Friday, March 24, 2006

Constitutional Law Professior Spanks Angry Republican Senator

Now, here's one for the Public Record! I wish more people would stand up and fight back against the domineering Republican Christian Right - especially in public like Professor Jamie Raskin. Perhaps someone should share this information with the President.

This reminds me of the bumper sticker I saw the other day, created in response to the radical right wing religious cabal called "Focus On the Family"...the sticker said "Focus on your Own Damn Family"! I love it.

Enjoy the article.

Peace -

Paul

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February 6th, 2006, a Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdock ruled that a Maryland state law banning same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. In response to that decision, state lawmakers opposed to same-sex marriage introduced a resolution to impeach Judge Murdock (a move which was defeated in the Judiciary Committee) and a bill calling for the amendment of Maryland's constitution to prohibit all same-sex marriages. Although the bill failed to garner sufficient support for passage, it was reintroduced in a version that would define marriage as a union between a man and a women only but would still allow for civil unions. The latter bill was being debated by a Senate committee on 1 March 2006, when, according to the Baltimore Sun, "Clergy, constitutional law experts and children of gay parents were among those who packed the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee room to speak out on the issue." Part of that debate featured some give-and-take between Nancy Jacobs, a Republican state senator, and Jamin Raskin, a professor of constitutional law from Washington's American University over the influence of the Bible on modern law. The Sun reported the following exchange taking place between the two:

"As I read Biblical principles, marriage was intended, ordained and started by God — that is my belief," [Jacobs] said. "For me, this is an issue solely based on religious principals."

Raskin shot back that the Bible was also used to uphold now-outlawed statutes banning interracial marriage, and that the constitution should instead be lawmakers' guiding principle.

"People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution; they don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible," he said.

Some in the room applauded, which led committee chairman Sen. Brian E. Frosh, a Democrat from Montgomery County, to call for order. "This isn't a football game," he said.

Assuming the Sun's account is accurate, we note that the version of events quoted at the head of this page has been somewhat altered and compressed to make the exchange more direct and personal (i.e., Senator Jacobs' statement about marriage and the Bible has been simplified, and she did not issue a "What do you have to say about that?" challenge; Professor Raskin's response referred to people in general, not to Senator Jacobs specifically; and although some spectators applauded, the room did not "erupt into applause"), but the setting and gist of Professor Raskin's statement are correctly reported.

We don't know if Professor Raskin should get credit for originating this quip, however, because the concept has been used before. For example, comedian Bill Maher said the following (in reference to the Terry Schiavo case) during the 1 April 2005 broadcast of his HBO television program, Real Time with Bill Maher:

The Federal Appeals Court in Atlanta scolded [Congress and the President] the other day for acting in a manner they said, "demonstrably at odds with our founding fathers' blueprint." There are laws named after one person, like the Miranda laws, but they don't just apply to Mr. Miranda. They apply to everyone. Not so with the Schiavo Law. Does George Bush remember that he put his hand on the Bible to uphold the Constitution and not the other way around?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Speed Debt Cancellation for the Poorest Countries

"Forgive our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors..." (Matthew 6:12)

The following post is from an plea by Faithful America to support the forgiveness of World Bank debt to impoverished countries. We support this measure and ask that you consider how you might help. And...it is the Christian thing to do. Peace - Paul

Perhaps you have seen U2's Bono speak out calling for the World Bank to cancel the crushing debt of the world's poorest countries. Perhaps your faith community has spoken out in favor of debt cancellation. The issue is deep and complex and we hope you will follow our links to learn more. But for now, please consider that those persons living in the world's poorest nations - Haiti, Burundi, Sierra Leone, to name a few, are exisiting under conditions of misery you and I cannot even imagine.

Our friends at Jubilee USA have invited us to share an important opportunity to help bring about debt cancellation for the poorest nations on earth. TODAY you can help move that effort forward. Next week the World Bank is holding an important meeting and the issue of debt cancellation is on the agenda. In conversations with officials at the World Bank today we were told that debt cancellation is a U.S. and U.K. led issue, and one they want to see advanced. That's good news, but the current plan builds in delays for countries to become eligible for debt cancellation.

If you were sick, starving, homeless, and completely broke, would waiting two to four years of more of the same give you reason to hope? Of course not, and we as people of faith believe the World Bank can do better.

We need your help. Please send an urgent email to World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and U.S. Executive Director to the World Bank Robert Holland and urge that these policies of delay be removed.

Finally, we urge you to learn more about this important issue and then engage those in your care to pray, study, and take action on behalf of those who rely on us for help. Visit our Briefing Room, or visit our friends at JubileeUSA.org.

