Taliban Attacks Pakistani School. Guns Down 132 People, Most of Them Children.

 

In an inexplicable bit of terrorist logic, the Taliban attacked a school in Northwest Pakistan yesterday.

Mohammed Khurrassani, a Taliban spokesman, said the murders of these children were in retaliation for Pakistani Army operations which they claim have killed hundreds of Pakistani tribesman.

The Taliban attackers murdered an estimated 132 people, most of them children, and wounded another 122. They made students watch as they burned a teacher alive. It is reported that they beheaded some of the children.

The thinking that goes into specifically attacking a school and slaughtering children as a political statement is beyond me. This sort of thing seems to be happening more and more. In 2004, Islamic militants attacked a school in Beslan Russia and killed 385 people, most of them children.

Boko Haram has made something of a career out of attacking schools and churches. On February 25 of this year, they attacked a Christian boys’ boarding school, killing 29 students. Later in the year, they attacked a girls’ school, kidnapping 200 girls. These girls were forcibly converted to Islam and, according to Boko Haram, then “married,” which I believe means used to concubines, by their fighters. A truce in which the girls were supposed to be returned never happened. In July, they attacked another school, killing 42 people, most of whom were students. Then, on November 10, Boko Haram attacked yet another school, killing 47 and wounding 79.

We’ve been hearing for years about the big, brave men who throw acid in school girl’s faces. And now it seems the world is going to be treated to an increasing number of attacks on schools and school children.

This is organized barbarity. It is also cowardice. I don’t know what they teach people in the Taliban, ISIS and Boko Haram, but real men don’t murder, kidnap, rape school children.

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The Murder of Innocents is Wrong and Every Human Being Knows It.

 

Human rights.

Does that phrase refer to unalienable human rights that are ours by virtue of the fact that we are human beings? Or, does it refer to laws and rules that can be shifted and changed by the whim of legislative bodies or the flick of a dictator’s will?

What are human rights, and where, if they exist as a separate entity, do they come from?

Thomas Jefferson, Deist that he was, got it exactly right when he said that human beings are “endowed by their Creator” with “certain unalienable rights.” By using those phrases, he chose to found this nation on the concept and reality of the fact that there are certain things that we, as human beings, know without being taught that we may not do. These things are written on our hearts, placed in our souls, from the moment that we begin to be.

We are never amoral. That is not possible for human beings because we are made in the image and likeness of God and His image shines through us in this undeniable and universal understanding of human rights that we are born knowing. From dateline to dateline, pole to pole, every culture, every people, every person, knows what murder is and that they may not do it.

Atheists often reference this when faced with the question of how they can possibly devise a morality of their own making, without reference to God. Everyone knows that murder is wrong, no matter what they believe about God they say. This is undeniably true, but it is not because there is no God. What they are doing without realizing it is affirming the teaching and the concept of Natural Law.

But, even though we know these things from our beginning, we are not automatons. We are not animals who operate by unchanging instinct. We are, from the moment we begin to be, free to chose. We can reject God or choose God. We can deny Him or follow Him. It is our choice.

We can — and we do — murder one another, oftentimes in great numbers and with a sadistic savagery that no animal can either feel or comprehend. We know that murder is wrong, but we can write laws to give ourselves permission to murder. We can create arguments that, however specious, allow us to fool ourselves into believing that murder is not only allowed, it is a positive good, and that we are taking the higher moral road by advocating for it.

I know.

I did this myself.

I was as convinced as a person could be convinced that legal abortion was a positive good that was necessary to save women’s lives and to further the just cause of women’s rights. I responded to the cruelties, discrimination and violence that I saw visited on women, oftentimes as a result of the fact that we are the ones who bear children, with a committed advocacy for legal abortion.

Later, when I realized the horror of what I had done, I was grieved beyond my capacity to bear. God showed me what I had done, and then He helped me bear and heal from the effects of knowing it.

Because of this experience, I am both the euthanasia advocate’s harshest critic and his or her most sorrowful and loving prayer warrior. I know what awaits them if they ever realize the full extent of what they have, by their advocacy, allowed, encouraged and done.

