A Clash of Organizations in the War on Christmas and the Good Guys Win

ANN ARBOR, MI — On Saturday morning, December 15th, John Satawa with the help of family and friends and the Boy Scouts once again erected the Nativity on a public median in Warren, Michigan. The joyous occasion was the culmination of a four year legal battle in defense of the Nativity waged by the Thomas More Law Center against the County Road Commission and the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

While the Nativity was being erected, Warren police controlled traffic as well-wishers gathered, reporters and TV stations conducted interviews, carolers sang Christmas songs, a priest from nearby St Anne’s Catholic Church blessed the display, and passing cars and trucks sounded their horns and drivers gave a ‘thumbs-up” in approval.

A Nativity at that location was a tradition begun by John Satawa’s father in 1945. It was observed every year thereafter without a single complaint until 2008 when the Road Commission capitulated to a demand letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and ordered Satawa to take it down.  That is when John Satawa contacted the Thomas More Law Center, a national Christian public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The beginning paragraph of the U.S. Court of Appeals opinion which ruled in favor of the Nativity, described the clash between the Thomas More Law Center and the Freedom From  Religion Foundation as follows:

The Macomb County Road Commission faced a dilemma.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation,an organization dedicated to “protect[ing] the fundamental constitutional principle of separation of church and state,” had written a letter objecting to a private citizen’s placing a crèche on a sixty-foot-wide median at Christmas time, as the citizen and his family had done for more than sixty years. The county immediately ordered the crèche removed. In response, the Thomas More Law Center, an organization dedicated to “restor[ing] and defend[ing] America’s Judeo-Christian heritage,”took up the citizen’s cause . . .” (emphasis added)

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, commented: “The Freedom From Religion Foundation conducts seek and destroy missions of Christian expressions throughout America.  But thanks to the perseverance of John Satawa and the insight of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals panel that heard our case, this is one battle they lost. John Satawa is now able to resume this wonderful tradition started over 60 years ago.”

As a result of the Court of Appeals ruling, the Macomb County Road Commission agreed to allow John Satawa to resume the annual tradition of erecting the Nativity display during the 2012 Christmas season and all future Christmas seasons.  The Nativity display will stay up until December 29th.

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.

Gingrich vs. The Pope on Gay Marriage

Former Speaker of the House, architect of the Republican revolution, Presidential Candidate, social conservative and Catholic Newt Gingrich stated, “gay marriage is both inevitable and okay by him”. It appears that Newt’s dramatic change in attitude is politically based. “Legalization of same-sex marriage in three states in 2012’s election changed the landscape, and conservatives have to come to terms with it,” he said according to The Hollywood Gossip magazine.

The Pope in an end-of-year speech warned that the very future of mankind is at stake over gay marriage .

According to The Telegraph, “In the fight for the family, the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question,” the Pope stated in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

The Pope spoke of the “falseness” of gender theories and cited at length France’s chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, who has spoken out against gay marriage.

“Bernheim has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper,” Pope Benedict XVI said.

Reuters reports, “Bernheim, also a philosopher, argues that homosexual rights groups ‘will use gay marriage as a Trojan Horse’ in a wider campaign to ‘deny sexual identity and erase sexual differences’ and ‘undermine the heterosexual fundamentals of our society’. His study, ‘Gay Marriage, Parenthood and Adoption: What We Often Forget To Say’, argues that plans to legalize gay marriage are being made for ‘the exclusive profit of a tiny minority’ and are often supported because of political correctness.”

Is Gingrich being politically correct? Have Republicans caved on the most important social issue facing mankind? Does politics trump core human principles?

“The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI

RELATED COLUMNS:

How the gay movement lobbies your state legislators

CAN YOU NAME ANY PROMINENT BLACK MORMONS?

Column courtesy of Frances Rice:

Democrats consistently push the false narrative that Mormons are racist, while ignoring the existence of black Mormons. Then, hypocritically, Democrats demean black Mormons who step into the spotlight. Witness how Democrats trashed Mia Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, and the Republican Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Utah’s 4th congressional district. An article that describes the despicable treatment of Mayor Love is “Hate-Filled Screeds Appear on Mia Love’s Wikipedia Page” by Patrick Hobin.

