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There are two laws in Missouri that really go against each other.  The first is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  The second is Missouri’s 72 hour waiting period and “informed consent” law about abortion.  This problem is coming to a head.

A woman who belongs to the Satanic Temple wants an abortion.  She went to Planned Parenthood and filed an exemption form stating that the 72 hour waiting period places an undue burden on her religious beliefs.  Planned Parenthood rejected the exemption form based on Missouri’s 72 hour waiting period and “informed consent” law.  The woman, called Mary Doe in court documents, and the Satanists have filed suit over the denial.

In Missouri, and several other states, the waiting period has no medical or scientific basis.  It is merely a forced waiting period so the woman can digest the “informed consent” material they are forced to endure.  This material has no medical or scientific background or need either.  Most of the material is intended to make a woman feel guilty about her choice, thus forcing her to change her mind.

The Satanic Temple says that is a violation of the RFRA.  Spokesman Lucien Greaves says that “in our tenets, we hold that one should make decisions based on the best scientific evidence available and that a woman’s body – anyone’s body – are subject to ones own will.”  He claims that the state mandated material is not scientifically based, is nothing more than state-propaganda designed to sway an individual’s decision, and therefore is against their religion.

That puts the 72 hour waiting period and “informed consent” law in conflict with the RFRA.  The really weird part of this story is that the Hobby Lobby case at the Supreme Court opened the door for this conflict to happen.  In the Hobby Lobby case, Hobby Lobby argued that certain contraceptives were abortifacients.  They are not abortifacients, yet Hobby Lobby argued that they believe they were and therefore should not be forced to provide them in their health coverage.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby.  In essence, the court ruled that even if the science does not support your claim, as long as you hold “deeply religious beliefs” about your argument, you are right.  Which brings us to the “informed consent” law in Missouri.

The Satanic Temple is saying that they believe that the material being forced upon women is not scientifically based and inaccurate.  Under the Hobby Lobby ruling, they only need argue they have a “deeply held religious belief” that the material is bogus and therefore, they are correct.

There have been other challenges to the waiting period laws that have failed.  However, this is the first one using the RFRA as a reason the waiting period laws are invalid.  I know that not many people are going to support the Satanic Temple.  However, it is a religion, whether or not you agree with them, and therefore should be protected under the RFRA as well.

The other sad part of the story is that the Satanic Temple cannot get a pro-bono lawyer to take up their case.  So, they are forced to look for donations to continue this case.  I am extremely surprised that the ACLU doesn’t take up the case.  So, I ask the ACLU to please explain why you aren’t taking up this case.

The ruling in this case has a lot of ramifications.  None of them, in my opinion, are positive for the Conservative Christian right who are behind these anti-abortion laws.  If the courts rule in favor of the Satanic Temple, what does that mean for everyone else?  Would these waiting period laws be stricken?  Probably not.  More likely, the state legislature would change the waiting period laws to remove any religious exemptions from them.

Taking that step would indicate that they really don’t believe in the RFRA they so dramatically scream about when it suits their desires.  It would also prove that they are only interested in forcing their beliefs on everyone else, religious freedom be damned.

If the court rules against the Satanic Temple, there would be a legitimate argument that the court is “defining what is religion and what isn’t.”  That would also be bad for everyone.  If the court rules that the Satanic Temple isn’t a real religion, which religion will be next?

Yes, this case is one that is worth watching. The arguments put forth by the state to defend their waiting period law will allow the world to see just how insincere they are about religious freedom.  It will open up the can of worms that prove their arguments about religious liberty is one-sided and hypocritical.

To be frank, I hope this turns out to be a real dilemma for the Christian right.  It will only accelerate the movement away from religion recent polls are indicating is happening.  Then, maybe, we can have legitimate discussions about our issues and not have religious bellicose drowning out potential solutions.

Deflategate has hit the pages again.  This time the Wells report was unveiled, and Tom Brady has been suspended for four games for his role in “deflating” footballs after the officials inspected them.  Also the two equipment managers have been suspended and the New England Patriots have been fined $1 million and have had two draft picks taken away from them.

According to the NFL this is all being done to protect the integrity of the game.

