Tag Archives: rights

New US “Right” to Family Planning Policy Hurts Trafficked Women

By Lisa Correnti and Wendy Wright

WASHINGTON, DC (C-FAM)   The same week U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a conference in Senegal that family planning is a “basic right,” the U. S. Congress was investigating the Obama administration’s rejection of a highly qualified group to receive a grant to help trafficking victims because it does not offer contraception and abortion. The grant was awarded instead to a group that “had no plan on how objectives would be met.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established new criteria for anti-trafficking grants mandating that applicants offer full reproductive health services to victims, equating contraception and abortion with basic rights like food and shelter. HHS then denied a grant to an experienced, previously approved applicant, the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB), because it did not provide contraception and abortion. The program has rescued more than 3,000 men, women and children trafficked to the U.S. for sex and labor trade in the past five years.

An HHS internal document obtained by Congressman Darrell Issa, Chairman of the Oversight Committee, revealed that the USCCB was recommended by objective evaluators to receive $2.5 million but was passed over by HHS in favor of two sub-standard applicants that would refer for abortion. Evaluators said one of the chosen programs lacked “detail on key program areas, had no plan on how objectives will be met and even lacked resumes for key staff, including the program director.”

In the same week, Secretary Clinton told a conference in Senegal that family planning is a “basic right.” Addressing the 2nd International Family Planning Conference, Clinton called for accelerating efforts “to ensure that all women have access to family planning and reproductive health care and services.” Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, head of the United Nations Population Fund told attendees, “Family planning is oxygen—it is a right to get it.”

Beth Englander, who oversees the USCCB Anti-Trafficking Program, told the Friday Fax the vast majority of foreign-born victims in their program were labor-trafficked. “The program was intended to be a supplemental support for victims seeking help finding housing, food, clothing, and legal aid. In addition, female victims received treatment for routine OB-GYN care, to include STDs and physical injury.” Englander believes most sex-trafficked victims had access to contraception through various resources. “These arrangements would have been in existence prior to their rescue and entry into USCCB’s program and in the traffickers’ interests.”

Dr. Jeffrey Barrows, who works with recovered trafficked victims, says the new HHS policy could hurt trafficked women: “possible harm could occur if a very pro-abortion counseling approach were to be taken with a victim just out of a trafficking scenario who has not had adequate time to re-establish her autonomy.” Many trafficked victims experience traumatic dependency upon their abuser, known as Stockholm Syndrome.

“This dependence on others could be carried over into the aftercare stage where they almost prefer to have others tell them what they should do in certain situations without having adequately formed an opinion themselves,” Barrows told the Friday Fax.

Congressman Chris Smith, author of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, expressed disgust with HHS’s actions. “Pernicious pro-abortion favoritism, embedded in this egregiously flawed process, does a grave disservice to the victims of trafficking.”

This article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute (http://www.c-fam.org/). This article appears with permission.

Rutherford Institute Sues Pennsylvania Police on Behalf of Business Owner Threatened with Arrest for Videotaping on Public Sidewalk

(Franklin, PA) Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a First Amendment lawsuit against two police officers with the Franklin Police Department who threatened a business owner with arrest simply for videotaping his own business activities and videotaping his subsequent interaction with the police while on a public sidewalk in Franklin, Pennsylvania. The officers allegedly informed Skip Dreibelbis, the president of True Blue Auctions, that by videotaping on a public sidewalk, he was violating wiretapping laws. Institute attorneys filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, charging that police violated Dreibelbis’ First Amendment right to make video recordings in public spaces and infringed upon his right to receive information.

The Rutherford Institute’s complaint in Dreibelbis v. John Does is available here.

“This is a form of censorship that is an egregious violation of Mr. Dreibelbis’ First Amendment rights,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “For police to suggest that this activity violates wiretapping laws is absurd. The ramifications of this kind of government mindset does not bode well for the future of freedom.”