Gladys Knight

Among the black Mormons not in the political arena and largely ignored is Gladys Knight who became a Mormon in 1998 after her son Jimmy and his wife and children did so. Ms. Knight was successful as an R&B singer in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She now writes and performs Mormon Gospel music. Sam Warren of “The Drifters”, another famous black R&B group of the 1960s and 1970s, also became a Mormon. A well-known black personality who is also a Mormon is the famous college and NFL football hero Burgess Owens. NBA All-Star player Thurl Bailey became a Mormon, too, and now composes Mormon music.

LeRoy Eldridge Cleaver

An intriguing historical personality is deceased LeRoy Eldridge Cleaver who went from being a Black Panther to Black Mormon. Mr. Cleaver was the Minister of Information in the early Black Panther Party, a combination of Black Nationalism and Marxism. In 1968, he wrote “Soul on Ice” which became an international bestseller and was once considered the “Manifesto” of black nationalists and white radicals.

Among the lesser known, but influential black Mormons is Jesse Thomas Jr., a former Baptist preacher, who became a Mormon in 1989 and now serves in local priesthood-leadership positions. In 1995 Lee Radcliff, a black Baptist minister who served as a pastor in Chicago and Mississippi for decades, also became a Mormon.

The press cynically stirs up religious bigotry against Gov. Mitt Romney because his faith is Mormonism, a religion that embraces our constitutional principles of free enterprise and individual liberty. This effort to get the voting public to hate Mormons is anchored on the false notion that Mormons are racists. The Mormon denigrators focus on how, from 1849 to 1978, the Mormon Church had a policy against ordaining black men to the priesthood. In 1978, church leaders ceased the racial restriction policy for black men, declaring that they had received a revelation instructing them to do so.

In spite of that old rule about the priesthood, the Mormon Church has always had an open membership policy for all races and today’s church opposes racial discrimination and racism. In 1997, there were approximately 500,000 black members of the Mormon Church, accounting for about 5% of the total membership. Since 1997, the black membership has grown substantially, especially in West Africa, where two temples have been built.

It goes against our constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion to declare that a person is not fit to be our nation’s leader because of that person’s religion. No one has called for Democrat Senate Leader Harry Reid to denounce his Mormon religion in order to be the leader of the US Senate.

Frances Rice

Frances Rice, Esquire – Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired)

Frances Rice’s great-great-grandparents were slaves. She spent her formative years in poverty in the segregated South during the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s. Frances was born in Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, the same hospital where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born. She occasionally attended Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. was the pastor.

She joined the Army in 1964 as a Private and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 20 years of active service. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Drury College in 1973, a Master of Business Administration from Golden Gate University in 1976, and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 1977 – all while serving in the US Army.

During twenty years of active duty in the US Army, Frances served in a variety of positions, including commander of a WAC company, adjutant of a basic combat training brigade, a prosecuting attorney, and chief of the administrative law division. She also served as a special assistant to the Army Judge Advocate General and an adviser to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Equal Opportunity.

Subsequent to her military career, Frances worked for the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, serving first as a member of that company’s “think tank,” and then as a government contract advisor. She later taught Business Law for the European Division of the University of Maryland in Brussels, Belgium.

Jeb Bush Endorses Amendment 8

Former Governor Jeb Bush today announced his support for Florida Amendment 8.

“For decades, faith based organizations have provided Floridians with access to high-quality public services including medical care, housing, food, after school programs, and disaster relief. These are basic services that serve Floridians in a time a need,” said Governor Bush.

A pending court case in Florida, Council for Secular Humanism v. McNeil, mounts a constitutional challenge to a prison ministry based upon the current law and has the potential of putting every faith-based social service program here in Florida at risk, according to Citizens for Religious Freedom and Non-Discrimination.

“To restrict these organizations from providing this service through government funding is nothing more than discrimination. I encourage all Floridians to vote ‘yes’ on 8 on election day.”

About Yes on 8

Citizens for Religious Freedom and Non-Discrimination (“Yes on 8”) is focused on ending discrimination against religious organizations and preserving much-need social services through the passage of Amendment 8. Visit www.sayyeson8.com and on Facebook and Twitter @sayyeson8.

Please watch this panel discussion on Amendment 8:

Is Planned Parenthood Worth Borrowing Money From China to Pay For It?

Send a condom to a Republican delegate!

