Lebanon acquits Canadian missionary
Citing a "lack of evidence," a Lebanese military tribunal on Monday cleared Canadian missionary Bruce Balfour, who went to the country to replant its biblical cedars, of charges that he was a spy for Israel.
However, the court convicted him of "inciting sectarian sentiments [through] activities that stirred confessional dissension," and barred him from returning to the country for five years. He was deported this morning. The court also sentenced him to a year's imprisonment on the religious charge, but said the seven weeks he'd served in jail were punishment enough. He was also ordered to pay a #100,000-fine (about $66, or CA$92).
"This sentence does not fall under the privileges of the military court," one of Balfour's lawyers, Ibrahim al-Hariri, told Reuters. "This is a foreigner who is not subject to that court."
One of Balfour's coworkers, tried in absentia, received the same verdicts and sentences.
Murderer will be executed today—and prolife organizations don't support him
Perhaps if prolife organizations were more proactive in their denunciations of psychopaths like Paul Hill rather than waiting for reporters to call, media outlets wouldn't be quite so prone to portray antiabortionists as supportive of his actions. Or at least reporters would be less able to portray the movement as divided.
But probably not. So long as there's a kook out there who says violence against abortionists is justified, he'll get quoted and given equal weight with organizations that have actual constituencies.
For the record, here's what some of those organizations are saying about Hill, who will be executed this evening for his 1994 murder of a doctor and an abortion clinic volunteer in Pensacola, Florida:
"We and other prolife organizations are against violence, period. What he did is definitely not anything that anyone I know of supports."— Erik Whittington, American Life League, to WJXT.
"Prolife means that you think that every life is created by God and it is sacred because it was created by God, so we wouldn't advocate the killing of anybody, regardless of what they had done. Obviously, some people are trying to make Paul Hill out to be some kind of martyr. He's not; he's a murderer who deserves whatever punishment the state deems appropriate." — American Life League Vice President Jim Sedlak, to CNSNews.com.
"He's not a prolifer, as far as I'm concerned. Osama bin Laden acted out of conviction, too." —Tom Glessner, director of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, to WJXT.
"If you are prolife, you do not kill to defend life. That is absurd. To say that you are going to take the life of an abortionist because it is justifiable is a contradiction." — Lynda Bell, spokeswoman for Florida Right to Life, to CNSNews.com.
"Paul Hill did our cause no favors. You don't kill abortionists. You try to convert them peacefully." — Joe Scheidler of the Prolife Action League, to The Christian Science Monitor.
"By unloading his shotgun into Dr. Britton's car that day, he committed a supreme act of cowardice and became the very thing he said he despised. He became a murderer, just like the doctors who carry out abortion and just like the women who choose it." — Operation Rescue executive director Flip Benham, to The Christian Science Monitor.
"Not only do I not agree with Paul Hill, I consider him a heretic." — Benham, to Reuters.
"Christ did not come to save us with a Molotov cocktail in one hand and a dagger between his teeth; he came to lay his life down so that others might live. What Paul Hill did was directly the opposite." — Benham, to The Washington Post.
"It's wrong to take the life of an unborn child, but it is equally wrong to take the life of an abortionist or his worker." — Ed Martin, head of Rescue America, to The Orlando Sentinel.
"I don't see him as a martyr for the cause. He deserves the death penalty. What he did was not right, and capital punishment is God's mandate" — Legal Action for Women founder Vicki Conroy, to The Orlando Sentinel.
"He won't be a martyr for me. He had no authority to take those two lives, at least not in my mind. I believe that justifiable homicide involves a spontaneous action, not lying in wait like he did." Meredith Raney, spokeswoman for Christians for Life in Melbourne, Fla., to Florida Today.
Weblog has been unable to turn up any media comment or online press releases from most of the major prolife organizations. This may be because the prolife community is truly divided on capital punishment—but it is absolutely not divided on abortion violence.
"The sooner I'm executed, the sooner that whatever will happen next will happen," Hill told reporters yesterday. "I expect a great reward in heaven." Reward is absolutely the wrong word. Today, the prolife community is united in grieving for the 4,000 children aborted today, for the families of those murdered by Hill, and for the divine judgment Hill is about to receive.
Shari'ah's slippery slope
Remember when Nigeria's Muslims promised that Islamic law in that country's northern states would apply only to Muslims? And remember when Christians expressed doubt? Guess who was right.
