Author Challenges ACLU in New Book

The ACLU is ingraining itself in the very fabric of everyday life. From topics such as education, abortion, marriage, and even the Super Bowl, the organization is leaving its mark. But some argue that their effort impacting the freedom of religion is the area of greatest concern. In March 2013 alone, a case was brought forth to challenge a portrait of Jesus Christ at a middle school in Ohio, a North Carolina county has been sued over its traditional Christian invocations at meetings, and Mississippi’s pending school prayer law is being threatened.

In a new book releasing in April, Bad Samaritans: The ACLU’s Relentless Campaign to Erase Faith from the Public Square (Thomas Nelson, Inc.), New York Times bestselling author Jerome Corsi dares to tackle the issues to enlighten families about things they need to know about the ACLU to protect their rights.

Since the organization was created in 1920, so many constitutional battles have been lost to the ACLU that time has grown short to stop the onslaught. Over its history the ACLU has been the archetypal Bad Samaritan-a stranger to the nation’s religious tradition, whose founders instilled within the organization values designed to erase all vestiges of the nation’s Judeo-Christian roots and replace them with a transplanted godless vision that draws its energy not from Moses or from Jesus Christ, but from Marx and Lenin. Even more insidiously, the ACLU strategy devised by its founders was predicated on a determination to wage its War on God in a stealth fashion in which the ACLU intends to destroy religious freedom by appearing on the scene as a defender of religious freedom.

“For decades, the Bad Samaritan of the ACLU has beaten and robbed the First Amendment’s statement of religious freedom to the point that Judeo-Christian believers have been left lying by the side of the road, as if abandoned to die,” notes Corsi. “Our Founding Fathers aptly reminded us, only a moral people can preserve the liberty required to build a bright future for America in which individual initiative and free enterprise can thrive once again. In a Judeo-Christian nation, Good Samaritans are not only welcome; they are possible. In the world desired by the ACLU, Good Samaritans will not only be rare, they are likely to be persecuted, if not prosecuted.”

Since its founding, the ACLU has set out to pervert the First Amendment, written to preserve religious freedom, into a twisted interpretation where “freedom of religion” is now read to mean “freedom from religion,” a reinterpretation made necessary if the ACLU is to accomplish its long-standing goal of removing God from America’s public square. The founding principles of the ACLU make it apparent that their goal is to wage a War on God and undermine liberties.
Cont.

“The protection and rights of the individual-conceived as an eternal soul given life by a Supreme Being, endowed with unalienable rights, and governed by a code of natural right built into human consciousness by our Creator-are the fundamental construct that drove our Founding Fathers to write the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights,” says Corsi. “The ACLU understands correctly that attacking God is the only way the American people would ever permit these sacred documents to be so deeply rewritten as to subvert their original meaning. If the American people can be driven from believing in God, the consequence is that our rights are no longer unalienable, but instead our rights, such as they may be, are bestowed by a state that can as easily take away the rights as grant them in the first place.”

“The point of the Bad Samaritans book is that the hour is late, but the battle is not yet lost,” explains Corsi. “It’s not intended as a comprehensive compendium of Supreme Court cases dealing with religion. Instead, I want to unmask the ACLU’s hypocritical fade of defending civil liberties that the organization strives to sell to a secular public unable to appreciate how deeply liberty will be lost if God is abandoned. I will expose the secret history of the ACLU in order to encourage supporters of our faith to enter the war on God’s side. We must win the war against our faith if we are to preserve for future generations the heritage of liberty our Founding Fathers so generously left for us. If the ACLU wins its War on God, our founding documents-including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights-will not be worth the parchment on which they were written.”

Told in a straightforward, no-nonsense style, Corsi lays out the history of this struggle, its communist roots, and the court cases that are serving to slowly erode the foundations of our freedom. Today we see the fruits of the ACLU’s master plan-a culture flooded with pornography, placing little worth on the value of a human life, and one in which protection and special treatment seem to exist for everyone except those of a Judeo-Christian background.

