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American House of Representatives Passes Measure on Religion Suits
By Ziad Bitti :: Wednesday, September 27, 2006 :: 25758 Views :: Government & Society

Califoria, USA -- Chaldean attorney, Kevin Najor reports that the House passed a bill yesterday that would bar judges from awarding legal fees to the American Civil Liberties Union and similar groups that sue municipalities for violating the Constitution's ban on government establishment of religion.

“Many of these organizations are simply trying to intimidate and use activist judges as a way to raise money for their personal causes.  Many attorneys are outraged at groups like the ACLU and other similar organizations that have become the strong arm of reckless causes.”

The bill would prevent plaintiffs from recovering legal costs in any lawsuit based on the Establishment Clause; the House said during a floor debate that it was particularly aimed at organizations that force the removal of Nativity scenes and Ten Commandments monuments.

"Liberal groups . . . scour the country looking to sue cities and states with any kind of religious display, regardless of how popular these displays are," said Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.). Because judges often require municipalities that lose such lawsuits to reimburse their opponents' legal fees, "citizens' precious monuments are being eroded with their own tax dollars," she added.

The bill, called the Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act, passed 244 to 173 on a mostly party-line vote.  Democrats overwhelmingly voted to allow groups to sue religious groups and recoup costs for the lawsuit. 

The American Legion, the Southern Baptist Convention and other conservative groups began pushing for the legislation after a Pennsylvania judge awarded $2 million to the ACLU of Pennsylvania and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The two groups had successfully sued the school board in Dover, Pa., for requiring science teachers to teach "intelligent design" alongside evolution. The award was later reduced to $1 million.

Citizen groups were also irked when a judge awarded $550,000 to three groups -- Americans United, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU of Alabama -- after they prevailed in a lawsuit against former Alabama chief justice Roy S. Moore's display of the Ten Commandments.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. John N. Hostettler (R-Ind.), said the ACLU and similar groups are "profiteering" from tax dollars. 

Public schools are predominantly intimated by these groups to encourage and support their causes.  Public schools remain a primary target by ACLU and other groups should they consider including any Christian religious history on school property, but often receive a pass for non-Christian history discussion.

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.