Congress is now far more aware of the Kermit Gosnell story, the abortionist on trial for murder in Philadelphia, and some members on Capitol Hill are none too happy with media coverage of the atrocities of which he is accused, instantanalysis.net reports. The Susan B. Anthony List and Pennsylvania Family Institute teamed up for a showing of the film 3801 Lancaster before members of Congress and their staff. The documentary details the filthy conditions of Gosnell’s abortion clinic with interviews with some of the victims. Mallory Quigley of Susan B. Anthony List told American Family News the showing had an impact. “As our president Marjorie Dannenfelser said, this really fuels the flames of our efforts on the Hill to see babies protected, especially past the point at which they can feel pain,” Quigley shares. “So it was a really good opportunity to get the staffers at the federal level aware of this situation in Philadelphia—and we hope to see some legislation move forward.” Along with that, 72 members of Congress have signed onto a letter by Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) and Congressman Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) demanding that the media pay more attention to the Gosnell trial, coverage of which has been largely absent. Accompanying the letters to ABC, CBS, and NBC, Blackburn released this statement: “The broadcasters’ blackout of the Planned Parenthood infanticide lobbying scandal and the Gosnell ‘House of Horrors’ murder trial are the biggest and most politically-motivated media cover-ups in our nation’s history. Censorship and media bias allows the corrupt abortion industry to profit at the expense of innocent women and children. The mainstream media has a responsibility to report the truth, not turn a blind eye to the biggest civil rights issue of our time.” Quigley acknowledges that media presence at the trial in Philadelphia has increased. “But still, some of the mainstream outlets—including CBS and NBC—have really been lacking in their coverage,” she explained. “So we’re grateful to Marsha Blackburn and her colleagues on Capitol Hill for continuing to push for more media coverage on this.” Gosnell is on trial on murder charges in the death of an abortion patient, and the deaths of seven babies born alive but killed when the abortionist used scissors to sever their spines at the neck.
- The attack on the Boston marathon “was jihad,” former Bush attorney general Michael Mukasey believes, dailycaller.com reports. In an op-ed titled “Make No Mistake, It Was Jihad,” published Sunday in The Wall Street Journal, Mukasey explained that those who were concerned about the two suspects—Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev—can rest easy knowing Tamerlan is dead and that Dzhokhar is in custody. He notes, however, that if one’s concern is who and what the Tsarnaev brother represent, “then worry—a lot.” Mukasey, who served as attorney general under former President Bush from 2007 to 2009, points a finger at the Obama administration’s politically correct approach to terrorist threats as a reason for concern. “At the behest of such Muslim Brotherhood–affiliated groups as the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America, and other self-proclaimed spokesmen for American Muslims, the FBI has bowdlerized its training materials to exclude references to militant Islamism. Does this delicacy infect the FBI’s interrogation group as well?” Mukasey writes of the FBI’s High-Value Interrogation Group, which handled the 2009 Christmas Day underwear bomber. Mukasey continued, “Will we see another performance like the Army’s after-action report following Maj. Nidal Hasan’s rampage at Fort Hood in November 2009, preceded by his shout ‘allahu akhbar’—a report that spoke nothing of militant Islam but referred to the incident as ‘workplace violence’? If tone is set at the top, recall that the Army chief of staff at the time said the most tragic result of Fort Hood would be if it interfered with the Army’s diversity program,” he wrote. Mukasey advises that the investigation into the Tsarnaev brothers and the Boston bombing should include a “deep dive” into how the pair became radicalized. He added that Tamerlan is the fifth person since 9/11 to engage in terrorism after FBI questioning, and he named the preceding four. He said the CIA also received warnings about the underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Meanwhile, reuters.com reports that Canadian police said on Monday they had arrested and charged two men with plotting to derail a Toronto-area passenger train in an operation they say was backed by al Qaeda elements in Iran. “Had this plot been carried out, it would have resulted in innocent people being killed or seriously injured,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police official James Malizia told reporters in Toronto. WorldNetDaily says it has learned that Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Forces, ordered reconnaissance and intelligence gathering on various events and public gatherings in the United States years ago, culminating in the bombings at the Boston Marathon one week ago. According to a source within Iran’s intelligence services, the Islamic regime’s Quds Forces, a special unit of the Revolutionary Guards in charge of extraterritorial operations, have done extensive planning on gatherings, events, and high-value targets in the United States for some time, but for two years focused on events such as the Boston Marathon.
