For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
Happy Easter to all from the Watchdog Wire – Florida team.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
Happy Easter to all from the Watchdog Wire – Florida team.
Governor Rick Scott released the following statement about Florida Atlantic University (FAU) punishing a student for refusing to desecrate the name of Jesus:
“I just spoke to Ryan Rotela and applauded him for having the courage to stand up for his faith. I told him that it took great conviction and bravery to stand up and say what he was asked to do was wrong, and went against what he believed in.”
In a letter to FAU Chancellor Frank T. Brogan, Governor Scott states, “I am deeply disappointed in the recent actions 0f Florida Atlantic University (FAU) faculty that raises significant questions over students rights and the lessons being taught in our classrooms.”
“As we enter the week memorializing the events of Christ’s passion, this incident gave me great concern over the lessons we are teaching our students. Initial news reports said Ryan Rotela, a student at the school, was suspended from class because he refused to participate in the activity. I am told that these reports are disputed by the university and that FAU has apologized for the activity, ” notes Governor Scott.
Governor Scott in the letter stated, “Whether the student was reprimanded or whether an apology was given is in many ways inconsequentional to the larger issue of a professor’s poor judgement. The professor’s lesson was offensive, and even intolerant, to Christians and those of all faiths who deserve to be respected as Americans entitled to religious freedom.”
Governor Scott ended the letter with, “l am requesting a report of the incident, how it was handled and a statement of the university’s policies to ensure this type of “lesson” will not occur again.”
Cheryl Carpenter Klimek, from BizPac Review reports, “Following a public reprimand from Gov. Rick Scott for the incident referred to as the ‘stomp Jesus’ assignment, Florida Atlantic University has released a video apology. . .Dr. Charles Brown, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs at FAU, emailed the following on Tuesday afternoon:
This column is courtesy of the Heritage Foundation:
Earlier this month, 11-year-old Grace Evans appeared before a panel of Minnesota lawmakers considering a redefinition of marriage in that state. She testified to the significance of her mother and father and the different contributions each makes to her life.
Then she ended with a simple question: “Which parent do I not need, my mom, or my dad?”
It’s a question proponents of same-sex marriage cannot answer.
This week, attorneys will echo Grace when they appear before the Supreme Court to defend two marriage laws defining the institution as the union of one man and one woman. The Court hears arguments Tuesday on California’s Proposition 8 and Wednesday on the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Americans are free to live and to love as we choose. And we’ve learned to make do in many circumstances when, for one reason or another, a mother and father cannot permanently be together with the children they’ve brought into this world.
But we have continued to give unique status in law to the union of a man and a woman—the only relationship that produces children—as a permanent, monogamous, and exclusive relationship. We uphold this ideal in the interest of children, of limited, constitutional government, and of America’s future.
That’s a message Heritage will convey at an event today featuring Ryan Anderson, Kellie Fiedorek of the Alliance Defending Freedom, and tea party activist Doug Mainwaring, a gay man committed to maintaining the definition of marriage because of its importance for children. Tomorrow, we’ll be joining many other Americans gathering on the National Mall for the March for Marriage.
Marriage Matters for Children
Decades of social science, including the most recent and robust studies, confirm that children tend to do best when raised by their married mother and father. So it surprised many last Thursday when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorsed same-sex marriage, challenging the ideal that children should have a mom and a dad.
“Based on ‘extensive research,’ this statement from a scientific organization may seem authoritative,” writes Heritage senior analyst Jason Richwine, Ph.D. “In reality, however, the AAP’s position is based on ideology, not science.”
As Dr. Richwine observes, “the bottom line is that the literature on same-sex parenting is not conclusive enough to generate any policy prescriptions from social science alone. We just don’t know nearly as much as the AAP claims that we know.”
He notes that “the AAP has a long track record of using its air of scientific authority to make pronouncements on ideological issues” like gun control and Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
“These are perfectly legitimate political positions, but they are not scientific positions. We should never confuse the two, especially not when dealing with an issue as important as the definition of marriage.”
Marriage Matters for Limited, Constitutional Government
Policy rightly recognizes marriage, respecting it as one of the institutions that mediates between government and the individual. This protects individual liberty, particularly the liberty of dependent children. Marriage helps limit the state.
Some have argued, however, that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the principle of federalism. That argument gets it backward, explains Matthew Spalding, Ph.D., Heritage’s vice president for American Studies. DOMA “was an attempt to preserve in place the ability of the federal government and the states to address marriage appropriate to their respective spheres of authority.”
“[I]f we want to prevent the federal government from redefining marriage for all the states…and launching a massive expansion of the federal government,” Dr. Spalding continues, “then we should strenuously defend DOMA and uphold the ability of states to define marriage in their state constitutions. That’s not just federalism; it’s constitutional self-government.”
Marriage Matters for America’s Future
Liberal media coverage has wrapped the movement to redefine marriage in a mantle of inevitability. It has highlighted shifting polls and support among young people.
But last week, The New York Times profiled young people standing up for the age-old institution of marriage, including two of Heritage’s own: William E. Simon Fellow Ryan Anderson and Andrew Walker, policy analyst in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society.
As Walker pointed out to the Times, Supreme Court action this year will not end the American people’s debate over marriage:
If you take the longer view of history—I’m not talking just 15 years, I’m talking 40 years or even 100 years—I can’t help but think that the uniqueness of man-woman marriage will be adjudicated over time.
