Friday, May 30, 2014

Lawful Killings: The Real War on Women

Where are they?  Hillary, Sandra Fluke, Harry Reid, Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  Where are their cries for Ibrahim and her ‘right to choose’ her faith?  Maybe Ibrahim’s pending execution in Sudan doesn’t fit into the narrative that there is a war on women nor does it fit the battle cry for a woman’s right to murder a fetus in order to stir up the Democratic base.  Maybe these folks missed Ibrahim’s recent plight.

The case against Meriam Ibrahim, 27, is a laser focus on the real war on a woman’s right to choose.  It is the right to practice as a Christian without the fear of death. My feelings of anger toward this Sudanese Sharia system consume me and my heart breaks for this mother who is shackled to the floor with her two children awaiting execution in Khartoum, Sudan because she will not deny Christ. Where are her defenders? Are we not a global society?

Ibrahim, raised as a Christian by an Orthodox Christian Ethiopian mother, whose Muslim father abandoned the family when she was six years old while the family lived in a refugee camp in Sudan, and whose faith was determined to be that of her father’s, was found guilty of adultery (for sleeping with her Christian husband) and apostasy (for converting her faith even in light of the evidence that she was not raised Muslim) and sentenced to death by hanging.

In 2011, she married biochemist Daniel Wani, 27, in 2011 who is lives in New Hampshire and is a United States citizen. He was returning to bring his wife home.  Notwithstanding Wani’s cry for help to the U.S., the Sudanese government will not recognize the familial relationship; and because the court considers the children Muslim, they will not release them to Wani to be parented.  After Ibrahim’s execution, the fate of their children hangs in the balance but is assured to not include their biological father – Wani.  This is a humanitarian tragedy that the U.S. should not ignore and pressure should be applied for our government to assert its influence to avert this execution and reunite this family home in the United States.

17 Republicans and 7 Democrats support Senate Resolution 453 sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) on May 21, 2014 that condemns the charge of apostasy and death sentence of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag and calls for the release of her and her son.

It also encourages U.S. efforts to support religious freedom in Sudan, including by requiring before normalizing relations or lifting sanctions that Sudan abide by international standards of religious freedom.  It reaffirms the commitment of the United States to end religious discrimination and to pursue policies that guarantee the basic human rights of all individuals.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced the companion bill in the House (H. Res. 601) on May 28, 2014 with 11 co-sponsors all of which are Republicans with no Democrats as of this post.  It seems this is largely an issue for the GOP.  (Perhaps if Ibrahim was fighting for the right to abort her baby and not fighting for her own life, there would have been more support from the other side of the aisle.)

With regret, resolutions are not enough anyway.  This practice of restricting religious freedom is a way of life around the world; most often the girl’s own family is the judge and jury carrying out honor killings against them over more than just faith but also for marriage, sex, and pregnancy.  These murders are widely acceptable abroad and the philosophy behind them fights to find tolerance here in the U.S.  The distinction between the U.S. and other countries on the issue of religious freedom is one of the virtues that make America an “exceptional” country.

When Liberals forsake the plight of women being murdered and only champion women’s rights around abortion, they miss our calling not only as an exceptional nation, but also as an exceptional people.

Let Sudan hear your prayers for Ibrahim.  You are exceptional.


Friday, May 23, 2014

The NBA’s Technical Foul

The NBA is moving swiftly to purge itself of one single racist in the name of Donald Sterling but it has not been a haven for angels. Rather, it has a healthy assortment of miscreants.  Let's recall the overt racist and film director Spike Lee who receives a check from SiriusXM NBA Radio. Lee said he disapproves of interracial couples and wants whites to keep out of historically black New York neighborhoods.  He’s a segregationist but remains in the league's good graces courtside at every Knicks game.  Rapper Jay Z, while a co-owner of the Nets, held fan parties for “blacks only” and has publicly supported the views of the “5%er Nation,” a radical group that hates whites.  And now Mavericks owner Mark Cuban steps into Sterling’s racial fray with references to blacks in hoodies requiring his immediate apology to the family of Trayvon Martin.  Since the league has not penalized these NBA insiders, I suspect the league may have an inconsistent standard to say the least. 

