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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

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  After the Federal presence was withdrawn, Bundy made the mistake of speaking to the New York Times, and committed the heresy of suggesting that black families might have actually been better off in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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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,…

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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.

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…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.

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Predictably, Rutherford, a typical progressive, decided to demonstrate why they need to just leave references to Christianity alone in his response to my previous post on the inherent illogic of the Democrats’ social gospel.   Let’s look a little closer, shall we?

At first blush, your accusation of double standard hits home.

As it should.  You reject the source of that which you think you invoke, then imagine that you know what you’re talking about when you think it supports your agenda.

How can we, on the one hand, try to keep religion out of government and in the next breath use religion as a reason for government action.

Exactly.

To understand this is to engage a bit of nuance which you and your fellow “rightists” have proven incapable of doing.

The only people who believe this are you and Fauxahontas.  Oh, and rabid Progressives who feel rather than think, largely because its easier than thinking.

Those who quote scripture to justify public policy do so because scripture DOES apply to personal choices.

Sometimes.  And sometimes they do so out of an inherent recognition that its teachings and precepts are the basis of our nation’s laws and morals.  We’ve had this conversation before, and the truth, being truth, hasn’t changed.  If you spent more time reading Blackstone, Locke, and the personal papers and correspondence of the Founders and Framers, as well as histories that reference actual source documents and not the incestuous citations between progressive historians who fabricated biographies and studies, instead of Mother Jones, the New York Times, Salon, and other wishcasting publications, it might become clearer to even you.

When I say I want separation of church and state, I’m saying that I don’t want any religion forced on me but I recognize your right to be religious …

When you say it, you embrace a mendacious fallacy introduced in the American consciousness by a Supreme Court Justice with a big chip on his shoulder, ties to the Klan, and a willingness to deny the history that he couldn’t HELP but to be aware of as a lawyer and Justice of the Court.  And because you want to deny that same history, you agree with him.

AND I am also aware of the lessons your religion teaches you.

No.  You’re dimly aware of what a few passages of the Bible say, and you continually demonstrate that you have no understanding of the context, or why it is that the whole book is actually cohesive, because you’d rather cry hypocrite for us not acting the way that you believe that we should, based on your thimbleful of knowledge of a subject that represents an ocean of wisdom for those who study it carefully.

I have a right to expect you to participate in this American civic experiment in a way consistent with your Christian belief system. Your refusal to do so makes you a hypocrite.

First of all, seeing as it has lasted more than 200 years, it is safe to say that it is more than an “experiment”, although, seeing as Progressives keep trying to find new ways to break the system, I can understand your confusion.  As for my “hypocrisy”, as I have already pointed out, staying at a Holiday Inn Express last night doesn’t mean that you actually have a clue what you’re talking about.  You wouldn’t tell a brain surgeon that he’s doing it wrong based on the fact that you once saw a half-hour show on brain surgeons, yet you know a few verses from the Bible and how people who want nothing to do with it any other time will use it support them using force to fund their purchases of votes.  Yes, I’m laughing at you, not with you.

As has been proven time and time again, the Bible can be cherry picked to death.

Yes, people who read something they like and stop frequently do cherry pick from it.  And yes, people of all stripes do it.  The difference is that Christians who read the next part will try to correct those who neglected to do the same. 

But when Progressives do it, they have no interest in hearing the parts they don’t like.  Usually because it would make it harder to pretend that the way they want to live conforms with what they want to pretend Christianity is.

 It is all things to all people. The notion that Matthew is contradicted by Corinthians, Thessalonians and Acts only goes to show that the Bible is not a cohesive book but a potpourri thrown together by a bunch of different people who didn’t coordinate the message.

