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Location: Tallahassee, Florida, United States welcomes all opinions from any religion or viewpoint in the common appreciation of Chick tracts. This blog, however, will highlight religious events and controversies that would be of special interest to regular Chick readers. You don't have to agree with them or each other, but if you read Chick tracts or Battlecry, you might expect these type stories to be addressed. (Sorry, no personal attacks allowed.) All main postings are from writers and any responses are from the public

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Beck Rallly Turns Religious

From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck told a crowd of tens of thousands of people Saturday that the U.S. has too long "wandered in darkness."

His rally's marquee speaker, Sarah Palin, praised "patriots" in the audience for "knowing never to retreat."

The two champions of the tea party movement spoke from the very spot where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech 47 years ago. Some civil rights leaders who have denounced Beck's choice of a venue staged a rival rally to honor King.

Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee who may make a White House run in 2012, said activists must honor King's legacy by paying tribute to the men and women who protect the United States in uniform.

Beck, pacing back and forth on the marble steps, said he was humbled by the size of the crowd, which stretched along the Washington Mall's long reflecting pool nearly all the way to the Washington Monument.

"Something beyond imagination is happening," he said. "America today begins to turn back to God."

"For too long, this country has wandered in darkness," said Beck, a Fox News host. He said it was now time to "concentrate on the good things in America, the things we have accomplished and the things we can do tomorrow."

Neither Beck nor Palin made overtly political comments.

Palin, greeted by chants of "USA, USA, USA" from many in the crowd, told the gathering, "It is so humbling to get to be here with you today, patriots. You who are motivated and engaged ... and knowing never to retreat."

"We must restore America and restore her honor," said the former Alaska governor, echoing the name of the rally, "Restoring Honor."

Palin told the crowd she wasn't speaking as a politician. "No, something more, something much more. I've been asked to speak as the mother of a soldier and I am proud of that distinction. Say what you want to say about me, but I raised a combat vet and you can't take that away from me." It was a reference to her son, Track, 20, who served a yearlong deployment in Iraq.

Palin honored military members in her speech. She likened the rally participants to the civil rights activists who came to the National Mall to hear King's historic speech. She said the same spirit that helped civil rights activists overcome oppression, discrimination and violence would help this group as well.

"We are worried about what we face. Sometimes, our challenges seem insurmountable," Palin said.

"Look around you. You're not alone," Palin told participants.

The crowd - organizers had a permit for 300,000 - was vast, with people standing shoulder to shoulder across large expanses of the Mall. The National Park Service stopped doing crowd counts in 1997 after the agency was accused of underestimating numbers for the 1995 Million Man March.

Civil rights leaders protested the event and scheduled a 3-mile plus march from a high school to the site of a planned King memorial near the Tidal Basin and not far from Beck's gathering.

Beck has said he did not intend to choose the King anniversary for his rally but had since decided it was "divine providence."

Organizers said their aim was to honor military personnel and others "who embody our nation's founding principles of integrity, truth and honor."

Many in the crowd watched the proceedings on large television screens. On the edges of the Mall, vendors sold "Don't Tread on Me" flags, popular with tea party activists. Other activists distributed fliers urging voters "dump Obama." The pamphlet included a picture of the president with a Hitler-style mustache.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, leading the civil rights march, said Beck's demonstration was an anti-government rally that advocated states' rights - counter to the message in King's speech, in which the civil right leader appealed to the federal government to ensure equality.

"The structural breakdown of a strong national government, which is what they're calling for, is something that does not serve the interests of the nation and it's something that Dr. King and others fought against," Sharpton told C-SPAN hours before his event.

People began filling up the space between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument early in the day, many waving American flags. Wasington's subway system was extremely crowded with long lines of people trying to get to the rally. Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said that there was crowding at least a dozen stations.

Ricky Thomas, 43, a SWAT team police officer from Chesapeake Beach, Md., brought his 10-year old son Chase to the Beck rally. "I wanted my son to see democracy in action," Thomas said.

He said he wants government to stay out of people's lives. He acknowledged that he works for government, but said it's "a part of government that helps people when they are in trouble."