In light of these facts, the idea the NBA must now take a high road and eradicate racism from its ownership on Sterling’s back is a joke.

In any event, the nation is all abuzz over the racially insensitive rant of Clippers owner Donald Sterling who unwittingly gave a gift to the race hustlers of America when his mistress, V. Stiviano, uncovered his recorded remarks about her relationship with blacks and with basketball legend Magic Johnson in particular.

Sterling’s comments were racially insensitive and plantation owner-like and with his history of racial bias as a real estate titan against blacks and Latinos, he is now a bull’s eye upon which society will target him as the poster child for the stubborn stain of racism.  

Few will argue that racism is acceptable in this post-racial society led by the first black president.  The better question is how to respond to it when it rears its ugly head in a free market context? 

In this instance, Sterling is an owner of an NBA team, a private business (which is private property), governed by the rules of a private association.  NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, prompted by race hustlers and angry past and current players and sponsors, condemned Sterling and his views; in so doing, he sentenced him to a life ban from the team and sport and levied a $2.5 million fine. The commissioner’s conclusion was that “Sterling violated league rules through his expression of offensive and hurtful views, the impact of which has been widely felt throughout the league.” Silver is now driving the train to force Sterling to sell the team (private property) over the recording.  Sterling now attempts to dodge an involuntary sale of the team by giving his wife Shelley majority control; she is rumored to favor a voluntary sale that she controls.  Notwithstanding that Sterling keeps opening his mouth to prove himself a complete idiot, the commissioner, along with the voting ownership, is wrong to force an involuntary sale.

The NBA’s constitution grants Silver wide latitude to punish behavior deemed “prejudicial” or “detrimental” to the league. It also allows for fines and indefinite suspensions as imposed here. I take issue with the league’s hypocritical and extreme response but it seems within their legal right. A private association has the right to regulate its member’s behavior.  On the other hand, ripping the team from Sterling’s hands is another matter.  The league should not force an owner to sell simply because it does not agree with an owner’s viewpoint.  Disclaimers and public statements condemning the viewpoint sufficiently distance the league, if necessary.  I fear that an owner who may hold a controversial view, like traditional marriage as between one man and one woman, like Richard DeVos of the Orlando Magic, is the next to be forced to sell. The league should tread lightly on this slippery slope.

In America, the free market works.  In this context, the fans, the season ticket holders, free agency, and the sponsors should have been allowed to put Sterling to pasture. The league should not impose its own bias on an owner’s personal views resulting in the loss of private property, no matter how reprehensible the league deems the views to be.  That’s the consumer’s prerogative in a free market.  Once we condone the stripping away of private property (which is the bed rock of a free society) by public opinion, the society is lost forever.  The right to retain one’s private property must be protected at all costs. And while we’re at it, let’s oppose all racism no matter the color of the racist.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Intolerance of “the tolerant”

How did you respond to newly drafted St. Louis Rams player Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend on television?

Football is known as a rough and dangerous sport played best by men of grit and masculinity.  On May 10, 2014, in the 7th round, the St. Louis Rams boldly drafted Michael Sam, who is openly gay, testing fan tolerance of the great American past time.  Upon being drafted, Sam turned to his boyfriend and planted a kiss on his lips.  If there was ever any doubt about his sexual preference or if you ever wondered how he looked in a homosexual lip lock, all doubt was removed and all visual curiosity fulfilled.  For me it was uncomfortable.

Aside from how you felt, here are two controversial player reactions: 

"I'm sorry but that Michael Sam is no bueno for doing that on national tv," Derrick Ward the former Giants and Texans running back tweeted.  "Man U got little kids lookin at the draft. I can't believe ESPN even allowed that to happen," he added.
Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones also expressed his disapproval, tweeting "horrible" and "OMG" after the kiss was aired.