Bad Samaritans looks behind the headlines and shows the ACLU’s fingerprints as it works to destroy freedom and enslave our constitutional republic to the demands of a Marxist state. It’s time to fight back.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jerome Corsi has written and coauthored many books and articles, including the #1 New York Times bestseller, Unfit for Command (Regnery, 2004). Corsi is the founder of the Iran Freedom Walk. He has appeared on Fox News and MSNBC regarding Iran, as well as hundreds of radio interviews.

Florida: Court Approves Detaining Motorists at Toll Booth

US Court of Appeals upholds right of toll road operators to detain drivers for using large denomination currency.

Toll BoothMotorists can be held indefinitely at toll booths if they pay with large denomination bills, according to a federal appeals court ruling handed down Wednesday. A family of drivers — Joel, Deborah and Robert Chandler — filed suit last year arguing they were effectively being held hostage by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the private contractor in charge of the state’s toll road, Faneuil, Inc.

Under FDOT policies in place at the time, motorists who paid with $50 bills, and occasionally even $5 bills, were not given permission to proceed until the toll collector filled out a “Bill Detection Report” with data about the motorist’s vehicle and details from his driver’s license.

Many of those who chose to pay cash did so to avoid the privacy implications of installing a SunPass transponder that recorded their driving habits. They were likewise unwilling to provide personal information to the toll collector, but they had no alternative because the toll barrier would not be raised without compliance. FDOT policy does not allow passengers to exit their vehicle, and backing up is illegal and usually impossible while other cars wait behind. FDOT dropped the Bill Detection Reports in 2010.

A three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit US Court of Appeals did not buy the argument that these motorist detentions rose to the level of a constitutional violation.

“The fact that a person is not free to leave on his own terms at a given moment, however, does not, by itself, mean that the person has been ‘seized’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment,” the court wrote in its unsigned decision. “In Florida, a person’s right and liberty to use a highway is not absolute; it may be regulated in the public interest through reasonable and reasonably executed regulations.”

The judges found it was reasonable for Fanueil to set regulations for use of the road — including the types of acceptable payment. The court decided that drivers implicitly agreed to those conditions by choosing to use the toll road.

“The Chandlers have not alleged that they were forced to pay their tolls with large-denomination bills, thereby subjecting themselves to whatever delay was caused by completion of the Bill Detection Report,” the court ruled. “They chose to pay their toll with large-denomination bills.Nor have they alleged that they asked to withdraw the large report-triggering bill in favor of a smaller delay-free bill and were denied that opportunity.”

The court dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety. A copy of the decision is available in a 100k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Chandler v. FDOT (US Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 9/19/2012)

Rep. Vern Buchanan to Hold Forum on Tax Reform

Sarasota, Florida – U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan announced today that he will host a forum on tax reform. Buchanan is Florida’s only member of the powerful U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, which is reviewing current federal income tax law and chairman of the small business working group.

“The current tax code punishes everyone from families to employers trying to compete in the global marketplace,” said Buchanan. “I am working in Congress to fix our broken tax code. My goal is a simpler, fairer, pro-growth tax code that helps get Americans back to work.”

Buchanan noted that various proposals have been put forth for tax reform in the United States, including a flat tax, a sales tax or keeping the present code with some simplification or modification in the tax structure.

The panel for the forum includes:

  • Neal Boortz is a former nationally syndicated radio talk show host who co-wrote the Fair Tax Book with former Congressman John Linder. The book calls for the replacement of the income tax with a consumption tax.
  • Dan Mitchell is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, which is a public policy research organization dedicated to the principals of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. Mitchell is an expert on tax reform and a strong advocate of a flat tax.
  • National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/Florida Chairman Jerry Pierce. The NFIB is is the leading small business association representing small and independent businesses. The NFIB supports modifications to provide tax relief and certainty to small businesses.
  • Susan Nilon is the general manager of WSRQ radio, a radio show host and writer who advocates a progressive tax that taxes wealthy individuals at a higher rate than low income individuals.