True Blue Auctions, founded by Skip Dreibelbis, provides a variety of auction services to businesses and individuals throughout the country. As part of its normal business practices, True Blue posts auction signs at an auction site and often videotapes the auction so it has a record of bids, amounts, and other details to aid in resolving potential disputes. The videotaping of the auction is always done in the open, at a location to which the public is invited, with permission of the owner of the premises and/or in a public forum area. True Blue Auctions was contracted to carry out a two-day auction in Franklin, Penn., beginning on October 16, 2009. That day, Dreibelbis posted auction signs at the site and began videotaping the auction from the premises where the auction was taking place and from an adjacent public sidewalk. At no time did Dreibelbis block pedestrian traffic on the public sidewalk, nor did anyone complain about the signs or the videotaping or voice the concern that their privacy interests were being violated by the videotaping. Nevertheless, two police officers approached Dreibelbis while he was videotaping the auction from the sidewalk and allegedly informed him that videotaping was against wiretapping laws and that they would have to arrest Dreibelbis if he didn’t put away his video recorder. According to the complaint, the officers also ordered Dreibelbis to remove his posted auction signs and move about 75 yards away. In filing suit against the two unidentified officers with the Franklin Police Department, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute point out that individuals have a right under the First Amendment to videotape persons, including police officers, in public places. Moreover, Institute attorneys contend that by ordering Dreibelbis to turn off the video camera and threatening him with arrest if he did not immediately cease videotaping the auction and the encounter with the police, police also violated Dreibelbis’ right to receive information in that far more protected activity was chilled than was reasonably necessary to protect any compelling government interest.

Attorneys J. Michael Considine, Jr., of West Chester, Penn., and Joseph L. Luciana, III of the Pittsburgh firm of Dingess, Foster, Luciana, Davidson and Chleboski are assisting The Rutherford Institute in its defense of Dreibelbis.

International Right to Abortion, Global Elite Group Presents Contrary Evidence

This week a global elite of political, legal, and health care professionals joined by pro-life activists will present legal evidence proving the pro-abortion advocates at the United Nations have no legal standing in their assertions of an international right to abortion.

International efforts to legalize abortion-on-demand has been going on for many years. Planned Parenthood International has been among those lobbying the United Nations since its existence. The goods and services provided by abortion providers like Planned Parenthoods amount to a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Sadly, the United States gives billions of tax payers dollars to such organizations though the USAID program.

Dr. Ligaya Acosta is right: If the billions given by the United States to promote abortion in Asia and throughout the world were used to actually help the poor, there would be no more poverty in the world.

The most recent effort to legalize abortion came from the U.N. Secretariat. In a Human Rights Council policy statement, the Secretariat seeks to make abortion as a unfettered global health right. If adopted, all members nations will be obligated to decriminalize their abortion-related laws. Doing so will enable organizations like Planned Parenthood to sell their goods and abortion-on-demand services without legal hindrance.

Here is the worst example of the bureaucratically instituted form of free enterprise.

Among those expected to participate in the U.N presentation this week are Robert George of Princeton University, Ambassador Grover Rees (Ret.), and Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.

(For more information about the U.N. policy report, read C-FAM article titled “UN Official Says Abortion is a Human Right, Secretary General Endorses Report”, visit the blog Turtle Bay, and/or read the UN Report .)

The Rutherford Institute Defends ‘Redneck Not Racist’ Kindergarten Bus Driver Fired for Displaying Confederate Flag on His Personal Vehicle

The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a 28-year-old kindergarten bus driver who was fired for displaying a Confederate flag on his personal vehicle. Kenneth Webber was fired on March 8, 2011, five days after being suspended for refusing to comply with an order that the flag be removed from his truck while it was parked in the employee parking lot. Webber has insisted that his display of the Confederate flag does not show him to be a racist but a “backyard redneck. I work for what I have. I support my family. It’s just who I am. I’m a redneck. It’s a way of life.” Institute attorneys have charged Webber’s supervisor at First Student Bus Transportation Services, a company providing services to the Phoenix-Talent School District # 4, with violating his First Amendment right to free expression, as well as his Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection.

“This is a clear case of political correctness run amok,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Clearly, under the First Amendment, employment cannot be conditioned on forfeiting the right to the freedom of expression.”

