Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Another one of Britain's "vibrant" multiculturalists
A violent criminal who raped and murdered a nurse, tried to strangle her mother with a vacuum hose and then set fire to their flat was released from prison for a similar crime only weeks earlier.
Leroy Campbell, 55, planned the attack three days days beforehand when he stole a set of step ladders and hid them in a public access-way behind the nurse's home last November.
Campbell had been released from prison only four months earlier after he was previously jailed for 17 years for a similar crime - burglary and indecent assault.
The sex offender had recently moved to Moseley, Birmingham from a hostel.
No motive for the attack in Bilston, West Midlands, has ever been established and it appears to have been completely random.
It is believed that Ms Skidmore, who was described as an 'angel' by those who knew her, may have disturbed Campbell after he broke into her house.
CCTV captured a dark figure carrying the ladders and then using them on the morning of the attack to climb up to the first floor bedroom window.
Some two hours later, Lisa's mother called to check on her daughter, who was off work sick at the time, and, as she entered the kitchen, Campbell grabbed her around her neck and punched her.
He then wrapped a cord around her neck and she passed out before he set light to the property. He fled the scene but he was arrested two days later.
He was sentenced to a full life term in prison at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday after he pleaded guilty to strangling and sexually assaulting the 37-year-old nurse at her home.
Campbell also admitted to attempting to murder her mother and to arson with intent to endanger life.
Shortly after the body was discovered, police said: 'This horrendous crime has had a devastating impact on those who knew Lisa, her family, friends and work colleagues and the people who lived near her.'
Her family issued a statement soon afterwards in which they said she was a 'true Angel in the community.'
They continued: 'She was the most caring, kind, compassionate, thoughtful, dedicated, professional nurse, who would go to the end of the world to meet any requirements of her patients, and her mum and family.
'Her death has left a void in the family that can never be filled again. Her presence will always be with us and her memory will never die. The tears in our eyes we can wipe away, the ache in our hearts will always stay.'
The nurse was discovered by paramedics after neighbours alerted emergency services to a fire but was pronounced dead at the scene on November 24 last year.
A post mortem concluded that she died as a result of strangulation.
Campbell also tried to strangle her 80-year-old mother with a vacuum cleaner hose after she called at the property, the court heard.
She was found on the ground floor and taken to hospital where she was treated for severe injuries to her face and arms.
Miss Skidmore had worked at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust for nearly 20 years and colleagues paid tribute to 'a valued member of the nursing team' where she worked as a senior staff nurse.
She received a bachelor of science with honours degree in professional nursing studies in 2007 and began working in the community, based in Bilston, in 2013.
The fire service were quickly on the scene, and after taking Lisa's 80-year-old mother to safety, couldn't revive Lisa.
Campbell has convictions for similar attacks on three different women – including another nurse who awoke as he began choking her in bed after he broke in through her bedroom window with the aid of ladders.
He was given a life sentence after his previous offence in 2000 and served 16 years before his release last July – four months before killing Miss Skidmore.
Birmingham Crown Court heard he had told his probation officer six weeks before the latest attack that he was having feelings similar to those he had experienced at the time of a previous rape.
Campbell was jailed in 1983 for seven years after being convicted of attempting to choke a nurse with intent to commit rape. In 1992 he was convicted of rape after again entering a woman’s property through a window as she slept. He was given a ten-year sentence.
In May 2000, Campbell was back in court, convicted of indecent assault and false imprisonment.
Rachael Brand, defending Campbell, said he was a paranoid schizophrenic who had shown remorse.
Investigating officer Detective Inspector Harry Harrison, from Force CID, said: 'Campbell had sought to cover his tracks by setting fire to the property and even tried to confuse the investigation by leaving a lager can and cigarette butts in the sink bearing a third party's DNA, but he did not remove all trace of his own DNA from the property and he handed himself in at a police station three days later.'
