ACLU sues Catholic Bishops over federal grants

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), one of the top ten volags (voluntary agencies) that receive grants to resettle refugees and to care for victims of human trafficking.    The gist of the lawsuit involves the USCCB not providing contraceptive and abortion services to the women in their care.

However, also of interest to me is that the ACLU is saying that the USCCB is wasting tax dollars.  I’m happy to see another organization that is looking out for the taxpayer.

From Catholic News Service:

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has filed suit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over human trafficking grants allocated to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The federal agency is violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment “by permitting USCCB to impose a religiously based restriction on the use of taxpayer funds,” the lawsuit charges. It cited the fact that the USCCB requires its subcontractors providing the direct services to trafficking victims to not use the funds for contraceptives or abortion or contraception referrals.

The suit, ACLU of Massachusetts v. Leavitt, was filed Jan. 12 in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, based in Boston. It asks for a permanent injunction requiring HHS to ensure that funds under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act are disbursed “without the imposition of religiously based restrictions.”

“We are asking the court to stop this misuse of taxpayer dollars and to protect the health and safety of trafficking victims,” said Sarah Wunsch, staff attorney with ACLU of Massachusetts, in a statement. “Trafficking victims need comprehensive and compassionate care to gain their freedom and lead safe and healthy lives.”

The trafficking grants are administered through the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the Administration for Children and Families in HHS.


According to the USCCB Web site, the bishops’ conference, through its Migration and Refugee Services, “administers the Anti-Trafficking Per Capita Services Program through a contract” with the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement “to provide services to survivors of human trafficking across the country.”

We have been pointing out all along that these volags, these federal contractors, have created a staffing and office infrastructure that drains funds away from the refugee program and in this case the program for helping victims of human trafficking.  My personal view is that we need to get the churches out of the taxpayer’s pockets.

Unfortunately, if the ACLU is successful, it likely won’t mean any savings on the part of the taxpayer, the funds will just be made available to another unaccountable volag—-a secular one.

The ACLU said the USCCB received $2.5 million under the HHS contract between April 2006 and April 2007 and another $3.5 million between April 2007 and April 2008. In fiscal year 2006, the “USCCB retained $900,192, or almost 40 percent of the congressionally appropriated funds, for administering the grant, while only $1.6 million … was spent serving individuals who were trafficked.”

It’s a shame that a lawsuit like this one is where we see financial figures that should be available to the general public at all times.

Endnote:   I have never been able to figure out the full amount of federal funds the USCCB receives from the federal treasury but I am sure it exceeds 100 million a year for all of its federal contracts.

Alinskyism (Day 17)

I’m going to bet that the conservative elite dining with Obama last night don’t know that Obama is the master of the ‘ends justify the means’ strategy of Obama’s mentor Saul Alinksy.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I bet he charmed their socks off.  And, if so, maybe it’s time for us to get a new conservative elite?  We’ll see.

The following bit from Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” was what I was planning to post today anyway.   It is all part of the strategy to blur the lines, to appear moderate, to get to the end which is a (more) socialist government by the most clever of means.

The fear of change is, as discussed earlier, one of our deepest fears, and a new idea must be at the least couched in the language of past ideas; often, it must be, at first, diluted with vestiges of the past.

I think “diluted” might be what Obama was going for last night when meeting with conservative pundits—come to think of it, these conservative elites are just that—pundits!  Why are we looking to pundits as our leaders?

The Alinsky calendar is posted in ‘community destabilization’ here.

Rohingya said to be left at sea by Thai Army

This seems pretty incredible to me, but here is the story.  We have written on several recent occasions that Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Bangladesh have been trying to get to Thailand by the hundreds in the last few months.  The boat people (really boat “men”) are most often apprehended by the Thai Navy.  Now comes news (rumor?) that the Thai Army is taking custody of them and literally disposing of the problem.

BANGKOK, Jan 12 – Thailand’s army is secretly detaining boatpeople on an island in the Andaman Sea, before towing them into international waters and abandoning them with only paddles, sources involved in the process said.

The army officially denies holding any Rohingya – Muslims who come from the border areas of Myanmar and Bangladesh – who sail for Southeast Asia at this time of year by the hundreds.

But Ranong provincial governor Wanchart Wongchaichana said all Rohingya who arrive in the area are turned over to the army.

The army denies the charges:

The sources include officers who were present at Rohingya handovers to the army.

However, Colonel Manat denied having Rohingya in custody. “If I see Rohingya, I will arrest them and hand them to the police. The army does not have Rohingya,” he said, before switching off his mobile phone.

The Rohingya are increasingly on the world’s radar.

The fate of the Rohingya is increasingly being discussed in regional diplomatic circles, amid reports of them also reaching Indonesia, Malaysia, and India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The subject is expected to be raised at next month’s Asean summit in Thailand.

Human rights group are angry, but the Thai government fears the Rohingya will join the Muslim insurgency if steps aren’t taken to protect Thailand from their illegal entry.

Chris Lewa, a Bangkok-based social worker who is seeking better treatment for the Rohingya boatpeople.

She said that brokers in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Malaysia were encouraging desperate Rohingya to make the dangerous boat journey to Thailand despite the possibility that they could be turned back.

Even if the unwelcome migration does present a security threat, as the army claims, the way the Rohingya are treated may contravene international law, Lewa said.

Thai authorities have long been concerned about the arrival of large numbers of Rohingya, fearing some of them may head south to join the long-running Muslim insurgency.

In March last year, then prime minister Samak Sundaravej asked the navy to find a suitable island on which to detain the Rohingya.

But the idea of holding them in such a facility met outcry from human rights advocates and was supposedly shelved.

At the time, military chief Supreme Commander General Boonsrang Niumpradit said of the Rohingya sneaking in to Thailand: “The graph is rising and it is worrying, and we have to try to solve the problem.”

Rohingya usually arrive in Thailand from November to April, while seas are at their calmest.

According to official figures, in 2005-2006, 1,225 arrived in Thailand; in 2006-2007, there were 2,763. In 2007-2008, there were 4,886. From Nov 26 to Dec 25 last year, 659 Rohingya were detained in eight separate incidents.

For more on the Rohingya go to our category “Rohingya Reports” here.   Rohingya are being resettled in the west and pressure is building for the US to take them too.

Comments worth having a look at!

Last night we got a couple of comments I want to bring to your attention.   Since they were sent to this older post on why we have so many Somalis in the US, it is unlikely you would see them.   

As we have previously said, we don’t post comments with foul language but I took the liberty of editing the foul language because I wanted you to see the sort of things people who maintain that “MUSLIM IS A KIND TRUE RELIGION” say to people that disagree with them.    See comments #46 and #47.