US Supreme Court is Undermining Science and Society

The Supreme Court has taken up another case based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s campaign of lies that carbon dioxide is the cause of “climate change” and claims about the quality of air in the United States. The Court is composed of lawyers, not scientists.

At this point in the present era, the Court has made rulings that run contrary to the original, clear intent of the U.S. Constitution and has wrought havoc on our society.

In 1973 it ruled that the killing of unborn babies was protected and millions since then have been deliberately killed. It extended protection to sodomy and same-sex marriage. It is destroying the fabric of our society that has served Americans well for more than two hundred years.

It ruled that the Affordable Health Care Act was a “tax”, enabling the Obamacare to be unleashed with the subsequent loss of health care plans by millions of Americans, often the loss of their personal physician, and the requirement that deeply-held religious opposition to contraception and abortion be negated by a law that requires their beliefs be overruled and denied.

In 2007, I wrote a commentary that was published in The Washington Times. I criticized a Supreme Court ruling that carbon dioxide (CO2) was a “pollutant”, opening the door to the EPA’s rapacious intent to control all aspects of our lives based on this lie that is used to justify its war on coal-fired plants that provide nearly half of all the electrical energy we use daily. “CO2 is not a pollutant,” I wrote, “It exists in the Earth’s atmosphere and every blade of grass and every tree depends on it.” It plays no role whatever in the Earth’s climate.

The Clean Air Act and revisions passed in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s. The original regulation of air pollution was a good idea, as were the laws affecting clean water, but the EPA has since used pollution to impose a vast matrix of regulations that do not reflect the fact that the nation’s air and water is now as clean as it ever can be.

Carbon monoxide emissions have fallen from 197 million tons to 89 million tons. Nitrogen oxide emissions fell from 27 million tons to 19 million tons. Sulfur dioxide emissions fell from 3l million tons to 15 million tons. Lead emissions fell by more than 98%. Particulate emissions (soot) fell by 80%. The air in the U.S. is considerably cleaner, but the EPA’s assertions continue to be made to expand its regulatory power and to attack the sovereignty of the states.

A case that was recently argued before the Court is another EPA effort to rewrite the Clean Air Act, asserting that it be given authority to regulate the flow of alleged “pollution” between “upwind” states and those who receive particulates and gases under its control. Some 27 states are considered “upwind” and those states along with all others have their own air control laws. In states that are more heavily industrialized and which have a large number of coal-fired plants on which the EPA wants to impose expensive standards that have no basis in fact.

A coalition led by Texas of more than a dozen other states brought a case, Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation, opposing the EPA’s regulatory re-write of the Clean Air Act. In August 2012, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the EPA which appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Wall Street Journal noted that “The D.C. Circuit only rarely overturns EPA rules, which shows how out of bounds the cross-state regulation is. The Supreme Court should overturn it for violating the federalist intentions of Congress, but there is also the added judicial incentive to show this increasingly rogue agency that it can’t rewrite the law as it pleases.”

The U.S. has been harmed by the many laws whose justification is based on the totally unscientific hoax regarding CO2. During the 101st and 111th Congresses, there were 692 laws introduced containing the term “greenhouse gas” when, in fact, CO2 is NOT such a gas, playing no role whatever in trapping warmth to affect the weather and/or climate of the Earth.

Stringent domestic laws and regulations, moreover, do not take into consideration the role of many other nations whose emissions are far greater than those produced here. However, reducing their emissions will have no effect on the Earth’s climate. The Earth is in what will likely be a lengthy cycle of cooling based on reduced solar radiation. It recently snowed in Egypt and in Israel where snow has long been a rarity.

The Obama administration’s “war on coal” has used the EPA to inflict an attack on the nation’s capacity to provide energy and the EPA has not ceased from using every ruling it has imposed to degrade the nation’s ability to maintain and expand the industrial base it needs to provide for economic growth, an increase in jobs, and the sovereign right of states to determine their own response to the need for clean air. The U.S. is a republic composed of separate republics.

At this point, control of the nation’s air and water quality should be returned in full to the states and the EPA should be eliminated as the threat to the nation it has become. The Supreme Court has played a role in this threat, ruling without any attention to real science, traditional values, and the clear intent of the Constitution.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

Legatus, Largest Catholic Business Organization Obtains Preliminary Injunction in HHS Mandate

ANN ARBOR, MI – Legatus, the Nation’s largest organization of top Catholic business CEOs and professional leaders, obtained a Preliminary Injunction against the Federal Government in its case challenging the HHS Mandate.  Federal District Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan entered the Order granting the Thomas More Law Center’s motion for a preliminary injunction on Friday afternoon, December 20, 2013.

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Legatus on May 7, 2012.  “Legatus” is the Latin word for “ambassador”, and its members are called upon to become “ambassadors for Christ” in living and sharing their Catholic Faith in their business, professional and personal lives.  It was founded in 1987 by Catholic philanthropist Tom Monaghan, to bring together the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life – Faith, Family and Business.  Legatus currently has over 4,000 members in 31 states.

Erin Mersino, the TMLC’s lead attorney handling the Legatus case, has been spearheading the Law Center’s challenges to the HHS Mandate in eleven cases thus far.

When the lawsuit was originally filed Judge Cleland refused to enter an Injunction because Legatus was a non-profit organization and protected by the safe harbor provisions. Also, the Government represented that it was in the process of adopting rules that would accommodate organizations like Legatus.  The judge stated, however, that should the Government act in a way that was inimical to the rights of Legatus, it could again approach the Court.

The safe harbor provision protecting Legatus from the provisions of the HHS Mandate expires on January 1, 2014.  TMLC re-filed its motion for a Preliminary Injunction after the Government adopted its accommodation rules on the grounds those rules still required Legatus to facilitate insurance coverage for processes it feels are contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.

In granting TMLC’s motion for a Preliminary Injunction, the Court found that even with the new rules adopted by the Government concerning religious accommodations, Legatus will likely show at trial that the HHS Mandate “substantially burdens the observance of the tenets of Catholicism.”  Further, the Court found that there were many other ways to achieve the Government’s interest to increase free contraception without restricting the religious liberty of Legatus.  Accordingly, the Court found that the government has not made a convincing argument showing the HHS Mandate is advancing a compelling government interest by the least restrictive means.

