Air Force Academy

More information continues to trickle out of the Air Force Academy (previous posts on this issue here, here, here, and here), and via Talk Left I see that the Superintendent of the Academy has dropped a bomb that should silence some of the apologists in my comments who claim there is no problem and that this is nothing more than an anti-Christian ‘crusade’:

The superintendent of the Air Force Academy acknowledged to leaders of a national Jewish group Friday that religious intolerance permeates the military school.

“As a commander, I know I have problems in my cadet wing,” Lt. Gen. John Rosa said at a meeting of the Anti-Defamation League’s executive committee. “I have issues in my staff, and I have issues in my faculty and that’s my whole organization.”

He said he admonished the academy’s No. 2 commander, Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, a born-again Christian, for sending an e-mail promoting National Prayer Day.

“We sat down and said, `This is not right,’ and he acknowledged that,” Rosa said, adding there had been other incidents that crossed the line. “Perception is reality. We don’t have respect.”

Really though, it is no problem. Leaders should be able to tell their cadets that they must embrace a certain sectarian view or ‘burn in the fires of hell.’ Right, apologists? More:

Rosa said he has spoken with academy critics and agrees with many of their complaints. He said he didn’t learn of a Yale University memo issued last year on religious intolerance at the school near Colorado Springs until much later.

Rosa said the problem is “something that keeps me awake at night.”

If everything goes well, it’s probably going to take six years to fix it,” he added.

Why six years? Because you have to figure the attitudes have been fixed in the current three classes, and will infect the next class or two- until new leadership and an entirely new attitude is created in future classes AFTER new staff is brought in. The rot is systemic and organizational, and institutional norms are hard to change. Right now, the norm is of intolerance, and thank goodness the Superintendent intends to try to address it.






78 replies
  1. 1
    Jim Henley says:

    Nonsense! Al Qaeda manual Rule 18 told them to lie, that’s all!

  2. 2
    Tim F says:

    New superintendent. Tell me you don’t see that one coming a mile away.

    Ask Bill Donaldson. As long as people in authority don’t ackowledge problems there won’t be any problems. Right?

  3. 3
    Rick says:


    “We sat down and said, `This is not right,’ and he acknowledged that,”

    Like I said, the “market forces” tend to self correct.

    Or did we just barely dodge a Talibanic Air Force?

    It would be nice if these corrections were applicable to the intolerance of “PC” (vs. JC) on other U.S. campuses. But that’s another constituency.

    Cordially…

  4. 4

    PC vs. JC? What is that exactly?

    I’m waiting to see what the “apologists” come up with in response to this post.

  5. 5
    Rick says:

    PC as in politically correct, JC as in WWJD, as opposed to the JC that runs this dump.

    Ya gotta buy the Blog Glossary at the Balloon-Juice Gift Shop in the lobby.

    Cordially…

  6. 6
    ppgaz says:

    Gosh, imagine a government guy actually doing something right for his country?

    Is this a great country, or what?

    (Ask me in 3.5 years, if there is anything left of the country by then).

    And for the record, there never has been, never will be, and is not now, any “anti-christian” crusade in this country.

    That’s true on a number of levels, not the least obvious of which is that the manipulative, lying whiners who say there is such a crusade are in no position to speak for “christians” in general. They don’t own Christianity. The resistance they complain about … and foster, to stir up churn …is resistance to THEM, not to “christianity.”

    They suck. May they all burn in the fires of Heck and may fleas infest their private parts.

  7. 7
    DougJ says:

    “And for the record, there never has been, never will be, and is not now, any “anti-christian” crusade in this country.”

    Balderdash, the ACLU, the gay lobby, the whole freaking democratic party are engaged in an anti-christian crusade. Luckily, we’ve got a man in the White House who BELIEVES.

  8. 8
    ppgaz says:

    Right, of course.

    And who elected him, or any of the BS for Christ brigade, to be in charge of “christianity?”

    Who elected you to decide that the “gay lobby” is less christian than you are?

    I declare you to be anti-Semitic. Why else would you oppose the party of Joe Lieberman?

    Take your anti-Semitic attacks somewhere else.

  9. 9
    Kimmitt says:

    Balderdash, the ACLU, the gay lobby, the whole freaking democratic party are engaged in an anti-christian crusade.

    Yeah, that gay ACLU series of fundamentalist Church bombings where the gay juries refused to convict the guys who obviously did it was really unjust.

    No, I’m thinking of something else.

  10. 10
    Tony Alva says:

    DougJ,

    Why is it so important for you to convert me or anybody else to your system of beliefs? Let me make this clear so you can avoid wasting your witnessing time, I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR KIND OF BELIEVER. Niether do millions of other Americans. More over, I think you ought to spend a little more time on the message, not the man.

    Moron…

  11. 11
    Tony Alva says:

    DougJ,

    Why is it so important for you to convert me or anybody else to your system of beliefs? Let me make this clear so you can avoid wasting your witnessing time, I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR KIND OF BELIEVER. Niether do millions of other Americans. More over, I think you ought to spend a little more time on the message, not the man.

  12. 12
    BumperStickerist says:

    Fools, the lot of you.

    The more fundamentalist Christians in the military the safer we, as a nation, are.

    In WWII we had the ‘Wind Talkers’ .. that won’t work for the Global War on Terror or, God Forbid, WWIII. The Native Americans will all be working in their casinos. We, as a nation, will have to use Glossolalia – speaking in tongues – a system where fundamentalist christians speaking in tongues to each other over open air waves, communicating the Lord’s will to the men in harm’s way, the forward firing positions, the forward air controllers, the tank commanders, the A-10 pilots.

    The Glossolalia Code will be unbreakable to the unbeliever.

    You simply can’t have that work with Jews … or Muslims, Buddhists, practioners of Shinto or Animism.

    The use of the Glossolalia Code also rules out people who are members of iturgical Christian denominations including Catholicism, Lutheranism, Episcopalianism, and the Methodists.

    So, repent people, get born again, get with the system – it’s for the safety of the Nation which is for the good of the children.

    So long as there aren’t too many snake-handling casualties during off duty hours, we’ll be fine.

    just fine.

  13. 13
    MunDane says:

    You know, there was something missing from the LA Times piece, and i had to read it twice to figure out what it was.

    No where does he quote a cadet. 2000 words and not a single cadet quoted. Yep, that’s some good journalism there! Think maybe a cadet or two could offer some perspective to the writer?

    I personally think this is going to turn out to be another case like the sexual harassment claims that the Academy went through a few years ago. A little substance and a whole lot of noise.

    John, you have a current mad-on for the Religious Conservative, and anyone can see that who reads this blog. Hey, it is your bandwidth, we just come here to read and think. But do not get all crusading about this or you will end up like the Powerline yahoos with the Schiavo talking points memo. You seem all to eager to believe anything that makes the God Squadders look stupid. Pretty soon we will be seeing some analog of the “Fake, but accurate!” meme from you appearing about this stupidity at the USAFA.

  14. 14
    ppgaz says:

    Stupid is as stupid does, MunDane.

    Do you think the AF story is ginned up? Make an argument, else don’t slide it out there as a straw cover and then duck behind it to throw rocks.

    Resistance to arrogant, self-centered, egomaniacal and intolerant and browbeating behavior … is not a crusade. It’s simply rational self-defense. The country is not a fundamentalist construct of the right wing taliban. It is what it is, and it is going to sensibly and agressively resist this dysfunctional and ugly activity.

    If you don’t like that, then argue that the resisted thing warrants acceptance. Argue that the large non-taliban majority in this country should just roll over and play dead for these assholes. Make your case.

    And please, no preaching about journalism. The most excellent episode of journalism in the last 50 years is in the spotlight these days … and what do the Wingnuts have to say about it?

    “Oh, that awful Mark Felt only talked to Woodward because he was disgruntled over not getting the FBI Director job.”

    The fact is, Wingnuts don’t want good journalism, and more than they want real freedom of religion, or for that matter, real freedom, period. What they want is their Own Way.

    Bzzt. Sorry, not on my watch.

