Archive for April 22nd, 2006

Librarians to sever ties with Scouts?

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

I sure admire the stand the Boy Scouts of America have taken on Moral Absolutes. I hope they will always continue to stick to their constitutionally protected rights.

A renewed effort by several members of the American Library Association’s governing council would sever all ties with the Boy Scouts of America until the youth organization stops “discriminating” against avowed atheists and homosexuals.
In 1998, the council of the ALA, the world’s largest library organization, condemned the Boy Scouts over its policies, but a WorldNetDaily investigation reveals activists quietly are planning to take action at the association’s annual convention in June.
The renewed effort is led by Mark Rosenzweig, formerly an official archivist with the U.S. Communist Party and a chief defender of Fidel Castro in the ALA controversy over the communist regime’s repression of the independent library movement in Cuba, reported by WorldNetDaily .
“It is scary that an organization which purports to believe in free speech and intellectual freedom would take this kind of action,” said BSA spokesman Bob Bork. “It is a Soviet-style effort to make us a non-person.”
Rosenzweig unveiled his proposal April 9 on the ALA council e-mail list, declaring, “I am tired of seeing Council pass resolutions which like the previous one on the BSA are never monitored or reported back upon and for which no one takes responsibility.”
He was referring to a 1999 ALA resolution, which read: “That the American Library Association urges the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider their policy of discrimination in the areas of sexual orientation and religious belief and demonstrate a commitment to human rights, inclusiveness, and mutual respect.”
The BSA’s Bork responded: “How could they show such utter disregard to the First Amendment rights of any organization? We have the same rights of freedom of association as the ALA and it is disgusting to think they would disrespect those rights.”
Michael Golrick, an ALA council member and city librarian for Bridgeport, Ct., told WND he believes the resolution “will accomplish exactly what the last one did: No changes in BSA policies, and irritated librarians who hold views not shared by the radical left.”
Golrick was one of the few council members to publicly object to the 1999 resolution. He wore his Scout uniform to the meeting, prompting ridicule from John Berry III, editor of Library Journal, who called it “silly.”
“This resolution plays into the hands of critics who take ALA to task for being too liberal,” Golrick warned. “If anything, this will turn off many librarians who might otherwise join the organization since it positions ALA in such a left-wing position.”
The announcement of the new proposal touched off a flurry of policy questions and debate on the ALA council e-mail list in which members from various committees looked into old records to see what is meant by phrases such as “affiliate,” “liaison” and “official.”
In response to apparent uncertainty about the outcome of the previous resolution, Stephen L. Matthews, a councilor-at-large, said “We still need to hear from ALSC about what is really happening today.”
“Whether there is anything happening or not,” he added, “it is important to reiterate our concern to BSA about the destructive nature of their so-called ‘moral modeling’ policy.”
Matthews said, with little response from fellow councilors, “I wholeheartedly support additional communication with BSA challenging their policy of intolerance and its encouragement of hate and contempt as part of their organizational commitment to ‘moral education.'”
The volume and intensity of the response on weblogs, e-mail lists and e-mails to WND shows the issue has struck a chord.
Among the opinions received by WND after querying three library e-mail lists are these:

* We should be open to working with the Boy Scouts or any organization which does so much to help boys in so many ways. If ALA wants to help the Scouts become more inclusive, they certainly won’t do it by severing all contact and shutting them out of our organization. – Carol Simmons, director, Daly City Library, Calif.
* I am so sick of the ALA speaking for ALL librarians when I believe that they are only speaking for a MINORITY of librarians. I was a Boy Scout leader for 10 years. Boys Scouts is a great organization. The ALA needs to concentrate on library issues and leave the Boy Scouts ALONE!!!!! – Sharon Beever, Maine.
* “This could turn into a bigger brouhaha than Dr. Laura started, and even teach the Scouts themselves how uptight we are about being liberal – another side of bigotry,” wrote a retired California librarian who wished to remain anonymous. “Young people deserve better.”
“Couldn’t ALA show the bigger heart and merely proclaim itself disapproving of the BSA stance and continue to help the Scouts in the reading and librarianship business?” she wondered.
* “I absolutely believe the ALA should take this action, as should all organizations committed to fairness. With its goal of being “a leader in recruiting and developing a highly qualified and diverse library work force,” the organization must take actions like the proposed resolution to improve the profession’s relationship to diversity.” – Liberty Smith.
* “Because the Boy Scouts choose to discriminate within their organization, my family does not support any of their local or national efforts. I would truly appreciate the gesture of ALA breaking all ties with them as well.” – Katie O’Dell, reading promotions coordinator, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.
* “We would be undermining another value – that of inclusivity – that many people love about libraries and by extension ALA. On the other hand our relationships say something about our values, and not making some sort of statement puts us in murky ethical territory – kind of like not divesting in the Sudan or wherever. I wonder if there is some middle ground that preserves the value of inclusivity.” University of California librarian.
* “BSA will not change its policies but ALA can and should.” – “Big grandma”

