Monthly Archives: May 2015

Assassinating The American Spirit Of Independence

Extreme Endeavors

My wonderful cyber buddy, Gene, who is a WWII veteran says, “There’s a couple of these I can’t do anymore!”  Hahahahaha!

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VWf8CXwPoqI

 

The Johnson Amendment and the Agenda to Silence Christians

By  from DAVE FIORAZO.COM

AMENDMENT

We did not get here overnight. Attacks on religious freedoms and on the speech of Christians in America did not just appear in the last several years. The attempted muzzling of Christian churches and religious groups has gradually increased since a pivotal law was passed by a shrewd politician to intimidate people of faith. The repercussions have been devastating.

The 1954 Johnson Amendment passed by Congress stated that non-profits (read: Christian churches and organizations) could not speak in favor of any political candidate. Was this even constitutional?

This key but forgotten event paved the way for the increased squelching of free speech and because of the confusion and misinformation about the law, many religious leaders have been unnecessarily self-censoring for decades.

The following is an excerpt from the chapter, “The Separation of Christianity and State” in the book, The Cost of Our Silence:

“Texas Democrat, Lyndon B. Johnson, was a powerful politician running for reelection as Senator, but two anti-communist, tax-exempt groups were opposing him and passing out literature during the campaigns. He contacted the IRS and found the group’s activity was legal, so he sought other options to fight them.

Johnson shrewdly appeared on the Senate floor on July 2, 1954, and offered his amendment to a pending, massive, tax code overhaul bill. The bill was supposed to modernize the tax code. Records indicate an absence of committee hearings on the amendment. No legislative analysis took place to examine the effect the bill and the amendment would have, particularly on churches and religious organizations. The amendment was simply created to protect Johnson.

The Johnson Amendment was passed by Congress as an amendment to section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code… stating entities that are exempt from federal income tax cannot “Participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of – or in opposition to – any candidate for public office.”

1954 johnson amendment

The Left uses this to bully Christian pastors and groups with threats of losing their nonprofit status should they dare talk about the Bible as it relates to cultural, political, fiscal, and social issues, which all fall under the category of moral issues.

Erik Stanley, author and Senior Legal Counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund, explained the Johnson Amendment was a bill that got inserted into the tax code through back-room deals made by a powerful Senator seeking reelection at any cost. As a result of the bill, freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion have been trampled. Stanley stated:

We have grown up with a generation of churchgoers that believe it is illegal for their pastor to address candidates and elections in light of Scripture or church doctrine when there is no valid justification for believing that.

Johnson knew how to use the political process to silence his enemies. The new amendment not only protected him from the conservative nonprofit groups opposing him, but many pastors stopped speaking about any issue from the pulpit that might be deemed political either out of ignorance of the new law or out of fear. By this self-censoring, the church has chosen to ignore open immorality in culture and in government while at the same time neglecting to call attention to those political leaders who do strive to live according to Christian morals and values.

One might conclude Lyndon B. Johnson not only silenced America’s churches, his legislation has turned many of them into agents of the state. What about labor unions, liberal churches, and leftist organizations? Why have many of them apparently been allowed to not only endorse and support political candidates, but openly fund their campaigns? This is the hypocrisy of selective law enforcement by the (in)Justice Department and the IRS, a partisan government agency recently exposed in the targeting of conservative groups…

Have we also hesitated to address the severe persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world due to radical Islam? I have to believe we all care about Christian suffering and the fact millions have lost their lives because of their faith in Jesus Christ. What I also want to believe is that religious leaders in America are not afraid to talk about why this is happening.

In an article for American Thinker, Bill Warner wrote about persecution in Islamic nations “caused by Muslim jihadists who are following the Islamic doctrine of jihad against the Christian as found in the Koran, Sira, and Hadith.” Warner points to pastors and church leaders who have become comfortable operating their churches more like 501(c)(3) institutions that have meetings on Sunday. They have a corporate mentality which he believes is one of the reasons for the denial of Christian suffering.

If you are willing to see the doctrinal roots of the ongoing murder of Christians by Muslims, then you might have to speak about it from the pulpit, and that could be seen as political speech. In spite of the fact that there has never been a 501(c)(3) revoked because of political speech by a minister, the imagined loss silences ministers. Hmmm… if a minister is worried about the IRS revoking his 501(c)(3), then whom is the minster serving? Caesar or Christ?

Are these harsh words any less true of at least a small number of religious leaders in America? If your pastor resembles more of a business person or CEO than a military leader preparing his troops for battle, it may be time to approach him in love and encourage him to address persecution, sin, the culture war, and politics from time to time.