Similarly, Anderson explained last week in a CNN.com piece:
It’s important to future generations that Americans understand what marriage is, why it matters, and the consequences of redefining it. The Supreme Court shouldn’t truncate the debate and redefine marriage by judicial decree to include same-sex relationships.
This week is only the beginning of a great national conversation about our most fundamental institution. Heritage and its allies have produced a new booklet to help you engage in this conversation. Join us in the effort to restore a strong culture of marriage in America, for today’s children, and for generations yet to be born.
For more information:
Make Your Voice Heard for Marriage (VIDEO), Heritage Foundation President-elect Jim DeMint
Marriage: Children, Freedom, and a Crucial Debate (VIDEO), Ryan T. Anderson at the National Press Club, March 19, 2013
Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It, by Ryan T. Anderson
The Constitutionality of Traditional Marriage, by John Eastman
What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, by Robert P. George, Ryan T. Anderson, and Sherif Girgis
Read the Morning Bell and more en Español every day at Heritage Libertad.
When a Florida Atlantic University (FAU) student refused a professor’s direct order to stomp on the name of Jesus during an Intercultural Communications class, he was suspended.
“I’m not going to be sitting in a class having my religious rights desecrated,” said student Ryan Rotela.
The assignment required Rotela and other classmates to write the name of Jesus on a piece of paper, place it on the floor, and then stomp on it.
A synopsis of the lesson plan in question, obtained by Fox News, states:
“Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”
Rotela told the instructor, Deandre Poole, that the assignment was insulting and offensive.
Rotela told television station WPEC, “I said to the professor, ‘With all due respect to your authority as a professor, I do not believe what you told us to do was appropriate. I believe it was unprofessional and I was deeply offended by what you told me to do.'”
When Rotela went to Poole’s supervisor, he was immediately barred from returning to the class.
The Florida taxpayer-funded university is defending the assignment and the professor’s directive to demand that students violate their religious principles – or face suspension.
The American Family Association in an email is asking its members to, “Urge Florida Governor Rick Scott and your state legislators to demand immediate and corrective action be taken against Professor Poole and involved FAU staff.”
It turns out, the “stomp-on-Jesus” professor, Poole, also has a prominent position in local politics. As BizPac Review reports, Poole is vice-chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party.
Moreover, this isn’t the local party’s first brush with negative publicity.
The former chairman of the county Democratic Party was forced to resign in September after comments he made at the Democratic National Convention last year in Charlotte, N.C.
As WND reported, Mark Siegel reportedly told an interviewer Christians who support Israel want to see Jews “slaughtered.”
Siegel was quoted as saying, “Oh no, 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.”
Tom Tillison from BizPac Review reports:’
Public outrage over the controversial “Stomp Jesus” classroom assignment has forced Florida Atlantic University to issue an apology.
“We sincerely apologize for any offense this has caused,” the university said in a prepared statement to Fox News. “Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs.”
RELATED COLUMN: Dem official to students: ‘Stomp on Jesus’
In response to a new online video documenting the anti-Semitic messaging and extreme anti-Israel activism of a campus hate group at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is again demanding that FAU publicly condemn anti-Semitic bigotry on campus and take other steps to remedy the hostile environment. The video can be seen at www.exposingfau.com.
Less than a year ago, FAU was the site of a highly publicized incident, where the campus’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organization posted hundreds of anti-Semitic fake eviction notices on student dorms. The fake notices made false and demonizing allegations against Israel.
At that time, ZOA warned that the FAU Administration’s improper handling of the incident would invite SJP to continue promoting anti-Semitic messages on campus. As expected, in one of several recent incidents, FAU’s SJP chapter set up a display of bloody infant body bags on campus that were intended to promote the falsehood that Israel massacres innocent babies. As the online video points out, such rhetoric constitutes a blood libel – a classic anti-Semitic tactic that is intended to demonize Israel and Jewish people. Nevertheless, FAU’s Administration has continued its refusal to condemn SJP’s anti-Semitic actions.
Joseph M. Sabag, Director of ZOA’s Florida Regional Office, stated: “We again reiterate that the situation at FAU has nothing to do with the SJP’s right to free speech. This is about the FAU administration’s right to free speech, and its obligation to exercise that right by forcefully and publicly condemning bigotry on campus. Whether intended or not, FAU is sending the message to naive and unsuspecting students that the SJP’s promotion of hateful lies about Israel is acceptable and not even worth mentioning.”
The ZOA reiterates its demand that Florida Atlantic University take several steps to safeguard against an anti-Semitic environment on campus, including: (1) immediately speaking out and publicly condemning the anti-Semitic acts of Students for Justice in Palestine, which occur both on and off campus; (2) applying strict scrutiny to all of SJP’s activities; and enforcing appropriate disciplinary measures against the SJP under the University’s code; (3) implementing all necessary protocol and procedures to prevent any apparent endorsement by FAU of any of SJP’s hateful activities; and (4) providing education to administration officials and staff about the University’s obligation under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to ensure a campus environment that is physically and emotionally safe and conducive to learning for Jewish students.
About FAU’s Legal and Moral Responsibilities
In November 2005, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recognized that anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiment can cross the line into anti-Semitism, and in the Commission’s words, “should be distinguished from legitimate discourse regarding foreign policy.” The Commission clearly stated: “Anti-Semitic bigotry is no less morally deplorable when camouflaged as anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism.” The Commission specifically called on university administrations to publicly speak out and “set a moral example by denouncing anti-Semitic and other hate speech, while safeguarding all rights protected under the First Amendment and under basic principles of academic freedom.” The U.S. Department of Education’s Office on Civil Rights has made the same recommendation to university administrations.
