Sunday, May 10, 2015

'Has Vatican Newspaper Converted To Islam?', The War On Free Speech

At first glance, this seems to be an overly provocative title, but after reading the content, is it overly provocative or accurate?

Has Vatican Newspaper Converted To Islam?

The Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano ran a piece with the subtitle, “Shooting in Texas at an exhibition of blasphemous cartoons.”

Blasphemous? They’re blasphemous according to Islamic law, because Islam asserts that Muhammad is a prophet. So is the Vatican now submitting to Islamic law? Merriam-Webster defines “blasphemy” as “great disrespect shown to God or to something holy.” So does the Vatican now think Muhammad is holy? Has L’Osservatore Romano converted to Islam? Is Muhammad now considered a prophet by the Catholic Church, like Isaiah or Jeremiah or Ezekiel? Will he get a feast day on the Roman Catholic calendar?

They could have used any other word — offensive, tasteless, odious, whatever. But using the word “blasphemous” sends a hugely misleading message.

Meanwhile, here is an excellent evisceration of the idea that L’Osservatore Romano also puts forward — that our free speech event was needlessly provocative, throwing gasoline on the fire: “Do I Have to Draw You a Picture? The Cartoon Wars Come to America,” by William Kilpatrick, Catholic World Report, May 6, 2015:

"…That brings us back to the L’Osservatore Romano article. Its authors decry provocation—“wanting to throw gasoline on the fire”—but have they paused to consider that many Catholic beliefs and practices are also provocative to Muslims? In Saudi Arabia, Bibles and rosaries are considered provocative and no churches are allowed. In some Muslim countries, ringing church bells is considered provocative. In other places it is provocative to rebuild a church that is falling down—so provocative that Christians have lost their lives for the offense. In still other Muslim areas it is considered provocative if a Christian won’t pay the jizya tax, and he can be killed in consequence. In some parts of the Muslim world, simply being a Christian is sufficient provocation for murder.
A large part of the “provocative intent” of the Garland exhibit is to prevent such things from ever happening here. It’s a reminder that the sharia ban on blasphemy is meant to apply not just in Iran and Arabia, but everywhere. Everyone is expected to submit. The event and its aftermath also serves to remind us that it’s not a good idea to let the most violent among us determine the limits of free speech. If the Muhammad Art Exhibit is dismissed as incendiary and needlessly provocative, it means that Muslim extremists get to call the shots about what is and is not a permissible form of expression in America. Today it will be Muhammad cartoons that offend. And tomorrow? Well, it could be anything, because Muslim radicals seem to have an unlimited capacity for being offended. It could even be church bells or rosaries.
Some will say that Geller and Spencer are needlessly stirring up trouble. In reality, they are saving us from much greater trouble down the road by flushing out the danger we face while there is still time to face it down. If Americans don’t pay attention to wake-up calls of the drive-by-jihadist variety, they will wake up someday to find that the time for defending their freedoms has already passed.

Another good piece about how eagerly America’s political and cultural elites are accepting the principle that in the face of violent intimidation, one should give those who are doing the intimidating everything they want.

“There’s a war on free speech — and radical Islam is winning,” by Philip Klein, Washington Examiner, May 8, 2015:

"Warnings about the threat that radical Islam poses to America are often greeted with sneering and mocking by cultural elites — as if anybody who expresses concern is a paranoid nut who believes that Sharia law is soon going to replace the U.S. Constitution after an EMP attack destroys civilization.
Radical Muslims are succeeding in eroding fundamental American values, but the reality is more nuanced. Through a combination of fear, intimidation and exploitation of the liberal reflex to sympathize with supposedly marginalized groups, radicals have been steadily eroding our long-standing conception of free speech.
In the most recent example in Garland, Texas, two men with body armor and assault rifles shot up a community center that was holding a cartoon contest to draw the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. Luckily, they were shot dead by police before they could harm anybody.
Yet, in a horrendous case of mass victim-blaming, media figures across the political spectrum have been pointing fingers at the contest organizers — and worse, suggesting limits on offensive speech.
The New York Times ran an editorial distinguishing between “free speech” and “hate speech” writing that the event “was not really about free speech. It was an exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom.” CNN’s Chris Cuomo wrote on Twitter that “hate speech is excluded from protection,” later claiming it was a “clumsy tweet.” Fox’s Bill O’Reilly got into the act, saying the organizers of the event “spurred a violent incident.”
Alia Salem, executive director of the Dallas and Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, floated restrictions on the First Amendment freedoms, stating, according to the New York Times, that, “The discussion we have to have is: When does free speech become hate speech, and when does hate speech become incitement to violence?”
But as First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh wrote, “incitement” is defined as trying to persuade people to carry out an attack imminently: “Generally condemning Islam (or condemning capitalism or condemning the police or condemning evangelical Christians), even in harsh terms, doesn’t constitute incitement. Even if people think the speaker is trying to foment violence, there’s no advocacy of imminent illegal conduct.”
Let’s be clear: the only reason the Texas event was associated with violence is that there are radical Muslims who are willing to shoot people over cartoons. To shift any blame for violence to the conference organizers is to reward this violent action. If Christians responded to an art show that they found offensive with violence, the media would call for a national conversation on Christian fundamentalism. But when radical Muslims do it, the national conversation is on hate speech.
If the takeaway from this incident — even among those who depend on free expression for their livelihood — is that people shouldn’t offend radical Muslims, than the radicals have succeeded in undermining American values by creating a chilling effect on free speech.