Ten Commandments: Roy Moore:
- Moore in spotlight now, but future uncertain | Not surprisingly, national attention has generated speculation about Moore's future political plans. It also raises questions about the level of Moore's influence among Alabama voters. (Patrick Cotter and James Stovall, The Birmingham News)
- Alabama chief justice: 'Judges can't make the law' | Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore plans to file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court next month (CNN)
- Commandments removed, but Alabama judge unmoved | "It's not even an open issue, no matter what the Supreme Court says," Chief Justice Moore's attorney, Herbert W. Titus, said in an interview. "We live under a tyranny of judges, and that is not the American system." (The Washington Times)
Ten Commandments: What's next?:
- Ruling expected on monument suit | U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, who last year ruled that Chief Justice Roy Moore's display of the Ten Commandments monument was unconstitutional, is expected today to make another decision regarding the fate of the 2-ton display in the rotunda of the Judicial Building (Montgomery Advertiser)
- Court to hear Moore case seldom ousts judges | Moore will be the first chief justice, and the most prominent judge, ever brought before the state Court of the Judiciary, which can reprimand, suspend or remove a judge from office for ethical misconduct (The Birmingham News)
- Two tablets may renew a high court headache | Disputes in Alabama, other states prompt call for Supreme Court to issue definitive ruling (The Washington Post)
- Ousted memorial offered a home | Invitations have been issued by Mississippi and North Carolina to display Alabama's 5,300-pound controversial Ten Commandments monument in those two states (Montgomery Advertiser)
- Christian duty | I know that the removal of the monument might have seemed like a heartbreaking defeat, but I have found a loophole where we can make a public statement of our faith that is even more difficult to remove than two tons of engraved granite: Help pass the tax reform. (Brian Erickson, The Birmingham News)
- Moore continues to lead charge | Moore continued to be at the center of attention with a sit-down media roundtable, while the pro-monument crowd swelled in number and three big-name supporters swept into town to endorse his cause (Montgomery Advertiser)
Ten Commandments: Other personalities:
- The other Ten Commandments judge | Who is Myron Thompson? (Mobile Register)
- Pryor committed | Attorney general proves he would make excellent judge (Editorial, The Birmingham News)
- Also: Has Pryor helped or hurt chances? | Role in Moore case again raises issue on his record (The Birmingham News)
- Houston: Civilization needs rule of law | A profile of Gorman Houston, acting chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court (The Birmingham News)
- Moore's audacious attorney | Herb Titus is no pragmatist (Mobile Register)
- AG's opinion: No vacancies on Court of the Judiciary | Nine-member panel will try Chief Justice Roy Moore on charges of violating judicial ethics rules (Mobile Register)
Ten Commandments: Oppositional opinion:
- A moving experience | In spending moral capital on symbols like the Ten Commandments, the Alabama protesters settle for a lesser power and squander the life-changing power that is uniquely theirs to proclaim (Cal Thomas)
- Monumental blunder | Ten Commandments could be on display but for Moore (Editorial, The Birmingham News)
- Attempt to vilify is contemptible | Chief Justice Roy Moore and his supporters are entitled to their opinions about the monument. But when they start to pull the good names of the eight associate chief justices and the state attorney general through the mud for simply doing their sworn duty to uphold the law, they go too far (Editorial, Montgomery Advertiser)
- Etched in stone | For better or worse, the situation has brought the national and international spotlight back on our state and re-ignited the sparks of the church and state debate (Editorial, The Huntsville Times)
- No Ten Commandments in an Alabama courthouse | Moore's band of Alabama Christians believe in freedom of religion but only for themselves (Bill Press, Nashville City Paper)
- A monument to religious extremism | Neither Moore's extreme nor that of overzealous proponents of strict separation of church and states is good for the Republic—or for religion. (Cathy Young, The Boston Globe)
- Roy's Rock: No place in a courthouse | Americans have our own struggles with theocracy and democracy (Ellen Goodman, The Washington Post)
- Blasphemy and the 10 Commandments | The true place of honor for the Ten Commandments is not a state courthouse, but the churches and synagogues of America. An even better place is deep inside our hearts (Bob Schieffer, CBSNews.com)
- Activists ignore sources of law | American law overwhelmingly derives, as you would imagine, from English common law and especially from Sir William Blackstone's magisterial "Commentaries On the Law of England," a legal best seller in the crucial period when the American Revolution was gestating (Editorial, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla.)
- Reckoning with Roy's Rock | Most of those rallying to Moore's cause are members of conservative groups, some of whom are still trying to distort the history of the civil rights struggle and use its gains to further their own ends (Jabari Asim, The Washington Post)
- Alabama chief justice is wrong | Leader of state's high court showed disrespect for law (Editorial, The News-Press, southwest Fla.)
Ten Commandments: Other opinion:
- Carved in stone | Justice Moore seems to have done something many of the sophisticates apparently have not done: he seems to have read the Constitution (Jay Ambrose, The Washington Times)
- Separation anxieties misplaced | The removal of the monument was unnecessary to preserve the constitutional separation of church and state that monument critics hope to champion (Battle Creek Enquirer, Mich.)
