Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Saying "God Bless" May Be Banned In Schools

Click to read full story from World Net Daily
Lawmakers in Florida have decided to slap down school boards whose members try to appease the ACLU with a "consent decree" or other agreement that limits student, faculty and staff religious and speech rights protected by the First Amendment.

The new law, which goes into effect July 1, is a response to a school-endorsed "consent degree" in the Santa Rosa County School District that demanded a student change "God bless" to "good luck." The law requires a school to get permission from those whose rights are impacted before agreeing to any such plan.

The state's new HB 31 reads, "District school boards, administrative personnel, and instructional personnel are prohibited from taking affirmative action, including, but not limited to, the entry into any agreement, that infringes or waives the rights or freedoms afforded to instructional personnel, school staff, or students by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, in the absence of the express written consent of any individual whose constitutional rights would be impacted by such infringement or waiver."

Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, said, "Liberty Counsel will ask the Santa Rosa School District to request the court to reconsider the consent decree in light of this new law. Liberty Counsel will continue to press this case until the consent decree is set aside. Not only is the decree unconstitutional, it is also moot, since the ACLU student plaintiffs graduated three weeks before the order became final.

"This consent decree," he said, "drafted by the ACLU and agreed to by the superintendent, is the most unconstitutional order I have ever read. It was written as though the First Amendment does not exist. It is only a matter of time before this consent decree is overturned."

The case already has generated a lawsuit against the district. The case developed when the district made a deal with the ACLU "to criminalize 'protected religious expression,' banning students from saying "God bless' and forcing teachers to 'hide in closets to pray,'" the Liberty Counsel report said.

The claims against Santa Rosa County School District began in August 2008 when two anonymous students sued with the help of the ACLU over longstanding practices at the school allowing prayer at some events. The school's separate counsel had agreed to a consent decree that "essentially bans all Santa Rosa County School District employees from engaging in prayer or religious activities," Liberty Counsel reported.

Liberty Counsel lawyers said they volunteered to work for free for the school to protect the First Amendment rights at issue.

"But the school district decided instead to shake hands with the ACLU, pay the ACLU $200,000 in legal fees and voluntarily enter into the consent decree that obliterates religious freedom and makes a mockery of the First Amendment," Liberty Counsel said in its description of the conflict.

Since then, several school officials have faced civil and criminal contempt charges demanded by the ACLU and the school district but have been cleared.

The Santa Rosa restrictions prohibited religious expression such as voluntary, student-initiated prayer or off-the-clock religious discussion among adults, critics said.

Liberty Counsel had announced just a few days earlier it was requesting an injunction against the district and its superintendent, Tim Wyrosdick.

Staver said the order conflicts directly with opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Schools are not religious-free zones," he said.

The Liberty Counsel complaint claims injury to 22 individuals representing students, faculty and staff as well as members of the community.

The firm said under the school's agreement, teachers were prevented from replying to e-mails sent by parents if words such as "God bless" were included, and district employees were not allowed to participate in privately sponsored off-campus religious events.

The policy also was used to prevent then-Pace High School student president Mary Allen from speaking at her own high school graduation.

The dispute remains volatile. WND reported Liberty Counsel declared it was "game over" because the ACLU admitted in court documents that the two anonymous plaintiffs graduated from the district's Pace High School in May 2009, effectively ending the court's jurisdiction in the case.

10,000 People Protest to Stop Ground Zero Islamic Mosque

Click to read full story from World Net Daily
As many as 10,000 protesters from across the country – including family members who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001 – took to the streets in New York City Sunday to fight construction of a 13-story Islamic mosque to be built just steps from Ground Zero where Muslim terrorists murdered 2,751 people in the name of Allah.

Now the organizers plan to sue the federal government to designate the site as a war memorial.

The following are some photos of the protest posted by various blogs:

(Photo: Pamela Geller, Atlas Shrugs)

(photo: El Marco, LookingatTheLeft.com)

(Photo: Urban Infidel)

As WND reported, the new Islamic mosque plans to open its doors on Sept. 11, 2011 – the 10th anniversary of that fateful day when time stood still as millions of Americans grieved the loss of loved ones, friends, family members, co-workers and strangers.

"The only Muslim center that should be built in the shadow of the World Trade Center is one that is devoted to expunging the Quran and all Islamic teachings of the violent jihad that they prescribe, as well as all hateful texts and incitement to violence," Geller said in a release announcing the protest.

They noted that thousands of protesters came from Washington state, California, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, South Carolina, Florida and elsewhere.

"They were Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, atheists, Muslims of conscience," Spencer wrote. "They were lovers of freedom."

He added, "Police estimated that 5,000 people were there, and other estimates ranged as high as 10,000. The crowd carried signs expressing their love for freedom, their contempt for Shariah, and their anger at Islamic supremacism and insult to the memories of those murdered on 9/11 that this mosque represents."

Obama tells Graduating Class Don't point fingers Don't make excuses Don't pass the buck

Click to read full story from Fox News

Don't point fingers. Don't make excuses. Don't pass the buck.

That was the advice President Obama gave to a graduating high school class in Michigan Monday night -- advice that sent off an irony alert among Republicans who accuse the president of having "spent his tenure" doing exactly that.

Obama offered his guidance during the commencement speech at Kalamazoo Central High School.

"Don't make excuses. Take responsibility not just for your successes, but for your failures as well," he told the graduates. "The truth is, no matter how hard you work, you won't necessarily ace every class or succeed in every job. There will be times when you screw up, when you hurt the people you love, when you stray from your most deeply held values.

"And when that happens, it's the easiest thing in the world to start looking around for someone to blame. Your professor was too hard, your boss was a jerk, the coach was playing favorites, your friend just didn't understand. We see it every day out in Washington, with folks calling each other names and making all sorts of accusations on TV."

