Monday, December 31, 2012

The Persecution of American Christians as a Mechanism of American Law

Obama Administration: We Can and Will Force Christians to Act Against Their Faith

David and Barbara Green of Hobby Lobby

 31 December 2012: The following is an article from CNSNews.Com by Terence P. Jeffrey published on 29 December 2012.  It is posted to Eschatology Today as a public service warning on how the Obama Administration's judges and lawyers are currently engaged in the persecution of Christians via legal means in order to circumvent and usurp matters of our faith. What you do with this information is up to you. Any one or more of us could be next in line for similar persecution. In the opinion of this blog this is how a tyrannical government operates.


( - In a legal argument formally presented in federal court in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration is claiming that the First Amendment—which expressly denies the government the authority to prohibit the “free exercise” of religion—nonetheless allows it to force Christians to directly violate their religious beliefs even on a matter that involves the life and death of innocent human beings.

Because federal judges—including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor—have refused to grant an injunction protecting the owners of Hobby Lobby from being forced to act against their Christian faith, those owners will be subject to federal fines of up to $1.3 million per day starting Tuesday for refusing to include abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health plan.

The Obama administration is making a two-fold argument for why it can force Christians to act against their faith in complying with the regulation it has issued under the Obamacare law that requires virtually all health care plans to cover, without co-pay, sterilizations, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing drugs.

The first argument the administration makes against the owners of Hobby Lobby is that Americans lose their First Amendment right to freely exercise their religion when they form a corporation and engage in commerce. A person’s Christianity, the administration argues, cannot be carried out through activities he engages in through an incorporated business.

“Hobby Lobby is a for-profit, secular employer, and a secular entity by definition does not exercise religion,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery in a filing submitted in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

“Because Hobby Lobby is a secular employer, it is not entitled to the protections of the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act],” Delery told the court on behalf of the administration. “This is because, although the First Amendment freedoms of speech and association are ‘right[s] enjoyed by religious and secular groups alike,’ the Free Exercise Clause ‘gives special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations.’”

In keeping with Delery’s argument, the Washington Post, as a corporation, can use its First Amendment-protected freedom of speech to write editorials in support of the Obama administration imposing its contraception mandate on businesses like Hobby Lobby. But the members of the family that created and owns Hobby Lobby, because they formed Hobby Lobby as a corporation, have no First Amendment freedom of religion that protects them from being forced by the government to act against their religious beliefs in providing abortion-inducing drugs.

The second argument the administration makes to justify forcing Christians to act against their faith is more sweeping. Here the administration argues it can force a person to act against his religion so long as the coercion is done under the authority of a law that is neutral and generally applicable—in other words, as long as the law was not written specifically to persecute Christians as Christians, the government can use that law to persecute Christians.

Hobby Lobby is a family business. David Green created it in his garage in Oklahoma City in 1972. He and his wife, Barbara, and their three children—Steve, Mart and Darsee Green Lett-- have grown the business to where it now operates 500 stores in 41 states. David Green is Hobby Lobby’s CEO; Steve Green is its president; Mart Green is vice CEO; and Darsee Lett is vice president. Mart Green is also CEO of the privately owned Mardel chain of Christian bookstores, which operates 35 stores in 7 states. Through Hobby Lobby, the Greens have created more than 13,000 jobs. Mardel has created 372 jobs.

The Greens, who are Evangelical Christians, do not suspend their religious beliefs while running their businesses. Instead, they strive to run them fully in accordance with their Christian beliefs. They are unanimous in stating that they have always “sought to run Hobby Lobby in harmony with God’s laws and in a manner which brings glory to God.” They do not have two sets of morals—one for when they are at church or at home and another for when they are working on their businesses. They have only one set of morals—that they strive to follow at work or any other activity. For example, they close their business on Sundays, so their employees can spend that day with their families, and they pay their full-time workers a minimum hourly wage of $13, which is far exceeds the federal minimum wage.

They also provide their employees with a generous self-insured health care plan, and they even operate an on-site, cost-free health clinic at their corporate headquarters. But, guided by their Christian faith, the Greens believe that human life begins at conception and that aborting on unborn life is wrong. In keeping with this, they do not cover in their employee health plan abortions, abortion-inducing drugs or IUDs that prevent implantation of an embryo.

Unlike Catholics, the Greens do not believe that contraception and sterilization are morally wrong.

