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Posts tagged ‘Kansas’

Cult Leader And Hate Preacher Fred Phelps Dead At 84.


Hate preacher Fred Phelps had his dispensations wrong. He was preaching like an Old Testament prophet while forgetting that we currently live in the Age of Grace because of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection from the grave. Make no mistake, God indeed does hate the sin of homosexuality, as well as the sin of fornication, drunkenness, gluttony, gossip and all the others mentioned in the bible. But Mr. Phelps forgot to preach what Jesus died and shed His Blood for, and that is simply this:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

If YOU are a lost sinner, run to Jesus with open arms and ask Him to save you in His Shed Blood. The bible says He absolutely will save all those who come to God through Him.

Shame on you, Fred Phelps. You were not a Christian.

(CNN) – Fred Phelps. the founding pastor of a Kansas church known for its virulently anti-gay protests at public events, including military funerals — has died, the church said Thursday. The 84-year-old died of natural causes at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to church spokesman Steve Drain.

fred-phelps-westboro-baptist-cult-leader-hate-preacher-dead

God does hate homosexuality, He calls it an abomination in the bible. But Jesus Christ died to set the homosexual free from Hell. Click image to see how to not go to Hell.

Phelps founded Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, in 1955 and molded it in his fire-and-brimstone image. Many members of the small congregation are related to Phelps through blood or marriage.

According to Westboro, the church has picketed more than 53,000 events, ranging from Lady Gaga concerts to funerals for slain U.S. soldiers. Typically, a dozen or so church members — including small children — will brandish signs that say “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”

Phelps was often called “the most hated man in America,” a label he seemed to relish. “If I had nobody mad at me,” he told the Wichita Eagle in 2006, “what right would I have to claim that I was preaching the gospel?”

Under Phelps’ leadership, Westboro members have preached that every calamity, from natural disasters to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, is God’s punishment for the country’s acceptance of homosexuality. Phelps had advocated for gays and lesbians to be put to death. source – CNN

by NTEB News Desk

Man Arrested for Plotting to Blow Up Kansas Airport.


Authorities have arrested a man who was plotting to blow up the Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, Kansas, with a carload of explosives, officials said Friday.

Terry Loewen, a 58-year-old aviation technician from Wichita, intended to die a martyr in the bombing, Barry Grisson, the U.S. district attorney for Kansas, said at a news conference.

Authorities said Loewen was believed to have been motivated, at least partly, by religious beliefs.

The man was taken into custody early Friday, officials said, as he attempted to make his way onto airport property with what he thought were active explosives. They said he had planned the attack for months.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Kansas School Bans ‘See You at the Pole’ Flier With Bible Verses.


See You at the Pole
A public school in Kansas prohibited a student from handing out fliers for ‘See You at the Pole.’ (See You at the Pole, Facebook)

Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of a student after a Kansas public school prohibited her from posting or handing out religious flierspromoting the student-led “See You at the Pole” prayer event held before school. The school freely allows a variety of other types of materials to be posted and distributed but singled out the student’s fliers because they contained Bible verses.

“Public schools should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas,” says legal counsel Matt Sharp. “The law on this is extremely clear: School policies cannot target religious speech for exclusion. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all students, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.”

In September, a seventh-grade student at Robert E. Clark Middle School posted fliers with Bible verses in advance of the “See You at the Pole” event, a day when students across the nation gather around the flagpole at their local school before the beginning of the school day to pray for the school, students, staff and the nation. The fliers were a precursor to additional fliers providing the date and time of the “See You at the Pole” event that the student intended to distribute later.

A school counselor confronted the student at a school dance in front of her friends and informed her that the fliers were “illegal” because of the Bible verses and could not be posted or distributed at school. A district-wide policy bans the distribution of “religious materials … on school grounds or in any attendance facility before, during or after the school day or a school activity.”

School officials took down and destroyed the fliers. Because of the threat of punishment from the school counselor, the student could only secretly distribute a few informational fliers with the time and place of the event to other students out of sight of teachers. As a result, very few students attended the event.

The school has allowed the posting of a variety of materials, including a handmade poster of a tombstone with the words “RIP” and a poster of rap artist Lil’ Wayne with the words “Good Kush and Alcohol.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit, K.R. v. Unified School District No. 204, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, explains, “Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate. Non-disruptive, private student expression is protected by the First Amendment.” Moreover, “The government may not discriminate against speech based on its viewpoint, regardless of the forum.”