The forum will be moderated by WWSB/ABC 7 news anchor John McQuiston.

The event will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 29, 2013 at New College of Florida’s Mildred Sainer Pavilion, 5313 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243.

The event is free and open to the public. Please call 941.951.6643 or click here to RSVP.

Second Florida Senate Committee to vote on anti-Sharia legislation

The Florida Senate Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability will vote on SB 58 – Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases during the scheduled March 21, 2013 10:00 to 12:00 am meeting.  

SB 58 Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases reads:

Clarifies that public policies expressed in act apply to violations of natural person’s fundamental liberties, rights, & privileges guaranteed by State Constitution or U.S. Constitution; provides that act does not apply to corporation, partnership, or other form of business association, except when necessary to provide effective relief in proceedings under or relating to chs. 61 & 88, F.S.; specifies public policy of this state in applying choice of foreign law, legal code, or system in proceedings brought under or relating to chs. 61 & 88, F.S., which relate to dissolution of marriage, support, time-sharing, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction & Enforcement Act, & Uniform Interstate Family Support Act; declares that certain decisions under such laws, codes, or systems & certain choice of venue or forum provisions in contract are void; provides for construction of waiver by natural person of person’s fundamental liberties, rights, & privileges guaranteed by State Constitution or U.S. Constitution; declares that claims of forum non conveniens or related claims must be denied; limits construction of provisions in certain circumstances.

The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6 – 3 on March 6, 2013 to approve SB 58.  Click here to read the article and vote record.

All committees in the Florida House of Representatives have approved this legislation (HB 351).  Click here to read the article and vote record.  HB 351 is pending a second reading before the full house.

If Florida courts accept provisions of Islamic Sharia law or other foreign laws and legal codes which are inconsistent with American laws it will undermine public policies enacted by our representative form of government and change our value system.

Florida Family Association has sent an email asking supporters to send Senators on the Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability to support Senate Bill 58. The link is here.

UPDATE 3/22/2013:

The Florida Senate Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability voted on SB 58 – Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases during the scheduled March 21, 2013 10:00 to 12:00 am meeting.  The committee voted as follows:

Chair
Senator Jeremy Ring (D) No
Vice Chair
Senator Alan Hays (R) Yes
Senator Aaron Bean (R) Yes
Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto (R) Yes
Senator Rob Bradley (R) Yes
Senator Dorothy L. Hukill (R) Yes
Senator Bill Montford (D) No
Senator David Simmons (R) Yes
Senator Christopher L. Smith (D) No

Florida Democrats file 50 anti-Second Amendment bills

Senator Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville)

Under a bill proposed by Senator Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville), a person could not purchase any firearm ammunition without presenting a certificate showing that the would be purchaser had completed an Anger Management Course — which must be renewed every ten years.  Representative Perry Thurston (D-Ft. Lauderdale and also the House Minority Leader) filed the companion bill in the state House.

This is one of nearly fifty gun control bills filed by Florida Legislators — all bills have been filed by Democrats.

The NRA in an email to members states, “These Democrats are working to ban your freedom, your rights and your ability to defend yourself and your family.”

FLORIDA SENATE BILLS:

SB-136  Self-defense (Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground)
SB-314 Repeal Privacy of Firearm Owners/Doctors
SB-344  Assault or Battery on a Utility Worker
SB-362  Use of Deadly Force (Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground)
SB-374  Authority for Gun Control by Local Governments
SB-622 Repeal of Castle Doctrine
SB-1000 Regulation of Firearms
SB-1018 To Allow Local Governments to Adopt Gun
SB-1208  Taxes on Guns & Ammunition
SB-1234 Special 4% Tax on Firearms And Ammunition
SB-1272 Prohibit Firearms Sales at Gun Shows
SB-1426 Trespassing on Railroad Property
SB-1488  Licensure to Carry a Concealed Weapon or Firearm
SB-1582 Assault Weapons/Culpable Negligence
SB-1640 Firearms “Universal Background Check Act”
SB-1670 Assault Weapons and Magazine Ban
SB 1678 Anger Management/Sale of Ammunition