Bosch Fawstin’s world has changed dramatically less than a week after he spoke with WND on a barricaded sidewalk as he was about to enter the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, where his artwork was declared the $12,250 winner of a free-speech “draw Muhammad” contest.

Fawstin, who spoke to WND Friday evening by telephone, said he has received specific death threats since Sunday and is taking measures to protect himself that he is not at liberty to discuss.

But he has no intention of going into hiding or dropping his focus on exposing, as a graphic novelist and artist, what he believes is the world’s most dangerous and “evil” political and ideological movement.

“This is a battle,” he declared. “What we’re doing here are things that are normal for our society. But now they are abnormal because of the enemy.
“We have to say: ‘No more. We can have exhibitions, because we are a free people in the civilized world,’” he said.

Fawstin’s prize-winning work depicts a sword-wielding Muhammad declaring, “You can’t draw me.” In reply, the artist, whose hands are shown with a pencil, says, “That’s why I draw you.”
The event was hosted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, co-founded by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Geller said this week she now must travel with security, with ISIS naming her in a threat posted on one of its affiliated websites.
The controversial Southern Poverty Law Center this week added Fawstin to its list of hate groups, and his Facebook account was canceled Thursday, he said, apparently in response to “a whole gang of people who found me beyond the pale.” His account has been restored, but he said he never got an explanation from Facebook.

He said he senses a societal shift since the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January and even more so in the past week.
“Every time a horrific event happens, the truth is bared out a little more, in little incremental pushes,” he said

“Guys who are semi-honest become a little more honest, said Fawstin. “Guys who have been using misnomers like ‘radical Islam’ start using “Islam.’”
“We need to get closer and closer to the truth in order to act on it,” he said.
He said the U.S. has been acting on “lies” such as “we need to bring democracy to the Middle East” and “Islam means peace.”
“And look where we are,” he said.
“We have a really vile enemy who is not strong,” he said. “We make him appear to be strong. If we were to unleash our culture, our army, it would be over.
“They know that, and they are counting on us not to do what they would do. They are counting on us being chumps, and in a lot of ways we are chumps.”

If the government does not like the way that you are raising your kids, they will come in and grab them at any time without giving any warning whatsoever.  Of course this is completely and totally unlawful, but it has been happening all over America.  The most recent example of this that has made national headlines is particularly egregious.  Joe and Nicole Naugler of Breckinridge County, Kentucky just had their 10 children brutally ripped away from them just because the government does not approve of how they are living their lives and how they are educating their young ones.
Let’s be very clear about this – Joe and Nicole had done nothing to violate the law whatsoever.  All of their kids were happy, healthy and very intelligent.  But because the control freaks running things in Kentucky got wind of their “off the grid lifestyle”, they have now had all of their children unlawfully abducted from them.

A lot of readers also lead “off the grid” lifestyles similar to what the Nauglers had been enjoying.  The Nauglers  own 26 acres in a remote area of Breckinridge County, and their family has been described as “extremely happy”.  But despite never giving them a single warning or a single indication that anything was ever wrong, Kentucky police raided their home on May 6th.  The following is how the raid was described on a website dedicated to this case

On May 6th, 2015, Breckinridge Co. Sheriff’s officers came to their home, acting on an anonymous tip, and entered their property and home without a warrant and without probable cause. Nicole was at home with the two oldest children, while Joe was away with the others. When the officers left the home, they attempted to block the access road to the family property. Nicole and the two boys got in their car to leave the family property. The got only a short way down the road before the officers pulled Nicole over.

During this stop, sheriffs deputies took their two oldest boys from Nicole’s custody, providing her no justification or documentation to support their action. Nicole was able to contact Joe briefly by telephone, but only for a short period of time, because she needed to use her phone to record the events.

At that point, Nicole had been taken into custody for disorderly conduct (for not passively allowing the Sheriff to take her boys) and resisting arrest. Even though she is 5 months pregnant, she was slammed belly first into the cop car and bruised and scraped on both arms.

And people wonder why there is such an uproar about police brutality in this country…
How in the world can a police officer ever justify treating a pregnant woman like that?  The police officer that treated Nicole like that should immediately resign.  Talk about an utter disgrace.  You do not ever treat a pregnant woman like that.
But this is America, where we are turning a little bit more into Nazi Germany every single day.
You can listen to audio of Nicole’s shocking arrest right here.
When Joe arrived on the scene, the police continued to act like Gestapo thugs

Joe was able to arrange transportation to meet his wife where the stop had taken place. Joe attempted to get out of the car to speak with the officers and his wife, and to recover the vehicle Nicole had been driving. The Sheriff, with his hand on his sidearm, ordered Joe back into the car. Joe complied with that request. The sheriff informed Joe that he had every intention of making this as difficult as possible for them and that their car would be impounded, despite the fact that Joe was there on­site to recover it.

