Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

The most powerful word in the country today is… “Offensive”.

The words of a Facebook acquaintance hung there on the group page, taunting my mind away from a more basic Sunday morning meditation.   It worked, and my mind started milling the words, prompting my immediate rejoinder “If that were true, it would work for everyone, non?”

But the more I thought about it, the more I came to consider the “wrongness” that lead to the statement being made in the first place.  I realized that it isn’t about the rank hypocrisy that sees nothing wrong with an entitlement for some people to invoke “offense” as a means to stop discussion, debate, questions, behavior or beliefs they do not like, but is incapable of even considering that other parties might be offended by the discussion, debate, questions, behavior or beliefs of the those invoking “offense”, let alone capable of invoking “offense” themselves.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think being able to end all discussion, debate, questions, behavior, or beliefs by claiming to be “offended” is unhealthy for a free society, offensive to liberty, and childish in the extreme.   As long as it is impossible to have an honest conversation, because it will almost certainly “offend” someone, it will be impossible to address any issue of import.  It doesn’t take long before this will lead to financial impairment, social impairment, and impairment of national security. (See President Obama, Second Term)

But the really, really odious part if this is that I often hear “Offense” uttered like an incantation from many of the same people who speak of “reason” being superior to faith, and a basis for them to assume an intellectual superiority that they clearly haven’t earned, while they often put faith in “facts” that have expiration dates due to constantly changing nature of scientific paradigms.  The illogic of presuming that rights which are guaranteed by law are subject to override if only they can apply their completely subjective responses to the exercise of those rights would be laughable if it wasn’t pursued with such zeal and dedication.  Orwell himself couldn’t have conceived of the sheer scope of the vanity and delusion that have combined to impose a bizzaro-world rhetoric to such a degree that sincerity and directness are relegated to criminal status.

The saddest aspect to this current state of affairs is that too many of us allowed ourselves to be cowed by this practice, as if offending someone, or at least those granted a de facto privileged status by the arbiters of acceptability, is a combination of the worst sin and the worst crime that a person can commit.  The fact is that this extraordinary power and cancer on society wouldn’t be powerful at all if we didn’t let it.  But this requires a boldness to push back, that too few have the backbone to exhibit.  Start responding by saying “SO???”  Ask them to explain why they are suffering from the alleged “offense”.  Put the onus on them to prove why it should matter to you, and to everyone else, rather than giving what has morphed into a generic and reflexive complaint the presumption of legitimacy without the burden of proving it.  It is your duty as a citizen and a member of society to engage people who don’t want you to engage in an honest discourse.  It is your birthright to be able to do so without the threat of sanction by government, or those who want to destroy the very way you live, and censor your very thoughts.

STAND.  BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

Read Full Post »

Once again, the greatest shibboleth of our time is front and center in the news again.   “RACISM!!!11!!!” has once again been brought to the attention of society by the high priests of the Tyranny of Nice, and their crusade to punish the perpetrators of thoughtcrimes that the members of this exalted secular clergy have deemed worthy not just of shunning, but of stripping the offenders of all dignity, and even their property rights.

Last week, it was the comments of Nevada rancher Clive Bundy, who has allegedly failed to pay grazing fees to the Federal Government, which may or may not be due them, and which has, with their nonsensical regulation, made it impossible for all other ranchers in that part of Nevada to continue business.  For this, the Bureau of Land Management thought it appropriate to show up with an army of well-armed rangers and contractors, to start stealing and euthanizing Mr. Bundy’s cattle.  When other Americans took exception to the Federal Government’s heavy-handed approach (because everyone would be hunky dory with the police sending a SWAT team to your house over unpaid parking tickets), Mr. Bundy’s upstanding Senator, the estimable Harry Reid proved he could be counted on to do the right thing:  He called Bundy and his supporters “Domestic Terrorists”.  After the Federal presence was withdrawn, Bundy made the mistake of speaking to the New York Times, and committed the heresy of suggesting that black families might have actually been better off in other times, even under slavery, as even then, families were kept more intact than under a welfare system that disincentives families staying together in lieu of replacing fathers with government. (Or as I said at the time, LBJ gave them the “Life of Julia” 40 years before forcing it on the rest of us.)  Yes, I’m paraphrasing, because Mr. Bundy, being a lifelong rancher and not an attorney or professional spokesperson made his remarks in an inartful way, including using the “other” N-word (“negro”), which certainly didn’t help the knee-jerk reaction and scramble to make the words uttered so radioactive that no one, least of all those being so tragically victimized by a political party that only gives a damn about their votes, would actually consider the substance of what he was saying.

