mormon Newsroom to help answer questions ignited by the American political process. Leaders say the church maintains a firm political neutrality.

“In the most recent past, questions have been asked about who we are. The reasons is we have a member of the church running as president of the United State of America,” said Elder Hesbon Usi, an official here with the Mormons' Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. “Since people do not have the right source of information and truth they are looking for, a lot tend to go to other websites that are misleading. They get information that is not correct.”

Elder Thomas Hatch, a former Utah state senator who now serves as the church’s deputy director of public affairs for the region, said questions the church has encountered have prompted leaders to share more through a network of websites.

Hatch says Mormons would relish the idea of a Romney presidency, hoping it would bring the church out of obscurity. However, he cautioned that there could be many downsides as well as upsides, since presidents have to make tough decisions.

 “If Mr. Romney is seen as a Mormon president, there could be retaliation by other countries against our church and missions,” he says.

Meanwhile, in Nyang’oma Kogelo, the western Kenyan village that is home to the president's step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, the community is organizing daily prayers for Obama, with special prayers reported in churches and mosques. Often gathering in small groups to listen to news and discussions on FM radios from mobile phones, the residents say they have learned Obama was facing a stiff challenge.

“We would like to organize bigger meetings to show support, but we fear the security is not good. Terrorists may attack us because of our Obama links. The threats and attacks in Kenya make use very cautious,” says Vitalis Ogombe, the chairman of a community group called the Obama Kogelo Cultural Committee.

For them, the interest in the American election is driven by pride more than economic or material gains, since Obama is viewed as a grandson there.

“We are proud because we have seen he can make a good global leader. People now know us globally because of him. We are praying that he continues,” says Mr. Ogombe.

But since Obama’s election in 2008, Kogelo can also count material gains. Electricity has been installed in the area and infrastructure improved. Micro-finance organizations and nongovernmental organizations have also moved here to help improve the community’s living standards. The local people say they are better since he became president.

For Jesse Mugambi of the University of Nairobi, America foreign policy on Africa remains the same, irrespective of whoever is the "boss."

“The voters out there will decide what is good for them, and Kenyans will put up with whoever wins. That is what democracy demands,” he says.

Some analysts have also considered an Obama loss. Charles Onyango-Obbo, in an opinion in the Daily Nation today, analyzed why an Obama loss would be good for him and the world.

“Obama has the energy and smarts to be an influential international citizen and non-state actor to join Clinton and Gates as the non-white face at the top of international NGO priesthood. To do that, he has first to lose the election,” wrote Mr. Onyango-Obbo.

Click here to see article at the CSM

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2012/1101/All-politics-is-local-even-the-US-election-as-seen-by-Kenyans






Sixty Percent of US Muslims Reject Freedom of Expression

RIGHT SIDE NEWS.com
Thursday, 01 November 2012

Dr. Andrew Bostom

 After violent Muslim reactions to the amateurish “Innocence of Muslims” video, which simply depicted a few of the less salutary aspects of Muhammad’s biography, international and domestic Islamic agendas have openly converged with vehement calls for universal application of Islamic blasphemy law. This demand to abrogate Western freedom of expression was reiterated in a parade of speeches by Muslim leaders at the UN General Assembly. The US Muslim community echoed such admonitions, for example during a large demonstration in Dearborn, Michigan, and in a press release by the Islamic Circle of North America.

Now the results of polling data collected by Wenzel Strategies during October 22 to 26, 2012, from 600 US Muslims, indicate widespread support among rank and file American votaries of Islam for this fundamental rejection of freedom expression, as guaranteed under the US Constitution. The first amendment states, plainly,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

When asked, “Do you believe that criticism of Islam or Muhammad should be permitted under the Constitution’s First Amendment?, 58% replied “no,” while only 42% affirmed this most basic manifestation of freedom of speech, i.e., to criticize religious, or any other dogma. Indeed, oblivious to US constitutional law, as opposed to Islam’s Sharia, a largely concordant 45% of respondents agreed “…that those who criticize or parody Islam in the U.S. should face criminal charges,” while 38% did not, and 17% were “unsure”.  Moreover, fully 12% of this Muslim sample even admitted they believed in application of the draconian, Sharia-based punishment for the non-existent crime of “blasphemy” in the US code, answering affirmatively, “…that Americans who criticize or parody Islam should be put to death.”

Also, consistent with such findings 43% of these US Muslims rejected the right of members of other faiths to proselytize to adherents of Islam, disagreeing, “…that U.S. citizens have a right to evangelize Muslims to consider other faiths.” Additional confirmatory data revealed that nearly two-fifths (39%) agreed “…that Shariah law should be considered when adjudicating cases that involve Muslims,” while nearly one-third (32%) of this American Muslim sample believed “…Shariah law should be the supreme law of the land in the US.”

These alarming data remind us that despite intentionally obfuscating apologetics, Sharia, Islamic law, is not merely holistic, in the general sense of all-encompassing, but totalitarian, regulating everything from the ritual aspects of religion, to personal hygiene, to the governance of a Muslim minority community, Islamic state, bloc of states, or global Islamic order. Clearly, this latter political aspect is the most troubling, being an ancient antecedent of more familiar modern totalitarian systems. Specifically, Sharia’s liberty-crushing and dehumanizing political aspects feature: open-ended jihadism to subjugate the world to a totalitarian Islamic order; rejection of bedrock Western liberties—including freedom of conscience and speech—enforced by imprisonment, beating, or death; discriminatory relegation of non-Muslims to outcast, vulnerable pariahs, and even Muslim women to subservient chattel; and barbaric punishments which violate human dignity, such as amputation for theft, stoning for adultery, and lashing for alcohol consumption.

And the US Muslim data mirror global Islamic trends. Previously, the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (subsequently renamed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC])—the largest voting bloc in the UN, which represents all the major Muslim countries, and the Palestinian Authority—had sponsored and actually navigated to passage a compromise U.N. resolution insisting countries criminalize what it calls “defamation of religion.” Though the language of the OIC “defamation of religion” resolution has been altered at times, the OIC’s goal has remained the same—to impose at the international level a Sharia-compliant conception of freedom of speech and expression that would severely limit anything it arbitrarily deemed critical of, or offensive to, Islam or Muslims. This is readily apparent by reading the OIC’s supervening “alternative” to both the US Bill of Rights and the UN’s own 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, i.e., the 1990 Cairo Declaration, or Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Islam.

The opening of the preamble to the Cairo Declaration repeats a Koranic injunction affirming Islamic supremacism (Koran 3:110, “You are the best nation ever brought forth to men . . . you believe in Allah”); and its last arti­cles, 24 and 25, maintain [article 24], “All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Sharia”; and [article 25] “The Islamic Sharia is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification to any of the articles of this Declaration.” The gravely negative implications of the OIC’s Sharia-based Cairo Declaration are most apparent in its transparent rejection of freedom of conscience in Article 10, which proclaims:

Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to another religion, or to atheism.

Ominously, articles 19 and 22 reiterate a principle stated elsewhere throughout the document, which clearly applies to the “punishment” of  so-called apostates from Islam, as well as “blasphemers”:

There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Sharia. Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Sharia. Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Sharia.

Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.

Institutional Islam in North America—epitomized by the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA)—also endorses and promotes this Sharia supremacism. AMJA’s mission statement maintains that the organization was, “founded to provide guidance for Muslims living in North America. . . . AMJA is a religious organization that does not exploit religion to achieve any political ends, but instead provides practical solutions within the guidelines of Islam and the nation’s laws to the various challenges experienced by Muslim communities. ” It is accepted by the mainstream American Muslim community, and regularly trains imams from throughout North America. Notwithstanding this mainstream acceptance, AMJA has issued rulings which sanction the killing of apostates, “blasphemers,” (including non-Muslims guilty of this “crime”), and adulterers (by stoning to death); condoned female genital mutilation, marital rape, and polygamy; and even endorsed the possibility for offensive jihad against the U.S., as soon as Muslims are strong enough to wage it.

Finally, it should be noted, 81% of this sample of Muslim Americans were either “definitely for Obama,” or “leaning Obama”.

Source: and All Articles Copyright ©  Dr. Andrew Bostom | All Rights Reserved

Click here to read at rightsidenews.com
 http://www.rightsidenews.com/2012110117312/editorial/rsn-pick-of-the-day/sixty-percent-of-us-muslims-reject-freedom-of-expression.html






Malala Yousafzai taken to specialist hospital

Girl shot by Taliban in Pakistan remains in critical condition, and local government posts reward for attackers' capture

The Guardian, Thursday 11 October 2012

A Pakistani schoolgirl fighting for her life after being shot by Taliban gunmen has been transferred to a specialist hospital in the army garrison town of Rawalpindi.

Malala Yousafzai, 14, was unconscious and in a critical condition after being shot in the head and neck as she left school in the Swat region on Tuesday, but doctors said she had moved her arms and legs slightly overnight.

On Wednesday surgeons at an army hospital in the regional capital, Peshawar, removed a bullet from Malala's head. She has been taken to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi for further treatment."Pray for her," her distraught uncle, Faiz Mohammad, said before the ambulance left Peshawar. Two British doctors who were attending a seminar in Pakistan at the time of the attack joined local surgeons in treating Malala on Thursday. One of the two other girls shot with Malala is out of danger, the other remains in a critical condition.

A Taliban spokesman said Malala had been targeted for trying to spread western culture, and that they would try to kill her again if she survived. Malala's father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who runs a girls' school, said his daughter had defied threats for years, believing the good work she was doing for her community was her best protection.

The regional governor, Masood Kausar, said officials had identified the attackers. The local government has posted a 10m rupee reward for their capture. "The security agencies are closely working with each other and they have a lot of information about the perpetrators. We hope they will soon capture them and bring to justice," Kausar said.

The attack outraged many in Pakistan, and there were small, impromptu rallies in many cities. Schools closed across Swat in protest over the shooting, and a small demonstration was held in her home town, Mingora. Pakistan's president, prime minister and the heads of various opposition parties joined the human rights group Amnesty International and the United Nations in condemning the attack.

Malala had spent the last three years campaigning for girls' education after the Taliban shut down girls' schools. She received Pakistan's highest civilian award but also a number of death threats. In 2009 the army pushed the Taliban out of Mingora, but the attack showed the militia's ability to strike even inside heavily patrolled towns.

This article can be seen at the UK Guardian by clicking here

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/11/malala-yousufzai-specialist-hospital

 

or click here to read more about this young person in the Christian Science Monitor

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2012/1011/My-conversations-with-Malala-Yousafzai-the-girl-who-stood-up-to-the-Taliban-video







The Islamic Threat Doctrine and 9/11/2012

by ALAN KORNMAN

October 9, 2012

Family Security Matters

A dark feeling of betrayal and stunned disbelief washed over me as I read the newspaper headline, "Jordanians press for democratic reforms" in the October 6, 2012 Orlando Sentinel.

The Myth of Islamic Democratic Reforms

The mainstream media, U.S. State Department, and President Obama fed us a steady stream of news in 2011 that Egyptian youth were protesting in the streets for an Arab Spring of democratic reforms in Egypt.  Fast forward to 2012 and we learned The Muslim Brotherhood orchestrated the propaganda of democracy in Egypt to get support from the Obama Administration in the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. 

While the press was printing gallons of ink reporting the Muslim Brotherhood would pursue democratic reforms in Egypt, Mohammad Morsi was consolidating his political base with the Salafi Islamist fundamentalist,  whose objective was to institute a Sunni led Shariah compliant Islamic State in Egypt by overthrowing the colonialist dictator and friend of the United States, Hosni Mubarak. 

The utopian mantra from the liberal left of democratic reforms blooming in Egypt on a warm and sunny Arab Spring day were proven wrong.  Now these same journalists and politicians are falling for the same lie again out of Jordan.

When will our mainstream press learn that Shariah compliant political Islam and our Jeffersonian democracy are not compatible?  Understanding the PLO's failed coup of Jordan in the 1970's will help you to see what Jordan can expect from the Muslim Brotherhood in 2012-2013. 

Black September in Jordan 

In September of 1970, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient Yasser Arafat, nephew of Nazi collaborator Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, tried unsuccessfully to violently overthrow the Kingdom of Jordan from King Hussein. 

Arafat's PLO organization lost over 2,000 Muslim men in the attempted Black September coup of their Jordanian Muslim brothers and were violently expelled from their native Jordan

History seems to be repeating itself again,  except now The Muslim Brotherhood is making a play to wrestle control of Jordan from the colonialist dictator and friend of the United States, King Abdullah II. 

If King Abdullah II tries to appease The Muslim Brotherhood he will find himself either dead or in exile wondering how he lost his throne.  King Abdullah II need look no further than Qaddafi, Mubarak, and Assad to see his future, if he continues on his current path.

Understanding The Islamic Threat Doctrine

Understanding the Islamic Threat Doctrine is essential in predicting events as they unfold on the ground and anticipating what to expect will happen in the future.  Fortunately for the American people, our Islamist adversaries are more than happy to tell us exactly what their doctrine and objectives are. 

We will now learn the Islamic Threat Doctrine from a well respected Islamic Jihadist who was tops in his class amongst his Jihadi peers.  Today's teacher of the doctrine is Sheikh Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi or by his title, "Emir of Al Qaeda in the Country of Two Rivers."  On June 7, 2006 Mr. Zarqawi was killed when a USAF F-16 dropped two 500 pound guided bombs on his safe house in Baqubah, Iraq prematurely ending his career of violence and butchery to achieve his political objectives.

Shortly before his death, Mr. Zarqawi conducted an in depth interview with the Al-Furican Foundation for Media Production, an entertainment arm of Al-Qaeda.  Hidden deep in the interview Mr. Zarqawi explains clearly what the Islamic Threat Doctrine is and it's objectives.

These two paragraphs below should change your life forever and how you view the world around you.  Al-Qaeda terrorist Musab Al-Zarqawi says,

"We fight in the way of Allah, until the law of Allah is implemented, and the first step is to expel the enemy, then establish the Islamic state, then we set forth to conquer the lands of Muslims to return them back to us, then after that, we fight the kuffar (disbelievers) until they accept one of the three.

"I have been sent with the sword, between the hands of the hour"; this is our political agenda."

"It is necessary to accept the fact that it is an obligation for every Muslim to rush to help each other and it is also very necessary to agree that the houses of Muslims are just one house. The enemies (the disbelieving nations) have imposed boundaries and divided the lands of Muslims to tiny nations however we do not believe in them and the boundaries of Sax Bacon do not restrict us. We, the Muslims are one nation and the lands of Islam are one land, we fight for the sake of "there is no god but Allah".

The Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East and Northern Africa are "expelling the enemy" and establishing an Islamic State as they did in Egypt.  Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood consider the muslim colonialist dictators as enemies of Shariah compliant political Islam.

The Islamic Threat Doctrine Mr. Zarqawi articulated above is being implemented in coordinated steps to achieve their short term objective of unifying, "Muslims to rush to help each other...and Muslims are of one house."  The coordinated attacks on 9/11/12 on U.S. interests in the Middle East and Northern Africa was the real warning to America, not the red herring of an internet movie.

When the Islamist enemies of the United States tell you exactly what they want to do and why - believe them.  When the soldiers of Allah conducted 20+ coordinated attacks on U.S. interests in the Middle East and Northern Africa on 9/11/2012,  they were telegraphing they can recreate these coordinated attacks at any time of their choosing -- in law enforcement circles they call that a clue, as John Guandolo likes to say.

What Our Islamist Enemies Fear Most

The one thing our Islamist adversaries fear most is an American public that understands the basics of The Islamic Threat Doctrine.  Thomas Jefferson read the Qur'an to fight and defeat the Muslim Barabary Pirates in Tripoli back in 1801.  Now you must learn The Islamic Threat Doctrine to understand the Islamists who attacked our embassy in Tripoli on 9/11/2012.

Conclusion 

The future of America rests on how many Americans learn The Islamic Threat Doctrine as articulated by Mr. Zarqawi.  Then you must teach your friends, family, and community what Mr. Zarqawi and his Islamist ideological brothers consider their definition of Victory. 

We, the Muslims are one nation and the lands of Islam are one land, we fight for the sake of "there is no god but Allah".

What we believe as Americans and our man made laws is of small concern to our Islamist enemies.  The followers of Islam believe "there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger" and that was the message on the black flags that flew above our overrun embassies and consulates when they were attacked on 9/11/2012.

God Bless America and God Bless Our Troops.

Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Alan Kornman is the regional coordinator of The United West-Uniting Western Civilization for Freedom and Liberty. His email is: alan@theunitedwest.org

This article can be found in its entirety at
http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/the-islamic-threat-doctrine-and-9112012





The morality of Paul Ryan’s budget

By Babette Francis - posted Thursday, 4 October 2012

In Onlineopinion.com

Australia’s ejournal of  social and political debate

 Recent polls on the US presidential elections show that Obama is leading Romney by a few percentage points, and crucially is leading in the "swing" states, notably Ohio, which Romney needs to win to have any hope of becoming President of the US. Obama gets 95% or more of the African-American vote, which is understandable given the US history of slavery and discrimination against African-Americans. However what is not so understandable is why Obama in recent polls appears to be leading among Catholic voters, despite the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) having lobbied strenuously against Obama's Health Care mandate pointing out its moral flaws and attack on religious freedom and conscience rights.

Perhaps the USCCB needs to take some responsibility for the confusion among Catholic voters, so many of whom seem to be willing to vote for the most pro-abortion President in US history - and the first to support same-sex "marriage" - because the message from the bishops has been somewhat mixed.

In April before Congressman Paul Ryan (Republican, Wisconsin's lst District) was chosen by Mitt Romney to be his Vice-Presidential candidate in the US November elections, Ryan proposed a budget plan which was adopted by the Republican-majority House of Representatives Budget Committee, 21-9. However, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) was been critical of Ryan's budget implying that it 'failed a basic moral test':

....The Catholic bishops of the United States recognize the serious deficits our country faces, and acknowledge that Congress must make difficult decisions about allocating burdens and sacrifices and balancing resources and needs. However, deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility efforts must protect and not undermine the needs of poor and vulnerable people. The proposed cuts in the budget fail this basic moral test.

The USCCB was specifically concerned about alterations to the Child Tax Credit to exclude immigrant families (it is not clear whether this cut is targeted primarily at illegal immigrants), cuts in the food stamps and the Social Services Block Grant.

While the USCCB mentions serious deficits, I wonder if they can get their heads around the 16 TRILLIONS of US debt, and that some economists estimate that by 2020 the US may be unable to pay the interest on this debt. I have difficulty in imagining a trillion but then I am just a housewife who knows one cannot "spend one's way out of debt" - a strategy which appears to be President Obama's rescue plan.

Not all bishops agree with the USCCB statement. Bishop Boyea, Lansing, said “There have been some concerns raised by Catholic economists about what was perceived as a partisan action against Congressman Ryan’s proposed budget .... Statements that endorsed specific economic policies revealed a lack of humility. We need to learn far more than we need to teach in this area. We need to listen more than we need to speak...."

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Kansas City, agreed the USCCB committee neglected the principle of subsidiarity which calls for solutions to be provided close to people in need. He suggested drafters of the statement needed to rethink a tendency to advocate for government assistance, and USCCB proposals should not ignore the ballooning national deficit. “Sometimes we’re perceived as just encouraging government to spend more money, with no realistic way of how we’re going to afford this”.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron, Detroit, echoed Archbishop Naumann’s suggestion that the proposed document focus more on the family as the central social institution and spoke of how the “disintegration of the family” had fueled the demand for government assistance.

Warm support for Paul Ryan came from Cardinal Dolan of New York who described Ryan as a "great public servant" and praised his “call for financial accountability, restraint and a balanced budget” as well as his “obvious solicitude for the poor.” He emphasized there are differences in “prudential judgment” over how to assist the poor.