Planned Parenthood “Send a condom to a Republican delegate!” Campaign

During the first Presidential Debate Governor Mitt Romney was asked: What things would you cut from spending? Romney replied, “Well, first of all, I will eliminate all programs by this test — if they don’t pass it: Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?”

Is federal funding for Planned Parenthood worth “borrowing money from China to pay for it?” Keith Fitzgerald thinks so.

Democrat Congressional Candidate Keith Fitzgerald appears in a series of videos taken at an event featuring abortion activist Sandra Fluke. Fitzgerald is fixated on issues that are not of great interest to most Floridians. Polls show that the national debt, jobs and the economy are top of mind with Americans. Fitzgerald at the event made some interesting comments about helping the middle class.

Fitzgerald stated that eliminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood takes away a woman’s ability to “achieve and stay in the middle class”.

“If a young woman has access to reproductive rights and information about how to exercise those rights she can make choices about when to have a child.  She can make the choice to start her family when she has a partner in place, if that is her choice, when she has finished her education, when she has a life plan and a direction – a career and every study will show you that if a woman makes a choice on those grounds her economic prospects are great,” says Fitzgerald

Recent studies have shown that achieving and staying in the middle class is best determined by marital status, not reproductive choice.

The Heritage Foundation found that, “Despite the massive impact of marriage in reducing poverty, government does little or nothing to discourage births outside marriage – and nothing to encourage healthy marriages. Many common misconceptions persist. This isn’t about teen pregnancy: Most non-marital births occur to women in their early 20s. Girls younger than 18 account for only about eight of every 100 births outside marriage. Also, lack of access to birth control isn’t a significant factor.” [My emphasis]

“Planned Parenthood is a private organization that receives a little bit of — in the grand scheme of things – public funding,” says Fitzgerald.

“So, you are leveraging public dollars to let a private organization provide that (reproductive) information and those services.  You take that away and what do you do?  You take away the ability of a young person to make the choices that will allow them to get into the middle class or stay there. So we are taking people in the middle class and throwing them out, but not just them, but their children too. So Planned Parenthood is an issue about middle class as much as it is about women’s rights,” Fitzgerald stated.

However, the Heritage Foundation recommends that, “Government ought to connect low-income couples with community resources to help them learn, or relearn, skills needed to build and sustain healthy marriages – before they bring children into the world. It’s also imperative to reform the welfare system to encourage rather than penalize marriage.”

Fitzgerald said women’s issues, which he defined as Planned Parenthood and reproductive choices, are the primary reason he is running for Congress.

VIDEOS OF FITZGERALD EVENT:

RELATED COLUMN:

Fitzgerald Communications Director Fired after calling Republican “pre-orgasmic”

Florida Catholic Voter Card Released

The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) has released its 2012 voter card comparing President Obama’s record and that of Governor Mitt Romney. The mission of the Conference is to, “Serve as liaison to state government on matters of concern to the Catholic Church in the seven dioceses of the Province of Miami, as a nonpartisan public policy voice on behalf of the Catholic Bishops of Florida.”

The FCCB Voter Card covers a number of social policy issues including abortion, marriage, the death penalty and embryonic stem cell research. It also gives each candidates position on education choice, freedom of religion, heath care access for the uninsured, immigration and national security.

According to the Catholic Voter Card, “In keeping with its mission, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops aims to educate and inform Catholics about a wide range of issues. The information listed here has been compiled from policies, public statements, official and campaign websites and other resources to help voters inform their consciences before heading to the voting booth. The issues appear here in alphabetical order for informational purposes only and do not represent a complete list of issues that may be of importance to Catholics. The FCCB neither supports nor opposes any candidate for public office. The underlined text below indicates a hyperlink to the source. Go to www.flaccb.org to view these links.”

To view the Catholic Bishops 2012 Voter Card click here.

Heritage Foundation: Six Factors That Threaten The American Dream

Courtesy of the Heritage Foundation:

Occupy Wall Street’s pathetic first birthday last week confirmed that the longstanding reports of the movement’s death have not, in fact, been exaggerated. So why are we keeping it alive by talking incessantly about income inequality instead of focusing on what really matters — opportunity and upward mobility?

