Representative Gary Banz told me that when I left, he wanted my parking place.
I understood that.
My parking place was fantabulous; right next to the Gov’s parking place.
That’s what happens when a Rep has more seniority than anybody else in the building. She gets whatever parking space she wants.
Did Representative Banz get “my” parking space? I dunno. I haven’t been back to check.
I’m going to the Oklahoma State Capitol building for the first time since my son and one of his friends and I went out and loaded up my office and brought it home. That was, if memory serves, the Monday after the Friday on which we adjourned.
Oh, I’ve had phone conversations with people at the Capitol since then. Lots of them. And I’ve also had conversations with my former colleagues in the House and Senate. Lots of them, as well.
But I haven’t set foot in the actual building, or driven by it, for that matter, since I brought my stuff home to stay.
But I’m going to the Capitol tomorrow. I’m going with a couple of friends, who, because of their health problems, I will drop off on the Senate side of the building where they can get in without climbing stairs, and then I’m going to wind back south and park far from the building in one of the visitor spaces.
I will then go in, meet up with my friends and begin handing out roses to the reps and sens I know.
Because tomorrow is Rose Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Rose Day is an annual event sponsored by pro life people, in particular the Oklahoma Southern Baptist Convention and Catholic Charities, which brings hundreds of pro life Okies to Oklahoma City to cheer on their pro life legislative heroes.
I loved Rose Day when I was in office. It was so nice to have people in the building who actually liked what I was doing by working to pass pro life legislation. The life of a pro life Democrat can be lonely, indeed. After some of the ugliness that happened to me, I drew into myself as a survival tactic. I just hunkered down and fought my way through the last half of my time in office.
Day after day, nobody asked me join them for lunch, nobody talked to me. When we stayed late in the evenings, I had friends from outside the legislature come pick me up for supper because I knew none of my colleagues would eat with me.
Rose Day was the one day that turned that on its head. For a couple of hours, I actually had friends inside that building.
That’s why I’m writing this now. If you are a pro life Okie, you need to be at the Oklahoma State Capitol Building tomorrow. You need to let pro life legislators know that you appreciate what they are doing.
You need especially to look up pro life Democrats and encourage them, because, believe me, they won’t hear another encouraging word all session long.
I’m going to Rose Day tomorrow as a spectator, rather than a participant. It will be my first time in a long, long time when I can’t just swing into my parking space next to the door and hustle up to my office.
Tomorrow, I’m walking in from the South 40, and then I’m going to have to find someone who will let me leave my coat in their office for a couple of hours.
I am so looking forward to it. I plan to drop by and encourage every single pro life Democrat I know, and to hug many of the dedicated pro life Republicans that I know. I’ll watch the inspiring program we have planned.
Then, I’m going to go back out to the South 40, get in my car, drive around and pick up my friends and we’ll go out and celebrate. Because this year I don’t have to stay. My time as an active participant in the legislative bear-and-bull-fight is over, and for that I am soooo grateful.
As for the pro life Okies reading this, be sure join me at Rose Day. Tomorrow is going to be a wonderful pro life celebration for all of us.
Public Catholic reader Ken gave me the link to this story.
According to Crux, the Vatican has announced an International Day of Prayer and Recollection Against Human Trafficking on February 8.
Slavery is on the rise, and a lot of people who think they oppose slavery are aiding and abetting it. I could write a series of posts on the ways in which those of us who oppose slavery with our words end up buying products made by slaves, hiring people who are slaves and, yes, using prostitutes who are slaves.
One of the things I’ve heard from human trafficking victims who have been sold as prostitutes is that they fear going to church because they will see men who have bought them there. This is a startling example of how low we can go.
Don’t buy other people, and that means, among other things, do not use prostitutes. Also, do not hire people’s services when they are sold to you on street corners.
We like to rant and rave about “illegal immigration” in this country. It comes up every four years in every off election, just like clockwork. Then, after the election passes, so does the concern. Remember last fall and all the carrying on about the invasion at the border? Where is that now?
But don’t worry, it’ll be back in four years for the next off-year election.
In the meantime, corporations bring people into this country illicitly to work on their farms and similar low-skilled jobs. No one is actually going to do anything about illegal immigration because there is money to be made from it.