The Court noted that it had hoped that the government would not “act . . . in a way inimical to the rights Legatus seeks to protect.”  The court commented that it had “been unduly hopeful.”

Click here to read Judge Cleland’s entire opinion

ABOUT LEGATUS

In the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, His Church and His Vicar on earth, Legatus is an international organization of practicing Catholic laymen and laywomen, comprised of CEOs, Presidents, Managing Partners and Business Owners, with their spouses, from the business community and professional enterprises. Legatus Mission: To study, live and spread the Catholic faith in our business, professional and personal lives.

ABOUT THE THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER

Renowned as a national nonprofit public interest law firm, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Thomas More Law Center’s mission is to restore and defend America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, and to preserve a strong national defense, and a free and sovereign United States of America.  In courtrooms throughout our Nation, Law Center lawyers fight for the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, the sanctity of human life, and a strong national defense. The Law Center does not charge for its legal services, and relies on tax-deductible donations from concerned patriotic Americans and charitable foundations.

MassResistance reveals shocking background of judge who ruled against Pastor Scott Lively

Federal Judge Michael Ponsor

The federal judge who recently issued a vitriolic 79-page ruling against Pastor Scott Lively has a disturbing background revealing prejudices and improprieties that under federal law should certainly have disqualified him from presiding over the case, MassResistance has discovered. Presiding Federal Judge Michael Ponsor issued the ruling back in August.

As MassResistance has been reporting, Pastor Scott Lively, a well-known pro-family author, theologian, and Christian minister, is currently the target of the most bizarre lawsuit in our memory. Pastor Lively is being put on trial for allegedly perpetrating “international crimes against humanity” harming the people in Uganda. The case is being brought by the far-left New York-based Soros-funded Center For Constitutional Rights (CCR).

Pastor Scott Lively

Lively’s only “crime” seems to be his outspoken criticism of the homosexual movement. The lawsuit is not based on anything Lively (or anyone he’s ever met) actually did. It is simply an outrageous concoction of accusations based on his pro-family meetings, writings, and conversations, which took place on a handful of occasions in Uganda and in the US. Furthermore, Lively has not been charged with any actual crime in either country.

CCR filed the case on behalf of a homosexual group in Uganda called Sexual Minorities of Uganda (“SMUG”), which claims to have been harshly persecuted and that Lively ultimately caused that.

This will have a disastrous affect on the entire pro-family movement in America if successful.

Case should have been derailed by recent Supreme Court ruling

The lawsuit was filed in the Federal District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts in 2012. Lively’s Liberty Counsel legal team countered with a response and motion to dismiss, thoroughly refuting all the charges.

The US Federal Courthouse in Springfield on the day of the hearing on the motion to dismiss. Note the crowd of homosexual activists demonstrating in front against Pastor Lively.

The court’s hearing on the motion to dismiss, held on January 7, 2013, was presided by Judge Ponsor. Lively’s lawyers clearly indisputably demolished the plaintiff’s points. CCR appeared weak and disorganized and as we reported, Ponsor appeared biased even then.

Angry demonstration against Scott Lively in front of the courthouse on the day of the hearing. NOTE: At far right speaking in microphone, member of SMUG contingent who came from Uganda. Second from right is Luke Ryan, local counsel for CCR and activist who had been in courtroom earlier.

In April, after the hearing on the motion to dismiss but before the ruling was issued, a startling thing happened. The US Supreme Court issued its ruling on the Kiobel case which essentially nullified the Alien Tort Act. That Act had been the main pillar of the CCR’s attempt to charge Lively, a US citizen, for alleged acts in a foreign country. As weak as CCR’s case had been, it seemed now infinitely weaker as nearly all existing suits around the country involving the Alien Tort Act were quickly dismissed. Everything seemed in place for a slam-dunk dismissal of this absurd case, as well.

Extremely hostile ruling by Ponsor rejecting motion to dismiss

But then on August 14, 2013, the nightmare happened. Judge Ponsor issued his extremely hostile ruling that flatly rejected every one of Lively’s defenses andaccepted all of CCR’s charges against him as legitimate. Ponsor refused to acknowledge that the Kiobel ruling affected this case! Among many other things, Ponsor’s ruling labeled Lively’s speeches as “offensive conduct” and compared Lively to the Nazi war criminals in WWII. (We have a full analysis of that ruling coming up.)

Lively’s lawyers (and the rest of us) were floored. This case itself makes no sense at all, except as a means to severely punish Lively for his views on homosexuality and to send a strong message to the rest of the pro-family movement.

In addition, this now opens the door for an intrusive personal “discovery” processagainst Lively by CCR’s lawyers in preparation for the actual trial against him. In fact, that process has already begun.

An appeal against this particular kind of ruling asking for a higher court to dismiss the case, known as a Writ of Mandamus, is very unusual, but Lively’s attorneys have filed a quite thorough writ. It is still in process.

Will our new findings have an effect on it? We hope so.

Ponsor’s troubling background relative to this case

What is really going on that could explain Ponsor’s absurd ruling? Recently, MassResistance has found out that there’s a disturbing undercurrent to this story.

The homosexual movement is infamous for its success at shrewd “judge shopping” to push their agenda in the US court system. Ponsor was clearly a perfect choice. Ponsor is openly liberal and a protégé of pro-homosexual Judge Joseph Tauro, who recently ruled to strike down DOMA in the federal court. But that’s just his more visible profile.

MassResistance has recently learned more on Ponsor’s shocking background. This information was not known to the defendants when the case began.

An objective observer would question his ability to be impartial in light of these facts:

Outwardly supported radical homosexual movement very early on.Ponsor’s bias favoring the homosexual movement goes back several years. At his judicial induction ceremony on Feb. 14, 1994 (after being appoint by Pres. Bill Clinton), Ponsor told the assembled crowd, “We have a proud, vibrant gay and lesbian community” in Western Massachusetts. At that time, it was a particularly unusual statement to make, especially for a judge.

Made indirect donations to plaintiff’s organization. For the last two years Ponsor and his wife have contributed to the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWF). CFWF has donated money to the plaintiff’s organization, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005.

