Archive for February 11th, 2006

ACLU takes on Boy Scouts in 9th Circuit

Saturday, February 11th, 2006

ACLU (Anti-Christian Litigation Union, as I call them), is going after the Boy Scouts again.

An ACLU lawsuit on behalf of an agnostic, lesbian couple seeking to nullify the Boy Scouts’ long-standing lease with a San Diego park will be heard in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, widely regarded as the nation’s most liberal.
The city of San Diego is appealing a
U.S. District Court judge’s ruling in 2003, which determined the agreement violates the First Amendment’s ban on state-sponsored religion.
Oral arguments will begin Tuesday morning in Pasadena, Calif. A decision is expected later this year.
Judge Napoleon Jones said in his 2003 ruling the
Boy Scouts are a religious organization with a “religious purpose” because adult leaders and youth members are required to believe in a “formal deity” and to swear duty to God.
Backers of the Boy Scouts argue that while the group promotes belief in God, it represents no particular denomination or religion. Individual troops can be sponsored by a church, synagogue, mosque or secular organization.
The local Desert Pacific Council of the Boy Scouts has used the northwest corner of Balboa Park, near the San Diego Zoo, since 1940. It has leased the land for $1 a year since 1957, and the city council approved a 25-year lease agreement at the end of 2001.
The Boy Scouts argue
Camp Balboa and a nearby city facility maintained at their expense, the Youth Aquatic Center, are used extensively on a first-come, first-served basis by the public as well as by Scouts. The plaintiffs have never even tried to use the facilities, they maintain.
The
ACLU represents Lori and Lynn Barnes-Wallace and their “Boy Scout-aged sons.”
In the district-court ruling, Jones pointed to the June 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision,
Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, which ruled the youth organization had a constitutionally based right to discriminate on the basis of “sexual orientation.” James Dale was an Eagle Scout whose adult membership in the Boy Scouts was revoked when the organization learned he was an avowed homosexual and homosexual-rights activist.
Eagle Scout James Dale with parents in 1988 (Photo courtesy Dale family)
Jones said in his ruling, “After Dale, it is clear that the Boy Scouts of America’s strongly held private, discriminatory beliefs are at odds with values requiring tolerance and inclusion in the public realm, and lawsuits like this are the predictable fallout from the Boy Scouts’ victory before the Supreme Court.”
The judge noted the lease includes a non-discrimination clause prohibiting, among other things, discrimination based on religion and sexual orientation.
However, the city points out the non-discrimination clause applies only to the Boy Scouts regulation of access to the property by non-Scouting individuals and entities.
The city and the Boy Scouts argue the agreements are just two out of 100 leases of public land by the city to non-profit groups to “advance the educational, cultural and recreational interests of the city” without regard to whether the lessees are religious.
The district court, however, agreed with the plaintiffs that the city’s leases with other groups are irrelevant because there is no evidence they were negotiated as part of any leasing “program.”
The Boy Scouts engaged in exclusive negotiations on the Balboa land, the court said, as other groups did not have the opportunity to compete.

Seeing Clearly in the Face of Muslim Rage

Saturday, February 11th, 2006

Hugh Hewitt’s views on the ongoing “rage” the muslims over the mohammed cartoons.

As the controversy swirls around the provocative Danish newspaper cartoons that so many Muslims deem deeply offensive, it is important to keep two principles up front:
First, a free press means a press free to offend. Christians in the West know this from long experience, and Muslims must come to understand that the West will never abandon the protection it gives newspapers and other media to trade in provocation.
Second, defending the right to publish does not mean endorsing the actual content. Some of the cartoons are easily seen as vulgar and stupid, and mocking religious beliefs is a sad legacy of the secular elites’ rise in the latter part of the 20th century. We will always defend the right of the churlish to be that way, but we will also be careful to point out that low is not high, and that the repulsive is not art or even journalism.

Sharon Back in for Emergency Surgery

Saturday, February 11th, 2006

Israel Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon had emergency surgery yesterday, but seems to have come through it well.

Operation successful; PM moved to intensive care.

Doctors at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem successfully located and removed on Saturday a blood clot that was obstructing the flow of blood to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s abdomen. The prime minister has been moved out of the operating room into the intensive care unit.
Doctors moved their attention to
Sharon’s stomach on Saturday, after five weeks of fighting to save the prime minister’s brain after a massive stroke. An early morning CT scan had revealed that Sharon’s digestive tract was seriously damaged.
Hadassah University Ein Kerem Hospital official spokeswoman Yael Bossem-Levy told the growing crowd of local and international journalists assembled outside the hospital that the Prime Minister was rushed to emergency surgery at 11:30 AM. Bossem-Levy described Sharon’s condition as critical, with his life in danger.
After the scan, it was decided to operate on Sharon immediately, Bossem-Levy said in a statement. The operation was expected to last between three and six hours, she said.
A Kadima source close to Sharon told the Associated Press that the operation seemed to be “going well.” Channel 10, meanwhile, reported that doctors have removed a section of the prime minister’s intestine.
Sharon’s sons Omri and Gilad rushed to the hospital early Saturday morning, and were followed by Sharon confidants Ilan Cohen, Dov Weisglass and Lior Horev, as well as Sharon’s personal driver and peronal secretary.
It is still unclear what caused Sharon’s latest deterioration. Bossem-Levy said only that the abdominal scan revealed an obstruction in the blood flow to the prime minister’s intestines. It was not clear whether Sharon’s doctors had stopped the regular dose of blood-thinning medication they had administered since Sharon’s first stroke in December.

Read the rest here.