Monday, June 29, 2015

More problems for May?

----- Forwarded message from dstrahan@mail-on.us -----
   Date: Sun, 28 Jun 2015 09:33:45 -0500
   From: dstrahan@mail-on.us
Subject: Financing of Christian Gospel Concert
     To: alison_rogers@myescambia.com
     Cc: karenaclu@gmail.com

Dear Ms. Rogers:

We were recently advised that the Escambia County Commission has previously approved and recently reapproved the expenditure of $40,000 of public funds to sponsor the Brownsville ALL STAR GOSPEL CONCERT to be held at the Friendship Misionary Baptisit Church on August 7.

We have also been advised that the Church is led by the brother of a sitting County Commissioner.

At first we doubted the accuracy of the information that Escambia County would actually finance a religious music event held at a Church. However after reviewing the meeting video we have verfiied its accuracy.

According to common sense and Wikipedia...Gospel music is a music genre in Christian Music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) with Christian lyrics.

Article 1 SECTION 3 of the Florida Constitution provides:

Religious freedom.—There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace or safety. No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.

According to the cases of Bush v. Holmes 919 So.2d 392 Fla.,2006. January 05, 2006 and Council for Secular Humanism, Inc. v. McNeil, 44 So.3d 112 Fla. App 1 Dist ,2010, no governmental body in Florida can obviously finance such a SECTARIAN EVENT.

"As we discussed in Holmes many state constitutions contain restrictions on state funding to religions or religious institutions, although the Florida no-aid provision is among the most restrictive......"In determining whether such programs violate the no-aid provision, the inquiry necessarily will be case-by-case and will consider such matters as whether the government-funded program is used to promote the religion of the provider, is significantly sectarian in nature, involves religious indoctrination, requires participation in religious ritual, or encourages the preference of one religion over another."

Additionally any citizen has the ability to challenge such expenditure:

"We agree with the trial court that petitioners have adequately alleged grounds for taxpayer standing in Count I to attack the constitutionality of 944.473 and 944.4371, since the state was using legislative appropriations allegedly to aid sectarian institutions."

Nothing could be more sectarian..albeit certainly entertaining, motivating, and  beautiful...than a Gospel Concert held at a church. Every word sung will be to the glory of Jesus. This would certainly be a wonderful event to attend or for Commissioners to make private donations to, but not one public dollar can be so dedicated.

We do not want to be rash and proceed without your input, however this is a rather urgent matter. Therefore, please advise us by end of day this Monday why such expenditure would not be an unconstitutional and a clear illegal expenditure of public funds. If it is your view that such expenditure is in fact not legal, what will be done to remedy last year's similar expenditure?

thank you

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Imagine what would happen if they agreed to spend taxpayer dollars on an event featuring Muslim music! They hypocrisy is stunning.

Anonymous said...

Would someone please refer us to the article in the News Journal where this story first appeared? Surely, our watchdog news hounds would have printed this first.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight......the same budget folks at the County, who cry poor every time citizens ask them how long till they build sidewalks on busy county roads, that children must use to walk to school (because the School system won't let them ride the bus because they live within two miles of the school), is the SAME entity funding church concerts for a County Commissioner's brother? I can't wait to throw Lumon May out of office with the next election.

Anonymous said...

I notice that Rick's Blog is very absent from comment about Mr. May's conflict with City Police last week.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that May's brother and family are the recipients of many such perks as a beneficiary of Lumon May. Community Center activity funding, etc. I am positive there is more!

Anonymous said...

Who put the request for the $$ in? Who approved it and when? How much was donated last year? Looks like the brothers may(be) working da system...

JAMES SCAMINACI III said...

Too bad you do not have a share button. I shared this post on my Facebook page.

Anonymous said...

I think if we funded a Pagan or Satanic groups Music Festival you would see all sorts of reports in the local news (<<<< I use that word sarcastically since all we have is Studer and Merrill funded uber right wing conservative christian propaganda sources in this town and no credible news source).

Anonymous said...

For County Officials:

129.08 County commissioner voting to pay illegal claim or for excess indebtedness.—Each member of the board of county commissioners who knowingly and willfully votes to incur an indebtedness against the county in excess of the expenditure allowed by law or county ordinance, or to pay an illegal charge against the county, or to pay any claim against the county not authorized by law or county ordinance shall be guilty of malfeasance in office and subject to suspension and removal from office as now provided by law, and shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall upon conviction be punished by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months, for each offense.
History.—s. 2, ch. 6814, 1915; RGS 5332; CGL 7465; s. 4, ch. 71-14; s. 1, ch. 71-305.


129.09 County auditor not to sign illegal warrants.—Any clerk of the circuit court, acting as county auditor, who shall sign any warrant for the payment of any claim or bill or indebtedness against any county funds in excess of the expenditure allowed by law, or county ordinance, or to pay any illegal charge against the county, or to pay any claim against the county not authorized by law, or county ordinance, shall be personally liable for such amount, and if he or she shall sign such warrant willfully and knowingly he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree,

Anonymous said...

This is a huge disservice to the citizens of Escambia county. If this event actually gets funded by the county, I'm fairly certain that there will be additional cost to the taxpayers in the form of legal fees and investigation costs. This is clearly a violation of the Florida Constitution. If this were any religion other than Christianity, the outcry would be deafening.

Anonymous said...

Infrastructure before entertainment.

Anonymous said...

$40,000 for a concert at a church? I thought religion was FREE? I think whomever requested and then cut the checks should have to PERSONALLY pay it back.

Anonymous said...

Please read the contract!

Anonymous said...

I would love to read the contract...Where is it?