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), appearing Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, said the FBI dropped the ball on Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects, cnsnews.com reports. In 2011, responding to concerns raised by the Russian government, the FBI looked into Tamerlan’s activities, but the FBI said its one interview with him did not turn up any terrorism concerns. A year later, Tamerlan spent six months in Russia, and the question is, with whom did he meet while there? Sen. Graham said that anyone brought to the FBI’s attention by a foreign government should be red-flagged: “The ball was dropped in one of two ways: The FBI missed a lot of things is one potential answer, or our laws do not allow the FBI to follow up in a sound, solid way.”
- The firing of a teacher at Bishop Watterson Catholic High School after it was learned she was involved in a long-term homosexual relationship may pit the Catholic diocese against a Columbus, Ohio, city ordinance barring employers from discriminating based on sexuality, lifenews.com reports. Gym instructor Carla Hale, 57, was fired last week after an anonymous parent wrote the Diocese of Columbus to complain because in an obituary for Hale’s mother, Hale was listed as a survivor alongside her longtime lesbian partner, Julie. Hale signed a morality clause as part of her contract, affirming that “Catholic school personnel are expected to be examples of moral behavior and professionalism,” and acknowledging her employment could be terminated for “immorality” or “serious unethical conduct.” Because the Roman Catholic Church holds homosexual behavior to be gravely immoral, the Diocese of Columbus found her to be in violation of her contract, and fired her. Now Hale wants her job back. She has filed a grievance with the teachers’ union, and her lawyer, Thomas Tootle, told the Columbus Dispatch that if Hale’s union grievance does not succeed, her next step will be to sue under the city’s anti-discrimination law. That means the diocesan officials who fired Hale may soon face legal action from the city of Columbus, fines, and possibly even jail time. Columbus city law deems it a misdemeanor for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on sexual preference. It is also illegal for employers to have policies that discriminate based on sexual preference. There is no exemption for religious organizations or other employers who object to homosexuality on religious grounds. A guilty verdict carries penalties of up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The Diocese of Columbus refused to comment on the case, citing the confidentiality of personnel matters. Hale’s is the latest in a series of firings of Catholic school teachers who have publicly opposed the church’s teaching on homosexuality. Another Ohio Catholic high school teacher, Mike Moroski of Cincinnati, was let go in February after posting on his blog that he supports same-sex marriage. Rather than fight the diocese, Morski launched a political career. Al Fischer, an openly homosexual music teacher in St. Louis, was fired from a Catholic school and church last year after announcing he was traveling to New York to marry his same-sex partner. Although none of those cases resulted in legal action, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in January that religious employees of religious organizations cannot sue for employment discrimination. The Court defined “religious employees” as “employees of religious organizations who have religious teaching authority.”
- Prosecutors are seeking a 45-year sentence for the man who pleaded guilty to plotting an attack at the Family Research Council’s Washington, D.C., headquarters in August 2012. Floyd Corkins II of Virginia never got past the building’s lobby thanks to a security guard, worldmag.com reports. Leo Johnson tackled and subdued Corkins, but not before the attacker fired three shots, hitting the guard in the arm. After Corkins’ arrest, police found nearly 100 rounds of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his backpack. Corkins, 28, told authorities he planned to shoot as many people as possible and smear the sandwiches in their faces as a political statement. The volunteer for The DC Center for the LGBT Community was angry over the position conservatives, including Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy, have taken on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. In court documents filed Friday, government prosecutors said their sentencing recommendation is based on Corkins’ intent. Without Johnson’s intervention, the attacker “would have almost certainly succeeded in committing a massacre of epic portions,” the filing said. “Although the defendant largely failed to bring about the violence he sought, he was still able to accomplish one of his objectives—that is, to use acts of violence to terrorize and intimidate those within the District of Columbia and the United States who did not share his political beliefs and views,” government attorneys wrote. Corkins told authorities he wanted to make a bomb but didn’t have the patience. He bought the gun used in the attack in Virginia a week before walking into the Family Research Council headquarters claiming to have an internship interview. He took a private firearms training course the night before. And the FRC’s 50 employees were not Corkins’ only intended victims. When he was arrested, police found a list of four conservative organizations on a piece of paper that included a portion of Matthew 19:26 printed on it: “With God, all things are possible.” Authorities have not released the names of the other organizations but did confirm Corkins planned to target them next if he hadn’t been caught.
