Tag Archives: ACLU

Toddler’s brutal beating prompts call to withhold bail from illegal immigrants

Remember, San Francisco believes their “long-standing (sanctuary city) policy improves public safety and embraces immigrants.”

Criminal illegal aliens Chavez (l) and Vasquez (r)

Criminal illegal aliens Chavez (l) and Vasquez (r)

Fox News: When Francisco Javier Chavez posted bail on charges of beating a California toddler within an inch of her life in late July, there was little reason to expect the illegal immigrant, who has spent much of his adult life hopping back and forth across the Mexican border, would return to face justice.

Two weeks later, at his scheduled arraignment on Aug. 13, Chavez was a no-show. The 27-year-old career criminal had put up $10,000, or 10 percent of the amount set for his alleged crimes by California’s bail schedule. His disappearance is hardly a surprise to critics who believe violent illegal immigrants are, by definition, flight risks who should be denied bail in such serious cases. They say judges, especially in border states plagued by illegal immigrant crime, are naive or worse if they expect suspects who regularly cross in and out of Mexico to take the U.S. justice system seriously.

“Frankly, judges grant bail in cases like these because they are being foolish,” said Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department lawyer now at The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. “The judge can consider bail for you when you are charged with a crime, but does not have to let you out on bail. If the state can show you are a flight risk, you should not get bail. If the state can show you are a danger to the public because of a history of violence, you should not get bail.

While Chavez is in the wind, his alleged victim, the 2-year-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend, is now in foster care, paralyzed from the beating that also left her with both arms and a femur broken. Well before he was arrested in San Luis Obispo County for attacking the child, Chavez had compiled a lengthy criminal record that includes assault and drug convictions and arrests for violent acts such as kidnapping, car-jacking and cruelty to a child. He was deported in February 2014, but as in previous instances, found it easy to sneak back across the border and into the U.S.

Jonathan Montez: Killed by an illegal alien.

Jonathan Montez: Killed by an illegal alien.

Weeks after Chavez slipped out of custody, on Sept. 1, another 2-year-old toddler named Jonathan Montez was run down and killed in San Bernardino County. Illegal immigrant Jose Enrique Vasquez, 53, an unlicensed driver who witnesses said was speeding down the child’s residential street, fled the scene, according to authorities. He was arrested two weeks later, and, like Chavez, was granted bail.

Vasquez also has compiled a lengthy criminal record under various aliases, including charges of spousal abuse, battery of a peace officer, driving without a license, driving under the influence and armed robbery. But other charges in his criminal record might have given a judge pause in considering bail according to critics, including failure to appear in court, possession of false citizenship documents and eight deportations for illegally entering the country.

The systems for granting bail in state courts varies from state to state. California’s bail system lays out prescribed amounts for various crimes as a guideline for law enforcement and judges, but judges retain discretion to raise the amount in cases where the suspect is a flight risk or a danger to the public and the district attorney can add, drop or change the charges. Two states, Alabama and Missouri, have passed laws that preclude bail for illegal immigrants suspected of serious crimes, while judges in other states — notably Texas — weigh illegal status in making their decisions. But last year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Arizona’s 2006 law banning bail for illegal immigrant suspects violated their right to due process and amounted to punishment before trial. The 11-member panel’s decision called the law a “scattered attempt” to deal with the problem of chronic bail-skipping by illegal immigrants. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the lower court’s decision.

Judges everywhere maintain discretion to deny bail to anyone they believe is likely to flee justice, yet they often fail to consider illegal status as a factor, said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies. And critics say it should be obvious that someone here illegally and suspected of a violent crime will bolt rather than face justice, especially in border states such as California, where they can be out of the country an hour after posting bail.

“Aliens who commit acts of violence should not be released on bail, because they are clearly a danger to the public, and when we have someone with this kind of deportation history, clearly they are an obvious flight risk,” said von Spakovsky. “These judges are making mistakes granting bail to illegal aliens – reckless mistakes that endangered the public.”

The willingness of judges to grant bail to illegal immigrants charged with serious crimes compounds the ongoing controversy involving so-called sanctuary cities. Such jurisdictions, either by local statute or practice, refuse to inform federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents when an illegal immigrant is detained.