All this huffing and puffing about widening income gaps — coupled with strident calls for wealth redistribution — detracts from the urgent need to shore up our threatened American Dream and develop an opportunity agenda. The nation’s attention should be squarely focused on expanding everyone’s prospects — especially those at the bottom who most need a hand up and a way out.

What matters is not how much more those at the top earn in relation to those at the bottom — they are, after all, not in competition with one another — but rather the real needs of those at the bottom and the opportunities for advancement available to all Americans. And while government “spreading the wealth around” would surely equalize outcomes — the Left’s Dream — it would neither address the real causes of poverty nor expand the real opportunities and earned successes that define the American Dream.

A new Heritage report defends the American Dream from liberalism’s misguided attempts to redefine it along statist and egalitarian lines and explains why income inequality is not an obstacle to advancement in the United States. What really matters — and continues by and large to thrive — is upward mobility.

Rather than focus on those at the top of the ladder we should be concerned about the hurdles that threaten those struggling to achieve the American Dream. “Defending the Dream” draws attention to six factors that most threaten upward mobility:

Statism: The modern administrative state entangles businesses in a suffocating web of regulations and laws. All of this red tape takes a toll on the economy, which in turn leads to fewer jobs being created. And fewer jobs means fewer opportunities for those most in need of jobs.

The Collapse of the Family: The decline of marriage, especially among the poor, has devastating, long-lasting consequences on children and their prospects for success. When it comes to the American Dream, the family is not a tangential social or religious issue; it is a crucial economic one that is deeply intertwined with mobility.

The Dependency Fostered by the Welfare State: Far from eradicating poverty, the welfare state traps people in poverty by discouraging work and undermining the family.

The Erosion of our Culture of Work: By legitimizing indolence and devaluing hard work, our culture decreases the likelihood that the poor, who are most in need of sound cultural indicators, will take advantage of the opportunities America continues to offer.

The Failures of Public Education: Our failing public schools deny countless children the rudimentary skills they need to move ahead in the life.

The Looming Fiscal Crisis: Unless we change course, continued massive government spending and the surging public debt will destroy the foundations of our economy and put the American Dream beyond the reach of our children and grandchildren.

The rise in income inequality in recent decades has in no way contributed to these problems. They grow out of ill-conceived government policies, point to the complete failure of government to address some of our social problems and, in the case of the collapse of the family, are deep-seated cultural problems encouraged and made worse by governmental policies.

The United States must remain what it has always been: the Land of Opportunity. Misguided efforts to use government to transform it instead into the Land of Income Equality will inevitably leave us all worse off. Our first priority must therefore be to refocus the national conversation and our nation’s policies on the promise of upward mobility that is at the heart of the American Dream.

FRC-Action Releases 112th Congress Pro-Family Score Card

FRC Action and CitizenLink released their Vote Scorecard for the First Session of the 112th Congress. This scorecard outlines votes on legislation and nominations that FRC Action and CitizenLink either supported or opposed. It provides voters with information about the way elected Representatives and Senators voted on key issues affecting the family.

This FRC looked at 10 votes in the House and 7 votes in the Senate. According to FRC, “The votes recorded here are only a part of our effort to protect the family. As we work to defend traditional, pro-family policies in Washington, we encourage you to stay engaged as informed and active constituents. Your involvement is a great asset in the battle to preserve the American family.”

According to the FRC/CitizenLink Score Card of the Florida Delegation: 70% voted pro-family (a score of 60% or higher). Democrats had an average score of 4.6%. Republicans had an average score of 89.6%.

MEMBERS FROM FLORIDA

SENATORS:

Marco Rubio (R) – 71%
Bill Nelson (D) – 0%

REPRESENTATIVES:

Jeff Miller (R) FL-1 – 100%
C. W. Bill Young (R) FL-10 – 83% *
Kathy Castor (D) FL-11 – 0%
Dennis Ross (R) FL-12 – 100%
Vern Buchanan (R) FL-13 – 100%
Connie Mack (R) FL-14 – 50% +
Bill Posey (R) FL-15 – 100%
Tom Rooney (R) FL-16 – 100%
Frederica Wilson (D) FL-17 – 0%
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) FL-18 – 66%
Ted Deutch (D) FL-19 – 0%
Steve Southerland (R) FL-2 – 100%
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) FL-20 – 16%
Mario Diaz-Balart (R) FL-21 – 83%
Allen West (R) FL-22 – 100%
Alcee Hastings (D) FL-23 – 0%
Sandra Adams (R) FL-24 – 100%
David Rivera (R) FL-25 – 83%
Corrine Brown (D) FL-3 – 16%
Ander Crenshaw (R) FL-4 – 66% +
Richard Nugent (R) FL-5 – 100%
Cliff Stearns (R) FL-6 – 100%
John Mica (R) FL-7 – 100%
Daniel Webster (R) FL-8 – 100%
Gus Bilirakis (R) FL-9 – 100%

