NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Mayor de Blasio is Forgetting Some Important Groups

It was announced that New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio would not be attending the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in his city because homosexual participants are not permitted to carry any sign or banner which identifies them as such.1

 The mayor is clearly a man of his time.

Since 1762, it has been understood that this annual parade was simply a celebration of the ethnic heritage of one of our nation’s largest immigration groups.1  Mr. de Blasio is smart enough to recognize that proponents of politically correct causes are now able to force their unfounded messages onto inappropriate venues without danger of being stopped.  In addition, those promoting several hedonistic changes are able to spin these issues, with the blessings of much of the news media, so successfully that the invaded party is viewed as the bully.

With divisive spirit becoming the law of the land, it’s time to remind New York City’s mayor that there are other groups being shut out of the public limelight, too.  For him to be remembered as a champion of our society’s decline, these groups have to be validated:

1)   It’s high time that heterosexuals who believe in having affairs outside of marriage be allowed to carry banners proclaiming their infidelity in parades.  The goal of this public display is to convince those who criticize their behavior into conceding that the Ten Commandments are outdated in this regard, too.

2)   For too long, those who enjoy using obscenities in the entertainment world and the public square have had to deal with the disapproval of uptight traditionalists.  These mistreated individuals should be permitted to carry signs saying, “I’m a blasphemer and #@X! proud of it” and so forth.  Even if it doesn’t sway the adults, at least it will show children how the new “tolerance” can expand their social skills.

3)   When this is accomplished, then we can really get to the crucial issues of public awareness.  Other human frailties such as coping with high blood pressure or having to wear bifocals should be proclaimed with parade floats whenever possible.

Only then can true equality be achieved.

1 — “Boston, NYC mayors to skip St. Pat’s parades, by Denise Lavoie, USA Today, 2/27/2014

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Arizona’s S.B. 1062 Aims at Restoring Diminishing Freedom of Religion, An Inalienable Right

It’s strange how it’s OK to trash an inalienable right in order to legitimize a politicized cause which is contrary to that right.  It’s also strange how much support there is for the 67-year old distortion of our nation’s philosophy of “separation of church and state” which disregards its original intent explained by Thomas Jefferson 212 years ago.   In both cases, the wisdom of the original exceeds that of the “enlightened.” 

Arizona’s S.B. 1062 recognizes that freedom of religion is a legitimate right for everyone, not just for religious institutions.  This bill’s also restores some of the true meaning of “separation of church and state” which is being forgotten rapidly. 

That people might misuse religious belief as a shield to behave uncharitably is not an invalidation of the inalienable right.  Misdeeds can also be addressed with legislation, but the inalienable right cannot be suspended until all misuses are dealt with.  It would be like shutting down newspapers, radio, television and the internet until all means of criminal use were identified and controlled.     

 Original  “Separation  of  Church  and  State”  vs.  Supreme  Court’s  Misdirection

The Danbury Baptist Association wrote President Jefferson early in his first term expressing their concern that their minority status within the state would lead to laws being written which would be unfair to them.  On January 1, 1802, he attempted to calm their fears when he wrote, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” 

 The logic of his response was clearly understood until it was side-swiped by our Supreme Court in 1947 in Everson v. Board of Education with:  “The First Amendment has created a wall between church and state.  That wall must be kept high and impregnable.” 

Since then, laws and policies have been affected.  We have gone from our government merely not establishing an official religion or showing favoritism to one or more, to a climate where the state is viewed as superior to the church whenever an apparent conflict arises. 

 What  S.B. 1062  Protects

The bill is not a new legislative creation for allowing unfair treatment of people under the guise of religious belief.  It would amend existing sections of Arizona’s revised statutes regarding the “free exercise of religion.”1 

 It clarifies the state’s definition of “religious exercise” as follows (additions in capitals, deletions with lines through):

 “’Exercise of religion’ means the PRACTICE OR OBSERVANCE OF

9 RELIGION, INCLUDING THE ability to act or refusal to act in a manner

10 substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the exercise is

11 compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.”1

 
It removes an unnecessary requirement that a government must be a party such a proceeding. 

”D. A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this

18 section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial

19 proceeding, and obtain appropriate relief against a government REGARDLESS OF

20 WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT IS A PARTY TO THE PROCEEDING. THE PERSON ASSERTING

21 SUCH A CLAIM OR DEFENSE MAY OBTAIN APPROPRIATE RELIEF…”1

 
S.B. 1062 also corrects the originally restrictive language as to whose religious beliefs are to be protected.