Revealed bias regarding eastern African peoples (and SMUG). Several members of SMUG attended the hearing and sat in the courtroom. During the hearing, Ponsor remarked, “I’m pleased to adjudicate issues that affect the people of Uganda,” and added that that it was “good to see the people whose interests are directly affected.” It was an odd statement for a judge in a US courtroom to make. As a young man, Ponsor lived in Kenya (which borders Uganda) for over a year teaching English. He speaks Swahili, the official language of Uganda. He appears to be invested in “protecting” that area against those he feel would “harm” the people there.

Has homosexual issues in his family. Ponsor’s former (second) wife, the mother of his two children (and whom he divorced in 1992) now lives a lesbian lifestyle and is “married” to a female Massachusetts judge. Among other things, she has written for the “Gay and Lesbian Review.”

Ponsor’s daughter wrote on an Internet blog that she “came out” as a lesbian in 1999, along with other references to lesbian activity.

Ponsor’s first wife was heavily involved with pro-lesbian feminist groups during the time they were married.

Has troubling ties to plaintiff’s local counsel, who is also a radical activist. The local opposing counsel in this case, Luke Ryan, worked as a law clerk for Ponsor from 2005-2007 and appears to be close friends with him. Ryan is an active supporter of Arise for Social Justice, a thuggish pro-homosexual group which, along with “Occupy Springfield,”has terrorized Pastor Lively’s downtown coffee house mission. Ryan is also involved with Out Now, a homosexual group that demonstrated against Lively at the court hearing.

Luke Ryan, local opposing counsel and radical activist, clerked for Judge Ponsor for two years.

In addition to all that is Ponsor’s outrageously activist judicial philosophy. This past June Ponsor told the local Springfield Republican newspaper: “At some point I realized that judges are the unappointed legislators of mankind, and what we do is just as creative.” It’s exactly what John Adams warned us about.

Website for local radical homosexual group “Out Now.” Notice their vitriol against Pastor Scott Lively continues. Opposing attorney Luke Ryan is active with this group.

Federal law on the requirements of impartiality

The federal law and the Code of Conduct is pretty clear, as it should be:

The federal law 28 United States Code 455(a) Supp. IV, 1974 states:

Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

The website for the Code of Conduct for United States Judges adds:

An appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would conclude that the judge’s honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge is impaired.

Given that Judge Ponsor’s personal background facts were not disclosed to the defendant, and that they clearly show Ponsor is not impartial on homosexuality and other pertinent issues, he should have been disqualified from this case.

This absurd case has become a nightmarish miscarriage of justice. It represents the worst aspects of the “homo-fascism” that is gripping our country, which aims to utterly destroy anyone who disagrees with or opposes the sexual radical agenda.

Federal Judge Michael Ponsor should have been disqualified from case.

We will continue to cover this for you.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on MassResistance.org.

FL Supreme Court rules “legislative privilege is not absolute”

The Florida Supreme Court ruled on Friday, December 13th in THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF FLORIDA, et al., Petitioners, vs. THE FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, et al., Respondents that:

In this opinion, we decide for the first time that Florida should recognize a legislative privilege founded on the constitutional principle of separation of powers, thus rejecting the challengers’ assertion that there is no legislative privilege in Florida. We also hold, however, that this privilege is not absolute where, as in this case, the purposes underlying the privilege are outweighed by the compelling, competing interest of effectuating the explicit constitutional mandate that prohibits partisan political gerrymandering and improper discriminatory intent in redistricting. We therefore reject the Legislature’s argument that requiring the testimony of individual legislators and legislative staff members will have a “chilling effect” among legislators in discussion and participation in the reapportionment process, as this type of “chilling effect” was the precise purpose of the constitutional amendment outlawing partisan political gerrymandering and improper discriminatory intent.

This decision will have a ripple effect across all levels of government in Florida.

While the specific case upon which this decision was decided involved the Florida legislature and redistricting it will impact all those who legislate at the city and county levels in Florida. The actions of mayors, city and county commissioners, state legislators and the Governor will all become more transparent.

Hugh Culverhouse, a Miami based lawyer, noted, “Every county, city and state commissioner, manager, employee, Senator, Congressman is covered by the FL Supreme Court’s decision, which is very broad. The case defined what is a ‘legislative act and who can claim it.’ The Boards of County Commission are legislators, as are mayors, and any board empowered to make rules, regulations or act in a quasi-judicial capacity (e.g. make zoning decisions). It is in no way limited to the issue of state Representative’s motives for voting to redistrict in a specific geographic way. That was simply the vehicle for the Supreme Court to decide whether Florida recognizes a legislative privilege, and if so, is the privilege absolute or qualified. The Court in a  7-2 strong decision stated that Florida will recognize legislative privilege, however, it is qualified.”

According Culverhouse, “The best part is the Florida Supreme Court is followed by many other states in saying rule makers and decision makers cannot hide behind a ‘privilege.’ They can still take the Fifth Amendment when their testimony would tend to incriminate them, and I expect, in Sarasota County for example, some will. But they cannot hide. You are not going to accept a campaign contribution in return for promising to vote a certain way two weeks later and then claim legislative privilege. Now, you will admit to a crime or take the fifth.”

It appears the Florida Supreme Court on Friday the 13th made our governments at every level more transparent and more accountable to the people. Bad luck for our elected and appointed officials, good luck for all Floridians.

Religious freedom under attack at Florida’s military bases

I am dedicated to the First Amendment. The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There is a reason the First Amendment begins with and is anchored by the “free exercise” of religion. America was founded as and remains a Judeo-Christian nation. The Armed Forces are a bastion of Judeo-Christian values, a tradition that pre-dates the founding of the United States of America. The absolute need for a military chaplaincy was understood and promoted by General George Washington. Military chaplains were authorized by the Second Continental Congress, at Washington’s insistence, on July 29, 1775, thereby predating the Declaration of Independence by one year. Chaplains have been the center of support and succor for soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, the Coast Guard and their families as they deal with the pressures of war fighting, prolonged absences and duty to the nation.

Florida is home to twenty-one military bases and facilities, including the headquarters of the US Central Command at MacDill AFB in Tampa, FL.

