Thursday, November 30, 2017

Canada Couple Denied Adoption Because They Oppose Homosexuality

An evangelical Christian couple in Alberta, Canada, has taken the provincial government to court, charging that they were denied the right to adopt a child because of their conviction that homosexual behavior is a sin.

As reported by Canada's National Post, the unnamed couple said that they had initially received a recommendation to adopt, with a Catholic Social Services worker whom the couple had worked with saying in her report that she was “pleased” to recommend them for adoption. The report noted that the couple was employed, owned their own home, and had a happy and healthy family and community network. The couple's hope was to adopt a child, or up to three siblings between the ages of seven and 17.

However, the report also recommended that a “homosexual child” not be placed with the couple, because of their religious opposition to that lifestyle. That information prompted the Alberta Child and Family Services department to put the brakes on the couple's application, and to call for further home study.

According to Canada's Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, a conservative legal organization that is representing the couple, when it was found that the couple were evangelical Christians with biblical views on marriage and sexuality, the door for adoption quickly closed on them.

In March 2017, Catholic Social Services advised the couple “that it was reversing its recommendation that they be approved for adoption,” related the Justice Centre in a press release on the case. “The rejection letter enclosed a revised Home Study Report that stated the couple should not be approved as adoptive parents because they would be unable to 'help' a child who 'has sexual identity issues.' The rejection letter did not explain how or why the couple would be unable to 'help' a child that they valued, loved and respected. The couple asked Catholic Social Services to reconsider their decision, but were refused.”

During a follow-up meeting with officials from Alberta's Child and Family Services office, a caseworker explained to the couple that Child and Family Services considered their religious beliefs regarding sexuality to be a “rejection” of children with LGBT sexual identities. At the meeting the couple was informed that the denial of their application was final.

“I was angry at the injustice of the situation,” the wife stated in a court affidavit. “Despite our stability, our kindness, our dedication to helping people, despite our willingness to take a child in who needed parents, and consider him or her our own for the rest of our lives, we were being discriminated against based on our religious beliefs.”

John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre, said that “making determinations about who is suitable to adopt on the basis of their sincere religious beliefs violates this couple’s right to religious freedom and equality under the law as guaranteed in the [Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms] and in Alberta’s own Bill of Rights and Human Rights Act.”

He added that if not successfully challenged, “this decision would have grave consequences for the freedoms of all Canadians, not to mention adverse consequences for the many children who will never be adopted if the government continues with this discrimination.”

The Justice Centre is seeking a court declaration that the decision by Alberta's Child and Family Services to deny adoption for the couple is “unreasonable and void by virtue of arbitrariness, bias, bad faith, as well as breaches of procedural fairness and natural justice.” The Centre is also seeking a court order to approve the couple as adoptive parents.


Florida jury’s verdict thrown out because they weren’t tested for homophobia

A federal court has thrown out a Florida jury’s verdict clearing police of misconduct charges, claiming the jury hadn’t been vetted for homophobia and may have been biased against the gay plaintiff.

Raymond Berthiaume accused Lt. David Smith of the Key West Police Department of framing him for battery by forcing his friend to make false testimony in 2013, the Miami Herald reported. While the jury cleared Smith of wrongdoing, a federal appellate court tossed out the verdict because the district court had “refused” to ask potential jurors questions about potential bias based on sexual orientation. Berthiaume will now receive a second trial.

“The district court here asked the jurors multiple questions about any biases or prejudices they might have against law enforcement,” reads the decision by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. “But the district court refused to ask any questions at all about prejudice on the basis of sexual orientation. Therefore, we have no way to discern whether the jury was biased against the plaintiff for that reason.”

The original incident took place in 2013 when Berthiaume — clad in a loincloth and flip-flops — was leaving “Fantasy Fest 2013” along with several friends. The group got into an argument about whether they should call it a night, and Berthiaume’s then-partner stole the group’s car keys to force them into staying out later. Berthiaume smacked a street sign in frustration and Smith knocked him to the ground and arrested him for domestic battery, but the man was never charged.

Smith retired from the force in 2015 after 25 years with the department. Berthiaume filed a lawsuit against Smith the same year, claiming he had attempted to get one of his friends to lie about the incident. He demanded $15,000 in compensation for surgeries he apparently had to repair injuries suffered by being knocked to the ground.

While the jury ruled against Berthiaume in 2016, its verdict has now been revoked.

“Berthiaume noted that homosexuals had only recently begun to gain acceptance in society, and many people still harbor bias or prejudice against homosexuals,” the ruling reads. “Accordingly, Berthiaume contended that in a case such as his, involving both a gay party and gay witnesses, it is necessary for courts to inquire into prospective jurors’ potential biases against homosexuals to ensure a fair trial.”


The Freddie Gray police hearings are over. What did we learn?

When Lt. Brian Rice was cleared of wrongdoing at the Baltimore police disciplinary boards recently, that left only one more officer to go. Sgt. Alicia White was the last of the officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray to face the board. Even though she’d been found guilty of no crime, the possibility existed that official misconduct could have resulted in administrative discipline up to and including losing her job.

Now that process has concluded as well. White was found guilty of nothing, received no discipline and will return to her beat.

So that’s the end of years worth of angst, accusations, anger and riots. This was one of the most closely scrutinized police encounters in the country and in the end, no wrongdoing was found either in criminal trials or before disciplinary boards composed of both police officials and community leaders. There was, as it turned out, nothing to find.