The lawsuit also notes that the student’s posting of the material did not “interfere with the orderly conduct of educational activity within the school.”

“Marginalizing students of faith removes an important influence for good from the school community,” adds senior legal counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “We hope the school district will revise its policy so that students can exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

MELANIE KORB

House GOP Balk at Senate Debt Deal.


Image: House GOP Balk at Senate Debt Deal

By Newsmax Wires

A month of combat in the U.S. Congress over government spending showed signs on Monday of giving way to a Senate deal to reopen shuttered federal agencies and prevent an economically damaging default on federal debt.

But even as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, ended a day of constant talks with optimistic proclamations, House Republicans seemed to rebuff any deal as details leaked out.

“We’ve got a name for it in the House: it’s called the Senate surrender caucus,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, told The New York Times. “Anybody who would vote for that in the House as Republican would virtually guarantee a primary challenger.”

Urgent: Should GOP Stick to Its Guns on Obamacare? Vote Here. 

The plan under discussion would promptly end a partial government shutdown about to enter its third week. It also would raise the debt ceiling by enough to cover the nation’s borrowing needs at least through mid-February 2014, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.Government operations would be funded through the middle of January, keeping in place the across-the-board “sequester” spending cuts that took effect in March, though government agencies would have more latitude to ease their impact. It would also set up a new round of budget talks that would try to strike a bargain by year’s end.

“We’ve made tremendous progress,” Reid said at the end of a Senate session during a federal holiday, underscoring the urgency of settling a fiscal crisis that was nearing a Thursday deadline. The U.S. Treasury Department estimates it will reach a $16.7 trillion borrowing limit on Oct. 17.”We hope that with good fortune … that perhaps tomorrow will be a bright day,” Reid said, hinting at the possible Tuesday announcement of a bipartisan Senate deal.

With the Reid-McConnell talks continuing, these details were subject to change, according to Senate aides.

Democrats look to have fended off any major changes to President Barack Obama’s signature health law, something that is clearly fueling resistance in the House,  particularly by conservative Republicans who had insisted on delaying Obamacare as a condition of continued government funding.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told reporters that Republican lawmakers will hold a closed-door meeting on Tuesday “to discuss a way forward, so stayed tuned.”

Other Republicans were less than happy with pushing budget and debt talks off for months, just to set up a fight later in the the spring.

“Everybody realizes that whatever happens, we’re going to be litigating this another day,” Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a member of the Senate GOP leadership, told the Wall Street Journal.

While most House Republicans declined to comment until they see a final plan, some were outright disgusted that a Senate plan had little of their demands and that Obama had failed to negotiate.

“I can’t vote for something that doesn’t have substantive spending cuts right now,”  Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, told the Wall Street Journal.

“We believed that we could have worked with the president,” said Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, “and then the president dropped us like a hot potato.”

House Speaker John Boehner could face an insurrection that could threaten his position as Washington’s top Republican if he tries to advance a bill over the objections of rank-and-file conservatives in that chamber.

Urgent: Should GOP Stick to Its Guns on Obamacare? Vote Here. 
Boehner has not publicly commented on the Senate negotiations. A spokesman said the House would review whatever the Senate passes.

MIXED REACTION

In an early sign of Republican opposition, Representative Joe Barton of Texas told reporters: “No deal is better than a bad deal,” as he downplayed the impact of an historic credit default if the U.S. limit on borrowing is not quickly raised.

But Republican Representative Peter King of New York said it would be hard for the House not to put it to a vote if it gets strong support from Senate Republicans.

“For the (Senator) Cruz wing of the party who say we should get a better deal, I say we would have gotten a better deal if we had not shut the government down and gotten right to debt negotiations,” said King, a moderate who has criticized the tactics of the conservative Tea Party faction.

Republicans have taken a hit in opinion polls since the standoff began and some in the party worry it could hurt their chances to win control of the Senate in next year’s midterm elections.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Monday found that 74 percent of Americans disapprove of the way congressional Republicans have handled the standoff, compared with a 53 percent disapproval rating for Obama.

DEADLINE LOOMS

Even if a deal is reached on Tuesday, it was unclear whether Congress can pass legislation to avert the Oct. 17 default deadline. Hard-liners such as Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz might be able to exploit Senate rules to delay a vote for several days.