In response to the comments, Ward received death threats against himself and his family and the Dolphins ordered Jones to pay an undisclosed fine and barred him from team activities until he finishes "training for his recent comments made on social media."

I am not na├»ve to the fact that Sam is not the first gay football player.  Here is the problem: the NFL through its owners, the St. Louis Rams and the Dolphins specifically, are silencing the expression of its players who have the right to react to the public display of homosexual behavior in sports.  They are entitled to their reactions just as much as Sam was entitled to his behavior.

Just as the CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, was forced to resign from his post by the “gay mafia” because he made a contribution to Proposition 8 in California in support of marriage between one man and one woman six years earlier, the demand for acceptance of the LGBT lifestyle has now permeated the sports world.  Acceptance in this context is not just tolerance; rather, acceptance means agreement with the behavior.  The proponents of the LGBT agenda leave no room for tolerance alone.

CNN columnist John D. Sutter said, “The vile reaction to the kiss shouldn't be pushed aside and ignored. That people in 2014 think two men kissing is gross and inappropriate for children is telling.”  Sutter is right; the vile reaction to the Sam kiss should not be ignored.  Rather we must come to grips that we are witnessing an unashamed agenda without borders that does not care to even recognize the potential impact on the innocent (the children), only cares to normalize what is not widely practiced, and seeks to silence any and all voices that don’t agree.  Since when can’t we disagree?   

I will not be bullied by secularism or moral relativism.  It is my right to have and express my opinion; no one has the right to be free from the offense my opinion may cause.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Prayer Survives the Chopping Block



On October 7, 2013, I wrote Prayer on the Chopping Block Again, lamenting the push to silence religious freedom through the judicial process.  The tide against public prayer began with these few words:

“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.” These few words uttered 51 years ago in an invocation approved by the New York State Board of Regents ignited the flame that now slowly burns away religious freedom in America today.

On June 25, 1962, the United States Supreme Court in Engel v. Vitale found that by using its public school system to encourage [voluntary] recitation of the Regents’ prayer, the State of New York adopted a practice wholly inconsistent with the Establishment Clause under the First Amendment and is therefore unconstitutional.

This decision ostensibly banned government-endorsed prayer from public schools and boasts that where a religious expression offends a nonbeliever, “Silence it.”

Justice Potter Stewart wrote the dissent in the Engel case properly interpreting, in my opinion, the Framer’s intent behind the Establishment Clause which was that the federal government shall not make (establish) a state religion.  Stewart said, “I think to deny the wish of these school children to join in reciting this prayer is to deny them the opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of our Nation.”

Once again, the fight for religious freedom (or separation of church and state as some call it) came before the United States Supreme Court for oral argument on November 6, 2013 in Town of Greece v. Galloway.

In this case, the city’s practice of opening its council meetings with ceremonial prayer offered by volunteer chaplains-Christian and non-Christian, scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis- was challenged. The outcome of this case is said to impact the expression of religion in public including the constitutionality of the “In God We Trust” motto on the U.S. currency, prayers at presidential inaugurations, and the Supreme Court’s opening statement “God save the United States and this Honorable Court.”

In Town of Greece, Susan Galloway argued that the ceremonial (often Christian) prayers pressure participation and promote Christianity which then offends those who are not Christian.  The District Court sided with the Town of Greece, against Galloway, finding no evidence that non-Christians were excluded or coerced to participate in the prayers.

On appeal, the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the prayers were in fact unconstitutionally sectarian in nature (religious) and established Christian beliefs and religion in the town.

Most of the cases deciding the constitutionality of a law under the Establishment Clause are set in the context of public schools and have cut against religious expression.  The only legal precedent that exists for legislative prayer is Marsh v. Chambers. 