Sadly, the local paper is still describing this as “an end to efforts to hold police officers accountable…”

Seriously? How much more accountable could they be at this point? The media is getting plenty of help in trying to roil up the masses. Here’s Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund:

    “A young man entered the custody of police and within an hour his spine was broken, his voice box crushed,” she said. “Our city has been defined by this. Now Baltimore must decide how to go forward. Baltimore must commit itself to whatever changes to policing, to internal police discipline, to our legal system are needed to ensure that this cannot happen with impunity ever again.”

Obviously, nothing happened “with impunity” except for cops using outdated safety and operating procedures during an arrest. But that doesn’t mean that things haven’t improved. The procedures for arrests and transport have been modernized. Body cameras are in use by police virtually everywhere in the city now.

Perhaps things might get a bit better now. There’s room for hope, anyway. But did we learn anything? Dan Rodricks at the Baltimore Sun asks and answers the question of whether or not there were any lessons taken away from all of this. And he even manages to find room to agree with Sherrilyn Ifill (quoted above), at least to a degree. The city is at a crossroads and might come out of this better for the process.

    Here are a few: That insinuation is not evidence, and that the burden of proof is a heavy one, and even more so when the defendants are police officers being tried for actions in the line of duty. That videos have the power to reveal truth, but we still can’t jump to conclusions about criminal intent. That there was a perfect-storm nature to the reaction to Freddie Gray’s death, coming as it did after the deaths of other black men at the hands of police.

Nothing was ever going to improve in terms of civilian cooperation with law enforcement in the city with the worst per capita murder rate in America without getting the communities and the police talking to each other. It’s been a rocky road to travel, but that conversation has begun and continues to this day.

Hopefully the residents of Charm City feel like their concerns are being heard. And on the other side of the coin, perhaps they can be a bit less suspicious of the men and women in uniform who are trying to protect them. That might be the beginning of some actual healing. Let’s all hope so, because Baltimore is in desperate need of help.


Planned Parenthood Is in Deep Trouble With the Law. This Could Be a Turning Point

We are living through a remarkable time in history. Almost daily, those in influential positions who once appeared untouchable are falling out of popular favor as their abuses are exposed.

Earlier this month, one particularly corrupt institution was dealt back-to-back blows: Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business.

On Nov. 13, The Hill reported that the FBI may be investigating Planned Parenthood and its associates for the sale of aborted babies’ body parts for profit. It’s the latest development yet in a scandal that began in 2015 with the release of explosive undercover videos.

Those videos showed abortion industry executives haggling over the price of hearts, livers, brains, and kidneys and describing, in chilling detail, their techniques for crushing late-term babies to get the freshest organs.

The Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives spent almost one-and-a-half years conducting a national investigation, reviewing 30,000 pages of documents, and hearing hours of testimony.

They found enough evidence to refer several Planned Parenthood affiliates and tissue procurement companies for potential prosecution. Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested that if the FBI concurs, charges might be filed.

Then came the second punch.

Just as news of the FBI inquiry broke, the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals declined to revisit its ruling that the state of Arkansas can redirect Medicaid funds away from abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, which the state is completely justified in doing considering the ongoing baby parts scandal.

These two major breakthroughs would have been inconceivable under the Obama administration, which repeatedly abused federal power to prop up the abortion industry.

President Barack Obama’s aggressively pro-abortion administration put the “bully” in “bully pulpit.” Under Obama, the Justice Department became a tool to harass and intimidate pro-life advocates, labeling them domestic terrorists alongside groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

Instead of investigating Planned Parenthood for the shocking, potentially illegal practices exposed in the videos, pro-abortion Attorney General Loretta Lynch decided to investigate the whistleblowers.

The Obama administration also actively interfered with state efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. Kansas, Tennessee, Indiana, Texas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina—all these states tried to get taxpayers out of the abortion industry, only to have the federal government bypass local officials to directly award lucrative contracts to Planned Parenthood or threaten to withhold federal Medicaid funds unless they kept tax dollars flowing.

As one last parting gift, during Obama’s final weeks in office, his administration issued an order banning states from defunding Planned Parenthood under Title X, which took effect two days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Through it all, Obama’s court appointees have generally been reliable backers of abortion. One Obama appointee even compared an abortion to a tonsillectomy in a recent case that would have created new “rights” to abortion on demand for illegal immigrants.

But there’s a new sheriff in Washington now, and a palpable sense of terror is gripping Planned Parenthood and its camp. Without their defender-in-chief or the courts to bail them out, they are finally being held accountable.

Trump has busily set about undoing his predecessor’s destructive pro-abortion legacy. He has filled his Cabinet with pro-life officials, and has filled court vacancies with outstanding judges like Neil Gorsuch who faithfully interpret the Constitution.

Right away, Trump signed legislation (H.J. Res. 43) rolling back Obama’s parting gift to the abortion industry—something that, on a personal note, I was proud to witness in the Oval Office.

Trump’s strong commitment to pro-life policies has helped embolden state governors and legislatures. Texas has now applied to reclaim the federal funding it was denied under the last administration. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster in August successfully defunded Planned Parenthood and requested a waiver from the Trump administration so that the state can do the same with Medicaid, which is where the abortion business gets most of its taxpayer funding.

The next step is for the Trump administration to issue new guidance to the states restoring their freedom to prioritize Medicaid funds the way they believe will best serve their citizens. The administration must be prepared to defend that policy vigorously should the case go to the Supreme Court.

The pro-life majorities in both houses of Congress should also fulfill their promise to redirect half a billion dollars in annual taxpayer funding away from Planned Parenthood using budget reconciliation, where they have the best chance of succeeding.

Sometimes justice is a long time coming, but as two of our nation’s greatest thinkers—Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King, Jr.—pointed out, it “cannot sleep forever” and “the arc of the moral universe … bends toward justice.”

There are good reasons to hope that for America’s abortion giant, justice is right around the corner.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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