Confronted by a throng of reporters on Monday, Cruz responded to repeated questions about his intentions by only saying, “We’ll have to wait to see what the details are” of any pact.

Because of the uncertainty over U.S. finances, banks and money market funds are already shunning some government securities that are often used as collateral for short-term loans and to facilitate many other transactions.

Though some Republicans have argued that the government could avoid serious consequences by prioritizing interest payments over other types of spending, that view is not widely held by the public.

A Reuters/IPSOS poll released on Tuesday found that only 25 percent believe the debt ceiling issue is “overblown.”

U.S. stocks were buoyed by prospects of a deal. The S&P 500 Index closed on Monday up 0.41 percent while the Nasdaq Composite Index ended 0.62 percent higher.

The government shutdown is beginning to weigh on the economy. The hundreds of thousands of federal employees who have been temporarily thrown out of work are likely to get back-pay when the standoff is resolved. But they aren’t getting paid now, forcing many to dial back on personal spending and cancel holiday travel plans.

The crisis is only the latest in a series of budget battles in recent years that have spooked investors and consumers. The uncertainty has weighed on the economy and boosted the unemployment rate by 0.6 of a percentage point, or the equivalent of 900,000 jobs since late 2009, according to a new estimate by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a think tank.

Republicans in the Senate are pushing to include slight modifications to the Affordable Care Act. One would toughen income verification for those seeking health insurance subsidies under the law. Another could delay a reinsurance fee included in the law that otherwise would start in 2014, according to a labor-union source.

Throughout the shutdown, Obama has said Republicans must agree to reopen the government and extend the debt ceiling before the two sides can begin talks on spending or tweaks to his Affordable Care Act.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Sen. Roberts: Sebelius Must Resign for ‘Disastrous” Obamacare Rollout.


Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., on Friday called for the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for showing “gross incompetence” in the “disastrous” rollout of President Obama’s signature healthcare law.

Roberts called the problems with the insurance exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act “systematic, profound and indisputable, [and] yet the secretary won’t shoot straight with the American people,” referring to Sebelius’ cringe-worthy appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Steward” Monday, when she called the exchange websites “user-friendly.”

Story continues below video.

“They can see Obamacare has failed them,” Roberts said in a statement. “We need a secretary who can admit when enough is enough.”

Sebelius, a former governor of Kansas, has defended the administration’s launch of the health insurance exchanges even as reports rolled in about people complaining of long delays to sign up – or not being able to sign up at all because the healthcare.gov website crashes.

“Nobody wants Americans to have to wait to sign up,” she wrote in an op-ed column Tuesday for USA Today.

“Engineers are working day and night to make upgrades. We’re adding more servers to enable the system to handle larger loads. And we’re upgrading our software as well, to make the system more efficient and enable it to handle higher volumes.” 

But Roberts said “from the very beginning . . . I have said this cannot work.”

“Just today, one of my Kansas newspapers, The Wichita Eagle, summed it up best by writing, ‘that market is worthless when it’s like a grocery store that blocks shoppers at various points along the aisles and lacks functioning checkout counters.’

“The American people should not have to tolerate the chaos of the exchange, or the ill effects of Obamacare for one more day,” he added. “They are already suffering in a terrible economy. They have higher taxes, higher premiums and great uncertainty about access to quality healthcare. We need a secretary who realizes that.”

The Obamacare site has become more functional in the last five days as HHS rushes to make improvements, The Hill reported.

And though the Obama administration cites heavy traffic as a good sign for the marketplaces, it won’t release enrollment figures until the end of the month. 

Roberts’ call for the HHS secretary’s resignation is a jarring break in relations between the two. 

USA Today noted Roberts said at Sebelius’ confirmation hearing in 2009 that they enjoyed a “special relationship.” Roberts, in addition, was once a congressional aide to Keith Sebelius, the secretary’s father-in-law — and considers him his “godfather” in politics, the newspaper reported.

Roberts, a third-term senator, faces a tea party challenger, Dr. Milton Wolf, in the primary. 

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Cathy Burke

States Joining Forces to Scrub Voter Rolls.


More than half of states are now working in broad alliances to scrub voter rolls of millions of problematic registrations, identifying people registered in multiple states and tens of thousands of dead voters who linger on election lists.