Human trafficking gets lost in this political demagoguery and the corporatism that drives it. Slave labor is used on a massive scale around the globe. There is a distinction between free illegal immigrants who cross the Rio Grande to work in this country and people who are brought here and used as slaves. We tend to lump them together, but the difference is that one is a slave and the other is a free human being. This difference eludes a lot of people.
I’m not going to get into the question of hiring illegal immigrants in this post. All I will say is that I know — know — that we will never pass meaningful laws against the practice. The money interests don’t want such laws, and the money interests control our government. I doubt that we can even stop money interests from knowingly using slave labor.
What is possible is for you and I to make an effort to do so. Small business people out there who hire day laborers, are oftentimes employing slaves without being aware of it. They don’t have to commit this crime against humanity, if they are willing to work to avoid it.
The easy way to avoid using slaves is to simply refuse to hire people off street corners and through shady agencies. You might also look into the lives of the people you hire. If they go home to their own home, with their own family, if they go to church and sit out in the yard on Saturday night, trading stories with their friends and knocking back a few brews, chances are good that they are not slaves.
Human trafficking, which means slavery, is becoming increasingly ubiquitous. According to many news reports I’ve read, groups like ISIS finance their operations at least in part by taking civilian populations, including large parts of the local Christian populations, captive and then selling them as slaves.
Of course, they could not do this if other people didn’t buy these slaves.
That’s the equation with slavery. Someone must sell the slaves. And someone else must buy them.
We need to join with Pope Francis on February 8 in the International Day of Prayer and Recollection Against Human Trafficking.
We also need to do everything we can to make sure that we do not buy products made by slaves, and do not unwittingly use slaves in our businesses.
And oh yes, men should stop buying women and children off street corners to use for sex. When you buy a human being, that does not make them your date. It makes them your slave, and being a deliberate user of slave labor makes you a monster.
An odd story has begun to circle the web lately.
It seems that prosecutors in the Boston Marathon bomber case are (gasp!) asking qualifying questions of prospective jurors. Among these questions are a query as to whether or not said prospective juror would, if the evidence warrants it, find for the death penalty.
Now, if someone asked me that question, I would say, No, I will not find for the death penalty.
At that point, the prosecutor would reject me as a potential juror.
However, if one of my friends who supports the death penalty had been answering the question, a “yes” on their part would not in any way commit them to find for the death penalty in this particular case. The prosecution still has to prove the charges, and then he or she still has to convince these people to actually do the deed and sentence another human being to die.
It’s far from pro forma.
The new hyperbole is that this particular form of jury qualification is, in fact, a method of selectively disqualifying Catholics from jury membership. The reason is that it appears that many of the Catholics of Boston actually follow Church teaching concerning the death penalty. Or else, Boston is a very liberal area and they are following the liberal zeitgeist on the death penalty. Or else, the zeitgeist and the Church combine in these people’s hearts on the question of the death penalty.
I say that because the good people of Massachusetts appear to have no qualms about electing pro abortion politicians. So, I’m thinking their followership of Church teaching is somewhat conditional.
That aside, a lot of Catholics are getting tossed from consideration as jurors in the Boston Marathon bomber case. And, this, of all things, is rising to the top of the media milk as a form of “discrimination” about which the media somewhat cares. True, they are almost gagging on their words, and quickly rushing to assure readers that their real concern is discrimination against death penalty opponents, not Catholics.
But when the dust on this argument settles, “discrimination” against an idea, in this case opposition to the death penalty, rather than a group of people, doesn’t hold a lot of legal water. So, the line of argument is forced to circle back to anti-Catholic talk again. You can almost hear the scribes stutter as they deal with what, for them, is a great emotional conundrum.
Meanwhile, Christian bashing/hazing/mocking continues unabated in many of our universities and colleges, Christians are constantly being told to keep their faith at home and not act on it in public affairs, and Christian mom and pop business people are being told that they must participate in gay weddings or face fines, “sensitivity training,” even jail time. In one instance, ordained ministers were threatened with these things for refusal to perform gay weddings.
Elsewhere, Christians are burnt, beheaded, gang-raped, sold into slavery and herded into refugee camps. And the same pundits who are writing this latest stuff about the death penalty in the Boston Marathon bomber trial are not only silent, they often support those who seek to oppress religious freedom.
