By Jeff McCoy
As the pro-life movement continues to gain momentum across the nation New York state passed a new law that, under certain conditions, allowed late-term abortion. With President Trump nominating pro-life justices and federal judges to the bench, pro-choice organizers have pushed hard for state law protection for abortion in case Roe v Wade is overturned in the future. The bill was passed on the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed the Reproductive Health Act into law immediately. This new law extends abortion rights over a previous law which only permitted abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy if a woman’s life was at risk. This new law removes the act of abortion from the criminal code, removes safety regulations on the procedure, and allows non-doctors to perform abortions.
His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York quickly responded in his office blog (http://cardinaldolan.org/index.php/all-gods-children/)
‘On this somber 46th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, our elected officials in Albany seem frantic to enact the most radical abortion expansion bill in a state already notorious for its denial of civil rights to the pre-born baby.
‘Forty-six years ago, on January 22, 1973, we were assured by the jubilant abortionists not to worry: abortion, they assured us, was a deeply regrettable act; it had to remain rare; life-giving alternatives were to be encouraged; the lethal procedure was to be resorted to only in the earliest months.
‘Well, that all has been disregarded. If our governor, senate, and assembly has their way, abortion will be legal up to the moment of birth; those large numbers of healthcare professionals who find the termination of pre-born babies repugnant will have no conscience rights to object; trained physicians will be not be required to perform the dismemberment; and a baby who survives the scalpel, saline, or suction, and is still alive, can be left to die without any care. This is “progressive?”
This was not the first attempt by abortionist to change the law in New York state. Others attempts were blocked in the state Senate by Republicans. Democratic party gains in the state Senate made it possible for the bill to become law this time.
“We have a president who has made it very, very clear that he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. Today in New York we are saying ‘No. Not here in New York.’” Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate’s new leader said.
Staff reporter Jeff McCoy can be reached at email@example.com
Washington DC / USA Jan 18, 2019: The March For Life banner extends completely across the street as it passes pro-choice protesters and the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo credit Jeff McCoy / The Missions Tribune
Washington DC / USA Jan 18, 2019: Vice President Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence make a surprise visit to the annual March For Life event in Washington DC. Photo credit Jeff McCoy / The Missions Tribune
Washington DC / USA Jan 18, 2019: Young Pro-life supporters hold their ground in front of the U.S. Supreme Court with pro-choice protesters. Photo credit Jeff McCoy / The Missions Tribune
Washington DC / USA Jan 18, 2019: Vice President Pence along with thousands of Pro-life marchers listen as President Trump addresses one of the largest groups of pro-life marchers to descend on Washington DC to protest Roe V Wade. Photo credit Jeff McCoy / The Missions Tribune
Washington DC / USA Jan 18, 2019: Over 100,000 people came from around the country to join in the largest Pro-life march in the world at the Washington DC Mall. Photo credit Jeff McCoy / The Missions Tribune
Washington DC / USA Jan 18, 2019:
Pro-life supporters pray silently at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Photo credit Jeff McCoy / The Missions Tribune
President Trump and VP Pence address crowd
By Jeff McCoy
Perhaps history will remember the pro-life movement as similar to the abolitionist fight. It was unpopular and those that opposed freedom for slaves were often shunned and mocked. It is easy to be politically correct and be praised by your peers. Many times even people that did not own slaves were afraid to speak up for their defense. The abolitionist stood for what was right because in his mind it was the right thing to do. But today, just like so many decades ago, some people have stood for life. That stance has labeled them as racist, bigots, and out of touch with reality. In spite of that, they came to the nation’s capital by the busloads, cars, and trains. Over 100,000 people gathered at the Mall before marching to the U.S. Supreme Court to show their opposition to the Roe V. Wade decision of 1973.
Pete Leigh traveled for over five hours from Grove City, Pennsylvania for the sole purpose of joining the march. "Hopefully we can get this changed, have a voice," Leigh said. Many marchers celebrated the recent Brett Kavanaugh appointment to the Supreme Court by President Trump. That was his second appointment in two years. Neil Gorsuch was his first. That brought some hope to the pro-life movement for an opportunity to really challenge Roe V Wade but they knew it was not going to be an easy battle.
"I don't know. I think it's gonna be tough. I think the best we can hope for is that it will revert back to the states and each state will have a choice," Leigh said. Whichever way it falls the pro-life marchers know that they are in a better position at the Supreme Court than ever before.
Dale Ohmef and his wife Diane drove from the St. Louis Missouri area. Their grandson Dac came from Indiana to join them, "To support the pro-life march, movement." Did they think this march could really make a difference? "One person can make a difference," Dale Ohmef said.
"This encourages the others and one another," Diane Ohmef said. They believed that Kavanaugh and Gorsuch could make a real difference. She stated "We pray it will, and we pray that they have learned their lesson of their atrocities against Kavanaugh and that they would change their way," she said about the Kavanaugh hearings. "We know that God is for life."
Dave Frey lead singer of the band Sidewalk Prophets rocked the crowd with songs. "We are here to march in the name of love. Our God is a God of love," Frey said. Then Jeanne Mancini, President, March for Life Education and Defense Fund took the stage.