Religious freedom is under attack within our military as demonstrated in the video below courtesy of the Thomas More Law Center. In the video members of the US Armed Forces speak out about the culture of fear and intimidation in the US military that is forcing Christian soldiers to hide their faith in Florida and elsewhere.

TMLC states, “This is happening despite the fact that, since its inception, America has been considered a Christian Nation. The overwhelming percentage of the men and women who currently serve in our Armed Forces are Christian. And an overwhelming percentage of those who have died in defense of our country were Christian.”

The attacks on Christianity in the military have caused the Bible to be banned from military hospitalschaplains to be deemed non-essentialprayer to be banned from military funerals and soldiers to be dismissed for voicing their Christian beliefs about homosexual marriage. For a more exhaustive list of attacks on the religious freedom prepared by the Family Research Council of Christians click here.

“The attack on the religious freedom of Christians in the military is a warning for us all of what is coming if we do not stop it now,” warns TMLC.

TMLC asks, “If you are a member of the Armed Forces in Florida and believe that your right to religious freedom as a Christian has been violated click here to complete the legal help request form or call the Thomas More Law Center at 734-827-2001.”

EDITORS NOTE: The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity and Watchdog Wire have begun an effort to raise awareness about and protect the First Amendment using the #IAM1A project. To learn more about #IAM1A click here.

ABOUT THE THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER:

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life.  It supports a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America.  The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization.  You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.

Florida cites English Common Law to deny small businessman a jury trial

This is Part II in the series of investigative reports WDW – FL is publishing on the Florida Department of Revenue (FLDOR), the mandated unemployment insurance assessments and an $18 million lawsuit by Florida small businessman Don Baldauf. WDW – FL examines the potential impact of this lawsuit on taxation and regulation in the sunshine state. Governor Rick ScottAttorney General Pam Bondi, 12th Circuit Court Judge K. Douglass Henderson and twenty-three others defendants are named in the lawsuit.

Read Part I by clicking here.

Baldauf protested the mandate that he pay Florida’s unemployment insurance assessment as a sole proprietor business. All businesses are mandated by the Florida Department of Revenue (FLDOR) to pay for unemployment insurance. Florida is the only provider of unemployment insurance. The unemployment insurance assessments are administered by the FLDOR. Currently FLDOR rules deny sole proprietorship businesses benefits, like Baldauf’s Epitome Systems. During the lengthy administrative hearing process Baldauf continually requested a trial by jury. FLDOR consistently denied his request.

On what grounds was Baldauf”s request for a jury trial denied? That is the focus of Part II.

Baldauf states, “I am suing because I have been deprived of my US Constitution Seventh Amendment rights as a Florida small businessman. Each and every one named as defendants is accused of taking part in preventing me from settling this taxation controversy with the State of Florida by invoking my right to a jury trial. What reason was I given for not being able to exercise my right to a trial by jury? Because King George III says I do not have that right. Yep, according to some of the plaintiffs 1776 never happened!” Baldauf started a website titled JuryTrialRights.com where interested individuals may view the lawsuit and related documents.

Article I, § 22, of the Florida Constitution states a right to a jury trial “shall be secure to all and remain inviolate.”

The Governor and FLDOR have denied Baldauf a jury trial citing 1845 English common laws. Exhibit 7-D and Exhibit 20-A specifically cite 1845 English common laws. Exhibit 7-D cites “FOREIGN STATUTES” and 1845 English common laws. The Chief Counsel for the Governor’s office cites 1845 English common law in Exhibit 20-A. Both cite the 1994 Florida Supreme Court case Printing House vs. The Department of Revenue. In that case the Florida Supreme Court found:

Printing House, Inc. v. Department of Revenue, 614 So.2d 1119 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992). We have jurisdiction. Art. V, § 3(b)(4), Fla. Const. We hold that a taxpayer has no right to a jury trial when contesting tax assessments, but a taxpayer who pays the assessment under protest and requests a refund is entitled to a jury trial, as is a taxpayer who challenges a punitive civil penalty. The decision of the district court is approved in part and quashed in part.

Baldauf notes:

  1. The Printing House case is about ad valorem (property) and excise taxes not unemployment insurance assessments.
  2. In November 2011, Tabatha Bookout–Aldous, Revenue Administrator II – SES for the FLDOR, filed a tax lien against Baldauf’s business in Sarasota County, FL violating, according to Baldauf, Florida Statute 443 and denying him his right to due process.
  3. In June 2012 a unemployment insurance assessment was taken directly from Baldauf’s bank account by the FLDOR under protest by Baldauf. Baldauf’s bank was instructed by the to send the FLDOR $1,157.30 out of his bank account. This action was executed by Lisa Vickers by Ewa Zietarska from the FLDOR.
  4. Therefore as the Florida Supreme Court has ruled Baldauf is, given 1, 2  and 3 above, “entitled to a jury trial”.

The Constitution of the State of Florida, Article II  SECTION 5 states:

“(b) Each state and county officer, before entering upon the duties of the office, shall give bond as required by law, and shall swear or affirm:” “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida; that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the state; and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of   (title of office)   on which I am now about to enter. So help me God.”

Baldauf states, “By citing English common law over the U.S. Constitution all defendants have violated their oath of office.”

Baldauf notes, “The Constitution does not grant rights, it secures them.  In Miranda vs. Arizona found, ‘Where rights are secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making no legislation which would abrogate them.’ Again, if there had been something to site in our own Constitution to support the position it would have never sited English Law. Here is a quote “For too long our rights have been eroded in the shadows. Judges, lawyers and legislators ignore our rights for the benefit of their own absolute power over the people. The only way to stop it is to shine the brightest of lights on it and make this fight a very public one.”

Part III will show the sequence of actions the FLDOR took against Baldauf.

FL Small Business Owner sues Governor Scott & AG Bondi for $18 million

This is Part I of a series of investigative reports we are publishing on the Florida Department of Revenue (FLDOR), the mandated unemployment business tax and a lawsuit by Florida small businessman Don Baldauf. We will examine the potential impact of this lawsuit on taxation and regulation in the sunshine state.

Governor Rick Scott at his first inaugural address stated that the axis of unemployment are taxation, regulation and litigation. Governor Scott has traveled the state to promote his pro-growth and pro-small business agenda. Governor Scott said, “Job creation is an absolute mission.”