Beck has given voice to those angry and frustrated with President Barack Obama and other Democrats this election year, especially members of the tea party movement. See Chick's MAD MACHINE.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Church Plans "Burn A Quran Day"

In protest of what it calls a religion "of the devil," a nondenominational church in Gainesville, Florida, plans to host an "International Burn a Quran Day" on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The Dove World Outreach Center says it is hosting the event to remember 9/11 victims and take a stand against Islam. With promotions on its website and Facebook page, it invites Christians to burn the Muslim holy book at the church from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"We believe that Islam is of the devil, that it's causing billions of people to go to hell, it is a deceptive religion, it is a violent religion and that is proven many, many times," Pastor Terry Jones told CNN's Rick Sanchez earlier this week.

Jones wrote a book titled "Islam is of the Devil," and the church sells coffee mugs and shirts featuring the phrase.
Muslims and some Christians -- including some evangelicals -- are fighting the initiative.

The church launched a YouTube channel to disseminate its messages.
"I mean ask yourself, have you ever really seen a really happy Muslim? As they're on the way to Mecca? As they gather together in the mosque on the floor? Does it look like a real religion of joy?" Jones asks in one of his YouTube posts.

"No, to me it looks like a religion of the devil."

The Islamic advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Muslims and others to host "Share the Quran" dinners to educate the public during the monthlong fast of Ramadan beginning in August. In a news release, the group announced a campaign to give out 100,000 copies of the Quran to local, state and national leaders.

"American Muslims and other people of conscience should support positive educational efforts to prevent the spread of Islamophobia," said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper in the release. (Unfortunately, no one asked him why similar efforts to humanize Christianity are legally forbidden in most Islamic nations.)

The National Association of Evangelicals, the nation's largest umbrella evangelical group, issued a statement urging the church to cancel the event, warning it could cause worldwide tension between the two religions.

"The NAE calls on its members to cultivate relationships of trust and respect with our neighbors of other faiths. God created human beings in his image, and therefore all should be treated with dignity and respect," it said in the statement.

Dove's Facebook page, set up for the September event, has more than 1,600 fans. "Eternal fire is the only destination the Quran can lead people to, so we want to put the Quran in it's [sic] place -- the fire!" the page says.

But another Facebook group with more than 3,100 fans says it stands "against the disrespect and intolerance that these people have for the Muslim people" and encourages people to report Dove's page to Facebook in an effort to censor it.

Targeting another group it calls "godless," the Dove center is also hosting a protest against Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe, who is openly gay, on Monday at Gainesville's City Hall. The group previously fought -- unsuccessfully -- to derail Lowe's election campaign.

"We protest sexual perversion because the Bible protests it. ... What is acceptable to today's leadership becomes acceptable to tomorrow's society," the church says in its blog entry about the event.

On the outreach center's front lawn, alongside a sign reading "Aug. 2 Protest, No Homo Mayor, City Hall," stands not just one, but three signs bearing the slogan "Islam is of the Devil."

One of the signs -- one reading "Islam" on one side, "Devil" on the other -- was vandalized. On its blog last week, the church said the sign will be replaced.

"This is private property and vandalism is a crime here in America," the blog says. "In Islam, many actions that we consider to be crimes are encouraged, condoned or sheltered under Islamic teaching and practice, though. Another reason to burn a Quran." See Chick's THE CHAPLAIN.

Pro-Mosque Dupes Plan More Media Events

Groups supporting the Park51 Islamic Cultural Center, which most Americans say shouldn't be built as planned some 300 yards from ground zero, announced today an initiative to better make their case, but admitted they face an uphill battle to eclipse the mosque opponents who dominate the debate.

"Maybe we're too late, maybe we're slow and democratic, but we're definitely changing things around," said the Rev. Donna Schaper, senior minister at Judson Memorial Church in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. "People who are creating this mass hysteria and manipulating the American people have power and money, but I think we can change their minds because the American people are not mean."

According to a CBS poll released today, 71 percent of Americans think "building a mosque near ground zero" is not appropriate. A more recent survey by the Siena College Research Institute (SRI) found that 63 percent of New York voters oppose the Muslim community center and mosque, which was supposed to bear the name Cordoba House.

Even in New York, said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg, "the level of opposition to building Cordoba House remains very strong." (Some New Yorkers seem to value their safety more than their political correctness.)