Poll managers are looking for more states to get involved and say the efforts are necessary because outdated voter registration systems are unable to keep up with a society where people frequently move from one state to another. While many of the registration problems are innocent, some election leaders fear the current disorder within the system is inviting trouble.

“It creates an environment where there could be more problems,” said Scott Gessler, the Republican secretary of state in Colorado. “It’s a precursor to potential fraud, there’s no doubt about it.”

Half of all states have now joined a consortium anchored by the state of Kansas, compiling their voter registration lists at the end of every year to assess for matches. That program has grown rapidly since beginning in 2005 in an agreement between four Midwestern states.

Meanwhile, seven states are coordinating on another project that makes those assessments more frequently with advanced algorithms — while also checking for deceased voters.

The efforts are already finding massive numbers of outdated or problematic registrations. This year, the Kansas project identified some 5 million potential duplicate registrations across 22 states and also identified some people who voted in multiple states, according to officials. The newer project — known as the Electronic Registration Information Center — identified hundreds of thousands of other registrations that need updating, including 23,000 people who were dead.

The larger system identified more than a dozen people who voted in Kansas and another state, said Kansas Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and those identifications could lead to prosecution. He said the expansion of the checks and awareness of the program will hopefully deter others from double-voting.

Both data-matching programs are bipartisan. That’s different than just prior to the 2012 election, when Republicans predominantly led efforts they portrayed as issues of election integrity, including the purge of possible noncitizens from rolls and the passage of voter ID laws. Democrats and voter advocacy groups had raised concerns about those efforts, questioning whether they would prevent legitimate voters from casting a ballot.

“The states that are on board are all very much working as a partnership,” said Scott Gilles, Nevada’s deputy secretary of elections under Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller. Nevada has been one of the early participants in the ERIC program and also recently joined the Kansas project.

Wendy Weiser, who monitors voting rights issues at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law, cautioned that election leaders need to be careful to ensure that eligible voters are not getting removed.

For one, she said there can be high error rates since different people share names and birthdates. Kobach estimated that the Kansas program produced an error rate of maybe a few percent, which would be many thousands of voters.

Weiser added that states need to be careful about what they do with potential duplicates. She said voters should be notified and provided time to correct errors. If there’s no response, the voter should be placed on inactive status for two federal elections, Weiser said.

Some of the leaders in the matching programs said those are the standard procedures.

Under the Kansas program, officials produce reports identifying people who appear to be duplicate registrants. States and counties then work to verify the information and remove the voters.

Under the ERIC program, states submit their voter registration lists and driver’s license information to a data center in Wisconsin. The program also uses the Social Security Death Index and national change-of-address records. An employee of the ERIC program — funded by fees paid by the member states — runs reports from all that data that states can use.

In addition to deceased people, ERIC reports from this summer identified 93,000 people who are registered in one state but appear to now live — and are possibly registered — elsewhere, and 14,000 people who appear to be registered multiple times in one state.

Washington state officials said they had already being examining the national death index for people to remove. But they said the ERIC system has more powerful identification algorithms.

The ERIC program participants also see other potential. By expanding the available data, states are able to identify large portions of the population that appear to be eligible to vote but are not registered. The states have been sending information to those potential voters with registration details.

Washington state Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, said that fits with the duties of election leaders to make sure every eligible voter has the opportunity to participate.

“We really do have a commitment to access and a commitment to accuracy,” Wyman said.

 

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: NEWSmax.com

Rep. Lynn Jenkins: Dems Need ‘to Sit Down at the Table’.


Republicans are waiting for Democrats to join them at the negotiating table to discuss ending the shutdown that has paralyzed the federal government, Rep. Lynn Jenkins tells Newsmax.

Everything the House has done to fund the government has been thwarted by inaction in the Democrat-led Senate, the Kansas Republican says.

“Right now, we need someone to sit down at the table to talk to us,” she told Newsmax. “We’ve sent numerous (funding resolutions) to the Senate and they’ve all been killed, we’ve sent appropriations bills earlier this year, and recently just in the last week we sent eight funding bills to fund critical parts of the government and it’s been rejected back. ”

Jenkins is a three-term congresswoman who represents Kansas’ second Congressional district which stretches down the eastern side of the Sunflower State. Before joining Congress she was state treasurer.