Because many misunderstand why politics were supposedly forbidden in church, some Christians have mistakenly assumed that the process of voting and electing America’s leaders is either unbiblical or unimportant. Only about 25 percent of Christians vote in elections today. Some pastors do talk about their own obligation to impact society by equipping the saints, and do address the controversial issues of today. We need to pray for and rally around Christian leaders such as these.

Though the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment will continue to be wrongly applied to cases involving religion, we can help by raising awareness. We can also elect representatives who revere the Bible they place their hand on when taking their oath of office. Enemies of Christianity and of America have become emboldened, and people of faith need to be reminded we are provided the freedom of religion and its expression under the Constitution.

Our ultimate allegiance and responsibility however, is to the Word of God.

The truth is churches have a tremendous amount of freedom. From the pulpit, actual limitations include: Pastors cannot openly endorse a particular candidate, tell people whom to vote for, or contribute church money to a campaign. A pastor is absolutely free to do so as an individual outside the church. Pastors, churches, and nonprofits can lawfully speak in detail about all biblical issues. They may also quote any Scripture in the Bible, discuss unethical abortion funding and the protection of marriage, and distribute voter guides and information as well as register folks to vote. Churches can invite politicians to come in and speak to their congregations as long as they extend an invitation to both parties.

I do understand the concern some pastors have about mixing religion and government, but we cannot divorce our faith from our politics. If we do, we’d have to leave Jesus at home or outside when we enter the voting booth if that were even possible. Politics affect many areas of our lives, and the Bible has answers and instructions for every single one. Christians must have a voice when it comes to who is elected, what policies get promoted, and which laws get passed.

Someone’s legislation and worldview will surely be enacted and enforced in America – so will it be those who oppose Christianity or those who support it?

Are we willing to remind and inform this generation about who we are and what America once was? Are we willing to speak the truth about Christ and culture no matter how unpopular we may become? The nation has not yet declined to a point of total ungodliness and destruction, and our government needs our prayers and our participation to generate a revival. Concerned Christians must unite again. Every believer should see the need to speak up with a sense of urgency whether you are a parent, a pastor, or a person in the public square.

The Reverend Don Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association, has been instrumental in fighting for the family and Christian values in our country. He wrote the following over ten years ago:

Today, 4,000 innocent precious lives of unborn babies were snuffed out . . . And 300,000 pulpits are silent . . . The networks make a mockery of Christians, the Christian faith and Christian values with nearly every show they air. Greed, materialism, violence, sexual immorality are standard fare. Program after program, movie after movie contains anti-Christian episodes and plots. News articles condescendingly refer to the “fundamentalists, right-wing Christians.” Those who speak out for the sacredness of life are branded as extremists. And 300,000 pulpits are silent.

Teenage suicide is the highest it has ever been . . . Christian morality cannot be taught in schools, but atheistic immorality can . . . And 300,000 pulpits are silent. Rape has increased 700 percent in the last fifty years, and that takes into consideration the population growth . . . And 300,000 pulpits are silent.

Rock music fills the airwaves and our children’s minds with music which legitimizes rape, murder, forced sex, sadomasochism, adultery, satanic worship, etc. And 300,000 pulpits are silent. A majority of states now have lotteries [gambling has been legalized, no longer a crime]. And 300,000 pulpits are silent.

Perhaps your pastor or church leader has in fact been speaking out on these and many other problems in our society. Thank him and encourage him! You are blessed to have him and the church in America needs more like him. Our hope is for Christian leaders to do what Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church in Germany chose to do; put the Word of God above all things. We must not have any gods besides the one true God. Real faith cannot be silenced by government orders.

If we do nothing and the majority remains silent, the secular progressives win. Then, with God removed from all aspects of American society, they will be the ones to rule, deciding what is right and wrong, true and false, moral and immoral.

As the great Reverend Charles Finney once said,

“God will bless or curse America depending on the course Christians take in politics; they must vote for honest men and take consistent ground.”

We have been losing ground because Christians have not first been firmly established in their faith, and second; we have not been openly preaching and living the Word of God without compromise. I admit my past failures in this area and have confessed them to the Lord; how about you?

The most important thing is not winning battles for culture or country, but winning eternal battles for the kingdom of God. To win the souls of men, the whole truth of the whole gospel must be proclaimed. True Christianity cannot be confined behind the walls of any church…

Which way are we Headed? Choose One!

slavery

Unfortunately the reality is, we never have owned our property, the county or state owns it.  Just try not paying your real estate taxes.

