Monday, December 15, 2014
Opening up family courts 'will cause child suicides': Fury at claim by children's tsar in secret justice battle
What else is the old bag trying to hide? She is also known for denying that the systematic rape of young British girls by Muslims was a problem. She is Jewish. Would she have covered up child abuse by Muslims if it had been Jewish children being molested?
Children will be pushed into committing suicide if the secretive family courts are opened to public scrutiny, a senior government official has sensationally claimed.
Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz said children will kill themselves if they believe their names and their troubled lives will become known to the public.
In a controversial speech calling for the courts to stay closed, she said: 'I have worked closely with profoundly distressed and damaged and troubled children all my working life. I know and understand their minds; it is my job. I know how little it takes to tip a child over the edge.'
The remarks were greeted with astonishment and disbelief by campaigners for open justice.
One said: 'I don't know what planet this woman is on.' High Court judge Sir Roderick Newton, who spoke alongside Miss Berelowitz in a legal debate on whether the courts and their decisions should be reported in the media, said family courts should be open to scrutiny.
He said: 'To put it rather bluntly, if a judge can change the whole of someone's life by the stroke of a pen, then there is a pressing need, an overwhelming need, I would say, for openness.'
During her address, Miss Berelowitz broke a widely observed media rule and described a common means of suicide. She added: 'I genuinely fear that it is only a matter of time before this deeply misguided motion, which has at its heart, I believe, an utter disregard for the welfare and best interests of children, and is, in my view, therefore unlawful, will result in the death of a child.'
It is not the first time Miss Berelowitz has made controversial comments. During her career in child protection:
- She was a director of children's services for a local council rated 'inadequate' by inspectors;
- She produced a report on gang sex abuse of children which said there was no evidence that Asian men were responsible. One government figure said it was 'difficult to overstate the contempt' with which ministers viewed it;
- One of her first public statements as Deputy Children's Commissioner was to respond to the outcry over the death of Baby P. She said 'the safeguarding of children requires the implementation of basic good practice'.
Miss Berelowitz also warned that the Children's Commissioner would protest to the UN children's rights committee over the issue of openness in family courts.
Her intervention comes amid an ongoing dispute among judges, lawyers and social workers over how far the family courts should be opened.
A major push for openness has been launched by the chief family law judge, President of the Family Division Sir James Munby, who chaired last month's debate in London, at which Miss Berelowitz set down the first publicly acknowledged official opposition to allowing scrutiny of the family courts. The speeches were published yesterday.
Sir Roderick was at the centre of a scandal last year when courts secretly ordered that Italian woman Alessandra Pacchieri should undergo a forced caesarean after suffering a breakdown at Stansted Airport, and that her child should be adopted. Sir Roderick was the judge who ordered the adoption.
He said: 'In the Italian case . . . the reporting initially was pretty inaccurate. That wasn't necessarily the fault of the Press who had little or nothing to go on when the story was first sent to them. When I released my judgment on December 2, it led to a much better discussion.
'What the Italian case did was well and truly launch a comprehensive national discussion about how these sensitive issues can and should be addressed.
'If a system is constantly accused of being secret, biased and unaccountable, the children in whose name we try to make the best decisions are the ones that ultimately will feel undermined.'
Miss Berelowitz's suicide warning was greeted with amazement among campaigners for open justice and media figures.
Lib Dem MP John Hemming said: 'I don't know what planet this woman is on. If the media had not looked at the abuse of children in care, the events in Rotherham would never have been known.'
Bob Satchwell of the Society of Editors said: 'No-one in the media wants to expose details about children unless there are exceptional reasons to do so. It is strange that Miss Berelowitz uses emotional language when media organisations would be extremely careful in discussing matters like that to prevent copycat actions.'
Campaigners for greater openness are not calling for children to be identified in family proceedings. In cases in which proceedings can be reported, identifying children would be contempt of court, for which reporters or editors could go to jail.
Pastor: As Father of Four Adopted Children, Being Forced to Cover Abortions Is ‘Repulsive Beyond Words’
For 36 years, Jim Garlow didn’t know his first adopted child was the result of a rape. But after his wife Carol lost a six-year battle with cancer last year, their daughter, Janie, went in search of her birth mother. In succeeding, Janie also discovered the horrific circumstances of her own conception.
The story spurs Jim Garlow, a pastor in California, to fight a state mandate that his church’s employee health plan pay for elective abortions.
When Janie’s birth mother was a freshman in high school, two senior boys asked her to go to the movies. Instead, they took her to an open field, where they raped her. She became pregnant.
Heroically, the teenage girl decided not to get an abortion but to keep the baby until birth, then give her up for adoption.
In an emotional interview with The Daily Signal, Garlow says the decision that spared his future daughter wasn’t the result of her birth mother’s “profound religious convictions” but because “she felt like it was the right thing to do.”