Rep.Perry Thurston, D-Ft. Lauderdale

FLORIDA HOUSE BILLS

HB-97  Authority for Gun Control by local governments
HB-123 Use of Deadly Force (Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground)
HB-325 Sales Taxes on Guns & Ammunition/School Safety
HB-327 Creates Trust Fund for Guns & Ammunition Taxes
HB-331 Self-defense (Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground)
HB-501 Possession or Discharge of Firearm
HB 511 Assault or Battery on Utility Worker
HB-799 Use of Force in Self-Defense
HB-993 Authority for Gun Control by local governments
HB-1051 Prohibits Firearms Sales at Gun Shows
HB-1209  Special 4% Tax on Firearms And Ammunition
HB-4009 To Repeal of Castle Doctrine
HB-4017 To Repeal Privacy of Firearm Owners/Doctors
HB-1229  Anger Management Course Required to Buy
HB-1343 “Universal Background Check Act”

Phyllis Schlafly asks: What happened to the loyal opposition? (+ video)

Joe Miller from Restoring Liberty reports, “Conservative legend Phyllis Schlafly told the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday that the Republican establishment had given America a series of losers as presidential candidates over the last two decades–and the last time they picked a winner, George W. Bush, he was a bigger spender than the Democrats.

“Why is it that the establishment has given us this bunch of losers?” Schlafly said. “The establishment has given us a whole series of losers: Bob Dole and John McCain and Mitt Romney.

“And even when they picked a winner–George W. Bush–they picked somebody who spent more than the Democrats,” she said.

Watch the video of Phyllis Schlafly’s speech at CPAC 2013, which begins at the 2:30 mark:

VIDEO: Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Schumer (D-NY) equate lawful gun owners to pornographers

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.”

Why We Don’t Need Universal Preschool

Column is courtesy of the Heritage Foundation:

In his State of the Union address, President Obama said he wanted to “make high-quality preschool available to every child in America” and “make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.”

So Heritage experts took a look at the President’s plan to see if it would actually help America’s needy children get ahead in the “race of life.”

Another government-controlled, top-down, one-size-fits-all program—what could go wrong?

Look at the government’s record. As Heritage’s Lindsey Burke, the Will Skillman Fellow in Education, and research associate Rachel Sheffield point out in their new paper, “Washington already has a poor track record for K–12 education, with federal spending nearly tripling over the past three decades while academic achievement and attainment languishes.”

Look at the government preschool we already have.There are already 45 government preschool programs run by numerous federal agencies, including the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, the Interior, and Housing and Urban Development. Burke and Sheffield note that these 45 programs “are estimated to cost taxpayers more than $20 billion annually. Many are duplicative and ineffective, failing to serve the needs of children from low-income families.”

Head Start, of course, has already shown us the ways government preschool can fail American children:

After nearly 50 years of operation, the federal Head Start program has failed to improve the educational outcomes and kindergarten readiness of participating children. Head Start should be eliminated, or at the very least it should be reformed, to allow states the flexibility to make their Head Start funds portable, allowing families to use their dollars to send their children to a private preschool of their choice.

The President’s new proposal wouldn’t help low-income children. Low-income families already have access to taxpayer-funded preschool through state programs and Head Start (which, if it continues to be funded, should be reformed to serve them better). President Obama’s proposal would subsidize middle-income and upper-income families—with no new benefit to low-income parents.

Three-quarters of four-year-olds are already in preschool. Many parents prefer to care for their young children at home. But for those who want preschool programs, there are a variety of programs available. There is no public demand for new, large-scale government spending in this area. Burke and Sheffield report that “An estimated 74 percent of four-year-old children are enrolled in preschool, public and private, across the country.”