About the ZOA
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the United States. With offices around the country and in Israel, the ZOA educates the public, elected officials, the media, and college/high school students about the truth of the ongoing Arab war against Israel. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations through educational activities, public affairs programs and our work on Capitol Hill, and to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media, in textbooks, in schools and on college campuses. Under the leadership of such presidents as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, Rabbis Abba Hillel Silver and Stephen Wise, and current President Morton A. Klein, the ZOA has been – and continues to be – on the front lines of Jewish activism. www.zoa.org.
Ryan T. Anderson from The Heritage Foundation has released a comprehensive report on marriage. Here is the abstract:
Marriage is based on the truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the reality that children need a mother and a father.
Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage; it rejects these truths.
Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. By encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence—the state strengthens civil society and reduces its own role.
The future of this country depends on the future of marriage.
The future of marriage depends on citizens understanding what it is and why it matters and demanding that government policies support, not undermine, true marriage.
The report addresses three important questions: At the heart of the current debates about same-sex marriage are three crucial questions: What is marriage, why does marriage matter for public policy, and what would be the consequences of redefining marriage to exclude sexual complementary?
To read the full report click here.
RELATED COLUMN: The Well of Lonliness by Mary Kay Ruppel
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) visited Sarasota, FL on March 15, 2013. He was greeted by over 50 donors at a private event hosted by Jesse Biter, a local entrepreneur. During his remarks at the Sarasota event Senator Rubio restated his belief that “We don’t need a new idea. There is an idea. That idea is called America, and it still works.” This was what he said at CPAC 2013.
Watch Senator Rubio’s CPAC 2013 remarks:
Senator Rubio was introduced at the Sarasota event by Representative Vern Buchanan (FL-13). Rep. Buchanan noted that he has traveled across the globe looking at what other countries are doing to promote economic growth. Rep. Buchanan noted that China is doing better at growing its economy than the United States, noting that China is on track to create 20 million jobs annually.
Senator Rubio during his remarks spoke about the $1 trillion in outstanding student loans, half of which will be in default. He said that this student loan burden impacts the middle class and our youth most of all. He also raised the specter of a rising China and its impact on the global economy. Rubio warned of not having enough workers skilled to fill 3 million of today’s jobs. He touched on the national debt, Congressional spending and an intransigent White House.
Those in attendance at the Sarasota event and those at CPAC 2013 were impressed by Senator Rubio’s “the American idea” comments. However, Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, New Jersey does not agree with Senator Rubio’s outlook.
Rabbi Pruzansky states in an email, “The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff.”
Rabbi Pruzansky notes, “Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who – courtesy of Obama – receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentivizes looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.”
“During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai Stevenson: ‘Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!’ Stevenson called back: ‘That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!’ Truer words were never spoken,” states Rabbi Pruzansky.
Will there ever be a majority of thinking persons?
Rabbi Pruzansky does not think so. He closed his email with, “If this election proves one thing, it is that the Old America is gone. And, sad for the world, it is not coming back.”
The census bureau reports that one of three counties in the United States are dying, defined as counties where there are more deaths than births.
The US Census projects nearly 17% of the global population will be 65 and older in 2050, up from 8 percent today. In 2005, Europe became the first major world region where the population 65 and older outnumbered those younger than 15. By 2050, it would be joined by Northern America (which includes Canada and the United States), Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and Oceania (which includes Australia and New Zealand).
The US Census Bureau reports that 17.6 percent of Florida’s population was 65 and older in 2011 — which led all states.
According to a Fact Sheet issued by Kenneth M. Johnson, Senior Demographer at the University of New Hampshire, “Natural decrease occurs when more deaths than births occur in an area in a given year. The growing incidence of natural decrease in America has gone largely unnoticed, but new data released on March 14th demonstrate that natural decrease is no longer an isolated phenomenon. Last year, 36 percent of all U.S. counties experienced natural decrease.” [My emphasis]
Johnson found, “Deaths exceeded births in 1,135 counties, the most in U.S. history. As recently as 2009, natural decrease occurred in just 880 counties. So the recent rise reflects sharply higher levels of natural decrease.”
“Natural decrease is also regionally concentrated . . . It also occurred early in Florida counties that were among the first to receive retirement migrants,” reports Johnson.
Johnson notes that in the US, “Natural decrease is more prevalent because births are diminishing. There were only 3,954,000 births last year, compared to a record 4,316,000 in 2006–2007. This represents a decline of 8.3 percent in just five years.”
Some like the AP’s Hope Yen are promoting an increase in immigration to offset this birth dearth. Yen states, “The findings also reflect the increasing economic importance of foreign-born residents as the U.S. ponders an overhaul of a major 1965 federal immigration law.”
Others point to the 2008 recession as the cause of the decline in births. Johnson states, “The recession was closely associated with this fertility decline. Recent National Center for Health Statistics data show that both the number of births and fertility rates dropped sharply over the last several years. Young women are having fewer babies. Fertility rates have declined sharply for them, but they remained relatively stable for older women. The fertility rate for women 20–34 declined 12 percent in just three years. Hispanic fertility declined the most, especially among younger Hispanic women. Taken together, these data suggest that the impact of the recession has been particularly pronounced on younger women, who are likely delaying fertility.”
One factor coming under increased scrutiny is the rate of abortions in the US and China.
Simon Rabinovitch from The Economist reports, “Chinese doctors have performed more than 330 million abortions since the government implemented a controversial family planning policy 40 years ago, according to official data from the health ministry. China’s one-child policy has been the subject of a heated debate about its economic consequences as the population ages.”