Christians are overtly attacked and mocked in the same media which has found its new cause in the supposed discrimination against Catholics in the jury selection in the Boston Marathon Bomber case.
I’m not buying it.
I do not believe that fair treatment of Catholics is the concern here. I think this is a back-handed way to attack the death penalty. While I do not favor the death penalty, I think the way to change that is through the law, not by crippling the judicial system by changing it to suit the caterwauling section of our society.
I do not believe for one moment that it is discrimination for prosecutors to qualify jurors in this manner. They are not singling out Catholics. They are merely asking if the jurors would be willing, after considering the evidence, to find for the penalty which they, the prosecutors, are seeking.
This is a lot of things, but discrimination isn’t one of them. It is standard courtroom behavior. It is not, in itself, aimed at any group of people.
I could, if I was so inclined, frame all sorts of arguments about the death penalty based on the lopsided way in which it is applied to certain groups of people, in particular those who do not have the money to mount a sophisticated defense.
In my opinion, we talk too much about race in this matter and far too little about money. Race was a huge factor in the OJ murder trial (as a for-instance) but money was the real reason he got off. Race would never have become a factor if he had not had the money to mount an incredible defense. The same goes for a lot of other wealthy people.
The Boston Marathon bomber case is so high-profile that the question of money is not really valid. This young man is going to have a good defense.
To be honest, I’m not interested in this trial. First, I’m not a trial watcher. It’s not my idea of entertainment to watch people fight for their lives for real. Second, I had enough of terrorists and their drama with the Oklahoma City bombing. I have zero desire to revisit it unless duty — as in writing about ISIS et al — requires it. Even then, it is a sacrifice on my part that takes a lot out of me.
I am content to allow the people of Boston and their court system handle this particular situation. I don’t have to sit on this jury (thank God) and I don’t have to make these decisions.
As for the prosecutors qualifying prospective jurors in this manner, it is not discrimination, and frankly, I think most of the people raising the question are, based on their lack of concern and active participation in actual Christian bashing, mocking hazing in other quarters, insincere in doing so.
Turn the page folks and think on other things. This story is, in the words of someone I know, “clickbait.”
We have a nation of children who feel orphaned because their fathers are not in their lives.
Fatherhood requires something that a lot of people in our society have grown up thinking is immoral: It requires self-sacrifice and putting someone else ahead of yourself.
What it gives is something a lot of people in our society have been taught to think is worthless: Love and the incredible blessing of shielding and shepherding new life.
Now this makes sense.
A publication in France published a cartoon that at least some Muslims find offensive. So, 300 Muslims in Pakistan attack a Christian boys’ school, injuring a bunch of unarmed Christian students.
Shouting idiotic slogans such as “We martyr for the prophet’s sanctity,” the mob attacked Panel High School in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
This attacks follows another, more deadly one in Niger, where Muslim mobs, also “protesting” Charlie Hebdo, burned down a number of churches and Christian pastor’s homes, killing at least 10 people.
I don’t know if the leaders of these attacks are aware that Charlie Hebdo mocks Christians, the Catholic Church in particular, far more than it does Muslims. I also don’t know if they are aware that the Christian response has been to argue back. I doubt it.
There is a pervasive air of ignorance hanging over behavior like this; ignorance, cowardice and sadism.
From The Christian Post:
Close to 300 Muslim students armed with iron bars and sticks attacked a Christian boys’ school in northern Pakistan, reportedly in retaliation to French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s controversial drawings of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. The attack left four Christians injured.
“It is very sad that Islamic radicals attack Pakistani Christians because of Charlie Hebdo. Christians condemn the blasphemous cartoons. It is a shame that even after 67 years since the birth of Pakistan, Christians have not yet been considered Pakistani citizens, but are seen as ‘Western allies,'” Nasir Saeed, director of the NGO Center for Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement, told Fides News Agency.
The attack occurred on Panel High School in the city of Bannu, in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Muslim students apparently were able to jump over the outer walls of the school and open the gates before attacking the Christians.
The school has been closed down at least for two days, with additional security measures being considered to protect the students.
Last weekend, Muslim mobs burned down a number of churches and pastors’ homes in Niger, also in protest of Charlie Hebdo’s drawings. At least 10 people were killed in the clashes, with pastors in the capital Niamey revealing that almost anyone associated with churches was targeted.
