Federal Judge Usurps State Rights and Misrepresents First Amendment

Nov 11, 2009 by

A federal judge ruled recently that South Carolina can’t issue license plates showing the image of a cross in front of a stained glass window along with the phrase “I Believe.”

U.S. District Judge Cameron Currie ruled that the license plate was unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment ban on establishment of religion by government. Apparently Judge Currie needs to take a remedial course on Constitutional law or else she is deliberately misrepresenting the true meaning of the First Amendment to promote a political agenda.

Let me just quote the First Amendment and then I will endeavor to explain why Judge Currie’s ruling is unconstitutional and misguided.

First Amendment to the Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That doesn’t seem so hard to understand, yet it seems many Liberals have their own special interpretation of those simple words. As long as Congress doesn’t make a law that tells Americans that a particular religion is the official state religion to which all people must belong or passes a law that prohibits us from worshiping or not worshiping the religion of our choice, the First Amendment has not been violated. It is as simple as that.

So where does the much abused term “separation of church and state” come from? It is certainly not in the Constitution. The phrase actually came from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to a Baptist Association fifteen years after the Constitution was written. The Baptists were afraid that the state of Connecticut had not granted them an inalienable right to worship their religion, rather the state was allowing them to worship as a “favor.” So they wrote to Jefferson seeking guidance and comfort that they could continue to worship as they would.

Jefferson responded with the words of the First Amendment and also mentioned the “establishment clause” created a “wall of separation between church and state.” What Jefferson meant by those words was that religions were protected from the state, not the other way around. There is also no constitutional protection from being offended by a religious display on government property.

So when a spokesperson for Americans United for Separation of Church and State said government must never be allowed to give favorable treatment to one faith above others, that is not what South Carolina is doing and not what the First Amendment protects against. Putting a cross on a license plate is not the equivalent of the state of South Carolina making a law telling South Carolinians that Christianity is the official state religion to which all South Carolinians must belong. Neither is it passing a law preventing Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or Atheists from practicing their religion. South Carolina is not prohibiting placing religious symbols of those faiths on license plates and only permitting Christian symbols to be used.

So if the agenda of Americans United for Separation of Church and State is to separate church from state, all I can say is good luck because you certainly cannot use the First Amendment as the tool to further your goals. What groups like this really want is to eliminate religion altogether from our country. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are replete with statements that show that the Founding Fathers believed that religion was vital to the continuation of our Republic. To quote President George Washington in his Farewell Address:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…. And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion…. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle.

So when groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State attack religion on false grounds, what they are really advocating is the very destruction of our Republic.

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Sometimes the whole world prefers a lie to the truth.

Jul 4, 2009 by

542px-Coat_of_arms_of_Honduras.svgThe recent arrest and removal from office of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was not a coup as believed by the whole world but rather a triumph of the rule of law.

To understand what happened you have to understand the Honduran Constitution. The current Honduran constitution was adopted in 1982, after more than a dozen previous constitutions. Of its original 379 articles, seven have been completely changed or partially repealed, 18 have been interpreted, and 121 have been reformed. It has endured because it responds and adapts to changing political conditions.

It also contains 7 articles that cannot be repealed or amended because they address critical issues. These 7 articles include the form of the government; the extent of the borders; the number of years of the presidential term; a prohibition with respect to the reelection of presidents, and eligibility for the presidency. There is another article that penalizes the abrogation of the Constitution.

What happened during the “coup” was that a Honduran citizen was arrested and sent out of the country by soldiers obeying the constitution of Honduras. He had stripped himself of the presidency through his own actions.

President Zelaya had issued a decree ordering all government employees to take part in the “Public Opinion Poll to convene a National Constitutional Assembly.” In doing so, Zelaya triggered a constitutional provision that automatically removed him from office. Constitutional assemblies are convened to write new constitutions. The publishing of the decree to initiate an “opinion poll” contravened the articles of the Constitution that dealt with the prohibition of reelecting a president and of extending his term.

No citizen who has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for 10 years. The poll to convene a national constitutional assembly was in order for Zelaya to extend his term as president, in violation of the Honduran constitution. This is the exact same thing that President Chavez of Venezuela did to illegally extend his term in office.

Continuismo – the tendency of heads of state to extend their rule indefinitely- is what happened in Venezuela and is what Zelaya was trying to do in Honduras. The instant sanction of Zelaya by the Constitution successfully prevented the possibility of a new Honduran continuismo.

The Supreme Court and the attorney general of Honduras ordered Zelaya’s arrest for disobeying several court orders compelling him to obey the Constitution. The Honduran military acted entirely within the bounds of the Constitution.