This is where your lack of knowledge of the subject material makes you look like an idiot.  There is no “contradiction”, except in the imagination which you have substituted in place of an actual command of the subject material.  First, we could start with the verse Fauxahontas used to sell her redistributionist snake oil, only in the context of the ENTIRE section.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy[a] angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feedYou, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

44 “Then they also will answer Him,[b] saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

A few things should stand out to you in reading that entire section.  First, Jesus wasn’t talking about government programs taking care of people; he was talking about individuals, and groups of individuals.  This is consistent with the commands he made elsewhere in the Bible.  But at the same time, there was an expectation that those who receive the charity would STILL contribute something toward their well-being.  How do I know this?  Because those “different people” who “didn’t coordinate the message” coordinated the message…something that you’d know if you actually read the book, and contemplated on what you read.

From the Old Testament:

Leviticus 19:9-10:

‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.

Gleaning was the act of following after the threshers, and picking up the grain that had fallen to ground, and leaving the corners of the field allowed the poor to come and harvest for themselves their sustenance.

This is consistent with the New Testament, and the previously mentioned 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12:

But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he[a] received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.

10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

And just in case you want to believe that while Moses and Paul, while consistent with each other, didn’t see it the same way Jesus did, I will call your attention to Mark 12:41-44:

41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,[a] which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

This puts a very different spin on the specious “skin in the game” argument We’ve heard over the last three years from the President.  But then, if the people who received the most of the taxpayer largesse actually had to contribute to it, then the “urgent priorities” of those so eager to spend other people’s money would probably become a LOT less urgent.

That’s why any non-believer quoting the Bible is engaging in a fool’s errand. I’ve done it a few times myself and have finally learned my lesson. I can say one book says WHITE and you will find me a passage in another book that says BLACK. It’s a foolish method of debate.

No, you haven’t learned anything, because you still presume you understand more than those who have actually done the reading, and have expended the effort understanding the context.  You disappoint me not because you continually get it wrong and then call others “Hypocrite!”, but because you pretend that you can understand it without making the effort to actually learn about it yourself.  Its kind of like someone who complains that the water someone else draws and sets before him isn’t fresh when the well is three steps away, and he is perfectly capable of drawing his own.

Here’s the bottom line …. if your religion obligates you to be charitable, as you have said it does, then there is no need to compel you. When your government says it needs your help, your charitable nature will lead you to cooperate. No conflict at all. But the truth is your charitable nature only goes so far. Your willingness to participate in a cooperative society only goes so far.

No, the bottom line is that you make several false assumptions.  The first is that welfare is synonymous with charity.  Welfare is when government takes money in the form of taxes, and decides who to “help” with it, how to “help” them, and to what degree it extends this “help”.  Charity is when individuals, acting alone, or in groups, such as churches, contribute their own time, their own effort, and their own money to help those that they believe are worthy, in the manner and degree that they see fit.  And they make this determination in the fashion as  they apprehend that their faith requires.  Government cannot fulfill this obligation, because it is a personal one, and it is a personal one, because Christians are expected to be accountable, as the Parable of the Talents illustrates.  This accountability cannot be achieved by paying taxes to welfare.  Anyone capable of reading a Congressional Budget (yes, I know that they are rare as hen’s teeth for the last three years thanks to Harry Reid) knows that once government decides it needs to spend money on something, it rarely stops spending money on that thing, even when there is no need for it anymore (like Mohair subsidies), or when it doesn’t achieve its goals (Head Start, which has only a negligible effect on the academic achievement for children participating, and then only through the Second Grade).  But when what you do as an individual, or as a church isn’t working, you can do something different, without battling entrenched interests who have every incentive to continue doing what isn’t needed or isn’t working.  