A friend, who had driven Joe to the location, got out of the car to speak with the Sheriff. She was able to convince the Sheriff to let Joe recover the vehicle. Joe also recovered Nicole’s cell phone, which had been recording audio the entire time.

The Sheriff ordered Joe to turn the remaining eight children over to Breckinridge County Sheriff’s deputies by 10:00 a.m., and threatened him with felony charges if he does not comply.

Joe did comply with the Sheriff’s order, and now their kids have been scattered by CPS among families in four separate counties

As of now, officials have placed the children with four families in four different counties, and as of Friday morning, the parents had not spoken with them. The four families are families that CPS chose – families the Nauglers don’t know.

Shame on you Kentucky.  You are supposed to be better than this.
One of the most disturbing elements of this entire incident is that Child Protective Services never visited the Nauglers a single time and never gave them any indication that anything was wrong.  The following comes from Off The Grid News

Child Protective Services never visited the home, said Ellsworth, who believes the arrests took place because of the parents’ choice of “unschooling” for their children, and because of their simple way of life that some would call backwards. The family’s Facebook page calls it a “back to basics life.” They have a garden and raise animals. Deputies apparently were concerned about whether the children’s needs were being met, but friends say they personally have no concerns — and that the children are blessed to have Joe and Nicole as their parents.

How would you like it if government thugs raided your home and took your children away because they considered your lifestyle to be “backwards”?
What in the world is happening to this country?
Like I said earlier, what happened to the Nauglers is not an isolated incident.  These kinds of things are happening all over the nation.  For example, just consider the abuse that one homeschooling family received in New Jersey

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, a WND report highlights how parents were interrogated by a CPS caseworker who questioned Christopher Zimmer and his wife Nicole, “on everything from their son’s homeschool education to questions about vaccines and guns in the house.”

Michelle Marchese aggressively demanded to enter the property after asserting Christopher Zimmer Jr. was not getting a “proper education.” Police subsequently arrived and allowed Marchese to enter the home before conducting a warrantless search.

The Zimmers are now suing the CPS for $60 million in a case before the U.S. District Court in Trenton.

I very much hope that the Zimmers win that case and collect a huge monetary award.
All over the nation, CPS officials are running around acting like little dictators and trampling the law.  They need the courts to send them a clear message that this is a nation where the rule of law still applies.
If we do not stand with families like the Nauglers, control freak bureaucrats will continue to harass families that have chosen to live a “basic” lifestyle all over the nation.  So let’s stand with them and make this case viral all over the Internet.
And Kentucky, get your act together and send those kids back home.  You are supposed to be so much better than this.

The German homeschool parents who faced a SWAT team’s battering ram when police demanded to take their children into custody for being homeschooled are back in court.

This time, they face the possibility of four-year jail terms from a judge who has warned, “The law is the law.”
WND reported in 2013 when the government took custody of the children of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich, then ages 7-14, from their Darmstadt, Germany, home.
The SWAT team, authorized by a judge to use force if necessary, took the children and told the Wunderlichs they wouldn’t see them again soon because they were violating federal law by homeschooling.

Although there was no claim the children were being mistreated, a team of 20 social workers, police and special agents stormed the family’s home. The Home School Legal Defense Association reported at the time that Judge Koenig of the Darmstadt family court signed the order authorizing the immediate seizure of the children by force.

“Citing the parents’ failure to cooperate ‘with the authorities to send the children to school,’ the judge also authorized the use of force ‘against the children’ … reasoning that such force might be required because the children had ‘adopted the parents’ opinions’ regarding homeschooling and that ‘no cooperation could be expected’ from either the parents or the children,” HSLDA said at the time.
Dirk Wunderlich told the homeschool group: “I looked through a side window and saw many people, police and special agents, all armed. They told me they wanted to come in to speak with me. I tried to ask questions, but within seconds, three police officers brought a battering ram and were about to break the door in, so I opened it.”

Now a report from HSLDA says the next time the Wunderlichs appear in court for homeschooling, they could each face four years in prison.
“We had hoped the judge, who seemed open-minded and friendly, might give us a chance,” Dirk Wunderlich told the organization. “But no, he said he could not: The law is the law.”
The parents each were fined about $1,000 during their recent court appearance.
The German Supreme Court has already rejected all appeals by the Wunderlichs. And in November 2014, the court reaffirmed in a separate case that Germany has an equal interest with parents in the raising of children.

Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s director of global outreach, was outraged.
“Four years in prison? For homeschooling?” Donnelly said. “German courts seem incapable of recognizing what most democratic countries understand – that parents, not the state, should decide how to educate their children. Home education is and ought to be a legal and valid alternative in Germany, just like it is in most European countries. Instead, German courts come down on the side of violating parental rights. It’s a terrible decision.”

Donnelly said the notion that homeschooling threatens democracy is backwards.
“What really threatens democracy,” he said, “is when the German authorities try to stamp out ‘parallel societies.’

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