New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 16, 1985, New Braunfels, Texas
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jjer Satan Haire, Managing Editor
Church wins round in court
Andy RooneyBeleaguered relatives should form union
Relatives have to organize and form a labor union It became obvious during the recent hostage situation that relatives of anyone are a valuable commodity in the news marketplace and have to be proter ted from unfair labor practices During the da>s the TWA passengers were held hostage, reporters conducted at least 10,000 interviews with the hostages’ relatives. In some cases, network representatives tried to get exclusivity by putting the families of dbstages up in hotels rooms I have no direct evidence of this, but usually reliable sources, namely my daughter and my son who are in the television news business, reported that a few bucks may have exchanged hands in return for the promise that a particular relative wouldn't give his or her story to anyone else The network morning news shows are die tabloid journalism of the broadcast industry. Producers for one network which had sewed up the family of one of the hostages with promises, favors or money, were reported to have said to representatives of another network, ‘ Those are our hostages, lf you want to talk to someone, go get your own hostages.”
Each network has what they call
a news feed'' that comes to them via satellite from Europe each day In boston, some stations were inviting relatives of the hostages to come to their station to watch the unedited satellite feed from Europe Viewing the satellite feed and watching the unedited interviews could take several hours. During that time the relative wasn’t available for an interview by one of the other TV stations
It was a hard job to cover the terrorist takeover of the TWA plane. But the networks handled it well. I'm not one of the people who's complaining that they did too much. I, personally, couldn’t get enough of it, but I was almost always irritated by the questions asked of the relatives
To protect relatives in situations like this in the future, I propose a union for relatives The union would be called The American Federation of Relatives, AT OR
Here arc a few of the clauses that would be written into die ATOR contract:
—Tile normal working day for relatives answering questions would be from 9 a rn. until 5 p m. weekdays Any questions asked by reporters outside those days and hours would call for overtime. Phone calls or knocks on the door between midnight and 6 a.rn would call for triple overtime
Sen. Phil Gramm
Gov. Mark White
United States Senate
Washington D C., 20510
Room 200 State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78701
Sen. John Traeger
Sen. Lloyd Bentsen
United States Senate
Room 240 Russell Bldg
Austin, Texas 78711
Washington, D C. 20510
Rep. Tom Loeffler
House Office Bldg
Washington, D C. 20515
Rep. Edmund Kuempel
Rep. Mac Sweeney
P O. Box 2910
Austin, Texas 78769
Washington, D.C., 20515
WASHINGTON - It escaped widespread reporting in the press, but a court decision last month rn Ohio provided some good news Ln the continuing conflict between church and state, the church now and then manages to win an occasional
» cut* I ta.
The case arose six years ago in Dayton, wrier. Linda Hoskinson, a
teacher at the Dayton Christian School, informed the school's principal that she was pregnant The principal subsequently wrote her that the school believes mothers should slav home with preschoo. children: her contract therefore
would not be renewed for the next year Hockinson then made the mistake — rn the school's view — of consulting a iawyer with a view toward bringing legal action on charges of sex discrimination. That did it For failure to follow the
Biblical Chain of Command.’' she was summanly fired
Mrs Hoskinson took her grievance against the school to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission The state s civil rights act. adopted in 1959 makes it unlawful for ‘any" employer to discriminate rn the tenure of employment by reason of sex The commission proceeded to fall upon the school like a hawk on a chipmunk The school fled into U.S.
District Court with a petition for an injunction Several years passed while the matter hung rn Limbo, but in January lj64. the district court dismissed "de school s petition The school appealed, and last month the 6th Orc ult reversed Ohio's Civil Rights Commission will have to leave the Dayton Christian School alone The evidence overwhelmingly supports the circuit court s decision That the school is a pervasively religious institution could not be denied Teachers are required to be bom-agam Christians .As a condition of employment, teachers must sign a statement of faith.” beginning with a dec .arati n the I believe the Bible to be the inspired and the only infallible authoritative Word of God.” Teachers are required to infuse Christian tenets into every aspec t of their life Deviation from a religious way of life may be grounds for dismissal.
The Ohio Civil Rights Commission was not the .east impressed by these avowals In response to Mrs H'.>skinson's complaint — you may now draw a long breath — the commission demanded from the school employment applications, employee handbooks and rules and regulations, written policies on discip.inary actions, employee pregancies. employee evaluations.
performance standards, contract renewal and grievance procedures; job descriptions, detailed information regarding all employees who were pregnant from January I, 1977, to date of request, similar information regarding all employees who were discharged and suspended, minutes of specific board meetings and complete files for 14 employees.” The commission demanded reinstatement. back pay and a public apology
Iaist month, .speaking through Judge I>eroy J Contie Jr , the 6th Circuit found that the commission s assault violated the First Amendment in wholesale fashion The parents of schoolchildren were denied their right freely to exercise their religion Moreover, the state's formidable intrusion into the policies of a Christian school amounted to excessive entanglement by the state with an establishment of religion.