On Wednesday, a new coalition group called "New York Neighbors for American Values," which consists of more than 30 civil society organizations and groups from different faiths, asked people to join them in rallies and processions planned for the ninth anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Many prominent people have come out in favor of the construction of Park51, most notably New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. If it is not built at its intended site, he said Tuesday at the annual Ramadan celebration at Gracie Mansion, "we would send a signal around the world that Muslim Americans may be equal in the eyes of the law, but separate in the eyes of their countrymen."

"And we would hand a valuable propaganda tool to terrorist recruiters, who spread the fallacy that America is at war with Islam," Bloomberg continued, apparently unaware that his remarks would be just the kind of propaganda the terrorists will quote if they don't get their way with building the mosque.

But popular grassroots support for that position has been lacking. Last weekend's demonstrations in lower Manhattan drew only about 200 pro-mosque demonstrators, compared with an estimated 500 people who gathered to protest against it.

Supporters of the project say one reason for their late entry into the quarrel is that they never really expected that an organized movement would be needed.

"I think New Yorkers thought it wouldn't be necessary because the mayor had done the job and he has spoken for many of us," said Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "But now that it's clear that this issue seems to have many more legs than anyone thought it would have had or it should have ... so we have more work to do."

The pro-mosque groups say they plan to steal the show on 9/11 by organizing bigger events than those of their opponents, who plan anti-mosque rallies.

"We will be talking, we will be sending out e-mails, we will be marching, we'll do whatever we need to do to turn the tide on this dangerous rhetoric," said Faiza Ali of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "Unfortunately our voices have been drowned out by voices on the extreme. We are hoping to to create an impetus and provide an alternative voice."

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of the Shalom Center, a liberal Jewish peace activist center in Philadelphia, said supporters like him weren't alone in misjudging the reaction. "I think the Cordoba people themselves didn't make too much about it and thought this is normal America," he said.

"It was no big deal -- then Rupert Murdoch and his people began calling this the '9/11 mosque' and everything exploded," he said. "I don't think they were ready."

While suggesting that a well-oiled machine backed by money and Fox News will be difficult to beat, Waskow said that smart thinking can beat out funds. He should also be able to count on the support of well-oiled liberal news outlets like NPR and MSNBC. Both have been working overtime trying to counter-spin the debate, even going as far as renaming it "the Muslim community center controversy". See Chick's WHO CARES?

"It didn't take a lot of money for us to organize this event; a lot of people chipped in and brought their expertise for free," he said. "I'm not worried about the money."

Saudi Masters Torture Slave

A 50-year-old Sri Lankan woman who worked as a maid for a large family in Saudi Arabia for five months was allegedly tortured by some of the family members hammering nails into her body, doctors said.

The woman, who flew back to Colombo, Sri Lanka, from Riyadh on Saturday night, was brought to the hospital by her concerned children Monday. X-rays showed there were 23 nails embedded in her body.

"Some of the nails were 2 inches long," Dr. Prabath Gajadeera of Kamburupitiya Base Hospital told AOL News today. "Most of the nails were embedded in her arms and legs. She didn't even realize how many were in there."

Gajadeera said the woman told doctors that the Saudi family allegedly tortured her with nails and threatened her life with knives during her employment with them.

"She didn't speak their language and they didn't understand her," Gajadeera said. "But she kept saying 'Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka' and they realized she wanted to go home. So they brought her to the airport."

Gajadeera said the woman did not say anything about the nails in her body at either the airport in Saudi Arabia when she was leaving nor when she arrived at the airport in Sri Lanka. The nails were apparently not detected by airport security devices, Gajadeera said.

She told her children about her injuries after her arrival, and they took her to the hospital, he said.

The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, who sent an envoy to the hospital to record her statement, plans to take action against the Saudi family who employed the woman and has informed the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh and the Saudi Embassy in Sri Lanka, the Daily News of Sri Lanka reported today.

"The bureau will take every action to get maximum compensation from the employer for the inhumane treatment he and his family had inflicted on the maid by inserting nails in her body," said a bureau official identified as H. Batagoda.

A Sri Lankan TV network, Newsfirst Sirasa, spoke to the woman, who showed its reporter the marks from the nails on her body. She said some of the nails had been heated prior to insertion.