“Your actions as set forth in the report clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football. The integrity of the game is of paramount importance to everyone in our league, and requires unshakable commitment to fairness and compliance with the playing rules,” NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent wrote in a letter to Brady.

Case closed, right?  Well not exactly.  Obviously Brady is going to “appeal” his suspension.  Critics of the Wells report, including Brady’s agent, call it dubious at best and a sham at worst.  They claim that the incident “did not affect the outcome of the game in question.”

On the other hand, supporters of the suspension argue that the “outcome of the game is not the central issue.  The fact Brady cheated is the central issue.”  The NFL is very quick to shout out “integrity” when it is dealing with rules violations.  Suspensions are all in the name of the “integrity of the game” or “protecting the shield.”

The really funny part in all of this is that the NFL has shown absolutely no integrity at all.  Yes, they are very quick to suspend a player for wearing the wrong colored shoes during a game, or having a logo other than NFL on a headband, or for deflating game balls in order to gain and advantage.  But that is as far as their integrity goes.

In the last year and a half, several players in the NFL have been accused and in some cases convicted of domestic violence.  Ray Rice’s case hit the headlines really hard.  But, the problem is that domestic violence was a problem in the NFL for years, and they did nothing about it.  After all, that person being abused is really a nobody in terms of the game!  And, she probably had it coming.

Several players have also been accused of rape.  But that isn’t an integrity problem for the NFL either.  It is just a few bad apples.  Including the number 1 draft pick this year who not only was accused of rape, but convicted of stealing crab legs.  And how did this draftee show his integrity?  He “selfied” himself and girlfriend eating crab legs to celebrate his selection as number 1.  Talk about rubbing it in.

Then we can take the issue of CSE.  Literally hundreds of former, and even some current players, are suffering after effects of concussions.  The sport of football is a violent game and injuries do happen.  But instead of putting a lot of emphasis on reducing the number of concussions, the NFL has put together a very highly paid legal team to fight against the argument that the NFL is responsible for these injuries.  Besides these concussions are caused by “faulty equipment.”

Then there are the other players who have had several knee operations, hip replacement surgeries, and a myriad of other surgeries that have made them disabled.  The pension plans for these former players who mostly played before a union is measly at best.  And the health coverage they get is even worse.  But, that doesn’t seem to fit into the NFL’s definition of “integrity.”  Not to mention that these players are all injured because the “fundamentals” of the game aren’t being taught anymore.  So, blame those coaches not the NFL.

I used to play football.  I loved the game.  But, as I think I mentioned before, I have stopped watching the game.  Every time I see even a highlight of a game, I am more reminded of the old Roman Gladiators in the Coliseum.  The game has stopped being a game of football, and has become a gladiator match.  The only question during a game today, is how many players will be carted off the field due to a serious injury.

What is even worse is that every Sunday during the season, and now every Monday and Thursday, millions of people tune in to watch this gladiator spectacle.  The NFL and their sponsors make billions of dollars off of these players injuries.  Then, like the rest of our “throw away society” simply throw away these players and say “they chose to play the game so it is not our fault.”

The NFL will suspend players to “protect the integrity of the game.”  But, someone should write Commissioner Goodell and let him know where he can find the definition of the word “integrity.”  I think he will be surprised to learn that it covers a whole lot more than just “playing by the rules.”

Unless people stop watching the game until the NFL cleans up its act in many areas, this stupidity will continue.  The NFL and its sponsors only understand one thing.  Money!  We need to cut off the money before we can expect any real changes in the NFL’s behavior.  Until then, the NFL will have very little to do with “integrity.”

As the Republican Candidates, both announced and unannounced, continue their trips around the country, one theme seems to be emerging more and more.  That theme is “Religious Freedom.”  They talk about religious freedom as though we have moved away from the Constitution’s Separation of Church and State and more into a “ban all religions” movement.

This is really getting out of control, as far as I am concerned.  My first question to these candidates and their followers is which “religious freedom” is being attacked?  There have been no laws passed, or even introduced, that restricts your right to go to church or believe in whatever religion you wish.

The second question is which “religion” is most under attack?  I suppose the answer to that question depends upon which religion you may belong to.  The standard answer from Republicans is that Christianity is under attack.  If you are Muslim, I suppose you believe that Islam is under attack.