She said Democrats are to blame for the impasse in Washington. “They continue to maintain this position that they won’t speak to us about the things that we disagree on and so right now, it’s not the time that’s the problem it’s the fact that no one will sit down and have a conversation with us about how we move forward to solve this nation’s fiscal mess,” she said.

“Small business can’t continue to spend more money than they take in,” she said. “Households — individuals in my district in Kansas — can’t spend more money than they take in year after year after year. Who in their right mind believes the federal government can continue to operate their finances this way? If not now, when will America ever fix the problem?”

Related Stories:

Boehner: ‘Time to Sit Down and Have a Conversation’

Scarborough: Reid Should ‘Do Job He Was Hired to Do’

As for President Obama’s remarks Monday challenging House Speaker John Boehner to allow a vote on a “clean” continuing resolution — to fund government without tying it to defunding his healthcare act, Jenkins said, “We’re not going to have a vote on a clean CR. What we’re going to do is have a discussion about how to solve this nation’s fiscal mess.

“Why are we continuing to kick the can down the road? Why don’t we solve the nation’s problem right now? We have many opportunities to do that,” she added.

“We have $17 trillion in debt,” she said. “This president has continued to rack up over $1 trillion deficits every year that he’s been in office, he presented a budget to us at the beginning of the year that never ever balances, and we came here as a majority in the House to fix the problem. So we’re going to have a discussion about that and there’s no time like the present.

Jenkins, a member of the House’s Tea Party Caucus said the time is now right to talk about tax reform and Republican plans to save Medicare and the social security fund from bankruptcy.

Jenkins also outlined the concessions Republicans might accept in order to raise the debt ceiling, saying, “What we’ve talked about are cuts and reforms that would equal dollar for dollar in an increase in the debt ceiling.”

Tax reform, she said, would have a “huge economic benefit,” and that could be counted towards the debt ceiling, along with cuts in Medicare and changes to social security

“All of those things would add up. So, again, we’re just talking about cuts and reforms that would offset any debt ceiling increase.”

With less than two weeks to go until the debt limit is reached, Jenkins said she believed those things can be accomplished.

“The only thing stopping us is actually having a discussion about it and I just don’t believe the president and Senate Democrats can sustain this my-way-or-the-highway, we-refuse-to-have-a-conversation mentality on a going forward basis,” she asserted.

“That’s just not reasonable. Every family knows if they’ve got some things they don’t agree on, the only way they get to the bottom of them is to sit down and have a conversation.”

As for where she thinks we’ll be two weeks from today, Jenkins said, “It’s entirely up to Senate Democrats and the president. If they want to come to the table and have a discussion with us, we’ve been very reasonable. We’d be happy to come up with a plan to go forward. If they continue to hold out, I’m afraid that they might cause some damage to the economy.”

Related Stories:

Boehner: There’s Never Been a President Who Won’t Negotiate on Debt Limit

Rep. Lynn Jenkins: We Were ‘Lied to Consistently’ on IRS

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Lisa Barron and John Bachman

Hospital Aide Pleads Guilty, Infected Dozens With Hepatitis.


A former hospital employee charged with spreading Hepatitis C in New Hampshire and seven other states will plead guilty on Wednesday to federal charges.

David Kwiatkowski, 34, will face as much as 40 years in prison for pleading guilty to 14 federal charges stemming from infecting at least 32 people with Hepatitis C at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire, ABC News reports.

He was arrested and indicted in July 2012 for stealing syringes filled with fentanyl, a powerful pain medication. Officials said Kwiatkowski injected himself and then reused the needles on patients.

The charges include tampering with a consumer product and illegally obtaining controlled substances, ABC reports.

A hearing is scheduled for the U.S. District Courthouse in Concord.

The plea agreement includes portions of an interview between Kwiatkowski and investigators on July 19, 2012, the day he was arrested. In the transcript, he says, “I’m going to kill a lot of people out of this,” ABC reports.

Kwiatkowski also said that he swapped syringes inside Exeter Hospital approximately 50 times. He also admitted to diverting drugs inside other medical centers dating back to 2002.

Before arriving in New Hampshire, he worked as a traveling medical technician in more than a dozen hospitals, according to ABC.

Six patients at Hays Medical Center in Kansas have tested positive for matching strains of Hepatitis C, along with six patients from the Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, and one patient from the VA Medical Center, also in Baltimore.

