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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

US Supreme Court Takes on Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Likely to Approve

The legality of partial-birth abortion will come under the scrutiny of the U.S. Supreme Court, the court announced today.

An analysis by National Right to Life notes that the federal law now stands a good chance of being approved and the decision will rest on Justice Anthony Kennedy. Among currently sitting Supreme Court justices, five have voted in favor of Roe v. Wade -- that is, in support of the doctrine that abortion must be allowed for any reason until "viability" (about five and one-half months), and for "health" reasons (broadly defined) even during the final three months of pregnancy. Two justices (Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas) have voted to overturn Roe, and two (John Roberts and Samuel Alito) have not voted on the matter. Justice Kennedy, although a supporter of Roe, voted in the 2000 Stenberg case to allow Nebraska to ban the partial-birth abortion method.

In 2000, five justices of the Supreme Court, including retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, ruled that the abortion right originally created in Roe v. Wade allows an abortionist to perform a partial-birth abortion any time he sees a 'health' benefit, even if the woman and her unborn baby are entirely healthy. (Stenberg v. Carhart, June 28, 2000). This ruling struck down the ban on partial-birth abortion that had been enacted by Nebraska, and rendered unenforceable the similar bans that more than half the states had enacted.

Nevertheless, in 2003 Congress approved and President Bush signed a national law, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. When he signed the ban, the President called partial-birth abortion "a terrible form of violence [that] has been directed against children who are inches from birth."

The federal law bans "partial-birth abortion," a legal term of art, defined in the law itself as any abortion in which the baby is delivered "past the [baby's] navel . . . outside the body of the mother," OR "in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother," BEFORE being killed. The complete official text of the law, in a searchable format, is here:

The law would allow the method if it was ever necessary to save a mother's life.

The federal law has faced legal challenges in three different federal circuits, and its enforcement has been blocked by court orders. Federal district courts in all three circuits ruled that the federal law violated the 2000 Supreme Court ruling. In all three cases the adverse judgments were affirmed by the appellate courts.

John-Henry Westen and Gudrun Schultz
WASHINGTON, D.C. United States, February 21, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com)

(with files from National Right to Life)

A False Messiah in Miami

The leader of a new cult in South Florida claims he is God. Many Hispanics are falling for his deception—and lining his pockets.

Puerto Rican preacher José Luis De Jesús Miranda says a wondrous thing happened to him in 1976 when he was living in Massachusetts. He claims that two heavenly beings took him to a marble hall where an apparition merged with his body and began to speak inside of him. De Jesus believes that he and Jesus Christ became one and the same in that instant.

“Ever since that day, I can’t learn from anybody—and I mean no one,” De Jesús recently told Miami New Times, a weekly South Florida newspaper.

The voice inside De Jesús’ head later told him to move to Miami, where he founded his controversial Creciendo en Gracia (Growing in Grace) church along with a TV studio. He attracts a relatively small following in Miami, only 500 members, but the group has spawned 300 additional congregations with 100,000 members, mostly in Latin countries. Meanwhile his TV program reportedly reaches 2 million.

De Jesús sounds like another David Koresh in the making.

All his followers call him Daddy. Many of them wear T-shirts with De Jesús’ face and a bold slogan, “GOD HAS COME.” Their cars are adorned with license plates that say: “Creciendo en Gracia: The Government of the Kingdom of God.” De Jesus began calling himself El Otro (The Other) in 1999, and then in 2004 he announced that he is Jesus Christ.

His doctrines are bizarre. He tells his followers they can live any way they want to because sin doesn’t exist and the devil is dead. He also teaches that Christian churches are led by “ministers of Satan,” and he encourages members of his organization to stage protests at church services and Christian events. Creciendo en Gracia members are encouraged to scream at people and carry placard with messages such as “THE DEVIL WAS DESTROYED.”

According to New Times reporter Mariah Blake, such protests have grabbed headlines in Miami and throughout Latin America. In Colombia, for example, De Jesús’ followers recently staged simultaneous protests in 22 cities.

De Jesús does not hide his intentions. “My purpose is to close down every church so the true church can begin,” he told the Miami paper. “You could say I’m leading the greatest reformation that has ever happened.”

I guess you could say that. Or you could say that another deceiver is on the loose—and this one is targeting the Spanish-speaking world.

De Jesús fits the classic profile of an egotistical religious con man. He lives in a mansion, drives a BMW, wears lots of diamonds and spends $300,000 a year on bodyguards. Meanwhile many of his staff volunteer their time and give up to 80 percent of their income to the church.

One member of Creciendo en Gracia, Miami businessman Alvaro Albarracin, told New Times that his Internet company was divinely blessed because he gave $12,000 a month to the church. After making millions he sold the business to work for De Jesús. Now he buys and sells businesses and gives all the proceeds to the group.

Albarracin said: “I wanted to devote my life to Dad. I truly believe he’s my God, my Creator.”

The newspaper also reported that Albarracin’s involvement in the cult triggered a breakup with his first wife. Interestingly, De Jesús left his own wife in 1999, and he later married a Colombian woman he was living with.

What is most alarming about Creciendo en Gracia is the level of blind loyalty his followers display. The group’s Web site proclaims: “We are going to shut the mouths of those dogs [speaking of Christian churches.] We are ready to give our lives for this!”

Sounds vaguely like what the Branch Davidians said of Koresh.

Even though there are unconfirmed reports that a protest in Colombia last December resulted in a stabbing, De Jesús insists that his church is nonviolent. Yet the leader of this bizarre sect also claims that his church will one day rule the world.

Mr. De Jesús is wrong. Jesus is still on the throne, sin is still sin and Satan is not dead. The devil is still pulling the same tricks out of his bag to deceive the masses using human stooges who claim they are messiahs. Let’s pray for Miami and all the people who have been brainwashed by this false prophet.

J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma and an award-winning journalist