“Forced abortions and sterilizations have also been criticized by human rights campaigners such as Chen Guangcheng, the blind legal activist who sought refuge at the US embassy in Beijing last year,” Rabinovitch reports.
Rabinovitch notes, “As China’s working-age population begins to decline, economists have warned that the family planning rules will pose an increasing drag on economic growth. China’s dependency ratio – which compares the potential workforce with the number of children and retirees – rose last year for the first time in 40 years.”
Rabinovitch notes, “In the US, where the population is 315 million or about one-quarter the size of China’s, an estimated 50 million abortions have been performed since the landmark Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision legalized abortion in 1973.”
In effect the US has killed 50 million workers. Can any nation long survive economically with the demographic future of more deaths, fewer births and the killing (abortion) of its native population?
Johnson warns, “Demography is not destiny, but one ignores it at their peril.”
Responding to Senator Cruz’s question on whether Congress should restrict books the same way that Congress wants to control guns, Senator Feinstein states, “The answer is no”. However, after consulting with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Feinstein equates gun control to control of, “certain kinds of pornographic material”.
Senators Schumer and Feinstein equate their efforts to restrict lawful gun ownership as equal to restricting child pornography. The implication is lawful owners of a 30 round magazine and certain types of rifles equal ownership of child pornography.
Watch the video, the comments about pornography come at 3:30 minutes into the exchange between Senators Cruz and Feinstein:
Daniel Horowitz of RedState states, “If Ted Cruz keeps this up in the Senate, Democrats might try to impose gun control on his Cruz missile strikes. Earlier today at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on guns, Ted Cruz directly challenges Dianne Feinstein to answer how her gun bans are constitutional if the same language protecting the right to bear arms (“the right of the people”) is used for the First and Fourth Amendments, which presumably, nobody would try to limit in the same way. Of course, she had no answer, except to act like a pugnacious school child.”
The Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School (PVPA) in South Hadley, Massachusetts describes itself as “A public school dedicated to academic and artistic excellence” and includes grades 7-12.
How bad is the play?
The school is performing the play, “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,” by Paul Rudnick. It’s billed as a “comedy.” But it’s described by many as “blasphemous and hateful.” The play retells stories from the Bible using homosexual characters in a pornographic and mocking fashion.
The play begins with a retelling of Genesis using a homosexual couple, Adam and Steve, instead of Adam and Eve, along with other homosexual characters who are are very sexually explicit in their speech and actions. As one review puts it, this re-telling of Genesis “gets so specific as to be a gay how-to sexbook.”
It includes a depiction of Steve having a sexual relationship with an animal during the Noah’s Ark scene. After several other hideous defamations of Bible stories, the first act ends with Adam and Steve being two of the wise men at the Nativity. The second scene appears to be a modern-day depiction of the birth of Jesus in a New York apartment with the “wise man” Steve now being HIV-positive and the pregnant Mary being a lesbian who (among other things) exclaims: “I’m not supposed to be pregnant, I’m a bulldyke!”
All of this is apparently considered to be quite hilarious by the school administration. The school’s website describes the play as “cheeky, raucously funny, surprisingly tender and ultimately wise as it dissects history, relationships, gay politics and the mystery of faith.”
Outrage from around the country — and the school’s reaction
Over the last few weeks as word of this has gotten out, various religious groups from around the country have protested vociferously. A local newspaper reported last week said that the school had received nearly 12,000 emailed petition messages against the production.
The school’s reaction has been quite arrogant. The PVPA Head of School, Scott Goldman, told the local Daily Hampshire Gazette that the school has no intention of cancelling the play or changing it. The paper said the school considers much of the criticism to be “filled with hatred and intolerance of differing beliefs and backgrounds.”
The article described Goldman’s statement on the controversy:
In a statement issued Wednesday night, Goldman reiterated the school’s commitment to producing the play, which he said is consistent with the school’s philosophy and is, in the school’s view, an appropriate theater piece for PVPA high school actors and a high school and adult audience. The production is not intended for younger audience members, according to school officials.
In his letter to the school community, Goldman said PVPA hopes the school play raises important questions about the intersection of politics and faith, as well as the need for all people to come together to discover what they have in common and how difficult that can be in today’s world.
In a statement issued Wednesday night, he asked, “Is it the role of public school to facilitate an exchange of ideas on the themes explored in this particular play? This is an excellent question, with answers that I imagine will be debated in what I hope will be climate of civility, and a desire to understand others’ viewpoints.”
This is crazy. But they actually believe this. Here’s what the play’s director said in another local newspaper article:
It’s not a play that bashes religion but it does make fun of some religious attitudes,” director Chris Rohman said earlier this week during a rehearsal, adding: “Although it’s full of jokes — some of them at the expense of religious fundamentalism — the play, is, at its heart, a thoughtful investigation of the meaning of faith and family.
In that same article, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of of Springfield,the Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell, gave a perfect response:
I didn’t know it was the responsibility of charter schools to teach religious bigotry.
We couldn’t have put it better.
The City of Sarasota, FL owns and operates the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, which has a budget of over $8.8 million. On April 23, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. 50 Shades: The Musical will be performed. 50 Shades: The Musical is a parody of the controversial erotic book 50 Shades of Grey.
