Article 1 – The Legislature
A few of you may not subscribe to National Review magazine. That is unfortunate because NR has some of the best contributing writers in the conservative world. Each issue is chock-a-block full of interesting articles. Senator Mike Lee has written a particularly fitting one in the current issue entitled: “The Incredible Shirking Congress” (I know, it is easy to read the title as the “Incredible Shrinking Congress” at first glance).
Lee lays out a persuasive argument that our mess in Washington is largely Congress’ fault and won’t be fixed until Congress steps up to the plate and resumes the dominant role the Founders intended them to have in the national government. Congress writes overly vague laws and allows executive branch agencies to “fill in the details,” which the unelected bureaucrats in those agencies are more than happy to do. Lee points out that Congress passed and President Obama signed 3,291 pages of new legislation in 2014; but that same year executive agencies issued 79,066 pages of new regulations! Congress also has abandoned regular order in the authorization and appropriate process. Despite the President’s desire for deficit spending, Congress must appropriate every penny spent, so the blame for our $20 Trillion in official national debt sits on Congress’ shoulders alone. Federal programs are routinely re-appropriated which have exceeded their authorized mandate and the annual “Pig Book” demonstrates that millions, if not billions, of wasteful spending takes place each year.
I encourage you to read the article in full, and then purchase a copy of Senator Lee’s book: “Our Lost Constitution,” which more expansively lays out the problems that must be solved to return to true constitutional order in this country.
Article 3 – The Judiciary
Cultural Issues in the Courts. I’ve been commenting on court cases with cultural impact for quite some time. This week I learned of a website that does essentially the same thing and perhaps even better. So I’m going to include a link to that site in all future essays and hope you take the time to read their articles.
Here’s a nice analysis of the impact my favorite Justice, Clarence Thomas, has had on the Supreme Court.
1st Amendment – Right of Conscience
More “Bias” Response Groups Appear.
Another “Bias Response Group” springs up, this time at Skidmore College, a liberal arts college in Saratoga Springs, New York. Joining our police and firemen as “first responders,” the groups attempt to point out the obvious: we all have biases. I’m biased (hopefully consistently) in favor of good over evil. That is a bias we should wish on everyone. But the Bias Response Groups are not interested in promoting “good” bias, only calling out “bad” bias (as they define it).
It was news to me to learn that writing the phrase: “Make America Great Again” on a college whiteboard reflects a “bad” bias (rather than support for Donald Trump). Perhaps we are intended to take from this is that support for Donald Trump himself reflects a “bad” bias.
Regardless, you can see how quickly this can, and has gotten out of hand. I wonder whether eight years ago a Bias Response Group would have come running if “Fundamentally Transform America” was found surreptitiously written on a college whiteboard. These are not really Bias Response Groups, as anyone can plainly see; they are “Politically Incorrect Bias Response Groups.” And Free Speech continues its slow but inexorable death in America.
Representative John Fleming [R-LA-4] and Senator James Lankford, [R-OK] have introduced the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (H.R.4828 in the House, S.2927 in the Senate)
These bills (and similar ones) will provide legal protection for healthcare workers and organizations that do not wish to participate in or support the abortion industry in any way. Although there is an email floating around stating that the House bill will be voted on on Wednesday, 13 July, the current House and Senate websites show both bills still tied up in either committee or subcommittee. Nevertheless, if you support these bills, contacting the members of the committees or your own representatives would be an appropriate way to register your support.
The Effort To Destroy Christian Doctrine Continues.
The effort to push Christianity from the public square continues unabated. Dating sites, like ChristianMingle.com, with a publically Christian focus must now grant access to homosexuals seeking relationships with their same sex even if that runs counter to the organization’s firmly held biblical standards.
Freedom of conscience continues to be transformed in America. Soon you’ll be able to think whatever you want, privately. If you try to express certain beliefs publically, or, heaven forbid, act on them, you will find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Even some Supreme Court Justices, such as Associate Justice Sam Alito, are becoming alarmed at the mounting anti-Christian bias in the courts.
And Christian pastors remain silent. Nothing to see here folks, move along. Where does your pastor stand on this? Do they deserve your continued support?
2nd Amendment – Where Do We Go From Here?
Dallas. The tragedy in Dallas, overshadowing the two civilian deaths at the hands of policemen that preceded it (and which may indeed have sparked it), deserves more than a passing remark.
Reactions will be predictable: from the Left: disarm the public, who have demonstrated that they can’t be trusted to resolve anger without the use of firearms; from the Right: arm everyone and prosecute groups, like Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, which advocate violence against anyone, particularly the police. Neither of these responses addresses the root problem: racial distrust.
