Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Today on Context Florida: Killing in God’s name, Kurly’s latke recipe and defending our Constitutions

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Today on Context Florida:

There has been a lot of talk about mass shootings and the Second Amendment. Jac VerSteeg asks us to talk a little bit about mass shootings and the First Amendment. The First Amendment is a sweeping guarantee of rights for individuals, churches and the press. There are limits to the free exercise of religion, VerSteeg says. Courts have intervened, for example, when parents have refused to seek medical treatment for children because they believe God should do the healing. The free exercise of religion obviously does not include the right to kill in God’s name. Yet there are people who believe God has granted them permission to carry out a holy war. Some think they’ve been called by God to kill abortion doctors – and bystanders. Some think they’ve been called by God to kill infidels – and bystanders. That kind of thinking is crazy.

The holiday season is upon us. Steven Kurlander says that means a lull in working and business activity, a lot of binge eating and drinking at obligatory holiday parties, ponying up charitable contributions to feed and clothe the less fortunate and to keep the not-for-profit industry healthy, and spending an inordinate amount of moola for presents for co-workers and relatives, most of whom we don’t really care for. So instead of joining these exasperating debates and displaying my morbid holiday cynicism in a column about the holiday season and the fate of our nation, Kurlander got permission from his editor to share his latke recipe with you.


BILL DAY floritrump

In the eyes of State Rep. John Wood, the Florida Constitution requires every elected or duly appointed member of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government to take a solemn oath upon entering their term of office. The oath makes clear the importance of the constitutions of both the United States and the state of Florida in determining the nature of our republican form of government. On Dec.2, 2015 the Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion that will result in the judicial adoption of the final congressional redistricting map without the map being approved by the Florida Legislature. The Florida House of Representatives has the responsibility to defend our constitutions. Our sacred oath requires no less, Wood adds.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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