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WHERE CAN TRUE FREEDOM BE FOUND?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 24, 2014) — A Christian Sudanese woman held in medieval conditions in a Khartoum, Sudan prison for months because of her faith is now safely in Italy with her husband and two children.
Meriam Ibrahim Wani was sentenced in May, while more than eight months’ pregnant with her second child, to 100 lashes for “adultery” and death by hanging for “apostasy” after she refused to convert to Islam. Sudan did not recognize her marriage to Daniel Wani, a U.S. citizen who is also a Christian, as Meriam’s father was reportedly a Muslim.
Twenty-one-month-old Martin was imprisoned with his mother in reportedly harsh conditions.
Meriam gave birth inside the prison on May 27 while in chains. A trained physician, she feared that her baby daughter, Maya, might have been impaired as a result of Meriam’s restricted movement during the birth process.
After massive international outcry, Sudan’s appeals court overturned Meriam’s sentence on June 23 and freed the children and her from prison. The following day, however, when the family tried to leave the country via Khartoum’s international airport, they were halted by 40 security guards, and Meriam was accused of using forged travel documents. Representatives of both the South Sudanese embassy and U.S. embassy stated that Meriam’s documents were in order and authentic.
Meriam’s brother was reportedly responsible for having her detained at the airport and also filed a lawsuit against her which may have caused further delay in the family’s exit from Sudan. After two days of detention at the airport, the family was given refuge at the U.S. embassy in Khartoum until Wednesday, when they were allowed to travel to Italy.
On Thursday, Meriam met with Pope Francis, who reportedly “thanked her for her courage and staying true to her Christian faith despite the threat of execution.”
Daniel became a U.S. citizen in 2005 and has a home in Manchester, NH.
Meriam’s Sudanese attorney said that legal action against his client has not been withdrawn.
Since its birth in 1776, the United States has allowed freedom of religion to all under the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights. Today, however, First Amendment protections such as freedom of religion, speech, the press and of assembly have been sharply curtailed through “almost certainly unconstitutional” surveillance and intimidation, becoming more pronounced during the Obama regime.
On June 24, the day after Meriam and her children were set free and tried unsuccessfully to leave Sudan, a trial jury in McMinn County, TN convicted a 24-year Navy veteran of two felonies for attempting to inform the county grand jury of crimes occurring within the community involving judges, the grand jury foreman, and the prosecutor’s office. On August 19, CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.) is expected to be sentenced to a lengthy prison term, albeit undeserved, by Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood.
The First Amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The Legal Information Institute writes of the First Amendment provision for citizens to ask for corrective action of their government:
The right to petition the government for a redress of grievances guarantees people the right to ask the government to provide relief for a wrong through the courts (litigation) or other governmental action. It works with the right of assembly by allowing people to join together and seek change from the government.
People all over the world came together to protest the death sentence of Meriam Wani, which led to her eventual release. Individuals across the U.S. are now in the process of recognizing the egregious First Amendment violation imposed by Blackwood when he accepted the jury’s misguided verdict. Tennessee judges have been abusing the constitutional rights of the citizens they are expected to serve for decades.
The First Amendment rights of Tea Party members, veterans’ groups, religious organizations, adoptive parents and critics of the Obama regime were violated by the IRS in an admitted scheme to flag their tax-exempt applications for extra scrutiny which in some cases delayed decisions for months or years. Some groups were asked for information regarding their political or religious beliefs, and evidence indicates that members of Congress urged the IRS to violate their First Amendment rights.
A group of U.S. senators attempted to overturn a First Amendment ruling issued by the U.S. Supreme Court last month protecting religious liberty.
As a compromised judge, Blackwood denied Fitzpatrick his constitutional right to a fair trial and accepted perjured testimony from grand jurors who either “could not remember” the discussion or “felt threatened” and therefore voted to indict Fitzpatrick. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that the Fifth Amendment
Show trials, fake charges, intimidation of jurors and witnesses, and corrupt judges are sending Americans to prison routinely in Tennessee and, most likely, in other states.
The Obama regime has been accused of marginalizing Christians and Jews while promoting Islam through its appointees and putative chief executive. Obama has falsely claimed that ““Islam has always been part of America.”
Over the last several years, persecution of Christians has risen, particularly on the part of Muslim countries. Just this week, the terror group ISIS succeeded in driving Christians from their ancestral homes in Mosul, Iraq, which a U.S. Army veteran Andrew Slater described as “one of the holiest cities” to Iraqi Christians.
Persecution of Christians with deeply-held beliefs has been carried out by the Obama regime in the form of his “Obamacare” law, wherein he and Congress attempted to force companies founded on religious beliefs to provide contraceptives and abortifacients at no charge to their employees. When the U.S. Supreme ruled the practice unconstitutional last month, some members of Congress, particularly in the U.S. Senate, proposed passing legislation to “overturn” the high court’s ruling.
Many believe that Obama’s use of the National Security Agency (NSA) as reported by Edward Snowden last year has silenced his political enemies and even some of his allies. Anyone questioning Obama’s eligibility, life narrative or motives has been marginalized, harassed, threatened, ridiculed and defamed in a now “transparent” scheme to silence opposition to policies which have defied existing federal statutes by whim and executive orders.
Two summers ago, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Brandon Raub was seized without a warrant, jailed, then forced into a psychiatric facility for a week and told he would have to take medication after posting song lyrics on his Facebook page. A local news station published an earlier Facebook post of Raub’s in which he had said:
America has lost itself. We have lost who we truly are. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave.
This is the land of Thomas Jefferson.
This is the land of Benjamin Franklin.
This is the land of Fredrick Douglas.
This is the land of Smedley Butler.
This is the land John F. Kennedy.
This is the land of Martin Luther King.
This is the land where the cowboy wins. This is the land where you can start from the bottom and get to the top. This is the land where regardless of you race and ethnicity you can succeed and build a better life for you and your family. This is the land where every race coexists peacefully. This is the land where justice wins. This is the land where liberty dwells. This is the land where freedom reigns. This is the land where we help the poor, and people help each other. This is land where people beat racism.
Following Raub’s arrest, The Rutherford Institute, a First Amendment advocacy group, said that it received hundreds of calls from other veterans who said they had been similarly harassed by government agents for their political views. On May 22, 2013, Rutherford wrote:
Since coming to Raub’s defense, The Rutherford Institute has been contacted by military veterans across the country recounting similar incidents. In filing a civil suit against government officials, Rutherford Institute attorneys plan to take issue with the manner in which Virginia’s civil commitment statutes are being used to silence individuals engaged in lawfully exercising their free speech rights.
“Brandon Raub’s case exposed the seedy underbelly of a governmental system that is targeting military veterans for expressing their discontent over America’s rapid transition to a police state,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Brandon Raub is not the first veteran to be targeted for speaking out against the government. Hopefully, by holding officials accountable, we can ensure that Brandon is the last to suffer in this way.”
Obama said nothing on Meriam’s plight, and putative Secretary of State John Kerry made one public statement urging Sudan to overturn her sentence. On June 4, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) asked if the Obama regime were “following Shariah Law” by failing to claim the Wani children as U.S. citizens by virtue of their father’s U.S. citizenship. It is believed that from Italy, the Wanis will come to the United States.
But will their religious freedom be protected here?
Is America still the land of the free, and the home of the brave?
This story was updated on July 26, 2014 at 9:22 a.m. EDT.