The appellate court's decision represented one more significant victory for William B. Bali of Harrisburg, Pa Over the past 15 years, and especially since his 1972 victory for the Amish in the landmark case of Wisconsin v Yoder. Ball has built a solid reputation as the nation s most successful defender of religious liberty This was a big win for him
— Reporters camping on the lawn or in the driveway of relatives would pay a special parking fee Television trucks w ald pay extra —- The price paid Ut relatives for questions would depend on the question Category No I f1 r which relatives would be paid the m**st, would Irt the wimp questions These would include such question as these What has been the worst part of this ordeal for you?**
“CM you tell us exactly how you felt when you realizer you might never see your husband, wife, or son again7”
What’s the first thing you're going to do when you're reunited''”
Did y ou ever give ip hope *"
Also in this wimp category would be any question including the words, “loved-one Payments to relatives would fie on a sliding stale, depending on their relationship to tie person they're talking about A mother or wife would get top dollar If the couple were recently married or had been on a honeymoon when tile event occurred, die wife would get a b* *nus Tile fattier and die children of the principle would be next ort the pay scale, followed by sisters, brothers arid close friends or neighbors.
Anytime theres a labor union involved, there will always be the possibility of a sn ike In the event of a strike over pay scale or working conditions by the AFOR, the American Federation of Relatives, it could very well close down all three networks if it happened during a major news story It’s a price we’ll have to pay for relative justiceMike Royko
Lebanon should be responsible
Some time back. I wrote about a criminally inclined young man who went into the hired thug business Among his clients was a gang if drug dealers They hired him and another man to kidnap somebody who filched a load of their dupe and to hold that person for ransom Unfortunately for the kidnapper, undercover cops arrived with the ransom There was a shootout in the .streets and the kidnapper ended up bally wounded and was later impi-.soned
While in prison, he came up w ith an unusual idea He was a victim himself He decided that the cops had used unnecessary force in shooting at him after he shot at them So, from his prison cell, he filed a lawsuit against the cops, claiming that by shooting him. they had violated his constitutional rights. injured him physically, caused him terrible grief and misery , and asking that they pay him substantial damages A judge heard the case and showed admirable restraint by not laughing out loud when he threw out the suit At the time, I thought the hired kidnapper had, if nothing else, shown more chutzpah or gall than any one I had ever heard of But that was before I became aware of Nabih Bern, the lebanese justice iiuruster and the leader of the Shute gunslingers in that screwball
A few days ago, Berri angrily-threatened to sue the United States before the International Court of
Justice rn The Hague, the
Netherlands He considers it an outrage that President Reagan is trying to retaliate against lebanese terrorism by organizing an international boycott of air travel to the Beirut airport
If he sues, Bern said. he will not only ask that the U S be condemned and told to stop the boycott, but he will also ask that we pay damages to lebanon
At the same time, Lebanon's minister of education, Salim Hoss, declared that our efforts to boycott the airport are a cnme, to say the least.”
■ A cnme. to say the least"’’ Those people do have a strange way of looking at things.
It was only a few weeks ago that a plane full of American citizens, minding their own business, was hijacked by Shute Hackies and taken to the Beirut airport There, Bern’s gunslingers took over They became the captors of the American citizens And Berri gave them their orders.
From that point on. it was Berri who made the demands and said what he would or would not accept in return for the safe release of the Americans Even after the Americans were released. Berri ignored his role as dispenser of justice in lebanon by doing nothing about the original hijackers, who were running around loose in Beirut Apparently, the Lebanese justice
system, under Bern does not view the brutal murder of an American sailor as being a cnme Even now . seven other Amencan citizens are being held pnsoner somewhere in Lebanon And the Shutes are implying that they might be killed if we don’t mind our manners
.After all that. Berri is indignant”* Well, I do share one of Bern’s sentiments - that the Beirut airport should not be boycotted Instead. I think we should tell Berri that if the seven .Americans aren't released, we won't bother with a boycott Instead, we will just turn his airport into a num-version of the Grand Cany on Then he can go to the International Court and sue us for that, too If that doesn t shake the seven prisoners loose, we should also tell him that we will blow away just about anything of value still standing in Beirut, including Bern’s home, office, and favorite lunch spot
And he can file another law suit W e aught also tell Berri that if any harm conies to those seven American, we will hold him and the other lebanese leaders personally responsible and do to them exactly w hat they do to the Americans
As for Bern's status as a legal alien of the United States — using his green card to visit his ex-wife and children in Michigan - if somebody in the Justice Department doesn't yank that pnviledge soon, may be I’ll sue our government
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