Look at the academic evidence. Do these formal preschool programs really help kids in their academic careers? Our authors write: “Evaluations of preschool programs consistently find that any gains children make as a result of preschool quickly fade away in their early elementary years.” The Obama administration turns to a 50-year-old evaluation of a high-intervention preschool program with 58 at-risk children to make his case for taxpayer-funded, universal preschool. That means President Obama is making what researcher Russ Whitehurst calls “a prodigious leap of faith.” The outcomes of that program, known as the Perry Preschool Project, have never been replicated.

It is far more likely that the President’s proposal will produce outcomes akin to Head Start, which, according to the scientifically rigorous evaluations conducted by Health and Human Services, are abysmal.

Everyone wants children to have the best start in life. Large-scale government preschool programs are not the way to ensure that happens.

LEARN MORE:

Universal Preschool’s Empty Promises

SPECIAL REPORT: Florida’s Sunshine Laws

We at Watchdog Wire – Florida know that politicians change their behavior when they know the citizenry is watching.

That’s why Watchdog Wire and the Franklin Center are participating in Sunshine Week (March 10-16), a nationwide initiative focused on the importance of access to public information. We’ll be featuring articles and resources on FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), state open records law, and other transparency efforts all week.

Sunshine Review evaluates how transparent local and state governments are via a grading system. Florida’s cities, counties, school boards and the state all received a grade of “B”.

Recently, Enterprise Florida, the Florida Public Service Commission and Citizen’s Insurance have come under fire for their lack of transparency. Floridians frequently wake up and read about violations of Florida’s sunshine laws at the citycountyschool board and state agency level.

The common thread to each of these violations is a lack of sunshine in the sunshine state.

For example, did you know that State lawmakers have no power to require the Governor or Cabinet members to meet in public when they are exercising their constitutional administrative duties or acting as a policy-making board related by the Legislature, such as the State Board of Education. For instance, the governor’s deliberations with Cabinet members about whether to grant a pardon or clemency are not covered by the Sunshine Law because they involve constitutional duties, not statutory duties.

Sunshine Review notes, “The Florida Sunshine Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to the public records of governmental bodies in Florida. The law was first enacted in 1995. The original statutes state:

The Florida Open Meetings Law (Fla. Stat. sec 286) governs the extent to which public meetings are open to the public. The Florida Public Records Law (Fla. Stat. sec. 119) governs the inspection and copying of public records.

The University of Florida’s Brechner Center for Freedom of Information has a useful list of frequently asked questions:

1. When did Florida begin its tradition of openness?

2. What is the Sunshine Law?

3. What changed after the Constitutional Amendment in 1992 was approved?

4. How does the Sunshine Law work?

5. Who does the Sunshine Law apply to?

6. Which government bodies does the Sunshine Law cover?

7. What types of advisory committees have the Florida courts found to be subject to the Sunshine Law?

8. Which committees are exempt from the Sunshine Law?

9. Does the Sunshine Law Apply to the Governor and Cabinet?

10. What Legislative meetings are covered by the Sunshine Law?

11. What activities are covered by the Sunshine Law?

12. Are there exemptions to the Sunshine Law?

13. Are private organizations covered by the Sunshine Law?

14. Is a private organization that receives public funds subject to the requirements of the Sunshine Law?

15. Who is responsible for attorney’s fees when there is a lawsuit over the Sunshine Law?

To help you as a citizen prepare to hold your government accountable, we’ve compiled a list of action items that empower you to shine a light on government waste and abuse in your own communities:

1. Figure out FOIA here:  Florida FOIA procedures

2. Embrace money-tracking tools

3. Check visitor logs and daily schedules

4. Investigate stimulus dollars in your area

5. Dig deeper into ObamaCare repercussions

6. Track state pensions

7. Report on a local transparency hero

Click here to read the full list of transparency tips and report back your findings on Watchdog Wire. We will list your story in our special Sunshine Report featuring all citizen research and writing. E-mail your ideas, tips and questions to me at Florida@WatchdogWire.com.  If you want to write for Watchdog Wire – Florida, sign up here!

Here’s to an open and more accountable government.

