Monday, July 25, 2011

CA: CPS rips apart family

The case of Jeffrey and Erica Henderson provides a continuation of the critical examination of Child Protective Services in the United States, as well as the legal framework in which CPS operates.

The Hendersons were investigated at their home following an anonymous tip that Mr. Henderson had slapped his daughter. Jeffrey Henderson was arrested on the scene, and their 6 children subsequently put into foster homes. The Hendersons speculate that the call was placed by their landlord, whom they had reported to the Health Department for having dangerous mold issues in their rental. Regardless of who placed the call, it is instructive to look at the chronology of how the system of "protecting children" has responded to this perceived threat to the welfare of six children ranging in age from 10 months to 8 years, all based on one phone call. This story might prove to be a similar cautionary tale as that of citizen spy programs in tyrannical regimes. The Hendersons' story, as well as the wider story of CPS abuse, reveals American society and its values, while questioning whose interests are really being served by removing children from the custody of their own parents.

For background, the Hendersons are proponents of homeschooling, home birthing, no vaccines, and are Messianic Jewish by faith. The Hendersons assert that their children are loved, well-cared for, and nurtured children and have not abused by their parents. However, the chronology provided below suggests that these children have been repeatedly and profoundly abused by the very system supposedly charged with their protection.

The following timeline of events was provided by Erica Henderson, mother of these six children. Clearly, this is a one-sided representation of events and we cannot verify each of the statements, but most telling is the fact that all charges were eventually dropped. Yet, their children remain in foster homes under the direction of CPS. Until this family is reunited, we feel that the term kidnapping is properly applied.

May 25, 2010 – Pasadena police came to our door investigating child abuse stemming from an anonymous call made to 911. The caller said she heard Jeffrey slap Abigail. We did not let the police in. After almost two hours of talking to the police, they used a battering ram to gain entry to our home without a warrant and without our consent.

During these two hours they tried to obtain a warrant by a judge in Pasadena and were told they could not have one as there were no exigent circumstances. They ran in, guns drawn, and told Jeffrey to get down on the ground. He did. Jeffrey was beaten, cuffed and taken to the hospital. Jeffrey was detained and ticketed from the hospital for PC 148 a1, resisting an officer. The officers searched our home, strip searched and interviewed our children and found no evidence of abuse. I was never arrested or ticketed.


Brace yourself for the 'cultural Olympics' an orgy of politically correct and expensive nonsense

The most eagerly anticipated event in next year’s Olympics — the men’s 100m final — will be over in less than ten seconds. The entire Games, which begin almost exactly a year from now, will last only 17 days.

But there is a sideshow to the sporting events that has already been groaning on for three years — even though few people have heard of it — and which will not finish until after the last athlete has returned home.

If you haven’t yet come across the Cultural Olympiad, it won’t be long before you receive an invitation to watch this ‘cultural feast’: it might be in the form of schoolchildren waving flags, a large inflatable object floating down a river or some other event supposed to ‘inspire creativity’ and ‘leave a lasting legacy for the arts in Britain’.

The arts, we are always being told, have never had it so tough. Certainly, there might be some truth in that if you are running an orchestra or a much-loved local theatre, hard hit by the recent Arts Council cuts. But if you want to get together a few hundred people to fly kites and explore issues of migration and global warming, there seems to be no shortage of cash.

In 2009, the Cultural Olympiad received £16 million of Lottery money, much of which has been spent already. There is also funding from private sponsors including BP and BT, and the taxpayer-funded Arts Council, which has 13 so-called ‘creative programmers’ — each overseeing a region of the UK — who have decided which projects to support in the run-up to the Games.

But what are we getting for all this money? (And we shouldn’t forget that when the Lottery was established it was supposed to fund useful social projects, not fritter away cash on politically correct nonsense.)

In the West Midlands, the money is being spent on a giant puppet of Lady Godiva that will be driven to London ‘dressed for her journey into the 21st century in a coat crafted by local artists chronicling the West Midlands industrial and engineering heritage’. All very splendid, I am sure, except that it misses the whole point of the story of Lady Godiva, who rode naked through the streets of Coventry.

That aside, no one seems to have the first idea of what this has to do with the Olympics.

In London, more money has been spent as part of the Cultural Olympiad installing LED displays on the roofs of bus shelters, apparently ‘to breathe new life into all corners of the capital, transforming the previously unloved tops of bus shelters into a London-wide digital canvas’. Just one problem: unless you happen to live or work in a tall building with a bus stop directly outside it, you won’t be able to see any of these ‘installations’.