So, let’s concentrate on the apparent attack on Christianity since that is the one most talked about during this “campaign” season the most.  Of course that brings me to the third question.  Which religion in Christianity is under attack?  I can’t even count how many sects there are in Christianity.  The number seems to grow almost daily.  So, which sect is under attack?  It can’t be all of them, because they don’t all believe the same things.

The argument about this “attack” on religious freedom isn’t really a religious argument.  It is political, and nothing else.  In his speech at Liberty University the other day, Jeb Bush accused liberals of setting up an “us-versus-them” dynamic, between people who are “enlightened” and those who don’t want to “genuflect to secular dogmas.”

He went on to say:

“[This] confusion is all part of a false narrative that casts religious Americans as intolerant scolds, running around trying to impose their views on everyone,” Bush said. “The stories vary, year after year, but the storyline is getting familiar: The progressive political agenda is ready for its next great leap forward, and religious people or churches are getting in the way. Our friends on the left like to view themselves as the agents of change and reform, and you and I are supposed to just get with the program.”

Well, he is right about one thing.  It is part of a “false narrative,” but that false narrative is being bandied about by his side of the argument.  There is no war on religion in this country.  There are way too many people who hold deeply religious beliefs of all kinds to allow that type of war from ever happening.

No, the “false narrative” is that liberals want to do away with religion.  I am a liberal, I am not a religious person, but I certainly do not want to end religion in this country.  That is what the first amendment is all about.  People may believe in religion or not believe in religion.  No one has the right to say otherwise.

The problem comes about when a small group of one religious belief tries to impose their dogma on everyone else.  That is not supposed to happen in this country either.  There are two very prominent topics that are at the root of these problems.  Abortion and same-sex marriage.

The Conservative Christians absolutely hate both of these issues.  They are totally against abortion regardless of how a woman gets pregnant.  And they totally abhor the idea of same-sex marriage.  But, in trying so vehemently to ban abortion and same-sex marriage, they are actually the ones attacking “religious freedom,” not those in favor of them.

Let’s face facts.  Far more “Christian” women seek an abortion than non-Christian women.  It then must be understood that the idea of abortion is not contrary to their “religious belief” about when life begins.  Not allowing these women to undergo the procedure is attacking their “religious beliefs.”  In fact, not allowing these women to undergo the procedure is attacking their “religious freedom.”

In the case of same-sex marriage, there is another internal battle between “Christians” over whether or not it should be allowed.  Heck, there is one church not far from where I live that openly says it will actually perform “religious” marriages for same-sex couples.  Once again, many people who seek to be married in a same-sex marriage are active Christians.  Denying them the right to marry is an attack on their “religious freedoms.”

The same arguments can be made about contraception.  Some Christian religious beliefs deny the right to birth control.  Other Christian beliefs say birth control is perfectly fine.  By denying women coverage in their “private” health care plans is attacking their “religious freedom.”  The right will tell you that the contraception mandate is making you pay for their birth control.  That is a blatant lie!  The mandate covers private health insurance whether you purchase it alone or through your employer.

The funny thing about this argument is that health insurance companies, including those being offered by companies with “deeply held religious beliefs” cover things like Viagra!  I would think that if you are really a “deeply religious person” the use of Viagra would be against God’s wishes too.  Isn’t that artificially enhancing a man’s ability to have, watch it here, SEX?  Wouldn’t a “deeply religious person” believe that erectile dysfunction is “God’s will” and therefore shouldn’t be messed with?  Wouldn’t that call for a ban on such medication from being covered by health insurance companies, too?

No, I am sorry, but the only war on “religious freedom” is really being waged by the Conservative Christian Cult.  When they talk about “religious freedom” being under attack, what they are really saying is what’s under attack, in their view, is their right to discriminate against everyone else.  What they are saying is that only THEIR religious freedoms matter, and the rest of the world needs to comply to their way of thinking.

Though I do not belong to, nor have any plans to join, any of the “religions” of the world, I promise you that if the Supreme Court were to say that same-sex marriages MUST be performed in churches, I will write a scathing article against that ruling.  That would be crossing the line between church and state.  Just as not allowing civil same-sex marriages is crossing the same line.

