Cue the organ and start a-swayin' and a-clappin' your hands. Sheriff Simon Leis is preaching God's Word. Don't you know the devil is trying to get you?
"Our country is in great peril, not from an approaching army but from a satanic pestilence that has already invaded our nation with a drug-infested culture, littering our country and neighborhoods with untold corpses and its collateral family damage," says Pastor Si.
Can we get an amen? Or do you think the devil can't reach you?
"Sealed under glass in Washington, D.C, the Constitution of the United States of America lulls Americans into a false sense of security, believing that nothing can change the ideals and intent of its God-fearing framers," says Pastor Si.
Give us a hallelujah!
"The gay and lesbian coalitions, rabid feminist groups and the American Civil Liberties Union (are) all competing for power," says Pastor Si. "Many use their political action committee funds to influence elected officials, to represent these parasitic groups who proselytize and force us, under the protection of law, to tolerate and accept their despicable conduct and agenda."
Leis turned the annual Police Memorial Day, held May 10 on Fountain Square, into a virtual religious revival, damning liberal judges, atheists, "the perversion of the Internet," violent video games and other elements of a society he sees as speeding to hell.
"As concerned citizens and Christians, we need to display and read in our classrooms once again, and with pride, the Ten Commandments, the Judeo-Christian foundation of our entire constitutional system of law," says Pastor Si.
Never mind the fact that county sheriffs generally aren't expected to use their office to promote a particular religion. What's really appalling is Leis' weird interpretation of the history of the Constitution. Before becoming sheriff, after all, he was a county prosecutor and a judge — but not one of them Satan-loving liberal judges, mind you.
Leis' speech shocked Professor Jay Twomey, who teaches "Bible as Literature" and other English courses at the University of Cincinnati. The speech failed both as theology and as law enforcement leadership, he says.
"If Leis is going to use taxpayer money to shove his religion in my face, then the least he can do is get it right," Twomey says. "Secondly, and this is my real concern, I'm worried that an important voice in law enforcement is so blinded by hate that he can't see how totally counter-productive it will be simply to demonize his opponents."
Finally, Leis appears to have plagiarized most of the content of his diatribe. Twomey's research shows the text was lifted almost in its entirety from the rantings of former Sheriff John McDougal of Lee County, Fla. All the best lines — "satanic pestilence," "rabid feminist," "perversion of the Internet" — can be found in McDougal's original text by visiting www.geocities.com/athens/ academy/9517/sheriff.htm.
"It's quite ironic, isn't it, that our local holier-than-thou defender of truth and freedom can't even articulate his most fundamental perspectives without resorting to an especially petty form of theft and deceit, plagiarism?" Twomey says.
Painter Will Stay on Bench
Ohio First District Appeals Judge Mark Painter announced last week he will not run for mayor of Cincinnati. Last year Painter, a Republican, said he was considering a run against Mayor Charlie Luken, who later dropped out of the race (see "Cincinnati's Next Republican Mayor," issue of June 30-July 6, 2004).
"So many people have urged me to run for mayor — people long known and people not before met," Painter said last week. "The Republican Party has asked me to run. I appreciate the pledges of support from many friends, and I am humbled and flattered by the encouragement to run for mayor from the numerous friendly strangers who have stopped me on the street or on my weekend grocery trips."
Painter didn't endorse any candidate but called for change.
"I love the city," he said. "Cincinnati has great potential, which we have squandered by decades of poor leadership."
Many had seen Painter as the GOP's best hope for the mayoral race. The party sat out the 2001 election. State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Mount Lookout) had considered running for mayor but instead is a candidate for the Republican nomination to replace former U.S. Rep. Rob Portman.
Painter, a judge for the past 23 years, said he will continue to concentrate on the law. He and his wife are also preparing to become newspaper publishers, launching a bi-weekly publication to cover Clifton and other "uptown" neighborhoods.
Members of the "Stand, Ohio" youth-led anti-tobacco campaign rallied May 13 on Fountain Square, calling on the Ohio General Assembly to drop plans to cut funding for anti-smoking programs. Stand, whose funding comes from tobacco settlement dollars, claims that since 1999 Ohio's youth smoking rates have dropped 45 percent.
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