The woman, identified as Ariyawathie from the town of Matara, said there were many people in the Saudi household where she worked.

"I had to work continuously since I had to do the chores of all the occupants, and when I wanted to take rest due to tiredness, they inserted the nail in my body as a punishment," she told Newsfirst.

"I had to work from dawn to dusk. I hardly slept. They beat me and threatened to kill me and hide my body." She said she flew back to Sri Lanka at her own expense.

"They were really devils with no mercy at all," she said, adding that she believes they tortured her because she did not speak their language.

"I could not understand their orders and they were angry," she said.

Gajadeera said the woman told him that the male head of the household inserted the nails and his wife helped him. He said the family's children threatened the woman with knives.

Gajadeera said the woman had some pain while walking because of the embedded nails.

"It was shocking to hear," Ayabilleke Da Silva, editor at the Sri Lanka Daily News who oversaw the story, told AOL News today. "Such tortures are not heard of in Sri Lanka. It's beyond our imagination and our belief."

Saudi Arabia hosts more than 5.5 million foreign workers, many of them from Asian countries, and there have been reports for years that some of them are systematically mistreated with scant legal recourse. See Chick's THE SKY LIGHTER.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Protesters Face Muslims Over Ground Zero Mosque

Hundreds of impassioned demonstrators - all waving American flags, but separated into two groups by police - descended on the site of the proposed mosque near ground zero, with opponents chanting, "No mosque, no way!" and supporters shouting, "We say no to racist fear!"

The two leaders of the construction project, meanwhile, defended their plans on Sunday, though one suggested that organizers might eventually be willing to discuss an alternative site. The other, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, said during a Middle East trip that the attention generated by the project is actually positive and that he hopes it will bring greater understanding.

Critics point out that building an Islamic Mosque on the place where Islamic fanatics murdered thousands, would be like building a German Military Museum at Auschwitz, or a Militia memorial at the site of the Oklahoma City Bombing. Liberals like New York Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama have been defending the Mosque idea, going as far as suggesting critics are "unAmerican". Polls however, show Americans are firmly against the Mosque at that site. Islam has a long history of building Mosques at the sites of destroyed churches and Jewish temples. It is seen as a way of showing victory of the failure of enemies.

The rallies took place around the corner from the cordoned-off old building that is to become a 13-story Islamic community center and mosque. There were no reports of physical clashes but there were some nose-to-nose confrontations, including a man and a woman screaming at each other across a barricade under a steady rain.

Opponents of the $100 million project two blocks from the World Trade Center site outnumber supporters. Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" blared over loudspeakers as mosque opponents chanted, "No mosque, no way!"

Signs hoisted by dozens of protesters standing behind police barricades read "SHARIA" - using dripping, blood-red letters to describe Islam's Shariah law, which governs Muslims' behavior.

Steve Ayling, a 40-year-old Brooklyn plumber, said the people behind the mosque project are "the same people who took down the twin towers."

Opponents demand that the mosque be moved farther from the site where more than 2,700 people were killed on Sept. 11, 2001. "They should put it in the Middle East," Ayling said.

On a nearby sidewalk, police chased away a group that unfurled a banner with images of beating, stoning and other torture they said was committed by those who followed Islamic law.

A mannequin wearing a keffiyeh, a traditional Arab headdress, was mounted on one of two mock missiles that were part of an anti-mosque installation. One missile was inscribed with the words: "Again? Freedom Targeted by Religion"; the other with "Obama: With a middle name Hussein. We understand. Bloomberg: What is your excuse?"

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has fiercely defended plans for the proposed mosque, saying that the right "to practice your religion was one of the real reasons America was founded."

The mosque project is being led by Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, who insist the center will promote moderate Islam. The dispute has sparked a national debate on religious freedom and American values and is becoming an issue on the campaign trail ahead of the midterm elections. Republicans have been critical of President Barack Obama's stance: He has said the Muslims have the right to build the center at the site and brow beat those opposed to it.

Rauf is in the middle of a Mideast trip funded by the U.S. State Department that is intended to promote religious tolerance. He told a gathering Sunday at the U.S. ambassador's residence in the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain that he took heart from the dispute over the mosque, saying "the fact we are getting this kind of attention is a sign of success." He also told 60 Minutes after 9/11 that America had provoked the attacks.