"I want to welcome you to the 46th annual March for Life. The largest annual human rights demonstration in the world!” Mancini said. Then after the crowd said the pledge of allegiance she introduced Archbishop Joseph Maman Chairman of the US bishops conference on Pro-life activities to the gathering.
"I especially welcome all of you gathered in this vast crowd as we stand together and proclaim our belief in the dignity of the unborn child and of all human life. Thank you all for being here and we look forward to marching with you. God bless. Change the world," Archbishop Maman said.
The crowd grew quickly as tens of thousands of people gathered from all point on the compass. Mancini was surprised at how many were still entering the Mall area. "Seriously guys I cannot see the end of the crowds out there this is unbelievable. It makes me nervous to say this but I think you might be the largest crowd ever. Literally, I just cannot see the end of you. It's so exciting,” Mancini said.
The march has taken place each year since the Roe v. Wade decision. Mancini continued to address the growing crowd. "Since that time we have tragically lost over 60 million American children. Little girls and little boys to abortion and many mothers and fathers regret having been involved in abortion. In response to this profound social injustice, we've continued to march every single year, regardless if there is a blizzard, right? 2016. Regardless if there's sub-zero temperatures, 2014, right? Or even this year with our government shutdown. We march. Why? Because we are marching to end the human rights abuse of today – abortion, and no sacrifice is too great for that. Today will you march for the poorest of the poor, the most vulnerable those who cannot march for themselves, babies in their mother's womb? Will you march before abortion becomes unthinkable? Would you march so that one day soon we no longer need to march? Will you share your story on social media?" Mancini asked.
"We must keep marching for life each and every day of the year taking action in our communities and in the public square to work for ending abortion. Pro-life is pro-science and each of you are unique from day one that’s our beautiful theme for this year. I can't tell you how grateful we are that all of you are here with us today. God bless you.
Ben Shapiro, conservative political commentator, lawyer, writer, syndicated columnist and host of the Ben Shapiro Show addressed the audience next. "We pretended that human beings are not actually human beings.” He stated that the scientific evidence was overwhelming in proving that the unborn were more than just tissue and how Americans are being told many different things that do not align with truth. He left the stage to thunderous applause.
After what seemed like some confusion on stage that left the press corp speculating Mancini returned. "I have quite a surprise for you right now. Not even our staff knew about this. I'm delighted to introduce the Second Lady of the United States along with her husband Vice President Mike Pence. It's been really hard to keep this secret. The Second Lady of the United States, Karen Pence, is a mother, twenty-five-year educator and an award-winning artist. She works to bring attention in her role as Second Lady for art therapy and sacrifices made by military service members and their families. She and her husband are no strangers in the march for life they have been here many, many years," Mancini said.
"I want to tell you that it is my privilege to be here with you today. It is my privilege to stand with you for life," Second Lady Karen Pence said.
The Vice President stepped forward to loud applause. "(She) is many things. She's a mother, she's an advocate for military families, she’s traveled across this country she's even an art teacher in a Christian school and I couldn't be more proud of our Second Lady, my wife Karen Pence, We're the Pences and we're Pro-life," The Vice President said.
"We gather here because we stand for life. We gather here because we stand for compassion. We gather here because we believe as the founders did that we are, all of us, born and unborn, endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights and first among these rights is the right to life. Forty-six years ago this month a majority on the Supreme Court turned its back on that right. But in that moment a movement was born. A movement defined by compassion and love. A movement animated by faith and truth and a movement that’s been winning hearts and minds every day since."
"We know in our heart of hearts that life is winning in America once again. To all the pro-life elected leaders that are gathered here today we say from the bottom of our hearts thank you! Thank you for your stand. Thank you for serving for Life. For all of you gathered here today, we urge you to stand strong. Be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have. Be prepared to defend life but do so with gentleness and respect. They will attack you. They will question your heart to silence others but don't listen to them. Listen to the truth and know that He who said ‘before I formed you in the womb I knew you’ also said ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ as you stand for his creation, as you stand for the right to march. We're here to tell you, you can be confident you do not stand here alone. You are joined by tens of millions across this nation and know that you have an unwavering ally in this Vice president, in our family and you have a champion in the President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.”
“In the last two years President Trump kept his promise and he appointed more conservative men and women to our federal courts of appeals than any president in American history. And this president signed legislation and I had the privilege to cast the tie-breaking vote to empower states to defund Planned Parenthood." At that point, the Vice President had to stop for the applause.
"The truth is President Donald Trump is the most pro-life president in American history. From the White House to your house, life is winning in America once again. You know it’s an honor to address you here at this annual March for Life but it’s a high honor and distinct privilege to introduce to you the forty-fifth president of the United States Donald Trump," Pence said as the jumbotron TV came on and the President addressed the cheering crowd.
"This is a movement founded on love and grounded in the nobility and dignity of every human life. When we look into the eyes of a newborn child we see the beauty and the human soul and the majesty of God's creation. We know that every life has meaning and that every life is worth protecting. As president, I will always defend the right, in our Declaration of Independence, the right to life. During my first week in office, I reinstated the Mexico City policy. We have taken bold action to protect the religious freedoms of doctors, nurses, and charity like the Little Sisters of the Poor. We are supporting the loving choice of adoption and foster care including faith-based adoption services. I am supporting the U.S. Senate's effort to make permanent the Hyde Amendment which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion.”