Interview: John Birch Society’s Art Thompson Speaks on the Dangers of Con Con

What really happened in Ireland's election: Massive US-funded “gay marriage" blitzkrieg as never seen before. Are other countries next?

Nationwide vote would have surely failed otherwise. This should be a wake-up call around the world.

POSTED: May 28, 2015

Last Friday’s 62% vote in Ireland to legalize “gay marriage” has been hailed as a triumph of progressive thinking by the mainstream media and the political establishment. The outcome shocked many in the pro-family movement. But what the mainstream press isn’t reporting is even more shocking.

The well-funded propaganda blitz in full swing.
There is no question that the secularization of Ireland, the weakness of the Catholic Church and refusal of the Pope to intervene, the corrupt political class, and the relentless pro-gay media were all contributing factors to the “gay marriage” vote.
But the “Yes” vote would still have most likely failed if it had been a normal Irish election. Those same general conditions existed in many places here in the U.S. from California to Maine where “gay marriage” failed to win a popular vote.
This “culture war” election was conducted under extraordinary conditions that have never been seen anywhere before in the West. As we described in our pre-election article virtually all of the effort to pass “gay marriage” in Ireland came from massive funding from the United States – primarily a billion-dollar pro-gay foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies – in a sophisticated campaign spanning over a decade.

Background: Years of referendum losses by the LGBT movement

To understand how this Irish election was won, a bit of history from the U.S. is in order.
Most of us forget that for over 20 years, the idea of a “gay marriage” referendum passing anywhere seemed next to impossible. From 1998 to 2009, there were 31 statewide votes to completely ban “gay marriage.” All of them won. Some won by majorities as high as 80%. Even in Massachusetts, the LGBT lobby fought furiously to keep a “gay marriage” ban from coming to a vote. Their own leaders had come to believe that the only way they would make any “progress” in the U.S. was through the courts.

The big LGBT turnaround in 2012

Then, after the their 2009 “gay marriage” referendum defeat in Maine, the homosexual movement decided to craft an entirely new approach toward elections.
They brought together groups of political strategists, psychologists, pollsters, organizing experts, and various “think tank” types. They meticulously studied the data and their election experiences and designed a new set of strategies and tactics to win against their “right wing” adversaries.
They created a sophisticated propaganda campaign. They shipped thousands of activists into key voting areas to canvass door to door. In order to soften the average people toward homosexuality and create an animus against traditional religious values, they resurrected many of the “big lie” techniques used by the 20th century totalitarian movements. For example, people were told over and over that not allowing “gay marriage” was bad for the economy and that only backward, ignorant, and superstitious people still were against it. Homosexuality was said to be the next phase of the Civil Rights movement. A key talking point was that by supporting “gay marriage” you are “on the right side of history” – a Marxist concept (later used by the Third Reich).
Fundraising became a major part of the strategy. For earlier elections they had casually raised about the same amount (or less) than the pro-family side. But now, they would tap the “gay” moneymen for very large sums of money.
And it all worked. In November 2012 they won all four statewide “gay marriage” referendum votes: Maine (a re-vote), Minnesota, Maryland, and Washington. In those races they spent between five and ten times as much as the pro-family side. Their propaganda was shrewd – for instance, putting forward friendly faces of “gay” couples who seemed just liked everyone else. Their winning margins were not large (between 51% and 53%), but they won.
Shortly after the 2012 wins, the LGBT movement published an article in a Maine newspaper describing much of their “turnaround” process. And since then, they’ve been virtually unstoppable.

Laying the groundwork in Ireland over a decade earlier

Funded primarily by Atlantic Philanthropies, the Irish LGBT lobby groups started laying the groundwork over a decade in advance. Their ambitions multi-year plan (which they later outlined HERE) included a very sophisticated and aggressive lobbying effort targeting Ireland’s key politicians, which resulted in a long string of “incremental” parliamentary successes for the LGBT movement.
The National Catholic Register recently published a very good article chronicling this. Also, the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts has compiled a complete list of the major anti-family political actions over the past decades that helped bring Ireland to the state it’s in.
However, from the beginning the main goal from all of this for both the Irish LGBT groups and their American funders was to soften up the Irish citizenry to eventually win a nationwide “gay marriage” vote, which for constitutional reasons had to be done by a nationwide referendum. The referendum finally took place on May 22, 2015.