The so-called “War On Religious Freedom” really depends on your definition of “religious freedom.”  I firmly believe that if a church wishes to refuse to marry two people of the same sex on religious grounds, they have that right.  I believe that if a church wishes to argue against abortion, they have that right.

On the other hand, if two people wish to enter into marriage, regardless of their sex, they also have that right.  If a woman wishes to have an abortion, she has that right.  Who are the Conservative Christians to say that is not part of those people’s “religious beliefs”, and therefore, part of their “religious freedom?”

You beliefs in religion is personal.  If you truly believe in a religion, there is nothing wrong with it being a way to live your life.  But, it does not give you the right to ban “religious freedoms” from others who follow a different religion.  But that denial of “religious freedoms” to those others is exactly what the Conservative Christians want.

That’s the problem with “freedom.”  It goes both ways.  Making it a one-way street is not only wrong, but it is un-American!

What do you think?  Is it possible that we are now living in a “Police State?”  Is it possible that we have been so eager to give up our civil rights that we no longer have any?  The Patriot Act is one of the easiest targets against a “police state” mentality.  Under the Patriot Act, we have given up many of our rights in the name of security.  But, the Patriot Act isn’t the only thing that affects our rights.

There is another law that is used by Federal Agents and State, county, and local authorities.  It amounts to billions of dollars stolen from average people every year.  It is also something that doesn’t get talked about very much, and you almost never hear about it on the news.

Let us look at this.  After scraping together enough money to produce a music video in Hollywood, 22-year-old Joseph Rivers set out last month on a train trip from Michigan to Los Angeles, hoping it was the start of something big.   Something big did happen, but it wasn’t what he expected.

Rivers changed trains at the station in Albuquerque, NM.  He was carrying his bags containing clothes and a bank envelope with his $16,000 in cash.  DEA agents also boarded the train there as well.   According to Rivers and other witnesses, the agents started questioning passengers at random asking for their destination and reason for traveling.

In this case, Rivers was the only black person on this particular car, according to witnesses.  When the agents got to Rivers, the questions took the interrogation further, asking to search his bags. Rivers complied. The agent found the cash — still in a bank envelope — and decided to seize it on suspicion that it may be tied to narcotics. River pleaded with the agents, explaining his situation and even putting his mother on the phone to verify the story.

The agents refused to take into consideration what Rivers or his mother said and seized the money.  “These officers took everything that I had worked so hard to save and even money that was given to me by family that believed in me,” Rivers told the Journal. “I told (the DEA agents) I had no money and no means to survive in Los Angeles if they took my money. They informed me that it was my responsibility to figure out how I was going to do that.”

How, you may ask, can the government seize this person’s money?  That is a fair question.  Turns out that Rivers fell victim to civil asset forfeiture, a legal tool that has been criticized as a violation of due process and a contradiction of the idea that criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Asset forfeiture allows police to seize property they suspect is related to criminal activity, without even charging its owner with a crime. The charges are filed against the property itself — including cash, jewelry, cars and houses — which can then be sold, with part of the proceeds flowing back to the department that made the seizure.

“We don’t have to prove that the person is guilty,” Sean Waite, the agent in charge at the DEA’s Albuquerque’s office, told the Journal. “It’s that the money is presumed to be guilty.”

Even though it is true that Rivers was the only black person on that particular car on the train, I am not suggesting that his money was taken solely because he was black.  I am merely pointing out that if you are stopped by any law enforcement official, and that official determines that what our are carrying in cash, or maybe driving a car that is “too” rich for your blood, they can simply claim it must be due to drug selling and seize your property.

Rivers was never arrested nor even charged with a crime.  The agents just took his money.  If, you think this is just another case of the Federal Government “overreaching” again, remember any state trooper, county sheriff, or local police can seize your property under the same conditions.

The only way you can get your possessions back is to get involved with a costly legal challenge.  Take the case of Matt Lee, 31, who in 2011 was pulled over by police in Nevada while on the last leg of a cross-country move from Michigan to California. In an ensuing K-9 search, police discovered $2,400 in cash, loaned to Lee by his father. Though officers had no proof of any connection to a crime — Lee had never even been arrested before — they seized the cash and left Lee with $151. Lee later hired a lawyer, and the county eventually agreed to return his money. By then, his legal fees had reached $1,269, leaving Lee with less than half of the money that had been taken from him.