He told the students that "pointing fingers" and "blaming parents" and everyone else in their lives is not the road to follow.

Senate Republicans reacted quickly to the speech, sending out a "best-of" list of instances in which Obama was "looking around for someone to blame." The quotes showed Obama using Bush as a scapegoat for everything from the deficit to America's image abroad.

Obama over the past 17 months has selectively blamed the Bush administration for the big problems he now faces.

One of the president's favorite rhetorical devices is the figurative "mop" he uses to clean up what he says were the mistakes of his predecessor.

"I don't mind cleaning up the mess that some other folks made. That's what I signed up to do," he said at a Democratic fundraiser last October.


JMC Ministries Response

So I guess Mr. Obama is telling the future of America do as I say, not as I do right?

Since day one of Obama being in office he has pointed fingers and blamed the Bush administration for everything that has happened since he has been in office. As if Bush was the one forcing him to sign the stimulus bill, or the new Government mandated Health Care bill. I'm sorry but Bush is not holding a gun at Obama's head forcing him to make the decisions and spending billion and billions of money that WE don't have!

No one forced Obama to run for President he made that choice on his own Because he wanted "Change" well he certainly made alot of changes and George Bush has not had a hand in any of them. So Mr. President Start taking your own advice that you gave so freely to this Graduating class. Grow up, be a man and start taking responsibility for your actions!

Obama Continues To Push Health Care Law In Face of Public Opposition

Click to read full story from Fox News

President Obama on Tuesday kicked off a big push to promote the government's $1 trillion health care overhaul, following a string of critical reports about missed deadlines and rising costs related to the legislation.

The president used a "tele-town hall" in a Washington suburb to tout the $250-per-person rebates that will soon be going out to seniors to help cover prescription drug costs. The rebates, set for distribution beginning Thursday, are one of the earliest provisions of the new law. Most of the major spending measures don't go into effect until 2014.

But with an election on the horizon and a rapid-fire sequence of domestic and international crises consuming the president's time and the public's attention, Obama is trying to keep focus on the early benefits of the law. He's getting some help from his Democratic allies in making sure health care stays front and center in the months ahead -- and that criticism does not go unanswered.

Obama's town hall Tuesday was only one component of a multi-layered campaign to promote the health care law. Anita Dunn, Obama's former communications director at the White House, is teaming up with Democratic strategist Andrew Grossman to launch an advocacy arm to promote the bill. The effort reportedly aims to raise $25 million every year for the next five years.

They'll have their work cut out for them.

Republicans served notice early on they were going to make the November election all about health care. Former New York Gov. George Pataki is leading an effort to collect 1 million petition signatures and force congressional candidates to say whether they support repeal.

A Rasmussen Reports poll out Monday shows that 58 percent of 1,000 likely voters want to repeal the law, while 35 percent want the law to stay put.

Pollster Scott Rassmussen said even with support leaning for repeal, it's a long shot that Republicans will regain control of Congress with the mandate to overturn the law.

"It looks like Democrats will be able to hang on to majority control of the House. If that happens, repeal is going nowhere. If the Republicans gain control and have a very good night in November, the House is very likely to pass a repeal and then replace it with some kind of popular components from the legislation. It will probably die in the Senate," he said.

Nonetheless, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got a taste of that enduring criticism Tuesday during a campaign-style speech at a hotel in Washington, where she was trumpeting the benefits of the bill. A protester screamed, "I'm not going back to a nursing home," and others started chanting as Pelosi tried to calm down the crowd.

Athiest Demanding Grant Money to Repair Cross Monument Be Returned

Click to read full story from Fox News

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Farmers sold pigs to help raise money to build the towering cross on southern Illinois' highest point as a year-round testament to faith. The 11-story monument draws thousands of visitors each year, and supporters say it has promoted self-growth and reflection for nearly half a century.

But over the years, the once-glistening structure about 130 miles southeast of St. Louis began to show its age. The 650 or so white porcelain panels that cover the concrete and steel frame rusted or fell off. Some remained attached with only coat hangers and bailing wire.

A group cobbled together $360,000 of the $550,000 needed to restore the Bald Knob Cross of Peace, including a $20,000 grant from the state of Illinois. Now, a Chicago-area atheist who objects to the grant as a bit of unconstitutional pork has threatened to sue if the group doesn't return the money to the state.

Pitching the project as the renovation of a major tourist attraction "is a nice cover story," Rob Sherman said in a telephone interview Wednesday. But the retired Chicago-area radio talk show host who successfully fought Illinois' "moment of silence" in public schools said he thinks it would be more appropriate to use the money for such public interests as schools and roads. If it isn't returned, he promised "a long and expensive" lawsuit.

That didn't deter the Friends of Bald Knob Cross. The money was used long ago as a down payment on the renovation of the monument near Alto Pass, Ill., said Bill Vandergraph, a minister and Friends board member.

"We're not shaken in any way," Vandergraph said Thursday. "We're trying to stay low-profile, and that's not out of fear. We're absolutely not intimidated."

His group applied for the money only after a state senator said they'd be eligible for it, he said. And, the landmark has proven versatile, housing federal government transmission equipment and used by Union County's conservation department.

Standing sentry over forests and much of the region's orchards and burgeoning wine country, the cross has been a fixture on the 1,025-foot-high Bald Knob Mountain for nearly a half century.

Easter services have been held on the mountain since 1937. Rural mail carrier Wayman Presley and pastor William Lirely envisioned a huge cross there that would be visible for miles and serve as testimony year-round.

Their fundraising efforts got a big boost in 1955 when Presley was featured on television's "This is Your Life." Donations poured in. Schoolchildren and Sunday school classes collected coins for the cross.