Innocent blood is on their hands and only  the shed blood of Jesus Christ can wash it away. But repentance for crimes against humanity of this type is not cheap. It comes with the price of knowing that you — you — are a monster. You have murdered innocents.

As much as I sorrow for them for what they are doing to themselves and others, I fear for them even more. They have locked themselves into their towers of unbelief and built moats of pride and hubris all around. Repentance for the murder of innocents is not cheap. But to live and die without repentance is to buy yourself a one-way ticket to eternal hell.

These advocates for euthanasia and their hapless followers are the most pitiable of all people.

At the same time, they, like the women who advocated for abortion, have raised issues and questions which must be answered. Evils like abortion and euthanasia have been sold to us as solutions for our own sins. The call for abortion didn’t just spring from the head of Zeus. The arguments which gave legal abortion sufficient moral gravitas to hook into the public imagination were based on real terrors such as rape and the fear of being forced to give a baby up for adoption.

These arguments found their traction in the sexual double standard and the vast cruelty and hypocrisy — oftentimes supported by the Church — that allowed it. Abortion was taken as an answer to violence against women, discrimination and prejudice against women, and the suffering of women because of these things. We turned to the murder of innocents rather than face our sins against women and repent of them.

In the same way, the arguments for euthanasia began as arguments for compassion for the suffering of dying people. Their traction in the public imagination was gained by the indifferent and cold way that people in our society died, hermetically sealed in hospitals and given only enough pain meds to keep then on the edge of screaming until death finally released them.

Once again, the answer for our sins was murder.

In the process of justifying these murderous answers to suffering and cruelty that we didn’t want to address directly, our intellectual class developed a whole set of arguments based on the concept that we are, all evidence to the contrary, just animals with big brains. We are nothing, they tell us, but chemical processes and meat.

The concept of human rights as unalienable and universal was dashed to the ground and replaced by the nebulous idea of rights founded, not on a universal human right to life, but on the idea of a relative right to life that only applies to human persons who are able to justify their right to life by exhibiting a sufficient level of social utility. This definition of what is a human being who has right to be alive has narrowed down to the point that now it stands basically at the notion that only those humans who can advocate for their own lives in a court of law are deemed truly human enough to have a right to life,

I’m going to delve into this brave new world of killing in greater depth in future posts. But for now it is sufficient to say that the universal understanding of murder as something that we may not do has been massaged into nothingness by those who want to kill at will.

A small number of deadly thinkers have used the media and our educational institutions to infect the public and the body politic with such confusion about what it means to be human that they are no longer capable of responding rationally to the social problems before them. If murdering innocent people is the answer, we really have to ask, How valid is the question?

We are being given false dichotomies and told to chose. The truth is, we have, and we have always had other options.

Women’s human rights are not supported by being forced to soldier on in a misogynist world that gives them the “choice” of murdering their own child in order to be taken as fully human. By the same token, there are myriad ways to address human suffering. Killing the sufferer is not, no matter what we have been told, one of them.

So, is it a mistake in today’s jumbled up climate of a propagandized and totally amoral public debate to talk about “human rights” at all? Has the phrase become so bastardized that it no longer means what it means?

This question strikes to the heart of the anomie of our times. If language is destroyed, then communication is destroyed and more to the point, thinking becomes impossible. What I am saying is that the people who advocate these things have drunk a lethal intellectual kool-aid that has so seriously compromised their thinking capacities that they no longer are capable of intelligent discussion.

That’s why they veer off into personal attacks and vendettas rather than take positions and discuss them intelligently. It’s why they go in circles, endlessly repeating slogans. They are arguing a moot point with bastardized language and concepts that are not concepts but the product of propaganda. Slogans and epithets presented as absolutes are all they’ve got.

Human rights, on the other hand, has the huge weight of generations of intellectual, theological and even some scientific debate and discussion behind it. The concept of unalienable rights and natural law are even accepted by those who deny their existence when they are pushed to explain how they can be moral all of themselves.

Every human knows that the murder of innocents is wrong. That is the reason for the ridiculous arguments, the vast amount of energy wasted on propagandizing the populace and the body politic. If we didn’t know that murder was wrong, it would not be necessary to create fictions and then sell them relentlessly that murdering someone is, in fact, saving them. We must turn the idea on its head or no one will accept it.