“5. ‘Person’ includes a religious assembly or institution ANY

20 INDIVIDUAL, ASSOCIATION, PARTNERSHIP, CORPORATION, CHURCH, RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLY

21 OR INSTITUTION, ESTATE, TRUST, FOUNDATION OR OTHER LEGAL ENTITY.”1


S.B. 1062  Does  Not  Invite  Mistreatment

An article in yesterday’s Arizona Republic stated that “Contrary to the voices that oppose protecting religious freedom for all Arizonans, Senate Bill 1062 and House Bill 2153, which were approved last week, will not allow people to do ‘whatever they want’ in the name of religion” because the states may balance their interests against sincerely held religious beliefs. For example, the state can still outlaw murder even if someone claimed that his religious beliefs allowed for it.


1062’s  Critical  Definition  and  Beliefs  Cannot be  Separated  from  Actions

Our nation’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” was signed into law by President Clinton and became effective on November 16, 1993.3  It applies only to the federal government.  States may enact their own version. 

However, “Arizona’s RFRA, as it currently stands, does not contain the necessary specificity regarding who can use RFRA for protection if the government discriminates against them because of their religious faith.”3 

The authors go on to caution about the hazards of legal ambiguity by citing the well-known case involving a New Mexico photographer who refused to photograph two homosexual women’s “commitment ceremony,” not because of inherent bigotry toward the women, but because it would be her endorsement of something contrary to her beliefs about marriage.  The two women found another photographer to accommodate them, but they sued the first photographer anyway and won. 

As the authors noted, the crucial point was that:

“the ambiguity in New Mexico’s RFRA, like Arizona’s current one, allowed the New Mexico Supreme Court to hand down a strained interpretation that actually distinguished between Elaine as a photographer and Elaine as a small-business owner.”2

A person’s inherent beliefs and actions are inseparable, unless one wishes to be hypocritical a la Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Kathleen Sebelius, et al.
Outcry  Against  S.B. 1062  Tries  to  Divert  Attention  from  the  Real  Issues

AZCentral.com had a clip from Channel 12 News airing views on the bill, including these: 

Glenn Hamer, President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce expressed the concern that S.B. 1062 was “bad for business” and is “not good for the state’s image.”  The effects on business can go both ways as Arizona State Senator Al Melvin of Tucson reminded.  If this bill were to be vetoed, “what if people of faith stop moving to Arizona?”2    

Unfortunately, Mr. Hamer could be correct if the 1960s philosophy that moral standards are subjective and unimportant prevails.  As far as the “state’s image” is concerned, he’s not taking into account the manywho respect the strength of courage to do what is right.

The clip had a quote from George Takei, actor and “gay” rights activist.  He said that he, his “husband,” and others would boycott Arizona if this bill is signed into law.  He voiced his outrage: “The law is breathtaking in its scope. It gives bigotry against us gays and lesbians a powerful and unprecedented weapon,” said Takei. “But your mean-spirited representatives and senators know this.”  However, Arizona state representative John Kavanagh (R-8th District) exposes such exaggerations with:  “If that same gay couple came in for a passport photo, there is not a substantial burden upon your religion and you could not use this law to do that.”2        

There was a sign chiding supporters of S.B. 1062 to “love thy neighbor”2 – a classic “motherhood” statement which no one would dare question on the surface.  However, if they were well-formed, they would know that “hating the sin, but loving the sinner” also means not enabling him in this life.

Reasons  for  Gov.  Brewer  to  Sign  Arizona  S.B. 1062  into  Law

1)   This bill clearly states what many laws, including the HHS mandate (Obamacare), fail to recognize:  that the INDIVIDUAL is endowed with the (inalienable) right of freedom of religion and that includes being able live one’s life outside of the church building in accordance with those beliefs.

2)  The “separation of church and state” was never intended to be what it is viewed today.  This Arizona law only reaffirms what our founding fathers understood that freedom of religion is not something that can be granted by or taken away by the government. 

As Daniel L. Dreisbach reminds us: “the expansive concept of ‘separation’ was distinct from the institutional concept of ‘non-establishment.’”  In addition, he wrote, “the very nature of a wall further reconceptualizes First Amendment principles. A wall is a bilateral barrier that inhibits the activities of both the civil state and religion, unlike the First Amendment, which imposes restrictions on civil government only. The First Amendment, with all its guarantees, was entirely a check or restraint on civil government, specifically Congress. The free press guarantee, for example, was not written to protect the civil state from the press; rather, it was designed to protect a free and independent press from control by the federal government.”

