Monday, May 5, 2014
From: Gary L. Bauer
Good News & Bad News On Religious Liberty
The Supreme Court handed down a decision today on the constitutionality of prayers at government events. The case before the court concerned the town of Greece, New York, which opened its board meetings with a roll call, the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer delivered by local clergy.
Two residents sued the town because the prayers were predominantly Christian. In its defense, the town argued that it wasn’t discriminating because “nearly all of the local congregations are Christian.”
Here’s the good news: The Supreme Court today upheld public prayers, even Christian prayers, at government meetings in 5-to-4 decision.
But that is the bad news too! The free exercise of religion depends on just one vote.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, which was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, with Justices Thomas and Scalia concurring in separate opinions. Justice Elena Kagan, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Sotomayor, ruled against the town of Greece.
Now a win is a win. But don’t miss the fact that this victory for religious liberty was won by the narrowest of margins. One more liberal appointment and the Supreme Court could easily ban prayers before town council meetings and legislative sessions. If that were to happen, our Pledge of Allegiance and the national motto would surely be next.
Your vote at the ballot box has a direct impact on our federal courts. Federal judges, including those on the Supreme Court, are appointed (by the president) and confirmed (by the Senate) by the men and women we elect to public office.
Scandal At The VA
Two weeks ago, Dr. Sam Foote told news outlets that the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system was maintaining two sets of books — an official, “sham” list showing that most appointments and treatments were being conducted on time, and the real list showing that many wait times extended for months. Dr. Foote believes that dozens of veterans died as a result of these long waits.
The VA aggressively denied Dr. Foote’s allegations, and the story soon disappeared. Yet the VA doesn’t dispute the problem. The Free Beacon reports, “A Veterans Affairs fact sheet released in April said 23 patients at VA medical facilities nationwide with gastrointestinal cancers died after they could not get the colonoscopies or other tests that had been ordered within the deadlines…”
Talk about “death panels.”
Now a second whistleblower, Dr. Katherine Mitchell, has come forward. According to Dr. Mitchell, VA bureaucrats at the Phoenix hospital are destroying evidence. Dr. Mitchell told the Arizona Republic:
“I had no doubts they were capable of destroying evidence, or altering evidence. So there I am, a 47-year-old doctor with two degrees, trying to figure out where to hide stuff. I spent my whole professional life wanting to be a VA nurse, and then a VA physician. [But] the insanity in the system right now needs to stop, and whatever I can do to accomplish that, I will.”
The fact that this is happening to men and women who risked their lives for our country is a national disgrace.
Tears For Murderers?
I suspect you have heard about the botched execution in Oklahoma. It made the network news and the Sunday talk shows. Instead of dying quickly and peacefully, Clayton Lockett’s execution lasted roughly 40 minutes and he died of a heart attack.
This is being held up as proof positive of the inhumanity of the death penalty. There is lots of talk about the lack of mercy that was shown to Lockett and how much he suffered in his final moments. But little has been said about why Lockett was on death row.
He was involved in the 1999 murder of a teenage girl. Lockett and two others shot Stephanie Neiman and buried her alive. Isn’t it amazing that the media didn’t see fit to shed a tear over Neiman’s suffering?
Lockett was given the ultimate penalty because he was guilty of a horrific crime. But 1,500 unborn babies, guilty of absolutely nothing, will be given the ultimate penalty today. There will be no court hearings, no appeals. They were not accused of anything and they have not been convicted of anything.
The cultural elites wanted us to know every excruciating detail of what happened to this murderer when the drugs did not work properly. But our elites shrug at evidence that babies feel pain and try to avoid the death-dealing instruments of the abortionists. The media will not tell the American public what happens when a saline solution is injected into a pregnant woman.
Good people who care about the sanctity of life are divided over the death penalty and I respect those who have another view. But I have nothing but scorn for the leftists who shed crocodile tears for murderers while they accuse anyone who speaks up for an innocent unborn child of engaging in a “war on women.”
The media are all too happy to advocate that narrative. For more on the media’s silence on abortion’s atrocities, read my latest column at The Daily Caller.
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