The reaction from the media was predictable and expected.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer number and strength of the reaction from those on “our side” who adopted the instant condemnation usually reserved for those on the left, and used it to great effect to give the impression that it made anything that had ever issued from his lips unworthy of any consideration, and any action he had taken instantly invalid.  But at least they were public in the condemnation, and were seen by all the right people doing so, thereby maintaining the illusion of “reasonableness” with those who still do not respect them or their opinions, and would be happy to do the same to them in order to avoid any honest discussion about real issues that might make someone, somewhere “feel bad”.   This is how the right to not be offended is transformed into a cultural norm, that is held dear by a culture that celebrates everything that used to spark shame, and that abandons values that helped build a strong and vibrant society.  This is how a people who reject God in their deeds and God in practice, as an outmoded and “superstitious construct” cultivate a secular religion rooted in a vague and nebulous concept of “nice” that only believes that offense is a worthwhile endeavor when its own high priests decide that something offends THEM.

I confess that I was slow to come to this understanding.  I watched the reaction on “the right” last week to Mr. Bundy’s remarks with disappointment and alarm.  It was clear to me that something was wrong, but it was like walking through a fog bank…you can make out shapes, but not see your surroundings clearly.  But as I have listened and read about this week’s “MOMENT OF RACISM!!!11!!”, centered on the remarks, in private, by billionaire and L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling to his girlfriend, this understanding started to take root.   First, there is Matt Walsh’s excellent piece on it, with this money quote that started me thinking about it in a way that I hadn’t before:

We permit and even celebrate most forms of evil and debauchery in our society, so our Moral Outrage energy is stored, ready to be unleashed anytime an old white guy utters something untoward about minorities. Having removed sins like baby-killing, pornography, sex-trafficking, and infidelity from the ‘Things to Get Upset About’ column, this seems to be among the only universally-recognized evils remaining.

Indeed.  For all the Progressives like to mouth about “evolving” and “changing”, society hasn’t gotten rid of moral outrage, and the ugliness it sometimes breeds.  It only changed the focus.  And it allows us to ignore the ugly things that are celebrated daily, ugly things that we all end up lending our sanction to, willingly or unwillingly, as we give even more ugliness free rein while patting ourselves on the back and telling ourselves how nice we are for doing so, and what good persons we are because we feel that way about the offense or offender du jour.  It’s an ersatz replacement for a real morality which is rooted in something far more permanent than what our thoughleaders tell us we should be angry about today, which, by some coincidence, never seems to settle upon their own activities, and it is why a President who sat in the pews at Reverend Wright’s church for years, and who is on record talking about “typical white people” and “That’s how white folks’ll do ya.” can pretend at profundity in response to the old rich racist without burdening himself with a scintilla of self-awareness about the sequoia jutting out from his own eye.  It’s a moral authority that isn’t, and yet is immune from challenge.  And this displays one of its most glaring errors: the entirely inconsistent application of its central precepts and and practices.

