Category: USA

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signs bills allowing guns in church

Sigh. Americans and their guns… The governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, has signed into law a bill allowing guns to be carried into houses of worship.

House Bill 1272 would authorize persons who qualified to carry concealed weapons having passed the training and background checks to bring them to churches, mosques, synagogues or other houses of worship as part of a security force.

The pastor or head of the religious institution must announce verbally or in weekly newsletters or bulletins that there will be individuals armed on the property as members of he security force.

The bill also allows a house of worship to hire off-duty police or security guards to protect congregants.

Opponents of the measure said that churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship should remain free of guns and violence and should focus on worship.

Britain’s dirty torture secrets to be laid bare

America wasn’t the only country with a ‘do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do’ attitude toward torture and other human rights violations: it pulled a willing England right along into crime.

Britain now faces paying out millions to detainees who claim they were tortured with the complicity of the security services.

Compensation settlements may be made with up to a dozen former terror suspects ahead of an independent inquiry announced yesterday by David Cameron to help ‘restore Britain’s moral leadership in the world’.

The inquiry threatens grave embarrassment for security chiefs and former Labour ministers.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Labour leadership front-runner David Miliband are among those likely to be asked to give evidence.

It could also strain Britain’s relationship with the U.S. – our partners in the so-called ‘war on terror’ – to breaking point.

The US and Torture

human rights The Americans Civil Liberties Union deserves credit for suing for the memos’ release. And President Obama deserves credit for overruling his own C.I.A. director and ordering that the memos be made public. It is hard to think of another case in which documents stamped “Top Secret” were released with hardly any deletions.

But this cannot be the end of the scrutiny for these and other decisions by the Bush administration.

Until Americans and their leaders fully understand the rules the Bush administration concocted to justify such abuses — and who set the rules and who approved them — there is no hope of fixing a profoundly broken system of justice and ensuring that that these acts are never repeated.

Red Cross: America practiced torture

US human rights violations The International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a secret report that the Bush administration’s treatment of al-Qaeda captives “constituted torture,” a finding that strongly implied that CIA interrogation methods violated international law, according to newly published excerpts from the long-concealed 2007 document.

The report, an account alleging physical and psychological brutality inside CIA “black site” prisons, also states that some U.S. practices amounted to “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” Such maltreatment of detainees is expressly prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

Detroit Churches Pray for ‘God’s Bailout’

car industry bailout The Sunday service at Greater Grace Temple began with the Clark Sisters song “I’m Looking for a Miracle” and included a reading of this verse from the Book of Romans: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Pentecostal Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, who shared the sanctuary’s wide altar with three gleaming sport utility vehicles, closed his sermon by leading the choir and congregants in a boisterous rendition of the gospel singer Myrna Summers’s “We’re Gonna Make It” as hundreds of worshipers who work in the automotive industry — union assemblers, executives, car salesmen — gathered six deep around the altar to have their foreheads anointed with consecrated oil.

Laptop seizures at airports anger Denver area Muslims

laptop Elahi was confronted with what many local Muslims and residents of Arab descent say are increased searches and seizures of laptops at airports and border crossings without warrant or warning.

Civil rights groups are challenging the tactic, as the Bush administration and citizens continue to grapple with the conflict between civil liberties and national security seven years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Poll: On torture, evangelicals not looking to Bible, doctrine

Poll A new survey suggests the very Americans who claim to follow the Bible most assiduously don’t consult it when forming their views about torture and government policy.

It shows not only are white evangelical Southerners more likely than the general populace to believe torture is sometimes or often justified, but also that they are far more likely—to tweak a phrase from Proverbs—to “lean on their own understanding” regarding the subject.