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Opinion

Why I joined Moral Monday

I was honored to be among the 151 people who were arrested this week at the N.C. General Assembly while engaging in peaceful civil disobedience at "Moral Monday," the latest in a series of growing demonstrations aimed at what many of us see as an extreme and dangerous turn in the direction of our state.

None of the demonstrators I talked to had made the decision to engage in civil disobedience lightly. Sitting next to me in jail until the early hours of the morning were teachers, a doctor, a farmer, a former state senator and a veteran of Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne — people from all walks of life who care deeply about the future of North Carolina and feel like they are running out of options to make their voices heard in the halls of power.

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The circus came to the State Capitol this week, complete with clowns, a carnival barker and a sideshow. The “Reverend” Barber was decked out like a prelate of the Church of Rome (no insult is meant to Catholics), complete with stole and cassock. All he was missing was a miter and the ensemble would have been complete.

Several hundred people – mostly white, angry, aged former hippies – appeared and screeched into microphones, talked about solidarity and chanted diatribes. It was “liberal theater” at its best. Just like having a honey bun and double espresso for breakfast, the impact of it all left the participants jittery and empty in the end.

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I want to know why North Carolina State Statute 14-177 is not actively being enforced. After all, the law is the law. If local law enforcement can find the time to put the kabash on video poker and other mundane infractions, why not get down and dirty with "crimes against nature" as described in 14- 177. The term "crimes against nature" originated under the reign of England's Henry VIII. (And, we all know what a fine moral person he was.) Sexual practices and positions not recognized as "normal" by the state/church were punishable by death. However, we have progressed quite a bit since the 16th century, and it is only a class-one felony in our state.

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From The Rutherford Institue

In a devastating ruling handed down in Maryland v. King, a divided U.S. Supreme Court has approved the practice by police of forcefully obtaining DNA samples from individuals arrested for serious crimes, even though they are presumed innocent, without first obtaining a search warrant. As Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the dissent, points out, the Court’s ruling succeeds only in burdening “the sole group for whom the Fourth Amendment’s protections ought to be most jealously guarded: people who are innocent of the State’s accusations.” Moreover, if such a dubious practice were to prevail simply for the sake of “solving more crimes,” as Scalia suggests, it would not take much to justify the “taking of DNA samples from anyone who flies on an airplane (surely the Transportation Security Administration needs to know the “identity” of the flying public), applies for a driver’s license, or attends a public school.” The Supreme Court’s ruling in Maryland v. King is available at http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12207_d18e.pdf.

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