Yet the world, led by President Obama, condemned Honduras, calling the proper functioning of the Honduran constitution a “coup”. Obama took sides with tin-horn dictators like Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and the Castro brothers. The United Nations chimed in on the wrong side, as it so often does, along with the Organization of American States.

It is particularly disturbing that the leader of the free world so readily condemned Honduras, ignoring the facts of the matter. Here is a President who was very reluctant to condemn Iran for its obvious sham elections and subsequent brutal suppression of its citizens who peacefully protested the illegal actions of their country. But he was quick to join the chorus of voices condemning Honduras for legally preventing another Latin America dictator.

There are some in the United States government who see the events in Honduras for what they really are and are voicing their opinion on the matter. One of them is US Senator Jim DeMint. The world should be praising Honduras and its brave people who stood up for the rule of law in the face of world condemnation and the threat to their freedom from another wannabe dictator. The world, and President Obama, should be ashamed of themselves for taking the side of tyranny over liberty and freedom.

(source – Christian Science Monitor)

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Too many are ready to see others stripped of their rights.

Jun 23, 2009 by

watching-youIt seems another Democrat, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, has found a “terror gap” that must be filled. Democrats are always finding a gap or a loophole in existing laws and policies such that if the gap is not closed or the loophole eliminated “it will threaten our families and our communities.” The “terror gap” that Sen. Lautenberg has ferreted out refers to the government’s terrorist watch list.

The terrorist watch list is a list that is maintained by DHS that contains over a million names of supposed “terrorists” that are a threat to the security of the United States. If you are on the list you can be prevented from flying on a commercial jet and denied a visa. Now it seems that being on the list may prevent you from purchasing a firearm.

No matter that the list contains tens of thousands of names of people who were erroneously added to the list and have broken no laws or committed any acts of terrorism. According to the NRA chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, the “integrity of the terror watch list is poor, as it mistakenly contains the names of many men and women who have violated no law.” “In fact, a March 2009 report by the inspector general of the Department of Justice concluded that many people whose names were mistakenly placed on the list remain there even after their cases have been vetted and closed.”

Since 2004 963 background checks for the purchase of firearms using the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System “resulted in valid matches with terrorist watch list records; of these matches, approximately 90 percent were allowed to proceed because the checks revealed no prohibiting information,” the GAO report says. Under current law, there is no basis to automatically prohibit a person from possessing firearms because they appear on the terrorist watch list. This according to the GAO’s director of homeland security and justice issues, Eileen R. Larence.

According to Sen. Lautenberg, this is “proof positive” that known and suspected terrorists are exploiting a major “loophole” in our law. The “loophole” that Sen. Lautenber is apparently referring to is something called the Constitution of the United States, specifically the 2nd amendment to the Constitution. As previously stated by the GAO, unless the person on the watch list has committed a crime or has some other factor that prohibits the purchase of a firearm under existing laws, the simple fact of being on the terrorist watch list does not prohibit you from purchasing a firearm. This is as it should be.

Sen. Lautenberg is introducing legislation that would give the U.S. attorney general “authority to stop the sale of guns or explosives to terrorists.” But the problem is that many of those who are on the terrorists watch list are not in fact terrorists at all. In most cases they are people who are vocal in their support of certain issues that run contrary to the current policies of the government. They are not terrorists, have not committed any crimes, and are protected by the Constitution as are all other citizens. Simply being on a watch list does not and should not strip you of your Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The legislation proposed by Sen. Lautenberg would deprive innocent people of due process as well as illegally strip them of their rights. I am sure that the existing laws and procedures that apply to all citizens when applying for the purchase of a firearm are more than adequate to prevent any real terrorists on the watch list from acquiring firearms, even if they were not on the watch list. All Sen. Lautenberg’s bill would do is deny everyone else on the list who is not a terrorist and has not committed a crime the right to purchase a firearm.

Lists of citizens who are “suspected terrorists” based solely on their political beliefs date back to the days of J Edgar Hoover. Hoover had extensive files on many Americans, including Elvis Presley, whose only crimes were that their political beliefs ran counter to what Hoover thought they should be. But the most disturbing thing to me about this whole issue is a CNN poll in which readers were asked whether people on the terrorist watch list should be allowed to purchase firearms. An amazing 89 percent thought it was perfectly acceptable to deny someone their Constitutional rights based solely on an inaccurate, outdated and politically motivated list maintained by an organization who is notorious for trampling on the rights of citizens.

I can only assume that the vast majority of citizens actually think that the terrorist watch list really contains the names of a million known terrorists who have committed crimes against the United States. Of course if this were true you would think that there would be a huge federal manhunt under way to apprehend these “threats to our families and our communities.” But the real facts are that the majority of the people on the terrorist watch list are our families and our communities and are no more a threat to the security of our nation than you or me. In fact I would submit that Sen. Lautenberg and AG Holder are more of a threat to this great Republic than most of those on the list. I hope that when I go to board my plane this August for our trip to Hawaii that my name does not show up on the list. After all, writing this article is probably grounds for being added to the list. (Not to mention being involved in 2 Tea Parties.)