Kenneth Webber, who has been employed by First Student Bus Transportation Services, a company providing services to the Phoenix-Talent School District # 4, for four years, began flying the Confederate flag in the bed of his pickup truck about a year ago. The 3-by-5-foot Confederate flag, which has the word “Redneck” emblazoned across it, was a birthday gift from Webber’s father in 2009. Webber drives his truck to work and parks it in the employee lot, which is leased from the school district, before reporting for his duties driving the kindergarten bus for Talent Elementary School.

On March 2, 2011, Webber was called into his supervisor’s office and ordered to remove the flag from his pickup or be suspended from his job. The demand to remove the flag was allegedly made after the school district superintendent visited First Student’s facility and saw the flag in Webber’s truck. The superintendent reportedly requested that Webber remove the flag because “some people find that symbol offensive,” justifying the request by pointing to the fact that the school district is “about 37 percent minority students,” and “we have a policy…about displaying symbols on school property that were racist, or had a potential to be seen as racist.”

Insisting on his right to free expression in his personal vehicle, Webber refused the demand, was suspended and was sent home for the day. The following day, Webber reported to work and was called to meet with two managers, who again demanded that he remove the flag or be suspended, this time for three days. Again, Webber refused and was suspended. On March 8, Webber was called into his manager’s office and was terminated after he again refused to remove the flag from his pickup. “My flag will fly,” said Webber. “No one here is gonna tell me what I can and can’t believe in.” Rutherford Institute attorneys have demanded that First Student restore Webber’s job, pointing to a 2002 victory in which the City of Topeka, Kansas, was found to have violated the First Amendment rights of a city employee by forbidding him from parking his vehicle with Confederate flag vanity license plates in the City’s employee parking lot.

Source: Rutherford Institute News, March 9, 2011.

Gay Lobby’s View of Your Non-Liberal Representatives

Like most organizations seeking donations in order to balance their financial accounts, the gay lobby, Human Rights Campaign, seeks to fire up the gay community and its supporters to contribute some more cash. The view most members are expected to share is that all members of the “right-wing” are bigots, destroyers of equality rights, and haters of gays.

Here are a few excerpts:

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” may no longer be the law of the land, but the bigotry behind it is alive and well – in our schools, in our workplaces, and, perhaps most unfortunately, in the halls of Congress.

January will bring anti-gay leadership to the helm of the House of Representatives. The right-wing political machine – committed to destroying marriage equality everywhere – will be emboldened and aggressive.

We need your help to keep fighting back in 2011 and to protect our gains.

The million dollar question is how can anyone destroy what never existed–marriage equality? This is merely an extention of the same erroneous claim that gays are a naturally discrimiated-against minority requiring protection by special class rights. Because being gay is supposedly a inborn aspect of their nature, homosexual relations must also be natural. Consequently, marriage should also be a natural culmination of such relations.

The same counter-position still holds: Color, race, ethnicity, sex, and disability are all natural and inherent characteristics of biological and physiological human nature, but homosexuality is a chacateristic of sexual behavior. Sexual behavior is a biological given, but homosexual behavior is contrary to normative sexual relations among the different sexes. It is against nature and nature’s God, and therefore, it is against humanity.

The idea that gay consensual sex should be a constitutional right doesn’t add up either. No one can consent to being black, a woman, or blind at birth. People can consent to a law, to the proposition that the universe created itself, to doing violence to someone, having a doctor euthanasize themselves, or giving and receiving gifts. Consent lies in the domain of belief and behavior. Consent does not make a wrong right. Consent to wrong behavior is still wrong. All human behavior is relational in some way or another.

Sermon on the Mount : Property Rights

By Daniel Downs

As mentioned in the first post, the gospels of Matthew and Luke contain two versions of a sermon proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth most likely from Mount Gerizim. This is where Moses told half of the tribal elders of Israel to reiterate the blessings for the keeping the law as the Israelites passed from the wilderness into the promised land (Deuteronomy 27:11-12; 28:1-14).