Officially, leaders of the ALA and its divisions appear to be taking a cautious approach.
Asked the president’s opinion and if the executive board had discussed the issue, ALA spokeswoman Larra Clark said, “The ALA executive board is not discussing the BSA matter at this time, but I can let you know if action is taken in the future.”
Officials at the Association of Library Services to Children, which has had the most contact with the BSA – and which was criticized most on the council list – did not reply to WND by press time.
Beth Yoke, executive director of the Young Adult Library Services Association, or YALSA, told WND that if an official resolution “regarding any issue is put before ALA’s council, YALSA’s board of directors, when it next meets, will discuss the proposed resolution with the intent of coming to a consensus on what direction to provide YALSA’s Councilor on how to vote on the resolution.”
She also confirmed her group has not received any complaints from ALA members or the public about the informal contacts the ALA maintains with the Scouts.
Librarian and ALA council candidate Greg McClay says the lack of public outcry over the BSA-ALA relationship shows there is “no professional reasoning behind any of this, as libraries serve everyone.”
“This is strictly personal politics,” he charged, pointing out comments posted on the weblog of ALA councilor K. R. Roberto, who said “Personally, I am rather uncomfortable with the concept of ALA having close ties with an organization that finds me morally unfit.”
“And yet this person engages in a discussion to decide if the Boy Scouts are morally fit enough for ALA to have close ties with?” said McClay, a Massachusetts librarian.
While no scientific opinion polls have been take, this week the ALA’s American Libraries Direct online magazine asked the question, “Should the Boy Scouts of America’s policy of excluding agnostics, atheists, and gays prohibit libraries from cooperating with the organization in joint programs?”
Forty-Seven percent voted yes while a majority, 53 percent, vote no.
There is a difference, however, between this poll and an informal one by WND. The WND question asked only about a resolution that would cut off relations with the BSA; it didn’t mention particular libraries.
Even supporters of the resolution within the ALA have not gone as far as to say individual libraries should not cooperate with Scouts and Scout troops.
As Rosenzweig wrote to the council list: “Serving the needs of members of the Boy Scouts is one thing, supporting the BSA, Inc. organizationally linking to them is QUITE another.”
The AL Direct poll seems to indicate many members are not familiar with the Library Bill of Rights, which forbids viewpoint with respect to collection policy and public use.
“Who are we to tell the Boy Scouts that their philosophies are wrong? Have the Boy Scouts told ALA that they disagree with our stand on certain issues?” asked Evelyn Bell, administrative secretary at the Moreno, Calif., Valley Public Library. “While I don’t agree with BSA’s stand on atheists and homosexuals, I’m not interested in alienating, as a group, an organization who works at creating good citizens.”
In support of her argument against the resolution, Bell cited a policy on tolerance from the BSA website:
“A core value of the BSA is respect. Scouting respects those with ideas and customs that are different from our own and expects the same respect from those who may disagree with Scouting’s position. Tolerance for a diversity of values and ideals does not require abdication of one’s own values.”
“If human rights are the issue let us remove the mask of deception,” wrote Nanette Overholt a library associate at the Solano, Calif., County Library.
“There is no persecution against the right to be gay that comes from the Boy Scouts of America, but there does seem to be a constant harassment and bullying from the gay community for the Boy Scouts to conform to their beliefs,” she complained. “The gay community seems to want to abolish the right and freedom to think differently than themselves.”
“Let me leave you with this question: Who is tolerant here?” she ended.
Anthony E. Lee, a professor and librarian at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, agreed in a telephone interview that, “This would be going against their very own principles of liberal openness” not to tolerate the Scouts.
Lee, a longtime BSA and ALA member who has degrees from Seton Hall, Columbia University and Princeton, told WND, “The Boy Scouts of America, ever since I was in scouting in the 1960s, has maintained a stance that is unchanged by the winds of caprice.”
“Meaning they are who they have always been – very straight-laced,” he added, “And I, being an Eagle Scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow have always backed Scouting in that stance.”
“Look, if you don’t subscribe to ALA rules you don’t have to join,” agreed Bork. “There is no ‘right’ to membership.”
But Bork agreed that if discrimination is seen from the standpoint of ALA policies, one could conclude the association has the right, as a private organization, to choose not to associate with the BSA.
“It is a private, non-profit group and it has rights for membership standards,” said Bork, “But we would find it insulting if the ALA removed all mention of Scouts from their websites.”
The renewed debate over the Boy Scout resolution will come to a head at the ALA annual convention this June in New Orleans when the council can decide to table the resolution, accept or modify it, or recommend that the matter be given further consideration by a relevant committee.
“There will be, if necessary, a floor fight,” the resolution sponsor Rosenzweig already has told his fellow council members.
“And this time I hope the majority is not bullied by special interests connected to the BSA,” he said.
Golrick warned those same council members: “As a public library director, I know how critical it is to have support throughout the community. The youth of today are the voters of tomorrow. How can [libraries] expect support in the future, if we do not support the youth today.”