VIDEO: Rubio calls for defunding Obamacare

Senator Marco Rubio’s floor statement on Obamacare:

“When they start to fully implement this over the next 12-18 months, it is going to be an epic disaster. An epic disaster. Not because it was ill-intentioned, per se. I think the goal of providing an environment where everybody can buy affordable health insurance is something we should take very seriously and we have to work on. You can’t have a strong, stable middle class if people can’t afford the cost of living. You can’t have a strong and stable middle class if people don’t have access to quality health care at an affordable price. And we should work on that. We should work on that really hard.

“But we have to do that with some balance, and this is not balanced. This is an across-the-board application to the entire country that is going to hurt a lot of people. There are people in America that are going to lose hours at work because of this bill. There are people in America that are going to lose the health insurance they have, which they are happy with, because of this bill. There are people in America that are going to have to lay people off and, therefore, there are people in America that are going to lose their jobs because of this bill. And our debt is going to grow.

“And so I hope we will pass this amendment. I hope we will defund this program. It was ill-designed and as the true ramifications of this bill begin to apply over the next few months and next couple years, we are going to be right back here on this floor trying to fix it. Because this country cannot be what it is meant to be if it has to deal with something like this hanging around its neck.”

Florida man whose ancestors escaped religious persecution in 1626 files a federal Lawsuit to escape religious persecution

Thomas Beckwith’s ancestors, enduring the hardships of a storm tossed ocean voyage, landed on American shores in 1626 to escape religious persecution from England.  One hundred and fifty years later, one of his ancestors, as a member of the Connecticut militia, fought against the tyrannical British king in the Revolutionary War.  Today, Thomas Beckwith, a devout Southern Baptist, and his family-owned  Beckwith Electric Company, Inc, filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new form of tyranny and religious persecution—the HHS Mandate.

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, today announced it filed a 48-page federal lawsuit in a Florida Federal District Court against the Obama Administration challenging the HHS Mandate.  TMLC’s Erin Mersino is lead counsel in the case.  She is assisted by local co-counsel Paul Pizzo and Scott Richards of the Tampa firm of Fowler, White and Boggs.

Thomas Beckwith is an active member of the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks, a Southern Baptist congregation located in Largo, Florida. 

Thomas Beckwith

Beckwith Electric founded in 1967 by his parents has 168 full-time employees and provides micro-processor-based technology that protects and controls giant power system generators, transformers, and power lines, and protects the interconnection of alternative energy.  The Company also provides energy-saving Volt/VAr optimization strategies and the automation of Conservation Voltage Reduction.

In his management of Beckwith Electric, Thomas Beckwith strives to “lead the company under God’s direction and by God’s principles.”  His Faith prompted a business model that includes generous employee benefits, including:  medical insurance, pharmacy, dental  insurance, vision insurance, group life insurance, voluntary group life insurance, short term disability, long term disability, long term care insurance, Flexible Spending Accounts, Emergency Travel Assistance, Employee Assistance Program, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Profit Sharing, Educational Assistance, Due Time (Paid Time Off), 8 Paid Holidays, and a free-of charge membership at the L.A. Fitness Gym.

The Company also provides a chaplain for those employees who may be facing difficult issues of bereavement, marriage, children, finances, addictions, elder care, and other types of crises.  Chaplains visit Plaintiff Beckwith Electric Co., Inc. on a weekly basis to build caring relationships with the employees.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, called the HHS Mandate “outrageous.”  According to Land, the Southern Baptist Convention, with more than 16 million members in the United States, “share[s] the concern of our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters.”

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), by which Beckwith is informed, protects the sanctity of life. According to the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission the Mandate is a threat to religious freedom. The commission stated that, “Government cannot be allowed to tell people of faith when they can live out the values of their faith and when they cannot.  We must not render to government what is God’s.”