In the wake of Dallas, the Minnesota officer’s reaction to the innocuous movement of hands by a black man who had just told the officer he was armed, takes on a new perspective. Why would any armed white policeman fear a routine traffic stop with a black motorist (over a broken tail light, no less) enough to fire his weapon at the slightest movement of the motorist’s hands? Is there any better illustration of the state of race relations in this country? We have heard repeatedly that blacks fear confrontations with white policemen, now we see there is equal fear in white policemen over confrontations with black motorists.
Certainly the nation’s policemen, in the days and weeks which follow, have reason to be cautious, on or off the job, as further shootings of policemen have demonstrated. And just as certainly, motorists and pedestrians alike must learn to calmly and explicitly comply with an officer’s instructions, avoiding any appearance of confrontation.
These events have revealed deeply ingrained opinions, whether right or wrong, whether justified or not, about other races, which points to the urgent need for dialogue. We have to come together, talk to one another, and try to better understand each other’s point of view, each other’s prejudices. We have to understand how these preconceived notions were created in the first place. And then we need to develop better methods of resolving complaints.
Our nations’ churches are the most obvious and the best place for this dialogue to occur, and no doubt some courageous pastors have already taken steps to facilitate these discussions. But many will not; many pastors have become so fearful of offending someone, anyone, so fearful of driving away a potential contributor, that they are paralyzed by their own fear. They will boldly preach the Gospel, but purposefully avoid addressing cultural issues. This must stop.
Is it a “No-Fly” or a “No-Buy” List? More information continues to dribble out about individuals unfortunate enough to share a name with a known terrorist and end up on the FBI’s infamous “No-Fly List.” It is not so much that occasional but inevitable mistakes might be made by nameless unelected bureaucrats, it is the arduous, sometimes years-long process of rectifying the situation and getting your name removed from the list. If you don’t enjoy the political pull of a Congressman or a state elected official, good luck. It is called the “law of unintended consequences” and it works in conjunction with the 2nd Amendment as well.
I reported on this issue barely a month ago (4 June 16); it refuses to go away.
Could someone tell me why it takes “four years, two congressional hearings, and countless pleas to the IRS and Justice Department” to convince the IRS to return property it never should have taken in the first place? Pity the poor citizen who doesn’t think to involve his Congressional representatives in staring down this out-of-control agency.
The issue is “structuring,” a term applied to depositing or withdrawing your own money from your own bank account in a way that the IRS believes is intended to avoid mandatory reporting of transactions – such reporting becomes required at the “magic” $10,000 mark. Disregard the fact that you may be keeping transactions below $10K merely to keep your bank from having to go through the rigamarole, the time and expense, of submitting what you see as unnecessary or even unconstitutional reports.
To the IRS you’re a drug dealer, pure and simple, there could be no other reason for your behavior, so, chucking your right of due process in the dustbin, the IRS seizes your bank account, all of it, apparently so you don’t try to withdraw the money and flee the country.
I’m sure there are many fine upstanding citizens working for the IRS. I’m equally sure are many partisan apparatchiks trying their best to use the power of their office for partisan ends. I reported recently (18 June 16) that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed a “Contempt of Congress” resolution against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. I suspect Speaker Paul Ryan will refuse to bring the resolution to the floor for a vote. If you agree with the Speaker’s action, do nothing; if you feel that is shirking a duty, the Speaker’s office awaits your letter, phone call or email.
Recommendations and Events:
I am now scheduling Constitution Seminars for the month of October. If you want one for your church or community group, please let me know ASAP.
Last Call: Lessons in Liberty. On Monday, July 11, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. EDT, The Foundation for American Christian Education’s Lessons in Liberty series will welcome Jim Wallis, who will speak on the topic: Was Jesus a Socialist? You can attend in the FACE classroom in Chesapeake, Virginia, or live online via Livestream.
The lecture will explore the divergence of both Christianity and the Jewish people from their covenantal, Hebraic roots, and will take on related questions such as: “Was the early church communal in the modern Marxist sense?” and “How about the Moses/Joshua Hebrew model, was it a republic or a theocracy?”
The cost to attend, either in the classroom or online, is $10. Register at http://www.face.net/.
We The People – The Constitution Matters Radio Show.
On Friday, 15 July, we will discuss the principle of “petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.” This principle, mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, had a long history in English law and the colonists felt a moral obligation to use it before claiming the right of separation. Parliament and the King ignored their petitions and forced both sides into a costly war. In 1789, James Madison ensured we would continue to enjoy the right by securing it in the First Amendment.
I invite you to browse to www.1180wfyl.com (7-8am EDT) and then join the discussion by calling in. If you miss the recorded show, it is re-broadcast each Saturday at 11am and Sunday at 2pm.
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