Sunday, May 19, 2013

The 3 - May 19, 2013

This week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature, includes the latest development in the saga of a family who fled Germany because of government restrictions they encountered resulting from their homeschooling their children.   Also, the abortion industry continues to be in the spotlight, with the verdict in the Kermit Gosnell trial being rendered and employees of another clinic, this time in Houston, going public about what they saw.  And, the top story, perhaps the top story of the week in general, involves the allegations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted certain groups for increased scrutiny, including some Christian ministries.

3 - German homeschool family loses in appeals court, attorneys vow to continue the process for asylum

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision this week in the case of a family from Germany who had desired to homeschool their children there, but faced increased pressure from officials of the German government, who had even reportedly threatened to force the parents to give up custody of their children.

The Romeikes left Germany in 2008 and were granted asylum in 2010 by Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman.  That grant was overturned by the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2012.  A three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit heard the Romeikes’ appeal on April 23 in Cincinnati, and issued a unanimous decision on Tuesday against the family.

Michael Farris, Founder and Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association is quoted on the HSLDA website as saying, “We believe the Sixth Circuit is wrong, and we will appeal their decision...America has room for this family, and we will do everything we can to help them.”  HSLDA has announced it will appeal the ruling.

The court said that the Romeikes had not made a sufficient case, and that the United States has not opened its doors to every victim of unfair treatment.   The court did acknowledge that the U.S. Constitution recognizes the rights of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children, it refused to concede that the harsh treatment of religiously and philosophically motivated homeschoolers in Germany amounts to persecution within our laws on asylum.

Mike Donnelly, HSLDA director of international affairs claimed that, “The court ignored mountains of evidence that homeschoolers are harshly fined and that custody of their children is gravely threatened—something most people would call persecution. This is what the Romeikes will suffer if they are sent back to Germany.” 

Already over 124,000 people have signed an online petition in support of this family.

2 - Philadelphia abortionist found guilty, new reports surface on similar actions in Houston

The Gosnell trial is over, but the conversation about the issue of abortion is hopefully far from over, as this trial has opened up new questions about the nature of the abortion industry.   Pro-life advocates are attempting to make the case that Gosnell's Philadelphia clinic, nicknamed the "House of Horrors" is more of the rule rather than the exception.   Abortion supporters are attempting to make the opposite case.

Gosnell was sentenced to two consecutive life terms on Tuesday for killing babies born alive and received another life sentence on Wednesday.   WORLD continued its comprehensive coverage throughout the week.
Gosnell avoided the death penalty by agreeing to give up his right to appeal if he could spend the rest of his life in prison for his first-degree murder convictions.   But jurors on Monday also convicted the abortionist of hundreds of other counts, for which he was sentenced Wednesday. 
The WORLD piece states that the five-week trial hinged on testimony from former Gosnell employees, four of whom pleaded guilty to murder for their roles in the babies’ deaths. The workers testified to seeing babies move, takes breaths, and cry after being born following late-term abortion procedures. Gosnell also was convicted of aborting babies well past Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit. Prosecutors allege one baby was at least 30 weeks when Gosnell sliced through the baby's neck.
And, reports are continuing to surface of horrific late-term abortions and the termination of the lives of babies who survive an abortion attempt.  The Christian Post has a report on an investigation into allegations that Houston-based abortionist Douglas Karpen, who operates three abortion clinics in the state, has performed illegal late-term abortions and killed babies born alive, a violation of the federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act.   The Harris County District Attorney's office, spurred on by pro-life groups and Texas Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, is proceeding with its investigation.
In a video released Wednesday by Life Dynamics, a Denton, Texas-based pro-life organization, three former employees of Karpen's clinic discuss the details of routine late-term abortions there in which babies were allegedly born alive and then subsequently killed by the abortion doctor.

A fourth former employee remains anonymous at this time, but is filing an affidavit about her experiences at one of Karpen's abortion clinics.
This latest video release follows on the heels of undercover videos released by the Live Action organization that expose the type of activities taking place inside various clinics and the viewpoints of the abortionists themselves. 

1 - Christian groups join Tea Party, conservative organizations facing increased scrutiny from IRS

First of all, there was an admission by an Internal Revenue Service employee that certain conservative organizations had faced a heightened level of scrutiny for their activities.  Then, the attention turned to Christian ministries, including pro-life organizations, who claimed some negative treatment by certain IRS employees.

Franklin Graham released a copy of a letter he had sent to President Obama citing that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, two organizations that he heads, were notified last September that the IRS would review their records for the 2010 tax year.

The IRS inquiry, he noted, occurred months after the BGEA ran ads in April 2012 supporting a North Carolina amendment that banned same-sex marriage, which passed in May.   Graham wrote in his letter, "I believe that someone in the Administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us...This is morally wrong and unethical — indeed some would call it ‘un-American.”

Pro-life groups who allegedly faced enhanced scrutiny include Christian Voices for Life, a Texas-based group which encountered delays in its application for tax-exempt status in 2011, and Coalition for Life of Iowa, which delays before getting its tax-exempt status in 2009.    The Thomas More Law Center, representing the Iowa group, had outlined in 2011 what it regarded inappropriate IRS behavior - in its demand letters, the IRS has sought to know whether the group does “education on both sides of the issues,” whether members of the group “try to block people to [sic] enter a … medical clinic” during “40 Days for Life” and “Life Chain” events, whether members of the group “attempt to talk to someone trying to enter a medical clinic,” and to “please explain what you are [doing] during” 40 Days for Life and Life Chain vigils.   Apparently, even the content of prayers was questioned.

Dr. James Dobson, in trying to acquire tax-exempt status for his Family Talk organization was told by an IRS representative:
Family Talk Action is ‘not educational’ because it does not present all views. She continued, saying that Family Talk Action sounded like a ‘partisan right-wing group’ because, according to Ms. Medley, it only presents conservative viewpoints. She then
 added, ‘you're political’ because you ‘criticized President Obama, who was a candidate.’

This is according to a National Religious Broadcasters report.  NRB President and CEO Dr. Frank Wright said, “I am alarmed by reports that suggest a federal official at the IRS instituting a de facto Fairness Doctrine...The FCC was right to purge that pernicious policy from the Code of Federal Regulations.  After driving a wooden stake in its heart, this vampire seems alive and well at the IRS."

Now a report from WORLD indicates that National Organization for Marriage intends to sue the IRS next week amid allegations that the agency leaked confidential donor information to a key political rival.  In March of 2013, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which advocates for the legalization of gay marriage, released confidential NOM donor lists and addresses on its website.  HRC attempted to conceal the source of the information, but NOM Chairman Dr. John Eastman said computer technicians were able to see redacted portions of the PDF document, proving it had originated from the IRS.

Eastman said HRC had been trying to secure the donor lists in order intimidate and harass groups and companies that supported the cause for traditional marriage. He said that is exactly what happened.   Eastman told WORLD that donors often gave to NOM under the condition that the donations were kept anonymous, and the disclosure led to some donors refusing further gifts out of fear of retribution.

Who knows what the coming week will hold...the reports do appear to establish or at least allege a pattern that has developed with some conservative and Christian organizations who received a level of scrutiny in their dealings with some people in the IRS that perhaps comparable liberal-leaning organizations did not experience.   As tough questions are asked, one would hope that the truth would prevail.

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