In the Sermon, Jesus pronounces blessings to the poor who faithfully follow God’s way. Those who do so become rich in two ways: First, their relationship with God makes them full of His presence and power enabling them to live according to the divine law. Jesus’ apostle Paul called it being filled with the Spirit. (Read his letter to the Ephesians) Second, they gain legal rights to the material and spiritual benefits of citizenship in the Kingdom of God. This means they have access to resources of the Creator. (See first post titled “Sermon on the Mount: Any Relevance Today?)

Jesus proceeds by pronouncing that those who mourn and weep will laugh again. In the world, problems arise whether because of mistakes, wrongdoing, injustices, natural disasters, or other forms of loss. Like Job, God comforts and restores. (See the second post titled Sermon on the Mount: From Weeping to Laughing)

The next blessing pronounced by Jesus is only recorded in the gospel of Matthew. It goes like this:

“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5: 5).

I can think of only two reasons why Luke didn’t include it in his gospel. One possible reason is it was never part of Jesus’ sermon. The author of Matthew’s gospel included it because he was a Jew who had been trained to regard humility as a godly trait. Even though this blessing may not have been part of Jesus’ sermon, it was expected of those faithful to the law of God. Another possible reason is this: Being a citizen of the Roman Empire, Luke was trained to regard meekness as weakness. Romans regarded themselves as members of a superior race and culture than most others, for example, citizens of the always subjugated people of Palestine. This is the more likely reason.

The uniqueness of this part of Jesus Sermon is not just its singular mention in Matthew’s gospel; it is more exceptional because it was a quote taken from Psalms 37, which was itself the summation of a law of God:

“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret because of him who prosper in his way or because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it only leads to doing evil. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. Yet a little while and the wicked will be no more; you will look carefully for his place and he will not be. But the meek will inherit the earth and will delight themselves in abundance” (7-11).

The above verses point the familiar reader back to Exodus when the Jews were delivered from the injustices of slavery in Egypt. The Jews were not forced into slavery just as a punishment for any wrong done while in Egypt. Rather, it was because they were foreigners whose population greatly increased. There large population made a paranoid dictator fearful about their allegiance. That is, Pharaoh feared they might join Egypt’s enemies to attacking and conquering Pharaoh and his empire. The easiest way to eliminate such a potential threat was to control all aspects of their lives, which meant to enslave them. (Exodus 1:8-11)   In this context, waiting on the Lord meant to continue being faithful to God and covenant law while waiting for God to execute justice. However, God told Abraham the Jews would be enslaved for 400 years in Egypt for two reasons: (1) their sins would lead them into it, and (2) the divine justice concerning the unrelenting sins of the Canaanites would take 400 years for completion. After which time, God promised the freedom of Jews and their right to possess the land previously promised to Abraham and to his descendents. (Genesis 15:13-16; Joshua 24:14; Deuteronomy 9:5-6; 12:29-31; 18:9-12)

The moral of the story is waiting in the right way leads to inheriting the promised land.

Inheriting and possessing land over which God reigns also will result in peace, freedom, and prosperity (Deuteronomy 7:12-14; 12:10; 25:19; 28:1-14). Because this promise included all faithful citizens of God’s reign, the collective or societal benefit of protection from enemies was implied. Yet, the individual aspect of the implied benefit was personal space within the land. Inclusive within this landed space was peace, a benefit of unhindered movement resulting from societal protection and prosperity; a related benefit was freedom of movement and work resulting from protection. Because God’s law required the promised land to be apportioned to each family according to need, title to that land was part of the inherited possession (Numbers 33:51-54). Prosperity didn’t equate to being as wealthy as Pharaohs, Caesars, Herods, or other tyrants. Prosperity meant having enough to meet the need of family and self as well as an abundance for tithes, offerings, showing hospitality to strangers, and helping others as need arose.

Jesus’ apostle Paul refers to the same when writing to the believers in Corinth about wealth and helping those suffering lack in Jerusalem because of famine. In the context of redemptive investments, Paul states that Jesus became poor that they (Corinthians and all believers) might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). He then defines what he meant by rich:

“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having sufficiency for every need, you may have an abundance for every good work” (9:8).