3)  Freedom of religion cannot be curtailed just because some may abuse it.  And just because the President decided to leave the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unprotected, the states retain the right to preserve marriage and other concepts not recognized by the federal government.

4)  In earlier times of our nation, defending the practice of religion would not have been necessary because citizens understood their place with regard to Natural Law and to a Higher Authority.  After five decades of relativistic humanism, what should be obvious must be reaffirmed.

John Kavanagh put it concisely, “If you were trying to sue or prosecute a Roman Catholic priest who wouldn’t officiate a gay marriage, this law would protect (him).”2

5)   Ultimately, “This bill is about protecting people who want to freely live out their faith in business and the government can’t coerce them to violate their conscience as a condition of being in business.”
(Douglas Napier, senior legal counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom)2 

If these reasons are considered to be archaic, then religious persecution is the next logical step.

 

1 – from www.azleg.gov

2 – “SB 1062 opponents are putting Arizona at risk,” by Joseph La Rue and Kerri Kupec, Arizona Republic, 2/24/2014

3
– Wikipedia

4 – “The Mythical “Wall of Separation”: How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church–State Law, Policy and Discourse,” Daniel L. Dreisbach, D.Phil. (Oxford University) and J.D. (University of Virginia), is a Professor of Justice, Law, and Society at American University in Washington, D.C, The Heritage

Rand Paul is Mentally Sound, Mr. Mukasey, But You Could Use a Dose of Common Sense

Early last week on Fox News, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey was interviewed by Jenna Lee.  The subject was Congress’ extended debate over whether the President had the authority to order that drones hunt down an American who is working with Al Qaeda and who is believed to be planning attacks against the United States.

Mr. Mukasey commented that the leaking of this information to the press was likely giving the intended target advanced notice to hide, neutralizing the hard work in tracking him.  But the overriding issue was does the President or any other government official have the authority to order such a killing?  It has already occurred twice, without judicial process, causing considerable outrage on both the left and the right.1

Background

Last March, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) gave a 13-hour filibuster during the nomination of John Brennan for CIA director.  The senator’s long speech was not directed as opposition to Mr. Brennan himself, but at the continuing unanswered question regarding President Obama’s legal authority to kill a U.S. citizen on our soil with a drone strike.  He began his filibuster with, ““I rise today for the principle, that Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco, or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is an abomination.”2

In the weeks prior to this, Sen. Paul and others had not received satisfactory answers to this question of authority.  Among the group of Brennan-Obama-Holder being asked, it was Attorney General Eric Holder who was the most specific.  The quoted article put it this way, “While allowing that Obama has ‘no intention’ to blow up an American within the 50 states, he could ‘conceivably have no choice’ but to do so in an extreme emergency, akin to the September 11 or Pearl Harbor attacks.”2

In fact, the reference to Rand Paul’s suggestion that it could lead to the killing an American “sitting in a café” occurred earlier in the same day of his filibuster when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex) had asked Holder whether that would be legal.  Holder replied, “No.”2  But when Rand Paul was unable to receive a “comprehensive” statement from Holder that ““the drone program will not kill Americans who are not involved in combat,” it led to his filibuster.2

Mukasey’s  Incorrect  Diagnosis  of  Rand  Paul

Thus, it was Senator Paul’s more famous use of the statement which the former Attorney General took issue with.  Mr. Mukasey’s comments on Fox News last week:

“Rand Paul is a joke.  He’s afraid that if we kill Americans abroad who are plotting to and have killed other Americans and who are in a place, who can’t be captured, that we are then going to use drone strikes on coffee houses.  He’s actually concerned about that?”  After which he said that Sen. Paul “needs clinical help” for believing this.

Does  Mukasey  Actually  Trust  President  Obama  With  this  Kind  of  Power?

Mr. Mukasey went on to say that a drone strategy could work and it requires “somebody to analyze the situation, take action and take political responsibility for it.”

First of all, it must be pointed out that Sen. Paul’s comments (and Sen. Cruz’) are what is known as “hyperbole.”  The Free Dictionary explains hyperbole as being: “A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton.”  The senators may not be of the opinion that the President would do such a thing.

And, the former Attorney General could have been using the same tactic to describe Sen. Paul.  It still boils down to the Mukasey position that a president’s authority to use drones against U.S. citizens need not be feared.