Of course, this lie begins to break down as the reality seeps through. Killing is killing. The press and popular imagination can deny this so long as they keep their distance. But the reality of lost lives hits hard for those who vacuum the uterus or administer the drugs. They are actively doing the deed. They are, by their own hands, committing murder on a mass scale.

Just as the Nazis found that machine-gunning thousands of innocent people day after day broke the SS troops who pulled the triggers, the nurses in the abortion clinics have often broken. It will be the same with euthanasia.

Some people — the Mengeles, Eichmanns, Pol Pots, Stalins, the leaders of ISIS — do not break. They are like the Ted Bundys and John Wayne Gacys. They like killing. Abortion and euthanasia was made by and for folks like these.

But for those who are not killers, who actually have bought the whole line, the moment will come when they see and know what they have done. They will break, and in that breaking will be their salvation.

This is why I persist and will continue to persist in using the scuffed and battered phrase human rights. Because it is exactly the right phrase to describe what I am talking about. Because the truth of that is written in every human heart. Because I know — know — that if I persist, someone out there who I may never know in this life will hear me and understand.

I am writing this for that someone, that one person, who will read it, or maybe the next post or the post after that, and realize that human beings have certain unalienable rights and that among them are Life.

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Looking at 18 Years in the Rear View Mirror

Gwin Faulconer Lippert, KTOK Radio.

Gwin Faulconer Lippert, KTOK Radio.

 

Gwin Faulconer Lippert, a reporter at KTOK Radio, a local station here in Oklahoma City, did this interview with me last night. It’s a retrospective on my career in the legislature, which ends officially tomorrow.

I plan on taking my family out for Pizza at the Hideaway restaurant here in OKC. Just us. It’s about personal family memories.

I woke up this morning, thinking “this is my last day in office.” It kind of got to me. Then I sat down and prayed and God turned that bit of anxiety into peace and gratitude. I am so grateful that God gave me the chance to do two separate tours of duty in office. He let me come back in and pass important pro life legislation after I had killed pro life bills my first time around.

That is a measure of forgiveness that I do not deserve.

I am grateful and happy for the many privileges and gifts which God has given me in my life. My family, my home, the opportunity to affect events through public office, and now, the opportunity to continue working for the things I believe in another forum.

You wonderful people here at Public Catholic are among the many blessings God has given me.

I’m still on retreat for the rest of this month.

I am very glad I’ve taken this time off to pray and think. It has already given me a new outlook and a deeper understanding of where I’m going, and I’m only halfway through. I plan to come back to blogging in December. In the meantime, I’ll continue to drop an occasional link or thought here as things occur to me.

Blessings,

Rebecca

 

Rep. Rebecca Hamilton KTOK Interview

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Human Rights/Social Justice Advocate Leaving Legislature After 18 Years

oklahoma-state-seal

November 12, 2014

 

 

Human Rights / Social Justice Advocate

Leaving Legislature After 18 Years

 

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Rebecca Hamilton retires from the Legislature next week after 18 years of service during which she exhibited a bulldog’s tenacity on social issues such as abortion, domestic violence, abuse/protection of the elderly, and human trafficking.

“Throughout my legislative career I tried to do things that would give people a sense of hope and a brighter future,” the Oklahoma City Democrat said.

Retirement doesn’t mean Hamilton is slowing down. She’ll just devote her time to various other projects.

She maintains a blog, Public Catholic, at Patheos, “the nation’s fastest-growing faith blogging site,” she said. She also is writing two books: one about the effect of abortion on America’s feminist movement, another that she described as a meditation. “After I finish them, I have more books in the pipeline,” she added.

Hamilton is one of only a few Oklahoma lawmakers to have served split terms in the Legislature. She was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 1980 and served three consecutive two-year terms before bowing out in 1986, while chair of the Public Health Committee.

Afterward she reared and home-schooled her two children; “did a turn” as Oklahoma director for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church; and volunteered at Birth Choice of Oklahoma, a pro-life crisis pregnancy center.

Sixteen years later, after her children were older, Hamilton campaigned for, and was elected to, the same House seat in southwestern Oklahoma City that she had previously occupied. She represented House District 89 for 12 more years before retiring this year because of compulsory term limits.