Second, welfare is very public.  So public in fact, that it is starting to advertise, which would make people truly question the priorities of government, and its “War on Poverty”.  If government was serious about winning this “war”, it would be actively working to get people to self-sufficiency, not recruiting people to sign up and accept whatever the government deems adequate for their needs.  As individuals and small groups, we are better able to assess the needs of those we help, and tailor our help in a way that also helps them do for themselves.  But more pointedly, Jesus was very clear about wanting sincere charity, and not a show put on by those attempting to be more pious than their peers (or those who want to be public to show that they care more than you).  From Matthew 6:1-4:

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.[a]

Third, government’s “War on Poverty” ignores something that Christians know, and Progressives refuse to acknowledge, despite 50-odd years of this “war” without a single “victory”; the poor will always be among us.  This is something that is actually stated plainly in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testament (so much for those “different authors” not “coordinating the message”):

Deuteronomy 15:11

11 For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’

[YOU...not the government, not give to the government so it does it for you...YOU.]

And from Jesus himself, in Matthew 26:11:

11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.

For a Christian to believe that government can win a “War on Poverty” (that it has no interest in winning) isn’t consistent with Christianity, because doing so presumes that man knows more than the Son of God.

What we got from Elizabeth Warren was a civics lesson. In fact that was an implicit theme of the entire convention.

What we got from Fauxahontas (and the entire convention)was an attempt to justify government’s refusal to live within OUR means, government’s refusal to even consider the idea that destroying families with perverse incentives that have led to third and fourth generations living on welfare is not compassionate, doesn’t provide hope, and consigning even more people to it, rather than an economy that permits people to work and provide for themselves, and to foment envy with the idea that your salvation is found by government rooting around in your neighbor’s pocket and giving you the change.

 We’ve gotten away from viewing ourselves as part of a larger enterprise.

Nonsense.  Progressives and their practice of defining people by their economic status, by the color of their skin, by their nationality, by their gender, and by their sexual preference has done more to destroy the notion of being an American first and foremost, than concept of government having very specific spheres of influence, and allowing individuals pursue happiness not by having “it” given to them by government, but pursuing it and earning it for themselves.

As long as we pay OUR mortgage, and get OUR kids through school, we’re happy. If we choose to give to a charity or two, that’s OUR business.

Paying our bills and raising our children are our responsibilities. Not the taxpayers’.  Not the government’s. OURS.   And yes, as I have pointed out, charity is OUR business.  Welfare isn’t.  The difference is accountability.  And because there is accountability, there are also good results, or we do something different, which is far more compassionate than teaching generation after generation that subsistence is all that can be hoped for, because that is all they are capable of…because government tells them so.

 As for the country as a whole … it can go to hell in a handbasket. Being a citizen in meaningless. We never signed up to care for our country.

That’s exactly where it will go if you have your way.  When you put a yoke and harness on those who still have the drive and ambition to strive and achieve, and to even exceed what they only dreamt of in prior days, months, and years, you kill that drive and ambition.  When the government perverts equality of opportunity into equality of result, it sets the bar low, and takes away the incentive for anyone to do better.  You need look no farther than the old Soviet Union to see that this is true.  In a society where people pretend to work because government pretends to pay them, there is hunger, deprivation, squalor, and hopelessness. 

As for citizenship being meaningless, it wasn’t the Republicans who had an illegal alien as a guest speaker, and it isn’t the GOP that continues to push to give all the benefits of citizenship to people who disrespect our laws so much that they are willing to come here and steal them, with the full knowledge that someone else is paying for them.  If you want to talk about people not caring about our country, I suggest that you, and other Progressives spend some time considering your reflections in the mirror.

BiW, I’m sorry dude but your party comes off as selfish and petty.

Coming from someone who believes that there is nothing wrong with attempting justify rooting around in our pockets with a belief system you don’t understand and don’t want anything to do with in any other governmental context, that statement isn’t just ironic, it is mendacious.  I’m not seeking for you or anyone else to give me stuff; it’s you that demands it from us.  And when we dare to suggest the answer to this is “No.”, you start using words like “selfish and petty”.  My autistic 8-year-old has a more developed sense of self-awareness than that.

The two conventions made the contrast so vivid.