Ramping up for a nationwide “gay marriage” vote in Ireland

It’s one thing to get a country’s parliament to chip away at the moral underpinnings through legislation. But it’s a much different challenge to get a country with a thousand-year Catholic culture to accept “gay marriage” through a nationwide vote.
So to take on the Irish election, the LGBT movement ramped up their effort tremendously over what they did for the elections back in the U.S.
The total LGBT funding to achieve “gay marriage” in Ireland has been estimated at between $17 and $25 million – roughly 50 times what was raised and spent by the pro-family side. Their execution was planned and focused rather than scattered and haphazard as our side’s tended to be.
The campaign with lengthy and intense (and expensive) nationwide propaganda using psychological manipulation techniques to pound the entire country. The average person could barely grasp the force that was coming at him. And that was just the beginning.
The arguments were not rational or truthful, but completely emotional.
People were told over and over that those opposed to “gay marriage”:

  • Are opposed to democracy
  • Will damage lives
  • Are against human rights
  • Will hurt Ireland’s international reputation
  • Will hurt Ireland’s economy
  • Are in favor of discrimination
  • Are against love
  • Are hateful and bigoted
  • Are stupid and backwards

This all had a horrible effect on our side while galvanizing their supporters. It got to a point where people who persisted in holding these “backward” beliefs were considered inferior humans by the supporters. One could literally lose his job over it. A particularly nasty venom was directed at religious believers and the Catholic Church. Many of our people became frightened and confused, while the other side became bolder and more vicious.

The “big lie” techniques were alive and well in Ireland.

Ireland gets a lesson in ‘election mechanics’

As the election neared, the polls showed a 78% “Yes” vote coming up. But the homosexual movement knew they still weren’t safe.
Their brain trust realized early on that a great many people would simply “go underground” with their views and would vote their conscience on election day, but would respond to pollsters in a “politically correct” manner. They also knew that the bulk of hardcore “gay marriage” supporters were young people who had a terrible record of voting or even being registered.
They could still lose if those they really needed (those responding emotionally) didn’t register or vote. So months before the election – with the help of the country’s police force – they set up pro-gay marriage voter registration areas at college campuses. According to eyewitness reports, these booths illegally skipped required steps in the registration in order to process more people. Over 50,000 college students were registered in this manner, and others already registered were identified. In addition, according to reports, they also had paid canvassers make sure that their likely supporters in the cities were registered to vote.
Then on election day, using sophisticated social media and other techniques, they had the most massive “get-out-the-vote” effort ever seen in Ireland. As a result, over 90% of known pro-gay marriage supporters voted, and 95% of registered college voters, according to one report. On the other hand, many pro-family people, we were told, feeling overwhelmed and beaten down by the psychological techniques used against them and with no overall get-out-the-vote organization, never made it to the polls.
Nobody in Ireland had ever seen anything like this. There is no question that if the election had been conducted on an even playing field from the beginning (or even with just a 2-1 funding advantage) the “Yes” side would not have prevailed. As one Irish voter observed, “If usual voing patterns had prevailed this would have been easily defeated.”

What really happened in Ireland’s election: Massive US-funded “gay marriage” blitzkrieg as never seen before. Are other countries next?

Nationwide vote would have surely failed otherwise. This should be a wake-up call around the world.

POSTED: May 28, 2015

Last Friday’s 62% vote in Ireland to legalize “gay marriage” has been hailed as a triumph of progressive thinking by the mainstream media and the political establishment. The outcome shocked many in the pro-family movement. But what the mainstream press isn’t reporting is even more shocking.


The well-funded propaganda blitz in full swing.

There is no question that the secularization of Ireland, the weakness of the Catholic Church and refusal of the Pope to intervene, the corrupt political class, and the relentless pro-gay media were all contributing factors to the “gay marriage” vote.

But the “Yes” vote would still have most likely failed if it had been a normal Irish election. Those same general conditions existed in many places here in the U.S. from California to Maine where “gay marriage” failed to win a popular vote.

This “culture war” election was conducted under extraordinary conditions that have never been seen anywhere before in the West. As we described in our pre-election article virtually all of the effort to pass “gay marriage” in Ireland came from massive funding from the United States – primarily a billion-dollar pro-gay foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies – in a sophisticated campaign spanning over a decade.

Background: Years of referendum losses by the LGBT movement

To understand how this Irish election was won, a bit of history from the U.S. is in order.

Most of us forget that for over 20 years, the idea of a “gay marriage” referendum passing anywhere seemed next to impossible. From 1998 to 2009, there were 31 statewide votes to completely ban “gay marriage.” All of them won. Some won by majorities as high as 80%. Even in Massachusetts, the LGBT lobby fought furiously to keep a “gay marriage” ban from coming to a vote. Their own leaders had come to believe that the only way they would make any “progress” in the U.S. was through the courts.