But even jurisdictions that do not implement sanctuary policies believe that two federal court rulings, the 2013 California “Trust Act,” which limits “cruel and costly immigration hold requests in local jails,” and an ambiguous White House policy all bar them from holding illegal immigrants who have posted bail until federal authorities can collect and deport them – even if ICE asks them to via what is known as a “detainer request.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued jurisdictions that attempted to honor the ICE detainers, and the Department of Justice has not intervened in the cases to underscore its support of them. As a result, local law enforcement agencies say they have no choice but to let even violent illegal immigrant suspects walk once they are granted bail.

“Yes, the judges who ignore this risk are at fault, but Congress provided ICE with a tool to address the problem — detainers — which the Obama administration is not allowing its officers to use,” Vaughan said.


In the cases of both Chavez and Vasquez, ICE issued detainer requests. In Chavez’s case, ICE agents did not arrive prior to bail being posted. In the case of Vasquez, ICE isn’t immediately taking custody or deporting Vasquez, so that he remains in the U.S. at least resolving the legal proceedings surrounding the hit-and-run charge.

Don's son Drew

Don’s son Drew

Don Rosenberg, who, after his 25-year-old son Drew was killed by an unlicensed immigrant driver in San Francisco five years ago, began closely tracking illegal immigrant crime, said the biggest problem he sees is “people in power don’t care.” He blames judges for granting bail, but also holds law enforcement accountable for caving in to the threat of lawsuits.

“How can anyone who in law enforcement let people like this out of custody who we know will likely hurt someone badly, if not kill them, even if they are threatened with a lawsuit?” Rosenberg said. “It’s pure callous indifference. I don’t know how they live with themselves.”


Crowd prays with coach as he defies school district

The article leaves out a few words from the Establishment Clause: “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

Joe Kennedy/King 5 Photo

Joe Kennedy/King 5 Photo

Seattle Times: Surrounded by members of his team, players from the rival Centralia High School and scores of supporters from Kitsap County and beyond, Bremerton High assistant coach Joe Kennedy knelt on the 50-yard line after Friday night’s game and prayed. It was some version of the basic prayer he’s said for years, he said afterward. “Lord, I thank you for these kids and the blessing you’ve given me with them. We believe in the game, we believe in competition and we can come into it as rivals and leave as brothers.”

He said he never intended to become part of the controversy surrounding his postgame prayers, but had to stand up for his right to practice his faith when challenged by the school district. “I always taught my kids to do what’s right … and fight for what you believe in.”

The school district says Kennedy must stop his prayers, which it says violate the separation of church and state. Lawyers representing the coach say his right to religious freedom is being violated by the district’s rules.

bremerton high praying

Numerous people at the school homecoming game came to support Kennedy and his longstanding practice of kneeling and praying at the 50-yard line after games, often among a crowd of players and other coaches.

Kennedy initially agreed to stop his postgame prayers, but earlier this week said he changed his mind after the Texas-based Liberty Institute took up his cause.

Andy Lancaster of Silverdale came to his first football game at Bremerton High on Friday to pray with Kennedy after the game. “I’m here because I can’t stand ACLU bullies,” he said. Gordy Byrd, who attended Bremerton’s East High School years ago, said he hadn’t been at a high-school game in 40 years but he, too, came to pray with Kennedy. State Rep. Jesse Young, R-Gig Harbor, stood next to Kennedy in support throughout the game.

The controversy has played out in public since the district told Kennedy last month to stop his postgame prayers.

Bremerton coach Joe Kennedy, center, in blue, covers his eyes as he kneels and prays, surrounded by Centralia players, at Bremerton Memorial Stadium after the game on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. Kennedy plans to continue his 7-year tradition of kneeling to pray at the 50-yard line after the game, disobeying district orders/Seattle Times Photo

Bremerton coach Joe Kennedy, center, in blue, covers his eyes as he kneels and prays, surrounded by Centralia players, at Bremerton Memorial Stadium after the game on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. Kennedy plans to continue his 7-year tradition of kneeling to pray at the 50-yard line after the game, disobeying district orders/Seattle Times Photo

Cory Flournoy, 17, a senior who was filming the game for his media class, said students are “sick and absolutely tired of it all.” “It’s ridiculous that he got in trouble at all,” he said. “The students basically support the coach regardless of their religious beliefs,” Flournoy said.