According to Larry Allen, Sarasota County Communication Office, “Sarasota County provided grant funding in the amount of $76,468 to the Arts and Cultural Alliance through the Tourist Development Tax. The Alliance provides funding to the Van Wezel for program series. A list of prospective show offerings was provided in the grant application process on March, 2012. 50 Shades of Grey was not on the list provided on that date.” [My emphasis]
In August of 2012, the Ulsterman Report posted a letter from a person with “20 years with Child Protective Services.” The author of the letter writes, “Yes, 50 Shades is pornography. Like most pornography, the story line is weak, the characters one-dimensional, while the sex itself graphic, detailed, but formulaic. The underlying theme to 50 Shades is something far more sinister and appalling though than your mere run-of-the-mill porn. It is pedophilia. It is child porn. Kiddie porn.” [My emphasis]
According to the letter writer, “I didn’t seek out 50 Shades of Grey. It was brought to my attention by a longtime friend who is also a clinical psychologist at a university. She’s a bit older than me. She grew up in the counter culture era and did her fair share of experimentation of all kinds. So she’s hardly a prude. What she today though is a mother and grandmother. And she’s smart. One of the things that fascinates her is this age of cultural phenomena. How due to technology things now spread so quickly throughout society and become the next big thing at an increasingly rapid pace. She says sometimes this phenomena is pretty much harmless, and other times it can be very damaging to kids and or adults who begin to emulate something out of a need to belong to the ‘next big thing’.”
According to Mary Bensel, Executive Director of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 50 Shades is the next big thing.
During a telephone interview Bensel pointed out that the musical is getting rave reviews everywhere it plays. There is a video on the Van Wezel website with patrons (the musical is restricted to those over 18 years old) saying how funny 50 Shades is. But is sexual abuse funny?
Bensel stated she has both read the book 50 Shades of Grey and viewed 50 Shades: The Musical in New York.
When asked if she believed the book 50 Shades of Grey was pornographic Bensel stated, “I have no opinion.” On the phone call was Julia Mays, Director of Marketing for the Van Wezel, who portrayed the book 50 Shades of Grey as a “love story”.
According to Wikipedia, “Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2011 erotic romance novel by British author E. L. James. It is the first installment in the Fifty Shades trilogy that traces the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM).” [My emphasis]
Bensel stated that the Van Wezel paid about $10,000 for the musical and has sold $27,424 in tickets. Sex sells and sexual abuse sells even better?
When asked if anyone from the Van Wezel staff reviewed the lyrics or screen play the answer was “no, that is not our job.” A call was placed to David Freeland, Senior Booking Manager with the Broadway Booking Office, NYC, who is the agent for 50 Shades: The Musical to get a copy of the screen play. Freeland has not return our call as of the publishing of this column.
As the Ulsterman Report letter writer states, “Sexual predators are cons. They almost always have a cover. It’s that cover which allows them access. 50 Shades of Grey is a con. It now has access to millions of readers. It is a story about abuse from beginning to end. And it’s not just the abuse of a man and a woman – it’s the abuse of a man and a girl.”
Bensel’s con is the book and musical are popular, thereby justifying its booking. She also noted that 50 Shades: The Musical and Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody have been booked by other Florida performing arts halls including: The Lakeland Center, Broward Center and Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Center in Fort Myers, FL.
Senator Marco Rubio has made it his mission to stop human trafficking, including the sex trafficking of children in Florida. Perhaps Senator Rubio should visit the Sarasota City Hall when he comes to Sarasota on March 15th and make the Commissioners understand the problem? Please watch this video interview with Senator Rubio where he states “awareness is critical”:
WDW received the following email sent to the Sarasota City Commissioners:
Many Adult Ordinances passed in the city of Sarasota, an Ordinance No. 97-4015 was adopted on the 2nd reading on the 15th June 1998 but was amended by Ordinance 98-4073 & passed Dec. 7. 1998. Another amendment to the Adult Ordinance 99-4165 passed Nov. 15, 1999. Most of the changes were made to strengthen the Ordinances to make them more enforceable.
I would think that these ordinances would prohibit any kind of pornographic performance at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall based on this evaluation of 50 Shades of Grey planned to be performed on April 23, 2013.
As a former Director of Florida Family Association for Sarasota/Manatee County, our organization was very much involved with all the Adult Ordinances for the city & County of Sarasota as well as Manatee.
Therefore, I would appreciate knowing what the city of Sarasota plans to do with this performance.
Perhaps the Van Wezel should be issued an Adult Use Permit?
Javier Manjarres, founder of The Shark Tank, is inviting Floridians and every American to Hispolitica. Manjarres envisions Hispolitica as a “place where a legitimate conversation about Hispanics in America can happen…without the narrative filters imposed by mainstream or Hispanic media.”
Manjarres notes, “Given how badly both major political parties suck at Hispanic engagement, and the fact that immigration will not always be on the table, now is an opportune time to get the conversation going. Feel free to jump in.”
Full text of the video:
Hi, I’m Javier Manjarres.
I’m proud to announce the re-launch of Hispolitica. Hispolitica brings a balanced journalistic approach to the issues and concerns of Hispanics in light of their increasing influence in the American political process. Hispolitica will provide equal time and space to political personalities across the spectrum whose viewpoints are of interest to Hispanics across the country.
The Hispanic electorate continues to grow, and most political observers believe that this coveted vote is in a state of flux and very much in play for Republicans and Democrats moving forward. Although the immigration reform issue is at the forefront of today’s political debate, trends show that Hispanics assign greater importance to a number of issues other than immigration
Before we can more effectively engage the Hispanic community, we must understand that first and foremost, Hispanics are primarily concerned with their own economic prosperity and prospects for advancement in our society based on their own efforts, merits and accomplishments.
