Monday, July 11, 2011
When British political correctness gets TERMINALLY obnoxious
Father fined 1,000 pounds and found guilty of harassment for warning families about a paedophile
A father who warned another parent about a convicted paedophile has been fined œ1,000 and found guilty of harassing the sex offender. He was horrified to find his ex-wife's new husband - stepfather to his daughter, 11 - had served three jail terms for sex crimes.
A reporting restriction imposed to protect the stepfather's identity means that none of the family members can be named. One of the stepfather's sentences was for molesting two 12-year-old girls as they slept at his house.
A court heard the father raised the alarm after discovering four of his daughter's friends had been invited to the family home for a sleepover to celebrate her birthday. When he showed the mother of one girl a newspaper clipping revealing the stepfather's convictions, all the parents stopped their children going to the sleepover.
Following that action, as well as repeated phone calls to the home of his ex-wife and her husband, the father was arrested and convicted of harassment at Worcester Magistrates Court and fined œ1,000.
The father told the court he spoke out because he would have `felt responsible' if one of the children at the sleepover had been harmed. He added: `My decision was to speak up to one of the parents and leave it up to their discretion. `I was concerned for her daughter as I always have been for my own. My daughter is open to quite considerable harm in my eyes.'
A judge heard how the defendant's ex-wife began a relationship with the convicted paedophile in 2007 and is now married to him.
The defendant said he initially socialised with his ex-wife and her new partner, but relations soured when he learned of the man's past.
The stepfather was convicted of attempted rape in 1980 as a teenager. He was convicted of the same offence in 1988 and was jailed again in 1996 for molesting the two girls.
The court heard the defendant had signed a police harassment notice after earlier claims that he may have discussed the stepfather's past with others. The notice required him not to reveal the stepfather's convictions to anyone, including his own daughter.
But he breached the order last September by alerting the other parent. Prosecutor Owen Beale said the father, frustrated at what he saw as decreasing access to his daughter, also called his ex-wife's home 14 times in two hours one evening the same month, and rang her mobile phone three times.
In one message he said of the stepfather: `You are a self-confessed paedophile, rapist, fraudster, the lot... I just want to speak to my daughter.' In another, he threatened to come `round to sort things out once and for all'. The couple were at home but did not answer the phone. Instead they noted down the content of the messages and informed police.
The father told the court on Thursday that he made the calls as he had been unable to reach his daughter on her mobile because of poor reception in the area where she lives, and did not contact police or social services about the sleepover because he `didn't think they would act quickly enough'.
Mr Beale said of the fact the defendant's daughter was under the same roof as a convicted sex offender: `The authorities were not concerned that there was a risk because they left her there.'
District Judge Mark Layton described the case as `hugely difficult' but said the charges against the father had been proved. He must pay œ775 costs and a œ15 victim surcharge, and banned from contact with the stepfather
Church of England calls for legal right to wear a cross
Christians who wear crosses at work or discuss their beliefs with colleagues must have legal protection from persecution, the Church of England demanded yesterday.
Church leaders revealed that they have held talks with Coalition ministers about attempts by employers to suppress Christianity and how these are supported by judges and courts.
Dr Philip Giddings, chairman of the Church's Mission and Public Affairs Council, told the General Synod: 'We have had a sympathetic hearing and look forward to practical responses.'
The development follows five years of deepening hostility among bosses to workers who wear crosses or talk about their faith. Last year, in a key test case, Christian nurse Shirley Chaplin was denied the right to wear her crucifix while working on an NHS ward. An employment tribunal said wearing the cross was not a ‘mandatory requirement’ of her faith.
A number of individuals working for hospitals or health authorities have been suspended or sacked from their jobs for talking to colleagues or patients about Christianity. And senior judges have dismissed the claims of those who say they should be able to act in accordance with their beliefs at work.
Last year an Appeal Judge upheld the sacking of Relate counsellor Gary McFarlane, who refused to give sex therapy to gay couples, saying the law could not give protection to people who acted on religious grounds.