It is vivid.  One featured people who are angry, people who think that others have to give until it hurts to make their own lives easier, those who believe that government can and should use other people’s money to pay for what happens between their legs, regardless of the conscience and religious-based objections of those who would be compelled to pay for it, and those who consistently deliver excuses why you can’t succeed without government, and why government can’t succeed in without punishing those who do.

The other featured people who are proud to be Americans, and who recognize that when government is confined to the limitations it was given by people who would have been horrified and repulsed by the idea that government can and should engage in the kind of activities that Progressives seek to expand.  It featured people who don’t define themselves first by color or gender.  It featured people who don’t look for ways to justify failure or lower expectations for individuals, or for the country.

To circle back to the beginning, at first blush you’re right.

And at all the other blushes too.

There is a seeming contradiction in the resistance to religion and the appeal to religious principles. But I submit that appeal is simply an attempt to play the game in your arena … to get you at a level you understand.

And as I have demonstrated, it is cynical, and either rooted in Progressive ignorance, or the hope of our own.  Heck, even just thinking before speaking should prompt people like Fauxahontas to consider prefacing her remarks with a recognition that talking about God in a forum where people sputter with rage at the mere idea of mentioning God in connection with government, or at least making an attempt, however futile, to address the startling incongruity of saying

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

From the same podium where NARAL and Klanned Parenthood extolled the virtues of the Left’s Only High Holy Sacrifice, which kills the least of us under cover of a made up and illogical legal justification.  God considers the unborn to be people.  This is clear.

Isaiah 44:1-2

“Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant,
And Israel whom I have chosen.
Thus says the Lord who made you
And formed you from the womb, who will help you:
‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant;
And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.

Jerimiah1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

The folly is that you and your fellow conservatives will dig through scripture to justify your selfishness. So ultimately, the liberals attempt to appeal to your religious conscience fails.

The folly is that you and your fellow Progressives presume to tell us that we don’t understand our own Scripture and the faith that it creates.  You presume based on your limited exposure that it contradicts itself, when it does nothing of the sort.  You presume that you can read a verse, and know that someone who has read the whole thing is a hypocrite.  It is a special kind of hubris, and it isn’t the first time even this year that Progressives have engaged in it.   Frankly, it doesn’t make sense.  I’ve “known” you long enough to know that you wouldn’t dare to tell a mechanic how to fix your car, an electrician how to wire your home, or a plumber how to fix your pipes, but you pitch an argument to me to meet your agenda, pretending to base it in my deeply held beliefs, without doing the work required to understand those beliefs, or what forms them, despite that knowledge being readily available.  When we can tell you’re phoning it in, you get angry and call us names, while ascribing all kinds of poor character traits to me, and those like me.
As long as you and other Progressives play it this way, you have no hope of making the sale.

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One of the continuous headdesk generators for me is the Democrat’s stubborn insistence that Christians should happily assent to the Democrat’s plans to steal from the rich and doll out to those they deem poor in the manner that they see fit.  The Janus act gets old.  On one hand, they continuously flog Justice Black’s perversion of “separation of church and state” to the degree that any public expression of Christianity is an opportunity for a very small minority to use the courts to suppress the beliefs of a majority based on the specious belief that their lives would be completely devastated by the mere exposure to a cross on a war memorial that they never look at anyway.  On the other hand, they want to quote Scripture to promote the belief that the same people they want to marginalize should be enthusiastic about government picking their pockets to fund entitlements and welfare programs that it has absolutely no business engaging in.  And they do this without any self-awareness of the disconnect between their pathological desire to banish all traces of Christianity from even the most tenuous or tangential connection to government and then their compulsion to drag it back out when it supports their desire to buy votes with our money.

And when the Democratic National Convention is in session, double standards are TWICE AS GOOD!

Case in point?  Elizabeth “Fauxahontas” Warren’s speech yesterday.  On a day when the convention delegates booed God three times,  and Klanned Parenthood representatives spoke about the Left’s Holy Sacrament of Baby Killing for fun and profit, she again brought her travelling social gospel revival to the podium.