Oklahoma legislators have introduced 4 bills concerning gay marriage and civil rights for homosexuals and transsexuals.
Representative Sally Kern has introduced 3 bills:
HB 1599, which is designated the Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act, is a broad piece of legislation that seeks to dictate future findings by the courts, activities by state employees and expenditures of state monies in regards to same-sex marriage.
HB 1597 is another far-reaching bill. It does not address same-sex marriage, but instead says that no business can be forced to offer service to “any lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender person, group or association.”
HB 1598 allows mental health providers to engage in conversion therapy. As I understand it, conversion therapy seeks to change homosexual orientation to heterosexual by means of talk therapy.
I doubt that any of these bills will get a hearing in committee. If they should happen to make it out of committee, their chances of coming to a vote on the House Floor are even more dim. If, by a combination of legislative pressures, they do come to a vote of the full House, they are almost certainly DOA in the Senate. A lot of times, whether or not these things come to a vote depends on the determination and skill of the individual legislator and the amount of support he or she has in the body.
Having said that, I can tell you that the legislation as drafted oversteps all sorts of legal bounds. They would not stand, even if they managed to become law.
HB 1599 overreaches in a lot of ways, but the obvious ones are that it seeks to tell judges ahead of time what they may rule. This is outside the province of a legislative body. The legislature certainly does have the power to determine how state monies are spent, so the part of the bill that would limit state appropriations for activities concerning same-sex marriage would have a good chance of withstanding a court challenge, at least in principle.
The fact that it is not an appropriations bill and does not address appropriations per se might lead to its being overturned because of vagueness. However, by putting these two unrelated matters together in one bill, Representative Kern has created a piece of legislation with two topics in two areas of law. This is called log-rolling, and is in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution.
HB 1597 is clearly a violation of the civil rights of homosexuals and transsexuals. The law seeks to set up a system of discrimination in service regarding a specific class or group of people. It does not address legitimate First Amendment concerns regarding religious beliefs. It allows service providers to refuse service to a group of people because they are members of that group and for no other reason.
HB 1598 is the only one of the three bills that has legal merit. The question of whether or not therapists may use a particular therapy has become loaded when it concerns “conversion therapy” as it is used with homosexuals. A few states have made “conversion therapy” illegal. However, the real question is whether or not legislative bodies should be passing laws dictating which therapeutic approach is the correct one for health care providers to use. Dictating medical procedures and therapies is outside the province of legislative bodies, or it should be.
The whole discussion revolves around political correctness, with both sides slinging statistics and accusations, but the real issue is legislative bodies overstepping their bounds.
Senator Corey Brooks has authored SB 478. This is a good bill, which I hope will pass. It protects people from prosecution and civil liability if their religious beliefs require them to abstain from participation in a same-sex marriage ceremony.
In truth, I do not expect Senator Brooks’ bill to get very far, either. The reason is simple: I expect that the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce will oppose it, and the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce controls both the legislative and executive branches of Oklahoma’s government.
Their control is close to being dictatorial, and, as I said in another post, they are not all that nice about how they use it. Threats, which are not idle threats, are their standard way of dealing with legislators who do not do what they are told. Most Republican legislators are afraid of them, and with good reason.
ISIS is organized murder’s answer to every lone serial killer who yearns for recognition.
Just like Ted Bundy who famously claimed that when he killed someone he “felt like God,” and John Wayne Gacy who denied wrongdoing by saying “I didn’t kill anybody, I just took out the trash,” ISIS is proud of what they do and will tell anybody that there’s nothing wrong with it.
ISIS connects its murderous behavior with Islam and makes the claim that ISIS is the sole arbiter of what is Islam. They are just as eager to kill other Muslims who don’t bend the knee to their satanic interpretation of faith as they are to kill Christians and members of other faiths.
ISIS is satanic. They are organized, well-funded serial killers, and like all serial killers, they style themselves as something much different from the measly little nothings that they really are. Also like most serial killers, they love the spotlight. They want to be recognized for the monsters they are. Like their master, they enjoy the terror, horror and rage they cause. That’s a big part of the pay-back for sending themselves to hell.