Lord Justice Laws also dismissed the arguments of former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey in the matter, saying his 'concerns are formulated at such a level of generality that it is hard to know precisely what Lord Carey has in mind'.
The talks with ministers were disclosed to the Synod by Dr Philip Giddings, who is chairman of its Mission and Public Affairs Council, which is responsible for furthering Christian faith. Dr Giddings said: 'In several encounters with Government ministers, notably on the Big Society, we have stressed the need to address the chill factor which leads employers and others to assume that the law is more restrictive than it is. 'We have had a sympathetic hearing and look forward to practical responses.
'The law does not prevent Christians from expressing their views at work. The law, rightly, expects everyone, including those of no faith, to act with due respect for other people's rights and duties in the field of religion or belief. 'However some employers have interpreted the law in ways which seem to assume that reasonable and respectful expressions of faith are, almost by definition, offensive. This is a cause of great concern.
'We shall continue to monitor the emerging case law on how far employers can lawfully limit the ability of Christians to manifest their faith in the workplace.'
Church leaders have been far from united in their enthusiasm for standing up for the rights of Christians at work. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has been willing to face reversals in the courts by taking the part of people like Mrs Chaplin who face attempts to make them remove crosses or stop discussing their beliefs.
Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu – currently out of action while he recovers from an operation – is also publicly opposed to attempts to stop people expressing their Christianity.
But Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has been largely silent on the argument. He did not mention it in his recent article for the New Statesman. Dr Williams instead described Mr Cameron’s Big Society idea as 'painfully stale' and suggested it was an attempt to paper over the effects of spending cuts.
If the Big Society is to become a reality, it must rely on the availability of volunteers around the country – something the Church of England is able to provide.
Legislation to steer the courts away from using employment or equality law to suppress Christian displays may find support from European judges at the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. They ruled earlier this year that Italian schools may continue to put crucifixes on the classroom walls, saying that Christian imagery did nothing to harm non-Christian pupils.
The Strasbourg judges are shortly to be asked for a decision in one of the first British cases of a worker being refused the right to display a Christian symbol. Five years ago BA refused check-in clerk Nadia Eweida the right to wear a cross with her uniform.
Miss Eweida forced the airline to back down, and is now going to Strasbourg to try to reinforce the rights of religious believers to display their faith in public.
Some sexism is OK, apparently
"Weaving Spiders Come Not Here" is the motto of San Francisco's Bohemian Club. The motto is supposed to represent the club's edict against doing business during its annual Bohemian Grove retreat, which commences on Thursday on 2,700 acres, 75 miles north of the city. As club spokesman and member Sam Singer explained, "It's a group of gentlemen who are really genuinely interested in arts, theater, jazz and rock 'n' roll." The retreat gives members a chance to "get away from work. It's forbidden to talk about or solicit business at the club or grove."
The "weaving spiders" motto also provides cover for a club that discriminates against women. Thus, in the Bay Area, good liberals and civil libertarians, who would not dream of joining a club that refuses to admit blacks or Jews, raise their glasses in a club that discriminates against women.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul, is a member. Vaughn Walker, the former federal judge who overturned California's same-sex marriage law, is a member. MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews is a member.
Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart is a member. Ditto band member Bob Weir. There are more big names on the right, starting with former President George H.W. Bush, former Gov. Pete Wilson and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Business titans have long bankrolled the retreats. A roster of 2010 members released by norcaltruth.org -- the club does not release its membership -- includes a couple of Rockefellers and the ubiquitous Koch brothers. Hence conspiracy theories about sinister deals cut amid the redwoods.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is a member. William R. Hearst III, trustee of the Hearst Corp., which writes my paycheck, has been a member. I have friends who are members.
John McCain has addressed the group. Ditto Francis Ford Coppola. Like good Democrats, Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton have avoided Bohemia. "When I first started and they acquired my services, it was to help handle protests at the grove and the City Club," Singer noted. "Over the years, it's gone from a thousand people to literally one person."
That one person is Brian Romanoff of norcaltruth.org, and he told me he doesn't go there to "protest" so much as to "reach out and inform the members" as to why they should make retreat policy seminars -- on Afghanistan or nuclear power -- public.