“It isn’t a big deal at all,” said Brandon Chavez, who played football with the team as a freshman. “I prayed because I’m Catholic, but some walked off. There was never any pressure.” Brady Beaton, Class of 2013, also said he prayed with the team and said he wondered how it ever “became a thing.” “They’re making a big deal out of nothing,” Beaton said.

The district argues that Kennedy’s postgame prayers violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which precludes the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” It also forbids the government from favoring one religion over another. The Liberty Institute says the coach’s right to religious freedom is being violated and threatened to sue if the district were to fire Kennedy over the dispute.

Jeffrey Ganson, an attorney with Porter Foster Rorick, the Seattle law firm that is representing the school district, emailed a letter to the Liberty Institute on Friday taking issue with how the prayers had been characterized.

Ganson wrote that, contrary to Kennedy’s statements, he did invite other coaches to join him, and that video of an on-field prayer Sept. 14 showed that the prayer began with the word “Lord” and ended with “amen,” contrary to a claim that the prayers did not name a specific deity or end with an amen.

The letter also took issue with the idea that Kennedy is off-duty immediately after the game ends. It said the prayers occur “when students are still on the football field, in uniform, under the stadium lights, with the audience still in attendance, and while Mr. Kennedy is still in his District-issued and District-logoed attire. Critically, at that time, Mr. Kennedy remains on duty. …”

Liberty Institute’s Hiram Sasser responded: “The school district may resolve this issue by announcing a disclaimer that Coach Kennedy is acting in his private capacity and not as a representative of the school district …” Sasser wrote.

Bremerton School District and Bremerton High School officials did not return phone calls from The Seattle Times on Friday seeking comment. An email from the school district included statements from Thursday’s school board meeting.

“I want to be clear — the District is in no way taking away an athletic coach’s freedom of expression,” District Superintendent Aaron Leavell said in the statement. “What we are doing is what every state-funded agency and school district must do: abide by the laws that govern us. Like every public school district in the nation, our teaching and coaching staff is not allowed to include religious expression, including prayer, in talks with students while on duty for the District.”

Kennedy describes himself as a God-fearing former Marine, who served 20 years including in operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield in Iraq. He said he believes he is “helping these kids be better people.” He says he is not a lawyer and “I don’t know the Constitution.”


Sacramento violent crime rises sharply; high-poverty areas hit hardest

You think reducing crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and releasing 17,000 low-level criminals from jails or prisons might be part of the problem?

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and his buddy Obama

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and his buddy Obama

Sacramento Bee: Ninety minutes after midnight on a recent Saturday, Sacramento resident Jackie Andersen learned that her son – a lively 16-year-old student at American Legion High who played football and basketball – was dying. “I got woken up by my oldest son,” she said. “His brother was shot and unresponsive and bleeding.”

Isaiah Diaz was gunned down in front of his grandmother’s house in the city’s Colonial Village neighborhood in the early hours of Oct. 3. Police say they believe the shooting was gang-related; Andersen said her son was not in a gang, but may have been “hanging out with the wrong people.”

It was the seventh killing in the city in five weeks and the 35th homicide of 2015. That amounts to more homicides by early October than Sacramento has seen during the first nine months of any year since 2008.

The killing and Thursday’s downtown stabbing of French train attack hero Spencer Stone are the latest indications of a disturbing trend: Violent crimes – murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – are up sharply this year in Sacramento.

Through August, Sacramento police had responded to 2,511 violent crimes, a 24 percent increase from the same period in the prior year, police statistics show. The city has not seen that many violent crimes through August of any year since 2010.

Violent crime is up year-over-year in each of the city’s six patrol districts, but the increase is not uniform. In North Sacramento’s Patrol District 2, which includes Del Paso Heights, Robla and Del Paso Boulevard, and in south Sacramento’s Patrol District 5, which includes Meadowview, Valley Hi and Mack Road, violent crime has risen by more than 35 percent.