  15. 15
    dK says:

    The USAFA infiltration was largely the result of the physical location of the Academy — Colorado Springs. It is home to Focus on the Family and dozens of other right-wing evangelical groups whose mission is to proselytize for their brand of Christianity and the Republican party. I wrote my take on it yesterday.
    http://asilentcacopphony.blogspot.com

  16. 16
    dK says:

    The USAFA infiltration was largely the result of the physical location of the Academy — Colorado Springs. It is home to Focus on the Family and dozens of other right-wing evangelical groups whose mission is to proselytize for their brand of Christianity and the Republican party. I wrote my take on it yesterday.
    http://asilentcacopphony.blogspot.com

  17. 17
    Tony Alva says:

    MunDane,

    It does seem that there’s a mad-on for the God Squadder’s because there needs to be. One of the advantages conservative thinkers had in the last election was a common sense based position on the hotter topics. The converse way of stating that liberals lack basic common sense on some of the broader topics of the day (i.e. SS, “It’ll last forever untouched…”). The only roadblock to achieving a better crossover in most moderates minds is the wack jobs that make up the Christian Right. It is one area of the GOP that actually validates world opinion of our country as a bunch of prigish, prudish, crusaders. Blind faith in anything is dangerous. Our forebearers knew this all to well and did the best they could to ensure that our freedom didn’t fall prey to religious zealotry.

    As a conservative moderate, zealotry in the middle east is as much of a concern as it is domestically.

  18. 18
    ppgaz says:

    Social security lasts forever untouched?

    No complex program of any kind, woven into an even more complex set of fiscal scenarios with their various modes of taxation, revenue streams impacted by economies, changing demographics, and a fluid world situation, can survive without maintenance. No responsible person of any political persuasion could argue otherwise. No liberal holds the phony view you floated out there … can’t tell if you are joking, or not, but it doesn’t matter.

    The view that liberals DO hold is that Social Security represents a desirable response to a real set of problems, and that it, and the fiscal environment around it, requires periodic adjustment and tuning. In a setting of sound fiscal policy and good faith politics, this process is doable, and so far, pretty successfull, especially considering the radically different scenarios that have played out in the last 70 years. Wars, recessions, inflation, wild swings in interest rates, pork barrel spending in Congress, huge shifts in earning and borrowing patterns in the middle class, and massive changes in the actuarial realities of the population … and yet Social Security is not only alive and well, but effective, and affordable. And it will be 20 and 40 years from now, unless the Cato Institute’s plan for tearing it down is successfully pulled off by a lying president and his disingenuous handlers.

    If you want the best indicator of how healthy the program is today, just look at the response of the public to the Texas Tinhorn’s balls-to-wall campaign to get people to lose faith in it: They’ve lost confidence in him, not Social Security, and it gets worse every time he opens his mouth.

  19. 19
    MunDane says:

    Actually, one could agrue, persuasively, that zealotry of any stripe is corrosive. Conservative/Religious whack-job, Liberal Moonbats and those who think theirs is the only way to save the country (channeling the Founding Fathers) are all creatures of simialr stripe.

    The largest danger to this country are all, and I do mean all, of the people determined to shut someone or some group up “for the good of the nation”.

    Go. Think what you want to think, say what you want to say and believe what you want to believe. Try and persuade me to change my mind if you want. But don’t be offended if I don’t.

  20. 20
    J says:

    While religious infection in our civil society is usually on the very top of things that worry me about America, I tend to agree with Tom Wolfe when he says he’d rather have a born-again Baptist from Iowa on the front lines (or, in this case, the cockpit) than like an agnostic secular humanist who thinks all war is a crime.

  21. 21
    ppgaz says:

    I cannot agree with you.

    First of all, you are in no position, and have established no basis, for making a claim that any particular thing is “the largest danger to this country.” The hyperbole itself is imprecise and the underlying facts are constantly shifting.

    There are numerous dangers to the country. One needs first to compile a list, and then laboriously rate them in some rational way.

    A press which is cowed, addicted to public approval, and silent in the face of firehose streams of bad information especially from the centers of power, is clearly a danger. A strong and obnoxious press is the only thing standing between citizens and tyranny, ultimately. Not only that, it is the best thing standing there. Right now, that strong press appears to be on paid administrative leave.

    A public that is easily manipulated by superstition and demagogic marketing tactics is a danger to the country. I offer you this warning:

    “The American people are very vulnerable to demagogic appeal.”

    Richard Nixon, 1968. I don’t question his expertise in this area. He was the master of demagogic appeal.

    Unpreparedness in the area of public health is a clear and present danger. Watch what happens when a deadly flu pandemic breaks out of its cage in Southeast Asia. Worst case scenario? Nobody alive in this country today has ever seen bad things happen in this country, and in the world, on that sort of scale … and we are sitting ducks (poultry reference intentional) as we speak.

    According to almost every student of long term national fiscal trends, the economic and budget trends now firmly established in the US are not sustainable and are almost certain to cause monetary and economic disaster within 20-40 years, if not sooner. A very real threat to this country. Huge deficits, currency power shifts, unrealistic patterns of spending and taxation … extreme danger ahead.

    I could go on, but if you haven’t got the point by now, and I’d guess that you haven’t, then you never will.

  22. 22
    John Cole says:

    The largest danger to this country are all, and I do mean all, of the people determined to shut someone or some group up “for the good of the nation”.

    Which is precisely why I am so upset at a majority group of evangelicals abusing their positions of authority and trying to force others to adopt their position or rot in hell.

  23. 23
    DougJ says:

    “Which is precisely why I am so upset at a majority group of evangelicals abusing their positions of authority and trying to force others to adopt their position or rot in hell.”

    That is not an accurate portrayal. Evangelicals — like me — do not presume to say who does or does not rot in Hell. That is up to a higher power. What we do presume to say is that this country needs to returns to the Christian values upon which it was founded. George W is certainly a step in the right direction, but a lot of us would like to see someone like James Dobson appointed to Secretary of Health and Human Services. That’s where the rubber hits the road.

  24. 24
    John Cole says:

    That is not an accurate portrayal. Evangelicals — like me — do not presume to say who does or does not rot in Hell.

    Do you have any idea what the hell you are talking about in this case, or are you just babbling incoherently in defense of some perceived threat? Because people most assuredly have been accused of telling non-evangelicals that they will rot in hell if they do not convert and other various offensive acts…

    Just as a favor- go read what has been alleged is going on in the Air Force Academy before you comment here any more.

  25. 25
    Ned Raggett says:

    I do not recall electing you pope for America whose word is law, DougJ. Or W or Dobson for that matter. Kindly keep that in mind.

  26. 26
    ppgaz says:

    Nope, the country was not founded on “Christian principles”. There is plenty of literature on the subject.

    Dobson’s reign of terror is just about over. The overreaching and arrogance of his various Pickett’s Charges against the government have slowly but surely, but more and more, built foundations of resistance. People are catching on. See the recent reaction to the Schiavo debacle that the Dobsonites and their sock puppets in DC tried to pull off. People are getting it.

    People are getting the attacks on the judiciary. The attacks on science. The browbeating attacks on anything and anyone who dares to oppose them. The phony “patriotism” and the self-righteous holier-than-thou blunders.

    Not only do “evangelicals” (although I seriously doubt thatn you speak for all, or even a majority of them) not have any particular expertise or authority that qualifies them to be the arbiters of “values”, they just can’t govern. Governing is not ruling. It’s managing diversity. These buttheads want to rule, and the country will not be ruled. For more on that, see “Revolution, American.”

  27. 27
    DougJ says:

    “He said he admonished the academy’s No. 2 commander, Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, a born-again Christian, for sending an e-mail promoting National Prayer Day.”

    What’s wrong with that? Let me add that I would also have no problem with an Orthodox Jew sending out an email along these lines. Or with an Islamic person doing the same. I feel that objecting to sending out an email about National Prayer Day IS an example of anti-Christian parnaoia.

    And while you are certainly right that there are SOME evangelical Christians who tell people they will rot in hell, the majority of us do not.

  28. 28
    ppgaz says:

    Read the backstory. The Prayer Day email is a tiny sesame seed on the bun of this hamburger. This isn’t about an email. It’s about a corrupt culture in the Academy.