In East Anglia, a series of large-scale events involving as many people as possible will be recorded to create a feature film ‘exploring the themes of trade, defence and migration’. For one of the events, the artists are looking for volunteers to spend 12 hours on the beach at Felixstowe, repeatedly raising and lowering the flags of the 205 countries taking part in the Olympics. I can’t wait.

Meanwhile, a performance artist will be towing a portable ‘island’ around the coast of South-West England, exploring ‘issues of climate change and land ownership’.

In Scotland, an artist is busy cutting down trees to create a football field. It will be used to play two matches between teams of immigrants to Britain in order to celebrate diversity — before the pitch is abandoned so the trees can grow back. At least this artist doesn’t appear to be claiming to be exploring ‘issues of climate change’. But he would certainly do the environment and the public purse a favour by leaving his chainsaw at home.

The Cultural Olympiad was not dreamed up by the organising committee of London 2012. Any city that holds the Games is required by the Olympic charter to include cultural events.

Pierre de Coubertin, the Frenchman who founded the modern Olympics, insisted the Games should include a programme of arts ‘to serve to promote harmonious relations, mutual understanding and friendship among the participants and others attending the Olympic Games’. Between 1912 and 1952, there were even gold medals awarded for architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture.

One of the most unlikely Olympians — and one which the International Olympic Committee would probably rather forget — was Adolf Hensel, winner of the gold medal for town-planning in the 1928 Games in Amsterdam. He won the honour for designing the stadium in Nuremburg, which was later used for Hitler’s rallies.

London 2012 will take the cultural side of the Games to new levels of daftness. You don’t get to be part of the Cultural Olympiad just by painting, singing or dancing; there has to be a fatuous political message thrown in.

There will be a Shakespeare Festival, but needless to say it is one in which the play Coriolanus has been ‘re-imagined in the era of 24-hour news, celebrity culture and a new global polity’.

Also, Romeo And Juliet ‘finds new purchase in the soil of contemporary Iraq, when sectarian strife between Sunni and Shia, ignited and fuelled from outside, has left a population exhausted by a cycle of violence and revenge’. It’s fine if the Iraqi theatre company which is putting on this show wants to produce a play about modern-day Iraq, but why does it have to try to ride on Shakespeare’s back?

The Cultural Olympiad is full of the cliches found in so much publicly funded modern art. There is a competition in which young people work with professional film-makers — a perfectly good idea in itself, except that one of the winning entries inevitably features a sullen youth in a hoodie, holding a spray can and moaning about being misunderstood.

The Cultural Olympiad is a bit like the Millennium Dome: in trying to be everything to everyone it will end up creating nothing of any value.

Surely the biggest cultural legacy of the Olympics ought to be a new arts venue or two for exhibitions and concerts in an area of London without such a facility. Yet so far, the Olympic Legacy Company — which oversees the future of the Games’ facilities — has no firm plans to reuse any of the Olympic venues for the arts.

Those that will not be used for sports are due to be demolished, while the main stadium is destined to become yet another football stadium.

Still, this huge arts project probably can’t turn out worse than the Athens Olympics. There, the highlight of the Cultural Olympiad was supposed to be an art exhibition called Outlook. It turned out to be little more than attention-seeking filth, with a painting juxtaposing a crucifix and an erect penis, and a photograph of a man apparently copulating with a water melon.

There is one genuine cultural legacy of the Athens Olympics: the badminton venue was taken over by an American director to become a successful and self-sustaining theatre. In keeping with the farce that was the 2004 Olympics, however, the Greek government wants to demolish it.

Judging from the ticket sales, the London Olympics looks set to be a great success. But that’s certainly not thanks to the Cultural Olympiad. The world’s greatest sporting event would be better without a third-rate arts festival attached.


Even With Same-Sex "Marriage," the Left Remains Intolerant

After campaigning for “equality” (which is something certain persons believe they secure only by being “married” to someone of the same sex), homosexual activists in New York were ecstatic to see New York legislators fabricate same-sex “marriage” on June 24. This was largely the result of promises and assurances about how same-sex “marriage” would not in any way affect those whose religious beliefs prevent them from condoning homosexual behavior.

Of course, these were untenable promises to begin with, as those who live in the other states where same-sex “marriage” has been fabricated can well attest. For how can one presume, unless they’re only pretending to presume, that a state-issued sanction of such an unheard-of and manufactured arrangement would result in anything less than world-shattering ramifications for the spectator as well as the participant?

And we already see the beginnings of these ramifications in the small community of Barker, New York, where Laura L. Fotusky, the town clerk, has turned in a letter of resignation that will relieve her of her post on July 21: three days prior to the day on which homosexuals can start “marrying” in that state. Fotusky is resigning, rather than staying on board to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, because she believes “there is a higher law than the law of the land, it is the law of God in the Bible.”

