September 2, 2006

Weekend Question 1: Is This “Only” about Separation of Church and State?

Filed under: Business Moves,Corporate Outrage,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:05 am

NOTE: This will be Saturday’s last post.

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Answer: If you think it’s that narrow, you haven’t been paying enough attention.

Here’s the story (HT Family Research Council e-mail and J. Matt Barber at Renew America):

The Minneapolis Police Department has temporarily suspended the use of a well-known psychologist who has been screening potential officers for more than a year after community members questioned his affiliation with a group that opposes civil rights for gays.

The issue of Michael A. Campion’s affiliation with a conservative Illinois group that says it opposes the “gay lifestyle” was brought to interim Chief Tim Dolan’s attention on Wednesday during a meeting with the Police Community Relations Council.

Although he said there’s no indication of any bias in Campion’s work, Dolan decided the next day to stop using him until an independent review could take place.

This isn’t the first time Campion’s objectivity has been questioned. In 2003, nine applicants to the Springfield, Ill., Fire Department sued the city claiming they were unfairly disqualified by either background checks or Campion’s psychological evaluation. A judge dismissed the suit, but the Springfield City Council didn’t renew Campion’s contract last year.

“Everybody is entitled to their views. But we felt it would be hard to separate them when reviewing people,” said Frank McNeil, a Springfield alderman.

Campion’s business, which is based in Champaign, Ill., has performed psychological testing for 32 years for more than 100 law enforcement agencies, including St. Paul. Last month, Campion received high marks from a consulting firm hired by the Minneapolis Police Department to evaluate his “general procedural goodness and specific cultural fairness” of his testing procedures.

This is not about so-called “church-state separation,” an erroneous cliche that has become so embedded that even a sitting US Senator thinks church-state separation is in the “first words of the First Amendment in the Constitution” (News flash: It’s not). A specific religion isn’t mentioned in the excerpt, or anywhere else in the article.

It’s not about keeping religion out of the public square, either. The Illinois Family Institute (link did not work at the time this post was written) is described in the article as “a nonprofit group that says it advocates for religious freedom and opposes gay marriage, civil rights protection for gays, abortion and embryonic stem cell research.” At the very worst, that would appear to be “protected political activity.” Of course, punishing people for stating their religious beliefs is taking place — Go here for a story about someone fired from a transportation board job (!) for stating mainstream Catholic beliefs on television.

No, this is about shutting anyone who may not have the “correct” political or religious beliefs out of public employment or consulting. It appears that Mr. Campion hasn’t even opened his mouth in public either on or off the job; yet he’s still seen as potentially unacceptable by what Renew America’s Barber accurately describes as “The thought police of Minneapolis.” The thinking of the radical fringe of the gay-rights movement, which does not even reflect the views of the people it claims to represent, and hasn’t since at least the mid-1990s, has infected the City of Minneapolis, and is surely spreading.

Positivity: The Stranger Who Saved Millie’s Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:22 am

Millie was spared from an early death by an organ donor almost five years ago:

We’ll forever be grateful to the stranger who saved Millie’s life

Wed 23 Aug 2006

KNEELING on the floor, carefully drawing a caterpillar on her colouring pad, Millie chatters away happily to her mum and dad.

She has just got home from her last day at nursery and cannot wait for the following morning when she finally starts school.

At just five, she is too young to fully grasp how lucky she is to be here at all. But as she gets up from her drawing to pick up a photo album filled with pictures of her as a baby, she shows some understanding of how special she is.

“Look at me there,” she says almost proudly as she points to one of several pictures where her skin is a vivid yellow and a tube is attached to her nose.

Millie was born with a rare liver disease which threatened to claim her life before her first birthday. Only a transplant could save her.

The problem was a chronic shortage of registered donors and Millie’s family knew that there was every chance they would lose their little girl forever. Amazingly when she was only days from death, a liver was found and doctors were able to carry out the life-saving operation just in time.

….. As the fifth anniversary of Millie’s transplant draws near, her parents Alison Platts and Bill Stobie are telling their story to thank the strangers who saved her life – and encourage more people to become donors.