    Whether there is that corruption or not, outside of the scope of this post. If there is, then the email is barely a blip. If there is not … it’s barely a blip. Either way, it’s not significant.

    The underlying issue here is whether the larger and serious problem exists, and if so, what should be done about it.

  29. 29
    John Cole says:

    And while you are certainly right that there are SOME evangelical Christians who tell people they will rot in hell, the majority of us do not.

    I am going to use small words so this sinks in.

    I am not upset about most of you.

    I am mad at the ones who are in charge and are behaving badly.

    This is not about your right to worship.

    This is about people abusing their office and their position to create a hostile environment for those who don’t believe as they do.

  30. 30
    MunDane says:

    [i]Which is precisely why I am so upset at a majority group of evangelicals abusing their positions of authority and trying to force others to adopt their position or rot in hell.[/i]

    Then we agree.

    I think that many people, and I include people I know in this, think that THEY are the arbitrators of what is and is not A Good Christian, instead of the G*d they follow. There is a great of arrogance in presuming to make judgements like that.

    The other problem is that we, you know the EVEEEL Religious Ones, are supposed to be different than the world around us. If we make the world conform to us, that is Christianity on the cheap. If we forbid, by fiat of law, those things that our Law, Commandments or conscience says we are supposed to give up, then what exactly have we gained? How does this show self-control?

  31. 31
    ppgaz says:

    You are the clever one, Mun.

    “Fiat of law?”

    Law is fiat when it is imposed by command, arbitrarily by authority.

    Law is not fiat when it is made by a democratic process, by the legistlative processes typical of our republic.

    Man made law is the law of this land. The person who has a problem with that actually has two dilemmas:

    One, you have to decide whether you are going to respect properly made law, whether you like the law or not. That’s your choice. As WF Buckley only recently said, democracy depends entirely on the submission of the minority.

    Two, if want to impose the fiat of pseudo-christian law, you are going to have to negotiate the resistance of those who don’t agree with you. That resistance is what you are feeling now.

    The good news is, this is exactly what the Founders intended.

    What a country! While your “side” is infuriating, crazy, intolerant, mean, bullying and self-righteous, at least you’ll still have a voice when the fight you wanted is over, and you lost.

  32. 32
    rebcon says:

    My favorite quote at the moment:

    “We condemn bigots who inject religious prejudice into public and political matters. Bigotry is unamerican and a danger to the Republic.”

    1952 Republican Platform

    Why has the party that has represented my philosophy of governance moved so far away from its traditional principles?

  33. 33
    MunDane says:

    PPqaz,

    Umm…Dude, are always this nasty with people who agree with you?

  34. 34
    ppgaz says:

    I’m never nasty except in person.

    But I can be rude, not to people I don’t agree with, but to people like you, whom I don’t like, or trust.

    However, this is not personal. We’re talking about laws and democracy here.

    As Mr. Ed said to Wilbur in the pilot episode, “This is bigger than both of us.”

  35. 35
    Jon H says:

    DougJ: “That is not an accurate portrayal. Evangelicals — like me — do not presume to say who does or does not rot in Hell. ”

    The Left Behind series, which has sold upwards of 63 million copies, certainly *does* do this.

    Given the sales numbers, it seems that quite a few people agree.

  36. 36
    DougJ says:

    John Cole and Jon H: Fair enough. I see your points.

  37. 37
    Rick says:

    John, you have a current mad-on for the Religious Conservative, and anyone can see that who reads this blog.

    So glad someone else notices.

    Cordially…

  38. 38
    Tony Alva says:

    Bottom line is that I have no issue whatsoever with DougJ or Rick believing what they do. I think it’s great, but when I can’t buy a beer on Sunday in my state (GA) on account of the Baptist Convention’s influence on state government that’s when I come out of my shell.

    Substitute beer purchasing on Sunday for intelligent design stickers in text books, prayer in school, etc…

  39. 39
    Rick says:

    Man, do I ever get a bad rap. As I’ve droned with near Abe Simpson redundancy, I’m scarcely a believer, and far from a practicing religous. Quite a heathen, by the lights of the Church of Rome.

    No, I plop my turds in John Cole’s anti-fundie punchbowl because I believe that of all the potential threats to liberty–and organized forces to herd American citizens into an ever increasing state of servility–the numerous factions and splinters of “conservative” Protestantism are really way, way down the list.

    Cordially…

  40. 40
    WhoIsJohnGuiltP says:

    “[…] a lot of us [politically conservative evangelicals] would like to see someone like James Dobson appointed to Secretary of Health and Human Services. That’s where the rubber hits the road.”

    Yeah, but once Dobson’s in power, will you be able to buy that rubber, and will you be able to afford that privatised road? And, having put on that rubber, why would you want it to hit the road in the first place—is it some sort of scourging with fast gravel?

    Incidentally, all references in posts super to an evangelical majority of our population are off the mark; they’re at [be|wor]st about 20% of the populace, and maybe a quarter of those are liberal or quietist.

  41. 41
    ppgaz says:

    Tony, look at it this way.

    The idea that you should have to wait to buy beer on Sunday is such a complex, convoluted thing that we must conclude that only an intelligent supreme being could have designed it.

    Behold his mighty power!
    — Charlton Heston, as Moses

  42. 42
    Simon says:

    I am going to use small words so this sinks in.

    I am not upset about most of you.

    I am mad at the ones who are in charge and are behaving badly.

    This is not about your right to worship.

    This is about people abusing their office and their position to create a hostile environment for those who don’t believe as they do.

    As a reformed ‘born-again’, I’d like to point out that for a lot (again slowly, “n-o-t a-l-l”) of these people, the false persecution complex is a built-in facet of their faith. They must look for it in any and every public discussion of faith by non-believers because to not do so would go against their very narrow interpretation of the Bible. Trying to tell them you aren’t actually attacking them or their faith just won’t work. Attempts at logic-based reasoning in this regard bounce right off. I saw this quite a bit at numerous run-of-the-mill churches and with a lot of people, so it’s not a fringe perception.

  43. 43
    Simon says:

    No, I plop my turds in John Cole’s anti-fundie punchbowl because I believe that of all the potential threats to liberty–and organized forces to herd American citizens into an ever increasing state of servility–the numerous factions and splinters of “conservative” Protestantism are really way, way down the list.

    Rick:

    LOL. Hilarious.

    A few things:

    I don’t think anyone here, contrary to John Cole’s hyperventilated claims, has made an apology for the alleged actions at the Academy. I, for example, in view of the knee-jerk bitterness and rancor here toward Christians that is now the honored tradition of the left, have expressed skepticism of whether those making the allegations can be honest. As a result of this skepticism, I have withheld judgment of those at the Academy until such a time as an impartial investigation has taken place and each of the allegations are either proven or rejected. Prudence demands I still withhold judgment, despite the supposed bomb recently dropped by Mr. Rosa.

    Mr. Rosa is correct that he has a problem. The mere fact that many under his command are complaining is reason enough for him to admit this. What is yet undetermined is whether the specific claims against the Christians are true and whether a genuine breech of the Constitution has occurred. I have not yet seen anything proving such things. We so far have only a battery of unsubstantiated claims by hostile leftists and the words of a superintendent who because of his philosophically erroneously belief that Perception is Reality claims he has a problem with his cadets and staff. There is no substantiation here of the claims that anyone told anyone else they were going to hell or any place else, no proof that any true breech of the Constitution has taken place in accord with the reading of the Constitution and its history, indeed there is no substantiation of any of Barry Lynns allegations. At the very worst we see evidence of a local dispute between students and teachers at a certain school. Though the same novel Constitutional interpretation that informs most Americans undoubted informs Mr. Rosa, he appears to be handling the dispute within the regulations of his institution; and that is as it should be.

    I think many here are enjoying their red meat possibly at the expense of the rights and reputations of Christians who, up to now have not yet had a fair opportunity to defend themselves. We show our open-mindedness and fashionableness by disparaging Christians. But unlike this blogs esteemed host, I will not rashly judge the believers on the mere words of anti-Christian activists and others for whom the evangelical mandate to spread the gospel mean nothing. I must withhold judgment until better sources confirm or deny the accusations, also underscoring precisely why morality, history and law within history forbid the suspected behavior. Moreover, since in my opinion we have a great deal of evidence that modern treatments of the Constitutional Establishment Clause destroy freedoms historically enjoyed by Americans, I choose to focus on this proven and more pressing ill.