“Today I am sending a letter to Congress to make clear that if they send any legislation to my desk that weakens the protection of human life I will issue a veto and we have the support to uphold those vetoes. I want to thank Americans who traveled all across the country to march for life and especially want to thank so many young people who give us hope for the future. Together we will work to save the lives of unborn children so they will have a chance to live and to love, to thrive and to dream and to bless our nation and reach their full and glorious potential. Thank you, God bless you and your families, and God Bless America," President Trump said.
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ 4th District), Co-Chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus addressed the march next. "Thank you, President Trump, for making it absolutely clear today that you will veto any piece of legislation that undermines and nullifies any pro-life policy regulation or rule. The new Democratic majority of the House has made it clear that they want to extirpate all pro-life protection including the Hyde taxpayer funding abortion ban, which alone has saved over two million lives," Smith said.
"Mr. President, be assured that 159 House members and 49 Senators, led by Senator Daines, well in excess of the requisite required to prevail, has pledged in writing that we will sustain your veto. Women and children deserve better than the violence of abortion. The shocking number of abortions, killing of unborn children is unconscionable, twenty-five hundred every day, approximately 51 million dead babies since 1973, a death toll that equates to the entire population of Italy. The humanity of the unborn child is beyond doubt, yet the pro-abortion movement, like some kind of modern day flat earth society, continues to cling to outdated, indefensible augments. Even the seemly benign word choice withers under scrutiny. Choice to do what? Dismember a baby? Starve a child to death and then forcibly expel he or she from the womb? In order to facilitate the baby's extermination, the pro-abortionist aggressively deny and disrespect the unborn child and loudly mock you and other pro-lifers throughout this country and even the world who are trying to defend the fundamental human rights of children. I say, and conclude on this, let the harsh criticisms cause us to work even harder and more effectively. And as our Lord admonished that we love even those who hate us," Smith said.
Rep. Daniel William Lipinski (D-IL 3rd district) followed Smith and stood with the pro-life movement. "Thank you all for coming out here today. Always great to see so many young people here because you are the pro-life generation. We have a great diverse crowd. We have people that come here because of their faith, some people who have no faith that are here. We have all kinds of different ideas on all kinds of different issues. We don't agree on everything. We've got Republicans, Independents, Democrats but we are all here because we agree on one thing, every life is sacred, it needs to be protected. No one is expendable. We have a lot of work to do. We also need to change hearts and minds and we do this with hard work, education, prayer and everyday acts of love for women and their children because it what the pro-life movement is all about. We will never ever give up," Lipinski said.
Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) also addressed the crowd. "Thank each one of you for being here to show the world how strong and important the life movement really is. It is especially great to see so many young people here, young faces in the crowd. You are leading this fight and it is my privilege to be standing with you because this is a fight worth having," Daines said.
Other speakers continued to take the stage in support of the movement. At the Supreme Court, pro-choice protesters gathered to voice their opposition to the pro-life marchers. Holding signs that stated ‘Hey “Pro-Life” Hypocrites didn’t see ya at the” – March For Our Lives, March For Flint, March for Black Women, Poor People’s March, and other signs that read “A woman’s place is in your face” seemed to set the mood for confrontation. Pro-lifers moved in with their signs. A strong presence of police officers on the street and at the steps of the Supreme Court assured they were well prepared to quell any disturbance.
Some Pro-lifers placed tape over their mouths that read “Life”. They stood silently at the police barrier in front of the Supreme Court and prayed. The president of Students for Life of America Kristan Hawkins and many members of her organization stood their ground in front of the court.
"I've been up here for every Supreme Court case surrounding abortion so this is nothing compared to Obama Care. This is very tame. They are being very tame compared to normal," Hawkins said.
She, like many other pro-life supporters, held out hope for even another Supreme Court appointment from President Trump. "I think there is probably going to be one more Supreme Court (appointment). Absolutely it will make a difference. When Roe falls it will go back to the states and we'll be facing fifty simultaneous court battles," Hawkins said.
The March has many traditions. One being the bagpipes and drums that brings up the rear of the march each year. "We're with the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, Property. We're a lay Catholic organization," Damian Murphy said. Their pipes and drums have motivated the marchers since the very first March For Life.
Two men stood silently praying the Rosary across the street. A priest led a small group in the Rosary not far away. Three men stopped across the street from the Court and prayed powerfully and loud for the nation and the pro-life movement.
Many guest speakers have addressed the March over the years. In 1998, the rally featured three former pro-abortion activists who had become pro-life: Dr. Bernard Nathanson, founder of NARAL, Norma McCorvey, the Roe (plaintiff) in Roe v. Wade, and Sandra Cano, the plaintiff in Doe v. Bolton. Untold millions have made the march from the Mall to the Supreme Court and right into their senators and congressmen and women’s offices to seek lawful, peaceful change.
Reporter Jeff McCoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Congressional speaker line up announced for March for Life event in D.C.
By Jeff McCoy
The 46th annual March for Life event will take place on January 18, 2019, in Washington D.C. Millions of people have marched from the Mall to the U.S. Supreme Court since the historic Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Individual people, church groups, school and college students, and pro-abortion demonstrators brave the often cold temperatures to make their views seen and heard.