The big LGBT turnaround in 2012

Then, after the their 2009 “gay marriage” referendum defeat in Maine, the homosexual movement decided to craft an entirely new approach toward elections.

They brought together groups of political strategists, psychologists, pollsters, organizing experts, and various “think tank” types. They meticulously studied the data and their election experiences and designed a new set of strategies and tactics to win against their “right wing” adversaries.

They created a sophisticated propaganda campaign. They shipped thousands of activists into key voting areas to canvass door to door. In order to soften the average people toward homosexuality and create an animus against traditional religious values, they resurrected many of the “big lie” techniques used by the 20th century totalitarian movements. For example, people were told over and over that not allowing “gay marriage” was bad for the economy and that only backward, ignorant, and superstitious people still were against it. Homosexuality was said to be the next phase of the Civil Rights movement. A key talking point was that by supporting “gay marriage” you are “on the right side of history” – a Marxist concept (later used by the Third Reich).

Fundraising became a major part of the strategy. For earlier elections they had casually raised about the same amount (or less) than the pro-family side. But now, they would tap the “gay” moneymen for very large sums of money.

And it all worked. In November 2012 they won all four statewide “gay marriage” referendum votes: Maine (a re-vote), Minnesota, Maryland, and Washington. In those races they spent between five and ten times as much as the pro-family side. Their propaganda was shrewd – for instance, putting forward friendly faces of “gay” couples who seemed just liked everyone else. Their winning margins were not large (between 51% and 53%), but they won.

Shortly after the 2012 wins, the LGBT movement published an article in a Maine newspaper describing much of their “turnaround” process. And since then, they’ve been virtually unstoppable.

Laying the groundwork in Ireland over a decade earlier

Funded primarily by Atlantic Philanthropies, the Irish LGBT lobby groups started laying the groundwork over a decade in advance. Their ambitions multi-year plan (which they later outlined HERE) included a very sophisticated and aggressive lobbying effort targeting Ireland’s key politicians, which resulted in a long string of “incremental” parliamentary successes for the LGBT movement.

The National Catholic Register recently published a very good article chronicling this. Also, the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts has compiled a complete list of the major anti-family political actions over the past decades that helped bring Ireland to the state it’s in.

However, from the beginning the main goal from all of this for both the Irish LGBT groups and their American funders was to soften up the Irish citizenry to eventually win a nationwide “gay marriage” vote, which for constitutional reasons had to be done by a nationwide referendum. The referendum finally took place on May 22, 2015.

Ramping up for a nationwide “gay marriage” vote in Ireland

It’s one thing to get a country’s parliament to chip away at the moral underpinnings through legislation. But it’s a much different challenge to get a country with a thousand-year Catholic culture to accept “gay marriage” through a nationwide vote.

So to take on the Irish election, the LGBT movement ramped up their effort tremendously over what they did for the elections back in the U.S.

The total LGBT funding to achieve “gay marriage” in Ireland has been estimated at between $17 and $25 million – roughly 50 times what was raised and spent by the pro-family side. Their execution was planned and focused rather than scattered and haphazard as our side’s tended to be.

The campaign with lengthy and intense (and expensive) nationwide propaganda using psychological manipulation techniques to pound the entire country. The average person could barely grasp the force that was coming at him. And that was just the beginning.

The arguments were not rational or truthful, but completely emotional.

People were told over and over that those opposed to “gay marriage”:

  • Are opposed to democracy
  • Will damage lives
  • Are against human rights
  • Will hurt Ireland’s international reputation
  • Will hurt Ireland’s economy
  • Are in favor of discrimination
  • Are against love
  • Are hateful and bigoted
  • Are stupid and backwards

This all had a horrible effect on our side while galvanizing their supporters. It got to a point where people who persisted in holding these “backward” beliefs were considered inferior humans by the supporters. One could literally lose his job over it. A particularly nasty venom was directed at religious believers and the Catholic Church. Many of our people became frightened and confused, while the other side became bolder and more vicious.

The “big lie” techniques were alive and well in Ireland.

Ireland gets a lesson in ‘election mechanics’

As the election neared, the polls showed a 78% “Yes” vote coming up. But the homosexual movement knew they still weren’t safe.

Their brain trust realized early on that a great many people would simply “go underground” with their views and would vote their conscience on election day, but would respond to pollsters in a “politically correct” manner. They also knew that the bulk of hardcore “gay marriage” supporters were young people who had a terrible record of voting or even being registered.