By good work, Paul meant investing in the needy believers in Jerusalem. By doing so, they were cheerfully fulfilling kingdom law and increasing future returns all in the spirit of meekness. (Leviticus 25:35-37; Proverbs 19:17)

The ancient model of meekness was Moses (Numbers 12:3). Yet, Moses stood against Pharaoh face to face as God commanded. Moses led the Jews and others out of Egypt toward the promised land. Moses gave Israel the law of God. Moses led the warriors of Israel. Moses commanded the execution of Jews who had rebelled against the command and law of God. Moses interceded on behalf of the people in the face of God anger and judgment. Moses cared deeply about all of Israel. Moses trained Joshua for future leadership. Moses stood up to the opposition of jealous family members and others. However, the meekness of Moses was not defined by his courage. It was his caring and especially his obedience to God. God defended Moses against all opposition as Moses turned to God. That is, Moses trusted God. He trusted God because God carried out His word. Therefore, he was faithful to God. As a result, Moses waited on God. The one exception when he was angry about the faithless complaining of the people Moses went beyond God’s instruction. God used this as an object lesson by forbidding Moses from leading the Israel into the promised land. (Numbers 20:1-12)

In other words, not waiting on God leads to wrongdoing resulting in adverse consequences no matter who you are.

Notice, inherent in the English word “wait” consists of two implications: (1) it refers to duration of time during which a person waits for another person to respond, act or fulfill an agreement, or vise versa. (2) It more importantly refers to service to others i.e., to wait on a king, waiting on tables, etc. Just as Moses fulfilled both, those who heard Jesus’ sermon would have understood the same applied themselves. Waiting on the Lord meant waiting on God to act to enrich their lives with His wonderful presence and power, to comfort them during time of suffering, to lead them into possession of the benefits of the promise land.

The same audience also would have understood the purpose of God’s law of healing. The meek could not possess the earth if hindered by debilitating diseases. Consequently, citizens of God’s kingdom were to expect good health because they faithfully obeyed the law. (Exodus 23:25; Deuteronomy 7:12, 15) As the law promised good health, God also promised healing even if new diseases occurred. That is why healing was a prominent part of Jesus’ messianic work; the obedient were being restored in order to possess all of the benefits of the promise land.

So it is to be expected today.

The blessings of citizenship in God’s kingdom by covenant through faith in Jesus are promised to all. It is the fulfillment of God’s word to Abraham that through his descendents all peoples would be blessed. The Torah, songs of Israel (Psalms), and the proclamations of the Prophets contain the definition of the intended blessings. In his sermon from Mount Gerizim, Jesus reiterates the blessing. (Matthew 19:27-29; Luke 18:28-30; Mark 10:28-30)

Ohioans Are Now Free to Support the Constitution…

In a case that made it all of the way to the desk of Rush Limbaugh, the Andover Tea Party in Ashtabula County has prevailed in its efforts to hold a Constitution Day rally on Andover Public Square. Previously, township officials had informed the residents that a rally in support of the Constitution was too political for the public square.

On September 16, U.S. District Court Judge Donald C. Nugent granted the 1851 Center a temporary injunction against Andover Township. The ruling cleared the way for the rally, and upheld the residents’ First Amendment rights. If the judge sided with Andover Township, local governments across the state would be emboldened to trample on First Amendment rights.

The Framers of the Constitution ratified the First Amendment to protect the right to debate the proper role of government without fear of retaliation.

The case in Andover demonstrates how the political class overlooks such basic constitutional rights. But it also demonstrates the need for Ohioans to vigilantly police their local governments, and when necessary, stand up to them. Courage is usually the first step in protecting one’s rights, and our clients in Andover should be applauded for theirs. We encourage other Ohioans to follow suit.

To learn more about the 1851 Center, visit http://www.ohioconstitution.org

The Ohio Project at Clark County Fair

What is the Ohio Project? I’m glad you asked.

The Ohio Project is a grass root initiative opposing recently passed federal health care reform legislation mandates. The initiative seeks to introduce a state constitutional amendment giving Ohioans the legal to oppose those mandates that extend beyond the Constitutional authority of the federal government. It will make the 9th and 10th amendments to the U.S. Constitution enforcement for this specific set of issues.