But the final piece fell into place for me when I listened to this op-ed  from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the way home, and these two quotes brought my blurry perception into sharp focus:

Moral outrage is exhausting. And dangerous. The whole country has gotten a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome from the newest popular sport of Extreme Finger Wagging. Not to mention the neck strain from Olympic tryouts for Morally Superior Head Shaking.

and

What bothers me about this whole Donald Sterling affair isn’t just his racism. I’m bothered that everyone acts as if it’s a huge surprise. Now there’s all this dramatic and very public rending of clothing about whether they should keep their expensive Clippers season tickets. Really? All this other stuff I listed above has been going on for years and this ridiculous conversation with his girlfriend is what puts you over the edge? That’s the smoking gun?

Exactly.  It isn’t that we want to be moral as much as we want to be publicly seen conforming to the secular morality of the moment… to be seen by all the right people, sharing in the accord of a group superiority over not just the actions, but the very thoughts of another.  And all with no greater justification than the avoidance of offense.   A public piety that demands neither sacrifice, nor effort, and neither contemplation or reflection.  Only the self-assurance of those, who like it says in the song, have partaken of  “that wonderstuff  that let’s you look up from a nod, smile and say “Thank God that wasn’t us.””

Donald Sterling’s greatest sin wasn’t being a racist.  It was that he dared to believe that he could express doubleplusungood thoughts  in private with the expectation of them remaining private, when that, more than any of his other actions by far, would be the most grievous of his multitude of sins.  Or at least so the modern-day Pharisees of the One True Secular Religion would have us believe.

Read Full Post »

A friend of mine posted a link to an article this morning he prefaced with the question “Is sacrificing your religious liberty the price of market participation?”  The article, by Benjamin Wiker, entitled “The Religious-Liberty Quagmire to Come” discusses a recent Slate article sympathetic with the current HHS mandate overreach in which government attempts to abrogate the rights of people to exercise their religious liberty with their property, specifically duly chartered legal business entities.

The article’s author opposes the viewpoints expressed in the Slate article, by author Dalia Lithwick.  I oppose them also, but on grounds originating not just in my studies, but also by practical experience and logic.

The first point raised is this:

Lithwick argues, first of all, that corporations are distinct entities from individuals.

This is true in a literal sense.  Corporations have a legal identity that are separate from their owners in the same way that I have a legal identity that is separate from my oldest son.  You’ll note that I did not use my wife in that example.  It was not an accident.  While she is indeed an entity that is distinct from myself, we happen to live in a community property state, so we “enjoy” the dual status of having distinct legal identities, while legally being considered as having the same legal identity for legal, and more to the point, commercial, purposes.  This reality is imposed upon us by the state, which applies this status based upon an action we took based on a shared religious conviction, and retain based upon that same shared religious conviction.  We are each “owners” of that resultant fictional legal entity known as a “marital community”, which, at least in our case, exists and acts in both personal and commercial transactions in ways that express or are the result of our individual religious beliefs.

While individuals can have religious beliefs, corporations can’t. Once you establish a corporation, it is automatically a secular corporation.

This is what we called in law school a “false starting premise”.  The reason is simple.  The state’s blessing to act as a corporate entity does not automatically confer a “secular” (like the author of the piece, I also object to the common use of the word “secular”, and for the same reasons, however, for the purpose of this essay, I will use it in the context of the incorrectly presumed “neutrality” in which it is often used) status on the resulting entity.  The reason for this is simple.  State enabling statutes almost always permit corporations and limited liability companies to be established “for any lawful purpose”, which by its nature would include the conducting of any lawful business in a manner consistent with the religious faith of the owners of the entity in question.  In fact, thanks to the First Amendment, and its extension to the individual states, the states would be legally prohibited from restricting individuals from forming entities for such purposes.

The other obvious weakness in this rather remarkable assertion from Ms. Lithwick would be the fact that churches often incorporate as non-profit corporations in order to apply for Section 501(c)(3) status so that donations, gifts, and tithes maybe tax deductible to the donor. (Contrary to popular opinion, churches do not have to apply for this status to be tax-free.  They are already tax-free, as they should be, as a result of the First Amendment.)

