“Writing is a discipline, much like playing a musical
instrument; it requires constant practice and honing of skills.”
-Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code
What did the founding fathers think about government?
To contract new debts is not the way to pay old ones. –
Liberty cannot be preserved without knowledge among the people. –John Adams
As the happiness of the people is the sole end of government, so the consent of the people is the only foundation of it.
The government is best which governs the least, because its people govern themselves. –Thomas Jefferson
The time to guard against corruption and tyranny is before they shall have gotten hold of us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered. –Thomas Jefferson
FAITH UNDER FIRE
Home: No place for Bible study
County demands pastor spend thousands on ‘Major Use’ permit to host friends
Posted: May 22, 2009
5:13 pm Eastern
By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
A San Diego pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a county official and warned they will face escalating fines if they continue to hold Bible studies in their home.
The couple, whose names are being withheld until a demand letter can be filed on their behalf, told their attorney a county government employee knocked on their door on Good Friday, asking a litany of questions about their Tuesday night Bible studies, which are attended by approximately 15 people.
“Do you have a regular weekly meeting in your home? Do you sing? Do you say ‘amen’?” the official reportedly asked. “Do you say, ‘Praise the Lord’?”
The pastor’s wife answered yes.
She says she was then told, however, that she must stop holding “religious assemblies” until she and her husband obtain a Major Use Permit from the county, a permit that often involves traffic and environmental studies, compliance with parking and sidewalk regulations and costs that top tens of thousands of dollars.
And if they fail to pay for the MUP, the county official reportedly warned, the couple will be charged escalating fines beginning at $100, then $200, $500, $1000, “and then it will get ugly.”
Remind the world who’s really in charge with the “Worship GOD, not GOV” magnetic bumper sticker from WND.
Dean Broyles of the Western Center for Law & Policy, which has been retained to represent the couple, told WND the county’s action not only violates religious land-use laws but also assaults both the First Amendment’s freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.
“The First Amendment, in part, reads, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,'” Broyles said. “And that’s the key part: ‘prohibiting the free exercise.’ We believe this is a substantial government burden on the free exercise of religion.”
He continued, “If one’s home is one’s castle, certainly you would the think the free exercise of religion, of all places, could occur in the home.”
Broyles confirmed the county official followed through on his threat. The pastor and his wife received a written warning ordering the couple to “cease/stop religious assembly on parcel or obtain a major use permit.”
“The Western Center for Law and Policy is troubled by this draconian move to suppress home Bible studies,” said the law center in a statement. “If the current trends in our nation continue, churches may be forced underground. If that happens, believers will once again be forced to meet in homes. If homes are already closed by the government to assembly and worship, where then will Christians meet?”
On a personal note, Broyles added, “I’ve been leading Bible studies in my home for 13 years in San Diego County, and I personally believe that home fellowship Bible studies are the past and future of the church. … If you look at China, the church grew from home Bible studies. I’m deeply concerned that if in the U.S. we are not able to meet in our homes and freely practice our religion, then we may be worse off than China.”
Broyles also explained to WND that oppressive governments, such as communist China or Nazi Germany, worked to repress home fellowships, labeling them the “underground church” or “subversive groups,” legally compelling Christians to meet only in sanctioned, government-controlled “official” churches.
“Therein lies my concern,” Broyles said. “If people can’t practice their religious beliefs in the privacy of their own homes with a few of their friends, that’s an egregious First Amendment violation.”
WND contacted a spokeswoman for San Diego County, who acknowledged the description of the incident seemed “bizarre,” but who was unable to locate the details of the account. She simply could not provide comment yet, she said, until she could become familiar with the case.
Broyles said the WCLP is nearly ready to file a demand letter with the county to release the pastor and his wife from the requirement to obtain the expensive permit. If the county refuses, Broyles said, the WCLP will consider a lawsuit in federal court.
Broyles also told WND the pastor and his wife are continuing to hold the Bible study in their home.