This year Rep. Daniel William Lipinski (D-IL 3rd district) Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ 4th district), and State Rep. Katrina R. Jackson (D-Louisiana House of Representatives, District 16) will address the 100,000 people that are expected to attend. March for Life, is the largest annual pro-life demonstration in the world.
“We are delighted to have these four pro-life champions speak at the March for Life rally. The right to life is a non-partisan issue and, regardless of politics, we should all unite for life and stand against abortion, the greatest human rights abuse of our time,” Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life stated in a press release.
Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, Abby Johnson, founder of And Then There Were None, Dr. Alveda King, Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn with Priests for Life, Dr. Kathi Aultman, fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ally Cavazos, President of Princeton Pro-Life, and Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-life Activities Committee will also be in attendance.
March for Life is a 501(c)3 organization and organizes the March each year. This year they selected the theme, “Unique from Day One: Pro-life is Pro-science” which focuses on how scientific advancements reveal the humanity of the unborn child from the moment of conception.
Staff reporter Jeff McCoy can be reached at email@example.com
By Jeff McCoy
All newspapers have grappled with readers moving to the Internet. Print newspapers have seen large drops in readership over the last several years. Now a new tariff will continue to apply pressure to both small-town and larger newspapers.
President Donald Trump has placed retaliatory tariffs on Canadian groundwood paper in January. He reasoned that the Canadian government subsidizes that industry. That decision immediately drew fire from opponents who felt it was a deliberate act to strike back at the press which he has been embattled with since moving into the White House. Others saw it as part of his America First policy.
The Missions Tribune has seen an increase of over 25% in production costs, this year alone. Other newspapers have reduced employee ranks in order to absorb the rising cost of paper. Many times, newspapers today are operated with under-staffed crews, forcing some traditional beats to forgo a full-time reporter. Investigative journalism has taken one of the biggest hits in the budget due to the high cost of dedicated staff to a story over weeks or months. Many small-town newspapers, some with over one-hundred-year histories, have closed their shops leaving their communities without any local news.
The petitioner is North Pacific Paper Company. “There is a difference between enforcing clear trade rules that protect all Americans and lurching into piecemeal imposition of tariffs to benefit individual companies. Norpac’s petition is an example of protectionist cronyism.” Steve Forbes noted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
The tariff will affect book publishers also. U.S. paper imports from Canada were $1.27 billion in 2016. Congress has taken note on the issue. The Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade Act, also known by its acronym the PRINT Act, H.R. 6031 and S. 2835, would put a hold on Trump's tariffs on Canadian paper.
Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD0) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the bills. Noem issued a press release where she stated, “Chances are that if you are reading this, you subscribe to a local newspaper. Publications like this play an instrumental role in keeping communities strong and informed. Sadly, many are disappearing from our rural communities, making it increasingly difficult to stay connected with what’s happening within the local school system, around town, and around the state.
The ever-increasing cost of production is one of the most common concerns South Dakota’s newspapers raise with me. In recent years, new tariffs on Canadian newsprint have increased paper prices by 20 to 30 percent. That’s significant. A paper that services around 20,000 customers, for instance, could see paper costs rise by about a quarter-million dollars annually, threatening the newspaper’s survival.
As David Bordewyk, the Executive Director of the South Dakota Newspaper Association, told me: 'I have already heard from South Dakota newspaper publishers who fear that if these tariffs were to carry forward indefinitely, they will very well be forced to close their doors. That creates a ripple effect in the community for businesses that rely on the local newspaper to advertise and promote their goods and services.'
To help ease the burden, I introduced the PRINT Act in early June. This legislation places a temporary hold on the newsprint tariffs, giving time for the Commerce Department to investigate the negative impact the tariffs have on our hometown papers. As Bordewyk explains it: 'This legislation will provide some breathing room and an opportunity for a more complete review and analysis.'"
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the countervailing duty (CVD) investigation of imports of uncoated groundwood paper from Canada. “Today’s preliminary decision allows U.S. producers to receive relief from the market-distorting effects of potential government subsidies while taking into account the need to keep groundwood paper prices affordable for domestic consumers. The Department of Commerce will continue to evaluate and verify the accuracy of this preliminary determination while standing up for the American business and worker,” Ross said.
In the Senate, the bill has 28 bipartisan cosponsors: 15 Republicans and 13 Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents and awaits a possible vote in the Senate Finance Committee.
The House version has 27 bipartisan cosponsors: 23 Republicans and four Democrats. It awaits a possible vote in either the Energy and Commerce or Ways and Means Committees.
If the bills were to pass, they wouldn't technically reverse or overturn the tariffs, but instead would temporarily freeze the tariffs while requiring the Commerce Department to study the issue further. Should the bills proceed that far, the president could still use his veto power. Support from both sides of the aisle may be enough for him to reconsider.
Staff reporter Jeff McCoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jeff McCoy
We’re told that there are only two certainties in life – death, and taxes. Now many churches may be spending time with the tax man if a law stays on the books.
The Republican Party's tax reform overhaul has been welcomed by small business owners and families alike. To keep federal revenues from dropping, some loopholes had to be closed. Without fanfare, a new tax on churches, colleges, hospitals and other non-profit organizations went into effect which would place a 21 percent tax on some employee fringe benefits. The main benefits affected are transportation-related. The tax also targets meals provided to workers.