- A Massachusetts police official says the brothers suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon before having shootouts with authorities didn’t have gun permits, reports politicaloutcast.com, noting that their illegal possession of guns didn’t stop these two men from getting guns illegally and using them to kill MIT campus cop Sean Collier. If they had more opportunity, they most likely would have killed more people. Criminals don’t care about laws. The two alleged bombers killed and maimed people at the finish line of the Boston Marathon using devices that contained legal substances. The criminality of the bombing was in the act, not in the materials used. All the gun laws in the world, including confiscation, will not stop some people from getting and using guns and using them in an illegal way. In fact, it won’t stop them from using any means to kill if they really want to. People have used automobiles to kill. The same is true for baseball bats, knives, bow and arrows, and bare hands. And as we saw in Boston on April 15, pressure cookers, nails, and ball bearings. “Bats, both wooden and metal, are extremely popular because under the law, they are not a weapon but a recreational tool,” law enforcement officials say. Drug dealers and jealous lovers in Pennsylvania know that if they use bats, they will not be treated as severely by the judicial system as if they had used a gun, which carries a five-year mandatory sentence. If someone wants to kill people, he will find a way to do it regardless of what the law demands. Nearly 200 people each year are killed with knives. Clubs and hammers add another 500. Hands, fists, and feet result in the deaths of nearly 800.
- On Friday, the Boy Scouts of America announced a resolution that would maintain its current membership policy with one change involving youth members, heritage.org reports. Approximately 1,400 Scouting members will vote on the resolution the week of May 20. Current membership standards affirm belief in God, require members to do the same, and forbid open or avowed homosexuality. The resolution announced on Friday reaffirms belief in God as a core value of Scouting and maintains the current policy regarding open or avowed homosexuality for “all adult leaders.” Under the change proposed by the resolution, “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” Currently, the BSA states only that it does not “proactively inquire” about sexual orientation. The proposed change creates some tension with Scouting’s previous statement that “if same-sex attraction is going to be introduced or discussed, it should be with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting—but outside of the Scouting program.” However, it appears the proposed change in policy would still allow for enforcement of membership standards involving prohibitions on sexual conduct. The introduction section of the resolution specifically states that “Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.” Nevertheless, some Scouting parents and volunteers, along with religious organizations that sponsor Scouting units, will likely have concerns that the policy change would undermine their ability to promote traditional understandings of sexual responsibility and ideals involving fatherhood, marriage, and family through Scouting programs. Further, even those who support the proposed policy change have grounds for concern that small changes they do support will lead to bigger changes they do not support. A documented body of evidence reveals that incrementalism is a key strategy of activists seeking to promote new norms involving homosexuality. In addition, many activists pressuring BSA to abandon its moral viewpoints will be unsatisfied with the proposed policy change and might even argue that it undermines other policies BSA seeks to uphold. If Scouting members approve the proposed resolution, BSA can expect further litigation and continued pressure from professional activist groups, corporate donors, and lawmakers. The particular nature of the resolution it proposed shows that BSA is seeking a carefully considered solution to the controversy surrounding its longstanding, morally based membership policies. However, the threat of renewed legal and political overreach, combined with unrelenting pressure from professional activist groups with far-ranging agendas, provides justifiable grounds for people and groups to resist the policy change even if they otherwise have no objection to its substance.
- A Pennsylvania woman made her first trip to the Holy Land—at 104 years of age. The Israel Ministry of Tourism reports that Eleanor Hall went along with three generations of her family members and members of her church. The trip included visits to Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, and the Old City of Jerusalem, among other destinations in Israel. Mrs. Hall and her family were also feted at a special reception in her honor at the Israel Consulate in Philadelphia, prior to their visit to Israel.