District accused of equating Bible with profanity

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

It’s amazing the extent the liberal, anti-Christian education establishment will go to in order to try to stop students from exercising their first amendment rights.

Students at a Pennsylvania high school have filed a federal lawsuit against a district policy they say results in equating religious viewpoints with profanity.
The Alliance Defense Fund, representing Christian students at Downingtown High School East Campus in Exton, Pa., says it has numerous examples of the district barring religious views unconstitutionally.
“To consider religious speech – including the word ‘Bible’ – in the same class of speech as profanity is outlandish,” said ADF-allied attorney Randall Wenger of the Lancaster law firm Clymer & Musser, P.C. “If this weren’t such a serious offense, you’d think it was a joke.”
In one example, according to the complaint [pdf file], the Downingtown Prayer Club was censored by school officials when one of its members submitted for official approval posters for “See You at the Pole.” The annual event features Christian students gathering at the beginning of the day at the school’s flagpole to pray for their school and nation.
One poster included a Bible verse from Jeremiah 33 which refers to prayer.
The school’s principal insisted the Bible verse and picture of a cross would need to be omitted along with any reference to God.
“It’s ridiculous for school officials to tell students that they can only have a poster inviting people to pray as long as the poster omits ‘God,'” said Wenger. “To whom exactly are school officials proposing that students pray?”
Wenger argued the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution “absolutely guarantees the right of students to hold and express their viewpoint.”
“The sad truth is, on campuses across the nation, Christian students are facing harassment by school administrators who use their position as a bully pulpit,” he said.

ACLU enters Jesus picture dispute

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

The Anti-Christian Litigation Union or ACLU for short, is going after a picture of Jesus in the schools again. Let me see…I think the first amendment says government will establish no laws showing preference for one religion over another. My question is: since when did schools have the authority to pass laws? Oh that’s right, they don’t! Only congress and the president can do that.
Also, the school wants it to be fair by showing other religious leaders, thinking this will appease the ACLU. Not going to work guys. You see, aside from nothing less than the complete removal of Christianity from the public forum will appease them. On top of that, they can’t represent the other religions. No pictures of mohammed (unless they want riots, death, killing, burning and destruction from the “peaceful” muslims) and the Hindus have over 330 million gods at last count, so their part of the wall would be very “busy”.
Hey, I have an idea. Why don’t the courts just read the constitution and do what it says? Then the picture can stay where it is and the people who were so easily offended by it can seek therapy for something that was their problem to begin with!