- Difference of opinions shows on monument | High school students speak (The Huntsville Times)
Ten Commandments: Recent developments:
- Hidden display gets judge's okay | Support for the Ten Commandments monument continued Friday night on a day when U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson said the state is in compliance with his order to remove the monument from public view (Montgomery Advertiser)
- Missing display doesn't stop protesters | Dozens of monument supporters curiously peered through the glass door in front of the state Judicial Building. They wanted to see for themselves that the two-ton granite Ten Commandments monument was no longer there (Montgomery Advertiser)
Ten Commandments: Other stories:
- Ala. monument fight divides Christians | Divide blows apart the myth that evangelical Protestants are in lock step on the issues (The Denver Post)
- Students view history lesson in the making | Area teachers fold the Ten Commandments monument into classwork (Montgomery Advertiser)
- Conflict brings national spotlight | Suddenly, the latest developments in Baghdad became secondary news (Montgomery Advertiser)
- Some glad monument's gone (Montgomery Advertiser)
Ten Commandments: Church and state:
- Upholding the law | In Alabama, the placement of a monument raises questions about church and state' (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Also: Arguments hinge on 'nonreligion' as religion (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Religious, state lines vaporous | Church and state are so intimately wedded that it would be impossible to untangle the dance (The News-Star, Monroe, La.)
- When religion and law collide | Christians say the removal of a monument in Alabama doesn't affect their faith (York Daily Record, Pa.)
- 'God Bless America' splits US | Despite defeat in the battle to keep the stone, the angry voices of hundreds of Christian demonstrators in state capital Montgomery are still reverberating across the US in what one church minister described as the start of a "second American Revolution" (Scotland on Sunday)
Ten Commandments: The protesters:
- Dozens continue prayer vigil | Only a few dozen people remained on the steps of the state Judicial Building Monday afternoon—a meager turnout compared to the thousands that flocked to the site last week in support of Roy Moore's Ten Commandments monument (Montgomery Advertiser)
- Leaders create national campaign | The "spirit of Montgomery"—in the form of a grass-roots movement to publicly display the Ten Commandments—is going national, organizers announced Saturday to hundreds of supporters (Montgomery Advertiser)
- Dobson, Keyes urge reining in courts | Television psychologist James Dobson urged a crowd of about 2,000 Thursday to let Congress know how upset they are with federal court rulings that forced the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building rotunda (The Birmingham News)
- Protesters want monument back | The 2.5-ton granite slab inscribed with the Ten Commandments was still shielded from public view Thursday, inside a small room at the Alabama Judicial Building. But those supporting its public display grew much more visible outside (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Christian commentator criticizes judges | James Dobson said federal judges are "determined to shove their beliefs down our throats" (Associated Press)
- Role excites Capital City ministers | National religious leaders who rallied to the defense of the Ten Commandments monument passed the torch Sunday night to Montgomery area ministers who will carry on what they see as a cause for religious liberty (Montgomery Advertiser)
- Ballad funds support monument fight | Bill Monaghan's re-released CD, "Ballad of Judge Roy Moore," may not make the countdown on MTV, but the song is all about rock—the Ten Commandments monument, that is (Montgomery Advertiser)
- Alabama calling | Protesters: Thou shalt not let this ruling stand (Newsday, Long Island, N.Y.)
- Moore supporters continue fight (Mobile Register)
- Donors bring food to supporters | Those manning the monument watch have received donations and food since they pitched their spiritual tents outside the state Judicial Building a week ago (Montgomery Advertiser)
Commandments: Controversies outside Alabama
- No lawsuit planned in Missouri | ACLU attorney calls TV reports on monument at Capitol misleading (Jefferson City News Tribune, Mo.)
- Commandments spark First Amendment dispute | Nearly every board that meets in Lenoir County has a prayer before starting meetings, but if those board members wanted to post the Ten Commandments in their meeting halls, chances are they would be strongly criticized, and possibly sued (The Free Press, Kinston, N.C.)
- Judge stands by Ten Commandments | Judge Scott Wyckmans display will stand for now in Gallatin County Justice Court (Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Mont.)
- 'Godly' video creator admits some quotes not confirmed | A plaintiff in the Freedom From Religion Foundation's lawsuit to move the monument fears what he calls false claims in the video might have influenced La Crosse Common Council members in their decision to fight a U.S. district court order to move the monument (La Crosse Tribune, Wisc.)
Did gospel music come from Scotland?
- Black music from Scotland? It could be the gospel truth | Willie Ruff, an Afro-American professor of music at Yale, is adamant—he has traced the origins of gospel music to Scotland (Scotland on Sunday)
- American academic believes gospel singing owes origin to Scots | Willie Ruff, of Yale University, has put forward the theory that the style of leading the congregation on each line of the lyrics owes more to the Free Church of Scotland's style of psalm singing than to the days of American slavery (The Press and Journal, Aberdeen, Scotland)
- Blogging for God | Web sites serve as spiritual diaries, chronicling opinions and musings on faith (The Dallas Morning News)
- Blogging my religion | For many, the Internet supplies a safe forum to debate matters of spirituality and tradition (Mobile Register, Ala.)
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