This goes hand in hand with my other post: “The Born Again Don”

Here’s my original post

Anaheim woman was married to the mob

Cammy Franzese’s the reason the ‘Yuppie Don’ walked away from his life in the Mafia.

The Orange County Register

The next time you’re about to go off on your husband for treating the bedroom floor like a hamper or leaving crumbs all over the kitchen counter or returning home from the grocery store with only half the items on the list you gave him, just take a deep breath and invoke the spirit of Cammy Franzese.

This is a woman who stood by her man to a degree that would make even Tammy Wynette flinch if she were still alive.

But by greeting his shortcomings with – now keep an open mind, ladies – love and prayer, she managed to change him.

Cammy Franzese is the reason her husband Michael Franzese – a.k.a. “The Yuppie Don” – became the first high ranking member of the Mafia to publicly walk away from a life of crime and into a life of Little League coaching and churchgoing.

And if she can do that, there’s still hope that you can help your man walk away from a life of crumbs on the counter.

• • •

Cammy grew up in Anaheim, one of seven children born to Irma Garcia, a devout churchgoer, and Seferino Garcia. She graduated from Anaheim High in 1981. While studying dance at Cal State Fullerton, she got a chance to go to Miami as a back-up dancer on the set of the movie “Knights of the City.”

It was there in 1984 that she met Michael Franzese, the producer of the movie. He was young and handsome – and 11 years older, to her dismay. But he was sweet. He told her he was Catholic and had once been an altar boy. He didn’t tell her that he had already escaped five white-collar crime indictments. Or that he was “heir apparent” in the Colombo family.

Cammy returned to Anaheim when the movie finished shooting, but their relationship continued. One day not long after, Mike’s friend Frankie called: Mike had been arrested, something about tax evasion. At this point she still thought her boyfriend was just your average businessman. While the New York papers were having a field day with the Mob charges, it wasn’t making headlines here.

When Michael made bail he flew out to the West Coast and told Cammy he wanted to spend his life with her. The day after their engagement party, he was acquitted. They married that July in Beverly Hills and bought condos on Long Island and in Brentwood. Cammy gave birth to a baby girl.

But the good times didn’t last long. When their daughter was 7 months old, Michael was indicted for racketeering. This time he went to prison. That same year he was listed as the youngest capo on Fortune magazine’s 1986 chart of “The 50 Biggest Mafia Bosses,” according to a Life Magazine article. He was 33 “It was a blessing that I was young and idealistic and naïve at the time,” Cammy says. She didn’t ask her husband questions, fearing she would hear something she didn’t want to. She didn’t read newspapers. Or watch the news. Instead, over the next four years, she visited him every weekend – and prayed for him.

Cammy’s mother counseled her to forgive him and shared her vision. “He’s going to speak to millions,” she told her. “And she was so right. My mother was just so loving and forgiving and she believed in second chances and transformation and miracles,” Cammy says.

Well, Michael finally came home four years later. Law enforcement wanted him to testify against his “associates.” He wouldn’t do it. They threatened to throw him back in prison for a parole violation. He wouldn’t budge. One morning, after 18 months of freedom, he was back in prison.

By now they had two children. Money was tight so Cammy gave up the house with the elevator and nine bathrooms in Brentwood for a condo in Westwood.

“I just thought ‘Oh, my gosh, I can’t do this again.’ I was angry. Michael was still living for Michael.”

But she still loved him. “I used to get on my knees and pray that God would protect him and change his heart … and make him the husband and the father he needs to be …. And bring him home.”

Back behind bars, the Yuppie Don broke. “My heart hurt so much that night, it was the kinda pain I remember,” Michael says. “That night I had nothing but enemies.”

A prison guard walked up and pushed a Bible through the slot. It fell on the floor. Michael threw it against the wall. Then he reconsidered. “Ya know, I’ve got everyone in the world mad at me, I don’t need God mad at me.”

He opened the Bible. It fell on Proverbs 16.7. “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord even his enemies are at peace with him.”

He had let down his wife once again. “My life was in direct contradiction to everything that she was about and believed in,” he says. He remembered back when they first met and he couldn’t take his eyes off of her, and how pretty she was, as she talked to him about God. “Honestly, that didn’t really appeal to me at the time,” he says. “She could have been talking about anything. I was being polite. I wasn’t listening.”