The Oklahoma City native once endorsed abortion, but became a pro-life champion after her religious conversion almost 30 years ago “while driving to Enid to give a speech,” she remembers vividly.

Hamilton authored the bill that “broke the 16-year logjam on pro-life legislation.” House Bill 1686 required informed consent prior to an abortion, and mandated parental notification before an abortion could be performed on a minor. The measure was signed into law on May 20, 2005.

Two years later Hamilton was the House sponsor of Senate Bill 139, which forbade state employees and resources from being used to perform an abortion that is not necessary to save the life of the mother, unless the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. That measure became law on May 24, 2007.

Hamilton also was the principal author in 2008 of House Bill 3059, which would have required an identifying sign to be posted at all facilities in Oklahoma where abortions are performed. The bill received a “do pass” recommendation from the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee but was never brought up for a vote by the full House.

Because of her anti-abortion stance, Oklahoma Democrats “came within 50 votes of censuring me” during the statewide convention at which delegates were picked for the 2008 national convention, she said.

Hamilton filed a handful of domestic-abuse measures while in the House, including the 1982 legislation that authorized protective orders. “This was considered outrageous back then,” she recalled. “Some people called me a Communist because of it.” House Bill 1828 cleared both the House and the Senate and was signed into law by Gov. George Nigh.

In one four-year period Hamilton authored or co-authored five House bills that proposed penalties for domestic abuse against pregnant women. Her House Bill 1897, which was introduced in 2007 but languished on the House calendar, was revived in 2008, passed the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Brad Henry.

In related matters, Hamilton was one of the six founders of the first rape crisis center established in Oklahoma, and, along with Catholic Charities and the YWCA, was a leader of the Day of Prayer for an End to Violence Against Women.

For three consecutive years she filed legislation proposing income-tax checkoffs for a Domestic Abuse Prevention Taxpayer Support Fund plus a Crisis Pregnancy and Abortion Prevention Taxpayers Support Fund. However, all of those proposals died in committee.

During her legislative career Hamilton was the principal author of six measures to prohibit the abuse, neglect, and/or financial exploitation of elderly persons.

She also secured funding for a pilot program that authorized adult day-care centers in Oklahoma. “This program allows people to stay out of nursing homes,” she said. “It costs less than warehousing our elderly citizens in nursing homes, and provides both them and their families with a much higher quality of life.”

She secured passage of a bill to channel more state resources into inner-city schools, “where they should be.” Oklahoma’s two-tier educational system is “a travesty that creates despair and all the terrible social consequences that go with it,” she contends.

In 2006 and again in 2007 Hamilton sponsored the state’s first legislation to outlaw trafficking in human beings for forced labor or sexual exploitation, and in 2008 she co-authored House Bill 1021, to make human trafficking a felony offense; that measure was adopted by the Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Henry.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control established a Human Trafficking Unit in 2012 because contemporary slavery has gained some traction in Oklahoma, OBNDD spokesman Mark Woodward said. Wiretaps of members of drug cartels revealed that “these people traffic in anything that will turn a profit,” including narcotics, weapons and humans, adults and minors alike, he said.

During her tenure in the Legislature, “If I could do something to save human lives, I did it, regardless of the political consequences,” Hamilton said.

“What I’m most proud of is that there are people alive today who would be dead if I had not been in the Legislature. The lives of our elderly and disabled are better, more hopeful, than they would be if I hadn’t been there.”

-30-

 

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Book Review: Rise of ISIS, a Threat We Cannot Ignore

BC RiseofISIS 1

To join the discussion about Rise of ISIS, a Threat We Cannot Ignore, or to order a copy, go here

Jay Sekulow has written a small, much-needed counter-point to the suicidal political correctness that infects almost all public discussion about the threat of ISIS and militant Islam. This political correctness has become a kind of censorship by means of name-calling and personal attacks that sink to the level of vendettas against anyone who dares step over the line to say that, yes America, we have a problem.

Mr Sekulow refuses to accede to this, and, in the process, puts forward his own viewpoint without weakening it with protective self censorship.