Wiker states that Lithwick’s assertion is rooted in the decision in the Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. decision.  The corporation is owned by a Mennonite Family which employs 950 people.  The family opposes the HHS mandates regarding abortion on religious grounds.  The Federal Judge hearing the case concluded:

“We simply cannot understand how a for-profit, secular corporation — apart from its owners — can exercise religion,” circuit Judge Robert Cowen wrote. “A holding to the contrary … would eviscerate the fundamental principle that a corporation is a legally distinct entity from its owners.”

Aside from the naked and unsupported (and unsupportable) conclusion that a corporation is secular, there are a few other weaknesses.  State law would rightfully permit me to draft and file for a client Articles of Incorporation or a Certificate of Formation establishing that the entity is “being formed for the express purpose of selling ice cream, and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, and any other lawful purpose,”, and there is nothing that the state or the Federal government could Constitutionally do to prevent me from doing so. Being a distinct legal entity doesn’t mean that a corporation cannot express or conduct itself based upon a specific political or religious viewpoint.  And while there are instances in which government may lawfully restrict what an owner does with its private property in certain balancing of the equities situations, at this time, I can think of none which directly conflict with the right of conscience.

The assertion of an automatic secular nature of corporations based on a theory of complete segregation between a legal entity and those that own them faces other philosophical and logical difficulties aside from being an assumption of a fact not in evidence.  First among them is the fact that one of the pillars the good Judge rests his opinion on is the notion that that an individual can exercise religious freedom, but a corporation cannot.  This point ignores the fact that corporations ARE allowed to exercise other First Amendment rights, such as freedom of speech, and Freedom of Association, which is the main principle underlying the freedom to enter into contracts with people of your choosing, or the freedom to hire people who you think make a good fit with your corporation, and will make a good employee.  Recognizing this, there is no logical or legal basis to presume that these freedoms can be exercised by a corporation or an LLC, but that those same entities can or should be barred from exercising religious freedom to act in a manner consistent with the religious beliefs of its owner.

The second weakness with this assertion is the fact that the income from many of these “separate, distinct legal entities” is reported not on a separate tax form for that entity, but on the personal tax forms for those who own those entities, which would hardly make sense if these were indeed separate and distinct from their owners.

The third weakness of this viewpoint is that our economy would be in much worse shape without corporations and LLCs because they make it possible for more people to provide goods and services at prices and in quantities that the risk that they would necessarily have to bear individually would either make prohibitively expensive, or practically impossible to provide.  While the very word “corporation” often evokes the image of boardrooms filled with grey suits making decisions that impact the livelihood of hundreds or thousands, or more, the fact is that the majority of corporations are closely-held businesses, where the ownership consists of a individuals, or small numbers of people, often members of the same family, or of one or two families. And in some instances, this is also true of those large corporations that I previously spoke of.  Ford is one example that comes to mind.  However, even if it wasn’t for the fact that a majority of these entities are small, closely held corporations or LLCs that permit individuals to offer products or services because of the risk management that the law permits through the use of these entities, there is also the fact that the law DOES allow certain individuals who offer goods and services through corporations and LLCs to refuse to offer those goods and services based on the individual owner’s right of conscience and/or religious beliefs, among other factors.  Doctors, who can refuse to perform abortions, and attorneys, who can refuse representation based on any factor at all, are two that come to mind.  While competence or having the requisite skill are among the reasons for these rights of refusal, they are not the ONLY ones.  And while it might be tempting to say that the personal nature of services rendered by these professions support such an exemption, the fact is that for nearly all closely-held business entities, the nature of what those individuals do is personal.  For such individuals, their business is at the forefront of their thinking.  It is the first thing they think of in the morning, it is what they contemplate as they drift off to sleep at night.  Their businesses ARE an expression of who they are, and  that “separate legal entity” invariably becomes associated with the individuals who own them.  The manner in which they conduct their business often expresses an opinion or a philosophy held dear to the owner of that business.  It is not reasonable or logical to suggest or expect that these individuals segregate their religious and spiritual identity and activity from the profession or career that they otherwise breathe and eat; to do so would be a denial of the very essence of the person that the law and society would find morally objectionable and repugnant if any other belief or activity was being discussed instead of the free exercise of religion. This is no less true for a baker of wedding cakes, or a photographer than it is for a doctor or a lawyer who has incorporated so they can ply their trade without risking the loss of everything they own and have worked for to one lawsuit.