+ VOTED WITH FRC ACTION
– VOTED AGAINST FRC ACTION
NV DID NOT VOTE
P VOTED PRESENT
I NOT IN OFFICES SPEAKER DID NOT VOTE
* ABSENT FOR FAMILY EMERGENCY

First Amendment Rights Under Attack in Florida

Two Florida cities may have violated the First Amendment to the US Constitution with recent actions taken against local citizens. Those two cities are Venice and Winter Park, Florida.

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.”

The City of Venice, Florida may have violated the First Amendment ” free exercise” clause when it fined Shane and Marlene Roessiger for holding a Bible study class in their home. Bethany Monk in her Citizen Link column, “Florida Town Threatens Family Over Bible Studies” reports:

The city of Venice, Fla., says a family that welomes six to 10 people in their home for a Friday night prayer meeting is breaking the law — and if the meetings continue, they could be forced to pay stiff penalties.

City officials say Shane and Marlene Roessiger’s group, called In Him Ministries, violates a city code prohibiting a “house of worship” from meeting on property that is less than 2.49 acres in size.

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), told CitizenLink the city is violating the family’s rights.

“This nation was built upon people being able to gather and pray and have Bible studies in their homes,” Dacus said. “Many churches are founded upon that as the beginning of their churches. For cities to be allowed to get away with this is totalitarian.”

Venice City Code Enforcement Officials are also threatening the family with fines of $250 per day for having a small sign in their yard that reads “Need Prayer?” followed by the family’s phone number. The code makes exceptions for political signs, however, which are present throughout the neighborhood.

Dacus said PJI will represent the Roessigers free of charge. “And we will do so until we [receive] final justice on their behalf,” he said.

The City of Winter Park, Florida may have violated the First Amendment “right to peaceably assemble” clause when the City Commission voted to shut down most if not all protests within fifty feet of any home and outlaw protests in any residential area. Freedom Outpost in its column City Prepares To Outlaw First Amendment reports:

Winter Park, Florida’s City Commission gave a preliminary approval to make an “emergency public safety ordinance” permanent. It would effectively shut down most if not all protests within fifty feet of any home and no ability to protest in a residential area. This is the First Amendment under attack.

The ban comes after pro-life protestors picketed the home of a notable resident on August 18. Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando CEO Jenna Tosh said, “I literally had to push through these folks who were carrying massive protest signs and signs that said, ‘Jenna Tosh kills babies and hurts women.’”

That night the Commission passed and emergency 60-day ordinance that banned protesting in residential areas. Then on September 10 they voted to make that ordinance permanent.

Isaac Babcock from the Winter Park/Maitland Observer reports, “The 4-1 vote, which was opposed on the Commission by Mayor Ken Bradley, grabbed the interest of a local constitutional lawyer, who said the city went ‘way too far’ to stop anyone from protesting within 50 feet of a residential home in the city. Attorney and UCF political science instructor Derek Brett said the ordinance would ban protesting in ‘huge swaths of the city,’ referring to it as ‘unconstitutionally overboard’.”

City attorneys claim the ordinance will hold up in court. They cite Frisby v. Schultz that was decided by the Supreme Court in 1988. The Court ruled 6-3 that the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly and protest was not violated when the the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, suburb of Brookfield passed an ordinance banning protests outside the home of Dr. Victoria, who performed abortions.

Marriage Reduces Child Poverty in Florida By 78%

Column courtesy of Robert Rector from The Heritage Foundation:

The continuing collapse of marriage in America, along with a dramatic rise in births to single women, is the most important cause of childhood poverty. In Florida, for example, seven of every 10 poor families with children are headed by a single parent, most of them mothers.