Many churches and other organizations are not even aware of the coming changes. Those that do oppose it cite the administrative and financial costs that will be incurred. This could spell trouble for some Republicans in the upcoming elections as many of them need the Christian vote to remain in office.
Six months into the enactment of The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Republicans point out the benefits to businesses and individual taxpayers. With lower taxes, less money coming in, they needed to find a way to keep revenue up and one quick way to do that was to go after tax breaks for workers' fringe benefits. They estimated around $40 billion over the next decade could be raised with that tax break eliminated.
“There is a difference between enforcing clear trade rules that protect all Americans and lurching into piecemeal imposition of tariffs to benefit individual companies...”
This would place thousands of churches, universities, and even orchestras into a quarterly tax paying system. Some churches are understaffed and use volunteers for bookkeeping tasks. They have voiced concern over how they could train their staff or where they would find funding to hire professional bookkeepers and accountants.
Historically the church and not-for-profit corporations have received tax exemption status to allow them to contribute to society in a way that other entities could not. It also allowed them to draw in talent that they may not have been able to without the tax breaks.
Although the tax went into effect on January 1, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, The YMCA, the National Council of Nonprofits and other organizations have requested the tax be delayed to give them time to understand, account for, and implement it.
The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is circulating a petition, currently with over 2,400 signatures, to request that the provision be repealed.
Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX11) has introduced a bill that will do just that. The Non-Profit Support Act would eliminate the provision. Fringe benefits provided to employees by nonprofit organizations would go untaxed just like in the past.
The bill has two Republican cosponsors. It awaits a possible vote in the House Ways and Means Committee, which is chaired by Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX8) who opposes the Non-Profit Support Act.
“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included provisions that provided greater parity in the tax treatment of different types of employee compensation,” a spokesperson for Brady said. Other opponents say it levels the playing field for all organizations.
Staff reporter Jeff McCoy can be reached at email@example.com
More contact time proposed
By Jeff McCoy
Children suffer greatly when a parent is in prison. Lack of, or limited contact, social stigma and a broken home has proven to be a recipe for future problems for some children. The United States has more incarnated citizens than any other country in the world. The U.S. has 2,121,600 inmates. China comes in second at 1,649,804. Even Russia comes in fourth (behind Brazil) with 597,619 according to prisonstudies.org (http://www.prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/prison-population-total?field_region_taxonomy_tid=All). In the United States, 219,000 women are incarcerated. Many of those are awaiting trial and have not been convicted.
Women prisoners can be shackled and even placed in straitjackets while pregnant. Contact with children can be very limited. Some families cannot afford the telephone toll cost to make contact with mothers that are a great distance from home almost guaranteeing that any contact is reduced to using the mail service.
U.S. Representatives Scott Taylor (R-Va.) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) introduced H.R. 5575, the Pathway to Parenting Act to address some of those issues. If the bill should pass it would require correction officials to place a mother as close to her children as possible when considering prison locations, allow parent prisoners to have physical contact with their children at least six times a week as long as the prisoner is not considered an immediate danger; prohibit the use of shackles, solitary confinement, and handcuffs or straitjackets on pregnant prisoners and prohibit communication fees between a parent and their child. In addition, the bill would establish parenting classes for all parent prisoners and for female inmates, whether a parent or not, access to a gynecologist.
"Incarcerated pregnant women should not have to worry about the safety or health of their unborn children via the stress of solitary confinement or shackling. After they pay their debts to society, we must have policies in place that reduce recidivism, allow for a productive return to communities, and keep families together. American women are incarcerated disproportionately more than their foreign counterparts and there is a large percentage of them with children. This bipartisan bill is a big step in the right direction," Taylor said in a press release.
Coleman added “Children shouldn’t suffer the trauma of separation, missed communication or worse because their mothers are incarcerated, nor should we ignore elements of a prison system that are inherently punitive when we claim that system is rehabilitative. This bill would treat women with dignity while they serve their sentences by targeting several policies for pregnant women and caretaking parents and take a vital action to prevent infant and maternal mortality with a pilot program providing small-group, comprehensive prenatal care that considers physical health, mental health, and parenting skill building. The policies we’ve proposed here have no party – they’re simply good for the women in our prison system, the families of those women and the society these women will eventually return to.”
A similar bill, S 1524, was introduced last year in the Senate. After making it through two readings it was referred to the Committee of the Judiciary.
The Pathway to Parenting Act now awaits a possible vote in the House Judiciary Committee.
Staff reporter Jeff McCoy can be reached at mccoy@themissionstr
By Jeff McCoy
In a time when school violence has become a regular news event, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo) has taken the lead with a new bill that she hopes will help protect students and teachers. The Police Officers Protecting Children Act, HR 2513, if passed into law, would allow off-duty and retired law enforcement officers to carry a concealed firearm while in a school zone if a local school policy allowed it.
Hartzler is a mother and a former public school teacher where she taught for 11 years and understands some of the challenges students and teachers face today. The threat against schools is genuine.
The bill has gained support from law enforcement, especially in remote rural areas, where response time can be extended. Currently, the Gun-Free School Zones Act only permits on-duty or resource officers to carry a firearm. This bill would allow off-duty or retired police officers to be armed on a school campus. Many off-duty and retired law enforcement personnel pick up their children and grandchildren from school and attend sporting and social events on school grounds daily.