The American Civil Liberties Union has stepped into the dispute over a picture of Jesus that has hung on a Bridgeport High School wall for 40 years.
An ACLU official said the group wants the picture taken down.
Harrison County school officials, meanwhile, have other ideas.
The high school could start an “inspirational wall” on which pictures of other influential historical figures are hung together, said schools Superintendent Carl Friebel. The Jesus picture could be relocated to that wall, he said.
Friebel said criteria would be set as to who can go up on the wall.
“It wouldn’t be an arbitrary judgment,” he said.
Andrew Schneider, executive director for the ACLU in West Virginia, said he’d be skeptical of such a remedy.
“Will they allow Wiccans to put up their displays?” Schneider said. “Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus? I think they would run into some problems.”
Harold Sklar, a lawyer with the FBI, says he’s been trying to get the picture taken down for the last decade. Harrison school officials have ignored his requests, he says.
Last month, Sklar went before the board of education and asked them to remove the picture. Board members have yet to act or take a position on the issue.
Friebel said they would wait until the ACLU responds to their suggestions for alternatives before putting something on an agenda for board vote.
The ACLU initially recruited Sklar to represent a handful of students who were opposed to the picture, a print of Warner Sallman’s well-known “Head of Christ” which hangs outside the principal’s office.
Sklar recently contacted Schneider about the seemingly stalled situation. The ACLU sent Harrison school officials a letter outlining case law that “had found these sorts of displays to be basically illegal.”
Friebel has said the picture always had a secular purpose.
Schneider doesn’t buy that and says a lawsuit could be in order.
“If the picture remained on the wall and the district was not willing to settle this dispute in a way that respected the constitution and religious freedom of the people in the school district, then, yeah, that would be our last resort,” he said.
The ACLU recently won a First Amendment federal case against the city of Bridgeport’s restrictions on citizens’ right to display political signs.
State religious leaders are split as to whether the picture should come down.
Terry Harper, who heads the state’s Convention of Southern Baptists, said the picture is nothing less than art and shouldn’t be stirring controversy.
State schools Superintendent Lowell Johnson said the picture is inappropriate where it is, but the state would leave the final decision up to the Harrison school board.
The Jesus picture originally hung in a guidance counselor’s office back in the days soon after the school opened, according to school officials.
When the counselor retired and left the picture behind, their replacement brought it to a former principal, who hung it across the hall from his office door.
Contact writer Justin D. Anderson 348-4843.

U.S.-China summit ignores arrests of Christians

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

How nice that our pols decided to not even touch on China’s human rights violations, especially their treatment of Christians!

Apparently unmentioned during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s White House visit with President Bush were an abundance of cases of continued repression of Christian house churches and leaders by Chinese police.
China’s Public Security Bureau recently conducted two major raids ahead of the summit Thursday, arresting more than 160 church leaders, according to U.S.-based Voice of the Martyrs.
Also, the group’s sources have confirmed that between February and December last year, Chinese authorities arrested over 1,300 Christians, including 11 missionaries from the U.S. and six from other nations.
Bush spoke in general terms with Hu about the subjects of freedom of religion and assembly, said Dennis Wilder, the acting National Security Council senior director.
There was no specific mention of individual cases, he said, only discussion that “China has some way to go on this area, that a modern society that has moved as far as the Chinese have economically must begin to provide these kinds of freedom to their people.”
VOM contacts report 80 Chinese house-church leaders, along with five American and two Taiwanese evangelical church leaders, were arrested March 23 at 9:30 a.m. by more than 120 police officers in the suburbs of Kunming City, Yunnan province.
The raid was coordinated by Yunnan province’s director of the Public Security Bureau, who utilized officers from the religious affairs bureau, national security, military police, provincial public security and foreign affairs office, VOM said.
The officers converged on the conference building in 10 patrol cars and two buses.
The 87 taken into custody were released after interrogators harassed them for five hours and accused the Americans and Taiwanese of being foreign religious infiltrators.
Many of the Chinese pastors released are being closely monitored by Chinese security agents, and some were followed until they returned to their home provinces, VOM said.
The arrested pastors came from 20 provinces and represent 25 Chinese minority groups.
VOM co-workers at China Aid Association said that after storming the meeting, officers refused to show their identification and devoured the lunch intended for the pastors.
Just 10 days earlier, March 13, about 100 Public Security Bureau officers raided a house-church leadership meeting in Wenxian County of central China’s Henan province, leading to the arrest and torture of 80 pastors, according to VOM.
Chinese authorities accused members of the world-renowned evangelical Henan Fangcheng Mother Church of conducting an “illegal evil cult gathering” before they were searched and stripped of their cash.
Pastors said after their release that all those taken into custody were beaten brutally with electric shock batons and interrogated at police stations during a 15-to-30-day detention.
A disabled 51-year-old pastor, Li Gongshe, was among the tortured. Li repeatedly was beaten by officer Wang while the police chief and political director watched, even after showing them his handicap certificate.
Li was taken to a hospital and treated for a broken rib, according to China Aid.
The group also said a 21-year-old Christian, Shan Ailing, was forced to strip naked, and Li Hongmin, a 15-year-old Christian girl from Henan province’s Nanle County, also endured torture and abuse before her release.
Before the China-U.S. summit, China Aid President Bob Fu had urged President Bush to discuss the specific cases with Chinese President Hu.
“The first freedom – the freedom of religion – should not be expended freely with free trade,” Fu said.