So why are Florida Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, 12th Circuit Court Judge K. Douglass Henderson and twenty-three others defendants named in an $18 million lawsuit brought by Don Baldauf a small business owner?

Baldauf states, “I am suing because I have been deprived of my US Constitution Seventh Amendment rights as a Florida small businessman. Each and every one named as defendants is accused of taking part in preventing me from settling this taxation controversy with the State of Florida by invoking my right to a jury trial. What reason was I given for not being able to exercise my right to a trial by jury? Because King George III says I do not have that right. Yep, according to some of the plaintiffs 1776 never happened!” Baldauf started a website titled JuryTrialRights.com where interested individuals may view the lawsuit and related documents.

The Seventh Amendment states:

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Background:

Florida has no state income tax, yet all Florida businesses, including sole proprietorships, must file a quarterly income tax return and pay unemployment taxes to the FLDOR.

According to the Florida Department of Revenue website, “Corporations and artificial entities that conduct business, or earn or receive income in Florida, including out-of-state corporations, must file a Florida corporate income tax return unless exempt. They must file a return, even if no tax is due. Sole proprietorships, individuals, estates of decedents, and testamentary trusts are exempted and do not have to file a return.”

Baldauf is the sole proprietor of Epitome Systems, a certified alarm system contractor and Florida “S” corporation. Baldauf was licenced in 2004 and Epitome Systems is headquartered in Bradenton, FL. According to the Digital Media Law Project website on sole proprietorship in Florida, “If you have four or more employees in Florida, you must carry workers’ compensation insurance.” But all Florida business regardless of the number of employees must pay Florida unemployment insurance.

Baldauf is mandated by the FLDOR to pay unemployment taxes, for which Florida is the only provider. Additionally, should Baldauf close Epitome Systems he cannot collect unemployment insurance until he finds a new job or starts another company. According to Baldauf, “As I understand it when Congress expanded unemployment benefits the state had to borrow money from Washington with interest. So when I and all other Florida corporations pay the unemployment tax a portion of that is used to pay the interest on the loan that Florida has with the federal government.”

Jim Stratton in his July 2012 Orlando Sentinel column “Florida owes federal government $700 million for jobless benefits” wrote, “Florida businesses owe the federal government almost $700 million borrowed to make unemployment payments during the past three years. Each year the balance remains unpaid, the amount employers pay on their federal unemployment tax increases slightly. They are already paying 0.6 of a percentage point more per employee than before the recession.”

Medical Office Resources of Florida reported:

“The Governor of Florida has signed the legislative bill [in 2012] which changes the Florida state unemployment tax paid by Florida employers to an $8,000 taxable wage base and rates now range from 1.51% to 5.40%.  The new company rate will remain at 2.70%.

The good news is that the proposed taxable wage base per employee is $8,000; $500 less than the 2012 proposed limit.  This is still a $1,000 increase per taxable wage base per employee from last year.

Additional good news is that the tax rates range from 5.40% to 1.51%.  The proposed lowest rate for 2012 was 2.02%, but it has been decreased to 1.51%.  The 2011 highest rate of 5.4% remains the same, but the lowest rate is now 1.51%.  However, this will adversely impact your tax amount if your current rate is less.”

In 1992 the Florida legislature passed a Taxpayers Bill of Rights, which states, “The Department of Revenue is responsible for administering the tax laws of Florida in a fair and efficient manner. Promoting voluntary compliance, which ensures that all taxpayers pay their applicable taxes, is an important part of the Department’s mission. The Department also has an obligation to monitor compliance and to take action when taxpayers fail to comply with relevant tax laws. The provisions in the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights protect taxpayers’ privacy and assets during any actions taken by the Department of Revenue.”

Baldauf has been through a series of administrative processes, telephone conversations, exchanges of documents with the FLDOR and a 12th Circuit Court hearing since April of 2011 to try to settle his case. All to no avail.

Part II of our investigative report will look at the fairness and efficiency of the administrative process to address Baldauf’s original complaint. WDW – FL in Part III will look at how the FLDOR took action against Baldauf, the taxpayer who refused to comply with relevant tax laws. Part IV will look at the potential impact on Florida businesses should Baldauf succeed in his lawsuit.

RELATED VIDEO: Governor Rick Scott speaks about unemployment taxes in 2010. Video courtesy of WTSB Channel 10 News, Tampa Bay:

Pinellas citizens continue to challenge corrupt commissioners

The following is courtesy of the Florida Term Limits blog:

According to a 2012 study, Florida is the most corrupt state in the United States based on the number of state officials convicted on federal public corruption charges.

“Florida faces a corruption crisis that threatens the state’s reputation, its economy and its ability to attract new jobs and capital,” wrote study authors Dan Krassner and Ben Wilcox.

This should come as no surprise to Pinellas County residents, who are governed by four county commissioners in defiance of the county’s voter-approved 8-year term limits law. After the term limits amendment was approved by 73% of voters in 1996, commissioners refused to insert the amendment into the county charter even after it was validated by a district court in 1999 and the state Supreme Court in 2012.

That it was their duty to do so is beyond question. Per charter Article VI Sec. 6-02 (3): “If approved by a majority of those electors voting on the amendment at the general election, the amendment shall become effective on the date specified in the amendment, or, if not so specified, on January 1 of the succeeding year.” While a court has the power to invalidate an amendment, there is no leeway here for commissioners alone to refuse to accept the vote of the people.

After a commissioner-friendly local court refused to grant relief, Pinellas citizens are now appealing to the Second District Court of Appeals to have their votes finally counted. On Sept. 30, appellants H. Patrick Wheeler and Maria Scruggs filed their Initial Brief to the Lakeland court.

The filing is against Susan Latvala, John Morroni, Kenneth Welch and Karen Seel, the four commissioners who cling to their power and paychecks in defiance of law. Among other things, the brief documents their ill-gotten gains, including annual salaries of close to $100,000 when including expenses. It also points out the commissioners are using taxpayer money to invalidate the clearly expressed will of those same taxpayers.