To put it bluntly, ISIS is a killing machine. Its brother violent jihadists, Hamas, are more specific in who they kill and how they conduct themselves, but, based on their own statements, there is little doubt that they would kill every Jew in Israel if it wasn’t for Israeli defenses. We are witnessing the rise of organizations bent on holocaust in a determined, multi-generational way. In a manner reminiscent the 1930s, these murderers have powerful apologists in the Western world.

These apologists launch personal attacks against anyone who steps outside their dogmatic assertions by labeling them bigots and trying to destroy them professionally. They have been absolutely successful in destroying civil discussion in our society and we are much the weaker for it.

The Rise of ISIS does not excoriate all Muslims. In fact, it makes clear that Islamic people who oppose these murderous villains are our allies in the fight against them. It also says something I think should have been acknowledged a long time ago: We do not need to shoe-horn American-style democracy into societies that are not ready for it in order to oppose these satanic killing machines.

ISIS is a living libel on the name of Islam. It disfigures the notion of faith and transmutes it into an ugly self-permission to murder, rape, steal, kidnap, enslave and torture the innocent. It seeks to deify the ungodly sin of genocide and to destroy whole civilizations. It is, at base, the claim of the right to enact soul-destroying, civilization-killing dictatorship, all dressed up in a phony guise of religious sanctity.

What ISIS really amounts to is putting one satanic man, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, and his satanic philosophy of death in control of wide swaths of the world. That this man claims he has the right to enslave populations of people under his “caliphate” because of his twisted ideas of religion does not alter the fact that this is a grab for absolute power by one man.

I recommend the Rise of ISIS, a Threat We Cannot Ignore. I do not see it as an end-point in learning about the threat civilization is facing because of violent Jihad. But it is a good beginning. The primary reason I say this is because it represents a viewpoint that is expressed without self-consorship to conform to politically correct dogma in order to avoid being personally attacked.

Honest discussion of issues of almost any sort has been obliterated in our society by the threat of personal attacks. I applaud Mr Sekulow for ignoring that threat and speaking out according to what he believes. More people need to do that.

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NYC Police Commissioner Says Hatchet Attack was Act of Terror

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Photo Source: ABC News

New York City’s Police Commissioner has said that the hatchet attack that wounded two police officers was a terror attack.

It’s time our government officials were more forthcoming with the truth.

Let’s look at the line of events. Fort Hood. Boston Marathon. Oklahoma. Canada. New York.

It appears that the tripwire to truth was — finally — New York. I was beginning to wonder how long the American people were going to allow themselves to be bullied by the threat of being called a “bigot” if they said what was the obvious truth.

The people committing these acts do not represent American Muslims. That is a given. However, that fact does not mean that it has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism. If we are going to deal with the dangers of this world, we need to begin by accepting reality on reality’s terms. Refusing to acknowledge what is right in front of us can get more people killed.

The Facebook pages of both the man who beheaded a woman and severely injured another here in Oklahoma, and the hatchet murderer in New York were full of jihadist garbage. The man in Oklahoma was shouting jihadist slogans as he murdered an innocent woman.

The doctor who murdered people at Fort Hood has espoused murderous jihad vehemently. But his crime is still described officially as “workplace violence.”

Political correctness which seeks to censor public comment about these things in order to bring it into line with the fantasy pablum that these are discreet acts of workplace violence or random craziness is the kind of political correctness that gets people killed.

It appears, at least as of now, that the terrorist attack in New York, as well as the one here in Oklahoma, were unaffiliated. By that I mean that they do not seem to have been coordinated or planned by an outside terrorist group. They appear — emphasis on appear — to have been inspired by terrorist activities and rhetoric.

It’s interesting that these are converts to Islam, rather than people who were raised in the faith. I don’t know if that means anything. But it’s possible that the murderous behavior is partly a function of them not being integrated into the larger Islamic community. Again, I do not know.

What I do know is that we are beginning to see a pattern of a new kind of terrorist attack that is fomented by American Muslims acting unilaterally. At least two of the men who have committed these acts were relatively new to the religion, and, based on their Facebook pages, attracted to the most violent and murderous form of Islamic terrorism in the world today.

I am glad that the New York City Police Commissioner has what it took to say the truth. We can handle any problem that confronts us. But first, we’ve got to stop the vicious tyranny of thought and speech that is political correctness.