Democratic New York Gov. David Paterson has suggested that state land farther from ground zero be used for the center. Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, expressed some openness to that idea on ABC's "This Week with Christiane Amanpour," but said she would have to meet with the center's other "stakeholders" first.

At the pro-mosque rally, staged a block away from opponents' demonstration, several hundred people chanted, "Muslims are welcome here! We say no to racist fear!"

Islamic nations are well known for there intolerance for other religions and oppression of women's rights. One of the few places where modern slavery exists is in the Sudan, where Muslims still enslave non-islamic blacks. Some Americans feel outraged that given such baggage, Muslims would feel justified in lecturing anyone else about racism or tolerance. See Chick's MEN OF PEACE?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Obama Promotes Mosque At Ground Zero

President Barack Obama on Friday forcefully endorsed building a mosque near ground zero, saying the country's founding principles demanded no less.

"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country," Obama said, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has riven New York City and the nation.

"That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances," he said. "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable."

Obama made the comments at an annual dinner in the White House State Dining Room celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Republicans were quick to pounce on the president's remarks.

"President Obama is wrong," said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. "It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero. While the Muslim community has the right to build the mosque they are abusing that right by needlessly offending so many people who have suffered so much."

The White House had not previously taken a stand on the mosque, which would be part of a $100 million Islamic center to be built two blocks from where nearly 3,000 people perished when hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001. Press secretary Robert Gibbs had insisted it was a local matter.

It was already much more than that, sparking debate around the country as top Republicans including Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich announced their opposition. So did the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group.

Obama elevated it to a presidential issue Friday without equivocation.

While insisting that the place where the twin towers once stood was indeed "hallowed ground," Obama said that the proper way to honor it was to apply American values

"Our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect to those who are different from us - a way of life that stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today," he said.

Entering the highly charged election-year debate, Obama surely knew that his words would not only make headlines but be heard by Muslims worldwide. The president has made it a point to reach out to the global Muslim community, and guests at Friday's dinner included ambassadors and officials from numerous Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

While his pronouncement concerning the mosque might find favor in the Muslim world, Obama's stance runs counter to the opinions of the majority of Americans, according to polls. A CNN/Opinion Research poll released this week found that nearly 70 percent of Americans opposed the mosque plan while just 29 percent approved.

A number of Democratic politicians have shied away from the controversy. New York's mayor, independent Michael Bloomberg, has been a strong supporter of the mosque, which has won approval from local planning boards.

The group behind the $100 million project, the Cordoba Initiative, describes it as a Muslim-themed community center. Early plans call not only for prayer space but for a swimming pool, culinary school, art studios and other features. Developers envision it as a hub for interfaith interaction, as well as a place for Muslims to bridge some of their faith's own schisms.

Opponents, including some Sept. 11 victims' relatives, see the prospect of a mosque so near the destroyed trade center as an insult to the memory of those killed by Islamic terrorists in the 2001 attacks. See Chick's WHO CARES?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pope Keeps Accused Sex Abuse Leaders

The pope has rejected the resignations of two bishops in Ireland who asked to quit last December after they were named in an independent report for their lack of diligence and action in the country's awful history of the sexual and physical abuse of children by priests.

The bishops, Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, are auxiliary, or assistant bishops, to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, who was sent to Dublin to clean up the abuse mess. Martin, who was profiled by PoliticsDaily earlier this year, had pushed Walsh and Field to resign, which they did in Christmas Eve letters to the pope.

Two other bishops criticized in the government's report on church abuse -- Bishop Donal Murray and Bishop Jim Moriarty -- have had offers of resignation accepted by the Vatican. A fifth bishop named in the report, Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway, has resisted calls for his resignation.

The Vatican's rejection of the resignations of Walsh and Field is seen as a blow to Martin's efforts.

"The Vatican [was] not impressed with the way Diarmuid Martin went on PrimeTime [an Irish television news program] and called on other bishops to be accountable," Garry O'Sullivan, editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper in Dublin, told The Associated Press. "It's not the way business is done in Rome."

The Irish Catholic first obtained a copy of a letter Martin sent to priests, in which he said the Vatican decided that the bishops would remain in office but would be "assigned revised responsibilities within the diocese." Neither Archbishop Martin nor the auxiliaries would comment or detail what those new responsibilities would entail.