Property crime, a category that includes burglaries, larcenies and car thefts, rose about 8 percent through August. Central Sacramento’s Patrol District 4, which includes Land Park, South Land Park and the Pocket neighborhoods, saw a 24 percent increase, the largest jump in the city, police records show.

The sharp uptick in crime follows several years of historic declines that culminated in 2014, when the city saw the fewest number of violent crimes in decades. It also coincides with an increase in violent crimes and homicides reported this year in major cities across the nation.

Police officials and criminologists cautioned against reading too much yet into the trend. Following years of declines in reported criminal activity, Sacramento still is demonstrably safer in 2015 than it was 10 or 20 years ago, they said. This year could prove to be the start of a significant new problem – or a short-lived aberration.

“This is precisely the time to redouble your efforts to make sure things don’t get out of hand,” said George Tita, associate professor in the department of criminology, law and society at the University of California, Irvine.

It’s also too early to say what is causing the increase, experts said. It comes as the economy improves and the Sacramento Police Department has added dozens more officers.

It also comes in the wake of Proposition 47, which passed in November and reduced many nonviolent property and drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. Proposition 47 resulted in the release of thousands of low-level offenders from California prisons and jails, said Magnus Lofstrom, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

Magnus Lofstrom: "Too early to tell” if Proposition 47 is affecting violent crime rates.

Magnus Lofstrom: “Too early to tell” if Proposition 47 is affecting violent crime rates.

Prison releases can “put a greater upward pressure on greater crime rates,” Lofstrom said. But he also noted that California’s trends in violent crime are similar to what’s happening in states that didn’t recently pass such a law. That makes it difficult to draw any strong conclusions, he said.

Another possibility is a rise in gang activity. Police say several recent killings involved gangs. Police spokesman Bryce Heinlein said measuring gang activity is complex and can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. But, he said, “detectives are well aware that violent crime often has a nexus to gang involvement.”

Sacramento police officials say they are taking the crime increase seriously. They are reaching out to community leaders, putting more police on the street and tracking hot spots, said spokesman Doug Morse. “More than ever we are going to weekly meetings with our crime analysis folks and quickly identifying problems and creating response plans,” Morse said.

Whatever its cause, duration or solution, the increase in crime has touched thousands of local residents, particularly in the city’s poorest neighborhoods. “There are a lot of people that are afraid,” said Tanya Brewer, who lives in North Sacramento with five children, ages 4 to 13.

‘It’s not safe’

Through August, Sacramento police responded to almost 670 violent crimes, including eight homicides, in North Sacramento’s Patrol District 2. That’s about 175 more violent crimes than occurred in the district during the same period last year, and more violent crimes than during any similar period in at least five years, police data show. The closest recent year was 2012, when about 565 violent crimes occurred through August.

Brewer’s section of North Sacramento is called Strawberry Manor, covering about four-tenths of a square mile and home to about 3,000 people. In the last 12 months, police have taken 13 reports of aggravated assaults involving firearms in Strawberry Manor, online records show.

Read the rest of this section (detailing shooting incidents) here.

Explanations elusive

Violent incidents such as these rarely happen in the middle-class neighborhoods of Land Park, Curtis Park and the Pocket. But those areas have seen their own spikes involving property crime. About 1,660 property crimes occurred in Patrol District 4 through August, including more than 230 auto thefts. That’s about 330 more property crimes than the area saw last year.

Bob Ross has lived in Curtis Park for 55 years. Earlier this year, someone broke into his garage and stole his late wife’s bicycle. Ross, 86, didn’t have much use for it anymore, he said, but noted it was the first time he’d had something stolen from his house.

While city residents have reported more property crime this year than last, the incident numbers still remain below the levels reached in 2012 and 2013. Mike Ellison, president of the South Land Park Neighborhood Association, said crime in his community remains “a lot of minor stuff” and that he has not heard many concerns from neighbors.

Kenneth Mennemeier, president of the Land Park Community Association, said “anytime a crime like that goes up, it’s worrisome” but that “our understanding is (police) are deploying more resources to try to get the numbers down. It is a situation that warrants attention and is getting attention,” he said.