Only 7 percent of married couples with children in Florida were poor in 2009, compared with a third of single-parent families with children (33.4 percent). In Florida, marriage drops the probability of a child’s living in poverty by 78 percent.

Such state numbers on marriage and poverty mirror the national ones. Ignoring the positive impact of marriage on children leads to faulty government policies. It’s tragic, really.

On Sept. 12, the U.S. Census Bureau is set to release its annual poverty report. We’re likely to hear that more than 16 million children in America — about one in five — are poor. Clearly the current recession with its high unemployment pushed up these numbers. But the fact is the child poverty rate was high before the recession and will remain so after it ends.

In 2010, nearly half of all children born in Florida were born outside marriage. Sadly, the women most likely to have children without being married are those with the least ability to support children financially on their own. About 75 percent of births to Florida women who are high school dropouts occur outside marriage. Among women who are college graduates, only 11.5 percent of births are out of wedlock.

America is splitting into two economic castes: In the top, children are raised by married couples with a college education. In the bottom, children are raised by single mothers with a high school diploma or less.

Policymakers at the state and national level, of course, know that education reduces poverty. But they’re largely unaware that marriage is an equally strong anti-poverty weapon. Remarkably, being married is as strong a factor in reducing poverty as graduating from high school. In Florida, married couples with children are 74 percent less likely to be poor than single-parent families with the same level of education.

The nation wisely spends billions of dollars a year to educate low-income children, and billions more for means-tested welfare aid for single mothers. But, despite the massive impact of marriage in reducing poverty, government does little or nothing to discourage births outside marriage — and nothing to encourage healthy marriages.

Many common misconceptions persist. This isn’t about teen pregnancy: Most non-marital births occur to women in their early 20s. Girls under 18 account for only about seven of every 100 births outside marriage. Also, lack of access to birth control isn’t a significant factor.

Some claim unmarried fathers just aren’t “marriageable.” In fact, the overwhelming majority are. These fathers have jobs and, on average, have higher earnings than the mothers. If they remained in the home, child poverty would drop dramatically.

Are low-income single mothers hostile to marriage? No. Research shows most look quite favorably on the institution. They simply don’t see marriage as something that should come before the baby carriage. The result is sustained high levels of child poverty and a host of related social problems.

We need to develop new policies that build on these positive attitudes about marriage. Policymakers and ordinary citizens, looking at these numbers, should demand that government provide facts about the value of marriage to at-risk youth.

For instance, government ought to connect low-income couples with community resources to help them learn, or relearn, skills needed to build and sustain healthy marriages — before they bring children into the world.

It’s also imperative to reform the welfare system to encourage rather than penalize marriage.

Just as government discourages young people from doing drugs or dropping out of school, it should expose the severe shortcomings of the “child first, marriage later” philosophy — especially in low-income communities. Then we will begin to lift millions of children out of poverty.

ABOUT ROBERT RECTOR:

Robert Rector, is a leading authority on poverty and the welfare system, is senior research fellow in domestic policy at The Heritage Foundation. He is author of the new report “Marriage: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty” with related papers and charts for Florida and the other states.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Mark Mather from the Population Reference Bureau reports, “In the United States, the number of children in single-mother families has risen dramatically over the past four decades, causing considerable concern among policymakers and the public. Researchers have identified the rise in single-parent families (especially mother-child families) as a major factor driving the long-term increase in child poverty in the United States.” To read the full report click here.

Palm Beach County Democrat Chair Attacks Christians

Courtesy of Tom Tillison of Florida Political Press:

Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel issued an apology over inflammatory comments made yesterday during an interview at the Democratic National Convention.

In response to being asked if he is a fan of Christianity, as shown in the video below, Siegel said;

“I’m Jewish, I’m not a fan of any other religion than Judaism….The Christians just want us to be there so we can all be slaughtered and converted and bring on the second coming of Jesus Christ.”

Siegel’s statement released today, no doubt coming after someone had a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment with him – pardon the pun;

“I apologize to all Democrats and Floridians for my ill chosen words last night. After watching the interview I realize that what I said did not accurately make the point I was trying to establish. More importantly I apologize to all Christians, Jews and other people of faith for any embarrassment or anger my remarks may have caused. Throughout my life I have practiced religious tolerance among all people of faith. I am sincerely sorry for any remarks I made that may have diminished that record. I alone am responsible for my remarks and I pray that they are not taken as the position of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party.”