"Not allowing current law enforcement officers, or qualified retired law enforcement officers to carry weapons at schools simply puts children's lives at risk. Officers routinely put themselves in harm's way during their shift, and that commitment does not stop at the end of shift. Retired law enforcement officers are too valuable of a resource to be put on a shelf. Let the professionals continue to protect our children on or off duty," Laclede County Missouri Sheriff, David Millsap, said in a press release.
For Hartzler, the bill is just plain old-fashion common sense. “If a school wants to allow trustworthy retired or off-duty police officers to protect their children, the federal government shouldn’t stop them. The Police Officers Protecting Children Act allows local schools to authorize experienced off-duty or retired officers to carry a firearm in a school zone for the safety of their students. This is especially important for schools in our rural communities where law enforcement may take a significant amount of time to respond to an emergency,” Hartzler said.
She found support from teachers, administrators and law enforcement officers as she designed this legislation. The bill does not place any requirements on the school. If a community doesn't want to allow the program in their schools, they do not have to adopt it.
Not everyone agrees with the bill. In the article entitled "More Cops in Schools Is the Wrong Answer to Mass Shootings," Reason Magazine Associate Editor, Robby Soave stated, "The ubiquitous presence of law enforcement in public schools has led to serious infringements of students' Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, and it has increased the likelihood that minor disputes between students will escalate into criminal justice issues. More broadly, the increased police presence in schools is directly related to the rise of zero tolerance and the so-called school-to-prison pipeline."
Soave also noted “Airports are an example of security theater run amok. Despite its heavy-handed approach to screening passengers, the Transportation Security Administration routinely fails to stop people from bringing guns and knives into the terminal: The agency missed 95 percent of the weapons in 2015's security tests. Over-the-top security measures in airports provide the illusion of safety rather than actual protection, and they come at a significant cost both in money and in civil liberties.”
Hartzler sees it differently. “If a school wants to allow trustworthy retired or off-duty police officers to protect their children, the federal government shouldn’t stop them.”
Staff reporter Jeff McCoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAPTION: Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler
By Herbert Y. Boh
WASHINGTON, DC, 31 MAY 2018 – The on-and-off nuclear summit between the United States and North Korea is back on – but no one may be able to confirm that for sure – until it opens as scheduled on June 12 in Singapore.
If – and/or – when it is held, history will look back at its outcome bemused or amazed – or not – that it was preceded by this level of “who will blink first” diplomacy.
“I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump had said in a letter dated Thursday, May 24, to the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“The summit is still on,” Trump told reporters 24 hours later as he welcomed to the White House, Joshua Holt, a US citizen freed from two years of detention in a Venezuelan prison.
Trump cited the “tremendous anger and open hostility” by North Korea against the United States. Trump was referring to a statement by a deputy foreign minister of North Korea, Choe Son Hui, who described US Vice President Mike Pence as “a political dummy.”
“Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States, Choe told the North Korean state-run KCNA news agency. She described earlier statements by Pence during a Fox News interview as “unbridled and impudent.”
Even the letter canceling the summit suggested that Trump left the door open: “Call me or write me,” Trump wrote. “When and if Kim Jong Un decides to engage in constructive dialogue, I am ready,” Trump added.
The Trump Administration says it has set the denuclearization of North Korea as a goal for the summit. The US President described denuclearization as “right not only for Kim Jong Un but also for his people and the people of the region.”
"No matter what happens and whatever we do, we will never, ever compromise the security of America," said Trump.
Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has made no secret of his belief that an American leader should not sit face-to-face with the North Korean leader.
US officials say a successful denuclearization program for North Korea would mirror the Libyan model. Mention of Libya clearly vexed North Korean officials. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi gave up his country’s nuclear program in 2003. His country came under aerial bombardment by NATO forces eight years later. Gaddafi ended up being dragged out from beneath a drainage pipe where he was hiding from rebel forces and brutally killed in 2011.
The letter canceling the summit came as a surprise to many, including US allies (Japan and South Korea). The letter was published the same day North Korea was giving a tour of a destroyed nuclear site to Western journalists in the mountainous region of the country.
Planning for the summit appeared on course at press time.
Observers fear that if the summit fails, the US and North Korea could go back to the “fire throwing rhetoric” they engaged in prior to talks with. The US President called the North Korean leader “Little Rocket Man” and bragged about having a “bigger nuclear button” connected to nuclear “missiles that actually work.”
By Jeff McCoy
Imagine making a long road trip, driving all day and part of the night. It’s not a vacation to a fun-filled week at the beach. It’s not a family reunion where everyone will spend the next week catching up on family news. No, it’s to a closed warehouse on the bad side of town. They’ll open in the morning and unload your 53’ trailer and you will repeat the day five or six more times this week. Welcome to the truck driver’s world. As you sit behind road construction for an hour your phone rings and your dispatcher wants to know where you are so he can pass another load to you even though you know you need to get to your family because of problems at home. The driver’s job is also stressful for their spouse and children.