Another logical weakness in this assertion is that many of these entities often are operated day-to-day in accordance with various codes of ethics voluntarily committed to by the owners and employees of the corporations and LLCs.  For an entity to be, even indirectly, conducted according to such a code of ethics, but presumably not capable of exercising a religious point of view is facially absurd.

——————————————————————————————————————————-
I’d like to think that things will get better, but the current prevailing prejudice against religion in some of the most litigious groups in our society leads me to believe that we’re in for a lengthy fight to preserve our first liberties.  Especially if examples such as the New Mexico photographer, and the pink swastika philosophy that seeks to punish those who do not wish to participate in their activities, regardless of whether not it makes any logical sense to compel those who object with their beliefs to provide a personal service or product is any indication.  But then, with a federal government that is engaging in similar unconstitutional behavior as a guide, there really is no reason to be surprised at the bold entitlement demonstrated in this strategy, which is why legal interest groups such as the ADF are going to become increasingly important and need our help in the coming years.

Read Full Post »

I was going to write about this too, but my friend Sam Janney, one of the brilliant PolitiChicks, already took him to task.

I don’t know why so many American women want to be Julia, and don’t see Klanned Murderhood for the intersection of Government and Medical malfeasance that it is.

Go now, and read it.

Read Full Post »

TO THE OFFICERS OF THE FIRST BRIGADE OF THE THIRD
DIVISION OF THE MILITIA OF MASSACHUSETTS
11 October, 1798

      GENTLEMEN
   I have received from Major-General Hull and Brigadier-General Walker your unanimous address from Lexington, animated with a martial spirit, and expressed with a military dignity becoming your character and the memorable plains on which it was adopted.
   While our country remains untainted with the principles and manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world; while she continues sincere, and incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence. But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candor, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world; because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
   An address from the officers commanding two thousand eight hundred men, consisting of such substantial citizens as are able and willing at their own expense completely to arm and clothe themselves in handsome uniforms, does honor to that division of the militia which has done so much honor to its country.
   Oaths in this country are as yet universally considered as sacred obligations. That which you have taken and so solemnly repeated on that venerable spot, is an ample pledge of your sincerity and devotion to your country and its government.

JOHN ADAMS.      

 

John Adams, Charles Francis Adams. The works of John Adams, second president of the United States: with a life of the author, notes and illustrations, Volume 9. Little, Brown and Company. 1854.
 
 

I have given this correspondence much thought in recent times, and again this week. Largely because of the largely inane wishcastings of people such as Professor Louis Michael Seidman, who made the weakest legal and logical pitch for ending what he laughably called “our Constitutional addiction”, at the same time there is much talk from Representatives, Senators, and even the President and Vice President, all of whom have sworn unqualified oaths to protect and defend the Constitution, about imposing new gun controls that would do nothing to prevent the recent events that have allowed these tyrants-in-training to publicly pontificate about their extra Constitutional wank fantasies to regulate an activity that they are plainly and specifically prohibited from infringing upon. While the most malevolent among them will simply refuse to be honest about their reasons for first believing that there is an asterisk and a footnote to the Second Amendment that provides an excuse to disregard the words “…shall not be infringed.”, others will at least admit that it is because they believe that since some clearly cannot be trusted with such liberty, that nearly all should be deprived of it. They don’t phrase it that way, but whether they say things like “You don’t need a gun that shoots 10 bullets to kill a deer.” or they say “No one needs a magazine that holds 30 rounds!”, or “Why does anyone need 7000 rounds of ammunition?”, it is all based on the same implication: If John and Jane Q. Citizen are allowed to be so armed, then they simply won’t be able to control themselves. This ignores the fact that thousands of Americans are armed in precisely this manner every day, and commit no crime, nor go on any shooting spree. Nevertheless, recent massacres committed by people who suffer either from a lack of impulse control, or mental defect have provided all the justification necessary in the little minds that presume that no one but themselves should be trusted with such instrumentalities, and have so fixed themselves to the task of using tragedy to assume authority that was never theirs to wield, which brings me to the reason I have been pondering this letter for quite a while now.