If al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the rest of the Looney Tunes brigade want to kick America to death, they had better move in quickly and grab a piece of the action before Barack Obama finishes the job himself. Never in the history of the United States has a president worked so actively against the interests of his own people – not even Jimmy Carter.
Obama’s problem is that he does not know who the enemy is. To him, the enemy does not squat in caves in Waziristan, clutching automatic weapons and reciting the more militant verses from the Koran: instead, it sits around at tea parties in Kentucky quoting from the US Constitution. Obama is not at war with terrorists, but with his Republican fellow citizens. He has never abandoned the campaign trail.
That is why he opened Pandora’s Box by publishing the Justice Department’s legal opinions on waterboarding and other hardline interrogation techniques. He cynically subordinated the national interest to his partisan desire to embarrass the Republicans. Then he had to rush to Langley , Virginia to try to reassure a demoralised CIA that had just discovered the President of the United States was an even more formidable foe than al-Qaeda.
“Don’t be discouraged by what’s happened the last few weeks,” he told intelligence officers. Is he kidding? Thanks to him, al-Qaeda knows the private interrogation techniques available to the US intelligence agencies and can train its operatives to withstand them – or would do so, if they had not already been outlawed.
So, next time a senior al-Qaeda hood is captured, all the CIA can do is ask him nicely if he would care to reveal when a major population centre is due to be hit by a terror spectacular, or which American city is about to be irradiated by a dirty bomb. Your view of this situation will be dictated by one simple criterion: whether or not you watched the people jumping from the twin towers…
President Pantywaist’s recent world tour, cosying up to all the bad guys, excited the ambitions of America ‘s enemies. Here, they realised, is a sucker they can really take to the cleaners. His only enemies are fellow Americans. Which prompts the question: why does President Pantywaist hate America so badly?
Proposed Mastectomy Law Change
(written by a surgeon);
I’ll never forget the look in my patients eyes when I had to tell them they had to go home with the drains, new exercises and no breast. I remember begging the doctors to keep these women in the hospital longer, only to hear that they would, but their hands were tied by the insurance companies.
So there I sat with my patient giving them the instructions they needed to take care of themselves, knowing full well they didn’t grasp half of what I was saying, because the glazed, hopeless, frightened look spoke louder than the quiet ‘Thank you’ they muttered.
A mastectomy is w hen a woman’s breast is removed in order to remove cancerous breast cells/tissue. If you know anyone who has had a mastectomy, you may know that there is a lot of discomfort and pain afterwards. Twenty insurance companies are trying to make mastectomies an outpatient procedure. Let’s give women the chance to recover properly in the hospital for 2 days after surgery.
This Mastectomy Bill is in Congress now. It takes 2 seconds to do this and is very important. Please take the time and do it really quick! The Breast Cancer Hospitalization Bill is important legislation for all women.
Please send this to everyone in your address book. If there was ever a time when our voices and choices should be heard, this is one of those times. If you’re receiving this, it’s because I think you will take the 30 seconds to go to vote on this issue and send it on to others you know who will do the same.
There’s a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It’s about eliminating the ‘drive-through mastectomy’ where women are forced to go home just a few hours after surgery, against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.
Lifetime Television has put this bill on their web page wi th a petition drive to show your support.. Last year over half the House signed on. PLEASE! Sign the petition by clicking on the web site below. You need not give more than your name and zip code number..
This takes about 2 seconds. PLEASE PASS THIS ON to your 20 friends.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Blackwell served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission from 1991 – 1993.
This is a tale of two worldviews. It begins not unlike the opening paragraph of Dickens’ immortal work, A Tale of Two Cities. Schoolchildren once memorized these famous opening lines, back when schoolchildren memorized anything.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…
President Obama at his Hundred Day White House séance proclaimed waterboarding to be torture. His was a clear, unambiguous, declarative statement. In making that statement, he opened up former President Bush and former Vice President Cheney to criminal prosecutions, here and before an international criminal court. And not just these men, but possibly hundreds of others, including members of Congress from his own party.