The increase in crime has occurred even as the Police Department is adding resources. Voters approved Measure U in 2012 to restore 150 positions lost during the recession. As of March, the department had filled 117 of those positions, budget records show, and hiring continues. Morse, the police spokesman, said the full impact of those hires will not be felt until recruits complete their training. “It literally takes a year and a half to get that person working on their own. … We are hiring as fast as we can. We have full academies running twice a year. But it literally takes years to get back to where we were in 2008,” he said.

In the meantime, city police say they are employing a variety of tactics in high-crime areas. Some of those are strategic changes: for example, creating “geographic policing models” that put an officer in charge of a targeted zone within a district. That officer receives crime updates and can quickly shift resources.

Other efforts involve new technology. Police in May installed “ShotSpotter” sensors in North Sacramento to alert them to the sound of gunfire, with the aim of having officers respond more quickly.

The city also has reached out to youths in high-poverty areas. Thousands of people, most of them under 35, have participated in a “Summer Night Lights” program in the Mack Road area. Activities include obstacle courses, music and carnival games. The idea is to give young adults positive things to do in the summer, when crime is usually highest. A similar program, “Night Life Turned Right,” runs in North Sacramento. “If we don’t invest in youth in a positive way, they will find negative things to participate in,” said Derrell Roberts, a community activist in North Sacramento.

One obstacle to addressing the crime increase, several experts said, is they don’t have enough data to determine what is causing it. Homicides are up this year in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia and numerous other cities. There’s no consensus about why.

“We have no idea why there might be spikes in violence,” said Tita, the UC Irvine criminologist. He said the crime increases in Sacramento and elsewhere fall within the range of fluctuations expected from time to time.

are you serious

The upticks occur as California and the federal government have eased sentencing for some low-level offenders. Late last year, the U.S. Justice Department instructed its prosecutors to no longer charge low-level, nonviolent drug criminals with crimes that carry heavy mandatory sentences. Roughly 6,000 drug criminals will be released from federal prisons in coming weeks, with more releases likely.

prop 47

In California, about 17,000 low-level criminals have been released from jails or prisons across the state because of Proposition 47, which passed in November, Lofstrom said. That’s about 12 percent of the state’s jail population and 6 percent of its prison population. But, he added, “It’s too early to tell” if Proposition 47 is affecting violent crime rates.

Jackie Andersen is among those trying to understand what is happening in her community. Her son Isaiah was a good kid, she said, and she pleaded for anyone with information about his killing to come forward. A day after his death, she stood in front of a makeshift memorial at the spot where he’d been shot, weeping as she recounted how she never had a chance to say goodbye. “When I got here,” she said, “my son had already been taken away.”


Rural Virginia town divided over court ruling that transgender student can’t use the boys’ bathroom

Special snowflake demands her way or face a lawsuit.

Gavin Grimm

Gavin Grimm

Daily Mail: Amid the cornfields and marinas dotting this conservative tidewater Virginia enclave between the York River and Mobjack Bay, people are divided over what one local pastor calls ‘the civil rights issue of this generation’ – how to deal with a transgender student’s demand to use the boys’ restrooms at the local high school.

‘If they’re not fixed like a man, they should not use the men’s bathroom,’ Gary Pilkinton, a 56-year-old movie special effects worker, told a reporter recently outside the local Wal-Mart. Another shopper, Cheryl Walker, took the opposite view. ‘I don’t care what bathroom he uses,’ the 71-year-old retiree said.  ‘Just don’t go potty on the hallway floor.’

Gavin Grimm, who was born female but identifies as male, sued school officials over a policy requiring him to use either the girls’ restrooms or a single-stall, unisex bathroom open to all students.

The 16-year-old Gloucester High School junior claims it’s stigmatizing and discriminatory. Some classmates and their parents argue that his presence in boys’ bathrooms would be disruptive and a violation of privacy.

It’s a new and decidedly modern issue for this rural eastern Virginia county that dates to 1651, promotes itself as Daffodil Capital of the World and takes pride in its history: home of George Washington’s grandmother and the Indian princess Pocahontas.