It’s lonely, perhaps one of the loneliest jobs in America. Since everything in our homes has been delivered by a truck the demand for drivers is great. Leasing companies, fuel companies, the banks, the Department of Transportation, all make money. The men and women that work the hardest make the least amount of money but the truck has to keep moving. Don’t stop or you’ll be late delivering the 80,000 pounds that is flying along right behind you in your trailer. It takes a steady hand and eagle eyes to drive the biggest rigs on the highway. You also need to do that through all seasons and all types of weather. When school is canceled and work is delayed a truck driver is still behind the wheel, driving long hours to make the delivery of food and products that the public needs. Truck drivers joke that there are only two seasons in the year – winter and construction. Both slow the drive and extend the hours.
The government workplace fatality census has listed truck driving as America’s most dangerous job. Truck crashes account for many lost lives but drivers are also killed in robberies. Truckers are not allowed to arm themselves but thieves still do.
You are a long way from home when your son calls about not making the football team or your wife asks you how to repair the car that won’t start. Drivers keep America moving but there is a price to pay for that.
Steve Richardson knows a lot about what a trucker goes through. He’s been behind the wheel for over thirty years. He has seen it all. He knows about loneliness, about missing home and family and all the dangers in steering supplies into unknown towns and cities. He has also had a co-pilot that he believes protects him and guides him. He turns to Jesus for answers and helps others do the same thing.
“The Lord put on my heart a long time ago about a place of refuge for truck drivers. I started the Christian Truckers Network and inside the Christian Truckers Network is the Lord’s Roundtable, The Truckers Prayer Line, Highways and Byways, Road Angles for Christ, an all women’s ministries, and Voice of the Believers. We have a 1000 line conference line. A 1000 people can call in before anybody gets a busy signal. We also run a radio program on I Heart and Spreaker Radio. We're on YouTube, Facebook and we're on Twitter. It’s predominately for the truck driver but not limited to. Anyone can call in. We welcome everybody," Richardson said. That’s good because the road well traveled is full of people in need.
One show is a "verse by verse bible study. We have truck drivers from all over the country that call in. We usually have on average 10-15 drivers that call in every weekday morning for our bible study," Richardson said. His shows have different formats but the message is the same.
A very diversified guest list populates the shows. Jewel thieves, bikers, professors from Liberty University all bring the Gospel of Christ to a waiting and eager audience. Richardson has a show on five days a week.
That is quite the accomplishment for anyone, but Richardson does all of that while driving every day even on the day of this interview. "I loaded shingles in Ohio. I'm taking them up to Michigan. Then I'm going to the western part of Michigan. I drive every day. I do 2500-3000 miles a week," Richardson said.
He knows that a trucker can find himself with few friends on the road. The constant moving does not allow time to even build new friendships. "When you’re out here on the road, especially late at night your family is all sleeping, most of the people you know are sleeping and you got miles of bad memories and everything comes to you. Even during the day it very lonesome," Richardson said. The radio show and podcasts help many drivers through that time of doubt or fear.
He serves as his own show producer and his truck serves as the studio. "I run a six-channel mixer, two laptops and IRig in the bunk of my truck. It's amazing. The Lord has opened these doors up and the Lord is the one that is in control of all this. In every service that we have we share the gospel of Jesus Christ," Richardson said.
He is serious about helping others. "I have a recorded line where if a driver has given his heart to the Lord we would love to hear about it. If they have questions they can call that number and as soon as they leave a message I immediately get notification to my phone through an email and that’s a 24 hour a day, seven days a week phone number. If I get a call in the middle of the night I get up," Richardson said.
The broadcasting is attracting larger audiences. "We have shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with 2,100 people; we just turned (crossed) 2100 callers last night, so we're averaging a little over 400 a month. Those are all the ones that have called in through Spreaker Radio. That's not including the numbers that look at it on YouTube and that’s not including the people that call in through The Lord's Roundtable,” Richardson said. It also does not include people that visit and listen through their computers.
Sharing the Gospel of Christ seems to come easy for Richardson. You could say he is on fire to tell about his Savior. He loves to spend time speaking about Jesus. He is full of compassion for people, especially truckers, but it wasn’t always that way.
"When I came out of the Navy I went in with bike clubs. Most people call them gangs. I spent the better part of 13 years with them, ended up with a cocaine addiction. Finally I fell on my living room floor one night and said ‘God if you are who they say you are, I need you in my life," Richardson said.
He thought he was going to die either from the drugs or the bad company he ran with. "When I got up off the floor the Lord totally delivered me from my addiction. It was never a part of my life again and that's been over 30 years. I've been praising the Lord and have been on fire for him. He told me my ministry is out here on the road," Richardson said.
Drivers respect him because he has been in their shoes. “For the week I've come out here with just peanut butter and jelly and a loaf of bread out here to make sure you take care of your family. It wasn't just me. That was the trucking industry. I remember one time I said 'Lord I am so tired of peanut butter and jelly and He had my heart and said 'You ain't hungry are you?' I still carry a jar of peanut butter and jelly in my truck'" he says with a laugh.
"I'm a company driver but the Lord has called me to full-time ministry. The Lord is opening the doors as we go and he has given me a mobile chapel," Richardson said. His mission is growing and he feels that hauling a trailer ‘full of chapel’ is a better way to serve his master than hauling goods.
The chapel was donated to him by Headlight in Trucking, another ministry that works with truck drivers. "It's a 53-foot trailer. It has a private living quarters in the front and it's got a half dozen pews and an altar. It's got an on-board generator for heat, air conditioning, and electricity. Aluminum steps pull out from underneath the trailer,” Richardson said.