Now he was listening.

“I loved her madly,” he says. “I think the main thing is, she knew that I would do anything for her.”

So finally he did. Michael Franzese renounced his life of crime. Behind bars, he granted an interview to Life Magazine. When “Quitting the Mafia” hit newsstands in 1987 the Warden called him into his office. “Franzese, do you have a death wish,” he asked?

“There’s an old saying that the only way to leave the Mafia is in a coffin,” the Life article began.

Michael was willing to take his chances. During his four years in the hole this second time around he read the Bible inside out and upside down. When he got out, the FBI came knocking. “You claimed you turned your life around, prove it,” they told him. They asked him to be in a video to warn young athletes not to be sucked into organized crime’s web of game fixing.

His videos led to speaking engagements. Today he travels the country, visiting colleges and churches, sharing his story. “Had I not met Cammy, I am certain I wouldn’t have taken the path I took and I would probably be dead or in prison,” he tells them.

Complete strangers have heard more about his double dealings than wife has. “To this day, I’ve never sat down and discussed my past life with her,” he said.

And she has never asked for details.

Michael has written two books, “Quitting the Mob” in 1991 and “Blood Covenant” in 2003. She hasn’t read a single page. “There’s probably a lot of things in there I don’t want to know about. I see it when he’s sleeping and tossing and turning. I can imagine it. I don’t need to see it in black and white.”

She remembers in the days after her husband got out of prison. “Every now and again someone would ask, ‘Are you fearful for your life or your children’s life?’ And I’d think, ‘Oh my God. Why should I be fearful?'”

Next Friday (Feb. 29), Cammy will join her husband on stage at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo to speak publicly, for only the third time, to married couples about how they held it together.

“It’s definitely easier to say I didn’t sign up for this and walk away,” she will tell them. “But whatever his old life was, it doesn’t matter, because that’s not the man he is today. I’m married to this man and I’m in love with this man.”

Plus, he’s a super clean freak and would never in a million years leave socks on the floor or crumbs on the counter.

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Florida Pastor Bryan Longworth: Huckabee Can Win if Christians Show Up at the Polls

Florida Pastor Bryan Longworth says that Mike Huckabee Can Win the Nomination if Christians Show Up at the Polls and Vote their Values

Contact: Pastor Bryan Longworth, 772-380-2111

 

PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida, Jan. 28 /Christian Newswire/ — Florida Pastor Bryan Longworth says that Mike Huckabee Can Win the Nomination if Christians Show Up at the Polls and Vote their Values. Christians make up the largest voting block in America, and when they show up and vote their values, conservatives win. Longworth says that Mike Huckabee is the only conservative among the frontrunners. If Christians support Huckabee, Huckabee can carry Florida and win the Republican nomination.

 

“Huckabee is the only front runner who showed up at the Value Voters 2008 Presidential Debate and who will champion the Federal Human Life and Marriage Amendments. It is time that Values Voters get serious about defending life and the institution of marriage. We have shed the blood of over 50,000,000 preborn children through abortion, and now face the undermining of traditional marriage that threatens the family, the most basic institution that upholds a society. Enough is enough. Values voters must vote for candidates that will defend life and the family. Mike Huckabee is the only frontrunner who will fight for these issues,” Longworth argues.

 

Longworth laments, “For far too long, Christians stood idly and allowed our nation to slip into moral depravity. We stood by while creationism was replaced with Darwinism. We stood by while the Bible, prayer, and the Ten Commandments were removed from schools. We stood by while men, women, and children engaged in vile sexual perversion. We stood by while over 50,000,000 preborn children have been slaughtered by abortion. We stood by while Gov. Romney allowed homosexual marriage in Massachusetts. We stood by while the Ten Commandments were removed from public places. Edmond Burke said, ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ We will stand by no longer. It is time for the church to stop playing church, and start being the church!”

 

Pastor Bryan Longworth is the associate pastor of Covenant Tabernacle World Outreach Center* in Port St. Lucie, FL. Longworth’s recent sermon entitled “The Importance of Voting” can be heard Sunday, January 27 from 9:30-10:00 on 1590 AM WPSL and on his church’s website. Values Voter Guides are available at FLVotesValues.com.

