Saturday, October 07, 2006

Activist Claims Pro-Homosexual Chicago Is Unfairly Prosecuting Him

A Christian activist accused of disrupting the 2006 "Gay Games" in Chicago, Illinois, insists he was arrested while lawfully expressing his pro-traditional marriage viewpoint at the pro-homosexual event. And now, he claims city officials are moving forward with the case against him - a case he feels should be dismissed.

Earlier this year, Repent America president Michael Marcavage was arrested by Chicago police as he stood on a public sidewalk, holding a sign supporting traditional marriage at the city's 2006 Gay Games. Last month, Marcavage returned to Chicago for a court hearing but learned that the complaining witness did not show up.

Instead of dropping the case, the prosecutor said the case would be pursued based on the testimony of the arresting officer. However, the Christian activist says the arresting officer who appeared at the hearing was not the one who made the arrest.

To Marcavage, it appears the city has a clear agenda. "Chicago is obviously known for its promotion of homosexuality," he says. "We already have a civil case that was filed against the city, and we have uncovered various things in doing investigations about the city, [such as] the mayor's promotion of homosexuality, of course." The Repent America president says Chicago officials have no regard for free speech as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. "The mayor and the police department were actually instructed to tell people that they needed to leave the area if they were there trying to oppose what was happening," the Christian group's leader asserts. "And they set up, I believe, what they called free-speech zones, which are obviously unconstitutional," Marcavage points out. "But these free-speech zones are, I think, what these officers were trying to enforce, to keep people away from having an opposing message to the promotion of homosexuality," he says.

In recent months, the Christian leader says he has received an increase in profane and threatening messages from so-called "tolerant" homosexuals and their supporters. And now, he believes the city is demonstrating a similar brand of tolerance for his traditional values viewpoint, and he has doubts about whether the police and other local authorities are interested in seeing that he get a fair trial. The City of Chicago is pushing forward in the case against him, Marcavage says, even though the primary witness apparently cannot be located. The next hearing in the matter is set for October 4.


Shared parenting helps women, too

Jane is a successful career woman. She has moved up rapidly in a competitive field, and is advancing her career by attending business school at night. Bob works out of their home and does most of the childcare. If Bob decides he doesn't want Jane anymore, should he be able to take her kids away and push her to the margins of their lives? The opponents of the North Dakota Shared Parenting Initiative think he should.

Under the NDSPI, unless a parent is unfit, both parents in a divorce will have joint legal and physical custody of their children. By contrast, the North Dakota Concerned Citizens for Children's Rights Committee and its allies support the current system of awarding sole custody to the children's primary caregiver-that's Bob-and oppose the NDSPI. They contend that family courts should not require custodial parents to allow noncustodial parents like Jane to spend substantial time with their children after divorce.

This is wrong-Jane's children love her. Even though she was not the children's primary caregiver during the marriage, it's very harmful to take them away from her. It's also wrong to punish Jane for pursuing a career and being her family's primary breadwinner. Yet this is exactly what sometimes happens to working mothers-and very often happens to fathers-under the current system.

According to a study conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates and quoted in TIME magazine, today over one-fifth of fathers are their kids' primary caregivers. While this is often a very beneficial arrangement for families, it leaves women increasingly vulnerable to losing custody and being pushed out of their children's lives after divorce, just as so often happens to fathers.

There's a better way than the current win/lose custody system-shared parenting. Under shared parenting, children spend substantially equal time in each parent's home. According to a meta-analysis published in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Family Psychology, children in shared custody settings have fewer behavioral and emotional problems, higher self-esteem, better family relations, and better school performance than children in sole custody arrangements.

While many women's advocates have taken a misguided stand against shared parenting, there is a significant, outspoken minority which recognizes its benefits for women. For example, feminist attorney Karen DeCrow, president of the National Organization for Women from 1974 to 1977, says: "If there is a divorce in the family, I urge a presumption of joint custody of the is the best option for women. After observing women's rights and responsibilities for more than a quarter of a century of feminist activism, I conclude that shared parenting is great for women, giving time and opportunity for female parents to pursue education, training, jobs, careers, profession and leisure."