Should Mr. Beckwith refuse to comply with the HHS Mandate, in addition to the yearly fine of $2,000 per employee amounting to $336,000 per year, the Company could also be charged with violations of the Internal Revenue Code amounting to $100 per employee per day each year totaling over $6 million in fines per year.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented, “By promulgating the HHS Mandate, the Federal Government intentionally declared war on people of Faith.  The Law Center is privileged to represent Thomas Beckwith, a man who not only states what his Christian Faith stands for, but takes action to defend it.”

The first paragraph of the lawsuit succinctly sets forth the nature of the case: “This is a case about religious freedom. Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father of our country, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and our third president, when describing the construct of our Constitution proclaimed, ‘No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.’”

Thomas Beckwith believes that life begins at the moment of conception.  His deeply held religious convictions disallow him from providing for, participating in, pay for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting emergency contraception, abortion, abortifacients, and any drugs, devices, and service that are designed to kill innocent human life because such activities are sinful and immoral.

The purpose of the lawsuit is to permanently block the implementation of the HHS Mandate requiring employers and individuals to obtain insurance coverage for emergency contraception, abortion, abortifacients, and any drugs, devices, and service that are capable of killing innocent human life.

Named as Defendants in the lawsuit are Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Seth D. Harris, Acting Secretary of the Department of Labor; Jack Lew, Secretary of the Department of Treasury; and their respective departments.

Click here to read the Federal Lawsuit.

ABOUT THE THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER:

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, as well as a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America.  The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. 

You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.

Florida’s Javier Manjarres re-launches HISPOLITICA

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

Florida Senate Committee reconsiders vote to sanction Domestic Partnerships (i.e. Gay Marriage)

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) 487-5033 sobel.eleanor.web@flsenate.gov
Vice Chair: Alan Hays (R) (850) 487-5011 hays.alan.web@flsenate.gov
Thad Altman (R) (850) 487-5016 altman.thad.web@flsenate.gov
Oscar Braynon, II (D) (850) 487-5036 braynon.oscar.web@flsenate.gov
Jeff Clemens (D) (850) 487-5027 clemens.jeff.web@flsenate.gov
Charles S. Dean, Sr. (R) (850) 487-5005 dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov 
Nancy C. Detert (R) (850) 487-5028 detert.nancy.web@flsenate.gov
Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R) (850) 487-5040 portilla.miguel.web@flsenate.gov
Denise Grimsley (R) (850) 487-5021 grimsley.denise.web@flsenate.gov
Geraldine F. Thompson (D) (850) 487-5012 thompson.geraldine.web@flsenate.gov

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.

Sen. Feinstein Says Veterans Are Mentally Ill, Can’t Own Guns

Hat tip to Linda Palucci from Mr. Conservative Blog for picking up this testimony by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA). Florida is home to over 1.6 million veterans. Florida is second only to California with the largest veteran population. Florida is first of all the states as a percentage of  population.

Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA)

Palucci reports:

Feinstein let slip her true opinion of America’s veterans during a Senate Judiciary committee hearing, when she was asked to discuss a proposed amendment to her pending gun control bill.  This amendment would have allowed military veterans to obtain guns that would be banned for other Americans.  Feinstein thought this was a terrible idea, because she presumes vets are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and are therefore too unstable to be trusted with weapons:

“…this adds an exemption of retired military. As I understand our bill, no issue has arose in this regard during the 10 years the expired ban was effect… and what we did in the other bill was exempt possession by the United States or a department or agency of the United States… that included active military. The problem with expanding this is that you know with the advent of PTSD, which I think is a new phenomenon as a product of the Iraq War, it’s not clear how the seller or transferrer of a firearm covered by this bill would verify that an individual was a member, or a veteran, and that there was no impairment of that individual with respect to having a weapon like this. So you know I would be happy to sit down with you again and see if we could work something out but I think we have to — if you’re going to do this, find a way that veterans who are incapacitated for one reason or another mentally don’t have access to this kind of weapon.” [My emphasis]

Palucci states, “Translation?  All vets suffer from PTSD; PTSD makes them crazy; crazy people can’t get guns.”

