Thursday, February 3, 2011

Picking On The "Disfavored"

Two Episcopalians -- my clergy colleague the Rev. Wilfredo Benitez, rector of St. Anselm's in Garden Grove, and Mike Penn, longtime lay leader at St. Paul's in Tustin -- are among the Orange County faith leaders who signed a Feb. 2 letter urging DA Tony Rackauckas not to prosecute the 11 students who disrupted Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's talk at UCI last February. They imply that Rackauckas is picking on them because they're Muslims:
As District Attorney, it is within your discretion to determine society's interests in seeking punishment of certain offenses. Over the years, there have been countless instances of non-violent protest activities during campus speeches, including at UCI, with no comparable criminal prosecution. By criminally prosecuting one set of protesters and not others, including the counter-protesters at the same event, who cursed, threatened and even assaulted the students, these indictments would be singular. Orange County citizens would understand from your office's actions that minority or disfavored groups receive a disproportionate and selective application of the law, while the integrity of the office of the OCDA as well as the justice system would be profoundly undermined....

Our vision for Orange County is that it be a place where all faith groups are treated with equal respect and due process of law, where no political viewpoint is penalized, and where all of our public officials and offices utilize their stations to promote these ends.

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