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Gun control advocates up in arms again.

Mar 10, 2009 by

s_safetyrules The tragic murder of a pregnant woman by an 11 year old boy has given gun control advocates fuel to add to their misguided attempts to take firearms away from law-abiding Americans. The 11 year old used a 20-gauge shotgun that was given to him by his father to fatally shoot the father’s pregnant girlfriend.

The article by the Associated Press highlights the fact that hunting is a way of life in the rural area where 11 year old Jordan Brown regularly practiced target shooting with his 20-gauge, youth model shotgun. The article goes on to say that gun control advocates are worried that manufacturers are increasingly focusing their marketing toward children with smaller, lighter models that are easier for them to handle.

Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a gun control group in Washington, D.C., says:

The industry portrays youth gun possession as risk-free, and when something bad happens, they always blame the kid and not the presence of the gun. We think the risks clearly outweigh the benefits.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Every firearm I have ever purchased came with many warnings and cautions about the safe handling and storage of firearms. No one in the firearms industry considers firearm ownership and use to be risk-free. Firearms are to be treated with the same respect and care that you would afford a chain saw or a skill saw or any other potentially dangerous tool. If used with care and common sense, firearms are no more dangerous than any other potentially dangerous object. I have seen ladders with 12 warning labels on them but people still fall off them every day. The same holds true with firearms. Paul Helmke, president of the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said:

If you are keeping loaded guns around the house and you have kids, you’re asking for a tragedy.

Again, nothing could be further from the truth. Most gun owners who have children in the house are very aware of the potential for tragedy and act accordingly. But no matter how many laws you pass or hoops you require a gun owner to jump through, there is always going to be some irresponsible parent who doe not adhere to proper safety precautions. The same is true with drunk drivers. You can pass laws until the cows come home but some people are still going to drive drunk. Parents who negligently cause their children to be injured or killed by their guns will be punished by the law, the same as a drunk driver. No responsible gun-owning parent is “asking” for a tragedy. Jerry Feaser, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, put the incident in the proper perspective.

The Brown case violated the basic tenets of firearm safety and hunting safety. This had nothing to do with hunting.

I would like to take this opportunity to fire a few salvos at the gun control advocates. One of the comments made in the article was that in many states rifles and shotguns are not registered and are not required to be sold with trigger locks. First, I don’t see how registering a rifle or shotgun would contribute to firearms safety. As for not selling rifles or shotguns with trigger locks, every firearm I have purchased in Virginia was sold with a locking mechanism.

I would also like to highlight a few statistics that show how safe firearms really are. Various statistics on firearm ownership in the United States put the number of firearms owned as high as 235,000,000. 42% of U.S. households own firearms. Yet in 2007, FBI statistics recorded 10,086 firearm homicides in 49 states. 235 million firearms yet only 11,348 firearms related homicides. You can do the math but it is easy to see that the vast majority of firearms in America are never used in a crime. On the other hand the Virginia Citizens Defense League estimates that there are about 2,500,000 defensive uses of a firearm in the United States every year. That is 2,500,000 instances were a crime was prevented or someone’s life was saved. In 92% of those cases no shots were fired.

As for total deaths due to firearms, in the U.S. for 2001 there were 29,573 deaths of which 16,869 were suicide, 11,348 homicides (as previously stated), 802 accidental and 323 by legal intervention. Again the statistics show that accidental deaths by firearms were only 802 in a whole year with over 200 million firearms in America. So firearm ownership by responsible parents is hardly “asking for a tragedy.”

Looking at accident statistics for areas other that firearms portrays a much clearer picture of the “dangers” of firearms. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2005, there were 32,691 poisoning deaths in the United States. Of those deaths 23,618 (72%) were unintentional (compared to the 802 accidental deaths by firearms) and 3,240 (10%) were of undetermined intent. That leaves almost 6,000 deaths that were basically homicide or suicide by poisoning.

When you start talking about automobile accidents in the United States the statistics are staggering. In 2005 there were nearly 6,420,000 auto accidents in the United States. Those accidents resulted in 2.9 million people injured and 42,636 people killed. Comparing the total deaths due to firearms of 29,573 to the total deaths due to auto accidents of 42,536, you tell me which is more dangerous, firearms ownership or automobile ownership? Do those statistics warrant the statement that owning a automobile is tantamount to “asking for a tragedy?” That is the statement made by Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Ask yourself where you think it would be safer for your 16 year old son or daughter to be, out hunting with you or driving alone on the Interstate. My money is on hunting with you. What do you think?

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