  44. 44
    Kimmitt says:

    Deny, deny, deny.

  45. 45
    Simon says:

    Other Simon (or is that really Jimmy D), two questions. First, I may have missed something, but you appear to have secret, undisclosed evidence of ‘anti-Christian activists’ involved in this case. Could you please source that claim for us? If not, then you’re doing exactly the same thing you railed against for 3 paragraphs. Only your accusation didn’t even warrant any press.

    Second, if the accusations are confirmed, what would your highly esteemed judgment be for what has happened. You’re clearly already setting up for a defense of this situation by your twisted reading of the establishment clause.

    By the way, did you read this line?
    Rosa said, adding there had been other incidents that crossed the line.
    Cause, ya know, that kind of sounds like an admission to me.

  46. 46
    M. Simon says:

    BumperStickerist,

    The more Jews we have building military eqpt. the safer we are as a nation.

    Just take a look at the atom bomb guys. A predominantly Jewish club if there ever was one.

    Christians for cannon fodder, Jews for cannon designers.

  47. 47
    M. Simon says:

    We slapped Keyes down HARD in Illinois. I voted for the Communist Obama just to send a message. A lot of people who voted for Bush in Illinois did the same.

    Evidently the message did not get to the proper recipients. I guess it will need to be sent again until the Repubs get the message.

    I think the Rs have reaced their high water mark.

  48. 48
    M. Simon says:

    Evangelicals rule!

    Just the way Jesus did.

    Ah? Well never mind then.

  49. 49
    M. Simon says:

    I think prayer in school is an excellent idea.

    It gave me an intense dislike for Christianity.

    Couldn’t ask for any better advertisement than that.

  50. 50
    Simon says:

    Second, if the accusations are confirmed, what would your highly esteemed judgment be for what has happened.

    It really depends upon what happened and its context. I think in certain contexts telling people they are going to hell is out of line, not because of any Constitutional ramification, but simply because it can destroy unit cohesion. On the other hand, if amidst a religious discussion a leader declares his belief that those who reject Christs provision for sin will be cast into outer darkness (where there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth), well, I can hardly see the problem. This has been Christian teaching from Jesus own mouth up to evangelicals today. If the military does not wish to hear the Christian message, then perhaps it ought not hire Christian ministers.

    You’re clearly already setting up for a defense of this situation by your twisted reading of the establishment clause.

    Well, when Washington called for national prayer no one appealed to the establishment clause, and neither did anyone when Patton called for prayer within the entire Third Army, despite that he commanded his officers to indoctrinate his entire army in how to pray. No one invoked the establishment clause when Thomas Jefferson each Sunday had Protestant Christian church services in the halls of Congress, and neither did anyone mention it when the Father of the Constitution enjoyed his weekly Protestant Christian church services there. It is beyond doubt that somehow the Constitution has been changed, and it has been changed without Amendment which is unconstitutional. That is the issue that most concerns me.

    By the way, did you read this line? Rosa said, adding there had been other incidents that crossed the line. Cause, ya know, that kind of sounds like an admission to me.

    This, of course, depends upon the line over which he thinks someone has crossed. If he thinks his staff has crossed some internal regulatory line and he appeals to local regulation, then I have no interest. In this case this issue is no more relevant to me than it would be were the troops debating the colors of their uniforms. But if Mr. Rosa appeals to some Constitutional line, then it is most relevant to me. He sounds like a typical man of the left who, because he is getting a lot of heat from people whose view of the Constitution is not informed by history, helps throw away his own freedoms along with those of the entire country. Merely that he thinks a certain behavior crossed this line does not make it so because this line is governed by valid legal interpretation and not the pressured declarations of a schoolteacher to the Anti Defamation League.

  51. 51
    BumperStickerist says:

    ~ BumperStickerist,

    The more Jews we have building military eqpt. the safer we are as a nation.

    Just take a look at the atom bomb guys. A predominantly Jewish club if there ever was one.

    Christians for cannon fodder, Jews for cannon designers. ~

    Well, in point of fact, General Leslie Groves was the head of the Atom Bomb Club, recruiting the members.

    fwiw – General Groves was the son of a Presbyterian minister. And he was played by Paul Newman in ‘Fat Man, Little Boy’

    Which, I guess, makes the Presbyterians the religious group who must be feared and respected.

    Whoda-thunkit?

  52. 52
    Tony Alva says:

    “I, for example, in view of the knee-jerk bitterness and rancor here toward Christians that is now the honored tradition of the left…”

    I don’t know Simon, I think the many who are growing tired of the Christian zealots driving GOP policy are FASTLY becoming a bipartisan group. The Schivo thing was the last straw for me. I’ve voted republican in every election since I turned eighteen, but if this kind of church/state line graying continues they will certainly lose my vote in 08.

  53. 53
    Simon says:

    I don’t know Simon, I think the many who are growing tired of the Christian zealots driving GOP policy are FASTLY becoming a bipartisan group. The Schivo thing was the last straw for me. I’ve voted republican in every election since I turned eighteen, but if this kind of church/state line graying continues they will certainly lose my vote in 08.

    I am not sure any church-state graying took place with Schiavo. We had a group of people who, informed by a certain point of view, thought Schiavo should die. We had another group who, informed by a contrary point of view, thought that as long as her parents wished to care for her, Schaivo should live. That the latter group was comprised significantly of Christians gives us no reason to claim any sort of graying of church and state took place. The Christians have a right to petition the government as much as anyone else. They do not lose this right merely because they are Christians. It is this sort of thinking that I believe threatens all of us. We are actually claiming that the innate human right to utter sounds should be destroyed because we fear the sounds will motivate people. That is awfully limp-wristed in my view. If our ideas and words are so weak that they cannot compete against Christians without infringing upon their innate rights, then perhaps our views are more worthless than we are willing to admit.

    Ironically, the Schiavo incident found me in agreement with the Christian point-of-view. We had this woman who because of her condition could not defend herself. We had a husband who wanted her dead and who had quite an interest in making sure she died. On the other hand we had parents who wanted to take care of their daughter, such as she was– parents who claimed their daughter was in some way present with them. I could never very well reconcile the husbands point-of-view, especially since there were people (think what you must of them) who wished to take on the responsibility of caring for the poor woman. The thing that impressed me about Terris parents and their Christian supporters was that they aimed to defend the defenseless as a matter of principle. I appreciate this because if they are willing to stand in the elements to defend someone as helpless as Schaivo, then it is plain to me we have little to fear of them should the world once again turn against Jews or Arabs or blacks or the handicapped. I do not have that sort of comfort with the Christians opponents because theyve proven to me that if they feel pressure to exterminate a certain human or human group, then rather than suffer on behalf of the threatened group they will seek justification to permit their murder. You may disagree with this, and that is fine, but it is how I see it. I think myself more than justified in taking this view.

    So I dont disparage the Christians, though I often disagree with them. In fact I dont really disparage their opponents. I am in truth disparaging the lefts tendency to claim, as you have implied here with Schaivo, that the Christians are somehow breaking federal law by pressing for their views just like everyone else. That is a flawed view in my opinion. I think we need these Christians. As ridiculous as they sometimes seem, they legitimately participate in our government to put brakes on forces in our country that I think need to be confronted. And they are doing this despite that we are passing laws that destroy their innate rights.

  54. 54
    Simon says:

    from people whose view of the Constitution is not informed by history

    Whose view is not informed by history? Try this one on for size: Article 11 of the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli (which was drafted during George Washington’s second term and was unanimously approved by the Senate and signed by President John Adams) states As the Government of the United States of America IS NOT IN ANY SENSE FOUNDED ON THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION [emphasis added]; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    And please stop conflating the general group of all Christians with the power mad likes of Dobson, Robertson, Falwell, et al who are actually the ones pushing for a ‘Christian nation’. Have you ever heard of Christian Reconstructionists or Dominionists? Look it up.