Ryan's diocesan Bishop Morlino, Madison, wrote:

... I am proud of Paul Ryan's accomplishments as a native son, and a brother in the faith, and my prayers go with him and his family as they endure the unbelievable demands of a presidential campaign .....

Click here to see  this article in its entirety and read more




   

August 2012:  969 People Slaughtered by by Muslims - one person every 46 minutes           Welcome to Islam

Sept. 5, 2012
No additional commentary required.



Rising anti-Islamic sentiment in America troubles Muslims

By Moni Basu, CNN
Sept. 5, 2012
(CNN) –
When the nation pauses to remember 9/11 next week, a group of Tennesseans will gather at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Franklin for a commemoration. But it will be more than that.

On the program, called "The Threat in Our Backyard," is a lecture on Islam in public schools and a short film on Sharia finance.

It's a program organized by people who feel the American way of life is threatened by Islam - in particular, Sharia, or Islamic law.

Sharia would bring ruin to America, says Greg Johnson, vice president of the 9/12 Project Tennessee, a sponsor of the event that advocates for shifting government back to the intent of the Constitution's authors.

He says he has nothing against Muslims, but he takes issue with the tenets of Islam.

Sharia, he believes, would mean that practicing homosexuals would be put to death, women would not be educated and would be married off to men chosen by their fathers, and non-Muslims would become kafirs - nonbelievers - relegated to second-class citizenship.

"And I don't want that coming to America," Johnson says.

He's not alone in his fears.

A tide of anti-Islam sentiment has been swelling across America in recent months, strong enough to prompt one imam to wish for the days immediately after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks when President George W. Bush declared that Muslims were not our enemies; that the war on terror was against a select few who acted upon their hate for America.

"In the 11 years since, we have retreated," says Abdullah Antepli, the Muslim chaplain at Duke University who likes to call himself the Blue Devil Imam.

Muslims make up less than 1% of the U.S. population. Yet, say Muslim advocates, they are a community besieged.

Hate crimes against Muslims spiked 50% in 2010, the last year for which FBI statistics are available. That was in a year marked by Muslim-bashing speech over the Islamic center near ground zero in Manhattan and Florida Pastor Terry Jones' threats to burn Qurans.

Antepli likens the current climate to McCarthyism. Left unchecked, he says, anti-Muslim fervor, like racism and anti-Semitism, has the potential to evolve into something dangerous.

This year's holy month of Ramadan, which ended August 19, was marred by a spate of violence at U.S. Islamic centers that included a fire, a homemade bomb and pig parts. The incidents were unprecedented in scale and scope, says the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

At least seven mosques and one cemetery were attacked in the United States during Ramadan, according to the council and other groups that track such incidents.

Particularly visible on the anti-Muslim radar has been the state of Tennessee, where a mosque opened during Ramadan after two years of controversy. The new Islamic center in Murfreesboro opened a few weeks ago after delays caused by legal wrangling, community protests and vandalism.

Also in Tennessee, incumbent congresswoman Diane Black found herself publicly opposing Sharia after her opponent Lou Ann Zelenik made it a campaign issue.

State senatorial candidate Woody Degan's website also mentions Sharia:

"VOTE CONSERVATIVE! VOTE Anti-Sharia, VOTE Against Internet Taxes, Vote FOR Gun Carry Rights! VOTE for your PERSONAL RIGHTS!"

And Gov. Bill Haslam recently came under fire for hiring lawyer Samar Ali, a Muslim woman from Tennessee, to work in the international division of the state's economic development department.

Ali's critics called her Sharia-compliant and a website called Bill H(Islam) attacked the governor for pursuing "a policy that promotes the interest of Islamist (sic) and their radical ideology."

The website links to another that discusses, among other things, Islamic infiltration of public schools.

"I cannot stress enough the seriousness of their push to spread their religion to all non-Muslims throughout our country," says website author Cathy Hinners, another speaker at next Tuesday's 9/11 event in Franklin.

"Why? Why are Muslims so adamant that we accept their religion? The answer is simple. The answer is in black and white. The answer is in the Muslim brotherhoods "Strategic Goal for North America." It's called a global caliphate. One religion, one government, one law... called Sharia."

In November 2010, more than 70% of voters in Oklahoma approved a ballot initiative to amend the state's constitution that banned courts from looking at "legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law."

The amendment died after a federal court ruled it discriminatory.

"That was very explicitly anti-Islamic," says Glenn Hendrix, an Atlanta lawyer who specializes in international law. "It specifically referenced Sharia."

This year, 33 anti-Sharia or international law bills were introduced in 20 states, making it a key issue. Six states - Louisiana, South Dakota, Kansas, Arizona, Louisiana and Tennessee - adopted such laws prior to 2012.

Two Tennessee lawmakers attempted to pass a bill this year that would have made it a felony to practice Sharia, but it failed.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations says the anti-Sharia bills are based on draft legislation promoted by David Yerushalmi, an anti-Islamic lawyer from New York.

Yerushalmi founded the Society of Americans for National Existence, an organization devoted to promoting his theory that Islam is inherently seditious and Sharia is a "criminal conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.

"Ideally," says the center, "he would outlaw Islam and deport its adherents altogether."

Hendrix says anti-Sharia legislation is not necessary since U.S. courts ultimately are beholden to U.S. law.

But it sends a strong message to the Muslim community.

The American Bar Association, which opposes federal or state laws that impose blanket prohibitions on foreign laws, says such legislative initiatives stigmatize an entire religious community and "are inconsistent with some of the core principles and ideals of American jurisprudence."

Valarie Kaur, a legal advocate and hate crimes specialist, says proponents of anti-Sharia bills are battling an imaginary threat.

"There is no push to install Sharia law in the U.S.," she says. "Anti-Sharia bills target the religious principles of Muslim Americans and fuel anti-Muslim rhetoric and bias. As a Sikh American whose community has too often become the target of hate, I believe it's time to stand against all forms of racism and religious bigotry."

An attack at a Wisconsin Sikh temple last month killed six people. Many believe the shooter mistook Sikhs for Muslims. A Sikh gas station attendant in Arizona was the first victim of reprisal after the 9/11 attacks.

Kaur blames tough economic times and an amplification of hateful speech for incidents like the temple shooting and the momentum behind the anti-Sharia campaign.

For Muslims, Sharia - which means "path to the watering hole" in Arabic - is the divine law revealed centuries ago in the Quran that governs all aspects of life. More often than not, it's the most sensational parts of Sharia - like cutting off a thief's hand - that garner the most publicity.

U.S. courts bump up against it in cases of divorces, inheritance, child custody, enforcement of money judgments and commercial disputes or tort actions.

A trial court in New Jersey, for instance, ruled that a husband, who was Muslim, lacked the criminal intent to commit sexual assault on his wife because Sharia permits a man to have sex with his wife whenever he wants.

That's the kind of ruling that fuels anti-Sharia activists.

Nashville health-care investor Andrew Miller says there's no room for democracy within Islamic ideology. All you have to do is look to any Islamic state, he says.

"If you wanted to pray to a large rock and that was your God, I could care less," he says. "But the minute you want to put a gun to my head and say you will pray to this large rock and your family will or you will pay the price, that's when I see a bully. I see an overbearing ideology that wants to force and coerce people.

Miller describes himself as a tolerant person but not when it comes to people dictating how others will live.

"That's antithetical to the freedoms that we value, the liberty we value," he says.

The message that Islam is evil has been repeated so many times - sometimes directly, sometimes in a more subtle fashion - that it has sunk in as reality in the hearts and minds of many Americans, says Antepli, the Duke chaplain.

Part of it is fear of the unknown, he says.

"I, too, would have a monstrous image of Islam if I did not know any better."

But another part of it is orchestrated, he says, referring to "well-organized and polished" anti-Islam websites that have sprouted in recent years. Marry that with ignorance and the end result is lethal, Antepli says.

The Center for American Progress, a liberal research and advocacy organization, published a report last year that attributed the rise of Islamophobia to a "small, tightly-networked group of misinformation experts."

The report called "Fear, Inc." lists seven foundations that gave $42.6 million to think tanks to promote anti-Islamic thought.

It describes "deeply intertwined individuals and organizations" that "manufacture and exaggerate threats of 'creeping Sharia,' Islamic domination of the West, and purported obligatory calls to violence against all non-Muslims by the Quran."

The issue of Sharia, say some Muslims, has become a political hot potato in an election year.

GOP candidates Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann mentioned Sharia in their campaign speeches. This year's Republican Party platform makes mention of foreign laws:

"Subjecting American citizens to foreign laws is inimical to the spirit of the Constitution. It is one reason we oppose U.S. participation in the International Criminal Court. There must be no use of foreign law by U.S. courts in interpreting our Constitution and laws. Nor should foreign sources of law be used in State courts' adjudication of criminal or civil matters."

That's the message Miller hopes people will take away from next week's 9/11 meeting; that the tenets of Islam go against the constitution of the United States.

It's diametrically opposed to what people like Antepli and Kaur will be saying as America remembers the horror of terrorism. Hateful sentiment, they say, is not the answer.

This blog read be seen in its entirety at:

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/05/rising-anti-islamic-sentiment-in-america-troubles-muslims/

 

 



   The Growing Islamic Threat IN RUSSIA

from The Strategy Page
September 4, 2012: Despite all the publicity about increased defense spending, there is much less talk on how to solve the growing problem with Islamic terrorism. This is a war going on inside Russia and it has been getting worse in the last decade. There are over eight million Moslems in Russia, most of them outside the Caucasus (where most of the Islamic terrorist activity is taking place). But Islamic conservatism and radicalism is becoming more popular with Russian Moslems, and this is the usual precursor for the formation of Islamic terror groups. There are also a growing number of Moslem migrants from Central Asian countries that were part of the old Soviet Union but are now independent and less well off than Russia. These illegal economic migrants are not welcome and have become fertile recruiting grounds for Islamic terror groups. Russians tend to be hostile to Islam, mainly because of centuries of conflict between Christian Russia and various Moslem states. This has created a culture of resentment among Russian Moslems, which is made worse by the pervasive corruption.

August 29, 2012: In the Caucasus (Dagestan) a female suicide bomber killed Sheikh Said Afandi, a prominent Moslem leader who opposed Islamic terrorism. Six others died in the explosion.

August 28, 2012: In the Caucasus (Ingushetia) several police raids left three Islamic terrorist dead, several more arrested, and large quantities of weapons and ammunition seized.

Also in the Caucasus, a group of Islamic terrorists crossed the border from Dagestan into Georgia and kidnapped ten villagers. Georgian police responded and in a gun battle killed 11 of the invaders, with the loss of three policemen. The captives were freed. It's unclear why the Islamic terrorists crossed the border and sought to kidnap people from a foreign country. For many years Georgia tolerated Chechen rebels hiding out in northern Georgia, just across the border from Chechnya. But a decade ago the U.S. and Russia persuaded the Georgians to expel the Islamic terrorists and other foreign gunmen. For the last nine years the foreigners have been absent, or very covert if they were there. Now there is this incident, which has so far been unexplained.

August 27, 2012: A Russian shipyard launched the first of six Kilo class submarines Vietnam ordered three years ago.

August 26, 2012:  In a rural part of southern Siberia several people were infected with Anthrax, and one of them died. Anthrax is found naturally in this area and several infected animals (who pick up the disease while grazing in areas where the Anthrax spores are active) were destroyed. Anthrax is also found in some parts of the United States and other parts of the world where climate and geographic conditions are right for it. In rural areas of the United States where Anthrax is found, people liable to be exposed are usually vaccinated against the deadly disease. Animals are also vaccinated, as it is the cattle and sheep that usually spread Anthrax to humans. Vaccination is much less common in Russia but over a hundred people and all animals in the area were vaccinated in order to contain this outbreak.

August 22, 2012: In the United States there was an unsubstantiated news story about a Russian Akula class nuclear submarine cruising through the Gulf of Mexico undetected for several weeks in July. The United States does not monitor submerged submarine activity in that area and the American Department of Defense responded that it had no record of any Akulas in the area. The Russian Navy refused to comment.

August 21, 2012: In the Caucasus (Kabardino-Balkaria) an Islamic terrorist died in a gun battle with police. In nearby Dagestan, two policemen were killed by Islamic terrorists.

This article can be read in its entirety at:

 http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/russia/articles/20120903.aspx





From
THE FOUNDRY

Religious Freedom Means “Sticking up for All Believers”

Ken McIntyre  Aug. 21, 2012

The crowd erupted into disarmed laughter when Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson got to the point. “I have to say when it comes to religious freedom and the other great constitutional questions at the moment that are at stake: However bad you think things are, however bleak it looks, however dire it may seem—it’s almost certainly worse than you think.”

That’s as good a reason as any to be better equipped for the debates ahead. Hasson, founder and president emeritus of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, made those remarks nearly four months ago upon receiving The Heritage Foundation’s Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship.

His acclaimed 2005 book, The Right to Be Wrong: Ending the Culture War Over Religion in America, is just out in a timely paperback reprint from Image (with a new afterword).

Examples of government’s intolerance toward personal faith in the public square have multiplied since Hasson’s “it’s almost certainly worse” crack—from Obamacare’s Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that employers get over their faith and provide employees with “free” abortion-inducing drugs, to elected officials who threaten to make an entrepreneur’s religion a reason to deny a building permit in their cities.

Hasson’s The Right to Be Wrong, overflowing with real-life cases and reflecting the life’s mission of this Notre Dame-trained lawyer and theologian, is about why we need to protect religious freedom from tyranny in all shapes and sizes.

“We are manning the believer’s side of the barricades against the forces who believe in nothingness,” the essayist and scholar said in accepting the Salvatori Prize during an April 26 luncheon in Colorado Springs opening Heritage’s 35th annual Resource Bank gathering. He added:

 

“Therefore, we need to defend the rights of other people who believe in something—even if we think they believe the wrong thing. In so doing, we are sticking up for all believers against the nihilists. We are standing tall for those who are convinced there is a truth, against those who are opposed to the very idea of anybody making truth claims in public. That is the fight that we are in the middle of—repelling an assault by people who believe in nothing against the very idea of believing in anything.”


This article can be read in its entirety at

 

http://blog.heritage.org/2012/08/21/religious-freedom-means-sticking-up-for-all-believers/






Obama Administration's War On Persecuted Christians


Friday, 03 August 2012
Right Side News

The Investigative Project on Terrorism
The Obama administration's support for its Islamist allies means a lack of U.S. support for their enemies or, more properly, victims—the Christian and other non-Muslim minorities of the Muslim world. Consider the many recent proofs:
According to Pete Winn of CNS:

The U.S. State Department removed the sections covering religious freedom from the Country Reports on Human Rights that it released on May 24, three months past the statutory deadline Congress set for the release of these reports. The new human rights reports—purged of the sections that discuss the status of religious freedom in each of the countries covered—are also the human rights reports that include the period that covered the Arab Spring and its aftermath.

Thus, the reports do not provide in-depth coverage of what has happened to Christians and other religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East that saw the rise of revolutionary movements in 2011 in which Islamist forces played an instrumental role. For the first time ever, the State Department simply eliminated the section of religious freedom in its reports covering 2011… (emphasis added).

The CNS report goes on to quote several U.S. officials questioning the motives of the Obama administration. Former U.S. diplomat Thomas Farr said that he has "observed during the three-and-a-half years of the Obama administration that the issue of religious freedom has been distinctly downplayed."

In "Obama Overlooks Christian Persecution," James Walsh gives more examples of State Department indifference "regarding the New Years' murders of Coptic Christians in Egypt and the ravaging of a cathedral," including how the State Department "refused to list Egypt as 'a country of particular concern,' even as Christians and others were being murdered, churches destroyed, and girls kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. "

And the evidence keeps mounting. Legislation to create a special envoy for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia—legislation that, in the words of the Washington Post, "passed the House by a huge margin," has been stalled by Sen. James Webb, D-Va.:

In a letter sent to Webb Wednesday night, Rep. Frank Wolf [R-Va, who introduced the envoy bill] said he "cannot understand why" the hold had been placed on a bill that might help Coptic Christians and other groups "who face daily persecution, hardship, violence, instability and even death."

Yet the ultimate source of opposition is the State Department. The Post continues:

Webb spokesman Will Jenkins explained the hold by saying that "after considering the legislation, Senator Webb asked the State Department for its analysis." In a position paper issued in response, State Department officials said "we oppose the bill as it infringes on the Secretary's [Hillary Clinton's] flexibility to make appropriate staffing decisions," and suggested the duties of Wolf's proposed envoy would overlap with several existing positions. "The new special envoy position is unnecessary, duplicative, and likely counterproductive," the State Department said (emphasis added).

But as Wolf explained in his letter: "If I believed that religious minorities, especially in these strategic regions, were getting the attention warranted at the State Department, I would cease in pressing for passage of this legislation. Sadly, that is far from being the case. We must act now…. Time is running out."

There was little doubt among the speakers that, while Webb is the front man, Hillary Clinton—who was named often—is ultimately behind the opposition to the bill. (Videos of all speakers can be accessed here; for information on the envoy bill and how to contact Webb's office, click here).

Even those invited to speak about matters outside of Egypt, such as Nigerian lawyer and activist Emmanuel Ogebe, wondered at Obama's position that the ongoing massacres of Christians have nothing to do with religion. After describing the sheer carnage of thousands of Christians at the hands of Muslim militants, lamented that Obama's response was to pressure the Nigerian president to make more concessions, including by creating more mosques (the very places that "radicalize" Muslims against infidel Christians).

In light of all this, naturally the Obama administration, in the guise of the State Department, would oppose a bill to create an envoy who will only expose more religious persecution that the administration will have to suppress or obfuscate?

Bottom line: In its attempts to empower its Islamist allies, the current U.S. administration has taken up their cause by waging a war of silence on their despised enemies—the Christians and other minorities of the Islamic world.

This article can be read in its entirety at:

http://www.rightsidenews.com/2012080316785/editorial/rsn-pick-of-the-day/obama-administrations-war-on-persecuted-christians.html







Federal Court finds Obama appointees interfered with New Black Panther prosecution

July 30, 2012

By Conn Carroll
Senior Editorial Writer

The Washington Examiner

A federal court in Washington, DC, held last week that political appointees appointed by President Obama did interfere with the Department of Justice’s prosecution of the New Black Panther Party.

The ruling came as part of a motion by the conservative legal watchdog group Judicial Watch, who had sued the DOJ in federal court to enforce a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents pertaining to the New Black Panthers case. Judicial Watch had secured many previously unavailable documents through their suit against DOJ and were now suing for attorneys’ fees.

Obama’s DOJ had claimed Judicial Watch was not entitled to attorney’s fees since “none of the records produced in this litigation evidenced any political interference whatsoever in” how the DOJ handled the New Black Panther Party case. But United States District Court Judge Reggie Walton disagreed. Citing a “series of emails” between Obama political appointees and career Justice lawyers, Walton writes:

The documents reveal that political appointees within DOJ were conferring about the status and resolution of the New Black Panther Party case in the days preceding the DOJ’s dismissal of claims in that case, which would appear to contradict Assistant Attorney General Perez’s testimony that political leadership was not involved in that decision. Surely the public has an interest in documents that cast doubt on the accuracy of government officials’ representations regarding the possible politicization of agency decision-making.

In sum, the Court concludes that three of the four fee entitlement factors weigh in favor of awarding fees to Judicial Watch. Therefore, Judicial Watch is both eligible and entitled to fees and costs, and the Court must now consider the reasonableness of Judicial Watch’s requested award.