They could still lose if those they really needed (those responding emotionally) didn’t register or vote. So months before the election – with the help of the country’s police force – they set up pro-gay marriage voter registration areas at college campuses. According to eyewitness reports, these booths illegally skipped required steps in the registration in order to process more people. Over 50,000 college students were registered in this manner, and others already registered were identified. In addition, according to reports, they also had paid canvassers make sure that their likely supporters in the cities were registered to vote.

Then on election day, using sophisticated social media and other techniques, they had the most massive “get-out-the-vote” effort ever seen in Ireland. As a result, over 90% of known pro-gay marriage supporters voted, and 95% of registered college voters, according to one report. On the other hand, many pro-family people, we were told, feeling overwhelmed and beaten down by the psychological techniques used against them and with no overall get-out-the-vote organization, never made it to the polls.

Nobody in Ireland had ever seen anything like this. There is no question that if the election had been conducted on an even playing field from the beginning (or even with just a 2-1 funding advantage) the “Yes” side would not have prevailed. As one Irish voter observed, “If usual voing patterns had prevailed this would have been easily defeated.”

A requiem for the Boy Scouts

My comments and disclaimer: Before you read this article, please note it is written by Albert Mohler. The article is quite good in exposing what has happened to the scouts.  However, Mohler is the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who heads two UN-NGOs.  (UNITED NATION NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS).  Dr. Mohler, who is the founding fellow of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention is also a board member of Focus on the Family, which was taken over and headed by neo-con Jim Daly. Dr. Mohler’s superior at the ERLC, Richard Land, is a CFR member. To be granted NGO status, they must agree with the UN and its one-world agenda.   Dr. Land wants Christians to be “radical change agents committed to the common good.” This is clearly the language of Communitarianism and the dialectic process. A change agent’s purpose is to get others to compromise their Biblically-held truths for the “common good.” Go here to learn more about the two UN-NGOs Dr. Mohler heads.  (Two Change Agents in the Church is the title of the article.)

May 27, 2015 (AlbertMohler.com) — The Boy Scouts were doomed the moment the national leadership decided to preserve the organization at the cost of the values and ideals that gave it birth. Speaking to a national meeting of Boy Scouts of America leaders, President Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, called for the B.S.A. to abandon its policy of allowing the participation of openly gay scouts, but not the involvement of openly-gay adults.

Speaking in Atlanta, Secretary Gates told his fellow B.S.A. leaders that “we must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be.” Gates presented a matter-of-fact briefing to the leaders, speaking in entirely pragmatic terms. There was not a shred of moral insight or argument in his statement, other than his belief that the Scouts must do whatever is necessary, or face “the end of us as a national movement.”

Even as he took office last year, Gates indicated that he was not satisfied with the compromise the B.S.A. national board adopted in 2013. After insisting, just six months earlier, that the Scouts would not change their policy excluding openly-gay scouts and scouting leaders — a policy national leaders acknowledged was expected by the vast majority of scout parents — the national board crumbled under external pressure, largely from activist organizations and major corporations.

By any honest account, the policy adopted in 2013 was a compromise that anyone could see would not hold. By allowing for openly-gay scouts but not openly-gay adult leaders, the B.S.A. put itself in a no-man’s land of moral evasion. As recently as 2004 the Boy Scouts of America had maintained that homosexual conduct is “inconsistent” with the Scout Oath’s requirement that a scout be “morally straight.” By 2013 that policy — successfully defended all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States — was an embarrassment to some leaders and in some regions of the country.

But the 2013 policy was stranded in moral ambiguity. If there is nothing morally deficient with homosexuality, why allow gay scouts but not gay leaders? Furthermore, about 70 percent of all local scouting units are sponsored by religious organizations, who found themselves in the position of choosing between remaining loyal to the scouting organization or committed to their own religious convictions. Some decided to wait it out.

Predictably, the waiting is soon to be over. Gates indicated to the press that a decision is likely by October. The handwriting is on the tent wall, and the direction is set. The compromised policy of 2013 is about to be abandoned, with scouting at all levels, including adult leaders, to be open regardless of sexual orientation.

Back in 2013, those who demanded the full inclusion of gay scouts and leaders registered their dissatisfaction with the new policy. The editorial board of The New York Times called the new policy “an unprincipled position” — and they were right. As the editors pushed onward, they warned that the move “should hardly satisfy” the demand for full inclusion. Once again, they were clearly right. Both sides could see the compromise of 2013 was unprincipled and unsustainable.