Cliff May, of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, takes a different approach to the question of whether waterboarding is torture or not. May was badgered by The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart. May’s answer is not as yes/no, as on/off as President Obama’s. May said it depends. May’s answer was more nuanced. Liberals used to like nuance, but that was when John Kerry was nuancing. Here’s how it went:
Jon Stewart: But answer my question: Is waterboarding torture? Yes or no?
Cliff May: Defining torture is not easy. A simple legal definition is that it “shocks the conscience.” Cutting off Daniel Pearl’s head on videotape — that shocks my conscience. Sending a child out as a suicide bomber — that shocks my conscience. People jumping off the World Trade Towers because they’d rather die that way than by burning — that shocks my conscience. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the 9/11 atrocities, gagging for a few minutes and, as a result, providing information that saves lives, then going back to his cell for dinner and a movie — no, my conscience is not shocked by that.
Are our consciences shocked by subjecting KSM to waterboarding? Apparently, this enhanced interrogation technique didn’t shock the consciences of members of Congress who were briefed on its planned use. Some of us need to re-play those tapes of cell phone calls by people trapped in the World Trade Towers.
The question keeps coming back to whether we extend all the rights of American citizens to captured terrorists. And the question also comes back to whether the terrorists are to be accorded all the protections of the Geneva Conventions.
Increasingly, our courts are saying terrorists are to be given constitutional protections, here, in Afghanistan, and at Gitmo. Geneva is another matter. This treaty binds nations to humane treatment of prisoners of war. In order to be counted as a prisoner of war, you must be in uniform (John McCain was, Nathan Hale was not), you must be subject to military discipline, and you must be taking part in a war conducted by competent authority.
The Geneva Convention also governs respect for medical treatment of prisoners and wounded soldiers. Take Al Qaeda in Iraq, for example. When one of their IEDs went off in 2003 near Baghdad and killed and wounded a number of American soldiers, a U.S. Army medical HUMVEE raced to the scene. Waiting for the medics to arrive, the terrorists set off a second IED. It had been planted there specifically to target the medical help. Inside the HUMVEE, an American female nurse was burned beyond recognition.
The purpose of the Geneva Convention was to give warring nations a strong, positive incentive to behave according to international norms and not to engage in conduct that “shocks the conscience.” When we give Al Qaeda or Taliban terrorists prisoner of war status and Geneva Convention coverage—without demanding anything of them in return—we abandon one of the great achievements of the Geneva Convention.
Of course, some humans are not accorded human rights. Our courts have seen to that. President Obama named Justice Stephen Breyer as his ideal jurist. In 2000, Justice Breyer wrote the majority opinion in Carhart v. Stenberg. That was the case in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional Nebraska’s law against partial-birth abortion. Justice Breyer’s opinion is worth quoting at length. He described various techniques of late-term abortion that do not shock his conscience. Nor do these techniques–unlike waterboarding, unlike slapping, unlike sleep deprivation–shock President Obama’s conscience, or the consciences of our liberal rulers.
During a pregnancy’s second trimester (12 to 24 weeks), the most common abortion procedure is “dilation and evacuation” (D&E), which involves dilation of the cervix, removal of at least some fetal tissue using nonvacuum surgical instruments, and (after the 15th week) the potential need for instrumental dismemberment of the fetus or the collapse of fetal parts to facilitate evacuation from the uterus. When such dismemberment is necessary, it typically occurs as the doctor pulls a portion of the fetus through the cervix into the birth canal. The risks of mortality and complication that accompany D&E are significantly lower than those accompanying induced labor procedures (the next safest mid-second-trimester procedures). A variation of D&E, known as “intact D&E,” is used after 16 weeks. It involves removing the fetus from the uterus through the cervix “intact,” i.e., in one pass rather than several passes. The intact D&E proceeds in one of two ways, depending on whether the fetus presents head first or feet first. The feet-first method is known as “dilation and extraction” (D&X). D&X is ordinarily associated with the term “partial birth abortion.”