He thinks some members are "probably guilty" of war crimes. He doesn't reach out to them. "I don't really want to get to know Henry Kissinger."
Sonoma State sociology professor Peter Phillips attended the retreat in 1994. The club was the subject of his doctoral dissertation. He told me that he met a lot of "ordinary rich guys" and "some very important people." Some men kept coming back to the same camps every year to discuss intimate issues -- their prostates, wives -- in an atmosphere analogous to a men's group.
Phillips also saw and heard a lot of networking. "They're very clearly talking politics and business constantly." No weaving spiders? "I proved the opposite, quite clearly. I heard conversations about business. 'If GE comes in on the deal, we can get the Japanese to join' -- three men walking down a trail together."
Note to Mr. Hearst: I believe in the right to free association. I do not want the government to encroach on men's right to socialize among themselves, or force men to share gyms, bathrooms and poker games with women and shutter fraternities.
The Bohemian Club has a right to exist. California courts have upheld the club's right to exclude female members, but ordered it to hire female staff at the club and at the grove's food facilities.
I also believe in free speech, but that doesn't mean I would say things I believe others have the right to say. I do not believe the Bohemian Club is a social/theater/music club -- although I believe the former member who told me that's what the club's emphasis used to be.
Now I buy Phillips' summation -- that the retreat presents powerful "men celebrating their male eliteness, which is kind of how the world works."
The male-only bastion's discriminatory polices hurt women trying to compete in business and politics -- and everyone in politics knows it.
Australia: Give us our own laws, say Islamic leaders
ISLAMIC leaders want Muslims in Australia to get interest-free loans for religious reasons. The nation's Islamic leaders want recognition of sharia law as it applies to banking practices, according to an exclusive Herald Sun survey of imams. There was also a call for recognition of sharia law as it applies to family law.
The survey showed some imams are sceptical that Osama bin Laden's death will be of benefit to ordinary Muslims, and they are unhappy with the way US forces disposed of his body. The survey has also revealed:
STRONG condemnation of MPs who criticise Muslim women for wearing the burqa/nijab.
CONCERN that ordinary Muslims are still being linked to terrorism.
DISGUST that innocent people in Muslim countries are being killed in the "war on terror".
The survey was conducted in the wake of a $55,000 Federal Government training program for imams on Australian laws and values. They have been told to preach core Australian values such as the fair go, freedom, and responsibility.
"Other than the two major issues mentioned, I don't see other sharia law that Muslims would seek to have legally recognised," he said.
Fellow WA imam Sheik Burhaan Mehtar said sharia law often was raised to scare non-Muslims, but a dialogue would lead to better understanding. "Islamic banking and the non-slavery of humans is a classic example. Interest is slavery," he said.
Islamic Council of Victoria board member Nazeem Hussain said legal and tax barriers currently prevented local banks from offering Islamic finance products. "That's a massive market ... we'd encourage the Government to seek ways to tap into that market," he said.
Imam Parker said bin Laden's demise might serve as closure for those convinced he masterminded the 9/11 attacks. "But the reality is that the negative impact on Islam and Muslims has not changed, and it will take many decades for that to change," he said.
Sheik Burhaan Mehtar said the symbolic victory of bin Laden's death would remain hollow while people in nations such as Afghanistan suffered a "terror of death delivered from the skies" by the US and its allies.
Gold Coast imam Imraan Husain reflected a general view that bin Laden's burial at sea was a violation of Islamic funeral rites.
Victorian imam Sheik Ramy Najmeddine said Muslims felt there was an unfair link between terrorism and Islam. "But we believe this is being broken down by the good work that members of both the Muslim and non-Muslim community are doing."
Sheik Mohamadu Saleem, a spokesman for Board of Imams Victoria, accused some MPs of trying to get political mileage out of the burqa issue. "It is mere political expediency," he said.
Victorian imam Abdinur Weli said: "If only Muslims are the people who are told what to wear, then it is discrimination."
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 blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.