    I do not have that sort of comfort with the Christians opponents because theyve proven to me that if they feel pressure to exterminate a certain human or human group, then rather than suffer on behalf of the threatened group they will seek justification to permit their murder.

    That’s just foul bile and completely without any justification. A majority of my friends and family are Christian and you believe for a moment I would feel the least bit pressured to have them exterminated or murdered? The funny thing is that all but one or two of them agree with me on this and would find your views sick.

    Please show me an instance where Christian viewpoints are not being allowed to be spoken? You appear not able to differentiate between democracy stopping a group of people from imposing their narrow views on the entire country through unconstitutional law with mass silencing of all Christian perspective and a taking away of rights. Exactly what ‘rights’ have been taken away by the establishment clause?

    On Schiavo, you’re framing of the situation obviously favors your viewpoint and is incorrect. No one wanted her to die. Her husband, who was disgustingly villified with absolutely ZERO proof, was only trying to carry out her wishes to not be kept alive in that state. Just because the right-to-lifers decided to butt into this case and crassly use it for their cause, doesn’t mean they cared for Terri more than her husband. When was the last time you spent 15 years looking after somebody with absolutely no hope? And where were your ever-kind pro-life troops when a little baby in Texas was being taken off life support against the wishes of the parents because of a law that Bush signed that held moeny more important than life? Sick hypocrites.

    And if you think Jefferson was a Christian in the vein of these extremists, or even a Christian at all, you need to do a little more reading of history.

  55. 55
    Ben says:

    Simon,
    You don’t think any church/state graying took place with Schiavo? How can you not see that? The evangelicals thumbed their noses at states rights, the Florida court system and Florida law to intervent in a case that had been decided on religious grounds. It is fine for christians to find the Schiavo case distasteful or lobby to change the law. But, the fact remains there was no reason for the feds, jeb bush, randall “whackjob” terry or any other evangelical to get involved in this case. The fundies disagreed with the Schiavo ruling on religous grounds and tried to subvert current state law to “save terri”. That is most definitely a case of church/state graying.

    Another example is FMA… an attempt to write discrimination into the constitution due to religious objections. Marriage is nothing more than a civil ceremony and legal entanglement between two people. Gay people have constitutitonal individual rights like everybody else. Yet another graying of the church/state line.

    Other…

    Faith based initiatives
    Teaching ID in school
    Air Force academy scandal… the lsit goes on.

  56. 56
    Rick says:

    had a group of people who, informed by a certain point of view, thought Schiavo should die. We had another group who, informed by a contrary point of view, thought that as long as her parents wished to care for her, Schaivo should live.

    Ben,

    Simon is much more reasonable than your lugubrious characterization. After all, it was Michael Schiavo who “dragged in” the state, government, what have you– seeking its acquiesence in terminating a life.

    Cordially…

  57. 57
    Simon says:

    After all, it was Michael Schiavo who “dragged in” the state, government, what have you– seeking its acquiesence in terminating a life.

    BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT SHE WANTED! Get it through your head. Her parents are the ones who “dragged in” the state, government, etc. Then it was up to the rule of law, which rightly sided with her husband. Then all the freaks “dragged” themselves into a private family affair. As Ben said, if you don’t like the law, try to change it, but you have absolutely zero right to go around it.

  58. 58
    Simon says:

    Whose view is not informed by history? Try this one on for size: Article 11 of the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli

    I never claimed America was a Christian nation, but that America (at least on the books) is Constitutionally blind to the actions of religion, neither promoting nor prohibiting its freedom to flourish wherever people will allow. This has been the tradition of the nation until recent times.

    Please show me an instance where Christian viewpoints are not being allowed to be spoken?

    I need not show this. It is common knowledge that a Christian pastor merely needs to denounce a politician in his church to cause the left to immediately bring the federal government down upon his head, infringing his innate freedom to speak his mind. If the left is so afraid of a pastors ideas that it must use government force to prevent from speaking freely in his own house of worship, the lefts ideas are weak indeed. The pastor simply speaks words, passing no law and establishing no state religion, and yet now the federal government, against the lions share of our nations history, thinks itself free to destroy his right to do so. It is most un-American.

    You appear not able to differentiate between democracy stopping a group of people from imposing their narrow views on the entire country through unconstitutional law with mass silencing of all Christian perspective and a taking away of rights. Exactly what ‘rights’ have been taken away by the establishment clause?

    Historically, Americans have been free to speak their minds wherever they existed, without threat of government force. As I have mentioned above, that right has been infringed along with many others.

    On Schiavo, you’re framing of the situation obviously favors your viewpoint and is incorrect. No one wanted her to die. Her husband, who was disgustingly villified with absolutely ZERO proof, was only trying to carry out her wishes to not be kept alive in that state.

    Well, essentially he wanted her to die then, since he claims that is what she wished. The problem with the claim is that it was not established by disinterested parties and occurred amidst the husbands significant conflict of interest. I am trying not to judge the man because, as you say, he was in a tough spot, but I still am more impressed by those who valued Schaivos life enough to defend it. I personally feel less threatened by such people than by those who actually seek justification for extermination as you call it.

    Just because the right-to-lifers decided to butt into this case and crassly use it for their cause, doesn’t mean they cared for Terri more than her husband. When was the last time you spent 15 years looking after somebody with absolutely no hope?

    Well that is just it. To you Schaivo had no hope. But to the parents and the Christians hope was found merely in the potential of caring for her. The husband apparently moved on long ago, obviously having lost hope. But the Christians, especially the parents, never did. They didnt judge Schaivo by whether she could speak or build things. The mere fact that the woman was physically alive was enough to establish a lifelong commitment to her. I find that comforting because it seems to me if these people could commit to Schaivo, they could surely commit to me at least enough to defend my right to live should ever I be threatened. I sincerely do not think that should it ever come to this, your side would have the courage to stand firm on my behalf. I think the evidence is quite clear that you would seek my death if it seemed to promise you relief. If you differ, then fine. It is still a free country sort of.

    And if you think Jefferson was a Christian in the vein of these extremists, or even a Christian at all, you need to do a little more reading of history.

    I never claimed Jefferson was a Christian, though Jefferson claimed to be a Christian and regularly attended Christian church at the Congress. By todays erroneous standard he unconstitutionally mixed church and state. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more thorough mixing than this. Yet there was no consideration that his actions were unconstitutional. James Madison, the Father of the Constitution itself, did precisely the same thing and yet somehow managed not the break the Constitution. But mysteriously it has happened that when a pastor speaks his mind not in Congress mind you, but in his own house of worship, he breaks the Constitution though the Constitution claims to be blind to his speech and to his expression of religion.

  59. 59
    Simon says:

    It is common knowledge that a Christian pastor merely needs to denounce a politician in his church to cause the left to immediately bring the federal government down upon his head, infringing his innate freedom to speak his mind… Historically, Americans have been free to speak their minds wherever they existed, without threat of government force.

    You’re living in a dreamland my friend and plainly making shit up. What “threat of government force” exactly are you speaking of? Provide some evidence or stop spreading the lie. Anyone is free to say anything they want. If a minister endorses a politician or engages in politicking in the church, then the church should lose their tax exempt status. That is all anyone has ever advocated and to my knowledge, that has yet to even happen. So please spare us with your ridiculous, over-the-top accusations in that regard – you are wrong.

    I personally feel less threatened by such people than by those who actually seek justification for extermination as you call it.

    What? Take a look up in the comments buddy. You brought the word “extermination” into these comments, not me. I was just pointing out your slimy use of it.

    I think the evidence is quite clear that you would seek my death if it seemed to promise you relief.

    On what do you base this idiotic comment? Who the hell are you talking about? Look, if there was ample legal evidence (living will, wife’s sworn testimony, etc.) that your wish was to be kept in a vegitative state forever and people were trying to disconnect your feeding tube reagardless, I would be outraged and stand by your right to have your wishes carried out. Kind of like I did when the baby was pulled off of life support in Texas against the mother’s wishes explicitally because of a law Bush signed saying that if they couldn’t afford treatment, they’d have to go. Let’s see if you conveniently ignore that massive hypocrisy for a second time.