There will undoubtedly be those who think Fotusky has gone a bit overboard by resigning, but those who think that way have actually underestimated the battle that’s now upon us.

For example, consider what Governor Andrew M Cuomo said when asked about Fotusky’s resignation: “The law is the law; when you enforce the laws of the state, you don’t get to pick and choose….If you can’t enforce the law, then you shouldn’t be in that position.” Or consider the situation we see continually unfolding in other same-sex “marriage” havens like Vermont, where same-sex “marriage” was fabricated in 2009. There, the owners of the iconic Wildflower Inn are being sued because they refused to host a wedding reception for a same-sex couple. Wow, so much for the tolerant Left, huh?

There’s also a ripple effect throughout the clergy in New York, and the whole of New England for that matter. Careful readers of Associated Press reports on July 18 noticed a clear differentiation being made between “gay clergy” (homosexual clergy) and “heterosexual clergy.” So again, it seems the outpouring of support for same-sex “marriage” on the grounds that it was the missing ingredient to peace and harmony throughout the land has only resulted in the development of new categories, new job requirements, and harshness toward those who don’t want to play along.

And this is just the start, of course. Some Christian-run businesses in New York, like the Wildflower Inn in Vermont, won’t want to condone same-sex “marriage” once the licenses are issued, and the Left is really going to get tolerant then.


Ninth Circuit Recognizes Church's Right to Equal Treatment Under the Law

In a great victory for religious liberty and equal treatment under the law, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has overturned a federal district court’s ruling which barred Centro Familiar Cristiano Buenos Nuevas Christian Church from occupying and holding worship services in its own building in downtown Yuma, Ariz. The city had rejected the church’s 2007 request for a permit to occupy the property while letting non-religious membership organizations locate in the downtown area without having to obtain a permit.

The city’s actions forced the church to pay for a property it could not use and also to pay rent on another building needed for services and worship. Eventually, the added expense of “thousands of dollars a month” to the church’s budget crushed it financially, and it was forced to give up its downtown building.

The church was initially concerned when the city said it must go through the burdensome process of applying for a “conditional use permit.” Still, the church was confident that the city would grant the permit since the city’s own law stated that the buildings in the downtown district were zoned for membership organizations and businesses to operate public assemblies. Under the city’s law, any membership organization (Kiwanis, Rotary, etc.) or business desiring to accommodate people with a common purpose (in a movie theater, a dance hall, etc.) was free to locate there. But the church soon learned that the city refused this privilege to organizations that were religious in nature.

Adding insult to injury, the city withheld the permit on the grounds that the church would “blight” entertainment in Yuma’s Old Town District. The city believed in essence that the church would lessen the free flow of alchohol in the area and thereby dampen the party atmosphere. City staff also targeted the church for exclusion because it would not generate tax revenue (even though multiple tax-exempt uses already operate in the area).

In addition, the city asserted that the church would not draw patrons to the area. This particular conclusion was obviously shortsighted. It completely ignored the fact that church congregants attending educational and worship events throughout the week would frequent area businesses just like persons gathering for theater events do. Moreover, many of the small offices and residences allowed in the zone would draw far less business and entertainment patronage than a multi-member church assembly.

As noted by the appeals court, the porous nature of the city’s position became obvious when it was learned that the city does not even require permits for prisons, post offices, and apartment buildings that want to locate in the Old Town District. These land uses contribute far less to the city’s stated desire to create an “entertainment” district than a church, which would indeed attract patrons to downtown theaters and restaurants.

The church contacted the Alliance Defense Fund, and we filed a lawsuit on behalf of the church in federal court. The suit alleged that the city had violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which is a federal law that says that churches can’t be treated differently from secular assemblies in a given area.

After a federal judge ruled in favor of the city in January 2009, ADF filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit, which sided with the church, ruling that “it is hard to see how an express exclusion of ‘religious organizations’ from uses permitted as of right by other ‘membership organizations’ could be other than ‘less than equal terms’ for religious organizations.”

Noted the court:

"Many of the uses permitted as of right would have the same practical effect as a church of blighting a potential block of bars and nightclubs. An apartment building taking up the whole block may be developed as of right, and so may a post office or prison. Prisons have bars, but not the kind promoting “entertainment.” Thus the ordinance before us expressly treats religious organizations on a less than equal basis."

The Ninth Circuit’s decision should be heralded because it shows that government officials cannot use broad and contradictory commercial justifications to favor non-religious businesses or membership organizations over religious ones. The city’s actions left this small congregation with a mortgage to pay on a building it couldn’t use for two years while it had to pay for another meeting place in a remote area at the same time. Moreover, it should set an encouraging precedent for other churches that may find themselves in the same predicament.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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