 

Longworth recently recorded a PSA informing values voters of the debate viewing, a copy of which can be heard at his church’s website.

Black Religious Leaders Endorse Huckabee

(AP) Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee paid tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. at a lengthy memorial service Monday at King’s old church and was endorsed by several black religious leaders.

While his main GOP rivals campaigned in Florida, Huckabee sat quietly through a nearly four-hour King ceremony at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He was overshadowed by fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton, who received a long ovation for his 18-minute address.

The former president acknowledged Huckabee, who did not speak. “We don’t agree on much, but he is a very good man,” Clinton told the audience of several hundred.

Huckabee said he was willing to put aside campaigning for a half day to attend the King event, which he called inspiring.

The former Arkansas governor finished second in the South Carolina Republican primary over the weekend after campaigning in which he said the federal government should stay out of disputes over display of the Confederate battle flag in the state. He said last week, “If somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we’d tell ’em what to do with the pole, that’s what we’d do.”

The flag is a symbol of racism to some, of Southern pride to others.

After his South Carolina loss, Huckabee needs strong showings in states such as Florida, Georgia and Alabama to keep his campaign alive. He went to Orlando for a late-afternoon rally and fundraiser Monday and planned to return to Atlanta Tuesday for an anti-abortion event.

“Winning Florida would be great,” Huckabee told an Orlando airport crowd of about 100, speaking of the state’s Jan. 29 GOP primary. But winning the nomination is the bigger goal, he said. “Nobody is going to have this wrapped up by Florida,” he said.

“We plan on carrying Georgia,” Huckabee told reporters.

After leaving the King ceremony, Huckabee was endorsed by three dozen African-Americans, most of them connected to conservative religious organizations.

Huckabee’s strong opposition to abortion and gay marriage matches the “high moral values” of many black Americans, said William Owens, founder of a group called the Coalition of African American Pastors.

NEWSWEEK: Why S.C. is Huckabee Country

Welcome to Huckabee Country

TIGERVILLE, S.C.–They’re spread like breadcrumbs on the road from Lyman to North Greenville University.
Churches.
I counted at least 17 on the 18 mile drive; when I turned off the main road, Rt. 29, they passed by the windows of my white Chevy Impala at a rate of one or two per intersection. And nearly all of them were Baptist.
Which is just to say: this here is Mike Huckabee country.
The former Arkansas governor (and former Baptist minister) may trail John McCain by 2.5 percent in the latest South Carolina polling averages, but seeing the two leading Palmetto State contenders back-to-back on the same afternoon, it’s immediately clear that it’s McCain, not Huckabee, who’s fighting the uphill battle this week.
McCain’s goal? Protecting his right flank. Unlike in Michigan, New Hampshire or Iowa, the Arizona senator opened both of his appearances this morning by boasting of his “24-year record supporting the rights of the unborn”; asked to explain his new lead-in, McCain told reporters it’s “because we know phone calls are being made that say I’m not [pro-life], so I have to remind people.” (He laughed when someone asked if an opponent–namely the pro-Huckabee group Common Sense Issues–was making the calls. “No,” he said. “They’re coming from Mount Olympus.”)
Attempting to blunt further speculation about his pro-life cred, McCain trotted out new endorsee Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), a furious foe of abortion and pork-barrel spending, adding that he would “nominate the closest thing to a clone of Justice Roberts I can find.” He railed against internet pornography and spoke frequently of “family values” and the “breakdown of the family.” He turned a question about drug use into an opportunity to talk tough on illegal immigration, dropping phrases like “go back where they came from” more often than “humane” and “compassionate,” his usual watchwords. And McCain even revived an old ad slamming Hillary Clinton for supporting a Woodstock museum. Let the culture wars begin–again.
Don’t get me wrong. McCain’s rightward drift is all well and good–and probably necessary in a state where Confederate Flag loyalists are swarming each of his events and a group called Vietnam Veterans Against McCain is accusing him of betraying fellow P.O.W.’s to save himself. (South Carolina has a long, colorful history of smears–as McCain knows from him 2000 loss, when he whispering campaigns alleged that he was gay and/or the father of an out-of-wedlock black child.) But it’s largely a defensive crouch, and it detracts from what even McCain says are his main strengths–national security and veterans issues, which play well among South Carolina’s massive military community.
Huckabee, on the other hand, is entirely at ease. Take today’s appearance at the North Greenville University–an evangelical Baptist school whose motto is “Where Christ Makes the Difference.” At the end of Huck’s remarks, a dean asked the candidate two “hard-hitting” questions. “Not to put you on the spot,” he said, “but are you a Christian? And can you tell us about your salvation experience?”
Shockingly, Huckabee was happy to oblige. “I came to Christ on my tenth birthday,” he said. “August the 24th, 1965.”
“It was at the Vacation Bible School at the little church I attended in Hope, Arkansas. I have to tell you the whole story. I didn’t go to Vacation Bible School to be spiritual. I went because my sister said you get all the Kool-Aid you could drink and all the cookies you could eat. That sounded like a good deal to me, so I went that next day. I was a little disappointed because when I got there, they didn’t think I could drink more than one cup of Kool-Aid or eat more than two cookies. They were wrong about that. But they were right about that day telling me what it means to come to Christ… I remember praying their prayer and feeling overwhelmed with the sense that God loved me. In fact, so much so, when everybody went out to play baseball, some of my friends said, ‘Let’s go play, man.’ And I said, ‘No, I don’t want to get dirty.’ Because I’d never felt so clean in my life.”
Hallelujah.
But Huckabee didn’t stop there. After scribbling some autographs and posing for pictures, the former supporter of in-state tuition breaks for young illegal immigrants (who in December became a “Go Home Now” hardliner) walked across the hall and, at an intimate little press conference, signed a tough-talking “No Amnesty Pledge“–a pledge that John McCain, it was noted, had already refused to sign. Meanwhile, an anonymous Huckabee adviser was telling CBN that “the free pass for McCain is over. The next few days in South Carolina will be rough and tumble.”

