Emergency Preparedness Director Sandy Davis, explaining to KSLA television that clergy would already be known to people to whom they would explain the need to follow federal orders
A government plan to use members of the clergy to quell dissent and objections to government orders during a time of national emergency has been revealed by a Shreveport, La., television station.
The story by reporter Jeff Ferrell on television station KSLA says such “Clergy Response Teams” already have been used – following the hit on New Orleans by hurricane Katrina.
The station’s video is available on a link on its website, and also available on YouTube. It asks if martial law ever could become reality in the United States, following a nuclear, biological or chemical attack.
“KSLA News 12 has discovered that the clergy would help the government with potentially their biggest problem: Us,” the report said.
The teams were used to help with the management of the masses following Katrina, according to Durell Tuberville.
He serves as chaplain of the Shreveport Fire Department and the Caddo sheriff’s office, and said the clergy team’s mission was to express the sentiment: “Let’s cooperate and get this thing over with and then we’ll settle the differences once the crisis is over.”
Sandy Davis, director of the Caddo-Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said there are several advantages, but primarily, “these clergy would already be known in the neighborhoods in which they’re helping to diffuse that situation.”
So government orders to abandon homes, turn over guns, leave livestock behind, or whatever would come to the minds of various officials during an “emergency,” would be easier for people to accept, the report indicated.
The report said one of the biggest tools the clergy members would use would be the Bible itself, specifically Romans 13, where Tuberville said the Bible states “the government’s established by the Lord, you know. And, that’s what we believe in the Christian faith. That’s what’s stated in the Scripture.”
Civil rights advocates have raised questions about the idea of using clergy in such a fashion, noting the balance clergy would have to maintain when asked to do what the government wants under color of their status as a religious leader.
A blogger for the Christian education site, Chalcedon noted that the training has been going on in secret for over a year already.
“The clergy are being advised to use Romans 13 to encourage parishioners to submit to the sudden and massive expansion of government control that takes place during martial law,” the writer said.
WND already has documented a series of executive orders by the president, that so far give the government broad new powers to address private property if it’s related to any one of several issues, all of which are foreign so far.
One recent order, for example, gives Bush the power to freeze the assets of people who threaten Iraq’s stability. A former Reagan administration officials says the wording is so broad it could be applied to any domestic opponent of the Iraq war who has assets in the U.S.
White House press secretary Tony Snow explained the order targets terrorist and insurgent groups not covered by existing authorities who come across the border from countries such as Iran and Syria.
But constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein charged the order violates the 5th Amendment’s requirement that no person shall be deprived of property without due process of law. Fein, associate deputy attorney general under Reagan, asserts it “empowers the president to destroy anyone he says plays a significant risk of undermining the rehabilitation or political reform in Iraq.”
“The order is a stunning assertion of executive power that creates a Sword of Damocles over anyone opposed to the war or who might otherwise come under the umbrage of the president,” Fein told WND.
That order follows a series of orders Bush has issued under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which so far have similarly cited “blocking the property” of people who threaten stability in Darfur, Zimbabwe , Ivory Coast , Syria , Belarus , Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Of these countries, the only one in which the U.S. is directly involved in a war is Iraq.
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