Other analysts suggested that behind the Vatican's rejection was the fear of a "domino effect" in which any bishop or cardinal implicated in the abuse crisis could be pushed to resign, which is a nightmare scenario to a tradition-minded pope like Benedict XVI.

"In other words, there may still be many Irish bishops with 'mishandling/bureaucratic,' sex abuse skeletons still in the cupboard who would also have to resign," Paddy Agnew wrote in The Irish Times.

That would be fine with sex abuse victims, who were outraged at the decision to reject the resignations.

"So much was expected of the pontiff, and so little was delivered," said John Kelly, leader of Survivors of Child Abuse, an Irish advocacy group. "The pope said that priests and bishops needed to surrender themselves to the demands of justice. Here were two of many who did surrender themselves -- and they've been refused," Kelly said. "That sends out a signal that there is to be no change, no closure for victims and no accountability."

Writing in The Herald of Ireland, Terry Prone accused the Vatican of "arrogance." He said the way the news was communicated was typical of the Vatican, and said that "somewhere along the line, the officer class in the Catholic Church decided they no longer needed to explain and persuade and motivate. They could just tell the faithful. Or not tell them, as in this case."

"Latest Papal diktat spells doom for people's church" ran the headline in John Cooney's column in the Irish Independent, while Kevin Clarke, writing on the blog of America magazine, a leading Catholic weekly in the United States, searched for an explanation.

"Could the Curia [the pope's advisors] truly be so oblivious to the anger and frustration of average Catholics worldwide trying to make sense of the church's response to years of sexual abuse by clergy on Catholic children?" Clarke asked. "It doesn't seem possible."

See Chick's HOME ALONE.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Strippers Protest Church

Warsaw, Ohio, just got way more interesting than it has any right to be: A local strip club recently launched an all-out offensive against the town menace, the New Beginnings Ministries Church.

Sources say that for the past four years Pastor Bill Dunfee has been harassing Tommy George and his Foxhole strip joint. What's worse is that Dunfee and his ilk are a full seven country miles from the private business, yet bother to show up every weekend to block traffic, take photos of customers' license plates to upload to their shaming site and just generally condemn and insult George.

"Tom George is a parasite, a man without judgment," Dunfee told the local press. "The word of Jesus Christ says you cannot share territory with the devil."

What happened to love thy neighbor, pastor? George himself believes in an eye for an eye, so he set up shop outside the church on days of worship -- with his strippers in tow.

Gina Hughes, one of the less typical exotic dancers, is married with six little ones, says she makes $2,000 a week and complained of being called a "homewrecker and a whore" -- neither of which she actually is. She agrees with George that the goons at New Beginnings are hypocrites, and their offers of "salvation" are not wanted.

So, she and the other girls set up their lawn chairs in front of the church carrying signs bearing slogans about Pastor Dunfee -- although they have stopped short of insulting and humiliating the churchgoers. Instead, they sit there in bikinis and eat hamburgers while Church is in session. See Chick's THE OUTCAST.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Arab/ US Journalist Returns Prize to Jewish ADL

The Anti-Defamation League said it is "stunned" that Newsweek columnist and CNN host Fareed Zakaria is returning an award from the group in protest of its stance over the planned mosque near ground zero in New York City.

The Arab-American Zakaria returned the award, saying that the ADL's calls for the project to be relocated compromised its mission to fight discrimination.

"I am not only saddened but stunned and somewhat speechless by your decision," ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a letter on the group's website. "I would have expected you to reach out to me before coming to judgment."

The planned expansion of an Islamic community center, including a mosque, a few blocks from the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has led to bitter debate. Families of the victims say the center would be an insult to the memory of the dead who were murdered by Islamic fanatics. To them, building a Islamic Mosque in the ashes of the destruction would be akin to building a German shrine next to a former slave-labor camp. Left leaning figures like Mayor Michael Bloomberg stated that forcing its relocation would be an un-American act of intolerance.

The ADL took a more nuanced position. It said that the project's leaders had the right to go ahead with the project as they saw fit. Still, the ADL argued that the center should be moved out of sensitivity towards the raw feelings of those affected by the World Trade Center terrorist attacks, which killed more than 2,700 people.

