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Missouri Family E-News

October 25, 2011



Attorney Who Prosecuted Planned Parenthood May Lose Law License

 

 

In an outrageous episode of legal injustice, former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline may be stripped of his license to practice law.  A three member panel of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys has voted to suspend Kline's law license on an indefinite basis.  The panel claimed that Kline engaged in "ethical misconduct."

 

What Kline actually did was dare to take on Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.  During his tenure as Johnson County prosecutor, Kline filed legal charges against Planned Parenthood involving 107 counts of alleged violations of state law.

 

Kline claimed that Planned Parenthood was performing late-term abortions and covering them up by falsifying medical records.  He alleged that Planned Parenthood employees altered sonogram results to make it appear that the preborn children were not viable.  Kline also charged that Planned Parenthood failed to report repeated incidents of sexual abuse and statutory rape.    

 

"The Kansas legal ethics process is being used to punish political opponents,"  Kline says.  "This is the latest chapter of a Sebelius-appointed court covering up for a Sebelius political benefactor to protect the flow of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood. "

 

"Even so, the dominant tragedy in this saga is that through my investigation it was learned hundreds of children were sexually abused in Kansas, and Kansas has still done nothing about it." 

 

Kline's comments reference Kathleen Sebelius, the former Kansas Governor and now U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.  Sebelius is militantly pro-abortion, and crusaded against Kline's re-election.  Sebelius received substantial campaign donations from Tiller and friends of Planned Parenthood, and had a close political affiliation with Tiller.

 

Thomas Brejcha, chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Society, bemoaned the railroad job done on a courageous and principled prosecutor.  "This disciplinary trial bears more earmarks of a political vendetta than any real concern about defective professional ethics.  This seems a rather transparent attempt to destroy Mr. Kline personally on account of his beliefs and to intimidate anyone who stands in the way of the political goals of the pro-abortion movement."

 

Kline's fate now rests in the hands of the Kansas Supreme Court.  He is currently serving as an Assistant Professor of Law at Liberty University.                  

 



Illinois State Senator Seeks to Amend Civil Unions Law

 

 

An Illinois state senator has introduced legislation seeking to restore state contracts with Christian agencies providing adoption and foster care services.

 

Senator Kyle McCarter of Lebanon has proposed legislation to amend the civil unions law passed earlier this year by the Illinois General Assembly.  That law recognized the legal union of so-called same-sex "couples."

 

The civil unions statute, falsely named the Illinois Religion Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, has led to the denial of religious freedoms to religious institutions.

 

Shortly after the law took effect in June, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) announced they were terminating adoption and foster care contracts with Catholic Charities and other Christian agencies.  State bureaucrats charged that the groups were discriminating in violation of the civil unions law because they would not place children with same-sex or co-habiting "couples."

 

"The sponsor of the civil unions bill said this law would not discriminate against religious institutions,"  McCarter says.  "Yet here we are, in a bankrupt state, going against the very law we passed.  All we have now is a huge backlog in foster care based on the fact that DCFS wants to discriminate against people of faith."

 

Peter Breen, attorney for Catholic Charities, applauded McCarter's legislation.  "Lawmakers intended when they passed the civil unions law to protect religious groups from compromising their beliefs regarding civil unions.  The people of Illinois do not want to see Catholic Charities and other religious-based foster care agencies driven out of business, period."  

 

Under McCarter's bill, Christian ministries would be able to deny applications if they "would constitute a violation of the organization's sincerely held beliefs."  Such agencies would be required to direct such individuals to the state for referral to other child welfare agencies.    

   

 

VA Agrees to Restore Religious Observances at Veterans' Cemeteries

The U.S. Veterans Administration has reached a legal agreement guaranteeing religious freedom during burial services at national veterans' cemeteries.  Under the terms of the consent order, veterans groups will once again have the discretion to include religious references in their ceremonial observances honoring deceased veterans.

The controversy arose at the National Cemetery in Houston, Texas, where cemetery director Arleen Occasio instructed veterans representatives that they were to cease making references to God during funeral rituals, and to refrain from making any religious remarks in expressing condolences to the spouses and families of deceased veterans.

Occasio had also instructed the National Memorial Ladies that they were to remove the words "God," "Jesus," or "God bless" from the condolence cards they sent to military families.  Occasio also proceeded to convert the cemetery chapel to storage space, removing the cross, the Bible, and the star of David,  and ordering that the chapel's bell chimes no longer be rung.

Occasio found herself in legal hot water earlier in the year when she attempted to censor the benediction offered at the cemetery's Memorial Day ceremony.  Occasio informed Pastor Scott Rainey that he would be eliminated from the ceremony unless he removed the name of Jesus from his prayer.  U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes responded by forbidding Occasio from "dictating the content of speeches...whether those speeches are denominational prayers or otherwise."

Judge Hughes has now signed a consent decree between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the veterans groups restoring the religious liberties of veterans representatives serving military families.  The consent decree requires that the Veterans Administration revoke policies that restricted prayers offered in national veterans' cemeteries to those which are "inclusive and nonderogatory."

The VA has consented to allow Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion honor guards to provide their own texts of burial rituals to the survivors of deceased veterans for their consideration free of censorship by cemetery officials.  The VA has agreed "not to ban, regulate, or otherwise interfere with prayers, recitations, or words of religious expression absent family objection."  The Bible, cross, and star of David will also be restored to the cemetery chapel.

"This agreement preserves VA policy that families' wishes are paramount when their loved ones--our nation's heroes--are laid to rest," says Veterans Administration Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Steve Muro.  "This agreement respects the important principle that the family's wishes for religious observances at the committal service must be honored.

"We are thankful that after almost five months of litigation, the government is finally doing the right thing and ending religious hostility at the National Cemetery," says Jeff Mateer, general counsel for the Liberty Institute.  "This decree not only impacts religious freedoms at the Houston National Cemetery, but at all VA cemeteries nationwide because the government has agreed to modify these policies hostile to religion."

Inge Conley, Commander of VFW District 4,  is relieved that the controversy has been resolved.  "We are glad to see the VA overturn these policies, which will allow us to perform the entire VFW burial ritual.  We should be able to include prayers and mentions of God in these ceremonies."  The VFW had been ordered to stop using the customary phrase "May God grant you grace, mercy, and peace" to grieving family members laying an American soldier to rest.

The dispute prompted Houston area U.S. Representative John Culberson to go undercover at Houston National Cemetery as an honor guard member himself.  Congressman Culberson was so outraged at the curbs on religious expression that he threatened to "zero out" Occasio's salary if changes weren't made.  Culberson is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

"Far too many of our military veterans have been laid to rest without a final prayer spoken over their graves because of some misguided policies that were blindly enforced," Culberson comments.  "This practice has finally come to an end.

The Veterans Administration has agreed to pay $215,000 in legal fees to Liberty Institute, which represented the veterans organizations in the case. 

 

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