I grew up in the Methodist Church and taught Sunday school. One of my favorite passages of scripture is: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40. The passage teaches about God in each of us, that we are bound to each other and called to act. Not to sit, not to wait, but to act—all of us together.

Senator Kennedy understood that call. Four years ago, he addressed our convention for the last time. He said, “We have never lost our belief that we are all called to a better country and a newer world.” Generation after generation, Americans have answered that call. And now we are called again. We are called to restore opportunity for every American. We are called to give America’s working families a fighting chance. We are called to build something solid so the next generation can build something better.

First, let’s tackle the scripture.  Matthew 25:40, like every other commandment Jesus gave, was to the individual.  I know that this confuses leftists, who only selectively read the Bible to begin with.  But the other point that they forget is that we know that any other time, they would react like Dracula immediately after a garlic and sunlight cocktail at the notion that any action performed by government should be inspired and justified by the Bible.  Yet when it comes to excusing themselves from personal obligations to their fellow man by virtue of collective action, they cannot quote it enough.  If they bothered with the whole book, they’d have trouble reconciling the fact that Jesus never once commanded us to give generously to the government.  This requires an understanding that “welfare” and “charity” aren’t the same thing.  With this might also come the understanding that “charity” is a personal obligation of the faith, and not something to be compelled from us, as Paul made clear in 2 Corinthians 9:7.   But if the Democrats were sincere in their reverence for the Bible, and their belief in it, and the requirement to live according to the labors of others, they would have to rethink welfare anyway, as Paul exhorted in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-3:12.

But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he[a] received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.

10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

They should also pause and reflect on the fate of Ananias and Sapphira.

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”

She said, “Yes, for so much.”

Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

Something to think about when invoking the spirit of Ted Kennedy, who spent most of his adult life spending other people’s money in the “War on Poverty”, yet died wealthy, listing to Al Gore talking about our hearts being found where our treasure lies also, as he jets around the world preaching the salvation of carbon indulgences with a Godzilla-sized carbon footprint.

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…in which “RACIST!” is the new “Heretic!”

From the new “Keeping the Dream” calendar for sale at the DNC:

Yes, it’s as breathtaking as it is erroneous, but then audacity with humility wouldn’t sell “Hope and Change” either.

I know, I know, Rutherford. “He didn’t publish the calendar. He didn’t have anything to do with it.” And he won’t say anything against it either, because he’s more than a little lost without the adoring crowds of 2008. The true believers will never abandon him, and will never understand why the rest of us are laughing at this kind of stuff.

But then, he won’t be able to see it either, so I guess it will be fitting. This is, of course, the man who once said sin is “Being out of alignment with my values.”

Building a Religion indeed.

UPDATED:

Street vendors across downtown Charlotte are selling posters and artwork depicting President Obama as Jesus Christ and the Democratic National Convention is expected to feature a stained-glass window backdrop during their meeting.

I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but it certainly isn’t defensible.

And yet I keep hearing that I’m the delusional one.  Whatever.

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I tried very hard to refrain from public comment on this matter. I really did. I figure when we taxpayers STILL own GM, whose bankruptcy did little to actually address the combination of stupid union tricks and stupid management tricks that cratered what was once a triumph of industry, and our chief executive who hasn’t managed to nudge even the phony unemployment numbers under 8% in three years, while failing to even pass a budget, and unleashing regulatory behemoths onto American businesses and individuals, we’d have more important things to talk about. And yet, the hand-wringing, crass opportunism, and contempt for the exercise of freedom on this matter has reached a sickening crescendo.  The enormity of this storm of stupid has been blotting out the sun, and distracting from issues that really do affect everyone, and not just the perpetually offended and their camp-followers.