    As for Jefferson’s “regularly” attending church, please provide sources so I can review them.

  60. 60
    Simon says:

    Ben:

    Though I reject this characterization, let us accept it for arguments sake. Merely because a group of civilian citizens argue before our government that The Lord wants Schaivo to live gives us no reason to claim Church and State has been mixed. It is their right to petition government whatever the basis of the petition. Let us assume that in response to this argument a group of politicians passed a law to protect Schaivos life, the law may not have been passed on the basis of religion, but only in response to religious people (people who have every right to address their government).

    It is fine for christians to find the Schiavo case distasteful or lobby to change the law. But, the fact remains there was no reason for the feds, jeb bush, randall “whackjob” terry or any other evangelical to get involved in this case.

    If Schaivo had a hopeful life by your standards and yet her husband wanted her dead and the lower courts continually sided with the husband, dont you think the reasonable thing for his opponents to do would be to continually appeal to higher courts, as our system of government permits? Well, Schaivo obviously had a hopeful life to the Christians. We may disagree, but they have a right to work their opinions within the constraints of our system. The marvel is that they did not corrupt government, but worked within the system to try effecting their desired outcome. When they failed, they relented. That is how it should work.

    The fundies disagreed with the Schiavo ruling on religous grounds and tried to subvert current state law to “save terri”. That is most definitely a case of church/state graying.

    I disagree. Church and State would have been grayed had the government established that the Presbyterian doctrinal solution to these issues will be the law of the land. That government leaders listened to religious citizens and agreed with their moral stance by no means grays anything. It means the religious people were heard, marshaled forward champions for their views within our system just as it should be.

    Another example is FMA… an attempt to write discrimination into the constitution due to religious objections. Marriage is nothing more than a civil ceremony and legal entanglement between two people. Gay people have constitutitonal individual rights like everybody else. Yet another graying of the church/state line.

    I disagree here also. FMA was not a religious law, though the morality underlying the law may have in part been informed by religion (as is probably true of every law). FMA was quite secular. As you have said, homosexuals have individual rights. Rights accrue to the homosexual individual because of his individual humanity. But an individual does not marry– couples do. Once the homosexual aims to marry he aims to cease becoming a mere individual, instead to be seen as an integral unit of a couple. By use of marriage homosexuals aim to accrue rights not as a result of their individual humanity, but as a result of their attempts to be a pair. So then how do we treat the new organism created by marriage?

    We accept that all kinds of individuals are created equal because all individuals share the same essential nature. But no degree of logic will compel us to accept that all kinds of couples are equal because, quite clearly, all couples DO NOT share the same essential nature. The issue here then concerns whether humans, every one of whom is comprised of heterosexuality, have the right to reject pairings that reflect identities other than the heterosexuality that underlies their very existence. They most certainly do because no one has a right to force anyone else to acknowledge that which is contrary to ones own existence. That was really at work in FMA. In fact it is precisely the reason why most of the world instinctively rejects homosexuality and why it always will.

    Faith based initiatives

    Not neccessarily a mingling of church and state.

    Teaching ID in school

    Nope.

    Air Force academy scandal… the lsit goes on.

    Nope.

  61. 61
    Simon says:

    Anyone is free to say anything they want. If a minister endorses a politician or engages in politicking in the church, then the church should lose their tax exempt status.

    In other words, the federal government comes down on the church simply because a minister speaks his mind which is his Constitutional right. According to the Constitution, the state should be blind to the workings of the church, neither establishing any particular church nor prohibiting any churchs freedom of speech.

    What? Take a look up in the comments buddy. You brought the word “extermination” into these comments, not me. I was just pointing out your slimy use of it.

    Oh yes. You used the word murder. (grin)

    Look, if there was ample legal evidence (living will, wife’s sworn testimony, etc.) that your wish was to be kept in a vegitative state forever and people were trying to disconnect your feeding tube reagardless, I would be outraged and stand by your right to have your wishes carried out.

    But no such document or proven testimony existed in Schaivos case and yet you were hot to have her killed. This is in part why I think that were the chips down and my death promised some sort of relief for you, you would have me killed. That the Christians fought so valiantly for the principle of life, even for one dismissed as a vegetable implies to me that they value me more than you. This is why I support the Christians and reject you. I can do none else. Hey. It is just my opinion nothing more, but nothing less.

    [what about the dead baby in Texas? And what about] Jefferson’s “regularly” attending church, please provide sources so I can review them.

    I do not know about the baby in Texas. So I cant really comment on it without researching the particulars. I certainly cant trust your word on it, as you undoubtedly understand. As for Jefferson and church, I am just going to have to leave it up to you to find it for yourself or simply reject my claim. Its your choice (though I am fairly certain which you will choose). It is just now apparent to me that further dialog with you is a waste of time. I don’t think you are interested in a reasonable locking of horns, but simply wish to try “beating” someone. This doesn’t interest me. When you learn better self-control and are able to discuss these issues like an adult, then perhaps we might engage once again.

  62. 62
    Kimmitt says:

    In other words, the federal government comes down on the church simply because a minister speaks his mind which is his Constitutional right.

    Nobody’s coming down on everyone. The fact that charities have tax exemptions while political organizations do not is not a matter of religious freedom or civil rights; it is a matter of tax policy. If a church decides to violate tax policy, it can look forward to a tax bill. This isn’t difficult.

  63. 63
    Simon says:

    In re your last comment – a blatant ad hominem attempt to get out of the situation – you are the one who continually fails to address what I write. I am fully interested in having a reasonable conversation. It’s difficult though when the person speaking to you continually accuses you (of whom you have zero personal knowledge) of wanting to kill someone or “would have me killed”.

    …the federal government comes down on the church…

    Where? Give us cites of this. If you can’t, you are spreading lies and propaganda, plain and simple. And please stop with the overheated rhetoric; you’d think the Air Force was dropping bombs on these churches.

    neither establishing any particular church nor prohibiting any churchs freedom of speech.

    Again, where is anyone prohibiting a church’s freedom of speech (I thought it was an individual’s right). The government lets churches operate tax free, which is fine by me. The only action possible here would be to remove it’s tax exempt status because it is acting in a political regard and not a religious. There are many non-profit organizations that have to deal with the same thing. Obviously, they’d love to endorse one candidate over the other based on past records, but then they’d lose their tax exempt status. Churches aren’t being treated differently than any of those.

    Oh yes. You used the word murder. (grin)

    That’s rich, and actually, yet again, you are wrong and the record is above for all to see. You said above, “theyve proven to me that if they feel pressure to exterminate a certain human or human group, then rather than suffer on behalf of the threatened group they will seek justification to permit their murder.” I simply used your words in response to show how ridiculous and over the top they were. Thank you so much for adding the “(grin)” at the end, as it just makes you look that much more unbelievable.

    But no such document or proven testimony existed in Schaivos case

    Wrong again. Upwards of 17 judges thought that such testimony did exist and judged the case accordingly. It was appealed over and over again and there was never any proof on your side of the argument. Just because you want to believe that she didn’t really tell her husband she wouldn’t want to remain in that condition doesn’t make it so. I’m given to trusting someone’s spouse before a random stranger in matters like this, especially when there is no evidence of wrongdoing on the spouse’s behalf and a truckload of false, trumped up charges on the other side.

    yet you were hot to have her killed.

    Again, your adult level argument is to proclaim that I was ‘hot to have her killed’. Obviously that’s a ridiculous thing to say, but there it is.

    my death promised some sort of relief for you, you would have me killed

    I can’t imagine how your death could possibly provide me with relief. I have nothing against you and if someone were infringing on your rights I would fight for you.

    implies to me that they value me more than you.

    That just makes you a sucker.

    I can do none else.

    Exactly, logic and reasoning be damned.

    I do not know about the baby in Texas. So I cant really comment on it without researching the particulars. I certainly cant trust your word on it, as you undoubtedly understand. As for Jefferson and church, I am just going to have to leave it up to you to find it for yourself or simply reject my claim. Its your choice (though I am fairly certain which you will choose).