But the dispute, which unfolded in heated school board meetings and spilled into federal court, is not unique to Gloucester. A transgender student’s use of the girls’ facilities in a Missouri high school triggered a late-August backlash by parents and a protest by nearly 200 students.  Last year, Maine’s highest court ruled that a transgender fifth-grader could use the girls’ restroom.

Grimm said he’s not surprised by the division in Gloucester County. ‘There’s the side that’s like, ”Wow, Gloucester is really in the Stone Age with this one” – (they should) just let you pee and be yourself and be happy”,’ Grimm said in an interview this week. ‘And there’s a lot of people from Gloucester who are like, ”It’s the Bible Belt and Satan is in our town”.’

Grimm, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, says in the lawsuit that he started refusing to wear girls’ clothes by age 6 and told his parents he was transgender in April 2014 – a year before Caitlin Jenner made an international splash by publicly divulging her transgender status.

Grimm’s parents helped him legally change his given name and took him to a psychologist who determined he has gender dysphoria, characterized by stress stemming from conflict between one’s gender identity and assigned sex at birth. Grimm began hormone treatment to deepen his voice and give him a more masculine appearance.

During the last school year, Grimm was allowed to use the boys’ restrooms and did so without incident until some parents complained. Amid the ensuing turmoil, the school board voted 6-1 for the policy restricting students with ‘transgender issues’ to the single-stall facilities or those corresponding to their biological sex.

Gavin Grimm

Gavin Grimm

Grimm complied, using a restroom in the school nurse’s office, but found the board’s solution unbearable. ‘It’s humiliating, it’s ostracizing and I don’t want to take that walk of shame to the unisex bathroom and know that everyone who saw me go in there knows why I’m in there – because I’m different, and I’ve been marked different by my school and publicly. I’m not comfortable with it whatsoever. I’m not an ”other” and I’m not unisex, I’m a boy,’ Grimm said.

Some have used other words, including ‘it’ and ‘freak,’ Grimm said – dehumanizing insults that sting, even though he believes deep down that they stem from ignorance. He recoils at public discussion of his genitals and disputes suggestions that he is just seeking attention.

Gloucester, a community of about 37,000, voted nearly 2-1 for the Republican candidate in the last two presidential elections in a state won by Democrat Barack Obama. A recent random sampling of local opinion there yielded a variety of outlooks.

Some are mostly concerned about Grimm’s well-being. ‘I think it’s a hard situation, especially for somebody so young,’ said Marcella Randal, 68, during a smoke break on a bench outside the senior center on Main Street.  ‘It could also be dangerous. You know those young boys in high school aren’t going to understand that.’

Kim Williams, owner of the Short Lane Ice Cream shop down the street from the high school, said she doesn’t hear much about the dispute from students who drop in. She wondered if the controversy could have been handled by letting the students decide.

Even among the student body, however, there is sharp disagreement. ‘The way I look at it, gay, straight, transgender, hermaphrodite – I don’t discriminate,’ Gloucester High School senior John Pence said. ‘I don’t see why it’s such a big deal.’ Pence said it seems older people have raised the most ruckus.

However, student Scott Williams told the school board that other teens who don’t want to run into Grimm in the restroom would speak up if not for the fear of being labeled intolerant. ‘My friends and I are uncomfortable with co-ed bathrooms and locker rooms. Don’t we matter too? How is it fair to advance the rights of one by violating the rights of a thousand? The unisex restroom isn’t perfect, but it’s the best option,’ he said.

Williams was among about three dozen residents who made impassioned two-minute pleas to the school board, whose meetings often draw no public comments at all.

Local pastor Ralph VanNess asked, ‘Where does it end?’ He added, as the audience applauded, that the rights of ‘the other young men in Gloucester High School’ should be respected. But another clergyman, Fred Carter, told the board: ‘The issue we are talking about now is the civil rights issue of this generation. Who are we to judge?

Cheryl Walker sympathizes with Grimm’s plight, but isn’t ready to elevate it to that level. ‘In Gloucester, we have so many issues,’ she said outside the Wal-Mart, citing drugs as an example. ‘Let’s get on with more important stuff.’

Most school officials have clammed up about the dispute, citing the ongoing litigation. The exception is Kim Hensley, the board member who voted against the policy. ‘I think this is a civil rights issue,’ she said.