When Dan Cathy, the President of Chick-fil-A,  a professed Christian running a company that still closes on Sunday, made a clear and unequivocal statement about the company supporting traditional marriage, the mechanism of OUTRAGE!!11!!! swept into motion, and immediately, condemnation resounded from the predictable quarters.  Certainly, the militant homosexuals were angry, and were soon joined by mayors of large cities and city aldermen eager to prove their committment to tolerance by announcing that they would use every machination at their disposal to make sure that this business could not and would not pollute their fair cities with their chicken sandwiches and unfashionable opinions.   These unwavering statements of support later wavered when they could no longer avoid the fact that doing so would be a gross abuse of power, and would, in time, lead to inevitable correction by both voters, who aren’t so stupid as to not be able to realize that such a trick is capable of repetition, and by the courts, who jealously reserve the power tyranny for themselves.  But, as with any cause celebre, those who are famous, some only for being famous, could not resist the opportunity to chime in for their own 15 seconds of almost-relevance.  The casual famous, the has-beens, and the never-weres all tweeted their tolerance-supporting hate for the man whose company sells chicken and supports the kind of families that served to build a nation for over 200 years.

Its been interesting to watch.  If by “interesting”, you mean “horrifying”.  I expect the chatterati and the famous to stand up on their hind legs and start offering vacuous opinions for the outraged and the easily led, like trained seals performing for fish.  When these mental giants start showing off their “deep thoughts”, you quickly realize that if you put galoshes on before wading through their publically-stated pontifications, you would be horribly overdressed.  But with the politicians casting their lots in with this same crowd, it starts to feel like a trip back to high school, complete with all the pressure to conform.

If there is a silver lining, it is that the Pink Swastikas and their conscripts are starting to overplay their hand.  It really became noticeable with the recent gay marriage ballot measure in North Carolina.  The opposition both before and after the election wasn’t just shrill, it was Mariah Carey shrill.  And the repeated theme that if you weren’t for gay marriage, then you were just an inbred, ignorant embarrassment to humanity started to make up people’s minds.  Of course, those were the people who generally didn’t care one way or the other, but who weren’t enamored of the characterization, and the general “thought police” nature of the condemnations, especially in light of the fact that with the vote, North Carolina joined more than 35 other states, who when were actually asked, rather than told by the their politicians (YES, I’m looking at YOU, Olympia), rejected the idea of gay marriage.  When more than half of the 57 states don’t support your heart’s desire, maybe calling them inbred and ignorant really isn’t a winning strategy.

But, despite the dubious nature of this particular approach, it has remained consistent.  A friend of mine recently had an encounter illustrating the failure of this approach when she went to order some Chick-fil-A for lunch at a food truck in our nation’s capital.  After being accosted by a “crazy man” for buying food from a company that “supports hate groups”, several bystanders expressed the opinion that they were no longer on the fence on this issue, and they would be joining her for lunch that day.  It’s a story I hear repeated over, and over again from friends and acquaintances who actually have Chick-fil-As near them, and their longer than normal waits for food because of the increased foot traffic. 

And yet the Forces of Outrage™ persist…and if they can’t have success, then they will at least pretend at it in their best peer pressure style, as exemplified with this story which proclaims that “Chick-Fil-A Experiences Massive Fallout Among Consumers After Anti-Gay Controversy“.  Except that this conclusion was reached through a “branding survey”, and not on actual sales data, which means that anyone who has ever taken a statistics course can ask some pointed questions about the sampling methods used that would cast this dubious assertion even further in doubt.

What has been revealing about this latest episode in the culture wars is just how little regard the “progressive” mindset has for anyone who doesn’t share their views, and just how much they are willing to abrogate the protection of law for those who subscribe to traditional values.  It is another schism in a field of cultural chasms that are slowly and surely separating society.  It gives me no pleasure to watch, but when one side makes it clear that they are willing to condemn thought, and no longer willing to tolerate formerly legitimate religious expression, while holding in contempt values that I share, I know which side I stand on.  And I suppose I should thank the usual suspects for no longer pretending that unity is a goal that they have any real interest in achieving.

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