Watch the video of Siegel making his statement at the DNC:

UPDATE: Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel has resigned.

Watchdog Wire Interviews Blaise Ingoglia, Sheila Krumholz and Marjorie Dannenfelser

Watchdog Wire interviews three citizens who are doing extraordinary things. Each heads their respective organization and tells the truth about the issue that is top of mind with them and their organization. Each organization is non-profit and issue oriented.

LISTEN TO THE EXCLUSIVE WATCHDOG WIRE INTERVIEWS WITH INGOGLIA, KRUMHOLZ AND DANNENFELSER.
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Our guests appear on the Podcast at the time noted below:

11:00 to 11:20 Blaise Ingoglia, www.GovernmentGoneWild.org. Blase speaks to government spending that is out of control and discusses his latest video “One Nation, Under Water”.

11:20 – 11:40 Sheila Krumholz, www.OpenSecrets.org. Sheila describes the influence of money on elections and how both political parties have focused on fundraising as the way to get elected, perhaps to the detriment of the election process.

11:40 to Noon Marjorie Dannenfelser, www.SBA-List.org. Marjorie describes the differences between the Democrat and Republican political platforms on the issue of the sanctity of life. She explains the history of the Susan B. Anthony List and its impact on statewide and Congressional elections.

Each guest provides special insights into why this election is so very important to them and their organization.

UPDATE:

This is a video released by SBA-List.org addressing what Marjorie discussed during her interview with Watchdog Wire – Florida:

Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map a Licence to Kill?

The Southern Poverty Law Center and its Hate Map is being called a “licence to kill” by Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council (FRC).

David Ariosto from CNN notes, “Founded on the heels of America’s civil rights movement, the Southern Poverty Law Center burnished its name with legal wins over white-supremist groups and helped integrate institutions like the Alabama State Police. But it has also stoked anger with the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian policy group that lashed out this week after a 28-year-old gunman stormed their downtown Washington headquarters and opened fire.”

Ariosto quotes Perkins as saying, “Let me be clear that Floyd Corkins was responsible for firing the shot yesterday. But Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy.”

Ed Vitagliano from One News Now reports:

“As SPLC spokesman Mark Potok explained in a column for the Huffington Post, the hate group watchdog had listed both [American Family Association] AFA and FRC as ‘hate groups’ on its Web site, along with militia groups and white supremacist groups like the KKK.

Just what did AFA and FRC do to warrant such infamy? Potok said it was because the two groups ‘regularly spew vicious lies about the LGBT community.’ Thus, they are hate groups.

What vicious lies are those? The views specifically cited by the SPLC included the belief that children fare better if they have both their biological mother and father in the home, rather than same-sex parents; that environmental factors – such as childhood sexual abuse or deficiencies in relationships with parents – can play a significant role in whether or not someone becomes homosexual; and that hate crime laws may eventually lead to the prosecution of pastors who dare to speak out publicly against homosexuality.

Obviously, the SPLC disagrees with AFA on these matters. Does that automatically make AFA wrong, however? And even if AFA were wrong, does that make AFA a hate group? Is it hateful to be wrong?”

SPLC lists fifty-five groups in Florida. Among them is The United West, an organization of academic activists, which according to its website, “is dedicated to defending and advancing Western Civilization against the kinetic and cultural onslaught of Shariah Islam, so that America remains a land of freedom, justice and opportunity grounded in the principles of our Constitutional Republic…Specifically, TUW educates and activates freedom minded people, wherever they may live, to effectively develop strategies and tactics which propagate the exceptionalism of Western Civilization over the totalitarian choke-hold of shariah Islam.”

Tom Trento, President of TUW, asks, “How did we get on this list? We expose hate and tyranny. It would seem that the SPLC has it backwards, we are the good guys exposing the bad guys. It baffles me that we are on the Hate Map in Florida. We are patriots dedicated to stopping the hateful treatment of women, minorities and oppression of people in shariah Islamic countries like Syria and Iran. We stand against honor killings, forced marriages and attacks against those who leave Islam like Noni Darwish,  who is sentenced to death. If that gets us on the Hate Map so be it. We will continue to expose hate and oppression where ever we find it.”