Game on.

Huckabee has target on his back

Article in the “Hope Star”

A win and two “shows” in presidential politics have begun to draw increased scrutiny of former Arkansas governor and Hope native Mike Huckabee, who won a distant third place Tuesday in the Michigan Republican Presidential Primary.

No sooner than had the exit polls been counted about 7 p.m. Arkansas time, national media pundits began to focus upon two aspects of Huckabee’s emerging campaign, including an economic policy statement issued on Monday and a statement he made Monday night calling for amendment of the U.S. Constitution to address abortion and homosexual marriages.

Addressing the economy Tuesday night from an election watch party in South Carolina, Huckabee said the other candidates must begin to pay attention to voter concerns rather than Washington concerns.

“You’re going to find out there is a world of hurt out there,” he said.

In a policy statement issued by his campaign on Monday, Huckabee proposed cutting federal taxes and installing a federal sales tax, as well as limiting product and medical liability lawsuits.

“In Arkansas, I signed a bill that would reduce frivolous lawsuits which drive up costs of products and medical care. We need more doctors not fewer; we need more new products, not fewer,” he said. “Our tax system encourages outsourcing of American production overseas and the dismantling of our industrial base. It wastes hundreds of billions in useless tax preparation, paperwork and confusion. It pits industry against industry, class against class.”

 
 

Huckabee’s statement outlines five areas of economic policy including focusing on middle class families; pushing the Federal Reserve for pro-growth, low-inflation policies; jobs creation to improve infrastructure, defense, and homeland security; energy independence; and a fairer tax system.

“Every time we fill our cars up, we fill up the pockets of Middle Eastern countries,” he said. “That is going to end. We will have national energy security policy and we will end our dependence on Middle Eastern oil within ten years of my inauguration.”

CNN analyst John King called Huckabee “the economic populist” of the GOP race, while columnist Jeffrey Tobin said Huckabee’s constitutional amendment remarks were startling.

 
 

“That’s really something unusal,” Tobin said. “He’s got to deal with that.”

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Huckabee called for the idea in remarks made Monday in Warren, Mich.

“But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God,” he said Monday night in Warren, Mich. “And that’s what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards, rather than try to change God’s standards.”

 
 

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, speaking on Fox News, said Tuesday that Huckabee is the candidate that must be reckoned with in the upcoming South Carolina primary because of his appeal to evangelical conservatives.