In September, the Greens, Hobby Lobby and Mardel bookstores sued Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the departments of Health Human Service, Labor and Treasury. Their complaint said that the Obamacare contraception mandate violates their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion because supporting abortion or counseling for abortion is contrary to their religious faith.

As the mandate now stands, the Greens must begin complying with it on Jan. 1. On Nov. 11, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton refused to grant a preliminary injunction to stop the mandate from being enforced on the Greens while the court decided their case on its merits. In his ruling on the injunction, Judge Heaton determined that the Greens were not likely to establish they had a right to “free exercise” of religion while operating Hobby Lobby.

‘[T]he court concludes plaintiffs have not established a likelihood of success as to their constitutional claims,” said Judge Heaton. “The corporations lack free exercise rights subject to being violated and, as the challenged statutes/regulations are neutral and of general applicability as contemplated by the constitutional standard, plaintiffs are unlikely to successfully establish a constitutional violation in any event.”

The Greens appealed their request for an injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. A panel of two appeals court judges refused their plea. They then appealed to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who sits over that circuit, and she declined to reverse the lower courts and issue an injunction.

When Sotomayor ruled against a preliminary injunction on Thursday, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the Greens, issued a statement indicating that the Greens would not start complying with the mandate on Tuesday and that they would continue to pursue their case in federal court.

“Hobby Lobby will continue their appeal before the Tenth Circuit,” said Becket Fund General Counsel Kyle Duncan. “The Supreme Court merely decided not to get involved in the case at this time. It left open the possibility of review after their appeal is completed in the Tenth Circuit. The company will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees. To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.”

As the nation approaches the much publicized fiscal cliff, it also approaches a moral cliff: Will the Obama administration compel Christians to act against their faith? As of now, the answer seems plain: Starting Tuesday, it will.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Syria Crisis: Threat of WMD War Remains Very Real

ALERT 23 December 12: According the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, both the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China would be unsuccessful in persuading Syrian Ba'athist dictator Bashar al-Assad to relinquish his control of the country in favor of a transitional government.  Lavrov made this real-world fact perfectly clear by saying "Assad is not going anywhere, no matter what anyone says, be it China or Russia." And contrary to an erroneous DEBKAfile report that Russian military forces had taken control of the Syrian WMD arsenal, al-Assad's army retains full control of the weapons, according to Lavrov, within the perimeters of one or two locations in Syria. These locations are known to Russia and the NATO allies. One of these WMD depots appears to be an underground complex just south of al-Safira in the Aleppo region that has come under rebel assault in recent days. If al-Assad decides to use his WMD against rebel troop concentrations it may well occur in the potential open terrain killing fields on the northern, western or southern approaches to al-Safira.

06 December 2012: Once again this report contains critical information as Syria is now literally standing on the red line of what might be the world's first full-scale Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) War.  All open media sources are reporting since last night that Syria has deployed its land, air and rocket forces with Sarin nerve agent. One drop of Sarin is lethal to a human being.

01 October 2012: This is a follow-up report to what I posted originally on 14 May 2010 and was written entirely by the Washington Free Beacon Senior Editor Bill Gertz. This is the most accurate and current information available from open source intelligence.

A Tour of Syria’s Chemical Weapons

Syrian chemical weapons sites revealed as defector adds new details on regime’s plans to use nerve gas
BY: Bill Gertz

Rebels in Syria have disclosed new details on the Damascus regime’s chemical weapons storage sites, as a military defector last week outlined plans by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to use the deadly arms.

U.S. intelligence agencies recently reported on several chemical arms sites in Syria that were revealed in five YouTube videos uploaded to the Internet in July, according to officials familiar with the recordings.

The posting of the videos coincided with the defection in July of Maj. Gen. Adnan Sillu, head of Syria’s chemical arms forces, who told Britain’s Times of London newspaper that Assad will use the arms to stay in power and that his regime has discussed handing over some of the weapons to the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.

The five rebel videos use Google Earth maps software to show chemical arms storage and production plants—some hidden in underground bunkers—and Scud missiles armed with chemical warheads, according to U.S. officials who have analyzed the videos.

They are likely to be used by U.S. or Israeli military planners in any future attacks designed to eliminate Syria’s chemical arms stockpiles.