Now, Secretary Gates proposes that the compromise be abandoned, accepting the inclusion of openly-gay leaders. His argument is entirely based on the self-preservation of the B.S.A. as a national organization. He made no moral argument at all. He did not celebrate the new policy he proposed on moral grounds, nor did he lament the loss of the older policy on moral grounds. There were no moral elements in his argument.

Tellingly, Gates referred to internal pressures from scouting organizations in several states that were openly defying the national ban on gay adult leaders, and he also made reference to the threat of lawsuits that, in his words, would threaten to “forbid any kind of membership standard, including our foundational belief in duty to God and our focus on serving the specific needs of boys.”

What Gates did not mention was the fact that the inclusion of openly gay leaders and scouts, along with the challenge that already comes from the feminism and transgender advocates, makes the very existence of the Boy Scouts ever more vulnerable.

The inescapable fact is that America is becoming a society in which the very idea of the Boy Scouts is increasingly implausible. The current leadership of the B.S.A. would supposedly save the Boy Scouts as an organization, but leave scouting in yet another unsustainable compromise.

That was made clear when Gates argued that the religious organizations that sponsor local units should remain free to establish their own criteria for adult leaders “consistent with their faith.” But Gates surely knows that this assurance is a very thin promise. Perhaps Gates hopes that the lawsuits will now be directed against churches, instead of against the Boy Scouts of America.

The moral disaster of the Gates proposal is matched by a legal and political disaster. Writing at The Washington Post, Sarah Kaplan and Michael E. Miller called the move by Gates “an astute capitulation,” but they also recognized the predicament Gates had made deepened:

“That’s because the Boy Scouts are now in a position where politically they can do no right. Besieged by the left for decades for not allowing gay scouts or leaders, the Boy Scouts are now being attacked from the right. By allowing gay scouts two years ago and now considering allowing gay leaders as well, a deeply traditional organization is trying to stay attuned to the times. But it also risks alienating many core members, for whom the Boy Scouts have long been a bedrock of conservative American life.”

Writing at National Review, Kevin D. Williamson nailed Gates for failing to make a moral argument, when the issue, regardless of the side one takes, is inescapably moral:

“Instead, he argues from organizational self-interest — never mind if it is right or wrong, the policy puts Scouting Inc. in a tough position, so best to abandon it. Duty to God and country? . . . Depending on your point of view, Gates is either doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason or doing the right thing for the wrong reason. ”

As Williamson argues, those who are committed to both sides of the argument over homosexuality are making a moral argument — and Gates is not. To the defenders of the Scout’s longstanding policy, Gates’s proposal is “understood as simple moral cowardice.” On the other hand, those who Williamson describes as taking “the more contemporary view of homosexuality” will see Gates’s position as “arguably even more distasteful.” In the end, “As a moral rationale, ‘the end of us as a national movement’ fails, and fails pitifully, regardless of one’s views on homosexuality.”

So true, and so sad. As a former Boy Scout, I lament the inevitable loss of scouting, knowing full well how much good the scouting movement has done in the lives of countless boys and men. Secretary Gates has signaled his determination to preserve the Boy Scouts of America “as a national movement.” Again, he told the scouting leaders, “we must deal with the world as it is, not as we might want it to be.”

Of course, he never even said how he wanted it to be. That would have required a moral argument. The most unforgivable truth about Gates’s proposal for the Boy Scouts is that it was presented with no moral argument at all. Nevertheless, the eventual requiem for the Boy Scouts will reveal a moral lesson to be sure. But it will be a lesson learned too late, and at so great a loss.

 

Marine court-martialed for refusing to remove Bible verse

By  for Fox News Opinion

A United States Marine was convicted at a court-martial for refusing to remove a Bible verse on her computer – a verse of Scripture the military determined “could easily be seen as contrary to good order and discipline.”

The plight of Lance Corporal Monica Sterling seems unbelievable – a member of the Armed Forces criminally prosecuted for displaying a slightly altered passage of Scripture from the Old Testament: “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”

Sterling, who represented herself at trial, was convicted February 1, 2014 in a court-martial at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina after she refused to obey orders from a staff sergeant to remove the Bible verses from her desk.

She was found guilty of failing to go to her appointed place of duty, disrespect toward a superior commissioned officer, and four specifications of disobeying the lawful order of a noncommissioned officer.

As it now stands – Sterling is unemployed and looking for work. It’s a process made harder because of the bad conduct discharge from the military. Hopefully Liberty Institute will be able to restore this Christian Marine’s good name and expunge the charge.

The Christian Marine was given a bad conduct discharge and a reduction in rank from lance corporal to private.