“I think Huckabee has a huge advantage now in South Carolina. If somebody can knock off Huckabee, that gives them the advantage,” Gingrich said. “For an Arkansas governor in South Carolina, unless Fred Thompson gains momentum, I don’t see Huckabee getting beat.

“Governor Huckabee is a very good country politician,” he said. “And, in southern states, there is an enormous advantage to not having an accent, and Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson don’t have an accent.”

 
 

Despite a 16 percent, third-place showing in Michigan behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and U.S. Senator John McCain, Huckabee told cheering supporters Tuesday in Lexington, S.C., that his campaign was going to “plant a flag” in the state.

“We’re going to make it clear that the first in the South primary is going to be the first in the South to give their support to the first in the South candidate,” he said.

The South Carolina primary Saturday is the largest among two including Nevada before the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday primaries conducted in some 29 states, including Arkansas.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Huckabee Surprises

Is Mike Huckabee too Christian to be president? Is Mitt Romney Christian enough? We’ll find out soon.

The former governor of Arkansas is on the cover of Newsweek, and though the headline, “Holy Huckabee: The Unlikely Rise of a Preacher Politician,” might suggest a mainstream media hatchet job — in which yet another Southern Baptist gets the full Elmer Gantry-Pat Robertson treatment — the article itself comes as a pleasant surprise.

Perhaps Newsweek, too, was surprised to discover that Huckabee’s political views are well within the mainstream of American politics. Elected four times statewide in Arkansas, by the same voters who had earlier elected and re-elected Bill Clinton, Huckabee was governor of the Razorback State for nearly 11 years.

During that time Huckabee proved his centrist effectiveness — including a willingness to spend money for better education, better health care and better roads. One might ask: Do Americans, stuck in traffic, waiting in long lines at airports, think that spending on infrastructure is a bad idea?

On social issues, of course, Huckabee is more clearly on the right, but most Americans, too, are anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion.

Still, the issue with Huckabee is faith: whether he believes what he believes too strongly. Recently, the agenda-setting Drudge Report bannered a headline, “Take This Nation Back For Christ,” referring to a June 8, 1998, article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in which Huckabee told the Southern Baptist Convention, “The reason we have so much government is because we have so much broken humanity.” He continued: “The reason we have so much broken humanity is because sin reigns in the hearts and lives of human beings instead of the Savior.” Is that too much of a soul-baring for the public square?

Interestingly, Huckabee gave that particular speech in Salt Lake City, home of the Mormon faith. And by coincidence, just last week Romney — a Mormon whose ancestors lived in Utah — delivered a major speech in Texas in which he sought to situate his own faith in the larger context of American political history. Romney quoted the second president, John Adams, as saying, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. … Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.”

In response, Romney was slapped around by the liberal likes of Salon.com for being too partial to religion. But as blogger Jay Cost put it recently in Realclearpolitics.com, the real issue for most Republican voters is not Romney’s Mormon religion, but rather Romney’s mutating positions on key policies.

Huckabee, meanwhile, has walked the walk, through persuasion and personal example: Here’s how Newsweek described his role as a new pastor in Pine Bluff, Ark., a quarter century ago: “The Immanuel Baptist Church was an all-white congregation when Huckabee took over the pulpit. One day he announced that a young black man, who heard his sermon on the radio, had asked to worship with them. Huckabee welcomed him to their pews. Some church elders were furious and refused to let the man sit with them. Huckabee threatened to quit unless his guest was greeted warmly. A few members quit in protest, but the rest of the congregation went along.”

In decades past, figures as different as Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimmy Carter were widely admired for letting their faith influence their policy positions. Is Huckabee to be held to a different standard?

Indeed, in times when crime and out-of-wedlock births are again on the upsurge, when football players are murdered in their homes, when Christmas shoppers are gunned down in Heartland shopping malls, more Americans might well be thinking: John Adams was right when he said that passions need to be bridled “by morality and religion.”

As a culture, as a people, we need to do something different. And everybody knows it.

James P. Pinkerton is a columnist for Newsday, where this first appeared.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

I would like to wish ALL of you a wonderful and Blessed Birth of Christ celebration.

May this celebration season be filled with love, giving, and peace.

Praise be to our Lord and Savior – Happy Birthday Jesus!

Proverbs 3:5&6