Southern Religion

‘Anonymous’ musical interlude

Found while lurking at an Anonymous forum:

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Cultural | , , | 4 Comments

War on ‘season’s greetings:’ Phase II

The Santa hats in the new American Humanist Association ads confuse us.

They seem to enrage the Liberty Council, which says:

The American Humanist Association is waging war against Christmas, but their temper tantrum is doomed to failure. An overwhelming percentage of people in America believe in God and celebrate Christmas. Rather than advance its “Godless” agenda, the American Humanist Association has shown just how far out of step it is with reality.

Now, the Liberty Counsel isn’t really threatening to “sue everyone who doesn’t say ‘Merry Christmas,'” no matter what the Grinch Wing Watch says. They’re just sayin’:

Liberty Counsel’s Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign is entering its seventh year. The campaign is designed to educate and, if necessary, to litigate to make sure that the Christian aspect of Christmas is not censored.

Not feeling any “Season’s Greetings” love here. Just smiling, singing war.

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Politics | , , , | Comments Off on War on ‘season’s greetings:’ Phase II

Clemmons was part of a pattern of negligence [Updated]

Matthew Yglesias has an incomplete point. There was nothing unreasonable, on the surface, about Mike Huckabee’s granting clemency to a someone given 60 years for burglaries committed when he was 17.

Unless Huckabee commuted Maurice Clemmons sentence when the court record showed Clemmons had demonstrated a propensity for violence and there was no evidence he had been rehabilitated.


The circuit court made its foregoing findings and decision to grant postconviction relief based on pretrial events that occurred at Clemmons’s burglary and theft trial held before Judge Floyd Lofton. Clemmons’s defense counsel, Llewellyn J. Marczuk, testifying at the postconviction hearing, related that, at the earlier trial, a security guard had reported to Judge Lofton that Clemmons had taken a hinge from one of the courtroom doors, hid it in his sock, and intended to use it as a weapon. The hinge was found and taken from him before he harmed anyone. In another incident, Clemmons extracted a lock from a holding cell, and he later threw the lock which hit his mother. During this second episode, Clemmons purportedly threatened Judge Lofton. In a third incident, Clemmons reportedly reached for a guard’s pistol during his transportation to the courtroom. Based on these occurrences, Judge Lofton placed Clemmons in leg irons and seated a uniformed officer near him during trial. This court upheld Judge Lofton’s remedial actions in Clemmons. 303 Ark. at 267-269, 795 S.W.2d at 928-929.

Recidivism quickly made Clemmons a frequently cited example of Huckabee’s recklessness with commutations and pardons. Garrick Feldman of the Arkansas Leader wrote in June of 2004:

[Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry] Jegley cites numerous examples of Huckabee’s freeing felons who go on committing more crimes and wind up back in prison.

Maurice Clemmons received a 35-year sentence in the early 1990s for armed robbery and theft. His sentence was commuted in May 2000, and he was let out three months later.

The following March, Clem-mons committed two armed robberies and other crimes and was sentenced to 10 years. You’d think they’d keep him locked up after that, but no: He was paroled last March and is now wanted for aggravated robbery.

If Huckabee decides to set these criminals free, Jegley says, at least “he ought to give an accounting. I can’t imagine why in the world they’d want them released from jail. There’s a good reason we’re afraid of them. The sad truth is that a significant number of people re-offend.”

The victims’ families, Jegley says, “deserve an explanation. I look into people’s eyes who’ve suffered the unspeakable. I believe they deserve justice.

The record suggests that Huckabee recklessly ignited the cycle of criminality which has had a variety of horrific consequences, possibly including the execution-style murder of four Lakewood, Washington, policemen.


Nothing in the parole documentation suggests [.pdf] that the propensity for violence revealed in court papers was considered.

Clemmons was fatally shot by Seattle, Washington, police while being taken into custody Tuesday in connection with the Sunday slaying of four Tacoma, Washington, police officers.