In Marsh v. Chambers (1983), legislative prayer in Congress [became] the touchstone of what the Establishment Clause allows, and [the court] held that legislative prayer is constitutional unless the prayer opportunity is exploited to proselytize one faith, intentionally aggressively advocate one faith, or disparage other faiths. There is no broad prohibition on effectively advancing religion, since all prayers by their very nature advance religion to some degree.” [1]

On May 5, 2014, Justice Kennedy writing the 5-4 majority opinion applied the coercion test[2] essentially agreed with Chief Justice Burger who wrote in Marsh,[i]n light of the unambiguous and unbroken history of more than 200 years, there can be no doubt that the practice of opening legislative sessions with prayer has become part of the fabric of our society. To invoke Divine guidance on a public body entrusted with making the laws is not, in these circumstances, an "establishment" of religion or a step toward establishment; it is simply a tolerable acknowledgment of beliefs widely held among the people of this country.”

Prayer is the ultimate expression of one’s faith.  Prayer is personal, often expressed corporately in public (at legislative gatherings), and is often Christian. If the truth were told, the opponents of prayer in public are simply intolerant of Christianity and the heart of the Town of Greece case and the related cases is simply anti-Christian.  Christianity has been systematically marginalized in our culture while the Obama administration promotes the education of and outreach to Islam in public schools (K-12).  (Where are the lawsuits against that?)  With that as a backdrop, this week, the United States Supreme Court rightly, and perhaps inadvertently, scored one for G-d’s team.




[1] /         http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/10/symposium-time-to-restore-longstanding-meaning-and-sanity-to-the-establishment-clause-in-town-of-greece-v-galloway/.
[2] /         Formulated by Justice Kennedy in Lee v. Weisman (1992), the test finds coercion occurs when: (1) the government directs (2) a formal religious exercise (3) in such a way as to oblige the participation of objectors.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Sexual Integration Insanity

Has the sexual integration agenda in public accommodations gone far enough?

On, September 23, 2014, in my blog titled the “Wacky West,” I wrote that the Democrat-led California legislature passed Assembly Bill 1266, which allows any student to participate in public school programs and to access facilities like bathrooms in public schools based on the student’s sexual orientation.  In other words, if a young high school boy identifies as a girl, as of January 1, 2014, he can use the girl’s restroom, shower, and the like.   Who cares what the little girls in the bathroom stalls or showers think about an anatomically male student using the same facility; who cares that those little girls may be mortified, scared or even attacked. The state legislature has turned tolerance on its ear and lost its mind, I wrote.  This is not about whether you support transgender issues or not.  This is about common sense. 

(Privacy for All Students, dubbed the “Transphobic Coalition,” responsible for collecting more than the 504,760 signatures required to send the bill to public referendum, filed a lawsuit to have nearly 130,000 rejected referendum signatures validated in order for AB 1266 to be placed on the November ballot for repeal.)

It was thought by many in California opposed to AB 1266 that such an insane legislation would not quickly spread beyond California.  We were wrong.

Now, this insanity has reached the bathrooms of our federal government and the march to sexually integrate private facilities is in full stride masked under the guise of “diversity.”

 According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management:

“For a transitioning employee, this means that, once he or she has begun living and working full-time in the gender that reflects his or her gender identity, agencies should allow access to restrooms and (if provided to other employees) locker room facilities consistent with his or her gender identity.  While a reasonable temporary compromise may be appropriate in some circumstances, transitioning employees should not be required to have undergone or to provide proof of any particular medical procedure (including gender reassignment surgery) in order to have access to facilities designated for use by a particular gender.”

For emphasis, I restate: “transitioning employees should not be required to have undergone or to provide proof of any particular medical procedure (including gender reassignment surgery) in order to have access to facilities designated for use by a particular gender.”  In other words, all that is required is to say, “I am a man that is becoming a woman,” therefore, “let me in that woman’s locker room.”  Really?

According to the Williams Institute, in 2011 the transgender community accounted for .30% of the entire U.S. population.  So the concerted effort to accommodate those trapped in a very difficult transition of gender reassignment completely ignores the privacy of the other 99.7% of our nation.  There are better ways to provide reasonable accommodations for the small percentage of those who are undergoing gender reassignment; let’s explore better ways to protect those who are not changing their sexual identity before the march to sexually integrate all the walls that protect private facilities is too far gone to ever reconstruct.