Amidst all of the American flags and presidential seals, there was something missing when President Barack Obama gave an economic speech at Georgetown University this week — Jesus. The White House asked Georgetown to cover a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name... Read More.
Daily Archives: April 16, 2009
Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Janet Napolitano Over Homeland Security’s Rightwing Extremism Policy
Thursday 14, 2009
ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced today that it has filed a federal lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The lawsuit claims that her Department’s “Rightwing Extremism Policy, ” as reflected in the recently publicized Intelligence Assessment, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, ” violates the civil liberties of combat veterans as well as American citizens by targeting them for disfavored treatment on account of the political beliefs.
Click here to read the Law Center’s complaint.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage, Gregg Cunningham (President of the pro-life organization Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, Inc (CBR)), and Iraqi War Marine veteran Kevin Murray. The Law Center claims that Napolitano’s Department (DHS) has violated the First and Fifth Amendment Constitutional rights of these three plaintiffs by attempting to chill their free speech, expressive association, and equal protection rights. The lawsuit further claims that the Department of Homeland Security encourages law enforcement officers throughout the nation to target and report citizens to federal officials as suspicious rightwing extremists and potential terrorists because of their political beliefs.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center stated, “The Obama Administration has declared war on American patriots and our Constitution. The Report even admits that the Department has no specific information on any plans of violence by so-called ‘rightwing extremists.’ Rather, what they do have is the expression of political opinions by certain individuals and organizations that oppose the Obama administration’s policies, and this expression is protected speech under the First Amendment.”
Thompson added, “Janet Napolitano is lying to the American people when she says the Report is not based on ideology or political beliefs. In fact, her report would have the admiration of any current or past dictator in the way it targets political opponents.”
The Report specifically mentions the following political beliefs that law enforcement should use to determine whether someone is a “rightwing extremist”:
- Opposes restrictions on firearms
- Opposes lax immigration
- Opposes the policies of President Obama regarding immigration, citizenship and the expansion of social programs
- Opposes continuation of free trade agreements
- Opposes same-sex marriage
- Has paranoia of foreign regimes
- Fear of Communist regimes
- Opposes one world government
- Bemoans the decline of U.S. stature in the world.
- Upset with loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs to China and India
- . . . and the list goes on
The Law Center is asking the court to declare that the DHS policy violates the First and Fifth Amendments, to permanently enjoin the Policy and its application to the plaintiffs’ speech and other activities, and to award the plaintiffs their reasonable attorney’s fees and costs for having to bring the lawsuit.
Georgetown University hid a religious inscription representing the name of Jesus during President Obama’s address there Tuesday, FOXNews.com has confirmed, because White House staff asked the school to cover up all religious symbols and signs while the president was on stage.
The monogram IHS, whose letters spell out the name of Jesus, and which normally perches above the stage in Gaston Hall where the president spoke, was covered over with what appeared to be black wood during the address.
“In coordinating the logistical arrangements for the event, Georgetown honored the White House staff’s request to cover all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols behind the Gaston Hall stage,” university spokesman Andy Pino told FOXNews.com.
The White House said that the backdrop, which included blue drapes and a host of American flags, was standard during policy speeches and other events.
“Decisions made about the backdrop for the speech were made to have a consistent background of American flags, which is standard for many presidential events,” said White House spokesman Shin Inouye in a statement released Thursday.
Georgetown is a private Catholic institution founded by Jesuits in 1789. The auditorium where the president spoke Tuesday is adorned with religious imagery, but only the symbols directly on the stage — those likely to be picked up by a television camera — were obscured.
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, accused the university of “cowardice” for acceding to the White House, and criticized Obama’s team for asking a religious school to “neuter itself” before the president made his address.
“No bishop who might speak at the White House would ever request that a crucifix be displayed behind him,” he said.
The White House insisted that the move was made only to provide a proper setting for the speech — and said that “any suggestions to the contrary are simply false.”
Though his advance team asked that the religious signs be veiled, the president himself took up religious discourse and discussed a passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as he outlined his plans for an economic recovery.
“We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand,” he said during his remarks, which came two days after Easter. “We must build our house upon a rock.”
It was Obama’s first visit to Georgetown since being elected president, but he also spoke at the school on Sept. 20, 2006 about the need for energy independence. A photograph of the event does not seem to indicate that parts of the stage were hidden during that address, which Obama made while still a U.S. senator.
Another Catholic university, Notre Dame, came under fire in late March for inviting the president to speak at its May 17 commencement. Obama supports abortion rights, which are considered anathema by the Catholic Church.
“Since everyone knows that Georgetown is a catholic university….‘the right thing to do’ would have been just give the speech on the stage as is and move on. Let’s wait and see what he does when he’s invited to speak in a mosque or muslim school – he will simply bow.”