The New Black Panthers case stems from a Election Day 2008 incident where two members of the New Black Panther Party were filmed outside a polling place intimidating voters and poll watchers by brandishing a billy club. Justice Department lawyers investigated the case, filed charges, and when the Panthers failed to respond, a federal court in Philadelphia entered a “default” against all the Panthers defendants. But after Obama was sworn in, the Justice Department reversed course, dismissed charges against three of the defendants, and let the fourth off with a narrowly tailored restraining order.

“The Court’s decision is another piece of evidence showing the Obama Justice Department is run by individuals who have a problem telling the truth,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The decision shows that we can’t trust the Obama Justice Department to fairly administer our nation’s voting and election laws.”

This article can be viewed in its entirety at

http://washingtonexaminer.com/federal-court-finds-obama-appointees-interfered-with-new-black-panther-prosecution/article/2503500





NAPOLITANO: Restraining Arizona, unleashing Obama

High court allows president discretion in upholding law or not

The Washington Times

By Andrew P Napolitano
Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When the Obama administration decided it had no interest in preventing the movement of undocumented aliens from Mexico into the southwestern United States, Arizona decided to take matters into its own hands. Based on a novel theory of constitutional law - namely, that if a state is unhappy with the manner in which federal law is being enforced or not being enforced, it can step into the shoes of the feds and enforce federal law as it wishes the feds would - Arizona enacted legislation to accomplish that.

The legislation created two conflicts that rose to the national stage. The first is whether any government may morally and legally interfere with freedom of association based on the birthplace of the person with whom one chooses to associate. The second is whether the states can enforce federal law in a manner different from that of the feds.

Regrettably, in addressing all of this earlier in the week, the Supreme Court overlooked the natural and fundamental freedom to associate. It is a natural right because it stems from the better nature of our humanity, and it is a fundamental right because it is protected from governmental interference by the Constitution. Freedom of association means that without force or fraud, you may freely choose to be in the presence of whomever you please, and the government cannot force you to associate with someone with whom you have chosen not to associate, nor can the government bar anyone with whom you wish to associate from associating with you.

Without even addressing the now-taken-for-granted federal curtailment of the right to associate with someone born in a foreign country and whose presence is inconsistent with arbitrary federal document requirements and quotas, the Supreme Court earlier this week struck down three of the four challenged parts of the Arizona statute, which attempted to supplant the federal regulation of freedom of association with its own version. It did so because the Constitution specifically gives to Congress the authority to regulate immigration, and Congress, by excluding all other law-writing bodies in the U.S. from enacting laws on immigration, has pre-empted the field.

The court specifically invalidated the heart and soul of this misguided Arizona law by ruling definitively that in the area of immigration, the states cannot stand in the shoes of the feds just because they disapprove of the manner in which the feds are or are not enforcing federal law. The remedy for one’s disapproval of the manner of federal law enforcement is to elect a different president or Congress; it is not to tinker with the Constitution.

Federal law cannot have a different meaning in different states, the court held. And just as the feds must respect state sovereignty in matters retained by the states under the Constitution (though they rarely do), so too, the states must respect federal sovereignty in matters that the Constitution has unambiguously delegated to the feds.

The court neither upheld nor invalidated Section 2B of the Arizona statute - which permits police inquiry of the immigration status of those arrested for non-immigration offenses - because the court found that, just as when the police stop a person for a violation of state or local law they may check their computers for outstanding warrants for the person they have stopped, so, too, they may check their computers for the person’s immigration status.

Shortly after the opinion came down, the Obama administration announced that it will cease providing Arizona police with the immigration status of persons in that state, and it will not detain anyone arrested by Arizona police for immigration violations unless those violations rise to the level of a felony, which undocumented presence in the United States is not. Thus, this constitutional rebuke to Arizona has become a personal license for the president. He has demonstrated that he will not faithfully enforce federal law as the Constitution requires. He will only enforce the laws with which he agrees.

So, because the Arizona police cannot arrest and incarcerate anyone for undocumented presence and because they cannot deliver anyone so arrested to the feds, what legitimate governmental purpose will be served by what remains of Arizona’s law? None. But the police still will harass any dark-skinned person in Arizona as they please.

Have we lost sight of the perpetual tension between human freedom and human law? Either freedom is integral to our nature, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, or it comes from the government, as the president and the Supreme Court demonstrated they think this week. If it is integral to our nature, no government can tell us with whom we may freely associate. If it comes from the government, we should abandon all hope, as the government will permit the exercise of only those freedoms that are not an obstacle to the contemporary exercise of its powers.

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. He is the author of “It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom” (Thomas Nelson, 2011).

What do you think about this article? Does the Judge glide over the governments enumerated responsiblity to "protect and defend" at the expense of individual sovereignty? See the article at the Washington Times website, and see readers reactions.






Obama Overlooks Christian Persecution

Thursday, 24 May 2012

By James Walsh

 

Coptic Christians have resided in Egypt since the 1st century A.D., some 600 years before Muhammad began preaching and 630 years before he solidified Islam in the Arabian Peninsula.

Muslims entered Egypt in the year 639 and by the 13th century, Islam had taken over. By the 20th century, Christians, who formed only 10 percent of the Egyptian population, were finding themselves victims of on-again-off-again pogroms conducted by Muslim radicals.

The current turmoil in Egypt is increasing the number of Egyptian Christians seeking asylum in the West and especially in America. Most of these asylees are educated men and women who are professionals and entrepreneurs. Banking in Egypt historically has been in the hands of Christians.


Even so, under Sharia (Islamic law), non-Muslim “infidels” have to pay a tax called the Jizya for living in a Muslim country, even those whose families predated the Muslims.

Egyptian Christians and U.S. citizens of Egyptian ancestry feel abandoned by the United States, which currently refuses to acknowledge persecution of Christians by Muslims, lest it offend the Muslim world.

President Barack Obama banks on Egyptian Christians being too genteel to take to the streets in protest as the radical leftists do.

On June 4, 2009, when President Obama delivered his “New Beginnings” speech in Cairo, Egypt, he addressed the Islamic world. As with his other speeches, this one had an air of campaign rhetoric well-delivered with apology, empathy, and accolades for Islam.

The “We love you” chants for Obama in Cairo, however, cannot erase the terrorist acts committed against Christian “infidels.”

These terrorist acts, which began in earnest in the 1970s, escalated to a crescendo during the Arab Spring of 2011-2012 in Egypt and other Muslim countries. The chant in Egyptian streets is now “Allah Akbar” (God is great) and “We love death,” as radical Islamists take center stage.

In February 2011, then Presidential Press Secretary Robert Gibbs pulled an Obama two-step by deflecting to the U.S. State Department questions regarding the New Years’ murders of Coptic Christians in Egypt and the ravaging of a cathedral.

The State Department’s answer was silence. Human Rights Watch, however, did note growing religious intolerance and violence against Christians in Egypt — after additional murders of Christians and burning of churches.

The 2011 State Department Annual Report on International Religious Freedom refused to list Egypt as “a country of particular concern,” even as Christians and others were being murdered, churches destroyed, and girls kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. The Obama administration played politics by failing to acknowledge this terrorist behavior.

In May 2012, Christians fear that Islamists will be the finalists in the field of 13 presidential candidates for the June presidential run-off election. The candidates who happen to be Islamists are supported by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists.

The Salafists and the MB seek Islamic law as the basis for a new Egyptian constitution, which will consider all non-Muslims as infidels subject to persecution as third-class citizens.

During the Obama presidency, 31 major Islamist attacks have occurred worldwide, not counting those in Israel, India, and Russia. Yet the Obama administration and the Democrat Party continue to mislead U.S. citizens, claiming the need for empathy to assuage Muslim sensibilities.

It is time for a new foreign policy.


James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994.

© 2012 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

View article in its entirety at Newsmax.com: Obama Overlooks Christian Persecution



Commentary: Making the Fifth Amendment optional

The Detroit News

By Dale McFeatters

May 23, 2012  

The framers of the U.S. Constitution were admirably clear, or so they and we thought, when they wrote in the Fifth Amendment that no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law ..."

Note that the framers didn't specify that the person had to be a U.S. citizen. And by "due process" they meant the right to be formally charged, to challenge those charges before a judge and to have defense counsel present.

So important was this right to due process that the 14th Amendment reiterated that its protections also applied to the states.

Clear enough? Perhaps not.

The U.S. House recently affirmed the government's power to detain indefinitely in military custody suspected terrorists, even if they are U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, without charge or trial. All that is required is suspicion.

This provision does away with the presumption of innocence. If the detainee is deemed an "illegal combatant," the prisoner is 90 percent of the way toward being declared guilty without the technicality of a trial.

A coalition of Democrats and tea party-movement Republicans, skeptical about the ever-increasing power of a central government, failed to roll back that power, their amendment losing by the dismaying margin of 238 to 182.

Basically, the House reaffirmed a provision in a defense bill that President Barack Obama signed on Dec. 31.

In a statement accompanying the bill, Obama wrote, "My administration will not authorize indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation."

That's a commendable notion. But a right is not truly a right when someone else gets to decide whether and when that right should apply.

The Associated Press noted, "In a face-saving move, the House voted 243-173 Friday for an amendment that reaffirms Americans' constitutional rights."

It says something about our current crop of lawmakers that 173 of them would vote "no" on the Bill of Rights. Maybe for the past 220 or so years, the Constitution wasn't as clear as we thought.

Dale McFeatters’ column is distributed by the Scripps Howard News Service.

Article can be read in its entirety at

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120523/OPINION01/205230316#ixzz1vi6NH2EC




A RESPONSE TO ORDINANCE 2012-296

 

Jacksonville’s Moral Constitutional Patriots Speak

A Response By Dr. Gene A. Youngblood

Presented  at City Council Meeting of 5/22/2012

 

WHEREAS  Our City council has introduced ordinance 2012-296.  This bill is cloaked under the disguise of equal opportunity and non-discrimination in the marketplace.

 

WHEREAS This bill states that the city of Jacksonville seeks to build a reputation as a welcoming community for bright and talented members of the workforce, and seeks to be competitive in attracting new industries to the region.  However, the bill seems to focus only on a “special class,” ignoring the U.S. Constitution and religious liberties.

 

WHEREAS Jacksonville, Florida as well as other cities and states across America already have multiple layers of federal, state and local laws, boards, and commissions that prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or national origin.  This bill would add any “perceived sex” (perceived sex, gender identity, or expression as found on pages 3 (lines 7 and 20) and page 4 (lines 1-2)) and would abridge free speech.

 

WHEREAS The U.S. Constitution, Florida Constitution, the EEOC, and several other civil rights laws, all provide more than adequate oversight and protection against discrimination in every area in the workplace.

 

WHEREAS Ordinance 2012-296 provides and would codify rules and regulations that would surpass and/or circumvent our U.S. Constitution, Florida Constitution, and present laws-  thus, the bill is unconstitutional.

 

WHEREAS Lines 22-24 on page 3 would bring about chaos, major additional workplace expenses, and confusion.  This provision would force every business to provide unisex restrooms.  States such as California among others,  that have instituted such practices are now watching industry, trade and new businesses leave their state, thus causing an extra burden on homeowners being required to pay higher property taxes.  Is this what we want in Jacksonville?

 

WHEREAS Ordinance 2012-296 clearly recognizes that the requirements of this bill go beyond the U.S Constitution as revealed in lines 1-5 of page 3, wherein the reference to the bill’s constitutionality has been stricken.

 

WHEREAS Page 4, lines 1-3, provides for a person’s actual or perceived sexuality, it would be impossible to legislate or police.  This will cause a major increase in tax money to investigate and/or enforce.  This means that a man may “onlyperceive he is a woman and can enter a woman’s restroom or demand special exceptions.  This would also allow pedophiles and multitudes of other perverts to file discrimination charges against businesses.

 

WHEREAS  Ordinance 2012-296 will be costly and prohibitive making the end result  a net loss of business or industry coming to Jacksonville.  This is clear, based on requirements in the bill as found on page 4, lines 6-8.

 

WHEREAS Ordinance 2012-296 would be overreaching and overly encompassing by forcing a business owner to go against his moral conscience, to comply with the essence of law that would be contrary to his moral, ethical beliefs.

 

WHEREAS Ordinance 2012-296 will create a specialsuper class” of protected people that the U.S. Constitution, Florida Constitution, and state laws do not recognize as havingspecial privileges.”  Remember: “Thou shalt not lie with a man, as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (Lev. 18-22).

 

WHEREAS  Section 406.102 of ordinance 2012-296, “Declaration of policy” is clearly overstepping the bounds of the U.S. Constitution and the Florida Constitution.  Furthermore, the major cost for the city to be in compliance will further increase our $58 million budget deficit.  The moral, ethical property owners will be charged increased fees and taxes to pay for this immoral law that would circumvent free speech.

 

WHEREAS Page 10 lines 7-16 of ordinance 2012-296 will further increase the cost of providing housing in our city.  This section will also cause very serious escalation of tax dollars for the city to be in compliance of this bill.

 

 

WHEREAS Page 2, lines 1-6 make it clear that 2012-296 is designed for more than just an equal rights bill for labor.  This bill would “in fact” make it illegal for anyone speaking out about any religion in any “antagonism.”  This bill would impose regulations on free speech in the public arena.  This bill is unconstitutional!

 

WHEREAS It is the position of the undersigned patriots, clergy and moral leaders that this bill should not be approved in any form or part thereof, based on the following summary:

 

1. This bill would establish a “special class” of citizens, contrary to our Constitution.

 

2. This bill would provide for broad application and enforcement of a law that is not in compliance with the U.S. Constitution.  This bill is unconstitutional!

 

3. This bill would greatly infringe Constitutional Rights in the free exercise of one’s moral conscience.

 

4. This bill would bring about a major tax increase for Jacksonville property owners.  We already have a $58 million deficit.

 

5. This bill would criminalize free speech as relates to various religions or homosexuality as prescribed in God’s Word, the Bible.  The Bible declares sodomy, and those who practice this vile, evil, lifestyle; God has given them over to a reprobate life.” Rom. 1:24-28.

 

6. This bill would marginalize Christians and “allmoral, ethical citizens of Duval County and give special privilege to the “sodomites”.

 

7. This bill would reduce, not increase the desirability and social climate for businesses to settle in Jacksonville.

 

8. This bill uses a “straw man,” false premise that businesses have in history past refused to come to Jacksonville because this bill does not exist.  Produce one such rejection of Jacksonville.

 

9. This bill will create division, discord, debate and declension in our city that is not welcomed or wanted.

 

10. This bill is in conflict with and contradicts everything moral, ethical, and Biblical.  We do not want Jacksonville, Florida to be another San Francisco.  Remember, a human law, regardless of good intentions, cannot circumvent or nullify God’s law.  God’s Word both in Old and New Testament is replete with God’s condemnation of sodomy!  Remember: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach (shame, insult) to any people! Prov. 14:34

 

 

DISCRIMINATION IN AMERICA

May 22, 2012

 

Introduction:

 

Bill 2012-296 is introduced as a works bill, but it is, in fact, a far-reaching,  overreaching, unconstitutional effort to develop and codify a “special class” of citizens under the cloak of “anti-discrimination.”

 

Do we have discrimination in Jacksonville?

 

Do we have discrimination in America?

 

Yes, We do!

 

What is discrimination?

 

1. Discrimination is:

When a Christian teacher in a government controlled school is threatened with dismissal just because as a Christian, he had his personal Bible on his desk.

 

2. Discrimination is:

When a teacher is forbidden to say, “God bless you,” or “We are praying for you,” to a student.

 

3. Discrimination is:

When a student is not allowed to wear a t-shirt with a Christian symbol, yet immoral or  anti-God slogans are accepted.

 

4. Discrimination is:

When a second grader is forbidden to thank Jesus over her lunch because the teacher said she was on government property.

 

5. Discrimination is:

When moral ethical parents are not told when the schools planned a recognition day for sodomites in our schools April 21, 2012.  This is unconstitutional!

 

6. Discrimination is:

When Christians are not allowed to have Christian clubs (after school) in most public schools, yet all other non-Biblical, ungodly clubs are allowed to meet.

 

7. Discrimination is:

When we are told that we cannot pray in Jesus’ name, yet, Islamic-jihadists are free to worship and pray to Allah in public schools in America which provide special “halal” meals.

 

8. Discrimination is:

When small startup churches are not allowed to meet in school buildings for services in many states.

 

9. Discrimination is:

When YouTube pulls Christian videos, but allows the ungodly garbage over the same internet system.

 

10. Discrimination is:

When a Christian school is persecuted by city government in America, and when the decision is questioned, the Christian school is levied with “retaliatory” taxes.

 

11. Discrimination is:

When Christian teachers in South Florida have to meet in a supply closet to pray, or be fired!  

 

12. Discrimination is:

When a Christian worker is forbidden to put a verse of Scripture on her private cubicle wall or be fired.

 

13. Discrimination is:

When Christians are required to pay taxes which are then used to support a “special class” of individuals who have chosen to live ungodly, dissipated lifestyles and demand acceptance.

 

14. Discrimination is:

When our city will not allow any religious ads to be purchased on the side of city buses, but will allow any other ads.

 

15. Discrimination is:

When street preachers are arrested in some cities for “disturbing the peace,” when Islamics, homosexuals, pedophiles and other deviants are free to assemble.

 

16. Discrimination is:

When any city council or branch of government codifiesany” law that is unconstitutional just to appease the “sodomites” in their chosen lifestyles.

 

THEREFORE:

We  publicly reject this entire bill and go on record that we will vote against any council person running for re-election or any public office in Jacksonville or the state of Florida.  We  will endeavor to call, email, notify and engage every ethical, moral, taxpaying patriot in Jacksonville to stand against the approval of bill 2012-296. 





WND EXCLUSIVE

Holder orders women's restrooms open to male

University caves in after warning from Obama DOJ

May 24, 2012

On orders from Barack Obama’s Department of Justice, officials with the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith have given permission for a 38-year-old man to use the women’s restrooms on campus.

The report comes from Campus Reform.org, which explained that the individual also is seeking to have someone pay for a sex reassignment surgery to change from male to female.

Already living as a female, the individual, identified in the report as Jennifer Braly, started using women’s restrooms on campus, but quickly was the subject of complaints from women who saw him there.

The university had tried to make accommodations, designating gender-neutral restrooms in some buildings.

Not good enough, however.

Braly filed a complaint with the Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder, school officials reported. The DOJ contacted the school.

“[T]he office of civil rights basically made its expectations through the attorney and the decision was made to respond to that direction,” said Mark Horn, the vice president of university relations. “[T]he DOJ complaint caused revisiting of our thinking.

“In the eyes of the law this individual [Braly] is entitled to use the bathroom that she identifies with,” Horn said.

The DOJ complaint was filed by Braly after the university told him to use any of the gender-neutral restrooms on campus.

“One problem to this is there are not unisex bathrooms in every building,” Braly wrote in an online essay about how other people should contribute to his surgery costs. “Especially the two main buildings where most of my classes are, so I have to go to a completely different building to use the restroom.”

While the university offered to convert other restrooms to gender-neutral, Braly said that wasn’t satisfactory.

The Campus Reform report said while anatomy matters little to the DOJ, it still remains a concern for other students.

“‘I disagree with allowing a male to use the female restrooms,” Amanda Shook, a senior at UA, told Campus Reform. “Even if they are a transgendered person, they are still a man, and should have to use the men’s restroom.”

The DOJ and school both have declined to release the letter giving the school directions on the dispute, Campus Reform reported.

The DOJ told Campus Reform that the records “pertain to a currently active Civil Rights Division enforcement and access to the records should therefore be denied pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(A) since disclosure thereof could reasonably be expected to interfere with Civil Rights Division enforcement proceedings.”

While Braly did not respond to Campus Reform requests for comment, there is an extensive monologue by Braly on the fundraising website WePay.