    Yes, yes, you can’t trust my word because I’ve stated falsehoods above. Could you point one out, or are you not interested in having an actual discussion based on factual evidence? The funny thing about this last comment is that I really was hoping for you to provide factual evidence of Jefferson’s piety so that I could evaluate it and possibly modify my position already based on plenty of research in the area. You on the otherhand will undoubtedly not look up the case of the baby in Texas because it would run against your immovable ideology. You don’t want facts, you want submission. You. Are. Wrong.

  64. 64
    Tony Alva says:

    Simply stated, when the president and other Washington power brokers cut short vacations to rush back to DC to pass “special” legislation after appeals have been exhausted, I’d say a graying of church/state seperation has occured. Can’t be spun any other way.

  65. 65
    Simon says:

    Kimmitt:

    The church has historically been exempt from taxes even before the establishment clause separated the church from the state. From 1777 onward churches were either effectively or explicitly exempt. The church would not cross the wall between church and state to be promoted by government (Madison disallowed, for example, the federal government – not states – to pay for people to teach Christianity), and the government would not compel taxation, thereby using funds to prohibit free exercise of religion (which happened in Europe). In all this time, from the colonial era right up to 1954, church leaders enjoyed their Constitutional right to free speech.Indeed, churches in general, as bodies of freely associating individuals, had the right to engage politically while remaining separate from the state.

    Today the individual rights of pastors is being infringed. It is Constitutionally invalid and against our history to employ extra-constitutional federal policies as a means to infringe upon individual rights. It is against our history and law to craft “policies” that push the federal government across the wall of separation merely because individuals enjoy their innate human rights. Else, there is no need for the Constitution.

  66. 66
    Simon says:

    Tony:

    We will just have to disagree. I see no religion even in the special legislation. Religious people have as much right as anyone to lobby the government, and just because the government responds to them is no reason to claim the church and state line is blurred. To agree with you is to claim government should at all times ignore religious people simply because the religious people are informed by religious views. That is un-American.

  67. 67

    Denying churches tax-exempt status if they endorse a candidate is a violation of their freedom of speech?? Wow! You are one scary mofo Simon.

    Read this again, and again, and again until you realize the absurdity of your claim above:

    You: “neither establishing any particular church nor prohibiting any churchs freedom of speech.”

    Other Simon: “Again, where is anyone prohibiting a church’s freedom of speech (I thought it was an individual’s right). The government lets churches operate tax free, which is fine by me. The only action possible here would be to remove it’s tax exempt status because it is acting in a political regard and not a religious. There are many non-profit organizations that have to deal with the same thing. Obviously, they’d love to endorse one candidate over the other based on past records, but then they’d lose their tax exempt status. Churches aren’t being treated differently than any of those.”

  68. 68
    Simon says:

    Prior to 1787 local religious communities, fearful that a federal government that would limit their existing freedoms, wanted and received assurances from the Founders that the federal government would be constitutionally prohibited from in any way restricting religion. The Founders (specifically Jefferson) explained that a wall would exist between the church and federal government, leaving the church to operate freely, to serve the particular needs and desires of local populations as she has always served them. From these assurances came our existing Establishment and Free Exercise clauses.

    The church in America has historically been free to operate as she sees fit, as long as she did not steal the rights of others (i.e. break the law). That she spoke to politics caused no breach in the Establishment Clause because there is no true line between the political and religious. Everything is religious, including abortion, marriage, taxes, congressional campaigns, the best moral view on these issues and which politician should be supported because he or she embraces these views.

    The Establishment Clause never has prohibited and does not today prohibit political speech or any other speech in the church or from the church. It only deals with the power of Congress to pass law promoting religion. The clause simply says congress shall make no LAW establishing religion. The Founders wished to establish a secular (not atheist) federal government that makes no federal comment on how religion acts locally. And our history bears this out because from the moment the clause was penned until modern times churches remained free to conduct themselves as they always have, including having the freedom to speak their minds.

    To seal church freedom in American law the Founders gave us the Free Exercise clause. This clause makes clear that Congress will never pass a law infringing the free exercise of religion. Put simply, the federal government would have no right to control the church. Historically, the way the first Amendment has protected America has been to deny federal power over the church while denying any church a right to enjoy federal law promoting its particular theology. This has been the practice of our country until recent novel changes destroyed the traditional freedom of religion.

    Passing law that taxes the church merely because the church takes a certain view is a clear violation of the Founders promise. It restricts the traditional freedom of the church to operate as she always has, removing one constitutional right because individuals decide to enjoy another. The church in America was free until Democrats in 1954 assaulted her. Today Democrats, leftist Republicans and even some so-called conservatives wage war against historical freedom of religion. Democrats and leftist Republicans assault religious freedom because they simply do not like much of the churchs message. Many so-called Conservatives do so because they have fallen victim to the new and dangerous anti-freedom paradigm, thinking that mere speech actually imposes upon others when it does no such thing.

    But merely because one does not like a certain freedom does not give one the right to break the legal promise of the continuation of that freedom. Churches ought not lose their traditional separation from federal control simply because their members enjoy their constitutional rights. And though other people and groups may accept being subject to restriction, it gives no reason to anyone else to have their freedoms destroyed. Speech does not break a leg or steal money. It is just speech, and in America it has been free until now. It should continue to be free regardless of what it is or where it originates. This is what the Constitution guarantees.

    If we allow the churchs freedoms and the individual freedom of pastors to be destroyed by extra-constitutional law, then the same methods we now employ against them will quite likely be employed against us. We have caused a lot of ill will by oppressing people as we have, forcing them by the unconstitutional might of government to be silent and accept things no one has a right to force them to accept. We ought not deceive ourselves that the current order will continue indefinitely.

  69. 69

    Simon. I already understand your case, so you didn’t need to type all that. With that said you are wrong. No one is being oppressed in the church.

    It is simple. A church can endorse a political candidate if they choose to do so. No one is stopping the church from doing this. However, if they choose to do so, then they are no longer a religious organization and should expect to lose their tax exempt status. Strictly religious organizations do have the right to not be taxed. Their tax exempt status is a priveledge that they receive by sticking to delivering a religious message. Once they choose to cross the line and deliver an endorsement of a political candidate, well then they are no longer just a religious organization but rather a political one. They LOSE their tax exempt priveledge. Political organizations DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, have the right to remain free from government regulation because they do not fall under the free exercise clause.

    Furthermore, you should know that the government is pretty lienent when it comes to politics and churches. Unless a pastor deliberately comes out and endorses a candidate, the church doesn’t have to worry about losing their tax exempt status. Not only that, look at that case in NC that just passed in which the pastor said that people who voted for John Kerry needed to either confess their sins and promise to vote republican or get out of the church. That church did not lose its tax exempt status. So yea, they are quite lienent about the issue, and I think you need to keep that in mind.

  70. 70
    Simon says:

    A church can endorse a political candidate if they choose to do so. No one is stopping the church from doing this. However, if they choose to do so, then they are no longer a religious organization and should expect to lose their tax exempt status.

    You are saying here that churches can speak freely if they wish, but if they do the federal government is going to hammer their traditional rights, rights long promised them by the Founders and by the Establishment Clause. That is not freedom and it is not American.

    Churches have long spoken freely on politics since there is no objective place where one ceases to be strictly religious. In other words, your definition of strictly religious is as arbitrary as your definition of strictly political. These definitions are recent, being picked out of thin air for your own purposes. They have nothing to do with the essential vision of America shared by Washington and Jefferson.

    Strictly religious organizations do have the right to not be taxed. Their tax exempt status is a priveledge that they receive by sticking to delivering a religious message.

    This is quite false. The tax exemption is a right churches receive and have long received even before the establishment of the Constitution. They received this right despite their well-established freedom to speak openly on politics and everything else. They received tax-exemption under the Constitution because they are free of all federal control, no matter what they choose to say. This has always been true until recently, when the left decided it did not wish the church to be free.

    Once they choose to cross the line and deliver an endorsement of a political candidate, well then they are no longer just a religious organization but rather a political one. They LOSE their tax exempt priveledge.