Janie, now 37, became the first of four children whom Jim and Carol Garlow would adopt. Those children — Josie Garlow Debus, Jake Garlow, Josh Garlow and Janie Garlow McGarity — are all grown today.
Garlow, 67, is senior pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego, founded in 1954 as part of the Wesleyan denomination. After the death of his first wife, he married Rosemary Schindler, an active advocate for Christians all over the world.
Their father regards the four Garlow children as the fruit of four women who made the “courageous” decision to go through with their pregnancies. The most courageous of all, he says, was Janie’s mother.
Garlow, who in 1995 became the third senior pastor in Skyline’s 60-year history, holds a doctorate in historical theology from Drew University. He received a master’s degree in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary and a master of divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary.
His religious beliefs, combined with a deep gratitude for the four mothers who chose to keep their unborn children, have anchored his pro-life views.
And then this fall, the unimaginable happened: Garlow discovered the state of California was forcing him and the staff of his church to pay for health insurance plans that cover elective abortions. They have no choice.
The state’s rule, the pastor says, defies every fiber of his being: "I feel that not only [that] the killing of babies in the womb is wrong foundationally, but as a father who had the privilege of adopting four children … was repulsive beyond words".
Garlow didn’t know how to break the news to his tight-knit congregation. After he was asked to speak at a congressional briefing Dec. 1, though, he sent an e-blast to parishioners, writing:
"I apologize for bringing bad news. This is shocking … and repulsive. As of last Aug. 22, our California state government (not Obamacare, this is the state) has required all insurance policies to cover elective abortions. This includes us as a church. We – along with other churches and Christian colleges – are protesting this coercive and intrusive action by filing formal protests against this abusive action. I will be speaking on this topic this week in Washington, D.C., at a special hearing at which we are strongly urging the federal government to step in immediately and pass the ‘Abortion Non-Discrimination Act.’ Pray for me as I speak. And pray for Congress to act – now".
Call it ironic: Churches in California are forced to pay for abortions through employee health insurance, but under Obamacare are supposed to be exempt from paying for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs for their employees.
Since 2005, under a measure known as the Weldon Amendment, Congress has prohibited states that receive certain federal funds from discriminating against insurance plans that don’t provide abortion coverage. The Hyde Amendment, first passed in 1976, prohibits using federal tax money to pay for elective abortions.
So how did this happen in California?
The state’s abortion mandate didn’t go through the normal legislative process, says Casey Mattox, a senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, which champions religious liberty.
Mattox, who represents Garlow’s Skyline Church and seven other churches in California, recalls how the issue of contraceptives was debated as part of Obamacare:
Legislatures realized, ‘We can’t force churches to pay for contraceptives,’ that clearly you have to exempt churches from that mandate. [State lawmakers] were able to put in appropriate exemptions to make sure at least some aspect of religious liberty was protected, but this [California] abortion mandate just went through a bureaucratic process. It’s basically a sneak attack on religious liberty. It came out of nowhere.
The California Department of Managed Health Care mandated that, effective Aug. 22, almost all health insurance plans must cover elective abortions.
The rule came after the American Civil Liberties Union convinced state insurance officials that abortion is a “basic health service.” Siding with the ACLU, state bureaucrats decided the agency no longer would approve health plans that don’t cover the life-ending procedure.
“There was no opportunity for churches to weigh in on the process,” Mattox says.
In September, the lawyer filed an administrative complaint on behalf of Garlow and other California pastors with the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The pastors have yet to receive a response.
Sarah Torre, a policy analyst who follows religious liberty cases for The Heritage Foundation, says that in the current legal landscape, the decision before pastors such as Garlow is this: Continue offering health insurance covering procedures that end the life of unborn children, or drop insurance altogether.
“So Pastor Garlow and others can do nothing but wait on bureaucrats in HHS to enforce the law,” Torre says.
Churches and other religious organizations can avoid the mandate by self-insuring, but it’s a costly endeavor that could take months, even years. “We can’t self-insure, Garlow says. “We’d need years of preparation to be in that kind of posture economically.”
Garlow and others appealed to Congress, hoping his story would spur legislation to protect the conscience rights of individuals and churches.
A total of 132 lawmakers, led by Reps. Diane Black, R-Tenn. and Rep. John Fleming, R-La., wrote Nov. 25 to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to express “deep concern” over the California abortion mandate.
“Forcing pastors, teachers, social service providers and Catholic institutions to pay for abortion should be unthinkable,” they wrote.
HHS has yet to respond to the lawmakers’ request to enforce the Weldon Amendment in California. It is clear that Burwell “does not intend to enforce the law,” Fleming told The Daily Signal.
Conservative lawmakers are pushing for passage of the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act, part of H.R. 940, which would allow individuals to pursue legal action to protect their religious rights.
