Thursday, April 15, 2004

Happy Your Taxes Are Due by Midnight Tonight Day!

Unless, of course, you're filing for an extension. Take heart. There's only about another month or two to go until the money you earn is actually yours and not the governments.
Religious Liberty Case to Keep and Eye On

The SCOTUS will be reviewing an employment case that focuses on the question of whether state law enforcement agencies are exempt from having to comply with the religious accommodation provisions of Title VII (a.k.a. the Federal Civil Rights Act).

The Indiana State Police in South Bend assigned Benjamin Endres Jr. as a full-time gaming commission agent at the Blue Chips Casino in Michigan City, Ind. His job description listed gambling-related responsibilities, such as verifying gambling profits, investigating public complaints about the gaming system and performing license investigations for the casinos and their employees.

Endres claimed these duties would force him to violate his Baptist beliefs, which bar him from participating in or facilitating gambling. Endres asked his employer to reassign him. His request was denied, and when Endres failed to report to work he was fired.

After Endres filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, the police agency sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that Indiana officials were protected from the Title VII claim by the state's sovereign immunity. But in December 2001, U.S. District Judge Robert Miller Jr. ruled against the state, saying that Endres could go ahead with his Title VII claim.

On appeal, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals saw the case differently. In an opinion last year by Judge Frank Easterbrook, the 7th Circuit reversed Miller, ruling that Endres had not made a valid Title VII claim. Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer joined in the opinion, which did not touch on the state immunity question.

Easterbrook said the law could not be interpreted to allow police or firefighters to pick and choose which laws to enforce or which fires to extinguish. Noting religious preferences such as Catholics' opposition to abortions and Jewish and Muslim bans on eating pork, Easterbrook asked rhetorically whether the law requires the state police "to assign Unitarians to guard the abortion clinic, Catholics to prevent thefts from liquor stores, and Baptists to investigate claims that supermarkets misweigh bacon and shellfish?"

Easterbrook continued: "Juggling assignments to make each compatible with the varying religious beliefs of a heterogeneous police force would be daunting to managers and difficult for other officers who would be called on to fill in for the objectors."

OK, I've never read the full decision by the 7th Circuit, but the quoted comments by Easterbrook are incredibly asinine if only because he ignores that part of Title VII which states that employers do not have to accommodate the religious beliefs of an employee if doing so would impose an "undue hardship" on them (the employers). Certainly, not having enough people to put out a fire would give rise to an undue hardship, but for Easterbrook to effectively compare firefighting to something like verifying the gambling profits of a casino is out there, and seems to be reflective of a personal hostility to people of religious faith.

Update: The SCOTUS has declined to review the case. Speculation is that the Court has "religion fatigue."

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Catholic Politician Scorecard

Brought to you by the Democrat Party, and coming soon to a political campaign near you. Look for the scorecards to show that pro-abortion and pro-homogamy Catholic Democrats are legislatively "more faithful" to the Church than pro-life and pro-family Catholic Republicans. In the meantime, the USCCB continues to collectively show it's lack of backbone in dealing with blatantly disobedient Catholic politicians.

A preliminary copy of the scorecard obtained by The Hill, which a Lampson aide emphasized is still unfinished, shows that the 67 Catholic House Democrats received an average score of 76 percent, while the 49 Catholic Republican members averaged 64 percent.

Republican Catholic members were quick to criticize the scorecard.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said both the bishops and the Democrats are confusing means with motives. “Many of the issues they’re talking about really have nothing to do with actual Catholic teaching or religion,” he said. “It is interpretation of economic policy.”


Meanwhile, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, told “Fox News Sunday” that he is reluctant to deprive a Catholic politician who deviates from Catholic teaching of Communion and would only do so as a last resort.

Monahan said a task force in the conference has been assembled to develop a policy for dealing with Catholic politicians whose positions do not reflect Catholic teaching.

But in a report published in March, the conference stated that Catholics should not become single-issue voters: “The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine.”

The task force “is looking at everything,” said Monahan, adding, “It’s not formed around Senator Kerry or members of Congress. It’s dealing with Catholic politicians at all levels. Everything is on the table. They haven’t got too far down the line in their work yet. You’re dealing with a lot of bishops and a lot of points of view.”
Liberal and Deadbeats?

The new liberal talk radio network featuring "Stuart Smalley" has been suddenly yanked off the air in L.A. and Chicago. The shutdown is being attributed to a bounced check that the network apparently issued to the radio station owner. (news link via Drudge)

Forget Nader

Vader 2004!

Had enough of traditional politicians? Even the best of them can be intimidated by the likes of Tom Daschle. The kind of tough, uncompromising leadership that the Free World requires likely only exists in the land of fictional characters.

Enter Lord Vader. It is impossible to imagine Lord Vader bending over backwards to a pipsqueak like Daschle. Rather if Daschle got out of line at a meeting, Lord Vader would simply use the Force to constrict his windpipe and achieve what had hitherto been considered impossible: he'd shut him up.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

For Once, It's Not A Jesuit School

Not that it makes it any better, of course. From LifeSite:

Catholic Seton Hall University to Award Pro-Abortion Judge

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ, April 12, 2004 ( - On Friday, April 16, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a notoriously pro-abortion judge who voted to strike down the partial-birth abortion laws of more than 30 states, is presenting the annual "Sandra Day O'Connor Medal of Honor" to Judge Maryanne Trump Barry (Sister of Donald Trump) of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Trump Barry is the pro-abortion author of the opinion striking down the New Jersey partial-birth abortion statute.

Seton Hall is a Catholic arm of the Archdiocese of Newark. The Seton Hall website states that it is "the oldest diocesan university in the United States" and testifies that "Seton Hall is Catholic not only by its charter and mission, but also by its ongoing spirit and activity."

Despite this lip service to its Catholic tradition, Seton Hall Law School -- which has a faculty riddled with pro-abortion professors and has no record of honoring any pro-life heroes -- is once again creating a major scandal by honoring prominent pro-abortion figures.

Critics are encouraging concerned citizens to contact the Archbishop of Newark, the President of the University and the Dean of the Law School to protest the awards and to demand that the award ceremony be canceled and that the Law School's sponsorship of this annual award be terminated.

Contact information
Archbishop John Myers

Msgr. Robert Sheeran

Dean Patrick Hobbs

Monday, April 12, 2004

Cynical Old Fart

Did somebody forget to take his pills?

Andy Rooney: U.S. soldiers in Iraq aren't heroes. (link via Drudge)

Treating soldiers fighting their war as brave heroes is an old civilian trick designed to keep the soldiers at it. But you can be sure our soldiers in Iraq are not all brave heroes gladly risking their lives for us sitting comfortably back here at home.

Our soldiers in Iraq are people, young men and women, and they behave like people - sometimes good and sometimes bad, sometimes brave, sometimes fearful. It's disingenuous of the rest of us to encourage them to fight this war by idolizing them.

We pin medals on their chests to keep them going. We speak of them as if they volunteered to risk their lives to save ours, but there isn't much voluntary about what most of them have done. A relatively small number are professional soldiers. During the last few years, when millions of jobs disappeared, many young people, desperate for some income, enlisted in the Army. About 40 percent of our soldiers in Iraq enlisted in the National Guard or the Army Reserve to pick up some extra money and never thought they'd be called on to fight. They want to come home.

One indication that not all soldiers in Iraq are happy warriors is the report recently released by the Army showing that 23 of them committed suicide there last year. This is a dismaying figure. If 22 young men and one woman killed themselves because they couldn't take it, think how many more are desperately unhappy but unwilling to die.