Israel’s military said in June that it would be forced to act against Syria to prevent advanced rockets and chemical arms from falling into the hands of terrorists like Hezbollah.

The 10-minute-long videos were judged to be accurate by U.S. officials in describing suspected hidden Syrian chemical facilities.

One video reveals a major chemical weapons facility in the downtown area of the Syrian capital of Damascus located a short distance by underground tunnel from al-Mazzeh military airfield in southwestern Damascus.

The tunnel can accommodate tractor trailer-sized trucks and exits several buildings on the base. An Arabic-speaking narrator on the video shows the path of the tunnel leading to an underground storage area north and east of the airfield.

The narrator said the roof of the bunker includes 45 feet of reinforced concrete designed to withstand a strike from U.S. Tomahawk missiles. The facility is said to contain a variety of chemical weapons, from hand grenades filled with the blistering agent mustard to chemical weapons rockets of differing sizes.

The video shows an aircraft runway near the facility, which is called Zone 86, and housing used by senior Syrian military officers and members of the paramilitary Shabiha.

The video also states that a building near Saraya traffic circle is a residence for foreign technicians from Iran and North Korea.

The Sanid News Network, a pro-rebel news outlet, posted the videos online.

A second video reveals what is believed to be the largest storage facility for Syria’s biological and chemical weapons, located in a residential area north of Damascus between Al-Tal and Aysh Wurur.

Roads are identified in the video that lead to tunnels built into mountains that stretch 1,500 feet inside the mountain and are hardened against attack.

The narrator of this video, identified as Abu Saqr, stated that he has been inside one of the tunnels that had separate storage rooms sealed with heavy metal doors.

Among the chemical agents stored in the bunker are mustard agent and cyanide and nerve agents Sarin, Tabun, and the ultra-lethal VX nerve agent.

The reported biological weapons at the facility include weaponized “bacteria and viruses” that can be transmitted to populations through food, water, and soil.

The video narrator also asserted that Iran is storing enriched uranium in the underground facility.

A third video around eight minutes long purports to show a Syrian chemical weapons factory located near al-Dumayr.

The factory is located east of al-Dumayr on the north side of a highway underneath an earthen berm 30 to 45 feet high. Roads are shown exiting the berms, and camouflaged tanks are nearby.

The plant has a high wall around its perimeter and, according to the video narrator, is operated by Iranians and North Koreans.

An underground storage facility is located nearby the plant.

Another of the rebel videos includes images of Syrian short-range Scud missiles at a base southwest of al-Qutayfah that the narrator asserts are armed with chemical weapons warheads. The missiles are shown loaded on trailers with a nearby underground storage facility for the chemical arms.

The last video uses Google Earth to identify what it claims to be an underground chemical weapons factory near the military airbase at al-Nasiriyah. It was described as an underground chemical weapons production facility and research center.

The Syrian defector, Maj. Gen. Sillu, stated in the interview published Sept. 19 that he took part in leadership discussions about using chemical weapons against civilians.

“We were in a serious discussion about the use of chemical weapons, including how we would use them and in what areas,” Sillu said. “We discussed this as a last resort—such as if the regime lost control of an important area such as Aleppo.”

Sillu said the meeting held at a Syrian chemical arms center five miles south of Damascus prompted him to defect because he opposed the use of the deadly arms against the population.

Sillu, now residing in Turkey, also said the Syrian regime considered handing over chemical weapons to Hezbollah.
“They wanted to place warheads with the chemical weapons on missiles—to transfer them this way to Hezbollah. It was for use against Israel, of course,” he said.

The Damascus government in the past had opposed supplying chemical arms to Hezbollah over concerns about the fallout from arming the terrorist group, he said.

“Now, if they have nothing to lose why not share these weapons? If a war starts between Hezbollah and Israel it will be only good for Syria,” Sillu said.

Sillu said members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps took part in meetings on chemical weapons.

“They were always coming to visit and to advise. They were always sending us scientists and bringing our scientists to them,” he said. “They were also involved on the political side of how to use the chemical weapons.”

The CIA in the past has said that reports of Syrian development of chemical and biological arms were exaggerated.

In 2003 the agency blocked congressional testimony by then-Undersecretary of State John Bolton that was to express new concerns about Syrian chemical and biological weapons.

Since that time, the Syrian program has continued to grow.

Israel also attacked a nuclear plant in Syria at al-Kibar that was being built with North Korean assistance.