I know that I’m not the only person to wonder why it is we have become an entitlement society. While I do not use the term in direct reference to the expansive, illegal, and immoral expansion of the welfare state to the point where it eclipses many freedoms that should still be taken for granted rather than being endangered as government has grown to envelop spheres of influence that it was never meant to occupy, these entitlements are a symptom of the attitude that has brought us here, and one of the tools that have made it possible. I also know that it is not a coincidence that when the single greatest implement of self-control, which is the best governance of all, has been systematically denigrated, demoted, and pushed from the public square until any public practice of it at all is reduced hollow shell of something that no longer has any significance for a people taught to eschew it. The problem is that when Jefferson’s correspondence was disingenuously cherry-picked into the Constitution, the only possible end result was a bigger government, because there was no longer any large-scale inculcation of the difference between liberty and license, and no incentive for those leading society to continue to instruct people in the distinction between the two. As a result, more and more people became “entitled”. Entitled to freedom without responsibility. Entitled to lead without accountability. Entitled to have government take from others on your behalf. Entitled to have things government permitted promoted to the status of “rights”. Entitled to satisfy every desire and perversion without having others to name these excesses as such. Entitled to the basest contempt for those who refused to surrender their integrity to these practices. Entitled to condemn virtue and rewrite history. Entitled to pervert or ignore the protections conferred upon the rights of the individual by the only true “social contract” that this nation has ever had.

And I’m convinced that it wasn’t an accident. If man will not govern himself, than governments will do it for them, placing the highest priority on maintaining peace, even if the lack of public discord is an illusion. At this point, barring an act of divine providence, I see it as a race. Either government steps up its efforts to consolidate power and rid itself of the concept of consent of the governed, or the excesses and perversions accelerate to the point where society breaks down under the weight of contradiction, and a mass of the people decide they prefer meek servitude to the chaos of chance and the burden of their own safety and commanding their own destinies. Neither picture is a happy one, and frankly, does little to acquit us as a society for what we have done with what better men gave their treasure, their blood, and even their lives to give to us.

Increasingly, all I have left is prayer, and freedom of Christian liberty, because what exists in the physical is an impending nasty, brutish, and shortness that we had in our power to avoid.

Read Full Post »

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is at it again.

Never content with the free exercise of religion, or other exercises of the First Amendment by people of faith, they have again stepped up to the plate with a new lawsuit determined to limit the First Amendment and further deny pastors and clergy the right to express their First Amendment rights.

First, the lawsuit cites Billy Graham for his full-page ads in newspapers before the election. The offending ad?

“The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren, and this great nation is crucial.  As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this could be my last,” he said. “I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.  Vote for biblical values this November 6th, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.”

This same lawsuit also cites Catholic Bishop Jenky of Illinois, who send a letter who instructed the priests in his diocese to read a letter prior to the election.  This letter stated :

“This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system,” Bishop Jenky wrote. “Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord. They are objectively guilty of grave sin.”

While the FFRF might get its undies in a bunch over religious figures warning followers about one of our first freedoms…the right to life, it does not run afoul of the restrictions on political speech placed upon them by the Section 501(c)(3).

From the IRS Publication 1828: tax guide for Churches and Religious Organizations:

All IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, must abide by certain rules:

…they must not participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office,…

——————————————————————————-

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise tax.