Backlash for 3 Sarasota commissioners on Stand Your Ground Vote

Frances Rice, a Sarasota resident, is outraged at three Sarasota City Commissioners who voted to pass a resolution which calls for the repeal of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law.

“This will result in the denial of our Second Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution,” states retired Army Lt. Colonel Frances Rice, who is pursuing avenues for initiating a petition to recall Sarasota City Vice Mayor Willie Shaw, Commissioner At-Large Suzanne Atwell and Commissioner At-Large Susan Chapman (see photos and contact information at the end of this column).

“I was inspired by the successful recall of Colorado Senate President John Morse and state Sen. Angela Giron,” Colonel Rice said.  “They were ousted from office after they abridged the Second Amendment right of the citizens of Colorado with a draconian and unconstitutional gun-control law.”  She went on to say that “it is unconscionable that Vice Mayor Shaw and Commissioners Atwell and Chapman are now using their elected office as a vehicle for abridging the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Sarasota.”

Colonel Rice further stated that Vice Mayor Shaw and Commissioners Atwell and Chapman have “misrepresented Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law as a gun law when it is not.  This law contains absolutely no references to guns or shooting.”  According to Rice the self-defense, self-protection law has four key components:

1.    It establishes that law-abiding residents and visitors may legally presume there is a threat of bodily harm or death from anyone who breaks into a residence or occupied vehicle.  Law-abiding citizens and visitors may, in these circumstances, use defensive force, including deadly force, against the intruder.

2.    In any other place where the law-abiding resident or visitor “has a right to be,” that person has “no duty to retreat” if attacked.   The law-abiding resident or visitor may “meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

3.    In either case, a law-abiding resident or visitor using the force permitted by the law is immune from criminal prosecution or civil action.  The law-abiding resident or visitor cannot be arrested, unless a law enforcement agency determines there is probable cause that the force used was unlawful.

4.    If a civil action is brought and the court finds the law-abiding resident or visitor (the defendant) to be immune based on the parameters of the law, the law-abiding resident or visitor (the defendant) will be awarded all costs of defense.

Rice points to two articles which address how African Americans are affected by Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law:  “How Black Leaders Exploit Their People for Political and Financial Gain” by Gary DeMar and “Five Myths of the ‘Racist’ Criminal Justice System” by Larry Elder.

“Neither Vice Mayor Shaw nor Commissioners Atwell and Chapman called for a repeal of Florida’s self-defense law when a white man in Tampa, David James, was killed by a black man, Trevor Dooley, and Trevor Dooley invoked the self-defense law in his defense.  An article is posted on the Internet which provides additional analysis is entitled “George Zimmerman & Trevor Dooley: Stand Your Ground Hypocrisy?” by Lee Stranahan,” notes Rice.

Rice states, “Not one word was said by Vice Mayor Shaw or Commissioners Atwell and Chapman when, in Jacksonville, the NAACP advocated the use of Florida’s self-defense law in support of a black woman, Marissa Danielle Alexander, who claimed self-defense against an abusive husband.  The details about this case can be found in an article entitled ‘NAACP weighs in on what they say is a ‘Stand Your Ground’ case against Jacksonville woman‘ by Charles Broward.”

Rice notes, “Yet, Vice Mayor Shaw and Commissioners Atwell and Chapman have now roused themselves and passed a resolution to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law when their action will have no effect other than to deny the citizens of Sarasota their Second Amendment rights.”

Mayor Shannon Snyder and Commissioner District 2 Paul Caragiulo voted against the resolution. Mayor Snyder spoke in full support of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law and the duty of elected officials to protect the Second Amendment right of the citizens of Sarasota.

Colonel Rice opined that “Vice Mayor Shaw and Commissioners Atwell and Chapman should be held accountable for their blatant abuse of power and malfeasance by being recalled from office.”

Two City Commissioners are already backtracking on their vote to repeal Stand Your Ground. Susan Chapman said,”We didn’t vote to repeal Stand Your Ground. We voted to revisit it.” Suzanne Atwell said her support for the vice-mayor’s plan should be seen as agreeing to have “a conversation about a highly charged issue.” The repeal was listed in the City Commission’s document titled Revised Final 2014 Legislative Priorities. The revised priorities state, “The City Commission requests that the State Legislature repeal the Stand Your Ground statute and establish a more civil approach to governance than afforded under the current statute.” [Emphasis added]

To view the results of this survey as a pie chart click here.

UPDATE: According to the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), “Yesterday, the Sarasota City Commission met with the Sarasota County Legislative Delegation to present the city’s list of legislative priorities.  One of those priorities requested the legislative delegation to work to repeal Florida’s ‘Stand your Ground’ statute. Fortunately, the four legislators attending this meeting disagreed with the city commission and oppose repealing the ‘Stand your Ground’ statute.”

EDITORS NOTE: The City of Sarasota is governed by a “Commission – Manager” form of government. There are five City Commissioners, two are elected at-large and three are elected from single-member districts. All elections are nonpartisan.

Mayor Shannon Snyder

Mayor Shannon Snyder
District Three
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Shannon.Snyder@sarasotagov.com

Commissioner Willie Shaw

Vice-Mayor Willie Shaw
District One
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Willie.Shaw@sarasotagov.com

Commissioner Suzanne Atwell

Commissioner Suzanne Atwell
At-Large
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Suzanne.Atwell@sarasotagov.com

Commissioner Paul Caragiulo

Commissioner Paul Caragiulo
District Two
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Paul.Caragiulo@sarasotagov.com

Commissioner Susan Chapman

Commissioner Susan Chapman
At-Large
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Susan.Chapman@sarasotagov.com

Online Survey: City of Sarasota, FL wants to repeal Stand Your Ground – do you agree?

The City of Sarasota, FL has experienced a 34% decrease in the City’s taxable property since 2008, which has affected the City’s operating revenues and levels of services. The Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability (UAAL) for the City’s three defined benefit plans and Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) plan was $296 million as of September 30, 2012. The City has a investment in capital assets net of related debt of $161,031,693 in 2012, up $4.91 million from 2011. The City has unrestricted net assets of $64,273,514. (NOTE: Although the City’s investment in its capital assets is reported net of related debt, it should still be noted that the resources needed to repay this debt must be provided from other sources, since the capital assets themselves cannot be used to liquidate these liabilities.)