Huckabee blistered for passing the buck by Joel Connelly of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Crime, Politics | , , , , | 1 Comment

Huckabee pardons himself re Washington

He was one of many. Some with catastrophic consequences. Maurice Clemmons, named a “person of interest” in the murder of four police officers in Washington state coffeehouse Sunday morning, was granted clemency from what amounted to a life sentence by then Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2000. He was subsequently paroled.

Huckabee, whose presidential possibilities are sliding toward past tense, had HuckPAC issue an exculpatory statement.

The blame-shifting takeaway is:

He was recommended for and received a commutation of his original sentence from 1990, this commutation made him parole eligible and he was then paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time. He was arrested later for parole violation and taken back to prison to serve his full term, but prosecutors dropped the charges that would have held him. It appears that he has continued to have a string of criminal and psychotic behavior but was not kept incarcerated by either state.


Huckabee’s refusal to accept responsibility for the consequences of his own actions, and blame-shifting, are old news to prosecutors who were present during his era of Arkansas gubernatorial pardons. Literally. Garrick Feldman of the Arkansas Leader wrote in June of 2004:

Until now, Huckabee has refused to comment on his controversial policy of making violent prisoners eligible for parole– they include murderers, armed robbers and rapists, who often return to a life of crime after they’re freed – but in a statement to The Leader this week, he lashed out at prosecutors for not doing more to keep prisoners behind bars – to which Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley had this response: “That’s a load of baloney.”

“I’m offended as a prosecutor and as a citizen. He can blame the prosecutors, but ultimately he’s the man responsible,” Jegley says. “He’s the only one who can sign on the dotted line.

“All he has to do is look in the mirror and say, ‘I let (convicted rapist) Wayne DuMond go free who then killed at least once and probably twice.’”

Jegley says the governor ignores the will of the people when he reduces a life sentence without parole that was handed down by a jury.

“He has obviously disregarded the jury’s decision. It’s a crying shame that a sitting governor would be so insensitive to victims’ right and disregard the system,” says Jegley, who points to several clemency cases where felons went free and then committed more crimes.

Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley

Larry Jegley

In addition, Jegley, Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Herzfeld and others have accused Huckabee of violating the state Constitution when he commutes sentences without explanation. The Constitution requires the governor to give reasons why he grants clemency to criminals.

“He doesn’t do it,” insists Herzfeld, who recently had a clemency overturned because Huckabee did not explain why he commuted a murderer’s life sentence.

Here is Huckabee’s response to critics:

“Have Robert Herzfeld, Larry Jegley and the other prosecuting attorneys prosecuted every crime to the full extent the law allows? In other words, have they in every case pursued the maximum penalties? Did they ever plea bargain? How often? What’s the percentage of cases in which they’ve accepted less than the maximum penalties allowed by law?

“This is the day I’ve been dreading for a long time,” Jegley said to the Seattle Times this Sunday, when told Clemmons was a suspect in the quadruple murder.

Jegley’s statement has a back to the future quality for those who have followed Huckabee’s clemencies/pardons history from the days when it was well-documented by The Arkansas Leader.

Huckabee issued more commutations and pardons than all of the six neighboring states combined. He apparently gave little real consideration to his actions, or so one might generously infer from his decision to pardon the likes of Glen Green. Garrick Feldman of the Arkansas Leader wrote:

But if he read the confession and still considers Green deserving of parole, he’s certainly unfit to hold office. Who would free a madman who beat an 18-year-old woman with Chinese martial-arts sticks, raped her as she barely clung to life, ran over her with his car, then dumped her in the bayou, her hand reaching up, as if begging for mercy?

Such lack of care is perhaps not a quality reasonable people seek in a president.


Clemmons was part of a pattern of negligence: Court papers reveal a propensity for violence that was apparently not considered at parole time.

Clemmons was fatally shot by Seattle, Washington, police while being taken into custody Tuesday in connection with the Sunday slaying of four Lakewood, Washington, police officers.