Unfortunately, both of the major political parties have major short comings as they approach the Hispanic voting bloc. Their actions- or in some instances their inaction- shows that they are both incapable of messaging and winning the trust of the Hispanic community.
On the one hand, we have a political party that refuses to make the distinction between legal and illegal immigration, and actively seeks to bribe hispanics with the prize of U.S. citizenship. On the other hand, we have a party that has proven itself of having ineffective messaging and lacks in its efforts to reach out to immigrants.
The diversity of the Hispanic community goes well beyond the stereotypical depiction in the media, specifically by Spanish-language TV networks that cater to a subset of the Hispanic demographic while passing themselves off as representatives of ‘all’ Hispanics. These networks have refused to criticize race-baiting special-interest groups whose agenda is divisive and does not serve the best interests of Hispanics at large.
Earlier generations of Hispanic immigrants were very socially and fiscally conservative in their beliefs, regardless of their political affiliation. Hispanics have always been a people of faith, and have articulated a strong belief in God. Their strong family values are directly correlated to their unwavering dedication to their religious faith.
Hispolitica seeks to provide an alternative viewpoint to those expressed in the mainstream and Hispanic media. We’re looking forward to having this conversation, and thank you for joining us.
Que dios los bendiga
The Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs will hear the Domestic Partnership bill SB 196 Families First on March 12 at 2:00 PM.
The Florida Senate Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs considered SB 196 on February 19, 2013. However, a voice vote failed to pass the measure. To avert the deadly vote, Senator Sobel, Chair of this committee and sponsor of SB 196, asked the committee to temporarily postpone final action on the bill until she could rewrite it apparently to the liking of Republican Senator Nancy Detert.
Several pro-family leaders spoke during the February 19, 2013 committee meeting in opposition to the bill. Those speakers in opposition included John Stemberger President of Florida Family Action, Michael B. Sheedy, Director for Public Policy for the Florida Catholic Conference of Bishops and Bill Bunkley President of Florida Voices.
John Stemberger, Florida Family Action president, pointed out that the bill was unconstitutional because it violated the Florida Defense of Marriage Act. Stemberger told the committee that unlike the language used by cities and counties across Florida that adopted Domestic Partnership Registries, SB 196 was much broader. This broader language violated the “substantial equivalent to marriage” prohibition in the Florida Defense of Marriage Act.
Republican Senator Nancy Detert made it clear after hearing from the public that she could not support the bill as written but would support a Domestic Partnership bill if it were modeled similar to the one adopted by the City of Sarasota.
Senator Sobel rewrote the bill. Now Senator Sobel is looking to Senator Nancy Detert’s swing vote to pass this legislation through the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs.
SB 196 named “Families First” would set up a Domestic Partnership registry in Florida. Here is the language of the bill:
“Families First; Setting forth fees and costs to be applied when petitioning for a dissolution of a domestic partnership or registering a domestic partnership, respectively; requiring that certain fees relating to declarations of domestic partnership and dissolution of domestic partnership filings be deposited in the Displaced Homemaker Trust Fund; requiring two individuals who wish to become partners in a domestic partnership to complete and file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership form with the clerk of the circuit court; providing methods to prove the existence of a registered Declaration Domestic Partnership when the certificate document has been lost or is otherwise unavailable, etc.”
Every benefit of this legislation can be accomplished through private contract or authorization forms. In all cases Health Care Surrogate, Power of Attorney and other lawful designations of authority by one person to another must be performed on a separate private agreement form. This negates the need for this legislation.
Homosexual activists are essentially using the Families First ie Domestic Partnership bill SB 196 to legalize same sex marriage in Florida. SB 196 does nothing but add government bureaucracy while advancing legal recognition of same sex relationships. Heterosexual couples are not demanding this legislation. They can marry if they want their relationship legally recognized. SB 196 is being pushed by homosexual activists who demand that the State of Florida legally recognize same-sex relationships.
Florida Family Association is asking those interested to send an email to Florida Senate President Don Gaetz and members of the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs.
Florida Senate Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs members:
|Chair: Eleanor Sobel (D)||(850) email@example.com|
|Vice Chair: Alan Hays (R)||(850) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Thad Altman (R)||(850) email@example.com|
|Oscar Braynon, II (D)||(850) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Jeff Clemens (D)||(850) email@example.com|
|Charles S. Dean, Sr. (R)||(850) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Nancy C. Detert (R)||(850) email@example.com|
|Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R)||(850) 487-5040||portilla.miguel.web@flsenate.
|Denise Grimsley (R)||(850) 487-5021||grimsley.denise.web@flsenate.
|Geraldine F. Thompson (D)||(850) 487-5012||thompson.geraldine.web@
UPDATE 3/12/2013: Florida Senate committee delays vote on Domestic Partnerships due to a member’s absence.
The Florida Senate Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs was prepared to vote on SB 196 Domestic Partnerships during the 2:00 PM meeting on March 12, 2012. However, Senator Geraldine F. “Geri” Thompson (D) was absent from the committee meeting. Senator Eleanor Sobel, sponsor of the legislation, requested that the committee temporarily postpone the vote on SB 196 which they did.
The next committee date has not been posted on the Florida Senate web site.
Enza Ferreri, Blog of London-based Italian journalist on politics, society, religion, environment, posted the following on his blog:
Pope Benedetto XVI announced that he will leave his ministry at 8pm on February 28.
He made this announcement during a consistory for the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto beheaded one by one by the Ottoman Turks.