Laird Wilcox calls what the SPLC does “ritual defamation.” Wilcox is the founder of the Wilcox Collection on Contemporary Political Movements at the University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library. One News Now reports, “Wilcox said that with every new ‘hate group’ the SPLC puts on its list, the power of the SPLC only grows. ‘They have everything to gain: fundraising goes up, they get more media exposure, their credibility increases, and their political usefulness to the far left surges.”

The SPLC does not distinguish between the wheat and the chaff and this can be very dangerous, even deadly.

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Family Group Vows to Remind Voters Of Consequences of 296

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA— Florida Family Action has released documentation today gathered from the Duval County Supervisor of Elections office displaying how the citizens of Jacksonville voted on Florida’s Marriage Protection Amendment in 2008. The report is broken out by each Council Member’s district, showing both the precise number and percentage of voter’s voting for marriage and against the creation of new gay rights on this issue.

Not a single district had less than 59% voting in favor of the Defense of Marriage Amendment, which amended the Florida Constitution to include language to prohibit “no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

Percentages range from district to district, all showing a decided majority in favor of maintaining the traditional definition of marriage. Districts 1, 8, 10 and 11 had more than 70% voting in favor of the Amendment, with 78.9% of District 12’s citizens voting Yes.

John Stemberger President of Florida Family Action released the following statement today:

Jacksonville residents will not be fooled about the real intent and purpose of this ordinance. Full legalized gay marriage is the goal of its proponents. 2012-296 is just a stepping stone to that end. In every state where traditional marriage laws were overturned to allow homosexual marriages, whether by judicial decision or state legislature, proponents of gay marriage cited the collective scheme of non discrimination ordinances that created new protected classes like the one proposed in 296. Local ordinances of this nature have been consistently used as legal precedent for introducing gay marriage. Even state constitutional amendments supporting traditional marriage, like California’s recently overturned amendment, are not safe. We pledge to remind the constituents in every Council Member’s district who votes for this bill on August 15 about its true effect. It would be our hope that members of the Council will remember both the commanding vote margin in this research and the recent record lines outside of Chick fil A stores in Jacksonville this past week in support of natural marriage.

This data has been released for the information of the City Council while they are considering Ordinance 2012-296, a bill that would amend several City ordinances to add “sexual orientation, and perhaps gender identity or expression” to the listings of personal conditions or statuses which cannot be discriminated against. The ordinances proposed to be amended include Public Accommodations, Fair Housing, and others.

Voting yes on 296 would be decidedly against the will of the citizens of Jacksonville, who overwhelmingly voted to uphold the traditional definition of marriage when given the chance. The City Council may wish to consider the way their constituents voted when this similar issue was presented directly to them.

TEA Party Pulls Endorsement of Broward School Board Candidate Leach

Tea Party Fort Lauderdale, America’s longest running tea party, has pulled their endorsement of current Broward County School Board member and District # 3 Candidate Katherine “Katie” Leach. Leach has received the endorsement of Equality Florida, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender organization that opposes traditional pro-family Christian organizations along with the popular national fast-food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A. http://eqfl.org/node/1901

According to TEA Party Fort Lauderdale, on Equality Florida’s website Broward County School Board Leach is mentioned as receiving a 100% rating on their School Board Candidate Questionnaire she had filled out. “TEA Party Fort Lauderdale apologizes to the loyal followers of our voting recommendations for us not vetting this candidate closer. On their website, Equality Florida lists opposition to traditional pro-family Christian organizations Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and many others,” in an email.

According to the TEA Party Fort Lauderdale email, “Members are made-up of Republicans, many extremely vocal Independents, and a growing number of Democrats. Members are black and white, male and female, young and old, rich and poor. They share one common bond… uniting to protect our Constitution by changing our government thru the ballot box.”

RELATED COLUMN:

Tea Party to Leach: Nevermind, we don’t like you; United Christians of Florida: Neither do we

By Brittany Wallman August 3, 2012 02:31 PM

Broward School Board Member Katie Leach, running for election in schools District 3, is a Republican. But that’s about as far as her likeness to some of the Tea Party and United Christians of Florida members goes. Both groups are telling voters not to select her. The Tea Party unendorsed her Friday, after learning she was endorsed by Equality Florida, a gay rights organization. READ MORE…