Huckabee blistered for passing the buck by Joel Connelly of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Politics, SBC | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Scientology/Anonymous wars come to Catholic Online

Anonymous protester in Guy Fawkes’ mask demonstrating during the January 2009 raid outside the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, D.C. The group
was originally a response to Scientology’s aggressive efforts to remove a Tom Cruse video from the Internet.

The intensity of Klagenberg’s response to Catholic Online lends credence to the Anonymous explanation of the mask wearing.

It may be an error to say Anonymous is “a very few” in number and wrong to imply that “former members” of Scientology compose or founded Anonymous. We covered the origins of Anonymous in more detail here.
[Photo by Ben Schumin: Some rights reserved]

Scientology Public Affairs Officer Mike Klagenberg in a letter to the editor of Catholic Online wrote:

The article on forced abortions in Scientology is tantamount to bearing false witness. It is absolutely a gross lie fabricated by a very few disgruntled former members that are using the Catholic On Line site to forward their scurrilous lies and bitterness in an attempt to tarnish the Church and it’s members.

Catholic Online Associate Editor Randy Sly responds:

I have filed eight stories on Scientology since June, 2009. As we researched for these articles, the witnesses we found included former members, investigators, affidavits from litigation, etc. The amount of information available regarding false declarations, questionable practices, and suspicious relationships is enormous; its impact is global.

. . .
One major force of opposition facing Scientology – and probably the one that Mr. Klagenberg was referencing – does not come from without but from within. Former Scientologists have formed a leaderless Internet-based cadre called Anonymous. Group members, for the most part, do not know each other’s names; there is no central office, no hierarchy and no official spokesperson.

. . .
Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Québec defended the right of the group to oppose Scientology last February. He received a letter from “Anonymous Quebec” documenting a number of issues after publicly declaring that Scientology wasn’t a church [“La scientologie, c’est autre chose. Pour moi, cette communauté n’est pas une Église”] during an interview.

The article Klagenberg protested doen’t rely on anonymous sources:

Sea Organization or Sea Org is a sort of “religious order” within Scientology where only the most committed members of the late L. Ron Hubbard’s cult live out their lives. For the unborn child of a mother in Sea Org, that isn’t very long. They are aborted.
. . .
It would seem, however, that principle gave way to pragmatics as Scientology grew. Affidavits and other reports of forced abortions go back as early as 1994 while the abortions themselves began taking place in the mid 80’s.
[for example]
Mary Tabayoyon spent 25 years in Scientology, 21 of which were as a member of Sea Org. In an affidavit dated 26 August 1994 for the case CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL VS. STEVEN-FISHMAN AND UWE GEERTZ,
Defendants, she described a September 26, 1986 Sea Org Flag Order (an order binding upon all members) that forbade members from having any more children. Disobedience would result in exile to a lower expression of service. When the child reached age 6, the parents could return.
. . .

Underlying this is another fight, joined the St. Petersburg Times in a Nov. 8 editorial:

As former staffers lift the veil of secrecy that for years has obscured the inner workings of the Church of Scientology, a new mystery emerges: Why are government authorities looking the other way? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has ample reason to reconsider its decision to grant Scientology tax-exempt status as a religion. Labor officials should determine whether wage and working condition violations have occurred, and law enforcement ought to investigate whether the church’s restraint on members’ free movement crossed a legal line.

Charges were detailed in a three-part series the newspaper ran this summer and which is referred to by Catholic Online:

The relentless parade of revelations about the Scientology’s essentially ludicrous core beliefs and sociopathic practices still do it more harm than the group’s heavy-handed public relations response. It is the revelations which make the case for law enforcement attention and IRS review of the church’s tax-exempt status. Official church response simply underlines that case.

Update: The PR War

Scientology announces “biggest expansion” in its history.

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Religion, WWW | , | 19 Comments