Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Georgia Police Impound Anti-Abortion Billboard Truck, Jail Driver

Bob Roethlisberger was arrested and jailed over Thanksgiving weekend in a northern suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, on the charge of "Disorderly Conduct" for driving Operation Rescue's Truth Truck bearing signs with photos of aborted babies. The Truth Truck was impounded.

Gwinnett County Police Department officers arrested Roethlisberger Saturday after telling him that signage on the Truth Truck was "vulgar and obscene." According to Operation Rescue, officers ransacked the back of the Truth Truck without a warrant and ordered Roethlisberger to change or remove the signs. When he refused, he was arrested and incarcerated for three days before being released on $1,000 bond.

The Truth Truck was released from impound late Monday, however both the signs and the mounting hardware on the truck were damaged. The damage occurred says the pro-life group when police forcibly ripped the signs off the sides of the truck. Monetary damage to the property is estimated to be in the thousands of dollars.

"It is obvious that these police officers, under the direction of Major Thomas Bardugon, engaged in a serious incident of unconstitutional content-based discrimination and illegal distruction of property," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "Bob fully cooperated with officers, but refused to compromise on his message, which is unequivocally protected by the First Amendment. The officers misused their authority to punish Bob for expressing a viewpoint that ran counter to theirs. The arrest was nothing less than an egregious abuse of power."

Newman says he discussed the matter with Major Bardugon who refused to drop the charges and threatened to arrest Newman if he drove the Truth Truck through Bardugon's jurisdiction.

The Truth Truck was in Georgia because of a recently introduced Human Life Amendment that is scheduled to be considered by the State Legislature in January. The Truth Truck's mission was to help draw the attention of Georgians to the reality that abortion brutally takes an innocent human life, and emphasize the need to ban the grisly procedure.

Operation Rescue manages a fleet of Truth Trucks that have traveled tens of thousands of miles from coast to coast over the past seven years. The right to display those images has been upheld in courts across the nation. Operation Rescue suggests that the courts have also ruled that obscenity laws do not apply to aborted baby images.

"We intend to vigorously fight these unjust charges, and will seek a remedy for our property loss," said Newman. "We cannot allow the illegal use of police authority to bully us into silence, when such silence could cost innocent human lives."


Britain: Health and safety 'ruins' holiday staff parties

The office Christmas party is dying out because of fears that workers could sue over other employees' drunken antics and a prevailing "Scrooge" mentality. A third of companies will not hold a staff party this year, according to a survey. This is twice as many as in 2002. Of those that do hold a seasonal get-together, four in 10 do not plan to make any financial contribution. Employers in the West Midlands were the least generous, with fewer than half funding a Christmas bash.

It seems the dwindling number of parties is accompanied by an increasing indifference to them among staff. A Chartered Management Institute (CMI) survey of more than 500 managers found that more than half believe the atmosphere at end-of-year celebrations is "forced". A fifth feel Christmas celebrations are "a chore" and one in three claims there is too much "political correctness".

More than four in 10 think they would be better if partners were invited. Almost the same number say the party season has become too long. While 52 per cent of those surveyed said Christmas parties improved the working environment, only three in 10 organisations actively promote a relaxed atmosphere as Dec 25 approaches. Despite their misgivings, more than half of managers give gifts to colleagues and 45 per cent send Christmas cards.

Jo Causon, the CMI director of marketing and corporate affairs, said: "The idea that individuals and employers don't allow themselves to unwind at Christmas is extremely disappointing, especially in the light of evidence suggesting that taking time out enables you to recharge your batteries. "However, it is good to see that people are saying 'thank you' and are prepared to make an effort to recognise hard work."

Some managers blamed new discrimination legislation and the compensation culture for the lack of Christmas spirit. Employers can now be held liable if they fail to protect staff from harassment or discrimination, including on the grounds of religious belief. Companies are also advised to think about whether they have the correct insurance, and to provide transport home as they could be held liable if an employee who is drunk at the firm's expense has a car accident.

Elizabeth Weston, from Merrill Lynch, was given 1 million pounds in an out-of-court settlement after she claimed that a colleague made remarks about her breasts and sex life at a Christmas party. The bank did not admit liability.