After all, why would someone not trust a leader who:

1) kept promoting his health care bill vigorously by saying it was not an additional tax and when he knew that people could very well not keep their doctors and that our already suffering employment situation would take another hit from it… and his Administration salvaged part of a Supreme Court challenge by arguing that Obamacare IS a tax

2) protects those who go after his political enemies by proclaiming in a nationwide interview that there’s not a “smidgen’ of corruption within the IRS – when the investigation is far from over and early evidence points to the contrary3

3) repeatedly tried to dismiss the Benghazi murders as not an act of terrorism, when they were confirmed to be such by several U.S. intelligence groups, because he was in a tightly-contested election and had been reassuring the American public that “Al Qaeda is on its heels” in order to prop up his record4

4) who tried to appoint members to the NLRB when Congress was blocking him with the legal tool that they were in session during a form of recess, thus, he was later overruled by the courts

5) invested significantly in mutual funds which had holdings in companies known for outsourcing jobs as well as having invested in private equity… while he was criticizing Mitt Romney during the campaign for investing in companies which outsource U.S. jobs and in private equity.5    

6) used executive orders improperly to make changes in the Affordable Health Care Act, which can only be legally done by Congress (and misuse of “affordable” in the name of his signature legislation should be considered criminal, too)

So, Mr. Mukasey still believes we have no reason to fear the executive branch having the authority to use drones to kill Americans whom are viewed as a threat to the U.S?

But, in his defense, maybe he wasn’t taking Senators Paul and Cruz image of the café seriously.  They were only using hyperbole.  The President is trustworthy, just look at his record… then again, maybe they weren’t.

1 – “Target an American with drones?” by  Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst, 2/11/2014
2 – “Rand Paul, John Brennan and the Exploding Cafe Scenario,” by Michael Crowley, www.swampland.time.com, 3/6/2013
3 – Many of the aggrieved parties had not been given the opportunity to speak before Congress when this statement was made and former Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner had sent an email to several legal counsels within the IRS saying that her division would have to work “off plan” to reduce the granting of tax-exempt statuses then later invoked the 5th Amendment when interrogated about her involvement in this case.
4 – “Al Qaeda’s Not as Battered as Obama Thinks,” by Daniel Byman, www.newrepublic.com, 11/29/2012
5 – “Obama has investments in companies which ship jobs overseas,” by Philip Klein, www.washingtonexaminer.com, 7/17/2012  and “Despite Criticisms, Obama’s Investments Share Similarities with Romney’s,” by Daniel Halper, www.weeklystandard.com, 8/25/2012

Of Drivers’ Licenses and Marriage Licenses

“Acting on the authority given to it by the Vatican, the United State Council of Catholic Bishops has announced that, to ensure equality and social justice, any male or female, regardless of age, who demonstrates:

1) the required  knowledge of the rules of the road

2) can steer and reach the pedals,

shall be issued the Catholic Motor Vehicle License which shall be valid in any diocese which accepts it, regardless of state law.  No one may be denied the fundamental right to drive on the basis of age, visual acuity, vehicle preference or emotional orientation.”

Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?  Where does a religious institution get the idea it can override a statute that is secular in origin and where the authority to regulate lies with the state?  Definitely a bad case of overstepping one’s bounds.

What  State  Laws  and  Church  Laws  Impact

The state is responsible for governing society’s temporal (worldly) affairs.  While some of its statutes may be initiated by the spiritual inclinations of its authors, secular laws regulate actions solely because of their consequences in this life.

The Church, whose guidance impacts temporal matters, must also do so with the responsibility of the eternal results. Its directives address the worldly conduct of our lives, but the ultimate mission is aimed toward the spiritual outcome, the eternal.

Marriage  Has  Eternal,  Not  Just  Temporal  Aspects

Unlike drivers’ licenses, the institution of marriage was not created by the state.  Marriage is spiritual in origin.  If not, then human relationships (including procreation) can be relegated to the same status of the rest of the animal kingdom as Obamacare implies.

Secular law became involved with marriage in order to provide for orderly inheritance, separation of property in the event of a break-up and to ensure financial support for minor children.  This occurs in those countries where Church law does not possess civil authority in these matters.  While spiritual motives may have been part of legislators’ thought processes, the statutes are solely directed at worldly consequences because that is the limit of civil authority.