From ABC News:

A brazen daylight hatchet attack against a group of police officers on a busy New York street was a terrorist act by a reclusive Muslim convert who ranted online against America but had no clear ties to international extremists, the police commissioner said Friday.

Police were examining Zale Thompson’s computer for clues about a motive for the Thursday assault that left one of the officers seriously injured and ended with Thompson being killed by police. Police Commissioner William Bratton said Thompson’s browsing history included organized terror groups, beheadings and the shooting in Canada earlier this week that officials there have called a terrorist attack.

Thompson was not on any watch lists, and officials found no indication he sought any training or affiliation to any groups.

Bratton said investigators were trying to determine whether the attack was planned or spontaneous but believe Thompson was self-radicalized. His father told officials he converted to Islam about two years ago and was described as a “recluse” who had been depressed lately.

Bratton said he was comfortable calling it a terrorist attack.

“This was a terrorist attack, certainly,” Bratton said.

But he also stopped short of including the attack in the list of terror plots against the city since Sept. 11, 2001, saying the investigation was continuing.

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New York Police Officers Wounded in Hatchet Attack. Possible Terrorist Connections.

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Photo Source: Zale Thompson’s web site.

The New York Police Department is investigating a possible terrorist attack/murder of a police officer with a hatchet.

Police officers shot and killed Zale Thompson after he fractured the skull of Officer Kenneth Healey. Mr Thompson also injured a second police officer, wounding his arm. Also, a woman who was walking near the incident when it happened was struck by a stray bullet.

“There’s nothing we know at this time that would indicate that (Islamic terrorism) is the case,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton told reporters.

Officer Healey is in critical but stable condition. The unnamed woman who was injured is said to be in stable condition.

Zale Thompson’s Facebook page isn’t as wide-open as the Facebook page of Alton Nolen, the previous Islamic terrorist murderer here in America, who beheaded a woman and grievously wounded another woman, in Oklahoma.

Newspeople who first looked at the page saw messages calling for revolution on American soil. Those messages have since been removed.

According to Fox News, this is an example of those messages.

America’s military is strong abroad, but they have never faced an internal mass revolt,” Thompson posted on the social media site. “They are weaker at home. We are scattered and decentralized, we can use this as an advantage. They are centralized and strong, which can be exploited as a weakness. Think of a swarm of bees (negroes) that surround and attack an elephant (America) to death.”The suspect also called for guerilla warfare.

Helicopters, big military will be useless on their own soil,” another post read. “They will not be able to defeat our people if we use guerilla warfare. Attack their weak flanks … If you get wounded who cares. If you die who cares. Eventually they will surrender and then the war will be over.

I wonder which lie we will be told about this latest attack. Will it be labeled the work of a “nut,” and a person who is “mentally unstable?” Based on what I know now, “workplace violence” doesn’t seem to fit.

Since this happened in New York, and two of the injured people were police officers, will that mean that the people who have been hurt by this attack will be treated with dignity and respect by our government? Or will they be swept under the rug and ignored the way that Colleen Hufford was?

I would imagine that the bigoted, dumb Okies media roundtables will not be transferred whole cloth to this incident.

We’ll just have to wait and see if the truth crosses any official or big-time media lips, or if the stonewalling and obfuscating continue.

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Four Londoners Charged with ISIS-Related Terrorism

Four men have been accused of plotting a terrorist attack on police officers and soldiers in the streets of London.

According to the Daily Mail, the men had sworn oaths of allegiance to ISIS and were scouting a London police station and an army barracks. They had photos of four officers. I assume these were photos of their intended victims.

They had managed to arm themselves and had “jihadist materials, including videos of beheadings.”

From the Mail Online:

Four men have appeared in court accused of plotting a terror attack on police officers or soldiers on the streets of London.

 

Tarik Hassane, 21, Suhaib Majeed, 20, Nyall Hamlett, 24, and Momen Motasim, 21, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with intending to commit acts of terrorism.

 

The men allegedly swore allegiance to extremist group Islamic State (ISIS) and scouted out Shepherd’s Bush police station and White City Territorial Army Barracks.

 

They allegedly kept Instagram images of two Scotland Yard police officers and two Metropolitan Police community support officers, as well as a trove of jihadist material including videos of beheadings.