That reflects that $75 has been contributed to the estimated $18,500 costs of the surgery.

Braly writes that his finances are depleted because when a second marriage ended, a custody battle “drained all my funds.”

“I am now a full-time student at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith. Most of my life is pretty normal as fitting into female society. I am passsable (sic) and have a part-time job. At the university I am running into problems all over the place.”

Braly explains that the choice to use women’s restrooms was unnoticed for a time.

“Then I took General Psychology and had asked the professor if I could give a lecture on Gender Identity Disorders for some extra credit. She not only allowed me to speak to my class but her other 2 classes as well. She also referred me to another professor and I spoke in his class too.

“I was excited I was educating people about being a transsexual and the other types of Gender Identity Disorders. Those lectures would be the beginning of all my problems. As I did get many great responses from students how my lectures greatly changed their perspective of what transsexuals are, some students were not so accepting.

“Some saw me using the womens public restrooms and complained to the university that they didn’t think I should be using the restroom with them.”

The report also complains that Braly didn’t get special accommodations in living arrangements.

“There came a problem that they would not let me room with males, and I could not room with females either unless I became friends with them and disclosed all my medical information to them…” the report continues.

“I tried to be creative and work with them on this, but to no prevail (sic),” the report said.

“Regardless of where I am at in my transtion (sic) I should have the same rights as every other female.”

Part of the reason for requesting donations for the surgery is because Braly’s income goes partly toward the monthly costs of hormone treatments as well as “required psychotherapy for transsexuals.”

To read this article in its entirety at World Net Daily, click here.





A Sanctuary Amid Fears of Persecution at Home

By KIRK SEMPLE

Published: May 16, 2012

HIGHLAND PARK, N.J. — The Reformed Church in this prosperous suburb has for years packed a lot inside its walls, including addiction counseling, a housing program, dance groups, gatherings for developmentally disabled people, a restaurant, a thrift shop and space to worship for hundreds of people from half a dozen religious congregations.

Some of the Indonesian Christians seeking to avoid deportation wear ankle monitors to ensure compliance with court orders.

Many Indonesians came to New Jersey on tourist visas.

Now, the church is taking on another role: sanctuary for five Indonesian Christians facing deportation and fearful of religious persecution in their homeland.

“When I got here, I felt safety,” said Arthur Jemmy, 36, an Indonesian who had been scheduled to be deported on April 30. “I feel really terrified to go back to Indonesia.”

The situation has challenged the church’s co-pastor, the Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, to weigh the law against his moral and religious beliefs.

“You can read all sorts of stuff about the trouble you can get in if you prevent the government from doing its job on immigration,” Mr. Kaper-Dale, 36, said. “We have to stand with the oppressed even if the law of the land sometimes doesn’t exactly coincide with the teachings of peace and justice and love found in Scripture.”

Indonesian Christians in central New Jersey began seeking Mr. Kaper-Dale’s help a decade ago. Most had left Indonesia on tourist visas in the late 1990s and early 2000s and then stayed in the United States after their visas expired, finding jobs in the region’s warehouses and factories. They feared returning to Indonesia because of religious persecution by that country’s Muslim majority, they said. All filed asylum applications, but they were rejected by the American government because they had filed too long after their arrival.

In 2009, Mr. Kaper-Dale, who has been the church’s co-pastor, with his wife, Stephanie, since 2001, brokered an unusual agreement with immigration authorities: The Indonesians, then numbering 72, would be allowed to stay temporarily and work, but the permission could be rescinded at any moment.

With the extra time, Mr. Kaper-Dale hoped, the Indonesians would be able to secure permanent legal status, either through the courts or changes in immigration laws in Washington.

In any case, he said, the Indonesians should be eligible for long-term relief under the Obama administration’s policy of focusing its deportation efforts on serious criminals and immigrants who pose a threat to public safety.

But late last year, the Department of Homeland Security began ordering the Indonesians to appear at its Newark office, prepared to return to Indonesia.

Despite aggressive lobbying by Mr. Kaper-Dale and other advocates for immigrants, the deportations began. On Jan. 3, a member of the group, Freddy Pangau, was sent back to Indonesia. In the weeks that followed, another five were deported.

On March 1, the day Saul Timisela was scheduled to be deported, Mr. Kaper-Dale opened the doors of the church to him. Mr. Timisela was wearing an electronic monitor that immigration officials had attached to his ankle weeks earlier to ensure compliance with court dates and the deportation order.

“Today, we will cry out to God, and cry out to the president, asking that he stop deporting Indonesian Christian refugees who are neither criminals nor egregious immigration offenders,” Mr. Kaper-Dale wrote in an e-mail to reporters.

In interviews, the Indonesians said they were eager to find a path to legal status in the United States and continued to fear religious persecution in Indonesia. In a recent report, Human Rights Watch said that the Indonesian authorities had “failed to adequately address increasing incidents of mob violence” directed at religious minorities, including Christians, and that local governments had closed hundreds of Christian churches.

Mr. Timisela, 45, said that in 1998, several months before he left Indonesia, anti-Christian rioters decapitated his cousin’s husband, a pastor, and burned down his church. When Mr. Timisela arrived in the United States to attend a youth conference, his family urged him to stay.

“I hope they understand what we’re doing here,” he said of the American government. “We’re looking for a better life, freedom of worship.”

Immigration officials said they were reviewing appeals for prosecutorial discretion on a “case-by-case basis,” suspending the deportation of some of the Indonesians who posed no threat to public safety and had strong familial and community ties in the United States.

Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an arm of the Homeland Security Department, said the agency had extended stays of removal for 25 of the Indonesian Christians in central New Jersey since last fall “due to the specific circumstances” of their cases.

Mr. Kaper-Dale is banking on the passage of a bill in the House of Representatives that would allow certain Indonesians who fled persecution in their homeland from 1997 to 2002 to resubmit asylum claims that had been denied because they missed the one-year filing deadline.

On the bulletin board in his office, the pastor has posted a large spread sheet. It lists all the Indonesian Christians who have sought his help and the status of their cases, from their immigration registration numbers to the citizenship of their children, the status of their spouses and the date of their scheduled deportations.

“I used to have to keep very careful track, but now I have it in my head,” Mr. Kaper-Dale said. “I know their lives — inside and out.”

This article may be read in its entirety at

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/nyregion/reformed-church-gives-sanctuary-to-indonesians-ordered-to-be-deported.html




The United Church Observer

Compassion for the persecuted?

 


By Mike Milne

May, 2012

In the years following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran’s 300,000 Baha’is faced escalating persecution. Hundreds were executed or “disappeared,” and thousands were imprisoned or denied employment. Their crime: living in a rigidly theocratic state but believing in the ultimate unification of all religions.

At the United Nations last fall, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird cited the plight of Iran’s Baha’is, women, Christians and dissident Muslims while announcing plans for a Canadian Office of Religious Freedom. Six months later, it’s still not entirely clear how the office will operate or what it will do beyond a vague mandate to address religious persecution around the world. Baird continues to hold consultations with religious leaders in Canada and elsewhere.

Many of them have high hopes that the new office will fulfil Baird’s pledge at the UN “to defend the vulnerable, to challenge the aggressor, to protect and promote human rights and human dignity, at home and abroad.” Amid the hopeful voices, though, are accusations that consultations haven’t been broad or transparent enough, and fears that the office may simply be a ploy to lure religious voters.

Few dispute that religious persecution is a problem. According to the U.S.-based Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, restrictions on and hostilities over religion affect 2.2 billion people, a third of the world’s population.

Religious persecution ranges from hostility between faiths — such as attacks by radical Islamists on Coptic Christians in Egypt — to state-sanctioned suppression of all religions (as in North Korea), minority religions (Christians in Saudi Arabia) or any believers seen as enemies of the state (Jehovah’s Witnesses and some evangelical Christians in Eritrea).

Official restrictions on religion range from France’s ban on wearing face-covering veils, such as the Islamic niqab, to death sentences in Iran for abandoning the Muslim faith. Almost a third of the world’s nations have laws against apostasy, blasphemy and defamation of their dominant religion. A handful enforce them vigorously.

In China, where all religions are subject to state scrutiny and control, the banned Falun Gong alleges that practitioners of the movement have been used as live organ donors and then executed. China has consistently denied the charges.

In 2010, Christians were estimated to comprise 33 percent of the world’s population. The Pew Forum study found that Christians were harassed in more countries — 130 — than any other faith group. Muslims, harassed in 117 countries, were second. And although Jews make up only about one percent of the world’s population, they are fourth on the list, harassed in 75 countries.

Don Hutchinson, vice-president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), was a panelist at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s initial consultation on the proposed Office of Religious Freedom in Ottawa last fall. Subsequent media coverage implied that evangelical Christians were guiding the office’s design.

The notion that Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has teamed up with Christian conservatives is not new. In her 2010 book, The Armageddon Factor, author Marci McDonald outlines how Harper — who grew up in the United Church but now attends an evangelical Christian and Missionary Alliance church — has carefully nurtured those connections.

Hutchinson, a lawyer with a long record of pro-Christian human rights work, brushes off those concerns and denies reports that the consultation was closed or secretive. He also says it’s natural that as a Christian and the chair of a group of evangelicals working on the issue of persecution (the Religious Liberty Commission), he is mainly concerned about Christians. “So, we’re out engaging on the persecution of Christians,” says Hutchinson, “but I can tell you that the Baha’i community is engaging for the Baha’is and . . . that the different Muslim communities are engaging on behalf of their communities. And we can go down the list.”

Len Rudner, director of community relations and outreach for the newly created Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, calls the proposed new office “a worthwhile endeavour.”

“This is certainly more than simply speaking out because we believe our community has something to gain,” he says. “It’s not just about us.”

If Baird’s office is attempting to push only the concerns of certain groups, it’s covering its tracks exceptionally well. In his speech to the UN, after promising to stand up for persecuted minority Buddhists and Muslims in Burma, Baird mentioned concerns about “gays and lesbians threatened with criminalization of their sexuality in Uganda.” That’s not a statement all evangelical churches would encourage. As well, Canadian representatives of Falun Gong have been welcomed at consultations, something that is sure to annoy Baird’s counterparts in Beijing when he travels there to promote trade.

Joining Christian, Jewish and Baha’i groups at last fall’s consultation were Shia, Sunni and Ahmadiyya Muslims, plus Hindus and Buddhists. Due in part to travel budget cutbacks, the Canadian Council of Churches monitored the event by Internet. The United Church sent Ottawa Presbytery staffer Rev. Lillian Roberts. If the creation of the office had any hidden agenda, she says, it wasn’t apparent at the consultation.

Still, says Imam Abdul Hai Patel, past co-ordinator of the Canadian Council of Imams, mainstream Muslim groups like his were not invited to the Ottawa meeting. He attended a later Toronto-area consultation along with Roman Catholic Cardinal Thomas Collins.

In the government’s defence, Muslim groups are numerous and varied. Reaching all of them is not easy.

The Muslim Canadian Congress, which did attend the consultation, claims to represent the majority of Canadian Muslims — who, according to the group’s founder, Toronto-based author and radio host Tarek Fatah, defy stereotypes by rarely attending mosques, by opposing Shariah law and by not wearing the hijab.

Fatah, who bills himself as an enemy of militant Islam, says the proposed Office of Religious Freedom is “quite timely.” And he’s blunt about why. “The main issue here is we’re not talking about the mistreatment of, say, Muslim immigrants in Greece, but the abysmal condition of Christians in Muslim lands,” says Fatah. He chides liberal Christian groups for their reluctance to speak out against the persecution of other Christians.

Announcing the beginning of World Interfaith Harmony Week earlier this year, United Church Moderator Mardi Tindal quoted the United Nations’ acknowledgment that “Our world is rife with religious tension and, sadly, mistrust, dislike and hatred.” Yet, as Fatah suggests, the United Church is one of those groups that rarely speak out against specific instances of persecution of fellow Christians. Gail Allan, in charge of the denomination’s interchurch and interfaith work, says the church is committed “to be attending to persecution of all communities of faith, wherever that might take place,” and works through the World Council of Churches and its own global partners wherever religious persecution is seen as a problem.

As Allan also points out, United Church analysis often sees non-religious forces behind what seems to be religious persecution. Early in 2011, for example, the church wrote Coptic Christian church leaders to express concerns over the bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt. The letter noted that church bombings in Egypt and Iraq had been “condemned by Muslims and Christians alike and are not at their root expressions of religious hatred or intolerance.” Allan says the ongoing tension between Copts and majority Muslims in the Middle East is “part of a political, economic and social conflict that needs to be addressed.”

“I have been challenged by the Jewish community . . . over the years for a general Christian inattention to the persecution of Christians around the world,” says Canadian Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Karen Hamilton. “That’s not to say there are any easy answers, but maybe we need to pay a little more attention.”

Former United Church moderator Very Rev. Lois Wilson says the proposed Office of Religious Freedom “sounds wonderful” — during her four years in Ottawa as a senator, she tried unsuccessfully to persuade the foreign affairs department to establish an advisory group on religion. She also learned a thing or two about how Ottawa works. “I can’t help but feel that this was put in place to get votes,” says Wilson. “That’s the only reason they do anything, including the Liberals and the NDP.” 

 

This abbreviated article may be read in its entirety at

http://www.ucobserver.org/features/2012/05/compassion/



From Rapid City Journal

Officials: Expanded drone strikes approved

Associated Press | Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012

The U.S. is widening the war on al-Qaida in Yemen, expanding drone strikes against the terror network a year after the raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

U.S. counterterrorist forces will now be allowed to target individuals found to be plotting attacks on U.S. territory, even if U.S. intelligence cannot identify the person by name, two senior U.S. officials said.

Prior practice required militants to be identified as part of a lengthy legal vetting process. Now, tracking an individual in the act of commanding al-Qaida fighters or planning an attack on U.S. territory or American individuals can land the person on the shoot-to-kill list, officials said.

"What this means in practice is there are times when counterterrorism professionals can assess with high confidence someone is an AQAP leader, even if they can't tell us by name who that individual is," one of the officials said, referring to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The White House did not approve wider targeting of groups of al-Qaida foot soldiers, a practice sometimes employed by the CIA in Pakistan, and strikes will only be carried out with Yemeni government approval, officials said.

The new policy will widen the war against AQAP, Yemen's al-Qaida branch, which has gained territory in fighting against the Yemeni government… as al-Qaida's Yemen branch is seen as gaining ground against a government that is allied with the Americans.

The past year of political turmoil in Yemen, since the start of revolts linked to last year's Arab Spring, is "making it harder for them (the Yemeni government) to take a focused effort against al-Qaida" one of the officials said. "So these are counterterrorism tools designed to protect U.S. interests and homeland."

The expanded strikes would not be used in support of the Yemeni government's fight against internal opponents, the official added.

The U.S. has carried out 23 airstrikes in Yemen since last May, with twelve of those strikes in 2012, according to The Long War Journal, a website that tracks U.S. counterterrorism and militant activity.


Copywrite 2012 AP
This article can be read in its entirety at

http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/national/official-expanded-drone-strikes-approved/article_eb614fa4-c2e7-544a-b50d-3f491e3f799f.html


 

The war is over?

Tribune Media Services

April 26, 2012

 "The war on terror is over," or so claims an unnamed senior State Department official, as reported by National Journal's Michael Hirsh in his recent article "The Post al-Qaida Era."

Really? Well, if the war is over, I must have missed the peace treaty signing ceremony. I also haven't noticed a decline in incendiary rhetoric, or the disarmament -- or at least laying down of arms -- that usually accompanies the end of war. Does this mean we can do away with full-body scanners and TSA pat-downs?

 The above column of Cal Thomas can be read in its entirety at

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/sns-201204251430--tms--cthomastq--b-a20120426apr26,0,243315.column








DFLers want U.S. constitutional amendment declaring that corporations aren't people, after all

By Joe Kimball

MinnPost.com

04/23/12

It's not only Republicans looking for constitutional amendments these days.

DFLers (Democratic Farmer Labor Party members) in the Minnesota House and Senate have introduced bills asking Congress to call a constitutional convention to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would clarify that corporations are not people.

There's been much consternation on this point, particularly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a corporate political spending case that corporations have a First Amendment right to free speech.

The bill introduced by DFLers wants the constitutional amendment to say:

  • (1) The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
  • (2) Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and others established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the people, through federal, state, or local law.
  • (3) The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the people, through federal, state, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.
  • (4) Federal, state, and local government shall regulate, limit or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate's own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.
  • (5) Federal, state, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
  • (6) The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.
  • (7) Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.

In the state House, the bill was introduced and referred to committee.

This article can be seen in its entirety at

http://www.minnpost.com/political-agenda/2012/04/dflers-want-us-constitutional-amendment-declaring-corporations-arent-people






Catholic Bishops Urge ‘Campaign’ for Religious Freedom

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
In New York Times
Published April 12, 2012

The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops issued a proclamation on Thursday calling for every priest, parish and layperson to participate in “great national campaign” to defend religious liberty, which they said is “under attack, both at home and abroad.”

In particular they urged every diocese to hold a “Fortnight for Freedom” during the two weeks leading up to the Fourth of July, for parishioners to study, pray and take public action to fight what they see as the government’s attempts to curtail religious freedom.

“To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other,” said the statement, issued by the bishops ad hoc committee on religious freedom.

For more than half a year, the bishops have put the religious liberty issue front and center, but it has not yet galvanized the Catholic laity and has even further polarized the church’s liberal and conservative flanks. In an election year, liberal Catholics have accused the bishops of making the church an arm of the Republican Party in the drive to defeat President Obama — an accusation that the bishops reject.

“This ought not to be a partisan issue,” the bishops say in their statement in a section addressed to political leaders. “The Constitution is not for Democrats or Republicans or Independents. It is for all of us, and a great nonpartisan effort should be led by our elected representatives to ensure that it remains so.”

In the document, the bishops seek to explain that their alarm is not only about the mandate in the health reform act that requires even Catholic colleges and hospitals to have insurance plans that cover birth control. They cite seven examples of what they say are violations of religious freedom, including immigration laws in several states that they say make it illegal to minister to illegal immigrants.

They also assert that the government has violated the religious freedom of Catholics by cutting off contracts to Catholic agencies. Several states have denied financing to Catholic agencies that refused to place foster children with gay parents. And the federal government refused to reauthorize a grant to a Catholic immigration organization that served victims of sex trafficking because as a Catholic group, it would not provide or refer women to services for abortion and birth control.

Quoting from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the bishops say that unjust laws should be either changed or resisted. “In the face of an unjust law,” the bishops wrote, “an accommodation is not to be sought. If we face today the prospect of unjust laws, then Catholics in America, in solidarity with our fellow citizens, must have the courage not to obey them.”

Article can be seen in its original entirety at

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/us/catholic-bishops-urge-campaign-for-religious-freedom.html




Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Spends 35th Birthday Behind Bars

 

American Center for Law and Justice

By Tiffany Barrans

April 11, 2012

 

Today, is Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s birthday, and our sources in Iran confirm that he is still alive. Thirty-five years ago, on the 23rd of the Farvardin month of the Persian Calendar, Youcef was born in Iran.

This is the third birthday that Pastor Youcef has been forced to celebrate behind bars, condemned to death in Iran for apostasy – becoming a Christian in a regime governed by Shariah (Islamic) law.

Tomorrow, marks exactly two and a half years of imprisonment – 913 days illegally held in prison for his faith.

Both the Iranian Constitution and the International Declaration of Human Rights, of which Iran is a signatory, not only forbid executing someone for their faith but expressly protect religious freedom. Despite these assurances of religious freedom, Iran continues to imprison Pastor Youcef indefinitely for charges related solely to the exercise of his faith.