The school board defends its policy in court papers. ‘To respect the safety and privacy of all students, the School Board has had a long-standing practice of limiting the use of the restroom and locker room facilities to the corresponding biological sex of the students,‘ the board says, adding that it believes the policy ‘is in the best interests of all students.’

Professor King knows better than you...

Professor King knows better than you…

Barbara J. King, who’s an anthropology professor at the College of William & Mary and a Gloucester County resident, said the community backlash reflects a lack of understanding about what it means to be transgender. ‘A lot of this is based on fear – that changes happening nationwide are not always known and understood in smaller communities,’ King said in an interview.  ‘It seems to be a continual discussion of privacy. I just have a hard time understanding what the big harm is and what the big danger is. I’ve never had that explained to me.


Methodist minister said caring about aborted babies is idolatry

It’s bad enough that the United Methodist Church supports legalized abortion, but what a Methodist pastor says about those who care about unborn babies should tell us how low the church has sunken.

Steve Ertelt reports for Life News, May 18, 2015, that pro-life advocate Sarah Terzo, who has a knack for documenting the history of the abortion debate and the abortion advocacy movement by posting quotes from pro-abortion activists through the years, posted a new quote that features Methodist Minister John M. Swomley.

Terzo explains that Swomley is an ordained United Methodist minister who was professor of Christian Ethics (!) at St. Paul’s school of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri from 1960 to 1984, president of Americans for Religious Liberty, and a longtime board member and sometimes vice president of the pro-abortion American Civil Liberties Union and chair of its church–state committee.

This is what Methodist Minister John Swomley wrote about pro-life Americans in his 1999 book Compulsory Pregnancy: the War against American Women:

Opponents of abortion in America have attributed to fetal life a sacredness that is actually idolatry… Fetal idolatry denies a woman’s right to control her body, her life, her destiny, all of which must be sacrificed to an embryo or fetus once she is pregnant…

Fetal idolatry shows no mercy. … One of the major critiques of idolatry about unborn life is its lack of concern for the abundant or purposeful life to which all of us should be called. No one of us should be an unwanted child or have to experience emotional abandonment or lack of compassion and love in childhood.”

Nothing much has changed in the United Methodist Church (UMC) since Swomley’s book. As examples:

This is why pro-life Methodists have left the denomination over the last couple of decades and continue to leave the church in droves, causing historic low membership rolls for the church.

John M. Swomley

I did an Internet search for John M. Swomley and discovered that he died on August 16, 2010, in Kansas City, Missouri at age 95 after living with Alzheimer’s for several years.

That’s 95 years more than the millions of aborted unborn babies, whom Swomley dismissed as “idols,” who never had a chance to breathe even one day of air.

See also:


ACLU sues feds in bid to make Catholic groups provide abortion to illegal immigrants


Fox News: Providing food and shelter to illegal immigrants isn’t enough for federally-funded Catholic organizations, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which is suing the federal government to help ensure the religious organizations provide abortion and contraception to them as well.  

The suit aims to obtain government records related to reproductive healthcare policy for unaccompanied immigrant children in the care of federally funded Catholic agencies, which do not believe in abortion.

“We have heard reports that Catholic bishops are prohibiting Catholic charities from allowing teens in their care to access critical services like contraception and abortion– even if the teenager has been raped on her journey to the United States or in a detention facility,” said ACLU staff attorney Brigitte Amiri.

Almost 60,000 unaccompanied minors illegally crossed over from Mexico border last year. Nearly a third were young girls, and Amiri claims up to 80 percent were victims of sexual assault.

The government contracts with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to care for those children until they can either reunite with a relative or face an immigration hearing. The organization has received $73 million overall from the government- with $10 million coming in to care for unaccompanied minors in 2013 alone.

A letter from the USCCB shows the organization strongly objecting to a regulation proposed by the Obama administration requiring contractors provide abortions to immigrants who have been raped.

“The Catholic Bishops are taking millions of dollars in federal grants- and then imposing their beliefs on this vulnerable population who they are supposed to serve… and that raises serious concerns under the separation of church and state provision in our Constitution,” said Amiri.