At the end of the current fiscal year, the City had a total bonded debt outstanding of $142,008,656. Of this amount, $42,909,043 comprises debt backed by the full faith and credit of the City. The City’s interest on long-term debt in 2012 was $4,519,066. The City of Sarasota is on a path to become a mini-Detroit.

So what is top of mind with the City Commissioners? Repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground (SYG) statute.

Please take the Online Survey at the end of the column.

According to Allison Neilson from Sunshine State News, “When outlining the major legislative priorities for its 2014 agenda, the Sarasota City Commission voted to support a repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws. The repeal was listed in the City Commission’s document titled Revised Final 2014 Legislative Priorities.”

The City Commission vote was taken on September 7th, just days before the September 10th recall vote in Colorado where two Democrat legislators were ousted for their support of gun control.

The ball is now in the court of the Sarasota Legislative Delegation headed by FL Senator Nancy Detert (R). Delegation members include: FL Representatives Jim Boyd (R), Ray Pilon (R), Darryl Rouson (D), Greg Steube (R) and Doug Holder (R).

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legal Action (NRA-ILA) has already weighed in on this City initiative. The NRA-ILA sent out an email to members asking them to contact the Sarasota Legislative Delegation members and ask them to oppose the City’s priority to repeal SYG. The NRA-ILA states, “The ‘Stand your Ground’ statute gives back rights that have been eroded or taken away by a judicial system that, at times, appears to give preferential treatment to criminals.”

“The City Commission can’t expect a victim to wait before taking action to protect himself and his family and say, ‘excuse me, Mr. Criminal, are you here breaking into my home to rape and kill me or are you just here to beat me up and steal my TV set? And by the way what kind of weapon do you have?'”, asks the NRA-ILA.

WDW has asked Sarasota Legislative Delegation members for a statement on the City’s priority to repeal SYG. No replies have been received as of the publication of this column.

The NRA-ILA notes, “A law-abiding citizen should not have to worry about being arrested or prosecuted if you use force to defend yourself or your family. You should be able to presume that anyone who unlawfully intrudes is there to harm you.”

To view the results of this survey as a pie chart click here.

RELATED:

Total Recall: Colorado Lawmakers Ousted in Historic Vote

Florida Second Amendment Protection Act Goes LIVE!

VIDEO: Miami-Dade citizens harassed for making a “public records request”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhmO0g7mc0M[/youtube]

Hat tip to Jack Furnari from BizPac Review for this report. Furnari states, “In the [below] video, a group of political gadflies walk into Hialeah City Hall and make a simple public records request while filming themselves, and they are harassed every step of the way, in violation of state law.”

Florida statute 119.07, Inspection and copying of records, reads, “Every person who has custody of a public record shall permit the record to be inspected and copied by any person desiring to do so, at any reasonable time, under reasonable conditions, and under supervision by the custodian of the public records.”

PINAC logo.

Carlos Miller, who was part of the group making the public records request, writes on PINAC, ” Florida has perhaps the most liberal public records laws in the United States, but you wouldn’t know that by making simple requests to the government officials in charge of those records. And you especially wouldn’t know that in Hialeah, a Miami-Dade municipality that has a long history of corruption, despite its ‘City of Progress’ nickname.”

“That’s where we ended up getting detained by police on Tuesday because, in their words, we had ‘invaded’ the city clerk’s office and ‘attacked’ them with our cameras, putting them ‘under threat’ and causing them to feel ‘intimidated’,” reports Miller.

Furnari notes, “The most outrageous part of this video happens when the gadflies leave the building and the police detain them, demanding their identification without any probable cause that a crime has been committed.”

RELATED: We Were Detained by Hialeah Police for Making a Public Records Request at City Hall

FL Human Rights Organizations defeat Miami-Dade “Transsexual” Ordinance

Recently, the Christian Family Coalition (CFC), a Florida based human rights and social justice advocacy organization, with seventeen other civil and human rights organizations held a press conference at Miami-Dade County Hall to permanently defeat the discriminatory “Transsexual” ordinance.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro

The ordinance was sponsored by Miami-Dade Commissioners Audrey Edmonson and Bruno Barreiro. The “Transsexual” ordinance would allow men dressed up as women or pretending to be women to use women’s bathrooms, dressing rooms, locker rooms, and showers. Furthermore, in the area of employment, it would legalize the firing of anyone disagreeing with this policy simply because of who they are and what they believe.

“We must make sure that this discriminatory ‘Transsexual’ ordinance never returns,” said Nathaniel J. Wilcox, Director of  People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality (PULSE), a South Florida civil rights organization.

CFC notes, “Even though the ordinance was never approved, it claimed its first victim when Commission Vice-Chair Lynda Bell was threatened and dehumanized by the extremists pushing the ordinance.”

“I am truly grateful to Miami-Dade Commission Vice Chair Lynda Bell for doing her duty as a public servant and voting against a proposed ordinance on its first reading,” Teresita “Tessie” Miglio said at Monday’s press conference. “Unfortunately, she became a victim of discrimination and hate by the very group that was trying to force this discriminatory law on every Miami-Dade County resident. Commissioner Bell, please know that there are numerous human rights organizations that proudly stand by you.”

“Today, we are calling on Commissioners, Edmonson, Barreiro, Jordan and Heyman to sign the CFC Anti-Discrimination Challenge to make sure this discriminatory ordinance never returns to Miami-Dade County,” stated Anthon Verdugo, CFC Founder and Executive Director.

CFC protest against Transgender ordinance. For a larger view click on the photo.

The “transsexual” proposal, passed 11-1 on first reading. Commission Vice Chairwoman Lynda Bell casting the lone vote against it. The proposal then went to the commission’s Health and Social Services Committee, comprised of chairwoman Edmonson, Bell, Commissioners Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Jean Monestime and Javier D. Souto.

After intense lobbying by the CFC and a broad coalition of human rights organizations, ordinance co-sponsors withdrew it on Aug. 13, when they realized they did not have the votes to pass it in committee.

According to CFC, “Now, Miami-Dade residents and human rights activists are asking all four ordinance sponsors to lead by example by signing the ‘NO to Discrimination Challenge‘.”