A little translation may be required: “at least some fetal tissue” translates to the unborn child’s arm, a leg, or maybe her head. “Dismemberment of the fetus with nonvaccuum surgical instruments” means cutting off her arms or legs with razor-sharp implements while the child, still alive, is capable of feeling excruciating pain.
Rest assured, this is not torture. It doesn’t meet the legal definition of torture because under the rule of Roe v. Wade, the unborn child does not meet the legal definition of a person.
Terrorists were once defined—like pirates and slave traders—as hostis humani generis, enemies of all mankind. As such, they received no due process rights. They had no right to counsel. They received no protections under international agreements. When seized on the high seas by the Royal Navy, they could be promptly hanged upon determination that they were engaged in the proscribed activities.
It would have shocked the consciences of our ancestors, however, to dismember even such low characters as pirates, to cut off their arms and legs, and to let them bleed profusely to death. The most inhuman of humans in the nineteenth century could not have been treated as the least of humans are treated in our enlightened United States, by order of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Our new president abhors torture, unless it is the torture of the unborn. In that case, it is not torture at all, but simply inducing fetal demise. This great international uproar over what is and is not torture has been generated because of the treatment of three known mass murderers. The slaughter of innocents in their thousands elicits no international outrage. This is part of what Justice Breyer sees as evolving international standards of decency.
In my opinion, the Obama Administration’s abortion agenda is indeed a crime against humanity.
This weekend, President Obama will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Notre Dame. There, he will be honored, among other things, for his brave stand against torture. He has appointed Kathleen Sebelius to head our nation’s health system. She is a disciple of the most notorious late-term abortionist in the county, a dismemberer, by his own count, of 60,000 fetuses. The President and Secretary Sebelius want to force us all to pay for abortion-on-demand. They want to force doctors and nurses to take part in killing unborn children. They will doubtless tell us our consciences should not be shocked. They’re only inducing fetal demise. Heaven help us all. And Heaven help Notre Dame.
About The Author
Mr. Blackwell, a contributing editor at Townhall.com, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and American Civil Rights Union.
These are actual comments made by 16 Police Officers.
The comments were taken off actual police car videos around the country:
16 ‘You know, stop lights don’t come any redder than the one you just
15 ‘Relax, the handcuffs are tight because they’re new. They’ll stretch
after you wear them a while..’
14 ‘If you take your hands off the car, I’ll make your birth certificate a worthless document.’
13 ‘If you run, you’ll only go to jail tired..’
12 ‘Can you run faster than 1200 feet per second? Because that’s the
speed of the bullet that’ll be chasing you.’
11 ‘You don’t know how fast you were going? I guess that means I can
write anything I want to on the ticket, huh?’
10 ‘Yes, sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don’t think it
will help. Oh, did I mention that I’m the shift supervisor?’
9 ‘Warning! You want a warning? O.K, I’m warning you not to do that
again or I’ll give you another ticket. ‘
8 ‘The answer to this last question will determine whether you are drunk
or not. Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?’
7 ‘Fair? You want me to be fair? Listen, fair is a place where you go to
ride on rides, eat cotton candy and corn dogs and step in monkey poop.’
6 ‘Yeah, we have a quota. Two more tickets and my wife gets a toaster
5 ‘In God we trust, all others we run through NCIC.’
4 ‘How big were those ‘two beers’ you say you had?’
3 ‘No sir, we don’t have quotas anymore. We used to, but now we’re
allowed to write as many tickets as we can.’
2 ‘I’m glad to hear that the Chief (of Police) is a personal friend of
yours. So you know someone who can post your bail.’
AND THE WINNER IS….
1. ‘You didn’t think we give pretty women tickets? You’re right, we
don’t. Sign here.’