Today, Christians and supporters of Pastor Youcef all around the world are holding a fasting and prayer vigil for the persecuted pastor to bring attention to his plight. Just last week, hundreds of Christians and supporters of religious liberty attended a vigil and march for Pastor Youcef’s release in Hamburg, Germany.

These are just a few examples of the increasing international pressure being placed on Iran to release Pastor Youcef. Nations like the United Kingdom, Brazil, and many others are directly demanding that Iran immediately and unconditionally release Pastor Youcef.

The ACLJ’s Tweet for Youcef campaign is now reaching nearly 1.5 million Twitter accounts around the world each day with updates about Pastor Youcef. His story has reached over 91 percent of the United Nations member states, including Iran. The Tweet for Youcef Brazil campaign in Portuguese also continues to see tremendous growth.

Even with this increasing international pressure on Iran for Pastor Youcef’s release, it is critically important to remember that Pastor Youcef is still in an Iranian prison under a death sentence that could be carried out at any time. The only reason that he is still alive today is because of the international outcry against this abhorrent situation. It is not enough that Iran remove his death sentence, rather we must demand his ultimate and unconditional freedom.

Please continue to pray for Pastor Youcef. As a Birthday present for Pastor Youcef and symbol of solidarity for those persecuted for their faith, please let the world know that you support Pastor Youcef by signing up to Tweet for Youcef today.

Happy Birthday Pastor Youcef.

Article can be seen in its original entirety at

http://aclj.org/iran/pastor-youcef-nadarkhani-spends-birthday-behind-bars






Obama’s supremely damaging court battle

His accusations of judicial activism are off the mark

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

By Andrea Tantaros

 After years of barely mentioning Obamacare due to its unpopularity in the polls, it is now seemingly all President Obama and his aides find themselves talking about. But instead of defending the mandate’s constitutionality — the main issue in question for the Supreme Court — the President unwisely decided to launch an attack on the court itself.

At a press conference on Monday, Obama expressed the belief that the Court would not take an “unprecedented, extraordinary step” by overturning the law. He then went on to caution the “unelected” court against reaching any other conclusion, and spoke of concerns about judicial activism.

In fact, overturning unconstitutional laws is exactly the job of the Supreme Court.

But the real story is how he went after the justices. This is rare behavior for a President, but it’s not the first time Obama has ventured into this taboo territory. In January 2010, the President complained in his State of the Union Address about the court’s decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, holding that the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or oppose candidates in elections.

Judicial activism is seeing things in the Constitution that aren’t there just to get a specific result. The Commerce Clause is in the Constitution, but so is the 10th Amendment, meaning that whatever isn’t written down here is left to the states. While Obama might think he has no option but to demagogue the Supreme Court should his law get struck down, he has no business in meddling in its affairs, playing politics with matters of pure law.

The Constitution is designed to limit the vast growth of government. The Founders put many checks and balances in place to protect liberty and impede the progressive agenda of expanded government. The real activism is on the part of liberals who want to subvert the original meaning of the Constitution.

The judicial system, it should be noted, isn’t taking the President’s comments lightly. Following the President’s controversial comments, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, ordered the Justice Department to answer by Thursday whether the Obama administration believes that the courts have the right to strike down a federal law (Marbury v. Madison). The whole purpose of the Court, since Marbury v. Madison, is to make sure that laws enacted by Congress do not conflict with the Constitution. As Justice John Marshall said of Marbury in 1803, if the Constitution is not superior to an ordinary law, why have a Constitution?

It makes for a real conundrum for the President in a tough election year, but it’s one of his own making. Obama is asking the court to radically rethink the Constitution and read the Commerce Clause as giving him unprecedented power. He is turning the 10th Amendment into a guideline. And he is now putting the court in a position where it is reviewing two centuries of established precedent, all while he criticizes that same court.

If this mandate is struck down, he will have to defend more than his words. He’ll have to defend how he spent the last four years wasting his time, and ours, with a law that was never really constitutional.

This article can be read in its original entirety at

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/obama-supremely-damaging-court-battle-article-1.1056570





Is the Health Care Law Constitutional? No, Strike It Down

DAVID J. PORTER, VISION FOR CENTER & VALUES

Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Neither Porter nor his firm are involved in the ACA litigation.

This summer, the Supreme Court will decide whether Congress violated the Constitution when it enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which contains an “individual mandate” requiring virtually every American to purchase health insurance. Based on the Constitution’s text and structure, and judicial interpretations of the relevant provisions, the mandate should be struck down.

Pennsylvania is one of 26 states to have attacked the ACA’s constitutionality. They seek to uphold the Constitution’s basic division of power between the national government and state governments.

The framers and those who ratified the Constitution withheld from Congress a plenary police power to enact any law that it deems desirable. Instead, the powers granted to Congress in Article I of the Constitution are limited and enumerated. The 10th Amendment emphasizes this structure by affirming that all powers not given to Congress “are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Given that background, the states’ argument against ACA is simple: Even under the broadest interpretation, Congress’ enumerated powers do not authorize a federal law that forces individuals to purchase health insurance.

ACA’s defenders argue that Congress’ authority to impose the mandate is granted by any of three constitutional provisions: the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, or the Taxing Clause. However, under the original understanding of those provisions and the more expansive interpretation given to them by the Supreme Court in recent decades, the mandate is an unprecedented assertion of federal control that violates the framers’ constitutional design.

As Congress itself said in the ACA, the mandate purports to regulate each individual’s “economic and financial decision” whether to purchase health insurance. But if that is a valid exercise of Commerce Clause power, then there is literally no end to Congress’ power over individuals.

Finally, ACA’s defenders argue that even if the individual mandate is not supported by the Commerce Clause or the Necessary and Proper Clause, it is nevertheless constitutional because it is a tax. For example, the penalty for noncompliance is calculated as a percentage of household income for income tax purposes, and it is self-declared on the taxpayer’s income tax return.

Congress foreclosed this argument by separating the individual mandate from the penalty. The mandate itself offends the constitutional separation of powers; it cannot be saved by pointing to a penalty for noncompliance. In any event, the monetary fine was deliberately structured as a “penalty” and not as a “tax.” Congress could have provided health insurance for all Americans by invoking its Article I power “[t]o lay and collect Taxes,” but following President Barack Obama’s lead, it refused to do so for political reasons.The federal government's Taxing clause argument has been rejected by every court that has reviewed the ACA, and the Supreme court is not likely to adopt it, either. Nor should it.

The Moral Liberal Guest Contributor, David J. Porter, J.D., is an attorney with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, a trustee of Grove City College, and a contributor to The Center for Vision & Values. The opinions expressed by the author are his own.

This article may be read in it’s entirety at:

http://www.themoralliberal.com/2012/03/28/is-the-health-care-law-constitutional-no-strike-it-down/





FREEDOM IN AMERICA

Speech delivered by Dr. Gene A. Youngblood

3/23/12

In front of Federal Courthouse, Jacksonville, FL

 

Our Constitution (Amendment I) says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, our government, under the leadership of a socialist agenda that is determined to shred our beloved Constitution, thus destroying our freedoms.

We live in a very dark era, our national media have determined not to present real truth in news, or they report with such bias as to nullify the facts. We are watching a complicit Senate give right-of-way to the Executive Branch of Government to control our nation.

We now have a nation being directed and dictated to by about 200 un-elected czars that are proud socialists and/or sodomites. God help us to stand up, speak up, and act as the ethical, moral nation we once were. Believers are to be salt and light.

What is Freedom? Where do we get our freedoms? God has given us our freedoms and we have codified them, “…All men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”

Senator Rand Paul said, “Without the right to life, there can be no liberty or pursuit of happiness.”

Ladies and gentlemen, God has provided us with the greatest nation and Constitution on the face of the earth. He has charged us with the responsibility of vigilance, commitment and involvement in the protection of our freedom.

What is freedom?

 

FREEDOM IS  a raw milk farmer not fearful of the Gestapo breaking into his home.

 

FREEDOM IS  praying in Jesus’name without fear or intimidation.

 

FREEDOM IS  a child who can take a sack lunch to school without fear of it being taken.

 

FREEDOM IS being able to fly the American flag without breaking a law.

 

FREEDOM IS to be able to read the Bible in a public classroom without arrest.

 

FREEDOM IS being able to reject Shariah Law as unconstitutional without threats from C.A.I.R.

 

FREEDOM IS going to be at night without fear of invasion by U.S. officials under the NDAA, which will give the President the sole authority without Congressional approval, if deemed “a national emergency”.

 

FREEDOM IS openness of our government in Washington, rather than Pravda style dictatorship.

 

FREEDOM IS deciding our own food menu, diet and medical care without governmental intervention or directive.

 

FREEDOM IS allowing every child conceived to have “life” protection under our Constitution.

 

FREEDOM IS living in a land where the government cannot intrude into the church.

Separation of church and state is Biblically God-based rather than mandated by a law of rulers. King Uzziah entered into the temple to offer sacrifice  though eighty one priests begged him not to, as is the fitting duty and responsibility of the church. Uzziah did it anyway, and God killed him, therefore we must say, “Government! Hands off God’s church! Stop the marginalization of believers!”

 

FREEDOM IS the ability to render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and unto God, without the government (city, state or national) using back door fees to rob God’s offering plate. Where would America be today without our churches?

 

FREEDOM IS having a government that is restrained by the U.S. Constitution: American law and NO international, foreign, or Koranic-Shariah law in our courts.

 

FREEDOM IS having our educational system returned to our state and local leaders from the czars in Washington.

 

FREEDOM IS not having the government mandate faith/religious, Christian people to have to choose between conscience, constitution or confiscation by government. Our churches, church schools and universities should not be forced to provide abortion or contraception against our Biblical, theological or spiritual convictions.

 

FREEDOM IS not being forced to provide murder by abortion at taxpayers’ expense.

 

FREEDOM IS having Presidential candidates provide a legitimate birth certificate and proof of citizenship before running for office.

 

FREEDOM IS knowing that we have Constitutional Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

 

FREEDOM IS knowing that our children in school are being taught TRUE American history without the distortions, deletions, and the promotions of Islam in our textbooks.

 

FREEDOM IS knowing that our fee simple title dees to our properties are secure without fear of the EPA Gestapo seizing it to protect a snail or rodent.

 

FREEDOM IS in the final analysis knowing God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, and NOT being fearful to call the name of Jesus from the highest mountain.

 

FREEDOM IS not apologizing for breaking things and killing people in a just war.

The book of Daniel, Chapter Three tells us of three young men who refused to bow to a law. They were thrown in the fiery furnace, but because of their faith in God, they did NOT burn! Daniel was thrown into the den of lions for refusing to obey a godless law. The lions became his pillow- God delivered him!

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I read you some quotes from our founding fathers-

 

“Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as liberty without freedom of speech.” –Benjamin Franklin

 

“Those who would give up essential liberties to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

 

“If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a republic? The answer would be an inviolable respect for the Constitution and laws- the first growing out of the last- a sacred respect for the Constitutional law is the vital principle, th sustaining energy of a free government.”

- Alexander Hamilton

 

“When the people fear their government there is tyranny; when government fears the people, there is liberty. – Thomas Jefferson

 

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” – Thomas Jefferson

 

“In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand firm like a rock. – Thomas Jefferson

 

Ladies and Gentlemen- Let’s send a message to Washington, Loud and Clear- “We the People”:

 

WE WILL not surrender our Constitution on the account of convenience.

 

WE WILL not sacrifice our convictions on the altar of coercion.

 

WE WILL not submit our church rights to the rule of unelected czars in Washington.

 

WE WILL not be silent and allow socialism to subvert our Constitution.

 

WE WILL be vigilant, visible, vocal and vote in every election.

 

WE WILL have “Revolution” at the Ballot Box.

 

The Bible is very clear in Acts 5:29 that “we ought to obey God rather than man.”

 

May God Bless You and God Bless America.




Christian Missions Play Key Role Amid Rumors of 'New Darfur' Genocide


From The Christian Post
By Luiza Oleszczuk, Christian Post Reporter

March 13, 2012

As reports coming from Sudan paint an increasingly gruesome picture of the Khartoum government allegedly planning to wipe out the country's ethnic populations and non-Muslims in the southern region of the Nuba Mountains, local Christian missions are playing an important role, as even the United Nations has no access to the country's embattled southern regions.

Experts have been warning that Sudan's Islamist government might be planning a genocide comparable to the one conducted in the country's western region of Darfur between 2003 and 2004, when the Arab government targeted black tribes. It is estimated that 300,000 people died at the time. The government is reported to be conducting systematical killings of the people (including allegedly using air bombings) of the Nuba Mountains, a region in the south of the country that is approximately 30 percent Christian. Targeted are also the inhabitants of another southern region called the Blue Nile.

The south of overwhelmingly Muslim Sudan used to be traditionally Christian and ethnically tribal African, as opposed to the mostly Arab north. Most of the south seceded in 2011 and formed South Sudan. But many Christians and African tribes, which are being targeted, still remain north of the border, where they reportedly face a constant threat.

While the Islamist government forces were ravaging the south, including burning churches and killing pastors, foreign missionaries started entering the region. One of them was Samaritan's Purse, one of the most prominent missionary ministries in the world, administered by the Rev. Franklin Graham, his daughter, Cissie Graham Lynch told The Christian Post recently.

This mission, related to Billy Graham's Evangelistic Association (BGEA), opened a Bible school in the Nuba Mountains region in South Kordofan State in 2007, after many local pastors were killed, with the purpose of educating a new generation of Christian leaders.

"They built Bible college there because during the war the northern part of Sudan came down and burnt hundreds of churches," Graham Lynch told CP. She and her father attended the first graduation of the students there. "Samaritan's Purse built many of the churches back, but realized that many of the pastors were killed, so they built a Bible college there to be able to train pastors."

The Bible school was bombed on Feb. 1 this year by the Sudanese air force, the ministry claims. The mission also has a camp in South Sudan, which has been experiencing occasional bombings from the north through the past year. A Samaritan's Purse refugee camp there was bombed in November.

Many people of the Nuba Mountains region have been fleeing Sudan to South Sudan, and Samaritan's Purse has been the first foreign organization to establish camps able to accommodate the refugees, a source told CP recently.

"It's horrific what these Christians in southern Sudan went through," Graham Lynch told CP.

"We need to be praying for these people because this is a serious issue that cannot be ignored," she added.

Samaritan's Purse offices are in a constant state of prayer for the missionaries who risk their lives on the ground in Sudan and South Sudan, as well as other missions, Graham Lynch said. Those people are there "by God's will," she added.

"That is the major part of our ministry – praying for our staff members. Praying for the situation and praying for the people of Sudan," she said.

Another U.S.-based Christian mission with a prominent presence in Sudan is Persecution Projects Foundation. With missions in several locations across the country, Persecution Projects Foundation has been bringing relief, the Gospel and advocacy services to the persecuted people, its president told CP recently.

The presence of foreign missionaries seems particularly important given that the Khartoum government is reportedly not allowing official relief organizations, including the United Nations, into the region. The U.N., the U.S. and other world bodies and groups have condemned the attacks that are taking place against civilians.

"I recently returned from several days in South Sudan – specifically Yida refugee camp, where I encountered bone-chilling stories of the nightmare unfolding in the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states just north of the border in Sudan," Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R –Va.) who visited a refugee camp in southern Sudan (featuring 25,000 people at the time) wrote in a blog last week. "In speaking with the refugees in the camp, I heard echoes of Darfur – accounts of ethnic cleansing, mass murder and rape of innocent civilians in the region."

Wolf recounted stories the local Nuba people told him, including those of rape and murder, as well as soldiers saying: "We don't want anyone who says they are a Christian in this village."

A former top U.N. humanitarian official in Sudan, Mukesh Kapila, warned last week that Khartoum's military is carrying out crimes against humanity in the region that remind him of Darfur. Kapila reportedly recalled seeing military planes striking villagers, the destruction of food stocks and "literally a scorched-earth policy," upon his recent visit.

"Darfur was the first genocide of the 21st century," he told The Associated Press. "And the second genocide of the 21st century may very well be taking place now, in the Nuba Mountains."

The former U.N. official also said the Nuba Mountains region is facing an oncoming hunger crisis because the region's residents were not working the fields for fear of airstrikes.

Recently U.N. has called upon the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to pick up non-violent efforts to settle the status of an oil-rich border region called Abyei, which is a subject of dispute between the two countries, on the economic and political fronts.

But the Nuba Mountains violence seems to be inspired chiefly by ethnic and religious differences.

Sudan is ethnically 70 percent Arab, with the rest of the population being indigenous African peoples like the Fur, Zaghawa, Massalit, Beja, Nuba, and Dinka Ngok. The country had been in the state of civil war for the past two decades largely on ethnic and religious grounds, until 2005, when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed, overseen by the United States. In July 2011, the southern, mostly Christian territory seceded, establishing South Sudan. That summer, the government of Sudan, which is a country that is 70 percent Muslim, broke the peace agreement and began targeting the ethnic Nuba people in the south, as well as Christians and any apostates from Islam, according to reports. The Nuba population numbers about 500,000, of which about 30 percent are Christians of various denominations.

In 2008, the prosecution of the International Criminal Court (ICC) filed 10 charges of war crimes against Sudan's incumbent President Omar al-Bashir, three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. Al-Bashir was accused of masterminding and implementing "a plan to destroy in substantial part" three tribal groups in Darfur because of their ethnicity. Warrants for the arrest were issued by in 2009 and 2010. Nevertheless, al-Bashir remains the current president of Sudan.

 The article can be found in its entirety at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-missions-play-key-role-amid-rumors-of-new-darfur-genocide-71350/




Judge: Insulting Islam Grounds for Beating

Chad Groening and Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 2/28/2012

Updated 2/29/2012  

 A legal expert, a former Navy chaplain, and a pro-family leader agree that a Pennsylvania judge should be removed from the bench for throwing out an assault case lodged against a Muslim who attacked an atheist dressed as a zombie Muhammad at a Halloween parade last year.

 Judge Mark Martin is an Iraq war veteran and a convert to Islam, according to George Washington University law professor Jonathon Turley. The incident, recorded on video, occurred on October 11, 2011 at the Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania Halloween parade. Ernie Perce, an atheist, was attacked by Talaag Elbayomy, a Muslim, because of the former's costume.

Judge Martin threw out video evidence of the assault, dismissed the testimony of an eyewitness officer, and then lectured the atheist victim about the sensitivities of the Muslim culture. He stated in court that Elbayomy was obligated to attack the victim because of his culture and religion.

"They are so immersed in it," Martin says in a recording made available to the media. "And what you've done is you've completely trashed their essence, their being. They find it very, very, very offensive. I'm a Muslim. I find it offensive." [Editor's note: Judge Martin has told Associated Press that he has received hundreds of calls, many under the mistaken impression he is a Muslim. He says he is, in fact, a Lutheran.]

 

Gordon Klingenschmitt is a former Navy chaplain who was forced out of the service for publicly praying in Jesus' name while in uniform. He now runs "The Pray In Jesus Name Project" and says the judge is basically conveying the message that if you mock Muhammad, you deserve to get beaten.

"He freed the Muslim attacker and said basically it's okay to choke atheists if they insult Islam," he comments.

Klingenschmitt also finds it outrageous that Judge Martin told Perce that mocking Muhammad in Muslim countries is punishable by death.

"This is a different country. We live in America where we have a free society," the former Navy chaplain points out. "And Christians have historically protected the rights of minorities to express their religious or anti-religious views."

So he believes Martin should be removed from the bench, and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel agrees. The latter tells OneNewsNow Judge Martin's decision an indication of what may be coming if sharia is used in the U.S. court systems. 

"This particular judge actually had the audacity to rule in favor of the attacker, saying that the attacker was compelled to attack this individual because it was an insult to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad," Staver reports.