Martha Burk, the Chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations who led the effort to open the Augusta National Golf Club to women, concurs. Burk, who was named Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year in 2003, explains that shared parenting provides women with greater economic freedoms and opportunities. She calls the current child custody system "mother ownership of children" and says that under this "harmful societal norm" judges "mindlessly award [sole] custody to the mother," to the detriment of all parties.

Under the NDSPI, courts will instruct divorcing parents to develop a joint parenting plan. If the parents cannot agree on a plan, the court will facilitate one which allows both mothers and fathers to maintain a meaningful role in their children's lives. Shared parenting is advocated by a growing consensus of mental health and family law professionals. The NDSPI has gained the requisite signatures and will be on the November ballot. It is an opportunity to move North Dakota family law forward from the outdated, mom as caregiver/dad as breadwinner model towards an updated model which will benefit both children and their parents.



So many letter writers have based their arguments on how this land is made up of immigrants. Ernie Lujan for one, suggests we should tear down the Statue of Liberty because the people now in question aren't being treated the same as those who passed through Ellis Island and other ports of entry.

Maybe we should turn to our history books and point out to people like Mr. Lujan why today's American is not willing to accept this new kind of immigrant any longer.Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the United States, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in New York and be documented. Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground.

They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new American households and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home. They had waved good bye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. Nothing was handed to them.

No free lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity. Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father fought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany, Italy, France and Japan. None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hilter, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan. They were defending the United States of America as one people. When we liberated France, no one in those villages was looking for the French-American or the German-American or the Irish-American.

The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country's flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl.

And here we are in 2006 with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes the entitlement card and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country. I'm sorry, that's not what being an American is all about.

I believe that the immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900's deserve better than that; for the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life.I think they would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags.

And for that suggestion about taking down the Statue of Liberty, it happens to mean a lot to the citizens who are voting on the immigration bill. I wouldn't start talking about dismantling the United States, just yet.


Migrants told to fit in by Australian citizenship boss

New migrants and refugees should realise they will have to learn English and get a job quickly in order to fit in to Australian society, Citizenship Parliamentary Secretary Andrew Robb said last night. And Mr Robb strenuously rejected claims by fellow Victorian Liberal MP Petro Georgiou that a proposed English test would prevent thousands of migrants from becoming citizens.

He also warned that molly-coddling migrants could foster a "destructive victim mentality". "We run the risk of fostering a mentality which works against these new arrivals, and does not support them in having a successful life in Australia," he said. "We must seek to avoid at all costs giving these new Australians messages that they are disadvantaged, that they are part of the welfare class, not part of the employee or employer class."

Mr Robb said new migrants should know what is expected of them "even before people board the aircraft". "They should be told they are expected to quickly join the workforce, not rely on the welfare system," he said.

On Wednesday Mr Georgiou blasted the Government's proposed new citizenship test which proposes a test of migrants' English skills, knowledge of Australian history and values. Mr Georgiou said the proposals would undermine the most successful migration program in history and would have prevented many great new Australians from becoming citizens.

But Mr Robb said new migrants should be told from the outset that they have to achieve certain milestones including a workable level of English, a job, high retention rates in school, and regular interaction with other groups in the community through activities such as sport. He said migrants were generally highly motivated to join Australian society, but that fell when faced with the hurdles of job rejection and lack of English skills. "Motivation, enthusiasm and keenness to learn is progressively replaced by declining self-esteem and a mentality increasingly focused on holding on to benefits, rather than reaching out for the opportunities offered in Australia," Mr Robb said.

He said the suggestions that migrants and refugees should "take their time" to fit in and sort out their problems, was poor advice. "Getting a job quickly may at first be very confronting, but we all know from our life experience that getting on with life heals wounds, builds confidence and initiative, and in this case a job can be a great aid to mastering the English language," he said


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