With gratitude for the many ways you reach out to others, thank you for using FaithfulAmerica to put your faith into action.

Blessings to you as ever,

Vince Isner and your FaithfulAmerica.org Team

http://ga3.org/campaign/canceldebt/w3733xd4f5b63e8?

http://www.jubileeusa.org/jubilee.cgi




President's "Intelligent Design" on Evolution

Once Again Proving Himself Incompetent By Openning His Mouth....the President's Support of Creationism Helps it Sneak Back Into Schools.....

Creationism sneaks back into Public Schools

Eighty years after the infamous John Scopes “monkey trial,” George Bush has decided to revisit the topic of teaching evolution, by voicing his support for so-called “intelligent design theory.”

Speaking with Texas reporters on August 1, Bush insisted that “both sides ought to be properly taught” so that “people can understand what the debate is about.” However, for the vast majority of scientists, there is no “debate” over the centrality of evolution. John Marburger, Bush’s top science advisor, told The New York Times that “evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology.” He added that “intelligent design is not a scientific concept,” a fact echoed by the National Science Teachers Association, the National Center for Science Education, and the American Geophysical Union, among many others.

Although the Supreme Court has ruled that teaching creationism as science in public schools was an unconstitutional establishment of religion, the anti-evolution movement has countered by developing what the National Academy of Science calls “creationism in disguise.” As Chris Mooney details in The American Prospect magazine, rather than arguments grounded explicitly in religion, the anti-evolution movement has focused on “teaching the controversy” by exaggerating a supposed “debate” over what is in fact fundamental and accepted in the scientific community. But the central idea of “intelligent design theory” – that the world is so complex that there must be a “designer” – is based on faith, and is not a scientific theory.

The religious right has eagerly embraced Bush’s remarks. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission told The New York Times that “It’s what I’ve been pushing; it’s what a lot of us have been pushing.” He capitalizes on the confusion between scientific theories and other kinds of theories by continuing, “if you’re going to teach the Darwinian theory as evolution, teach it as theory. And then teach another theory that has the most support among scientists.” Similarly, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, accuses those who favor science education being based in scientific knowledge of “censoring alternatives to the theory of evolution.” And Mark Hartwig of Focus on the Family follows this “teaching the controversy” line by stating that “students deserve the chance to hear both sides of the debate and then draw their own conclusions.”

It is too early to tell exactly what effect Bush’s remarks will have on public education, but some states are already moving towards teaching phony “alternatives” to scientific theory. On August 9, the Kansas Board of Education signed off on a new draft of science standards that includes language from backers of “intelligent design.” The regrowth of the anti-evolution movement may take many schools back to the Scopes era, and by joining cause with “intelligent design” advocates, the president has, in the words of American Geophysical Union’s Fred Spilhaus, “put America's schoolchildren at risk.”

President Bush should spend less time getting science advice from the religious right, and more time listening to his own science advisor.

Pat Robertson - Over the Radical Edge Again!

Republican Radical Right Rampage Led by Pat "Assassinate the Liberals" Robertson Attacks University Professors. !

Pat Robertson calls liberal professors “racists, murderers, sexual deviants and supporters of Al-Qaeda”

On the 700 Club on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 former Republican Presidential candidate Rev. Pat Robertson displayed characteristic anger and frustration at what right-wingers proclaim is another manifestation of liberalism in this country while reviewing (and hawking for sale on the CBN website) the new book by extremist David Horowitz titled, “The Professors: The 101 most dangerous academics in America.” Robertson waxed glowingly about the book which he says sheds light on the radical academics at American universities claiming, however, that it is just a “short list” of the “thirty to forty thousand” left wing professors who he calls “termites that have worked into the woodwork of our academic society and it’s APPALLING.”

Rev. Robertson launched an attack on “radical” liberal professors saying; “They are racists, murderers, sexual deviants and supporters of Al-Qaeda – and they could be teaching your kids!” Later in the program he told his viewers, “These guys are out and out communists, they are radicals, they are, you know, some of them killers, and they are propagandists of the first order…you don’t want your child to be brainwashed by these radicals, you just don’t want it to happen. Not only brainwashed but beat up, they beat these people up, cower them into submission. AGGGHHH!!!!’

[NOTE: The CBN website claims that “The 700 Club, has been viewed in more than 70 foreign languages, can be seen in more than 200 countries, and are accessible throughout the year by more than 1.5 billion people around the world.” The Virginian Pilot reports that “Pat Robertson’s television ministry continues to ride a wave of ever-mounting contributions, which have almost doubled in less than a decade” and that donors gave $160 million dollars to Robertson’s CBN network in 2005 - an increase of 21% over the previous year.]




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