Both lower court and the appellate court ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply to her case because displaying a Bible verse does not constitute religious exercise.

“If the government can order a Marine not to display a Bible verse, they could try and order her not to get a religious tattoo, or go to church on Sunday,” said Liberty Institute attorney Michael Berry. “Restricting a Marine’s free exercise of religion is blatantly unconstitutional.”

Sterling wised up and finally got legal counsel. Now representing her are the Liberty Institute along with former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, also a law professor at Georgetown University.

Clement most recently won a Supreme Court victory on behalf of Hobby Lobby against the Affordable Care Act.

Liberty Institute and Clement plan to argue that the appellate court should have applied the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Sterling’s case – protecting her right to post Bible verses as a form of religious exercise.

According to the appellate court’s decision, they were not convinced “that displaying religious text at a shared government workstation would be protected even in a civilian federal workplace.”

They also considered the fact that Sterling’s desk was shared by other Marines.

“The implication is clear – the junior Marine sharing the desk and the other Marines coming to the desk for assistance would be exposed to biblical quotations in the military workplace,” the court declared. “It is not hard to imagine the divisive impact to good order and discipline that may result when a service member is compelled to work at a government desk festooned with religious quotations.”

Festooned with religious quotations?

Attorney Berry points out that other Marines were allowed to decorate their desks. However, the lower courts refused to allow that evidence to be admitted. And at the time of the incident – Sterling was not sharing a desk.

“This was a conflict between her and her supervisor,” he told me. “Her supervisor clearly said she did not like the tone of the Bible verses.”

Berry said the supervisor cursed at Sterling and ordered her to immediately remove the verses. She refused the order. The following day, she discovered the verses had been removed and thrown in the trash.

“Adding insult to injury, the government charged her with the crime of failing to obey a direct order because she did not remove the Bible verse,” Berry said.

According to court documents, the military maintains the “verbiage” – “No weapon formed against me shall prosper” could “easily been seen as contrary to good order and discipline.”

“Maintaining discipline and morale in the military work center could very well require that the work center remain relatively free of divisive or contentious issues such as personal beliefs, religion, politics, etc.”

Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser told me it was outrageous “that such a small strip of paper could so frighten a drill sergeant.”

“This is a very scary time when you are not allowed to have a very small printed Bible verse in your own personal workspace because it might offend other Marines,” Sasser told me. “Our Marines are trained to deal with some of the most hostile people on the planet. I don’t think they are afraid of tiny words on a tiny piece of paper.”

The Bible verse incident happened in May 2013. A few months later she was accused of failing to wear an appropriate uniform because of a medical condition.

Berry told me he believes the military was trumping up the charge sheet “to make it look that things were worse than they were.”

As it now stands – Sterling is unemployed and looking for work. It’s a process made harder because of the bad conduct discharge from the military.

Hopefully Liberty Institute will be able to restore this Christian Marine’s good name and expunge the charge.

Anything less could jeopardize the standing of every person of faith serving in the Armed Forces. Should that happen – God help us all.

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is “God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values.” Follow Todd on Twitter@ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.

 

 

Actor Al Pacino turns down role in stage adaptation of Knut Hamsun's 'Hunger' over writer's support for Adolf Hitler

I know that there will be many cynics out there who will think that Pacino’s reasons for doing this were self-serving….as for me….all I can say is : way to go, Al!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actor Al Pacino, best known for his role as Michael Corleone in The Godfather movie series, has dropped out of a stage adaptation of the novel Hunger due to the writer’s strong support for Adolf Hitler, according the The Telegraph.
Pacino signed on to narrate the play being produced by the Aveny-T theatre in Copenhagen. Pacino dropped out of the play at the last minute because “he couldn’t come to terms with Knut Hamsun’s support for the German occupation and Nazism,” said Jon Stephensen, the manager of Aveny-T.
Knut Hamsun, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920, became an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler’s Nazi regime in his 70s and 80s and praised the occupation of Norway during the Second World War. Hamsun is rumored to have sent Germany’s minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels his Nobel Prize medal as a gift to gain an audience with Adolf Hitler.
Following Hitler’s death, Hamsun wrote a eulogy where he described the Nazi leader as “a preacher of the gospel of justice for all nations.” At the end of the war, angry crowds burned Hamsun’s books in public demonstrations across Norway.
Hege Faust, the chairperson of Norway’s Hamsun Society, commented on Pacino’s decision to quit the play. “Many people choose not to read Hamsun at all, or when it comes to famous people such as Al Pacino, to risk having their name connected to him.”