And Diane Gramley, head of the American Family Association (AFA) of Pennsylvania, suggests that the judge's religion "tainted" how he looks at the law.

"That definitely changes everything, because if he's a Muslim convert, then that definitely has tainted his view of the law, and he is looking at sharia law and making his decision," she offers. "You cannot look at a situation where a Muslim has physically harassed, physically attacked an atheist -- granted the guy's an atheist who's in a parade; he's dressed as a Muslim -- but that's not against the law."

Staver finds the ruling to be almost unbelievable.

"This situation is one involving a judge that needs to be removed from the bench," the attorney suggests. "He is clearly instituting sharia from the bench, using sharia law as a basis to ultimately acquit a person who actually committed an assault and a battery against an individual."

Professor Turley also notes that another atheist, dressed as a zombie Pope, was marching beside the zombie Muhammad, but no outraged Catholics attacked him.

"If a Christian had been doing the harassing, I don't believe the judge would have dismissed those charges," Gramley contends. "I think in this case, Judge Martin is showing preference to the Muslim."


Staver concludes that this is the type of case that has prompted several states, including Oklahoma, to work on legislation to prohibit courts from using sharia or foreign laws and court rulings as a basis for decisions in American courts. In Oklahoma's case, however, the measure was overturned in federal court.

This article can be found in its entirety at
http://www.onenewsnow.com/Legal/Default.aspx?id=1544716



Stop Feeding the Islamic Crocodile

February 27, 2012 by Gary DeMar

 “To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last — but eat you he will.” — Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan was the consummate collector of great quotations. The one about the crocodile was borrowed and adapted from Winston Churchill. “Winston Churchill took a dim view of neutrals. For him there were only two options in the face of Hitler: fight or surrender. Each neutral, Churchill said on 20 January 1940, ‘hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last. All of them hope that the storm will pass before their turn comes to be devoured. But I fear — I fear greatly — the storm will not pass.’”

What was true of Hitler and Nazism is equally true of radical Islam. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought the crocodile story up to date when he spoke before the 66th session of the General Assembly at the United Nations on September 23, 2011, following Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech:

And these critics continue to press Israel to make far-reaching concessions without first assuring Israel’s security. They praise those who unwittingly feed the insatiable crocodile of militant Islam as bold statesmen. They cast as enemies of peace those of us who insist that we must first erect a sturdy barrier to keep the crocodile out, or at the very least jam an iron bar between its gaping jaws.

Appeasers to the Islamic worldview keep telling us that only a small percentage of Muslims are radicals. Some say it’s about ten percent. I’m not great at math, but I do know that ten percent of one billion is 100 million. That’s a lot of radical Muslims who want to see every aspect of Western culture destroyed.

What has President Obama’s apology for burning already Muslim-desecrated Qurans done for America? “Nothing but burning the White House can relieve the wound of us — the Muslims — caused by the Burning of Quran in the US,” the commander of Iran’s Basij force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqd said.

He then added: “Their apology can be accepted only by hanging their commanders; hanging their commanders means an apology.”

The Islam world always saw President Obama as a dupe, a useful idiot, who would believe that appeasement toward a sworn enemy of the United States would bring about peace. In reality, the plan of the Islamic world has always been the destruction of all things non-Islamic.

President Obama’s June 4, 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt, was the start of the appeasement process. The Muslims smelled fear and inevitable capitulation.

All of this reminds me of the long out-of-print book by John Ames Mitchell (1848–1918) — The Last American (1889) — that I have in my library. There is a sobering message on the dedication page and the book’s closing words:

“To those thoughtful Persians who can read a warning in the sudden rise and swift extinction of a foolish people [the Americans] this volume is dedicated. . . . Again upon the sea. This time for Persia, bearing our wounded and the ashes of the dead [the last American]; those of the natives are reposing beneath the Great Temple [U.S. Capitol]. The skull of the last Mehrikan [American] I shall present to the museum at Teheran.”

There are several ink etchings in The Last American. One shows “The Ruins of the Great Temple,” a devastated United States Capitol. Pray and act that it will not be so.

This article can be read in its entirety at
http://godfatherpolitics.com/3927/stop-feeding-the-islamic-crocodile/


 

LIFE WITH BIG BROTHER

Homeschoolers can't be taught 'gay' sex sinful

You won't believe latest intrusion by government

Published: February 27, 2012

 

Homeschooling families will soon be forbidden from teaching that homosexual sex is sinful as part of their schooling program, according to the government of Alberta, Canada.

Under the province’s Education Act, homeschoolers and religious schools will be banned from “disrespecting” people’s differences, Alberta Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk’s office told LifeSiteNews just last week.

“Whatever the nature of schooling – homeschool, private school, Catholic school – we do not tolerate disrespect for differences,” said Donna McColl, Lukaszuk’s assistant director of communications. “You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life, you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction.”

Paul Faris, president of the Home School Legal Defence Association of Canada, told the news website the Ministry of Education is “clearly signaling that they are in fact planning to violate the private conversations families have in their own homes. A government that seeks that sort of control over our personal lives should be feared and opposed.”

According to the report, a government spokesman said, “You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life. You just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction.”

HSLDA and other homeschool organizations have expressed concerns that the new Alberta Education Act would to force “diversity” education on all schools – including private and home schools.

The legislation, known as Bill 2 in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, requires that all schools “reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act.”

LifeSiteNews reports that the Human Rights Act has been used to target Christians and conservatives across the country, especially those who hold traditional beliefs about homosexuality.

McColl added that Christian homeschooling families can teach biblical lessons on homosexuality in their homes, “as long as it’s not part of their academic program of studies and instructional materials.”

“What they want to do about their ideology elsewhere, that’s their family business,” she said. “But a fundamental nature of our society is to respect diversity.”

According to the report, when McColl was asked by LifeSiteNews to explain the distinction between homeschoolers’ education and their family life, she replied that the question involved “real nuances” and said she would need to get back to reporter with specifics.

In a second interview, McColl explained that the government “won’t speculate” about specific examples and said she hadn’t been given a “straight answer” on what precisely constitutes “disrespect” – adding that families “can’t be hatemongering, if you will.”

The news site reports several Canadian provinces – including Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and now Alberta – have seen major battles in the last two years over “increasing normalization of homosexuality in the schools.”

Patty Marler, government liaison for the Alberta Home Education Association, told the website she was astonished at the Ministry’s candor. She wondered how the government would stipulate the difference between homeschoolers’ school and family time.

“We educate our children all the time, and that’s just the way we live. It’s a lifestyle,” she said. “Making that distinction between the times when we’re homeschooling and when we’re just living is really hard to do.”

She added, “Throw in the fact that I do use the Bible as part of my curriculum, and now I’m very blatantly going to be teaching stuff that will be against [the Alberta Human Rights Act].”

In 2009, the Alberta Human Rights Act was amended to classify marriage as an institution between two “persons,” rather than a man and a woman.

“When I read Genesis and it talks about marriage being one man in union with one woman, I am very, very clearly opposing the human rights act that says it’s one person marrying another person,” Marler said.

Faris noted that the most troubling issue is how government is attempting to control homeschoolers and how they teach their own children in their own homes.

He added that many homeschoolers have been receiving misleading information when they call the Minister’s office, which has been saying, “‘Look, there are no changes here. We’re not going to do anything differently,’ and other things like that.”

“The long arm of the government wants to reach into family’s homes and control what they teach to their own children in their own homes about religion, sexuality and morality,” Faris said. “These are not the words of a government that is friendly to homeschooling or to parental freedom.”

LifeSiteNews noted that the Progressive Conservative government has 67 of the 83 seats in the Alberta Legislature, so the bill is almost certain to pass. However, with an election coming up, the new right-wing Wildrose Alliance Party may have a strong showing.

Concerned individuals may email Alberta Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk or contact his office by phone, fax or mail.

 
This article can be read in its entirety at
http://www.wnd.com/2012/02/homeschoolers-cant-be-taught-gay-sex-sinful/print



Canada law would forbid homeschoolers to teach the Bible

by Joel McDurmon on Feb 28, 2012

For those who would like a snapshot of where liberalism and Statism lead, they need only look to our northern neighbor Canada. LifeSiteNews.com reports on Alberta’s new proposed law forbidding even homeschoolers from teaching what the Bible plainly says:

Under Alberta’s new Education Act, homeschoolers and faith-based schools will not be permitted to teach that homosexual acts are sinful as part of their academic program, says the spokesperson for Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.

“Whatever the nature of schooling – homeschool, private school, Catholic school – we do not tolerate disrespect for differences,” Donna McColl, Lukaszuk’s assistant director of communications, told LifeSiteNews on Wednesday evening.

“You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life, you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction,” she added.

Reacting to the remarks, Paul Faris of the Home School Legal Defence Association said the Ministry of Education is “clearly signaling that they are in fact planning to violate the private conversations families have in their own homes.”

“A government that seeks that sort of control over our personal lives should be feared and opposed,” he added.

I mildly disagree: such a government is indeed a tyranny, but it should not be “feared.” It should be opposed with legitimate organization, without fear, and resisted. We must stand for freedom and live without fear.

By the way, we have such liberals already stateside as well. I wrote about this very agenda—leftists wanting to pass legislation to control the curricula of homeschoolers—already a few years ago. Here’s a section from the longer article:

In fact, some recent leftists have come out openly in favor of controlling even homeschooling. I spoke at American Vision’s Worldview Superconference in 2007 on the topic “There’s an Atheist After Your Child!” I quoted from recent outspoken atheist Daniel C. Dennett:

We should have a national curriculum on world religions that is compulsory for all school children, from grade school through high school, for the public schools, for the private schools, for the home-schooling.…

“National curriculum”? “Compulsory”? Well, of course, we already have that in regard to some things: math, science, reading, etc. But Dennett wants in your house, and wants to control the content of the religious education of your children as well. He continues, “because if we taught the young people of a country this, then you could teach them whatever else you wanted and I wouldn’t worry about religions.”

The atheist wants to insulate your children against whatever you may add in catechizing them. Of course, this assumes that you catechize your children. These atheists hate the idea of religious catechism. Atheist Richard Dawkins, in a tirade against baptism, refers to the participation of “a superstitious and catechistically brainwashed babysitter.”[2] In these guys’ minds, religious catechism is “brainwashing,” but of course, it’s OK for them to call for a compulsory national curriculum of religion as they see it.

Dennett goes on: “I think any religion that can flourish under those conditions would be a benign, a valuable, a wonderful religion.”

I guess, for him maybe. Of course, he just assumes that he by default knows truly what is valuable. Truth is, he’s got no real standard by which to judge that which is benign, or valuable, or wonderful. “Valuable”? Valuable for whom? Who decides what is valuable and what is not valuable in education or in general? If you believe like Dennett that there is no transcendent Creator God, then aren’t words like “valuable” and “wonderful” left up to each individual to determine? In that case, “valuable” and “wonderful” will be determined politically and culturally by either a dictator (like Franco or Stalin), or a group of dictators (think Roe-v-Wade, 5–4 decision). You might just as well hear Franco say, “Any leftist who can flourish under my conditions would be ‘a benign, a valuable, a wonderful leftist.’”

So, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to let the atheists or leftists define for me what kind of religious instruction is benign, or valuable, or even acceptable. But Dennett wants this, and he continues to say,

I think … if you look at the “toxic” religions, they are all of the religions that survive by the enforced ignorance of their young; and all we have to do, I think, is, we can tell people, “You can home-school your kids, you can give them 30 hours a week of religious instruction, but you’ve also got to teach them what the people that are not of your faith believe, and you have to teach them about the history of all faiths in question, including your own.”[3]

Now, like I said, I have no problem teaching my child about other religions, and I (we) certainly have no problem teaching them the History of our faith (we can do it better than they can). But I sure am not going to sit by while this atheist assumes he has the right to tell me whether I can or cannot home-school, or how to do it, or what I “have to” include.

So who does he think he is? Where does he think he gets the right to assume that kind of authority? (Well, it’s because he’s an atheist and an intellectual, and he thinks there’s no One higher than him, and he’s smarter than most people.) But how does this work out? Dennett says,

Children below the age of consent are a special case . . . parents are stewards of their children. They don’t own them—you can’t own your children—You have a responsibility to the world, to the state, to them, to take care of them right. You may, if you like, teach them whatever creed you think is most important, but I say you have a responsibility to let them be informed about all the other creeds in the world, too.[4]

Children are a special case? Why are they being singled out? Because the atheists have realized the power of capturing the next generation. They’ve chosen the path of least resistance, which is the indoctrination of children. But they have to get around the influence of home-schools and private schools.

Other atheists such as Richard Dawkins argue “in favor of censorship” of family education for this so-called “special case of children” (that’s a direct quote from his book: notice the use of the same rhetoric by both guys). Dawkins quotes fellow atheist Nicholas Humphrey:

[M]oral and religious education, and especially the education a child receives at home, where parents are allowed – even expected – to determine for their children what counts as truth and falsehood, right and wrong. Children, I’ll argue, have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people’s bad ideas – no matter who these other people are. Parents, correspondingly, have no God-given license to enculturate their children in whatever ways they personally choose: no right to limit the horizons of their children’s knowledge, to bring them up in an atmosphere of dogma and superstition, or to insists they follow the straight and narrow paths of their own faith.

In short, children have a right not to have their minds addled by nonsense, and we as a society have a duty to protect them from it. So we should no more allow parents to teach their children to believe, for example, in the literal truth of the Bible or that the planets rule their lives, than we should allow parents to knock their children’s teeth out or lock them in a dungeon.[5]

So, this group of atheists is unanimous in pushing that children are a special case, require special attention by the state, they should not be left to parents for their education without state supervision, even to the extent of State control of religious education in the home. The child has a “right” to be protected from these “toxic” beliefs such as belief in the literal truth of the Bible, which is equivalent, for the atheist, to physical abuse and masochism. Again, unduly associating conservativism with violence, all the while really just wanting more power over other people’s children than any genuine conservative ever has.

This article was originally found at

http://americanvisionnews.com/2056/canada-forbids-homeschoolers-to-teach-the-bible




Freedom — and four fallacies

Religious liberty is a frail thing, easily abused or neglected

February 15, 2012

Think what you wish of President Barack Obama's attempt Friday to end a fierce skirmish over insurance coverage of drugs that prevent conceptions and induce abortions.

The president said he would guarantee that coverage, without cost to female recipients. Under his modified mandate, he said, "religious organizations won't have to pay for these services, and no religious institution will have to provide these services directly." It's the "directly" — and the persistent distinction between "religious organizations" and "religious institutions" — that's sure to keep this controversy aflame.

In Obama's scenario, that is, religiously affiliated institutions such as schools, hospitals or charities would supply insurance for their workers' other health services; employees who also want contraceptives would get them from the insurers. What's unclear is who actually pays for the drugs — the insurers or the employers? If insurers simply divert money from health premiums paid by the religious institutions to cover contraceptive costs, then employers who have religious objections to buying these drugs will end up footing the bill. We'll all learn, as more details come forward, whether this new directive is a full recognition of religious rights, or a shell game.

Our previously stated opinion, offered Feb. 3, hasn't changed: The Obama administration, by not providing a broad conscience exemption for this insurance mandate, is denying Roman Catholic and other religions their right — the first right enumerated in the First Amendment — to freely live by their faith.

This is, though, a useful debate: Mandated contraception coverage is but the latest twist in an endless American discussion about religious freedom. In the course of this debate, though, the White House and some proponents of compulsory coverage have relied on four fallacies that ought to give all of us pause — not only in this instance, but in the next, and in all that come after that:

Even Catholics say ... : While leaders of many faiths have objected to any contraceptive coverage mandate, no one has spoken more vociferously than the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops. Last week, though, The New York Times reported that a majority of Catholics favor the contraceptive mandate, according to "recent polls which Obama officials were pointing to on Tuesday ... " Problem already. What a majority of self-described Catholics (or Presbyterians or Sunni Muslims) thinks is of great importance to discussions, maybe disagreements, within each faith. But disagreement within the faith doesn't abrogate the constitutional right to practice that faith free of government interference.

Public opinion polls find ... : Planned Parenthood and other supporters of a mandate pointed last week to broader polling results showing that a majority of all Americans, not just Catholics, agree with mandated coverage. That's good to know. But to the extent this argument suggests that public opinion should dictate government policy in matters of conscience, no other questions asked, then this is perilous turf. Example: Should opponents of capital punishment surrender their objections because, in the most recent polling reported on its website, Gallup finds that Americans continue to favor the death penalty, 61 percent to 35 percent?

We offered a grace period: White House spokesman Jay Carney, among others, has noted that the original mandate included a one-year enforcement delay. The stated intent was to give religiously affiliated employers time to adjust. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York puzzled over that delay — "as if we might suddenly be more willing to violate our consciences 12 months from now." If any government action is an affront to a constitutional right, waiting a year to implement its enforcement doesn't make it any less objectionable.

If you keep to yourselves, you're exempt: Obama's continuation Friday to distinguish between "religious organizations" and "religious institutions" suggests that he still sees the latter as different, because they serve many people of other faiths, or of no faith. By that reckoning, the University of Notre Dame isn't exempted from a mandate that might exempt, say, the offices of Chicago's archdiocese. The head of Catholic Charities USA wryly observed early on that Jesus and his apostles wouldn't get an exemption from the Obama mandate, because they ministered to people of other faiths. The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations objects that the White House position essentially is that "if a religious entity is not insular, but engaged with broader society, it loses its 'religious' character and liberties. ... The administration's ruling makes the price of such an outward approach the violation of an organization's religious principles." Like the grace period, the administration's reluctance to offer a blanket exemption doesn't relieve believers from what they see as a collision of legal directive and religious belief.

We don't yet know every detail of the Obama administration's evolving policies on contraception. We do, though, take seriously the concerns — from the Constitution forward — that religious freedom is a frail thing, easily abused or neglected. Given that American heritage, the White House may have a difficult time establishing in federal courts that the policy separation of religious organizations and religious institutions is anything more than a distinction without a difference.

The right thing for President Obama to do is to exempt from his rules any entity that would be forced to contravene its religious teachings and beliefs. The president needs to consult what should be, in this and future similar disputes, our nation's guiding principle:

Make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Sound familiar? Many people gave their lives to protect those words — especially the unequivocal "no."

 This article can be read in its entirety at

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-freedom-20120215,0,6126011.story






King Barack’s power grab

New York Post

Posted: January 05, 2012

President Obama yesterday played a violent game of kickball with the US Constitution, making a number of high-level “recess” appointments — even though the Senate isn’t actually in recess.

He named former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Board, a nomination Republicans have been fighting.

And then he named three new members of the pro-union activist National Labor Relations Board.

Presidents have the right to make temporary appointments when Congress is away from Washington, of course, and both parties have used that power.

But Obama is the first president to declare that he, and he alone, can decide whether the Senate — which must confirm his appointments — is actually meeting.

In order to block recess appointments, the Senate intentionally has been holding pro forma sessions every few days, each of which lasts only a few seconds.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — with then-Sen. Obama’s support — did the same thing in 2007 to block any recess appointments by President George W. Bush.

But now Obama, with Reid’s concurrence, contends that such sessions are actually “gimmicks” — and that the Senate actually is in recess.

So much for the separation of powers and the carefully calibrated system of checks and balances that are hallmarks of the US constitutional system.

Obama, of course, plans to run for re-election against Congress, painting it as Wall Street’s puppet.

But what he did yesterday was no shot across the bow; it was, rather, a direct hit — with the Constitution taking the brunt of the blow.

Moreover, as the Cato Institute’s Mark Calabria notes, the Dodd-Frank bill, which calls for the creation of the CFPB, explicitly requires that its director be “confirmed by the Senate.”