In February, a report by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian group that focuses on civil liberties, showed how widespread civil asset forfeiture has become. The federal program led to nearly $6.8 billion in seized cash and property from 2008 to 2013, the report says. The Washington Post published a series last year that showed since 2001, $2.5 billion had been seized in cash alone — all from people who were never charged with a crime and without a warrant being issued.

The forfeiture of assets originally came about to punish drug dealers from gaining materially from their crime.  That may be honorable.  However, the fact that police agencies can simply seize your assets simply because, “you must be a drug dealer” and not even charge you with a crime, is atrocious!

I have written before.  Giving up civil rights or liberties in the name of security is a bad idea.  Even Benjamin Franklin said “If you give up freedom in the name of security, you will soon discover that you have neither freedom, nor security.”

In my opinion, this is all happening because of paranoia.  We hear stories about how bad things have gotten, and all of a sudden we are willing to let the government steal our assets, listen in on our phone conversations, read our emails, etc.  All in the name of being more secure.  But, in reality, we are not more secure.  We are less free.

 

There is a case before the New Jersey State Supreme Court that I think shows how states totally disrespect their government workers.  But, it goes even deeper than that.  States believe that the promises they make to those who work tirelessly for the government don’t need to be upheld.

The case is over New Jersey Pension reforms.  In 2011 the state passed a law, which Gov. Christie claimed to be his biggest achievement.  The 2011 pension law cut benefits by increasing employee contributions to the state pension fund and eliminating cost-of-living adjustments. When Christie signed it his office pledged that it would “bring to an end years of broken promises.”

That hasn’t worked out so well.  Just four short years later, the state is facing a huge shortfall.  Tax revenue in the state has fallen below expectations.  As a result, the Governor has unilaterally withheld state pension fund contributions to the tune of $1.57 Billion.  But, that doesn’t square with what is written in the law.

The law has language that says “members of the public-pension systems shall have a contractual right to the annual required contribution amount.”  This has prompted state public employee’s unions to file the suit that is now before the state’s Supreme Court.

In court on Wednesday, New Jersey Assistant Attorney General Jean Reilly argued that use of the word “contractual” didn’t guarantee a binding contract because the New Jersey state constitution didn’t allow that. In response, Justice Barry T. Albin asked why, if the Christie administration believed the state constitution prevented such contractual obligations, it signed into law a bill containing them.  “The language is not aspirational,” Albin said. “The language is saying this is a contract.”

Most “experts” seem to think that this law suit will be upheld by the State Supreme Court.  Meaning that Christie will have to pony up the $1.57 Billion by July 1.  That is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak.  Next year’s budget is short as well.  It is allocating only $1.3 Billion to the pension system.  That is about 30% of the state’s required contribution.

What this shows is why state pensions are always in trouble and always being blamed on the workers.  I can’t count how many state pension funds are in trouble.  The fault is not because the employees don’t contribute to their pension funds, it is because states do not contribute their share to the fund.  As a result, over the years, state employee pension funds are falling billions of dollars short.

This is not just a one party problem either.  In New Jersey the last nine administrations, five Republican and four Democratic, failed to properly fund the pension system.  When all of this happens, who gets the blame?  Not the State Legislatures and State Governors who won’t fully fund the pension funds.  NO, they are innocent.  It is all the fault of the State Employees and those damn Unions who help ensure the futures of their members are assured.

The usual argument in these cases, like being used in New Jersey is that these laws and pension funds are “not contracts.”  According to this argument, “promising them a pension is not the same as giving them one.”  But, I believe you will find that there is also what is known as “verbal contracts.”

Governments, Local, State, and Federal, all use pensions to help recruit people to work for them.  The salaries of government workers is usually below the private sector’s pay.  But, when things get tight because of bad economic policies by Governors, like cutting taxes without paying for them, these same workers who were promised a pension when they retired get screwed.

Most of the media is missing the point on this case.  They are claiming this will hurt Christie’s Presidential hopes.  I don’t give a damn about the bully’s presidential hopes.  I care about the millions of State of New Jersey government employees who are once again being screwed by politicians.  Oh, by the way, the Legislature’s and Governor’s pensions are NOT affected by all of this.