"We are ever mindful of the tragedy which befell our nation there, the pain we all still feel," the ADL said last month. "We believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found."

Zakaria said this stance betrayed the ADL's principles. He applauded the Islamic center as an example of moderate Islam that is compatible with American ideals. Newsweek is one of the better known liberal magazines.

The 46-year-old returned the Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize that the ADL awarded him in 2005, along with the $10,000 prize that went with it.

"What is at stake here is the integrity of the ADL and its fidelity to its mission," Zakaria said in a letter to the group. "This decision will haunt the ADL for years if not decades to come." See Chick's WHO CARES?

Friday, August 06, 2010

Waste $3 Billion for Mail or $86 Billion for ACORN?

The United States Postal Service is still in the red. The quasi-governmental agency Thursday delivered a $3.5 billion loss in its fiscal third quarter, driven down by reduced mail volume and generous retiree health and benefit costs. USPS said it lost $1.1 billion more than it did in the same quarter a year ago, and warned it could run out of cash in next year unless relief sought from Congress is approved. But compare that to Fannie Mae (FRE), ACORN's & Barney Frank's darling government backed bank that gives money to high risk seekers of home mortgages (especially minorities and poor with no credit or a bad credit history). The mortgage-giant has requested another $1.5 billion in federal aid after reporting a $1.2 billion loss in the second quarter. The additional funds would raise the total assistance to Fannie Mae to $86.1 billion, the company said in its earnings report. That $86 billion also inflated, then popped the housing bubble, causing the worst recession since the Great Depression.

The postal service helps the economy by increasing national and international commerce. Fannie Mae helped cause the recession by recklessly placing political correctness over common business sense (with taxpayer's money). Which do think this Congress will continue to subsidize the most?


Thursday, August 05, 2010

California Decision Puts Obama Double Speak In Spotlight

WASHINGTON (Aug. 5) -- A gay federal judge's decision overturning California's voter-approved ban on gay marriage may take years to get to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the political fallout has already begun.

Judge Vaughn Walker's 136-page ruling eviscerating Proposition 8 as unconstitutional brought roaring back to life a divisive social issue that a few years ago dominated political discourse but had recently taken a back to seat to economic anxiety. And its timing, on the eve of Elena Kagan's Senate confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, is a reminder that the issue won't be settled until nine justices have their say.

"Judge Walker has launched the first salvo in a national culture war," said Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage. "There will be electoral consequences for candidates who do not stand up and support marriage. Either they stand on the side of activist judges or they allow voters to have their say. There is no middle ground."

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, called the ruling "a cultural wedge issue that has the potential to galvanize Republicans, conservatives and Blue Dog Democrats around the defense of biblical marriage."

"It's a judicial coup d'etat ... that has taken over the body politic of this nation," he said.

The decision set off infighting among conservatives. Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel criticized lawyers for bungling the case. "I am distressed that Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) presented thin evidence to support Prop. 8," he said. Still, he was confident the decision would be reversed on appeal.

Jordan Lorence, a lawyer working with the ADF, told AOL News that Walker made clear early in the trial that he "was inclined to strike down Prop. 8" and accused the judge of ignoring written evidence and testimony during cross-examination. Asked why his side called only two witnesses, one of whose testimony the judge said "provided no credible evidence," Lorence replied, "If we had called 30 witnesses we would have had the same result." Walker "created new heights of judicial activism" in his ruling, he said.

John Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in California and a former GOP congressional aide, said gay marriage will provide Republicans with just one more piece of evidence, along with the recent ruling on Arizona's immigration law, that "show the danger of activist judges and the need to uphold federalism." Still, he predicted most voters will stay focused on pocketbook issues.

The ruling once again put President Barack Obama on the spot.

The White House put out a statement saying, "The president has spoken out in opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and discriminatory. He will continue to promote equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Americans."

White House senior adviser David Axelrod told MSNBC that Obama "does oppose same-sex marriage but he supports equality for gay and lesbian couples." The president favors civil unions for same-sex couples instead but also believes marriage is a state issue.