Certain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances. For example, certain voter education activities (including the presentation of public forums and the publication of voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. In addition, other activities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, would not constitute prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a non-partisan manner. On the other hand, voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that: (a)would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c)have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.

This isn’t rocket science.  The restriction is plainly stated.  Neither of these statements named names.  They discussed the issue, which they are not prohibited from doing, neither by the statement set forth in the IRS’s own publication on the matter, or by the handful of cases that the IRS has prosecuted since LBJ got his grudge restriction through Congress.  That said, the FFRF insists that the IRS is not doing its duty enforcing the 501(c)(3) restriction against “electioneering” by churches.  It states that not enforcing it is a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment and a violation of equal protection rights because the same preferential treatment is not provided to other tax-exempt organizations such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

While it is true that other tax exempt organizations don’t enjoy this freedom, they also don’t have the same history.  And there is one other key distinction, recognized by the IRS in its guidance on this matter:  Churches are automatically exempt.  They do not have to apply for this exemption in order to get it. 

This raises a question that has yet to be addressed in litigation “How can the IRS take away a status that does not have to be applied for by the entity to begin with?” 

That said, the usual suspects will no doubt get themselves worked into a froth on the matter, with much table banging, and outrage that a certain group may enjoy this privilege, without a thought to what was painfully obvious to those who established this exemption in the first place: The power to tax is the power to destroy.  And if the state were ever granted this power, then even the correct interpretation of “separation of church and state” would be forever destroyed, as the government would be free to levy any cost it saw fit on religious belief.  The government could exercise de facto control on the belief and conscience of those who are its masters.  This is already being attempted with the HHS mandate, which seeks to impose government’s will on religious organizations, regardless of the fact that it directly contradicts the tenets of those organizations.  But the other reason for this exemption is that the people who enacted it understood that government had its separate sphere of authority, and that the church had the other.  The church was not to have the power of enforcement; this power belonged to the state.  The church did have the moral authority, which served as the philosophical basis and morality that the law was to be centered on. 

As the holder of that authority, the church had not just the right, but the duty to speak out when moral precepts were being flouted, or ignored.  Rebuking the state’s authority when it was being abused, or misapplied was part and parcel of maintaining a healthy society and a limited government.  This held true until LBJ got section 501(c)(3) passed.  While this arguably assisted the state in expanding its own sphere of authority until it overlapped with others, it does not vitiate what the church should still be doing, or its freedom to do so.  And that is why, although a part of me would enjoy seeing this lawsuit dismissed with prejudice, and Rule 11 sanctions being brought against FFRF, I would also like to see the merits, which do not favor the FFRF’s position, argued in the forum of the courts.  For if the First Amendment is to mean anything, it has to preserve the freedom of religion, and the right of moral authorities to speak plainly on moral issues at times when we as Americans are selecting our leaders.  To do less would be a rejection of this right, and the beginning of the end for individual conscience and belief.

Read Full Post »

…is that the members often can’t realize just how stupid they sound.

A professor at FAMU and a faculty member in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation named Barbara Thompson has authored a book called ‘ The Gospel According to Apostle Barack – In Search of a More Perfect Political Union as Heaven Here on Earth’.

The absurd premise it is based on is this :

She provided a complete breakdown of the good that has happened during the President’s 4-year term. Healthcare, the economy, education and federal initiatives interests are the “Good news” from the apostle.

Government interference. Usurpation of power. Centralized Planning.  And all the failure that inevitably comes with it.  If this is “gospel”, then we live on Bizarro World.

Jesus never preached about “collective salvation” or having government taking care of “the least of us”.  That duty was specifically delegated to us.  And there are many reasons for this.

If she knows the gospel, then she should be ashamed for insinuating that this ersatz messiah is anything like the real thing.  But then, she is a professor, and she obviously believes that government can and should be involved in our lives the way that the President advocates for, so clearly, education doesn’t really mean what it used to when the most educated among us know so much that is not so.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 376 other followers