Teddy Bears, Parked Cars and Moral Equivalence

Post below lifted from Powerline. See the original for links

The Washington Post online has a religion section called On Faith, which features liberal commentary on various issues relating to religion and public life. Today's column, "Sudan and Saudi Arabia: Who Speaks for Islam?," is by John Esposito and John Voll, both of Georgetown. It begins with one of those sentences where the second clause takes away what the first clause asserted:
In a world in which Islamophobes blur the distinction between the barbaric acts of Muslim extremists and terrorists and the religion of Islam, two recent legal decisions in Sudan and Saudi Arabia will reinforce accusations that Islam is an intolerant religion.
So...does that mean that the "Islamophobes" were right after all? Evidently not. But the facts are grim:
After years of civil war and bloodshed and having failed to effectively respond to what some describe as genocide in Darfur, Sudan's government and judiciary have captured global attention with an outrageous verdict of guilt for a British school teacher for allegedly insulting Islam.

In a case in which it is clear that Gillian Gibbons did not intend to malign the Prophet Muhammad and that the children in her class had chosen the name Muhammad for their class teddy-bear, some might still question why she was not more culturally sensitive to a potential backlash. That said, school officials or the courts could have asked her to apologize for an inadvertent "mistake" in judgment. But instead, Gibbons who had made the decision and sacrifice to teach in Sudan, was found guilty of `insulting religion,' a victim to a court's distorted notion of Islamic law and justice.

The Sudanese case came on the heels of a recent decision by a Saudi Arabian court that sentenced a 19-year-old rape victim to 200 lashes and six months in prison. Instead of being appalled at the rape, the gang rape of a woman, a Justice Ministry statement is reported to have declared that the woman invited the sexual attack by seven men because she was in a parked car with a man who was not a relative.
While they are properly outraged by these miscarriages of justice, the authors predictably conclude with claims of moral equivalence, first between Muslim extremists and the "Far Right:"
At a time when Islam is under siege from Muslim extremists and extremists from the Far Right in Europe and America, the judiciaries of Sudan and Saudi Arabia have managed to reinforce the vilification of Islam and used Islamic law as a weapon rather than a yardstick for justice.
I understand how Islam is "under siege" by Muslim extremists; they blow people up. But who are the "Far Right extremists" who also are besieging Islam, and how, exactly, is this "siege" taking place? In the absence of any explanation, one wonders whether in the authors' view, criticism of radical Islam is somehow on a par with mass murder. They conclude with the familiar assertion of the moral equivalence of religions; in particular, of the varieties of religious "injustice and intolerance":
All our futures depend upon an ability to agree upon a global ethic, based upon mutual understanding and respect, that transcends our religious and cultural differences. Whatever our differences, there can never be an acceptable excuse for injustice and intolerance in the name of our religions.
As though Christians, Hindus, Buddhists or Jews were imprisoning people over teddy bears' names, or flogging women for the "crime" of being raped! The fact is that most of the Islamic world is backward economically, politically and culturally. To ignore this backwardness, and the extent to which a kind of madness, by no means limited to a handful of mass murderers, has taken root within many Islamic societies, is a willful blindness that serves no one's interest.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn weighs in here. He has also done some checking on the Georgetown professors who authored the Post piece, and notes here that Professor Esposito is one of the academics who recently signed an "open letter" that was reported in an Arabic newspaper under the headline "Christian leaders ask for Muslim forgiveness":
[W]e want to begin by acknowledging that in the past (e.g. in the Crusades) and in the present (e.g. in excesses of the "war on terror") many Christians have been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbours. Before we "shake your hand" in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world.
Esposito is no "Christian leader" and has no standing to apologize to anyone on behalf of Christianity. (It's not material to the present point, but when can we look forward to receiving an apology by Muslim "leaders" for their various invasions of Europe?) One could dismiss these people as complete goofballs, except that they are employed by a respected university and publish their drivel in the Washington Post.

Homosexual marriage still barred in Australia

Incoming Attorney-General Robert McClelland has said that the Labor party is unlikely to block a re-developed proposal to introduce same-sex civil unions in the Australian Capital Territory. The news comes as Attorney-General for the ACT Simon Corbell is planning to submit an amended civil partnerships bill, which would give same-sex couples legal recognition.

In an interview published in the Herald on Friday, Mr McClelland reemphasized that Labor would not be giving full marriage rights to same-sex couples, but would support couples having the same legal rights as de facto heterosexual couples. "I will have a look at what Simon Corbell is proposing and get some advice on it," Mr McClelland said. "We would be prepared to look at it with good faith rather than with the intention of obstructing it. The Labor Party has already resolved not to agree to gay marriage but we are given to examining appropriate forms of registration of de facto relationships, including same-sex de facto relationships."

Previous attempts to introduce same-sex civil union partnerships in the ACT were overturned by the Howard government.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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