Lisa's mother continues to recover from her ordeal and is being cared for by family members, who were in court.
Following the sentencing they said: 'The tragic death of Lisa has not only devastated the whole family but also her friends and work colleagues.
'Lisa was one of those rare people who made a difference in the community, first by being a nurse and even more so when she became a district nurse.
'For 19 years Lisa devoted her life to caring for other people, tending to their needs in their last hours, but no one was there for Lisa in her last hours.
'We couldn't tell you how many people Lisa nursed, helped and cared for during her time as a nurse or lives that she saved, but all were treated with dignity and respect.
'Lisa was one of the most caring, kind and honest person you could meet who also had a sensitive side and would not have hurt anyone. 'To be taken in such a cruel way is lasting pain that the family will have to endure. 'Lisa will always be lovingly remembered and sadly missed by all.'
Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Payne added: 'This horrendous crime has had a devastating impact on the many people who knew Lisa, her family, friends and work colleagues and those who lived near her.
'Campbell has refused to give an account of what happened that morning and they may never know, so I hope they can get some comfort from the fact that Campbell will never be set free again.'
Jailing him on Friday, Judge Mark Wall QC described Campbell’s offending as ‘grotesque’, adding: ‘Miss Skidmore had to suffer the pain and terror of being raped by someone in her own home before she died.’
Kentucky Ct. Upholds Constitutionally Protected Freedoms for All: Will Others Follow Suit?
Blaine Adamson is the managing owner of Hands On Originals, a promotional printing company in Kentucky. And last week, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that Blaine is free to decline to print messages that conflict with his religious beliefs.
This should be an unremarkable decision.
And in some contexts, such a ruling really would be as unremarkable as it should be. Consider the designers who publicly stated their unwillingness to design clothes for the first lady or Ivanka Trump, believing it would express a message of approval regarding the president’s politics. Consider the cake artist who refused to create a cake with the words, “We do not support gay marriage,” because she disagreed with the message. Or consider the photographer who refused to take Christmas photos for Alliance Defending Freedom founder Alan Sears, because, in her words, “I oppose the goals and objectives of your organization and have no interest in working on its behalf.”
In all these instances, the principled exercise of conscience drew either applause or the equivalent of a not-quite-interested yawn.
The individuals mentioned above may not have been motivated by religious beliefs like Blaine was. Yet they all—like Blaine—declined to create something not because of any trait of the customer, but because of their reluctance to endorse or express a particular message. And they all—like Blaine—made these decisions because they were unwilling to violate their conscience.
In almost all respects, the facts in Blaine’s case are comparable to those situations above. Blaine declined to print expressive shirts promoting the Lexington Pride Festival hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization. But even though Blaine couldn’t print the shirt, he offered to connect the customer to another printer that would have produced the shirts for the same price Blaine would have charged (a thoughtful gesture the designers, cake artist, and photographer mentioned above did not make).
His decision to decline the order was not motivated by the customer’s sexual orientation. Indeed, Blaine has long done business with and employed people who identify as part of the LGBT community. Blaine simply did not want to print the message on the shirts, a message that conflicts with his faith. The court, in an opinion written by Chief Judge Joy A. Kramer, recognized this simple fact, holding that the requested shirts “clearly imparted a message.”
Moreover, Judge Kramer explained, there was no evidence that Hands On Originals “refused any individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations it offered to everyone else because the individual in question had a specific sexual orientation or gender identity.”
With all those similarities, it should be no wonder that Blaine prevailed. But why are so many other courts failing to reach the same conclusion in similar cases?
With the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling in Blaine’s case, the Bluegrass State has shined light on a reality that several other courts have been unable (or unwilling) to see: that freedom of conscience must be protected regardless of the popularity of the message that the business owner is unwilling to express.