In U.S. civil law, a balance of power was established between the branches of government.  Among other things, it determines who may change laws and how it is to be accomplished.  In addition, the Supreme Court can rule that certain parties are not qualified to represent a case questioning a law’s constitutionality.

Marriage is also restricted as to who may change it.  While the Church was given authority on moral “statutes”, this authority does not extend to rewriting the eternal constitution which includes Natural Law.  Therefore, the Church is not qualified to redefine marriage as being something other than being between one man and one woman.  Even more so the state, whose authority is limited to the worldly, is not competent to take on this task because of its eternal consequences.

Summary

This is not to diminish the importance of regulating drivers’ licenses.  The state has a great responsibility because the results of its decisions can be deadly in this life.  And because the state authored this regulation, it is the only entity which can change the qualifications for issuance.

The Church has the duty to protect marriage — an institution with spiritual origins and with deadly consequences beyond this life.  However, because the Church is not its author, she has no power to redefine it.  So, how can any other earthly entity presume to do so?

“ALT” (Appreciating the Little Things) #3: Covington Diocese Increases Summer Sports Break

Make no mistake, I greatly enjoy sports and don’t understand how some fail to catch sports’ competitive bug.  Still, I have become dismayed that college athletics, and even down to high school and younger, have taken over the calendar of its participants and families.  They require the dedication more appropriately associated with careers.

Consequently, I was encouraged to see the Diocese of Covington increase its summer “dead period” for athletic activity from two to three weeks beginning this year.1  The new diocesan policy for Catholic schools will be a cessation of all sports activities starting on June 23 and continuing through July 13.  This will exceed Kentucky’s state policy for high schools.2

Michael Clines, superintendent of Covington’s diocesan schools:  “Basically the extended dead period will allow parents an opportunity to take back their kids without fear of any kind of repercussions or disadvantages.  It also gives the coaches a chance to spend more time with their families or to do other things they would like to do without having that feeling of ‘am I not keeping up with the team down the street?’”1

For our Church which believes in the importance of the family, this is a step in the right direction.  Ideally, this concept will advance further in both parochial and public schools so that sports are taken back to a proper emphasis in our lives.

 

1 – “Extending athletic ‘Dead Period’ hopes to bring new life to families,” by Laura Keener, editor of the Messenger (the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Covington), 1/24/2014
2 – The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s handbook states that “Students may not receive coaching or training from school personnel (either salaried or non-salaried) and school facilities, uniforms, nicknames, transportation or equipment shall not be used each year in any KHSAA sanctioned sport or sport-activity during the period beginning with June 25, and going through July 9… These restrictions shall not apply to postseason wrap-up activities, celebrations and recognition events relating to a spring sports team at a school which participated in KHSAA state championship play in that particular sport during that particular year.  (Bylaw 24, section 3)  www.khsaa.org/handbook/bylaws

 

“Not a Smidgen of Corruption” in the IRS — Sure, Mr. President

Barack Obama continues to smash records set by the Nixon Administration for deceiving the public.  Fortunately for our current commander-in-chief, the Democratic Party book of political world records persistently ignores his falsehoods and focuses instead on his alleged achievements… which continue to fool an astounding 40% of the voting public.

This Obama quote was given to Bill O’Reilly of Fox News in a live television interview last Sunday.  O’Reilly asked him about the investigation regarding the IRS’ thwarting of tax-exempt status to organizations which oppose him.  The President replied that there may have been “some bonehead decisions,” but that there wasn’t a “smidgen of corruption” within the IRS.

The response sounded as though this scandal has been blown out of proportion and it ought to be ignored.

If this is a closed issue, why did Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC 4th district) remind those in today’s Congressional hearing that only three of the groups represented by Jay Sekulow in this case have been asked to appear before Congress, but that none have been called on to speak yet?  Rather, as former New York Republican Senator Alfonse D’Amato said on Fox News, the media is dropping the issue and the Administration is waiting for it to go away.

Oh, and by the way, this morning at the hearing Mr. Sekulow revealed that former Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner had sent an email to several legal counsels within the IRS saying that her division would have to work “off plan” to reduce the granting of tax-exempt statuses.

No wonder Sekulow said that had he been her counsel that he, too, would have advised her to plea the 5th Amendment regarding her involvement in this case.

Better hurry, fellow citizens, use the 5th while you can.  The president is working on neutralizing the first two Amendments and it shouldn’t be long before he gets to the 5th.1

 

1 – As a refresher, here is the 5th Amendment:  “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself (emphasis added), nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”  From www.law.cornell.edu