The central region coordinator, Nancy Channell, has arranged for a petition signing booth at the Springfield Antique Show and Flea Market.
All are invited to enjoy the many unique displays of antique collector items, booths offering consumer goods, information about area service organizations, and political efforts of organizations like The Ohio Project. At the same time, you can help the Ohio Project succeed by signing the petition.

Supporting the Ohio Project means enforcing your constitutional rights to government limited to the rule of law under the Constitution.

For more information, go to the Ohio Project website. You can also find out more about the Springfield Antique show by going here.

High School Valedictorean Denied Student-Initiated Free Speech Right

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to take the case of a Nevada girl whose religious freedom was harshly denied right in the middle of delivering her 2006 public-school valedictorian speech. This is an alarming push backwards for religious freedom. We have a Supreme Court ruling from 1992 (Lee v. Weisman) that protected religious messages and prayers of students, including at graduation ceremonies, as long as they are student-initiated.

A press release by the Rutherford Institute states school officials stopped her speech “after she began speaking about the part her Christian beliefs played in her success in life. Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute had asked the Court to hear the case of Brittany McComb, charging that school officials violated McComb’s free speech rights and engaged in viewpoint discrimination when they censored her speech because of its Christian content.”

The harsh rejection of Christianity and basic religious freedom is the 11th reason to remove your children and grandchildren from the government school system, according to family advocates at SaveCalifornia.com. (See Reasons 1-10 at their special website RescueYourChild.com.)

Historic Continental Congress 2009 Convenes

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 may one day be known as the day the American People convened, for the first time in over two centuries, an Assembly of representatives of the People in order to fully exercise of the “Capstone Right” — i.e., the Petition clause of the First Amendment.

At approximately 3:00 pm Wednesday, WTP Chairman Bob Schulz convened the Assembly to begin the selection of Congress officers from the ranks of elected Delegates who will preside over the 11-day long Assembly. Constitutional scholar and former Presidential candidate Michael Badnarik was selected as the presiding officer of the Congress while Delegate.

Ohio delegates include Trisha Connell (Twin City), Jim Davis (centerville), and Ron Dickerhoof (Cuyahoga Falls). First alternate is Steve McMasters (Findlay) and second alternate is David Macko (Solon).

For over a decade, WTP Foundation has championed an intensive, well-researched and coherent effort to hold the Government accountable for its escalating violations of fundamental Rights and the Constitution through use of the Right of the People to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Those ongoing abuses include violations of the Constitution’s tax, money, war, general welfare, privacy and other clauses that are at the heart of the conditions that now plague our nation.

Although the public has known little about the history or nature of the Right to Petition, scholarly and historical research has established without argument, that the Right, first articulated as the cornerstone of Western Law in Magna Carta (1215), provides the People an individual Right to hold Government peacefully accountable for its abuses.

Far beyond the right to merely send “complaints” to the government (which are virtually ignored by all officials), the Right of Petition embodies the profound Right to enforce the Right to Petition by withdrawing support from the Government until Redress is secured.

Summaries of this important research can be reviewed as part of the legal pleadings of the 2004 landmark WTP lawsuit, We The People vs. United States, which sought to have the Judiciary declare – for the first time in history – the legal and constitutional meaning of the last ten words of the First Amendment. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear this controversial case involving the essence of Popular Sovereignty.

Continental Congress 2009 will take the process of holding Government accountable and restoring the Constitution to the next level by first creating a formal record of the vast violations of the Constitution and Individual Rights now suffered by the People. Next, the Congress will debate and decide upon a series of practical but strong “Civic Actions” the People may take in order to restore their Liberty.

The agenda for the CC2009 Assembly also provides for the development and adoption of formal “Remedial Instructions” to be served upon federal and state officials, in essence ordering them to cease and desist their official abuses and giving them formal Notice as to the “Civic Actions” of (peaceful) resistance the People may take, en masse, if those officials, yet again, choose to ignore the People’s Petitions for Redress.