I find it truly offensive for any politician to defend this hanky-panky, voodoo economics that only effect those who need it.  Pensions are part of the pay packages in both the public and the private sectors.  It is the responsibility of each State Legislature to ensure their pensions are fully funded and viable.

Sorry, but this type of behavior by politicians is nothing less than criminal in my eyes.  This is nothing short of theft from retired government employees.  All we can ask is “Who’s next?”

I am going to contradict conservative media and say this openly.  This country was founded on the belief that all people are created equal.  It was also founded on the principle that every individual may choose to worship God, gods, or no god at all.  Basically, it was founded to be a secular nation open to everyone.  That is what the separation of church and state in the First Amendment is all about.

For over 200 years, we have lived by those principles.  Our nation grew and became the most democratic and open society the world has ever known.  However, in the last 40 years or so, things have changed.  Radicalism has taken over our discourse.  Religious Radicalism to be exact.

I have spoken about the problems that Radical Islam has let loose on the world.  I have also spoken against any violence for any reason.  The unfortunate side is that Islam is not the sole proprietor of Religious Radicalism.  Every religion in the world has their radical elements.  I don’t care what religion you wish to speak about, radicalism exists in it!

The nations in the middle-east are full of human rights violations.  They openly discriminate against anyone who isn’t a follower of their religion.  They openly discriminate against gays and women.  They are abhorrent in my eyes and they really need to do something about it.  The problem is that the rest of the world is mostly powerless to do anything about it.  Especially as long as the rest of the world depends on oil as their primary source of energy.

We are seeing a similar radicalism in our own country.  We are seeing a group of people trying their very best to enforce and even codify their religious beliefs on the rest of the country.  Except these radicals are supposed to be Christians!  We now have a slew of candidates for the Republican Party’s nomination for President.  Most of the “declared” candidates are doing their very best to pander to this radical religious group.

As a result, I have some questions for our Conservative Christian brothers.

First, the vast majority of conservative Christians claim that climate change doesn’t exist.  Okay, I may let you slide on that one.  But, no one can deny that pollution has increased health issues.  Things like asthma has increased due to the pollution in our air.

Conservative Christians claim that “God created the world.”  Okay, I will even allow for your belief.  But, if that is true as you claim, how can you not be the very loudest ones screaming about pollution?  How can you not demand our legislators to pass laws that will clean up our air?  How can you not demand carbon emission reductions?

Continuing with pollution, we have seen large oil and chemical companies pollute our water and poison our land.  The very water we need to drink to survive and the very land we need to grow our crops.  If the planet was created by God, why aren’t you demanding that the polluters be held accountable for their “crimes against God?”

Why aren’t you demanding your legislators to pass laws that require these polluters to clean up the water and land?  Why aren’t you demanding more regulation to ensure that these polluters are stopped from continuing their pollution?  If God created the world, isn’t it a crime to destroy his work?  Isn’t it a crime to allow others to destroy his work?  Why are the vast majority of Conservative Christians against these laws that will help keep God’s creation viable for future generations?

Conservative Christians claim that they “live by the bible.”  If that is so, and Jesus said to “love your neighbor as you love yourself,” why do you claim it is a religious right to discriminate?  Why are you so eager to pass laws that legalize iscrimination against those very neighbors your savior said you are supposed to love?  You cannot love your neighbor if you discriminate against them.

In the Bible, Jesus tells us we are to take care of the poor, sick, and elderly.  So why are your Conservative Christian politicians continually slashing funding for those very people we are supposed to care for?  Isn’t that a “sin” in the eyes of Jesus?

I am picking on the Conservative Christians in this article only because they are the biggest political force of what I consider religious radicals in this country.  The fact of the matter is, regardless which religion is being used, religious radicalism is very anti-social at best and very evil at worst.

We cannot afford to have a country run by religious fanatics and radicals.  We were founded to be secular nation with individual rights protected by our Constitution.  If we continue listening to these Radical Conservative Christians, we will become no better than countries like Saudi Arabia or other Islamic nations with their versions of Sharia Law.

Religion has no place in our politics, nor our laws.  By imposing religion into our politics and laws, we cannot claim to be exceptional anymore.  We cannot claim to be “the land of the free” anymore.  We will simply become another country run by radicals for the sole purpose of power.

