07 May 2005

L.G. judge target of harrassment

Over the last few week, Florida witnessed another spectacle that was fueled by the extremism of the religious right. L.G., a thirteen year old girl under the care of the Florida Department of Children & Families who was seeking an abortion, was sued by Governor Jeb Bush and his political appointees who sought to stop the procedure. The judge who oversaw the case ruled against the governor, stating that the girl was exercising her constitutional right to control her own body. Current Florida law supported his decision. Of course, a judge who follows the law is many times the enemy of activists within the religious right. Now, one in particular is taking action.

Remember the words of Congressman Tom Delay. "This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today." These words were meant to threaten the judiciary after the Terri Schiavo saga, but this quote could easily be applied to the case of L.G. Unfortunately, one religious extremist in Florida has taken Delay's words literally.

Don Kazimir, who heads the Respect Life Office of the Palm Beach Diocese, apparent doesn't wish to respect the life of Juvenile Judge Ronald Alvarez. Judge Alvarez ruled in favor of L.G. last week, granting her, instead of the government, the right to make decisions pertaining to her own body. News reports have not indicated whether Judge Alvarez supports abortion rights or not. They do however clearly state that the decision was firmly rooted in Florida state law.

Now Mr. Kazimir is attempting to contact Alvarez's priest and convince him to deny communion to the judge. Alvarez was outraged by the phone call, stating "This isn't a religious state yet." Obviously embarrassed, the diocese was quick to distance itself from Kazimir's harrassment and denounced his activities. "The Diocese of Palm Beach has never made any statement in regard to the recent action of Judge Alvarez," wrote Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito.

Kazimir has since backed off his crusade against Alvarez, but one should expect similar behavior in the future. He has a history of such activism. In 2003, Kazimir attacked Florida Atlantic University for their intention to conduct stem cell research.

This recent story seems to have died down, but it does show that Delay's words have motivated some extremists in our community. Religious leaders claim to support a "culture of life." Let's hope that they don't inadvertently create a "culture of crazy."

6 Comments:

Anonymous tdog said...

This is ridiculous. Americans that believe in freedom of religion need to start paying attention to these crazies and stop them. We can't let America's version of the Taliban (the Religious Right) take over this country like they did in Afghanistan.

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