Tag Archives: First amendment

This is why they’re called “hate groups”

Crossposted at Equality Loudoun

[The lawsuit] boils down to nothing more than an attempt to define my Biblical views against homosexuality as a crime..

..Clearly, this lawsuit is intended not only to silence me as an effective voice of opposition to the ‘gay’ agenda, it is also to intimidate everyone else who would dare to follow my example.

Now, who does that sound like? A certain disgraced and censured Sterling supervisor who fills his bank account by running a hate group at Loudoun taxpayers’ expense? And some of his shameless apologists?

Yes, but it’s actually another hate group director, Scott Lively. Mr. Lively is currently facing a federal lawsuit for his role in creating a deadly climate for the LGBTI community in Uganda. Readers may remember him also as the man who hired a known child rapist to run his fake “ministry” out of a coffeehouse designed to attract teenagers. But that was okay, because the predator had “accepted the salvation of Christ” (and of course, the children he preferred were female).

Mr. Lively has tried to have the lawsuit against him dismissed on First Amendment grounds. But it turns out that there are limits even to free expression when that expression is an integral part of criminal activity, and the criminal activity of which Mr. Lively is accused is aiding and abetting in the commission of a crime against humanity.

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What a surprise, religious liberty is alive and well

Have you all noticed that there is very little complaining on the anti-gay fringe about the ongoing avalanche of changes to public policy in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA? The Department of Defense now extends full military benefits to same sex spouses, the Department of State is issuing immigrant visas to same sex spouses, and a multitude of other federal benefits of marriage will now be enjoyed by LGBT families previously denied them. But the anti-gay fringe is largely silent about these events that are actually happening, preferring to talk instead about a hypothetical event that is not only not happening, but is impossible due to our First Amendment protections. What they are talking about – and talking about incessantly in that hysterical, strident tone they favor – is the impending loss of religious liberty for churches “forced to perform homosexual weddings.” Really. It’s bound to happen any day now.

Fear not, fearful mongers of fear: Churches can (still!) refuse to marry any couple, for any reason. The First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs in Mississippi, for instance, just told an African American couple that they would have to be married in a different church, because, according to the pastor, “This was, had not, had never been done here before so it was setting a new (precedent) and there were those who reacted to that.

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Breaking and Entering

We Dems expected President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to offend our civil liberties.

We didn’t expect President Barack Obama, the constitutional law professor, to go back on his campaign promise to make a course correction to cure the over-reaching of the Bush Administration.

We were foolish to expect better.

Without regard to partisan coloration, our public officials and our government just can’t stop poking their noses into our private papers and communications.

The Fourth Amendment, by which we are purportedly protected, guaranteed we’d be secure” in our “persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

This guarantee has been rendered almost meaningless by the actions of our government from the federal to the county level.  Applications to search and seize are routinely approved by magistrates and judges.  The basis for the government’s searches are often kept secret. Continue reading

Evan Mantel’s Whistleblower Letter

Having worked for Dave LaRock’s 1789 Project, Evan Mantel, a recent graduate of Patrick Henry College, says he is now “cynical towards politics.”

I wonder if he’s also now cynical toward our local press. Mantel’s letter to the editor describing his unpleasant experience appeared in the Loudoun Times Mirror on May 2, and was removed on May 5. I’m still waiting to hear an explanation for the removal, but given other recent conduct by the LaRock campaign the application of pressure to the editor seems likely. If that turns out to be true, it’s very disappointing behavior from a candidate for public office.

Luckily, the original letter was saved in Google’s webcache. It reveals a pattern of self-indulgence, abuse, and theft of labor hours. See for yourself: The letter is reproduced here, just in case LaRock’s campaign to represent Virginia’s 33rd District is successful at bullying Google, too. Continue reading

Bravo Sister!

“They’re saying it’s only about doctrine. But for us, the dialogue is about reflecting on our lives out of Gospel. Theology in our view is about exploration and discovery. They think that’s wrong. It’s like cutting the heart out of who we are,”

Sister Simone Campbell on the Vatican’s view of “open dialogue,” reported in today’s Washington Post.  The Vatican believes that dialogue is “a conversation about how best to implement the pope’s vision.”  Really? Isn’t Sister Simone asking, “Who represents Catholic women?“ How can a conversation be called “dialogue” if one side says – “I’m the authority, shut up and implement what I say.

Michelle Boorstein’s article really gave me hope. This dialogue between the nuns and the pope is one the most significant political advances I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. Why is it political? When asked if the dialogue includes hot button issues like contraception, Sister Simone replied,

“Absolutely. Theologies have evolved over two millennia. When Jesus died and rose, it wasn’t all settled.”

Bravo Sister!

Offensive holiday intentions

John Mileo, a member of the Courthouse Grounds Committee writes that Rick Wingrove, CEO of the Beltway Atheists, is in the process of “rounding up his storm troopers… to persuade the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors… to rule against the inclusion of a creche as part of this year’s so-called Seasonal Display.” The storm troopers – Sturmabteilung, SA, or Brownshirts – provided protection at rallies, disrupted opposing political parties and intimidated Jews during the rise of the Nazis. I fail to see how a half dozen BoS public comment speakers could be compared to “storm troopers”, but I also failed to understand how a small group of prayerful Soulforce youth could elicit a storm trooper-like response from Patrick Henry College for daring to engage students in open dialog.