Antonio Primaldo and his companions, 800 Christians, were murdered for hatred of their faith by Muslims during the Turkish siege of the town of Otranto, in South-East Italy, on August 13, 1480.
As the Qu’ran commands, these infidels were offered the choice to convert to Islam or be slayed. When they refused, the martyrs of Otranto were massacred.
The Qu’ran is obeyed and applied in the same way now as it was in 1480. The only difference between now and then is in the power and military force Muslim armies had then but now now. Let’s make sure that it remains this way in the West.
In other parts of the world, Christians are still massacred by Muslims for their faith. Nothing has changed in Islamic doctrine, only the relationship of strength can be a defence for whomever Muslims consider their enemies.
An observation about the different use of the word “martyr”: in Christianity, unlike in Islam, martyrs do not kill. [My emphasis]
To learn more about the Martyrs of Otranto click here.
The Ulsterman Report, August 16, 2012
The story of convicted child rapist Jerry Sandusky is well known. So too is the 50 Shades of Grey phenomena, a book that has become so popular among women that some are referring to it as “Mommy Porn” for the masses. That description is actually a lot more disturbing than a lot of folks are currently realizing.
Yes, 50 Shades is pornography. Like most pornography, the story line is weak, the characters one-dimensional, while the sex itself graphic, detailed, but formulaic. The underlying theme to 50 Shades is something far more sinister and appalling though than your mere run-of-the-mill porn. It is pedophilia. It is child porn. Kiddie porn.
Now I know after saying that, many female fans of 50 Shades, many of them mothers, will naturally put up a defense against that kind of description. These women, being mothers, are naturally wired to protect kids. People like Jerry Sandusky are viewed with hatred, revulsion, and disgust. Rightfully so. What mother would want to condone anything having to do with the sexual abuse of children? Of innocents?
But that is exactly what 50 Shades of Grey is really about. It is a story of a girl being sexually molested, over and over again, by a male figure with all the power, all the control. It is the classic abuse scenario. And mothers are, in some cases, quite literally getting off on it, which takes the disgust of this phenomena to a whole other frightening level.
So having put that out there, and I hope I haven’t lost any of you just yet. I owe you an explanation after having made that kind of accusation about a book some of you may be reading right now. I’ll start with a bit of background first.
My professional experience centers around nearly 20 years with Child Protective Services. Over that time, I’ve seen situations that do, literally, keep me up at night. The amount of abuse that is going on in our society, that sexualization of our kids…well basically, what you hear about, what is reported in the news, that is only a small sample of just how large of a problem and the disgusting acts that are going on every day. Kids are being raped. Kids are being abused. Every single day. Over and over and over again.
I didn’t seek out 50 Shades of Grey. It was brought to my attention by a longtime friend who is also a clinical psychologist at a university. She’s a bit older than me. She grew up in the counter culture era and did her fair share of experimentation of all kinds. So she’s hardly a prude. What she today though is a mother and grandmother. And she’s smart. One of the things that fascinates her is this age of cultural phenomena. How due to technology things now spread so quickly throughout society and become the next big thing at an increasingly rapid pace. She says sometimes this phenomena is pretty much harmless, and other times it can be very damaging to kids and or adults who begin to emulate something out of a need to belong to the “next big thing”.
Her reaction to 50 Shades of Grey though was much more aggressively negative than anything I could recall her talking about before. It came up because I mentioned it to her offhand. I had seen a couple mentions of it on the news and knowing her interest in cultural trends, asked her about it. She stopped talking, looked right at me, and said the book was about pedophilia. And it was her who then connected it to the Sandusky tragedy where so many young boys had been sexually abused. Sandusky committed his acts of crime under the cover of actually helping youth. That is how he gained access. My friend said 50 Shades was basically the same exact thing. Its cover was a story of a young woman engaging is a very graphic sexual relationship with a somewhat older man.
The problem for her, and it was a BIG PROBLEM, was that the narrator in the story, was in fact, an underage girl. My friend indicated, based on the use of language in the narration, that this girl was likely no more than 12 or 13 years of age. I made mention that the girl in the story was actually getting ready to graduate college. My friend, a woman with years of experience as a clinical psychologist, whose expertise I had personally witnessed a number of times over the years, shook her head and told me that she would not be able to convince me by simply talking about it. She said I should read the book myself, but do so with the eyes of somebody whose job it had been for many years to try and protect children. As someone who has seen over and over the signs of abuse, and the damages of abuse. Because there are always warning signs. I know that. How many times have I heard people horrified in saying “I can’t believe I didn’t see that” “How couldn’t I have known?” Or even worse, “I knew something wasn’t right but I didn’t want to believe they were capable of doing something like that.”
I’ll try and summarize my friend’s words at this point as best I can.
“Sexual predators are cons. They almost always have a cover. It’s that cover which allows them access. 50 Shades of Grey is a con. It now has access to millions of readers. It is a story about abuse from beginning to end. And it’s not just the abuse of a man and a woman – it’s the abuse of a man and a girl.
When you read it, look for the signs. They are all there.
The female character has no sexual experience. None. She is given the age of 21, but that age is itself a cover. Her true emotional age is much-much younger. She has never even masturbated. She has never even experienced an orgasm. That alone is one of the greatest attractions to the pedophile. That is the psychology of that kind of act. You get off on taking purity.
But move from the fact the girl has no sexual experience whatsoever. Now pay attention to her narrative dialogue. Really listen to how she talks. Again, she’s not talking like a young woman, she’s talking like a girl. She talks about cartwheels, and skipping, over and over again it is the language and the imagery of a girl.