That neither here-nor-there position has irked gay rights activists. Sainz said gays are "disappointed that their president does not stand with them" on marriage. Still, Obama has done more for the gay and lesbian agenda than any predecessor, signing into law civil rights protections, extending benefits to gay federal workers and pushing toward the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. His power to push further may end in November, however, if a majority voters push back. See Chick's SIN CITY.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Gay Judge Rules Against Regular Marriage

An openly gay federal judge in California has struck down that state's ban on same-sex marriage, saying Proposition 8, passed by voters two years ago, is unconstitutional.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's decision on Prop. 8 is hardly the final word in the matter. Both sides had said they would appeal the ruling if it wasn't in their favor. The case would go first to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and eventually to the Supreme Court, if the justices agreed to review it.

Walker wrote that Prop. 8 "fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license." Why Walker did not recuse himself from the case is unclear, as he is an admitted homosexual himself. But he did not. He went on to write, "Plaintiffs challenge Proposition 8 under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Each challenge is independently meritorious, as Proposition 8 both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation."

The nation's largest gay rights group, The Human Rights Campaign, hailed the judge's decision. Even the Republican Governor, who has been swinging further and further to the left, praised the decision.

Olson and Boies argued the plaintiffs case, 10 years after they were on opposite sides of the Supreme Court battle between George W. Bush and Al Gore over the Florida presidential vote recount.

Prop. 8's sponsors filed papers Tuesday in anticipation of losing. They asked Walker, if he were to rule against them, to leave the ban intact while they appeal. Perry v. Schwarzenegger is the first federal court case to determine if states can prohibit gays from getting married without violating the constitutional guarantee of equality. The lawsuit, brought by two same-sex couples and the city of San Francisco, claimed that Prop 8 infringes the civil rights of gay men and lesbians.

Proposition 8 was approved by 52 percent of voters in November 2008. The ballot measure followed the state Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage five months earlier. Supporters said Prop 8 was necessary to safeguard traditional marriage and to encourage responsible childbearing. Opponents said that such concerns were not sufficient grounds to discriminate against gay couples.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Walker, 66, is openly gay. It would seem an obvious conflict of interest for him to even hear the case. See Chick's THE GAY BLADE.

Drunk Illegal Kills Nun

An illegal immigrant awaiting a deportation ruling has been charged with killing a nun and critically injuring two others in a drunken driving crash that has sparked criticism of how immigration enforcement is handled.

A local official in the Virginia suburb where the crash happened and a congressman from another state have criticized federal officials for not removing the suspect from the country after previous arrests, and even U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano questioned why his deportation was taking so long.

Twenty-three-year-old Carlos Martinelly Montano, who police say is illegally in the country, is charged with drunken driving, involuntary manslaughter and felony driving on a revoked license after the accident on Sunday in Virginia's Prince William County. Montano was arrested two times before and charged with drunken driving, according to county police, and has also been arrested in separate incidents for other traffic-related offenses. Police say Montano, who is from Bolivia, was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement after at least one arrest, and a prosecutor said he knew of at least one other occasion he'd been referred to immigration officials.

The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that Montano was released in 2008, pending an immigration judge's review of his case. As of August 2010, a judge had not ruled on his deportation.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called the crash a "terrible thing" when asked about the incident during an unrelated news conference at D.C. police headquarters Tuesday. Napolitano said she immediately asked officials to look into the situation.

Prince William County's top elected leader and a Kentucky congressman, both Republicans, criticized federal immigration officials for not deporting Montano.

Corey Stewart, the chairman of Prince William County's Board of Supervisors, says the accident highlights the need for federal immigration reform. Stewart championed and implemented one of the nation's strictest county-level anti-illegal immigration policies. The local law requires that police inquire about the immigration status of all people arrested on suspicion of violating a state or local law. He says it's "extremely frustrating" that even with the county's policy, not all those turned over to ICE are removed from the country.

"We handed him over to the feds assuming he would be deported, but instead federal authorities released him back into the neighborhood and he killed a nun," Stewart said. "We feel like we are beating our heads against the wall."

Montano's car crossed a median Sunday morning when it hit the car carrying three nuns, police said. Sixty-six-year-old Sister Denise Mosier was pronounced dead on the scene, and two other nuns - Sister Charlotte Lange and Sister Connie Ruth Lupton - were critically injured and remained in a hospital on respirators Tuesday, according to Smith. See Chick's MEN IN BLACK.