That means that Obama’s nonrecess “recess” appointment may well violate the law, in addition to coming as part of a blatantly unconstitutional overreach.

Then again, this is not the first time Team Obama has sidestepped Congress; just consider some of its aggressive regulatory measures done with no legislative authorization whatsoever.

Democrats like to criticize anything that smacks of an “imperial” presidency — but now it seems they’ve got one.


Read article in the New York post at: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/king_barack_power_grab_FQVJqAlOM3eplEuV7fNxDN#ixzz1ibwIqIMd



Christian Persecution Increased Most In Sudan, Nigeria, Report Says

Written by: Compass Direct News

January 4, 2012

By Jeff M. Sellers

Sudan and northern Nigeria saw steeper increases in persecution against Christians than 48 other nations where Christians suffered abuse last year, according to an annual ranking by Christian support organization Open Doors.

Sudan – where northern Christians experienced greater vulnerability after southern Sudan seceded in a July referendum, and where Christians were targeted amid isolated military conflicts – jumped 19 places last year from its 2010 ranking, from 35th to 16th, according to Open Doors’ 2012 World Watch List. In northern Nigeria, a rash of Islamist bombings, guerrilla-style attacks and increased government restrictions on Christians contributed to the region leaping by 10 on the list, from 23rd to 13th place.

“Nigeria continues to be the country where the worst atrocities in terms of loss of life occur, with over 300 Christians losing their lives this year, though the true number is thought to be far higher,” according to the Open Doors report, noting that the Islamic extremist Boko Haram (literally, “Western learning is forbidden”) became increasingly violent across the reporting period through most of 2011.

As it has the previous nine years, North Korea topped the list as the country where Christians are most persecuted, with a persecution index of 88. The list is based on a questionnaire filled out by Open Doors in-country field personnel and cross-checked with independent experts. Countries are then ranked according to their points total, or index.

Both Sudan and northern Nigeria saw their persecution indices rise more than other countries’ – Sudan by 16.5, from 37 in 2010 to 53.5 last year, and northern Nigeria by 9, from 44 to 55. The persecution index for three other countries rose by at least 5 points – Egypt from 47.5 to 53.5, Ethiopia from 30 to 36, and Indonesia from 26.5 to 31.5.

In terms of ranking, Egypt landed at 15 in the 2012 list after being ranked 19 last January, before political chaos loosened the grip on Islamic extremists; Ethiopia went from 43rd to 38th place, and Indonesia from 48th to 43rd place. Most of the countries on the list, 38 out of 50, have an Islamic majority – including nine of the top 10.

“As the 2012 World Watch List reflects, the persecution of Christians in these Muslim countries continues to increase,” said Carl Moeller, president/CEO of Open Doors USA. “While many thought the Arab Spring would bring increased freedom, including religious freedom for minorities, that certainly has not been the case so far.”

In the case of Sudan, the secession of mainly Christian southern Sudan left Christians in (north) Sudan “much more isolated under President Omar al-Bashir,” who is wanted for crimes against humanity, according to the Open Doors report.

“In response to the loss of the south, he has vowed to make his country even more Islamic, promising constitutional changes,” the report states. “On the ground, however, Christian communities have been attacked in complex battles over resources, and estimates of thousands killed by the Sudanese military are known of, yet impossible to verify.”

Territorial violence flared on border areas with South Sudan in the provinces of Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and “Christian communities were disproportionately affected,” according to the report.

In Egypt, a bomb attack on a Coptic church in Alexandria killed at least 21 Christians on New Year’s Day, 2011, and the Feb. 11 ouster of President Hosni Mubarak was followed by a series of Islamic extremist attacks on Christians that culminated in the Maspero massacre in Cairo on Oct. 9, “when the military turned on its own citizens,” killing 27 Coptic Christian demonstrators, the report notes.

“Some were shot by soldiers or ran over by tanks, while others were killed by Muslim extremists,” the report states. “At the closing of 2011, Islamist parties flourished in the November elections, prompting some to speak of an Arab Winter instead of an Arab Spring for Christians.”

China moved from 20th place to 21st on the list, “mainly due to other countries comparatively getting worse,” though it still has the world’s largest persecuted church of 80 million, the report notes. That it dropped out of the top 20 this year “is due in large part to the house church pastors knowing how to play ‘cat and mouse’ with the government,” the report states – that is, knowing how not to attract the attention of authorities, such as not putting up church name signs, limiting worship attendance to no more than 200, and not singing too loudly.

A new addition to the list is Kazakhstan at 45th place, and Colombia returned to the list at 47th after being absent in the 2011 and 2010 editions.

Kazakhstan moved onto the list due to the passage of “an invasive and restrictive religion law” requiring the re-registration of all religious communities, the report notes. The law will make youth work virtually illegal and put all religious acts under government scrutiny, it adds.

Colombia had been included on the World Watch List annually before 2010, with left-wing insurgencies as well as paramilitary groups targeting Christian pastors. During the reporting period these movements “have branched into narco-trafficking, and Christian leaders that will not cooperate in the drug trade are targeted for assassination,” the report notes. “Five were killed this year, and it is thought the number could be as high as 20.”

After North Korea, the top 10 on the list are Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, the Maldives, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Iraq, and Pakistan. Pakistan entered the top 10 for the first time with a spike in radical Islamist violence that included the assassination of the nation’s highest-ranking Christian politician, Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, for his efforts to change Pakistan’s blasphemy law.

This article was found at

http://www.eurasiareview.com/04012012-christian-persecution-increased-most-in-sudan-nigeria-report-says/




December 14, 2011

by Clare M Lopez

www.RadicalIslam.org

  SAUDI ARABIA - MODERATE VOICE OR DRACONIAN MONARCHY?

Saudi Arabia’s hardline ultra-conservative religious council, the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the King Fahd University, have just released a ‘scientific study’ that has come to some rather outlandish conclusions. 

In response to the growing pressure from women’s groups in Saudi Arabia to lift the ban on women driving, the report has warned that doing so would "provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce." Within ten years of the ban being lifted, the report’s authors claim, there would be "no more virgins" in the Islamic kingdom. And it pointed out "moral decline" could already be seen in other Muslim countries where women are allowed to drive.

Just a few weeks earlier, the Kingdom’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has proposed a law to stop women from revealing their "tempting" eyes to the public. Should this law be passed, it would in effect, force Saudi women to more or less cover their entire bodies from head to toe – including their eyes. 

The Saudi Kingdom clearly is passing through a stressful period: not because the Crown Prince died earlier this year and his likely successors are all tottering through their twilight years; not because the Kingdom’s arch rival, Iran, is driving for a deployable nuclear weapon; nor even because revolutionary forces are sweeping the region. No, to all indications in the international media, the real problem is all the Mutawain (Saudi morals police) jockeying for extra duty to select exactly which female eyes henceforth will have to be covered in public.   

This is the absurdity of Saudi Arabia today. Even as its aging royal rulers (King Abdullah is 88 years old) observe fellow Arab regimes going down around them like ten pins, the Kingdom’s leadership knows it lacks the most basic resources of a modern state to meet the inevitable demands of its youthful population. It’s not that this brutal police state lacks the repressive security forces or material resources to deal with a popular protest movement. It’s that neither these, nor all the vast oil wealth in the Peninsula, can stop the sands of time which are rapidly counting down the hours on a regime decked in the gaudy glitz of modern excess but trapped in a savage mindset from the 7th century. 

A new book  “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West’s Fatal Embrace,” presents a disturbing look at the realities of the Saudi Kingdom, whose rigid Wahhabist Islamic code locks it into a bigoted, jihadist, misogynist world view grounded in anti-Western animus and Jew-hatred. Without the Saudis’ key role in the global oil-based economy and calculated largesse to policymakers, think tanks, and universities to help smooth the way, it surely would be an uphill slog otherwise for their armies of well-heeled lobbyists. As it is, for decades the Saudis have counted on petro-dollars and Western cupidity to ensure official submissiveness in the face of blatant financial support to Muslim terrorist groups, mega-mosques and Islamic Centers, and the shariah-promoting literature and textbooks that stoke jihad in all of them. 

Before the well-organized onslaught of the so-called “Arab Spring” in 2011, the Saudi Kingdom may well have believed its most critical challenges came from its Shi’ite Persian nemesis across the Gulf and Iran’s Sunni al-Qa’eda allies on the Peninsula (AQAP). In the space of months, however, it was no longer a question of escaping the turmoil but of damage control. Having dispatched three more-or-less secular dictatorships in 2011, the al-Qa’eda and Muslim Brotherhood forces on the march across North Africa have made no secret of their intent to take aim at “corrupt” monarchs next year. A young, restless population with inadequate opportunities for meaningful work, next to zero approved social outlets, and plenty of access to the latest technology toys with which to view how the rest of the 21st century world lives, leaves an unprepared Saudi leadership facing the inevitable clamor for expanded political and social rights.     

Only the lack of an organized opposition characterized by the total absence of political parties or trade unions and real fear among the Saudi urban middle class that revolt against the House of Saud could set loose chaos that would split apart the country’s regional, religious, and sectarian fault lines have kept the place together this long. But it is Western, especially American, willingness to turn a blind eye to Saudi terror funding, support for the Da’wa stealth jihad campaign led by the Muslim Brotherhood, and backing for the spread of Shariah Compliant Finance that enables the charade of Saudi “partnership” to stand. 

A few crumbs like King Abdullah’s September 2011 decree that Saudi women will be allowed to serve in parliament in 2012 and vote and stand as candidates in 2015 municipal elections are hardly enough to satisfy the pent-up energy of the 50% of the Saudi population whose every move in life remains chained to primitive, misogynistic and often violent notions of gender roles. Even as Saudi society deprives itself of intellectual and professional contributions from half its population, its aging, hypocritical rulers indulge in polygamous and hedonistic lifestyles  According to a WikiLeaks cable from 2008, the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh reported that King Abdullah "remains a heavy smoker, regularly receives hormone injections and 'uses Viagra excessively.'" 

Change is coming to the Saudi desert kingdom whether the Saudis are ready or not. All things considered, trends already in motion do not look good over the long-term for the House of Saud, no matter how many hundreds of billions the King hands out. Foreign policy outreach to establish a network of economic and political ties with potential global partners such as China, Japan, and Russia is not a bad idea either, just inadequate to deal with what is essentially an internal problem: how to unleash the potential of all Saudis to compete in the modern world and loose the shackles that have hobbled them since the dawn of Islam. 

Saudi youth, both male and female, have some choices to make, choices their diminishingly lucid elders probably cannot make, about what kind of society they want to live in. U.S. and Western leaderships have some shackles of their own to cast off, beginning with energy dependence and willful blindness about the Saudi commitment to shariah Islam, jihad, and the subjugation of Dar al-Harb (the non-Muslim world) to Dar al-Islam (the Muslim world) Absent is the realization that equality, individual liberty, minority protection, pluralism, rule of man-made law, and tolerance are the building blocks of civil society that undergird a true democracy, and that these things are not necessarily genetically coded in human beings but must be defended and nourished, neither the House of Saud nor American exceptionalism can expect to weather intact the storms ahead.

 Clare M. Lopez, a senior fellow at the Clarion Fund, is a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on Middle East, national defense, and counterterrorism issues.

Article may be viewed  at

http://www.radicalislam.org/analysis/saudi-arabia-%E2%80%93-moderate-voice-or-draconian-monarchy?utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Saudi+Arabia%3A+Friend+or+Foe%3F&utm_campaign=RI+Newsletter+56&utm_term=_5BMORE_5D


US Government to apply peer pressure to your Islamophobia

December 14, 2011

by J.E. Dyer

from Hotair.com/greenroom/archives


Hillary Clinton’s promise on this matter has been out there for months, but a virtually unadvertised conference in Washington, D.C. this week has resurrected the Clinton quote from July 2011.

Back in July, at a conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Clinton pledged that the US would take action against “religious intolerance” in America.

It’s worth taking a moment to reflect on that.  Clinton said, in her remarks, “No country, including my own, has a monopoly on truth or a secret formula for ethnic and religious harmony.”  But if any country comes close to having such a monopoly, it is, in fact, the United States.  One of the core principles of our founding was religious freedom; the purpose of guaranteeing it was, explicitly, to discourage religious strife; and to fulfill that purpose, the drafters of the Constitution prohibited Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

The US has not avoided religious enmity entirely, but we have kept the law and the government on the side of enforcing a peaceful, quiescent environment for the practice of religion, to a greater extent than any other nation that has ever existed.  This environment has existed side by side with robust and sometimes disgusting criticisms of other people’s religions, which we have always allowed as free speech.

And it is worth taking another moment to remember why we determined to allow such free speech.  We didn’t do it because it is “good,” in any positive sense, for people to say vile things about each other’s beliefs.  It may be perfectly good, or at least not repulsive, for people to say reasonably critical things about religious beliefs.  But whether it’s ridiculous allegations about Jews, absurd accusations against Catholics, or today’s fresh-milled 20-something atheists calling Christians “Christofascists,” the point of free speech was never to encourage idiocies of this kind on the theory that we need more of them.

The point of free speech is to keep the government out of the business of deciding whether they’re “bad” or “good.”  Government is incompetent to decide such questions, and they should therefore not be within its scope of authority.  Precisely because government has civic authority, its involvement in classifying critical speech should be somewhere between severely limited and non-existent.  The step from government having an opinion to government repressing intellectual freedom is perilously short.  Government can’t wave a magic wand to kindly and gently fix people’s thoughts; it has only the hammer of force and punishment, and that means making every unapproved thought into a “nail.”  The American Founders understood this about government, and insisted therefore on keeping its powers limited, constitutionally explicit, and federally divided.

 So when Hillary Clinton promises the following, she is on wholly un-American, anti-liberal ground (emphasis added):

In the United States … we are focused on promoting interfaith education and collaboration, enforcing antidiscrimination laws, protecting the rights of all people to worship as they choose, and to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.

OK, so the US government is going to use peer pressure and shaming on us.  (The tools, by the way, of “worker soviets” in the sanguinary workers’ paradises of the last century.)

What exactly is it that we abhor?  Elizabeth Kendal has an excellent summary at her Religious Liberty Monitoring website of the history behind the UN push to “combat religious intolerance,” and it is worth talking the time to understand how a number of terms – Islamophobia, “defamation” of religion, and “incitement” against religion – have been conflated over the last decade.  Getting forms of intellectual discretion wrapped up in “what we abhor” is an ongoing project in the misnamed effort to “combat religious intolerance.”

But another entry point is the definition of “Islamophobia” cited by the typical Islamophobia watchdog.  The definition was produced by a British think tank, The Runnymede Trust, in the 1990s, and was consciously constructed as an analogue to definitions of Judeophobia or anti-Semitism.  These are its basic elements:

1)  Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.
2)  Islam is seen as separate and “other.” It does not have values in common with other cultures, is not affected by them and does not influence them.
3)  Islam is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist.
4)  Islam is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a “clash of civilizations.”
5)  Islam is seen as a political ideology and is used for political or military advantage.
6)  Criticisms made of the West by Islam are rejected out of hand.
7)  Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
8)Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural or normal.

Most of these elements are susceptible of extremely ambiguous interpretation.  Credentialed academics like Samuel Huntington and Victor Davis Hanson would be indicted by some of them.  And in almost any case you can think of, deciding that these criteria correctly classify the actions of non-Muslims is a matter not of objective judgment but of partisan opinion.

Regarding #6, for example, both non-Muslims and Muslims are likely to reject some criticisms from each other out of hand – because our beliefs about some things are fundamentally different.  There are Muslim leaders, after all, who constantly reject Western criticisms of sharia out of hand.  And there are Muslim leaders who don’t.  There is no valid reason why any Westerner should be charged with “Islamophobia” for ignoring or rejecting criticisms of Western practices by Muslims.

Consider the practice of veiling women.  When an imam criticizes Western society for failing to veil women, I have no heartburn whatsoever in rejecting that criticism as invalid and inapplicable to my life and my society.  How absurd to suggest that I am being “Islamophobic” by doing this.

I recognize, of course, that many Muslim women don’t wear a veil, and many clerics are fine with that.  Muslims don’t do the same things in every part of the world.  And I prefer civic approaches in the West that seek to live with the practice of veiling where it is important to some citizens.  I disagree with the veil being imposed on women, but 99% of the time, the issue isn’t one that affects me directly or requires me to register an official political opinion.

But the fundamental issue here is the status of women.  Declaring it to be a “phobia” when people adhere to their original opinions about that is something no government should be in the business of doing.

At what point would a government decide that it was not Islamophobia when a person “rejected out of hand” criticisms of the West made by “Islam”?  Where would the line be drawn?  Can I reject, for example, Islam’s criticism that the West doesn’t accept Mohammed as a prophet of God?  Or does this criterion indicate that I am allowed to reject it, but only after giving some positive display of having considered it without “prejudice”?  And if so, how will that work, exactly?  Will I carry a card with me, certifying that I was observed by a competent authority to give due consideration to the criticisms of my society made by Islamic leaders?

This is not a laughing matter; the 20th century was a vast, vicious playground for exactly such measures of control over the intellectual lives of peoples and societies.  The criticism we should be leveling here is not against “Islam” or “Muslims,” it is against our own government, and the factions of our own, Western/American political spectrum that conceive of government as a method of administering anti-phobia measures.

The idea of government, for too many in America, has gone wildly off-track.  Hillary Clinton’s acknowledgment that the Obama administration can’t make black-letter laws against free expression about Islam, but that it will use peer pressure and shaming to try to shape and discourage the people’s expression, is a perfect example of the corruption of the governmental idea in our once-constitutional nation.  Our basic problem in this regard is not Islam; our problem is the growing failure of our governments at all levels to adhere to America’s own standard of individual liberty and limited government.  We chose that standard not because criticism of others is necessarily or absolutely “good,” but because intellectual liberty itself is.

Judaism and Christianity are, along with Western philosophy, the progenitors of that idea of liberty.  The positive, absolute good of liberty is what we must proclaim and defend.  And in our nation, on our terms, Islam has the opportunity to thrive as Judaism and Christianity have, by being consistent with it.  It cannot be the other way around.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,” Patheos, The Weekly Standard online, and her own blog, The Optimistic Conservative.

Read this article in its entirety at

 

http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2011/12/14/us-government-to-apply-peer-pressure-to-your-islamophobia/




Nov 1, 2011
ABC News

GOP Ad Turns Obama’s Words Against Him

If you want an indication of how Republicans – whoever their presidential nominee is – will run against President Obama, check out this slick new video from the Republican National Committee.

The video is made up largely of Obama’s own words; from his ’08 campaign and his Yahoo/ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos when he said Americans “aren’t better off than they were four years ago.” Also note the use of images from the Occupy Wall Street protests to make it look as though the primary target of the movement is President Obama.

Watch the video here.

Click here to see the original article on abcnews


Burma Crackdown On Local Bible Studies, Worship, report

October 31, 2011

 
By BosNewsLife Asia Service


RANGOON, BURMA (BosNewsLife)-- Authorities in Burma, also known as Myanmar, are imposing new restrictions on Christian and other religious activities in the Kachin State region, an influential religious rights group said Monday, October 31.


Britain-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which has investigated the situation in Burma, said local churches have received a letter warning them that advance permission is required for events such as worship and Bible studies.

CSW told BosNewsLife that the letter titled “Concerning Christians conducting cultural training" was send on October 14 by the government's Chairman of Maw Wan Ward in Phakant Township.

The document "refers to an order by the General Township Administration Department requiring Christians in Phakant Township to submit a request at least 15 days in advance for permission to conduct "short-term Bible study, Bible study, Sunday school, reading the Bible, fasting prayer, Seasonal Bible study and Rosary of the Virgin Mary Prayer," CSW explained.

MORE BUREACRACY

"A request for permission must be accompanied by recommendations from other departments, and must be submitted to the Township Administration Office."