PHC's "storm trooper" dialog

And here is where the two stories meet. Mike Farris, the only person in the county to actually call for shock-troop-like protection of the fragile ideology fed to his PHC students, is also the constitutional lawyer consultant to the CGC that illegally cleared citizens from its last meeting. Mr. Mileo did not mean to be offensive, forgive him, he didn’t understand what he was doing – channeling the Christianist-right’s ubiquitous persecution complex.

Last December, Prison Fellowship Ministry’s Pat Nolan wrote a letter to the editor with a similar argument, that “neo-pagans [sic] of the SS belittled and mocked all who acknowledged a higher power than the state” and that “[e]ven the simple act of celebrating Christmas was outlawed.” The late Chuck Colson also used Nazi imagery in his “Breaking the Spiral of Silence” DVD to portray, among other “liberal” menaces, same-sex couples as modern day “storm troopers.” Thankfully, “Breaking the Cycle of Silence” was Colson’s final exercise of Godwin’s law.

Creche on the courthouse lawn, 2011

The use of this imagery is offensive, and the Board of Supervisors is planning to allow the CGC to get away with it. At last night’s public input, Chairman York invoked his privilege to indicate that the BoS intends to approve the PHC designed display because it will be similar to the national display at the Ellipse. For me, the content of the display – a creche, Christmas tree and menorah – isn’t the issue. The issue is the intention of the BoS and CGC to establish a phony religious mythology that frames any opposition as threatening, terrorist, and even Nazi. That intention is so offensive that the PHC design should be rejected outright and the BoS should take a timeout to think about what they are doing. Mr. Mileo did. After belatedly consulting a dictionary, he posted the following comment to his own letter:

I have requested that the editor replace the word “storm troopers”, which I was using as a metaphor, with the word “member.”

Thank you Mr. Mileo. Unlike the BoS, your retraction demonstrates a willingness to admit error and change course.

Baby wants a creche!

Goodness gracious, this board may just turn out to be the most corrupt in recent history. The hilarity continues to escalate (assuming that you find the deliberate incitement of costly taxpayer-funded lawsuits hilarious).

After last month’s highly entertaining meeting of the Courthouse Grounds and Facilities Committee (reported here), in which the chairman admitted both to having consulted with “preeminent constitutional lawyer” Mike Farris and that the proposed inclusion of a menorah was only to provide “top cover” for the sole objective of a county-sponsored creche, this month’s meeting featured ejecting a reporter and members of the public from the room. The reporter was told that although the committee has no authority to make policy, and is not facing litigation, they had to be in “closed session” because they were receiving legal advice.

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“War on Christmas” gets an early start this year

Back in 2005, the School Board’s Legislative and Policy Committee was meeting regularly to discuss how they could rewrite freedom of expression policy, at the behest of Dick Black, without violating federal law. After one memorable meeting during which some inadvisable confessions were made, I titled my report “It was late and they were tired.

Alas, last week’s discussion of holiday displays by the new Courthouse Grounds and Facilities Committee (CGFC) took place at only 6:00 pm.

To briefly recap, the new board has abandoned the idea of a limited public forum. This is because – as I predicted – those like Eugene Delgaudio, who claimed to support freedom of expression for all, in reality did not like anyone’s expression but their own and demanded that the displays end. The board is now pursuing the idea of a county-sponsored holiday display on the courthouse lawn, and the CGFC has been tasked with designing it. Further, the CGFC has been reconstituted and is now stacked with individuals who were active in writing letters and speaking to the last board in favor of allowing the display of religious symbols and messages, but prohibiting the display of other symbols and messages.

One of those individuals is John Mileo, who had a design proposal for the rest of the committee. But first, he had to explain his reasoning. Continue reading

An easy Reform Commission cut

Dear Loudoun County Government Reform Commission,

I have a way for you to immediately save Loudoun County taxpayers one quarter of a million dollars per year.

That is the amount of revenue the county is not receiving due to the property tax exemption granted in late 2003 to the massive Loudoun compound of Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship Ministries/Colson Center.

Our tax dollars at work.

Rescind it. PFM doesn’t qualify for a tax exemption. Tax exempt entities in Loudoun are not permitted to engage in partisan political advocacy and propaganda, and that is precisely what Chuck Colson uses his organization to do. Case in point – as discussed here, Chuck Colson has fabricated and repeatedly disseminated the following two big, honking falsehoods: that President Obama has redefined “freedom of religion” to be a more narrow concept of “freedom of worship,” and that the Affordable Care Act mandate to employers to provide contraceptive coverage as part of comprehensive health insurance plans is something new, and is “the most important issue — I really think the most important I’ve faced in my ministry, and the greatest threat to America, the greatest threat to us as Christians.” But in fact: Continue reading

Holiday display solution moves forward

According to the Leesburg Today, the Finance, Government Services and Operations Committee is recommending that the Courthouse Grounds Facility Committee “be directed to work up a plan for seasonal display sponsored by the county government” that would replace the increasingly contentious “limited public forum” policy in place for the past three years.

The solution is essentially identical to what was proposed by former Supervisor Miller at the end of last year, but was not adopted because the display spaces for that year had already been assigned, and in some cases, displays already erected.

Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run), an attorney, noted that there are two different Supreme Court cases that show there is legal precedent for such a step.

“Essentially what they decided to do in those cases was you could put up a secular display, a Christmas tree, fine…Things that weren’t of an innately religious value,” he said, noting there also was a case of a nativity scene put on a courthouse’s steps, and that the court ruled that was going to far. “The tough work will be in deciding what the government-sponsored seasonal display is. I think we do have some good guidance from two Supreme Court cases. If we put out a secular display, we should be fine.” [My emphasis]

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