After that this girl has her innocence taken from her. The abuser, the older man, makes her think its her choice. Again, you and I both know that is one of the primary tools of the pedophile. They create an environment where the child feels it’s their idea. It’s what they want. But what happens after that innocence is taken away? Then the abuser becomes more openly abusive. Controlling. In this story he tells the little girl how to speak. What to wear. What to eat. He is Daddy and she is daughter. When you read it read it like a mother who is also a woman who is experienced with the real life tragedy of abuse.
And there is many more themes about that abuse in this book. There is spanking and the use of Baby oil. Why baby oil? Think about it. The girl wears pigtails. She complains that he is treating her like a child. He says she acts like a child. There is even a scene where the abuser creates a situation to take her innocence from her again. He rips out her tampon and engages in forceful sex yet again. Her hymen is ripped, and the bloody remnants of it are again symbolized in an act of pedophile rape.”
She went on to say there are women now defending the book, and she understands that, but it concerns her. A great deal, because she is absolutely convinced the book is purposely advocating the raping of a child and attempting to normalize that atrocity.
So, I left that conversation thinking maybe my friend was exaggerating. I had a hard time believing something so popular could actually have such a sinister and revolting theme, and while I respected her expertise and experience, thought this time she had to be seeing something that just wasn’t there.
I got the book, I sat down, and I read it.
The first thing that struck me was how poor the writing was. It wasn’t just bad. It was horrible. But horrible writing is no crime, (thank goodness or I would have been put away a long time ago) and it doesn’t make the content of the story evil. But in my reading of it, just like my friend said, the theme of child abuse, of pedophilia, was right there in plain sight. I remember being told a long time ago that sometimes the best way to hide something is in plain sight. That is what 50 Shades of Grey is really doing.
The main character had no sexual experience. None. She was an innocent. She was a kid who had just had her first drink of alcohol. No way that was an accident by the author. That author had to have purposely made her, despite her given age of 21, by any other measure, a little girl. At that point, it struck me as odd. In my business, we call that a warning signal. A sign we may have a problem.
From there, just like my friend had warned, it got worse. Much worse. And she was right, her telling me about it did not have the impact of me reading it myself with eyes open. She had given me the signs to look for, and as I turned the pages, those signs confirmed it over and over again.
The narration, which is the voice of the girl talking to the reader, was the voice of a little girl. It’s unmistakable. There is very little emotional maturity and absolutely no sexual maturity. She is seduced by this man in the very same way a pedophile seduces a child. The male character is Gerry Sandusky. He makes a show of his money, his power, the things he can buy for her, but while this is going on, we are reading the thoughts of a child. We are reading the seduction of a little girl by a pedophile. She is almost completely powerless. She is naïve even for a teenager, and certainly much much more naïve than a college student. She is incapable of even making the most simple of every day decisions and must be told what to do by her abuser, who in turn though spends a lot of time and effort convincing this child this is really what she wants. I’ve seen this before. Too often. Too many times. And it always leaves me sickened.
We are reading child pornography. Remove the false age of the girl, which has no basis in reality, and what we are actually reading is the abuse of a little girl.
The main character is described in pigtails, given words like “Holy Cow” “down there”, “jeez” “double crap” she can’t operate a computer (but is supposedly a college graduate), describes skipping and doing cartwheels, repeatedly says she is made to feel like a child, has her imaginary friend (inner goddess) feels shame, is spanked and slathered in BABY OIL, told what to say, what to eat, what to do, until finally and sadly so predictably, is physically beaten. (But she returns to him soon after, which is again, a very common theme of abuse, including pedophilia)
And beyond all of this evidence there is the fact that the male character is himself a product of sexual abuse at the hands of a pedophile. The girl whose thoughts we listen in on as she is being abused, recognizes this aspect of the male abuser, but apparently, is too naïve or unwilling to realize she has continued this cycle of abuse herself. (Which again reinforces the idea that she is actually herself just a child) There is no way the author did this by accident. She puts out the theme of pedophilia openly, therefore hiding it in plain sight.
People who have had to deal with the real world of sexual abuse of children will understand this perhaps more easily than others. How the pedophile is so often themselves victims of earlier abuse. They enter society, they become fathers or mothers, but so often they too become abusive. They seek out dominance, control, and the taking of innocence just as it was taken from them. Those who were once abused, become the abuser. It is the sad sick and tragic cycle of pedophilia.
With 50 Shades of Grey this abnormal condition is trying to be normalized. Thanks to the insight of my friend, and my own experience, I know it for what it truly is – a story of the sexual abuse of child, wrapped in the cliché cover story of a mysterious and troubled wealthy man. That is another thing my clinical psychologist friend pointed out later. Take away the aspect of money, and the character of the abuser becomes much less attractive and therefore it would have been much more difficult to pull of the deception. Are women actually that shallow? Yes, we can be.
But women, the vast majority of us, are not people who knowingly condone the sexual abuse of children. We do not condone in any way, the horror that is pedophilia.
Sadly though, that is exactly what is happening with the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey. It’s a pedophilia con.
It is one of the most horrible and sickening acts against the most powerless of our society, hiding in plain sight.
Maybe my friend put it best when we talked all of this over. 50 Shades of Grey didn’t excite her. She didn’t find it interesting, sexy, or romantic.
50 Shades of Grey made her weep. It made her sick. It made her think of the abuses of all of those kids by a demented, warped monster like Jerry Sandusky, who, just like the pedophilia of 50 Shades of Grey, was hiding in plain sight.