God’s waning approval rating

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

Some interesting statistics from Canada.

An Ipsos Reid poll last week underlined something that has become increasingly evident both culturally and politically. The United States is a far more Christian country than its neighbor to the north.
When Ipsos telephoned 814 adult Canadians and 768 adult Americans immediately before Easter, to the assertion, “I have committed my life to Christ and consider myself to be a converted Christian,” 41 percent of Canadians answered yes, against 60 percent of Americans. To the assertion, “I feel it very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christian,” 25 percent of Canadians answered yes against 46 percent of Americans.
Even more disparate, to the assertion, “The world will end in the Battle of Armageddon between Jesus and the Antichrist,” 20 percent of Canadians answered yes against 46 percent of Americans. Answering the question, “Would you say that you have ever had ‘a religious mystical experience’ that is, a moment of sudden religious insight and awakening?” 29 percent of Canadians answered yes against 47 percent of Americans.
With this last question, regional differences were greater within Canada than within the U.S. The American response varied from 53 percent yes in the Midwest and 51 percent yes in the South down to 34 percent in the Northeast. The Canadian response ran from 45 percent yes in the prairies to 19 percent in Quebec.
The seeming abandonment of Christianity in Quebec over the last 50 years has in a sense distorted the Canadian decline. Quebec church attendance back in the ’50s ran as high as 80 percent and has fallen to less than 15 percent in some surveys. The Canadian average fell from 45 percent to about 20 percent over this period, though it has risen to 25 percent since 2000.
So reports Reginald W. Bibby, a University of Lethbridge sociologist who is the country’s foremost authority on Canadian religion practice. He notes that Gallup polls show little change in U.S. church attendance percentages over these 50 years, consistently remaining in the range of 45 percent. Bibby has published little by way of explanation for the difference between two countries whose cultures in other respects are so much the same, but while living through this past half century, I have developed two explanations of my own for the difference.
First, there is the “Spoiled Brat Syndrome.” Throughout its entire history, Canada has belonged to some kind of empire. For its first 150 years or so (1608-1763) it was part of the French Empire. For the next 180 years or thereabouts (1763-c.1945), it was part of the British Empire. For the last 60 years it has been part of the American empire.
Always we have been protected. The French protected us from the British. The British protected us first from the Americans, later from German and Japanese aggression. The Americans protected us against the Soviet slave state.
In our first two imperial roles, we were asked to help our mother country when required, and in the 20th century we responded nobly in two world wars. However, we have gradually contributed less and less to American resistance to the aggressions of the Soviet slave state. Instead, we have increasingly assumed the role of critic, offering our (unsolicited) observations on what the Americans were doing wrong, along with suggestions as to how they might improve their performance, and occasionally actually dallying with such allies of the enemy as Cuba.
We feel quite safe in all this, and the fact is that people who must take responsibility for themselves soon learn to rely on God. Spoiled brats can be bravely agnostic.
Second, there is the “Respect for Authority Syndrome,” doubtless derived from our inherent colonial status. Where Americans are instantly suspicious of Authority, in whatever garb it appears (government, academe, “expert opinion,” the Supreme Court, the media), Canada positively craves Authority as indispensable to life itself. That’s why Americans are prepared to settle many controversial issues by referendum, vesting ultimate power to decide in the general populace. Not so in Canada. We do not trust “the mob.” We prefer to let “the people who really know” do the deciding.
Therefore, 50 years ago when Authority was at least nominally Christian and prayed, Canada prayed too. Now, when our intellectual Authorities have embraced skepticism, so does much of Canada. In the years to come, of course, if the voices filling the current role of the Globe and Mail and the CBC should return to the Christian faith, why then Canadians generally can be expected to rediscover God.
As a portrait of a nation, this view may not be altogether attractive – but it accords with the facts.

Off to the Little Leage Game – Will Blog in a Bit

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

We are off to the Little Leage game, but I found some articles I want to post on today, so I’ll do that as soon as we get back.
God Bless Everyone!!