As Hamlet once quipped, “There’s the rub.” That’s the difference between Blaine and the other individuals above. And that’s the rub that Blaine and others like him have faced. People like Barronelle Stutzman, the floral artist who declined to create artistic expression celebrating a same-sex wedding. Or Elaine Huguenin, the photographer who—instead of declining to photograph the head of a religious nonprofit group—declined to create images telling the story of a same-sex commitment ceremony. (Elaine and her husband were later told by a New Mexico Supreme Court justice that “compromis[ing] the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives” was “the price of citizenship.”)
When business owners exercise their freedom of conscience by taking a popular stand, they are applauded, and society at large celebrates the triumph of free expression and the principled exercise of conscience. But when—like Blaine—business owners seek to exercise their freedom of conscience in a way that is not in line with approved government orthodoxy, they are frequently cast as bigots in need of forced “re-education” or punishment. They are told that they must sacrifice either their livelihood or their conscience.
The freedom to determine what messages you will—and will not—express is a freedom that belongs to every citizen. Championing the freedoms of expression and conscience for those who share your views, while demanding that others violate their convictions, is not tolerant, and it is not principled. It is hypocrisy. Proponents of true tolerance recognize that it’s a two-way street. Making principled decisions isn’t always popular, but we illuminate the best of our diverse society when we make room for diversity in conscience and expression.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals got it right—it treated Blaine no differently than creative professionals who hold contrary views. It recognized that expressive freedom is no less for the conservative than the progressive, for the person of faith than the atheist. Time will tell whether other courts are able (or willing) to prioritize principle and faithfully uphold cherished constitutionally protected freedoms for all.
Texas Takes Steps to Protect Religious Convictions of Adoption, Foster Care Providers
Texas lawmakers are debating a bill that shows how states can protect faith-based adoption and foster care providers from religious discrimination, proponents of the legislation say.
The Texas House of Representatives voted 93-49 Wednesday to pass a bill that would make room in a changing society for adoption and foster care providers associated with a religious tradition, whether Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, or Islam.
The bill now moves to the Texas Senate, where a vote is expected before the legislative session ends May 29.
His legislation “doesn’t give you the ability to proactively do something because of your religious belief, it just gives you the right to decline something because of your religious belief,” state Rep. James Frank, a Republican, told The Daily Signal in an interview.
The intent of the legislation, Frank said, is to prevent faith-based organizations from being forced to violate their beliefs, such as by arranging for same-sex couples to adopt or provide foster care.
The bill allows such providers to decline service and refer a couple to another organization, said Frank, whose 69th District includes Archer, Baylor, Clay, Foard, Knox, and Wichita counties.
Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign, a major advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, said his group continues to fight the Texas bill.
The bill “is yet another example of Texas legislators’ coordinated efforts to pursue discrimination against LGBTQ people instead of focusing on the best interest of all Texans,” Rouse said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal.
“If signed into law,” Rouse said, “this bill would most harm the children in Texas’ child welfare system—kids who need a loving, stable home.”
To the contrary, the legislation “seeks to build and sustain a diverse network of high-quality child welfare providers to serve Texas children,” according to a statement from Frank’s office, which adds:
It accomplishes this task by protecting faith-based child welfare service providers from discrimination or adverse actions for exercising their deeply held religious beliefs, while ensuring that child welfare services are available to everyone.
Republicans control both the Texas state Senate and House. Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, has not commented publicly on the bill. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s office did not reply to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.
The legislation, called the Freedom to Serve Children Act, also seeks to protect faith-based organizations that decline to serve same-sex couples or other parties from litigation and the threat of closure for acting on their beliefs.
In a Facebook post, Frank said the bill “requires the Department of Family and Protective Services to ensure alternative providers are present to offer any service denied for reasons of sincerely held religious beliefs.”
But Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, an activist group dedicated to promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, decried the legislation in a statement to TeenVogue.
“It’s horrific that the Texas House would allow state-funded or private adoption agencies to use religious exemptions as a weapon to ban qualified LGBTQ families from adopting a child,” Ellis said, adding:
As a mother, it’s infuriating to see anti-LGBTQ politicians do literally anything, including harming a child’s future, to drive their discriminatory anti-LGBTQ political agendas forward.
Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director of the ACLU of Texas, agrees.
“Discrimination in the name of religion has no place in our laws or in our state, and it certainly should not be used to harm children,” Robertson said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal.
Frank, however, said his legislation would not remove opportunities for children seeking a home.
“Not one foster parent [or] family who wants to provide a home for our kids will be denied from doing so,” Frank said.
Ryan T. Anderson, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation who writes about religious freedom and whose new book is “Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination,” told The Daily Signal in an email that the legislation would not harm any party’s rights.
“The Texas law takes nothing away from anyone,” Anderson said, adding:
It doesn’t prevent same-sex couples from adopting, it simply prevents any given agency from being penalized for not doing a same-sex adoption, if doing so would violate its beliefs. The law simply protects pluralism and diversity, inclusion for child welfare providers. It’s unclear why anyone would be against that.
On the national level, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., have introduced similar legislation.
The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2017, referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, would ensure that adoption and foster care providers aren’t barred from “offering these services based on their religious beliefs,” according to a statement from Kelly’s office.
Justin Butterfield, senior counsel at First Liberty Institute, which calls itself “the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom for all Americans,” argues that the Texas legislation opens up more opportunities for children in need of homes.
“This bill promotes inclusivity and diversity among adoption and foster care agencies, which increases the number of paths for children to be connected with adoptive families,” Butterfield said.
V.P. Pence Says Christians Are The Most Victimized Religion, Leftists Go Nuts. He's Right
Vice President Mike Pence claimed on Thursday that Christianity is the world's most victimized religious faith, which naturally caused the Left to flip out. But Pence is correct.
At the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians in Washington, D.C., Pence stated that according to the Bible, Christians will face persecution.
"Most of you here today are emblematic of billions across the world," Pence said. "You've persevered through the crucible of persecution. You refuse to be conformed to this world. You have chosen instead to be counted with those outside the city gate for your faith."
He later added, "The reality is across the wider world the Christian faith is under siege. Throughout the world, no people of faith today face greater hostility or hatred than followers of Christ."
Naturally, news outlets like The Huffington Post and Bustle acknowledged that while Pence had a point about persecution Christians face in the Middle East, it's Muslims and Jews who face the greater threats of violence in Western Countries. And then, of course, they repeated the leftist tropes about the Trump administration supposedly being anti-Semitic and Islamophobic.
But what neither piece mentions is that Christians were deemed the world's most persecuted group in 2016, according to a study by the Center for Studies on New Religions, which concluded that 90,000 Christians across the globe were killed for their faith and up to 600 million Christians were barred from engaging in their religious practices. This study was actually linked to in the Bustle piece but failed to mention that it concluded that Christians were the world's most persecuted group in 2016, which is intellectually dishonest.
Additionally, Open Doors USA, an advocacy group that aims to help persecuted Christians, reported in February that persecution toward Christians had worsened in 2016 to the point where it was "hitting nearly every continent in the world." The World Help's Vernon Brewer pointed out in a Washington Times column, "Christians are now killed in more countries than ever before and are persecuted in more countries than any other religious group."
As The Economist points out, Christians are fleeing from the Middle East in droves as authoritarian regimes fail to protect them from violence perpetuated against them by Islamists.
It's also worth mentioning that countries like the U.S., Christians may not necessarily be targeted for violence but there are instances of Christians being targeted by the law for their faith, such as Christian bakers being forced to bake cakes for gay weddings or facing massive fines that will drain them of their finances. And the secular Left is attempting to drive out the term "Merry Christmas" from the public lexicon.
It is certainly true anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim incidents are on the rise in Western countries – and that should not be ignored – but Pence's statement clearly stated that Christians were the most persecuted faith worldwide. Research supports his conclusion.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.