 

In addition, they are accused of having a Baikal handgun, silencer and six rounds of ammunition.

 

It is alleged the men discussed getting hold of and stashing a moped as part of the terror plot and are said to have used codewords over secret communication channels.

 

A fifth man, Nathan Cuffy, 25, also appeared in court charged with firearms offences.

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If You’re a Christian and They Know it, Hire Your Lawyer

On the one hand, we have the Freedom From Religion boors, sending off lawyer letters like a Gatling gun with the purpose of intimidating Christians — their target always seems to be Christians — into silence about their faith in public places. And on the other hand, we have that same FFRF, suing the federal government to force the IRS to “monitor” pastors for possible violations of the law in their sermons.

Enter Mayor Anise Parker of Houston, stage left.

Mayor Parker is embroiled in a fight with Houston residents over an ordinance the city council passed last spring. The ordinance is reputed to provide rather extensive legal “protection” to homosexuals and transgendereds.

That’s all well and good. Mayor Parker is Houston’s first lesbian mayor. Houstonians evidently like the job she’s done up until now. She was re-elected to her third and final term a year ago. Maybe she wanted to do something splendiferous for her mayoral swan song, and this new ordinance is it.

Politicians on the way out can become extraordinarily touchy about their “legacy.” I would guess that the first lesbian mayor of a large city would find no better legacy for herself than passing a land-mark gay rights act.

The trouble is political life is never a gimme. It’s always rough and tumble and, if you’re in office, you have to accept that. From the moment you report to work, the fight is on. Nothing ever comes easy in governing a democracy. Which is part of why it’s the best form of government there is; because elected officials do not get their way by proclamation. They’ve got to earn their victories in the political trenches of getting the votes and then defending the decisions to the pubic.

It appears that Mayor Parker forgot all that when she passed her legacy ordinance. She evidently shut down her ordinary thinking capacities where this ordinance was concerned and went into full-blown this-is-my-precious-legacy mode. I say that because it appears that she thought she could pass what was bound to be a controversial ordinance and there would be no flashback. How a three-term mayor could be so silly, I do not know.

So far, all this falls into the category of a seasoned mayor tossing everything she should have learned about governance aside and deciding to go all simple-minded and addle-pated over her pet mayoral victory. It looks for all the world like Mayor Parker entered the political arena over this ordinance — which was unavoidably going to draw serious push back — like a private citizen holding a dinner party in her own home. If the guests displeased her, she reserved the right to ask them to leave.

Here’s how it played out.

Opponents of the ordinance responded to its passage with a referendum petition to put the ordinance on the ballot and allow the citizens of Houston to vote on it. The petition garnered 50,000 signatures, which is a lot more than the needed 17,269. However the city threw it out, based on claims that it was “invalid.”

The petition’s backers responded to this with plans to take the city to court. 

The city responded to that with subpoenas, demanding to see the all sermons and speeches given by pastors who had opposed the ordinance that mention Mayor anise Parker, homosexuality or gender identity.

Now, the pastors’ attorneys are seeking to quash the subpoenas on the grounds that, among other things, they request material relating to activities protected by the First Amendment.

“Political and social commentary is not a crime,” their attorney, Christina Holcomb said.

“We don’t comment on litigation,” the city’s spokesperson responded.

There is a problem here that goes a lot deeper than one mayor who’s let her office go to her head. Regardless of the overweening ego delusions elected officials held in the past, no elected official before, say, 2005, would have even considered stepping all over the First Amendment and America’s most cherished freedoms to criticize our government like this.

Now, it’s become a palm-slapping, fist-bumping coup in certain circles to use the law to harass and bully Christians. The underlying problem here is the permission that Christian bashers give themselves to use the law to harass, badger, bully and deliberately try to limit the freedoms of American citizens who happen to be Christian.

Mayor Parker is mis-using her powers big-time on this. She’s also directly violating the Constitutional right of all American citizens to criticize their elected officials and public policy in public forums.

Are these subpoenas an attempt to use governmental power to quash pubic debate about this ordinance?

Or course they are.