I took an oath years ago to “defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”  I still hold to that oath.  As far as I am concerned, religious radicals are domestic enemies of the constitution and we must defend against them!

Sunday there was another shooting in Texas.  That is nothing new in and of itself, Texas is full of shootings.  Hell, when I lived there, Houston led the nation in armed bank robberies.  What makes this shooting newsworthy, at least in the national media and especially in the conservative media, is that this shooting took place in front of a convention center hosting an anti-Muslim cartoon contest.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative was hosting a competition for drawing the Prophet Muhammad.  Now, I seriously doubt that anyone in this “competition” was attempting to show any respect for the prophet.  More than likely they were mocking the prophet in their “freedom of speech” tantrum.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.  Their leader is an avowed anti-Muslim.  The contest called “Draw Muhammad” is not the first such “draw” contest this group has hosted.

“This terrible incident reflects the need for such conferences,” Geller said. “It’s illustrative of the violent assault on the freedom of speech.” Later, she added, “There is a problem in Islam, as illustrated last night, that anyone who addresses it gets attacked.”

So far, Texas officials have refused to name the suspects.  CNN and ABC identified one of them as Elton Simpson. The shooters’ motive wasn’t immediately clear.  Of course, ISIS claims it planned this attack.  I find that hard to swallow, yet you never know.

The AFDI isn’t new to spewing hate in other ways either.   They drew ire for anti-Islam ads featuring Hitler on San Francisco buses and a burning World Trade Center in New York City subways.  But of course, Geller told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota in a heated discussion that she is not against Islam.

“I’m not concerned with Muslims, especially peaceful Muslims,” Geller said. “I’m anti-Jihad, and anybody who says I’m anti-Muslim is implying that all Muslims support Jihad.”  She even went so far as to call herself a modern-day Rosa Parks.

However, Camerota pointed out that Geller’s selection of Dutch politician Geert Wilders as the event’s keynote speaker suggests otherwise, and read portions of his speech: “Our Judeo-Christian culture is far superior to the Islamic one,” Wilders said. “Islam does not allow free speech, because free speech shows how evil and wrong Islam is. And Islam does not allow humor, because humor shows how foolish and ridiculous it is.”

The unfortunate side of this is that Geller is correct in her belief that she has the right to spew out her hate.  That is covered under the First Amendment.  However, she should not spew out hate against those who disagree with her, because that is also covered under the First Amendment.

I don’t know how this is going to end up.  If it comes out that the shooters were indeed angry about the contest and went there to shoot the place up, conservative media will have a field day.  On the other hand, if it turns out that was not the case, conservative medial will probably say it is all an Obama cover-up.

Whenever these things happen, we are always reminded that terrorism is the sole conduct of Muslims.  We all know that is not the truth, but never let the truth get in the way of a good story.  There is ample proof that Christians are just as guilty of terrorism as anyone else.

Christians call it “free speech” but shouting insults and threats against women who are heading into an abortion clinic is terrorism.  Following workers of abortion clinics home and shouting at them in front of their house is terrorism.  Blowing up abortion clinics is terrorism.  Shooting abortion doctors is terrorism.  These are not fantasies, they have and are still happening.

Look, I know that shouting threats is not the same as shooting someone.  But, if you are the target of those threats, you will understand what terrorism is.  If you were the target of someone you don’t know following you down the street, you will understand what terrorism is.  Shooting a doctor inside his church is terrorism.  Why doesn’t Geller and her organization hold at Draw The Doctor Assassin” contest?

Yes, Geller and her organization have the right to spew forth their hate.  Just like the other hate groups like the Aryan Nation, The KKK, The American Nazi Party and others.  But, we also have the right to shout down their hate lingo.  We have the right to confront their hate by calling them what they are, terrorists.

Please don’t come back at me with any of the usual moral claptrap about Muslims.  Geller, her group, and all of these other “Christian” groups are nothing more than terrorists.  They need to be called out as such.

More than that, they are cowards.  They get others to do their bidding by filling them with hate speech.  Yes, Free Speech is protected under our Constitution.  However, most sane people understand that Free Speech does come with some responsibilities.  Then again, no one ever accused of Geller and these hate groups of being “sane.”

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