Not content with horrifying the West, ISIS has now released a tape of themselves, murdering a bound and helpless Japanese prisoner named Haruna Yukawa. As usual, they displayed another Japanese prisoner, Kenji Goto, who they say they will kill next. This is undoubtedly an attempt to extort money from the Japanese government to buy the remaining prisoner’s release.
I know that many Muslims are shamed and outraged by ISIS. I hope that all good people of every faith can unite in putting them down, hard. We need to end ISIS, and there should be no legal amnesty for those who have aligned themselves with them. I think we should hunt those who have supported ISIS with their money, and who have journeyed to join them in their killing, to the ground. If it takes decades, we should track them down, every one of them, and put them before the bar.
ISIS is serial killing on an international scale. The whole world needs to unite in ending it.
Evidently, the Louisiana State Supreme Court woke up one morning and decided to K-O the legal protection for the seal of the confessional.
This legal privilege, which has long protected priests from prosecution for not revealing the things said to them in confession, has been under attack from zealous prosecutors. A few years ago, a prosecutor, who evidently never heard of building a case through the vast investigative powers of the government, decided to bug and record a confession between a prisoner in jail and his priest. When the prosecutor tried to enter this confession into evidence, the Catholic Church took him to court and won.
Now, the family of a young woman in the state of Louisiana has decided that they want a priest to testify as to what the young woman said to him in confession. The family has filed suit to force the priest to testify, so they can pursue a civil suit against the diocese. Since this confession was about the ugly topic of child abuse by an adult man, it raises all sorts of emotions and angers.
The Louisiana State Supreme Court basically ruled that if the person confessing reveals the confession, then the seal is broken and the priest can be forced to testify about the contents of the confession. There is precedent for this viewpoint in the attorney-client privilege. I have seen judges rule that the attorney-client privilege was broken because someone other than the attorney and client were in the room during the discussion, and then force the client to testify in court as to the contents of their conversation with their attorney.
However, the seal of the confessional is different from attorney-client privilege or doctor-patient privilege, or counselor-client privilege because it is a First Amendment right. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees the right to the free exercise of religion without government interference. This guarantee has kept America out of the religious conflicts which have marred other societies for over 200 years.
The Louisiana State Supreme Court, by attempting to treat the seal of the confessional as any other privileged conversation, put its foot right through the First Amendment. Subsequent to this, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge petitioned the United States Supreme Court to overturn this Louisiana decision.
Now comes the murky part.
The United States Supreme Court sent this whole mess back to the level of the Fifth District Court in order for that court to hear arguments.
Ever since the Supreme Court did this, I’ve been reading that they allowed the Louisiana Court’s decision to “stand.” I’ve read whole news reports saying this as a fact. I honestly thought that was what had happened.
But this is not accurate. The Supreme Court did not say, go home, Louisiana’s Supreme Court was right. They basically said, get back in line.
They sent the case, which is still alive and kicking, back to a lower court to allow both sides to have their say and present their positions. That action does not let the Louisiana State Supreme Court’s decision “stand.” It just lets everybody, on both sides, have their day in court.
I expect this decision of the Louisiana State Supreme Court to be overturned.
However, if it is not, then we are going to have to come back against this violation of our religious liberties, and we’re going to have to come back hard. This is not a parlor game. It is a matter of sending our priests to jail because they will not violate the seal of the confessional. It is a question of whether or not Catholics will be free to access the sacraments of our faith without government intrusion.
Priests will have no choice in this matter. They will have to go to jail rather than break the seal of the confessional. If they don’t, the entire edifice on which the Church is built — the sacraments — will crumble. American Catholics have an absolute right to receive the sacraments without government intrusion. That right is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
It is one of the essential building blocks of all our liberties as a free people.
Most of these attacks on the seal of the confessional come from over-zealous prosecutors. This particular claim comes from a family that probably feels guilty because their child was sexually abused and they did not know about it. I understand that and sympathize with it.
What I don’t understand and sympathize with is their attempt to make money off the deal with this civil suit. I also don’t understand why they are so eager to cash in that they are willing to attack one of the bedrock freedoms Americans enjoy and the sanctity of penitents’ encounters with Christ in the confessional.
They appear to be wiling to damage their country and their Church with this lawsuit. That will not heal their grief at having failed to protect their child.
The Fifth Circuit has the case now. We’ll have to wait and see what they do.