“Not only is Feinstein wrong about vets, she’s wrong about PTSD, which she characterizes as a ‘new phenomenon’.  In every war, some returning veterans have suffered delayed reactions.  Whether it’s World War I’s ‘shell shock’, the Vietnam war’s ‘vet syndrome’, or today’s PTSD, it’s always been out there, and it’s never been a major societal problem.  Only a Democrat would pretend that it’s something new and then use it to take away Second Amendment rights from those who have served this country in battle,” notes Palucci.

Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK)

Halimah Abdullah from CNN reports:

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn pushed and then backed away from an amendment to block the Department of Veteran Affairs from automatically entering the names of veterans deemed “mentally incompetent” to handle their finances from having their names entered into a national background check system, thereby blocking them from gun ownership.

Instead, the Oklahoma physician wanted those case[s] decided by a judge rather than a federal agency unless those veterans had been “found by a judicial authority to be a danger to themselves or to others.”

“We’re not asking for anything big,” Coburn said at the time. “We’re just saying that if you’re going to take away the Second Amendment rights — they ought to have it adjudicated, rather than mandated by someone who’s unqualified to state that they should lose their rights.”

RELATED COLUMNS:

Vietnam Vet Barred form owning a gun because of a teenage misdemeanor 45 years ago

Should vets with PTSD, mental illness still have access to guns?

Conservation gone wild in Florida

In December 2012, the Florida Cabinet authorized the pursuit of $8 million to buy land for conservation. Certain special interest groups wanted as much as $300 million. More than 33% of Florida is already in government ownership (Federal, State, and local), set aside for conservation.

Enormous amounts of tax payer money have been spent to buy land for conservation. Enormous amounts of taxpayer dollars are being spent to maintain lands under conservation.

Florida faces difficult budgetary decision again this year in areas such as Medicaid, education, children, job creation and the disabled. Two bills have been offered to address the expansion of government owned land for conservation.  The bills titled “Purchase of Land by a Government Entity” are SB 584 – sponsored by Senator Alan Hays and HB 901 sponsored by Representative Charles StoneSenate Bill 584 and House Bill 901 are identical bills. They call for any government entity to do four things before they use taxpayer money to buy more land out of the private sector for “conservation.” Those four things are:

1. Produce a current and accurate inventory of government conservation land already owned.

2. Have money in the current budget to maintain the land already owned.

3. Produce an estimate of the future costs of maintaining the proposed purchase.

4. For each acre purchased from the private sector by government, sell an acre back to the private sector.

According to Dan Peterson, Executive Director of PropertyRights.com, “These bills simply say, let’s consider the priorities of state spending and focus on people. Before, we use tax payer dollars to buy and maintain more land for conservation, let’s consider our current costs and future potential costs.” In an email Peterson provided the following information about the bills:

SB 584/HB 901 has three objectives:

1. Being good stewards of the land we own.
2. Being fiscally responsible and knowledgeable before we buy more land for conservation.
3. Insuring we keep the majority of Florida’s land under the ownership and control of private citizens who will care for and make the best use of land.

2. What do these bills do?

They require four things to be done before any purchase by government of land to be set aside for conservation:
a. It requires an accurate and current inventory be made public and,
b. It requires money to be in the current budget to maintain the land currently owned and,
c. It requires and analysis be made public estimating the on-going cost of maintenance
d. It requires the sale of land back to the private sector in an amount equal to the land to be purchased.

Why is the sale back to the private sector included?

According to Peterson, “As to the fourth point, private owners (for the most part) are better stewards of their property that government. They are more motivated to keep it up and improve its value. Also, every acre in government ownership is a non-revenue generating acre. Here’s is a way to generate more taxpayers without generating more taxes. The more land in private ownership, the more revenue is available to care for the needs of people.”

Peterson states these bills are not anti-conservation. “They are pro-stewardship of land and money. These bills do not prohibit additional purchases. It simply says, “Let’s consider what we currently have and ask if we can afford more?”, states Peterson.