    There is a Constitutional wall separating the church from the state and that wall gives the church the right of separation from federal control, including exemption from taxes. What you claim is that when a church leader simply says I like this guy and hope he is elected, the church crosses over the wall, breaking the Constitution. It is a novel view because church leaders for almost our entire history have been free to speak as they wished and no one thought they broke the law by merely uttering sounds. The church is no more joined to the state by free speech than Spain was when its leader supported John Kerry.

    The prevailing view exists only because of a new and growing hostility to the church. It is not only contrary to our history and to the reading of the law, it is patently unfair both to those it hinders and to American law.

    The prevailing view in effect claims that the church can legitimately harm the Constitution, mingling church and state, and suffer only an annual fee for the infraction. This view does not honor the Constitution. It implies America has no bedrock principle of the separation of church and state, no principle of religious freedom and no principle of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is unavailable to certain people– unless they buy it. That should cause even the least patriotic among us to grow ill.

    This sort of enshrined hypocrisy was never meant for us. It was pulled out of thin air because some powerful leftist senators decided, for their own purposes, that they wished freedom of speech to be denied church leaders. Now this anti-freedom is the law of the land.

    Political organizations DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, have the right to remain free from government regulation because they do not fall under the free exercise clause.

    Merely because church leaders exercise their right to speak freely is no reason to claim they are mysteriously no longer church leaders. The federal government does not even have legitimate authority to declare when speech ceases to be religious and when it becomes political. The government ought not even be in the business of speech policing. The left has simply arrogated to itself this dangerous authority in recent years.

    Furthermore, you should know that the government is pretty lienent when it comes to politics and churches.

    Of course this is quite beside the point. If the federal government has the right to murder you at its whim, but decides not to murder you, you still have good reason to fear this right. In fact, you have a right to life and the government ought not have the right to invalidly infringe it. That is what needs to be established above all else, regardless of the governments supposed lenience.

    I can see, since you are evidently quite impressed by the supposed lenience of a government that takes your rights, that I have no chance of getting you to understand my view. And I weary of the attempt. As an American I can by no means accept your view. But I leave you with this thought: I do believe that under my view, the traditional view espoused by Americans for almost all of our history, everyones freedoms remain ever intact and cannot be infringed under any pretext. Under the novel prevailing view no ones freedom is secure. All one needs is a pretext and a good marketing plan.

  71. 71
    Kimmitt says:

    Simon — what’s to keep me from calling my political campaign a church in order to give my political donors tax-exempt status under your approach?

  72. 72
    Simon says:

    Kimmitt:

    I am not sure I follow you. This is not my approach, but the way America has handled these matters until the left destroyed our historic freedoms by recent extra-constitutional changes and activist courts.

    There is nothing to keep you from calling your political campaign a church, and since, like a church, your campaign will not generate a profit, it should pay no taxes. As for your speech, your campaign should at all times keep its freedom without the federal government exacting a charge for it. It is a constitutional right that should never be infringed.

    On the other hand, you as an individual should always pay taxes. Merely because a church is recognized as a church does not give the churchs donors the right to be tax-exempt. Church members, including the pastors and other leaders, must all pay taxes in some form.

    I feel a bit like mythical Columbus trying to convince humans that they stand on a round earth and not the flat surface in which they so desperately wish to believe. Somehow, we have truly become brainwashed by the lefts fear and hatred of Christianity so that now it is generally scornful to suggest that every American, whatever his station and position in life, should be free to speak his mind. Merely advocating for this freedom is enough to provoke in Americans the strongest hostility and resistance.

    If religion is so frightful to us that to control it we think we must abandon constitutional principles, then we have already lost the war on terrorism, and it is just a matter of time now before everyone realizes it.

  73. 73

    “There is nothing to keep you from calling your political campaign a church, and since, like a church, your campaign will not generate a profit, it should pay no taxes.”

    Which would extend the free exercise clause to political organizations. Where exactly is this in the Constitution?!

    Thank you for proving you are indeed a dumbass, keep living in your delusional world where the evil leftists have brought down religious freedom, Simon.

  74. 74
    Simon says:

    Which would extend the free exercise clause to political organizations. Where exactly is this in the Constitution?!

    It is in the first ten Amendments. The Free Exercise Clause was given not to give the church any additional rights above everyone else. It was given in response to fearful ministers to clearly establish that the church, any church, would be free to enjoy its traditional freedoms without federal infringement.

    If your political campaign wants to call itself a church, there is nothing prohibiting it from speaking its mind or doing anything else.

    Merely that you are a member or pastor of church does not prohibit you from running for office because the Constitution has NO RELIGIOUS TEST for or against you.

    Merely that you operate as a pastor of a church does not unconstitutionally mingle church and state because your actions do not pass law upholding, promoting or respecting the establishment of your specific church doctrine to the exclusion of others.

    This is how America has always operated – until recent years. Contrary to popular belief, we live on a round earth. (g)

  75. 75
    Simon says:

    Original Simon here.

    Let me just close out this comments thread by saying that the other Simon has over and over again proven himself incapable of rational, logical thought. He’s a just a scared little boy afraid of the left bogeyman that has nearly zero power in this country at the moment.

    Simon, please do me two favors.

    1) Do some historical research on the damage done when religion is in any way infused in the government, like say the problems in England/Ireland. Just check it out and understand why, just as you are afraid of the government crossing the line and influencing religion, there is very ample reason for fearing the influence of government by religion. It just never, ever works out well. Look it up.

    2) Take a hyperbole management class. You’ve used the words “hammer” and “destroy” when talking about the right to not be taxed and even compared it to having the government murder us all. All anyone’s talking about here is… wait for it… taxes. Maybe you should check out Robertson’s and Falwell’s bank accounts as well, because there seem to be some profits there. If the churches are being DESTROYED by taxation (even though this hasn’t actually happened to my knowledge), then those two pharisee leeches can give back some of their millions they’ve sucked off of suckers like you.

    3) This one’s a bonus. Think before you speak and do a little more reading, because it’s rather easy to DESTROY!?!?! most of your arguments. Mwahaahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

    p.s. – sorry, I’m listening to the new System of a Down.

  76. 76
    Simon says:

    1) Do some historical research on the damage done when religion is in any way infused in the government, like say the problems in England/Ireland.

    The Founders did not insert the Establishment Clause to destroy the free speech of church leaders. This destruction took place only recently. Merely because the left is afraid of what happened in the past is no reason to take what the Founders created and then corrupt it by destroying rights that belong to individuals.

    Just check it out and understand why, just as you are afraid of the government crossing the line and influencing religion, there is very ample reason for fearing the influence of government by religion.

    Indeed. But the solution is not to eliminate the rights of individuals simply because they work in a church. That is to allow government too much power. This was never the desire of the Founders.

    2) Take a hyperbole management class. You’ve used the words “hammer” and “destroy” when talking about the right to not be taxed and even compared it to having the government murder us all.

    If the church has historically been separate from the state so that the state was unable to tax the church, and then merely because church leaders decide to speak their minds the state taxes the church, then the state punishes the church, illegally, merely because individuals enjoy their constitutional rights. This is un-American.

    All anyone’s talking about here is… wait for it… taxes.

    The American Revolution was fought over wait for it taxes.

    Maybe you should check out Robertson’s and Falwell’s bank accounts as well, because there seem to be some profits there.

    They are individual citizens, and they pay taxes on those profits.

    If the churches are being DESTROYED by taxation (even though this hasn’t actually happened to my knowledge), then those two pharisee leeches can give back some of their millions they’ve sucked off of suckers like you.

    The rights of the churches are being destroyed, along with the rights of many who work in the churches.

  77. 77

    […] In an update to an issue I have followed closely (previous posts on this issue here, here, here, and here and here), the Air Force has issued new regulations regarding religious displays: […]

  78. 78

    […] I have discussed this at length a number of times (previous posts on this issue here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), and I was happy with the new guidelines released in August. That turned out to be short-lived. […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] I have discussed this at length a number of times (previous posts on this issue here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), and I was happy with the new guidelines released in August. That turned out to be short-lived. […]

  2. […] In an update to an issue I have followed closely (previous posts on this issue here, here, here, and here and here), the Air Force has issued new regulations regarding religious displays: […]

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