But the bishops are hitting back at the ACLU- maintaining they are well within their rights to exercise religious freedom while taking care of the minors.

“For decades, we have provided exemplary services to this vulnerable population without facilitating abortions, and despite ACLU’s extreme assertions to the contrary, the law not only permits our doing so, but protects it,” said Kevin Appleby, Director of the USCCB’s Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs.

Appleby says instances in which a client under his organization’s care asks for a service contrary to the beliefs of the Church are rare. He insists the USCCB informs the government of a girl’s desire to access reproductive healthcare if the government has legal custody of that child.

“Let’s be clear about the ACLU’s purpose here: ending the productive and successful partnership between the Catholic Church and the federal government on the care and shelter of vulnerable populations. Denying us the freedom to serve betrays the very children the ACLU is purportedly attempting to help,” he told Fox News.

The ACLU is only suing for federal documents on the USCCB’s policies at the moment, but will consider further legal actions depending on what those documents indicate. The government has not yet officially responded to the ACLU’s request.

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Just send the illegals to Planned Parenthood; they’d be more than happy to do abortions.


Terrorist who was accessory to over 30 deaths receives just 7 years in jail


Oregon Live: In a surprise move, a Portland sanitation worker pleaded guilty Friday to providing money to a terrorist who died in a 2009 suicide bombing outside an office of Pakistan’s spy service.

The suicide bombing in Lahore killed more than 30 people.

A Portland federal grand jury indicted Reaz Khan just after Christmas 2012, accusing him of taking part in a conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Khan’s lawyers vigorously denied the allegations.

Less than two months ago, the American Civil Liberties Union joined the defense team and appeared ready to challenge the constitutionality of surveillance operations that helped U.S. government agents make their case against Khan. It was expected that Khan’s legal team would target the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, which allowed the government to electronically eavesdrop on Khan.

In an odd twist, the federal judge presiding in Khan’s case, Michael W. Mosman, also sits as a member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in Washington, D.C., which authorized some of the government’s warrantless spying on Khan.

Khan’s lawyers had scheduled a status conference in the case for Friday, usually a time to wrangle over the scheduling of legal arguments and other judicial housekeeping before trial. But in an abrupt turnabout, Khan’s primary lawyer, Amy Baggio, told the court that she had reached a plea deal with government prosecutors that would allow for a reduced sentence.

Khan, 51, a Pakistani-born naturalized U.S. citizen, admitted to the judge that he was guilty of being an accessory after the fact in a conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists that resulted in death.

Khan admitted arranging for suicide bomber Ali Jaleel to receive about $2,450 in Pakistan before the attack. He also admitted to providing advice and financial assistance to Jaleel’s wives after the bombing.


In the highly structured plea deal, Khan is expected to receive a sentence of seven years and three months in federal prison. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years and a $125,000 fine.

The FBI had arrested Khan in March 2013, but the court allowed him to post bail — a rarity in Oregon’s federal judicial district — so that he could prepare for trial in the national security case.

The government accused Khan of exchanging emails with Jaleel, a fellow Sunni Muslim who was killed in the May 27, 2009, bombing and small-arms attack at a compound in Lahore, near offices of police and Pakistan’s spy service, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Khan, a wastewater treatment operator on unpaid leave from his job, was accused of wiring money to Jaleel, part of an old pact to seek martyrdom in the name of Allah.

Prosecutors won’t say when they think Khan grew close to Jaleel, a native of the Maldive Islands and more than a decade Khan’s junior, but Jaleel left home for a Pakistani madrassa as a teenager and returned to the country repeatedly.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ethan D. Knight and Charles F. Gorder, who serve on the national security team in the Portland office of the U.S. Attorney for Oregon, had assembled a trove of emails between Khan and Jaleel.

They were expected at trial to seize on a Jan. 14, 2006, email in which Jaleel reminds Khan about their shared promise to seek martyrdom in the name of Allah. A line from the email appears to be Jaleel quoting Khan’s own words: “This world is of no use to us so let’s sacrifice ourself for the pleasure of Allah in his way???”

The government accuses Khan of making good on those words, funding Jaleel’s training as a terrorist in 2008. Sentencing is scheduled June 8.