State Senator Nancy Detert is one of those behind an effort to recognize domestic partnerships (a.k.a gay marriage) in Florida. Many believe Detert would support transgender ordinances like the one defeated in Miami-Dade County. According to the Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC), “On February 20, 2013 at approximately 3:25 p.m. in the Florida Senate Children and Families committee (which Detert is a member), a deceptive and highly controversial bill died. The bill, SB 196, was labeled as a domestic partnership but actually attempted to create a full blown civil union and a form of homosexual marriage in direct violation of the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment passed by Floridians in 2008 by 62%.”

Miami-Dade Commission Transgender Ordinance video:

RELATED:

Firsthand Report on B4U-ACT Conference for ‘Minor-Attracted Persons’ — Aims at Normalizing Pedophilia

Atheist Richard Dawkins makes shocking claim about pedophilia – The Daily Caller

Christian conservatives rally at Miami-Dade County Hall against gender identity non-discrimination law

Smoking gun: Pinellas commissioners conceded on term limits in 2000

Philip Blumel from Florida Term Limits Blog reports:

A smoking gun has been uncovered in the Pinellas term limits case and the defendant’s’ fingerprints are all over it.

You may recall that Pinellas County Commission and constitutional officer term limits passed with 73 percent of the vote in 1996, but the county refused to insert the amendment into their charter as clearly required by the law due to its alleged constitutional ambiguity.

The county commission and the five constitutional officers sued the voters to get the amendment overturned. The district court denied them, upholding the constitutionality of the term limits.

The constitutional officers continued their suit and requested authorization to add the Pinellas County Commission to the appeal. However, the minutes of the 5/30/00 county commission meeting — uncovered via a FOIA request on behalf of plaintiffs in the ongoing case to force commissioners to comply with the law — clearly show that the Pinellas County Commission chose not to participate.

According to the above document, County Attorney Susan H. Churuti advised the commission of their options and the process of becoming appellants. But, the document says, “following discussion, Commissioner [and current defendant Karen] Seel moved, seconded by Commissioner Parks and carried, that the county commission do nothing and let the ruling stand.”

The constitutional officers went all the way to the Supreme Court, alone. This is why only constitutional officer term limits were reviewed in the split 2002 Cook decision that declared constitutional officer limits to be unconstitutional. The Florida Supreme Court never tackled the issue of county commission term limits until 2012 when it unanimously declared them to be constitutional. For good measure, the Supremes overturned Cook at the same time, declaring without ambiguity that charter county voters have the right to impose term limits on their public servants.

Since then, 10 of the 11 charter counties with county commission term limits are obeying the law. Most of them always did. Only Pinellas — after losing at the district level and then at the Florida Supreme Court — continues to defy the voters and the law.

ABOUT FLORIDA TERM LIMITS BLOG

Philip Blumel is president of U.S. Term Limits, a single-issue advocacy group based in Fairfax, VA, and a certified financial planner working out of downtown West Palm Beach, FL.

Florida Churches changing bylaws after gay marriage ruling

Prophecy News Watch reports:

Worried they could be sued by gay couples, some churches are changing their bylaws to reflect their view that the Bible allows only marriage between one man and one woman.

Although there have been lawsuits against wedding industry businesses that refuse to serve gay couples, attorneys promoting the bylaw changes say they don’t know of any lawsuits against churches.

Critics say the changes are unnecessary, but some churches fear that it’s only a matter of time before one of them is sued.

“I thought marriage was always between one man and one woman, but the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision said no,” said Gregory S. Erwin, an attorney for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, an association of Southern Baptist churches and one several groups advising churches to change their bylaws. “I think it’s better to be prepared because the law is changing. America is changing.”

In a June decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as between a man and a woman for purposes of federal law. A second decision was more technical but essentially ushered in legal gay marriage in California.

Kevin Snider is an attorney with the Pacific Justice Institute, a nonprofit legal defense group that specializes in conservative Christian issues. His organization released a model marriage policy a few years ago in response to a statewide gay marriage fight in California. Snider said some religious leaders have been threatened with lawsuits for declining to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Dean Inserra, head pastor of the 1,000-member City Church Tallahassee, based in Florida, said he does not want to be alarmist, but his church is looking into how best to address the issue.

Inserra said he already has had to say no to gay friends who wanted him to perform a wedding ceremony.

“We have some gay couples that attend our church. What happens when they ask us to do their wedding?” Inserra said. “What happens when we say no? Is it going to be treated like a civil rights thing?”

Critics, including some gay Christian leaders, argue that the changes amount to a solution looking for a problem.

“They seem to be under the impression that there is this huge movement with the goal of forcing them to perform ceremonies that violate their freedom of religion,” said Justin Lee, executive director of the Gay Christian Network, a nonprofit that provides support for gay Christians and their friends and families and encourages churches to be more welcoming.

“If anyone tried to force a church to perform a ceremony against their will, I would be the first person to stand up in that church’s defense.”

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia now recognize gay marriage.

Some Christian denominations, such as the United Church of Christ, accept gay marriage. The Episcopal Church recently approved a blessing for same-sex couples, but each bishop must decide whether to allow the ceremony in his or her local diocese.

Read more.

BREAKING: “Impeach Obama” ad to appear in Washington Times

The Florida based National Black Republican Association has sent Articles of Impeachment to the Judiciary Committee in the US House of Representatives. The NBRA has decided to publish an advertisement in the Washington Times and provide a copy of the ad to every member of Congress as they return to work on Tuesday.

Frances Rice, Chair of NBRA stated, “Anyone may download and use the ad, which is camera ready, and pay for it to be in their local newspaper or magazine. The PDF was created by the Washington Times for their use in publishing it in their paper.”

To view and download the full size ad click here.

Congress is dealing with multiple scandals (IRS, NSA, DOJ, Benghazi, Extortion 17, etc.) that raise questions about Executive Branch overreach. Congress will also be debating going to war with Syria over its use of chemical weapons against its own citizen. The ad states, “Congress: Wake up and do your job!”

Below is the Impeach Obama ad that will appear in the Washington Times and be delivered to each Senator and Representative this week.

impeach obama ad

To read the Articles of Impeachment please click here.