The chapel will serve in many locations and different missions. Richardson has connected with Franklin Graham’s ministry. "When there is a disaster in the United States, rather it be whether or rather a school shooting or anything like that and if I get a call I go with them and the chapel will be there with Samarian Purse so those people will have a place to go for prayer and to spend some time with the Lord," Richardson said.
Richardson is eager to get on the road with his chapel. "He has blessed me so much with this ministry. Right now we're waiting for the Lord to give me the truck to pull it and finance to be able to maintain it," he said.
Richardson knows that his ministry is helping drivers and others. He stands as a way to counter some of the bad issues that drivers may be tempted by. "Every vise known to man is found in a truck stop. By the time that driver gets out of his truck and walks into that building he could be in contact with every vice there is from drugs, alcohol, prostitution, homosexuality, I mean that’s rapid nowadays. With Spreaker radio and the podcasts they listen to that 24/7. There is always encouragement, there is always testimony. Like I said it’s a place of refuge for truck drivers. And it goes beyond that, we talk to the people on the shipping docks. I was talking to a gentleman the other day up in New York and he gave his life to the Lord. That's what we do. The Lord says go into the highways and the hedges and share the gospel. We literally go into the highways. We go places that most pastors would never even think is there or have the capabilities of going to," Richardson said.
There is a lot of evil out there; there is no doubt about it. You know we are in the world out here. I've been there. I know what these drivers are going through. They'll call (back home) and they will say 'Mom I've been trying to call home and nobody is answering. What do you mean you saw a u-haul backing out of the driveway?' This is a very rough life for families. The divorce rate out here is astronomical," Richardson said.
He believes that Christians need to be out there for drivers with the message of hope. "They got to be out here. These drivers are broken. They are emotionally broken, they are spiritually broken, they are financially broken. They need the Word of God. They need somebody out here," Richardson said.
"I love to see people, when they go by these trucks, to just pray for them. You know 'Lord protect that truck. Protect the people that come around that truck. Protect their families while they are gone," Richards said. He even prayed after this interview. "I love to pray with people. This is my life. This is what the Lord has called me to."
To contact Steve Richardson, listen to the radio shows or podcast or support his ministry, go to http://thelordsroundtable.com/
Staff reporter Jeff McCoy can be reached at email@example.com
By Jeff McCoy
William Jackson Smart was a man that believed in his country. He joined the Union Army during the Civil War while living in a state that was part of the Confederacy. He enlisted as a sergeant with the 1st Arkansas Light Artillery Battery.
He joined one of the first Union units organized in Arkansas. Fayetteville, located in the northwest corner of the state, was pro-Union and sent representatives to the Arkansas Secession Convention. They in turn voted against secession. In February 1862, Confederate forces retreating from Missouri destroyed a large part of Fayetteville. Sgt. Smart saw action of many different occasions. Not only did he defend his country he did it from a state where many viewed him as a traitor.
In addition to his service to the United Stated, he is recognized as the man that inspired Father’s Day. Sgt. Smart, a single dad, was loved by his children. Smart’s first wife, Elizabeth Harris bore him six children and died in 1878 in Arkansas. Later he married a widow, Ellen Victoria Cheek, a mother of three children. That marriage produced seven more children, one of whom was Sonora, his daughter that would be credited for, and fought hard for a national Father’s Day. The family moved to a farm near Wilbur, Washington, where his second wife died in 1898. Sgt. Smart then raised the six children still living at home.
On June 19, 1910, a Father's Day celebration was held at the YMCA in Spokane, Washington by Sgt. Smart’s daughter Sonora Smart Dodd. She was a member of the Old Centenary Presbyterian Church where she first proposed the idea. She told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday like Mother’s Day, to honor them. She initially suggested June 5, her father's birthday, the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday in June.
Father’s Day had a few false starts. In 1908 in Fairmont, West Virginia Grace Golden Clayton suggested to the minister of the local Methodist church that they hold services to celebrate fathers after a deadly mine explosion killed 361 men.
In 1911 a Father’s Day celebration was proposed by Jane Addams in Chicago but her request was denied.
Irvington Methodist Church pastor J.J. Berringer held a Father's Day celebration in Vancouver, Washington, in 1912.
Lions Clubs International member, Harry C. Meek claimed that he had first come up with the idea for Father's Day in 1915. He was named the "Originator of Father's Day" by the Lions Club.
A bill to recognize the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913 but failed. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson supported the idea of Father’s Day so much that he went to Spokane to speak at a Father's Day celebration. He sought to make it federal holiday, but Congress halted that plan, fearing that it would become just a commercial event.
In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge recommended that Father’s Day be recognized throughout the entire country. Margaret Chase Smith the Senator from Maine, in 1957, proposed a Father's Day to Congress. The holiday would not be proclaimed by a Commander-In-Chief until 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson wrote the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. President Richard Nixon signed it into law six years later and the day was made a permanent national holiday.
The holiday was inspired by one very dedicated father but today recognizes all of the sacrifices that fathers make daily. Sgt. Smart was dedicated to his country and his family. He died at his daughter Sonora Smart Dodd’s home in 1919 surrounded by his children.