CSW said it had obtained a copy of the document in Burmese, and a translation, last week. Churches in Burma are already required to obtain permission for any events other than Sunday services, but this new regulation "imposes further severe restrictions," according to CSW investigators.

CSW's East Asia Team Leader Benedict Rogers said that “For many years, successive Burmese regimes have suppressed freedom of religion and imposed serious restrictions on Christians and other religious minorities."

Rogers said both "Christians and Muslims in particular have been the target of discrimination and persecution. It appears that despite changes in rhetoric, there has been no change of attitude, particularly at a local level, on the part of Burmese authorities to religious minorities."

He claimed that Burma is already "regarded as one of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom" and is one of the United States State Department’s 'Countries of Particular Concern' list.

"EXTREME RESTRICTION"

"To impose a requirement on churches and individuals to seek permission to read the Bible, pray, fast and hold a Sunday school is an extreme restriction and an extraordinary further violation of freedom of religion," Rogers said.

He added that his group had urged Burmese authorities to withdraw this requirement, in Phakant Township and in any other parts of the country where it may have been issued, "and to uphold freedom of religion for all the people of Burma."

Additionally CSW has urged the Burmese government to invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief to visit the country, "and conduct an independent investigation.”

Burmese officials have not reacted to the latest allegations. However Burma's government has in the past denied wrongdoing describing reports to the contrary as "Western" or "U.S. propaganda."


Click here to read the original article in its entirety.

 




Look who's behind uprising in Orlando

Who'da thunk this group would be pulling strings?


Posted: October 19, 2011
By Bob Unruh
© 2011 WND

A lawyer linked through the Council on American Islamic Relations to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood has been identified as the driving force behind the Occupy Orlando protests that have been staged in Johnson Park, according to a video report from Tom Trento of the Florida Security Council and The United West.

The report from the organization that "educates and activates freedom minded people" to strategize the propagation of the exceptionalism of Western civilization over "the totalitarian choke-hold of Shariah Islam" explains that the same attorney who represented the Islam-bent parents in the famous Rifqa Bary dispute obtained the permit for the Occupy Orlando event and was on scene giving directions.

"You're not going to believe ... the evidence ... that links this movement with a key Muslim individual who's associated with CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood," Trento explains on the video. "This individual has assumed a leadership [role] if [he is] not the leader of this movement in Orlando."

The "Muslim activist lawyer" was identified as Shayan Elahi, who was the losing counsel for the parents of Rifqa Bary in a custody dispute that developed in Florida.

Bary fled the Ohio home of her Muslim parents because she accused them of threatening her after they discovered her conversion to Christianity. She traveled as a teenager on her own to friends in Florida, and ultimately gained her independence when she turned 18.

Elahi was counsel for Bary's parents when they were seeking to have her returned home. CAIR also was integral to the parents' strategies regarding their daughter and the various parties cooperated on the effort.

Trento’s video report about Elahi's activities at Occupy Orlando:

The presence of Elahi at the events, and his signature on the permit that was issued for the gathering are not the only indications of a radical element behind the "occupations."

Trento noted that the "Occupy Orlando" FaceBook page reads; " ... we plan to use the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic of mass occupation to restore democracy in America."

The group Mass Resistance reported that old-stream media reports on the Occupy Boston protests, "the flood of communist, anarchist, anti-Israel, and similar literature that permeates ... is simply ignored."

The organization's visit to the scene of the protests found "political ideology of communism, socialism and anarchism, with additions of anti-Israel, pro-Muslim, law-breaking, and other radical advocacy.

"Plus, like so many left-wing venues after a few days, the park they've taken over is now filthy and smells of urine."

In Egypt and in several other countries of North Africa in recent months, uncontrolled demonstrations and protests have led to upheaval, and those factions have been blamed for the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and other leaders friendly to the West.

Their replacements have been almost without exception those groups and organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a faction that has a worldwide Islamic caliphate as one of its goals.

The Florida Independent was able to reach Elahi, who confirmed he was at the protests, "volunteering [his] legal services as just another proud American and a member of the movement."

Trento  reveals in his video how Elahi repeatedly tried to intimidate his crew at the Orlando protests, pointedly calling him a "bigot" and a "racist bigot."

"Anyone think attorney Elahi, who lost the Rifqa Bary case, lost the race for a judgeship, is looking for a place to mark up his first win by co-opting an incoherent movement primarily made up of 'hippies and anarchists' so that he can build a political base for his Islamic goals?" Trento asked.

"We attended the 'Occupy Orlando' event to analyze and understand this movement, but the anger of an insecure Muslim attorney may have provided for us an important component to understand and defeat the cultural jihad of the Muslim Brotherhood, right here in beautiful, sunny Florida," he wrote.

Tom Tillison from the Florida Political Press also reported what Trento discovered: that the permit for the event was signed by Elahi.

Tillison also raised the issue of the city's concessions for the group, noting that while the permit was supposed to be submitted three days in advance, it actually was submitted and approved for a protest within 24 hours. And the application states the time was supposed to be from 8 a.m. until 8:59 p.m. on Oct. 15, yet the group remains camped there days later.

"Does this mean that the protesters are in violation of city ordinances government the use of city owned park facilities?"

Finally, he wondered about the extended stay, since there are no restrooms on site.

Click here to read the article in its entirety 


Burma Crackdown On Local Bible Studies, Worship, report

October 31, 2011

 

By BosNewsLife Asia Service



RANGOON, BURMA (BosNewsLife)-- Authorities in Burma, also known as Myanmar, are imposing new restrictions on Christian and other religious activities in the Kachin State region, an influential religious rights group said Monday, October 31.

Britain-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which has investigated the situation in Burma, said local churches have received a letter warning them that advance permission is required for events such as worship and Bible studies.

CSW told BosNewsLife that the letter titled “Concerning Christians conducting cultural training" was send on October 14 by the government's Chairman of Maw Wan Ward in Phakant Township.

The document "refers to an order by the General Township Administration Department requiring Christians in Phakant Township to submit a request at least 15 days in advance for permission to conduct "short-term Bible study, Bible study, Sunday school, reading the Bible, fasting prayer, Seasonal Bible study and Rosary of the Virgin Mary Prayer," CSW explained.

MORE BUREACRACY

"A request for permission must be accompanied by recommendations from other departments, and must be submitted to the Township Administration Office."

CSW said it had obtained a copy of the document in Burmese, and a translation, last week. Churches in Burma are already required to obtain permission for any events other than Sunday services, but this new regulation "imposes further severe restrictions," according to CSW investigators.

CSW's East Asia Team Leader Benedict Rogers said that “For many years, successive Burmese regimes have suppressed freedom of religion and imposed serious restrictions on Christians and other religious minorities."

Rogers said both "Christians and Muslims in particular have been the target of discrimination and persecution. It appears that despite changes in rhetoric, there has been no change of attitude, particularly at a local level, on the part of Burmese authorities to religious minorities."

He claimed that Burma is already "regarded as one of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom" and is one of the United States State Department’s 'Countries of Particular Concern' list.

"EXTREME RESTRICTION"

"To impose a requirement on churches and individuals to seek permission to read the Bible, pray, fast and hold a Sunday school is an extreme restriction and an extraordinary further violation of freedom of religion," Rogers said.

He added that his group had urged Burmese authorities to withdraw this requirement, in Phakant Township and in any other parts of the country where it may have been issued, "and to uphold freedom of religion for all the people of Burma."

Additionally CSW has urged the Burmese government to invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief to visit the country, "and conduct an independent investigation.”

Burmese officials have not reacted to the latest allegations. However Burma's government has in the past denied wrongdoing describing reports to the contrary as "Western" or "U.S. propaganda."

 

http://www.bosnewslife.com/18890-burma-crackdown-on-local-bible-studies-worship-report



WND Exclusive

Congressman to keynote CAIR fundraiser with terror co-conspirator
D.C. group identified by FBI as Hamas-front features workshops on countering 'anti-Shariah campaign'


Posted: October 13, 2011
1:00 am Eastern

WND

Democratic Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia is headlining a fundraiser this weekend for the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations along with an imam tied to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing who urges the violent overthrow of the "filthy" U.S. government and the establishment of Islamic law.

CAIR's 17th annual banquet Saturday at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va., features the theme "Making Democracy Work for Everyone."

Imam Siraj Wahhaj, designated by the Justice Department as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the WTC bombing, is promoted as a keynote speaker along with Moran.

The evening banquet concludes a day-long leadership conference offering workshops on subjects such as "counteracting Islamophobia," "challenging scapegoating of Muslims in the 2012 election" and countering "the anti-Shariah campaign," referring to state legislative efforts to ensure Islamic law is not implemented in the U.S.

As WND reported, Moran, a longtime supporter of CAIR, was forced to step down from his leadership role as regional whip in 2003 after he blamed the influence of the Jewish community for the U.S. war in Iraq.

Wahhaj's presence at CAIR's 2009 annual banquet prompted an activist group to launch a campaign to urge the hosting hotel, the venue for this year's event, to cancel.

As WND reported, Wahhaj, a regular CAIR fundraiser and a former member of its advisory board, initially was a featured speaker but ended up giving only a short fundraising appeal at the banquet.

As late as nine days prior to the 2009 banquet, CAIR featured Wahhaj and White House adviser Dalia Mogahed in its promotions as its two marquee names. But on the eve of the event – after WND reports of Wahhaj's radical views as documented in WND Books' best-seller "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America" – a press release did not even mention them.

'Filthy' U.S.

Wahhaj is one of many Muslim leaders affiliated with CAIR who have been named or prosecuted in U.S. terrorism-related investigations. CAIR itself was named by the Justice Department as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the Holy Land Foundation probe in Texas, the largest terrorism-finance case in U.S. history.

An imam at Masjid Al-Taqwa in Brooklyn, Wahhaj is on record urging a violent overthrow of the "filthy" U.S. government assisted by jihad warriors armed with Uzis.

In a videotaped May 8, 1992, sermon obtained by the authors of "Muslim Mafia" titled "Stand Up for Justice," Wahhaj makes it clear that, contrary to CAIR's media guide, he believes jihad means "holy war," not merely a "struggle to better oneself."

"If we go to war, brothers and sisters – and one day we will, believe me – that's why you're commanded [to fight in] jihad," the Brooklyn-based Wahhaj says. "When Allah demands us to fight, we're not stopping and nobody's stopping us."

Wahhaj preaches that Islam teaches violent insurrection in "infidel lands" such as America, points out the "Muslim Mafia" co-authors, counterterrorism investigator Gaubatz and "Infiltration" author Paul Sperry.

"Believe me, brothers and sisters, Muslims in America are the most strategic Muslims on Earth," Wahhaj says in the 1992 sermon, arguing the government can't drop bombs on warring Muslims in the U.S. without causing collateral damage.

The American government's "worst nightmare is one day that the Muslims wake these people up in South Central Los Angeles and other inner-city areas," he says in the video.

Wahhaj exhorts the faithful to go into the "hood and the prisons and convert disenfranchised minorities, and then arm them and train them to carry out an Uzi jihad in the inner cities."

"We don't need to arm the people with nine-millimeters and Uzis," he says. "You need to arm them with righteousness first. And then once you arm them with righteousness first, then you can arm them [with Uzis and other weapons]."

CAIR tells the public in its media guide, however, "There is a common misperception among Westerners that the Quran teaches violence."

Wahhaj makes it clear, nevertheless, he sees Islam as a uniquely militant religion.

Counterterrorism expert Steven Emerson obtained a video of a Wahhaj speech in Toronto Sept. 28, 1991, titled "The Afghanistan Jihad" in which the imam declared:

Those who struggle for Allah, it doesn't matter what kind of weapons, I'm telling you it doesn't matter! You don't need nuclear weapons or even guns! If you have faith in Allah and a knife! If Allah wants you to win, you will win! Because Allah is the only one who fights. And when his hand is over your hand. whoever is at war against my friends, I declare war on them.

Citing Emerson, "Muslim Media" notes Wahhaj once likened the U.S. to a trash bin and prayed it would "crumble" and be replaced by Islam.

"You know what this country is? It's a garbage can," Wahhaj said. "It's filthy."

Click here to view and read the article in its entirety

 



Texas School District Fully Vindicates Christian Student After Wrongful Suspension

October 11, 2011

Liberty Alerts, Liberty Counsel

The Fort Worth Independent School District has issued a letter to Liberty Counsel fully vindicating high school freshman Dakota Ary, who was given in-school suspension for telling another student that he believes homosexuality is wrong because of his Christian faith. The letter is in response to Liberty Counsel’s demand letter requesting full vindication and a full retraction of the suspension. The district’s letter will be placed in Dakota’s permanent file to further clear his record. Liberty Counsel is representing Dakota in this case.

The District’s letter apologized for the delay in returning Dakota back to the classroom, and stated that “Dakota has the right to express an opinion in a manner consistent with law and policy.”

Dakota was in Kristopher Franks’ German language class at Western Hills High School when the topic of homosexuality arose. Dakota said to one of his classmates, “I’m a Christian and, to me, being homosexual is wrong.” Franks overheard the comment, wrote Dakota an infraction, and sent him to the principal’s office. The class topic was religious beliefs in Germany. During the discussion, one student asked what Germans thought about homosexuality in relation to religion. Another student then asked to hear some translated terms such as “lesbian.” These questions provoked the conversation about Christianity and Dakota’s expression of his opinion to one classmate.

The discipline referral form says the comment was out of context, even though the lesson for the day was on religious beliefs. Franks charged Dakota with “possible bullying” and indicated, “It is wrong to make such a statement in public school.” Two weeks prior to this event, Franks displayed a picture of two men kissing on a “World Wall” and told his students that homosexuality is becoming more prevalent in the world and that they should just accept it. Many of the students were offended by Franks’ actions and his continually bringing up the topic of homosexuality in a German language class. Franks was temporarily placed on administrative leave with pay last week.


Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, commented: “We are pleased that the school district vindicated Dakota Ary. No public school teacher should use the position of authority to bully students to accept homosexuality. That is what this teacher did, and he got his hand caught in the cookie jar. We want to make sure this never again happens to any student.”

Click here to view the original article

US Bishops Defend the Freedom of Religion in the Face of Growing Threats

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Office of Media Relations

4 October 2011


WASHINGTON, DC (USCCB) -   The U.S. bishops have established a new Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty to address growing concerns over the erosion of freedom of religion in America. Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, president of the United Sates Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), established the ad hoc committee after consulting with the USCCB Administrative Committee during the Committee's September 13-14 meeting in Washington.

The Administrative Committee meets three times a year and conducts the work of the bishops' conference between plenary sessions. He announced formation of the ad hoc committee in a September 29 letter to the U.S. bishops Archbishop Dolan also named Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, to chair the new committee.

Support for ad hoc committee work will include adding two full-time staff at the USCCB, a lawyer expert in the area of religious freedom law, and a lobbyist who will handle both religious liberty and marriage issues.

Bishop Lori said he welcomed "the opportunity to work with fellow bishops and men and women of expertise in constitutional law so as to defend and promote the God-given gift of religious liberty recognized and guaranteed by the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States."

"This ad hoc committee aims to address the increasing threats to religious liberty in our society so that the Church's mission may advance unimpeded and the rights of believers of any religious persuasion or none may be respected," he added.

In a letter to bishops to announce the ad hoc committee, Archbishop Dolan said religious freedom "in its many and varied applications for Christians and people of faith, is now increasingly and in unprecedented ways under assault in America."

"This is most particularly so in an increasing number of federal government programs or policies that would infringe upon the right of conscience of people of faith or otherwise harm the foundational principle of religious liberty," he said. "As shepherds of over 70 million U.S. citizens we share a common and compelling responsibility to proclaim the truth of religious freedom for all, and so to protect our people from this assault which now appears to grow at an ever accelerating pace in ways most of us could never have imagined."

Archbishop Dolan said the committee will work closely with national organizations, charities, ecumenical and interreligious partners and scholars "to form a united and forceful front in defense of religious freedom in our nation," and its work will begin immediately.

He added that "the establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee is one element of what I expect to be a new moment in the history of our Conference. Never before have we faced this kind of challenge to our ability to engage in the public square as people of faith and as a service provider. If we do not act now, the consequence will be grave."

Archbishop Dolan said that, although he and his predecessor as USCCB President, Cardinal Francis George, had sent private letters to President Obama on religious liberty in the context of redefining marriage, none of those letters received a response.

"I have offered to meet with the President to discuss these concerns and to impress upon him the dire nature of these actions by government," Archbishop Dolan said.

Archbishop Dolan listed six religious liberty concerns arising just since June:

-Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations that would mandate the coverage of contraception (including abortifacients) and sterilization in all private health insurance plans, which could coerce church employers to sponsor and pay for services they oppose. The new rules do not protect insurers or individuals with religious or moral objections to the mandate.

-An HHS requirement that USCCB's Migration and Refugee Services provide the "full range of reproductive services"-meaning abortion and contraception-to trafficking victims and unaccompanied minors in its cooperative agreements and government contracts. The position mirrors the position urged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the ongoing lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of MRS's contracts as a violation of religious liberty.

-Catholic Relief Services' concern that US Agency for International Development, under the Department of State, is increasingly requiring condom distribution in HIV prevention programs, as well as requiring contraception within international relief and development programs.

-The Justice Department's attack on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), presenting DOMA's support for traditional marriage as bigotry. In July, the Department started filing briefs actively attacking DOMA's constitutionality, claiming that supporters of the law could only have been motivated by bias and prejudice. "If the label of "bigot" sticks to us-especially in court-because of our teaching on marriage, we'll have church-state conflicts for years to come as a result," Archbishop Dolan said.

-The Justice Department's recent attack on the critically important "ministerial exception," a constitutional doctrine accepted by every court of appeals in the country that leaves to churches (not government) the power to make employment decisions concerning persons working in a ministerial capacity.In a case to be heard this term in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Department attacked the very existence of the exception.

-New York State's new law redefining marriage, with only a very narrow religious exemption. Already, county clerks face legal action for refusing to participate in same-sex unions, and gay rights advocates are publicly emphasizing how little religious freedom protection people and groups will enjoy under the new law.

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More allegations heaped upon Iranian pastor

Yousef Nardarkhani faces execution on trumped-up charges

Posted: 4 October, 2011
Mission Network News


Iran (MNN) ― The life of an Iranian pastor continues to hang in the balance as the Iranian state media is now getting involved in the case. 34-year-old Pastor Yousef Nardarkani was arrested two years ago this month for protesting Muslim education for his children because he is a Christian. He was convicted of apostasy, but now new false charges are being leveled against him.

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, "Now they're saying that what he's actually going to be executed for is not apostasy, not becoming a Christian, but actually rape and extortion that are the charges that he will be executed for. So it's really a 180-degree turn for the Iranian government."

According to Nettleton, this is mindboggling. "After an initial court hearing, an appeal to the Supreme Court, and then another hearing back at the local court -- after all those hearings where they never talked about extortion and never talked about rape, now they're saying he's actually going to be executed for rape and extortion."

A bit of good news about this case, according to Nettleton, is that "the international pressure is working. The Iranian government is hearing from people around the world, including regular people like you and me, as well as government officials and government agencies. They're saying, 'Listen, you cannot put this man to death for being a Christian. That's a complete violation of human rights.' The Iranian government is hearing that, and it's having an effect."

Please help Pastor Nardarkhani. Nettleton by praying for him as he continues to be in prison. You can also "go to PrisonerAlert.com [where] you can write Pastor Yousef himself and also send e-mails to Iranian government officials, including the office of President Ahmodinejad. So we can pray first, and then we can also have a voice for him, as well."

This article can be found in its entirety at
http://www.mnnonline.org/article/16304