Has Mayor Parker abandoned her responsibilities as Houston’s chief governing officer to play gay rights advocate? Perhaps. She certainly appears to have lost every last bit of her political and governing smarts over this issue. She has embroiled the city in a needless lawsuit by refusing to allow citizens the use of their rightful tool, the referendum. She followed that with a ham-handed attempt to silence her critics through government intimidation in the form of outrageous subpoenas.

She has also created another avenue to use government power to attack Christians. Now that the subpoena box has been opened, you can bet that other goodies are going to come out of it.

“Political and social commentary is not a crime,” the pastors’ attorney tells us. I would go a step further and say that political and social commentary are one of America’s greatest gifts to the world. Our forefathers created a government that ran right in the face of those that had preceded it. They grew up in a world where people could be hanged for criticizing the king or his policies, and they turned that on its head.

Americans have the right to criticize their government, their elected officials and public policy pretty much however they wish. There are a few caveats concerning elected officials, but the limits to redress through the courts for slander are so extreme that it’s close to impossible to do it. So far as I know, it is truly impossible to slander a policy or an idea.

The mayor of Houston, whatever her overwrought feelings about a particular ordinance, does not have the right to use her office to intimidate and bully her critics into silence. She can not, as Queen Elizabeth I is reputed to have done, sit in a pew of the church of offending pastors and yell out “By God sir, I will not have this!”

Or rather, I suppose she could do that, but if she did, the pastor would be more likely to fall down laughing than to shake and shiver with fear.

We fought a whole war over this stuff.

And we won.

Now, American Christians are having to fight that war again, this time in the courts. To paraphrase the children’s song, If you’re Christian and they know it, hire your lawyer. You’re probably going to need one.

 

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The Crazy People File

 

Note: I published this post a few years’ back. It seemed apt to republish it today. 

 

“Crazy People”

The folder with this name sits on my hard drive.

Whenever I get an email that merits the title, I drag it into the “Crazy People” file. After 16 years in public office, the file has swollen to gigs of nutty emails that most likely would embarrass their senders if they read them today.

I have a theory that people don’t know how they sound in the emails they send to elected officials. They forget that other people are on the opposite end of these nasty diatribes; that they read them, react to them and file them away.

Several years ago, members of the Oklahoma House were spending what seemed like an endless day on the House floor. We were hearing one bill after another. Since it was close to the end of session, we’d voted on all these bills many times before; in committee, in the full House the first time, then again in the full House when they came back from the Senate, and now, in the full House again after they came out of conference committee.

We spend a lot of time together in the House of Representatives, kind of like people locked on a ship that’s adrift at sea. We’d heard each other’s speeches on these bills until we could all recite them together.

On that day, we were tired, over-stimulated and stressed; all combined with an almost numbing boredom. It gets like that late in every legislative session.

Mainly due to the boredom, we started talking about the emails we get. Now there are certain people who evidently get up every morning and fire off a nasty email to all the members of the legislature before breakfast, kind of like some people go to daily mass and others run on their treadmill. Their names and the names they call us become familiar to all of us. We started trying to figure out whose district these emailers were from.

Finally, I emailed the one who we all felt was the most flamboyant and asked what part of the state he lived in. Nobody answers these kinds of emails, and I think it was the first time any of us had clicked “reply” on one of his. The person responded and asked why I wanted to know. I said that we’d been talking about him and were wondering whose district he lived in.

If it’s possible to sound abashed in an email, this person did. I really don’t think he realized that people read the stuff he was sending. In all the years since, he has never sent another blanket email to the Oklahoma House.

Of course, this person, hateful and goofy-sounding as his emails were, did not rise to the level that gets someone into the “Crazy People” file. It takes a special kind of venom, and usually a couple of threats, to land there.

The point I’m making is if you’re writing your legislator in support of Christian values, remember that someone will read what you send. Do your best to sound like a follower of Christ and not an escapee from a wingnut radio talk show. You can make your point just as well without calling people names or attacking their intelligence, beliefs, children, parentage or appearance.

Remember: When you say your are a Christian, other people judge Christ by you. Don’t be a negative witness for Christ just because you think it’s clever and witty to degrade other people with your speech. Civility will not only make you a better witness for Christ, it will make you more persuasive about the positions you are advocating.

It can also keep you out of the “Crazy People” file.

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