Pro-life members of the House and Senate will not back down, Fleming says, but their success depends upon the support from Republican leadership, which previously blamed inaction on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
In January, though, the Nevada Democrat will be succeeded by current Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., when Republicans claim their new nine-seat majority in the Senate as a result of the midterm elections.
“That excuse is getting very weak now that we have won a majority in the Senate and we have a resounding majority in the House,” Fleming says. “It’s time that our GOP leadership begins to get on board.” Until then, California churches are expected to pay for a life-ending procedure that contradicts the core of their beliefs.
“I can’t fathom us participating in something so horrific and sinful,” Garlow says. Sadly, the pastor and his supporters believe, he already is.
Remove Muslim veil when giving evidence in court, says top woman judge in Britain
Britain's most senior woman judge has called for tougher rules on compelling women who wear the Muslim veil to show their faces when giving evidence in court.
Baroness Hale of Richmond, the deputy president of the Supreme Court, said “ways have got to be found” to ensure that the Islamic face coverings, such as the niqab, are removed for key parts of a court hearing.
Judges must be able to see a witness' face to gauge their truthfulness and it was also important to be able to identity the correct person on some occasions, the judge told the Evening Standard newspaper.
Lady Hale said the need for a "tougher" approach had been shown in one family law case in which she had detected that a mother - who had been asked to remove her face covering - was lying.
“We should devise ways of making it possible and “There must come a point where we can insist.
“We don’t object to allowing people to do things for sincerely held religious reasons if they don’t do any harm. If it does harm, we have to be a bit tougher.”
A judge ruled in September last year that a Muslim woman, Rebekah Dawson, would be allowed to stand trial on a charge of witness intimidation while wearing a full-face veil but that she must remove it while giving evidence.
Dawson, 22, initially refused to remove her niqab and was told she would be forced to take off the garment if she gave evidence, which she later declined to do. She was convicted and jailed for six months after pleading guilty.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has previously both spoken out against women being allowed to wear veils while giving evidence in court.
Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, said in November last year that there was a need for "clear guidance on what is without doubt a problem that many people found divisive".
“I wouldn’t describe it as the elephant in the courtroom but it is an important issue that has to be addressed," Lord Thomas said.
“I regard it as the responsibility of the senior judiciary to give guidance, and it will be guidance that is not merely ‘well it all depends’ but starting from a clear starting point giving fairly reasonable guidance as to what should happen."
Last month Lord Thomas said the guidance had still not been completed.
Judges had been awaiting a decision from the European Court of Human Rights on the burka ban in France, which was delivered in July, and which backed the principle of prohibiting the garment in public.
Lord Thomas said he hoped the guidance for courts in England and Wales would be complete "as soon as is reasonably practicable".
Self-righteous feminists embarrassed into the sounds of silence for once
The feminist organisation behind controversial T-shirts made by women paid just 62p an hour is refusing to answer questions about its investigation into the workers’ conditions.
The factory where shirts bearing the slogan This Is What A Feminist Looks Like were made for The Fawcett Society was first exposed by The Mail on Sunday last month.
But six weeks after the ‘sweatshop’ conditions were first revealed, little progress appears to have been made in an ‘investigation’ into our report.
The Fawcett Society’s chairman, Belinda Phipps, admitted the regime at Compagnie Mauricienne de Textile was ‘in complete contradiction to our own ethical policy’
When The Mail on Sunday revealed last month that workers in the Mauritius textile factory were paid just 62p an hour and were sleeping 16 to a room in dormitories, Fawcett Society deputy CEO Eva Neitzert vowed the organisation would do its utmost to investigate the story.
Though the hourly rate is above the legal minimum wage in Mauritius, it is well short of the official government ‘living wage’ in the country. Three weeks ago, the society’s chairman, Belinda Phipps, admitted the regime at Compagnie Mauricienne de Textile (CMT) was ‘in complete contradiction to our own ethical policy’ but revealed the society was relying on Whistles and Made-By (a European not-for-profit ethical consultancy) to investigate CMT, and expecting the results within a fortnight.
Yet last week there was still no outward sign of any report and our numerous calls and emails to The Fawcett Society, Whistles and Elle produced no response. Called at home, Ms Phipps said: ‘There’s nothing to add. You should speak to our press spokesperson.’
The stonewalling came as two of our journalists involved in the exposé were banned from freely travelling to the Indian Ocean island.
Last week reporter Ben Ellery and photographer John McLellan received official letters from the Mauritius government imposing restrictions on their right to travel to the country.
The letters, sent from the Mauritius Passport and Immigration Office and bearing an official stamp, state: ‘I am directed to inform you that you should not undertake any travel to Mauritius without prior authority from this office.’
When the MoS contacted the office, a spokesman said: ‘It is because of the article. If you fly here without asking for permission first, then you will be sent back.’
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.