In total, public health officials say that more than 11,000 people may have been exposed to the liver-destroying virus, ABC reports.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Todd Beamon

Former Westboro Cult Member Raising Funds to Help Other Escapees.


 

Lauren Drain
Lauren Drain escaped Westboro Baptist church in 2007. She posed for the NO H8 campaign in February. (gofundme.com/Support-WBC-Escapees)

An escapee of the Kansas-based group Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) has started a campaign to help ex-members of the cult start over after leaving.

Lauren Drain escaped WBC five years ago, leaving behind her family—who disowned her—and everyone she knew to start over in an unfamiliar world.

Now 27, Drain launched a GoFundMe campaign called “Help ex-WBS members start a new life” on Sunday. On the campaign’s webpage, she shares about the hardships she faced when she was 22.

“When I was ostracized I was given a few hours to pack my life into a few suitcases, dropped off by my father at a motel and told to never return, never contact my siblings and that I was now disowned,” she writes. “Anyone that leaves or is kicked out is banished for life and all ties to your family, friends, community, life are severed and you are truly on your own.”

Drain says only about 19 members of the cult have been able to escape in the past 10 years, and “many have struggled to find their way and start from near scratch. Often times the ‘church’ or family leaves the defector with little to no personal possessions and those who are able to plan an escape usually leave quickly with the bare minimums.”

With more and more young WBC members leaving the group, Drain wants to set up a “safety net” for defectors to be able to get back on their feet. She is aiming to raise $20,000.

“This is an opportunity for others to lend a hand and show your support for those willing to change,” she explains. “Together we can help ensure that those willing to escape but are too afraid to do so, know that there are countless people out there willing to help them, accept them, forgive them, guide them and offer up some sort of safety net for starting a new life outside of the cult.”

Her three siblings—Taylor, 22; Bo, 11; and Faith, 9—remain “stranded” in WBC, “born into the cult or otherwise indoctrinated as children by their parents and their new community,” she writes.

Drain has been a vocal critic of the group for last several years. She published a memoir, Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church, in March, and in February posed for a NOH8 campaign ad.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

GINA MEEKS

Insurers Block Plans to Arm Schools.


Insurance companies are threatening to raise premiums — or even cancel coverage altogether — for school districts that arm their employees

Measures allowing teachers or other staff to carry guns have gone into effect this month in Kansas, South Dakota, and Tennesseereports The New York Times and already, one large liability provider has instructed agents to decline coverage in schools where weapons are carried.

EMC Insurance Companies which covers 90 percent of school districts in Kansas wrote to its agents, “Concealed handguns on school premises pose a heightened liability risk.”

The company said schools that allow concealed handguns will be declined as new business and policies already written for such schools will not be renewed.

“We are making this underwriting decision simply to protect the financial security of our company,” the letter said.

EMC’s threat seems to be working. After Kansas passed its gun law in April, more than a dozen school administrators considered allowing their staffs to be armed, said David Shriver, who oversees insurance programs for the Kansas Association of School Boards.

But the calls stopped as soon as EMC issued its new rules.

In the months following December’s mass shootings in Newtown, Conn. — in which 20 first graders and six teachers were killed — lawmakers in at least 30 states proposed laws to allow school personnel to carry firearms in primary and secondary campuses, according to CNN.

In addition to Kansas, South Dakota and Tennessee, laws have been enacted in Alabama and Arizona. Even before the Newtown shootings, 18 states already allowed adults to have a loaded gun on school grounds, usually as long as they have written permission. NBC News reported at the time.

Indiana, one of those states, may face new problems, reports The New York Times. An insurance company threatened to refuse workers’ compensation in schools where staff members carry guns, after Noble County sheriff, Douglas Harp, offered to make teachers sheriff’s deputies so they could carry guns. Firearms worth $27,000 were donated and school officials were about to sign off on the plan, but the insurer’s threat made them back off.

The National Rifle Association began pushing for increasing firearms in classrooms shortly after the Newtown shootings and in April released a report calling for armed police officers, security guards or staff in all schools.

But while some insurers are denying coverage or raising rates, Jenny Emery, who heads the Association of Governmental Risk Pools, said none of her members plan to withhold coverage. However, Emery told The New York Times that many are still recommending other security alternatives, and she hasn’t seen evidence that shows arming teachers “is a recommended way to manage risk.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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