Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Defending religion against the power of government

The Arizona's religious freedom bill (SB1062) addresses the fact that some people think they have a right to coerce (and to use government to that end) and that those who disagree have a duty to obey. Opponents of this bill reject not only religious liberty, but also free speech while demanding that their own form of religion (secular humanism) and free speech be imposed.

I invite all who oppose this legislation to actually read it before jumping to conclusions. (It is truly unfortunate that today's legislatures must cobble together so many words to protect the rights already so eloquently protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.)

This legislation would simply protect a business owner's right to not violate their religious convictions when conducting business. The bill reinforces the First Amendment to the US Constitution which already prohibits federal interference with "the free exercise" of religion and the Fourteenth Amendment which extends that prohibition to the States.
Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. — Albert Einstein
An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
There really should be no need for this legislation because the Constitution already provides the protections this legislation would provide. (Wouldn't be nice if all politicians and judges simply followed the Constitution they swear to follow?) But, in recent decades, activist judges have imposed their own opinions and/or applied flawed judicial precedents, thus depriving good people of rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

For those capable of thinking, another writer, Gary DeMar came up with a thought-provoking list:
Sometimes the best way to explain to people the nature of something is to put the shoe on the other foot. Here are some "what ifs."
• What if a print-shop owner holds to a "pro-choice" view on abortion and a pro-life group comes in and wants shirts and signs made that read "Babies are Murdered Here" to use in front of an abortion clinic? Should the owner of the shop be forced to make the shirts and signs?
• What if a print-shop owner who is homosexual gets an order for shirts and signs that are to read "God Hates Fags"? Should the owner be forced to fill the order under penalty of law?
• Should a supporter of PETA who owns a print shop be forced to make signs and shirts that read "PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals"?
• Should a baker be forced to supply cakes to a KKK-themed wedding or birthday party?
• Should an atheist who owns a print shop be forced to print signs and shirts that read "All Atheists are Going to Hell"?
• Should a printer be forced to print shirts and signs that read "Hitler Was Right"?
• Should a photographer be forced to film and photograph a wedding that has a "White Power" or KKK theme?
This bill doesn't legitimize or mandate discrimination against any sort of person such as homosexuals or anti-homosexuals as implied by certain activists. It simply protects businesses from being required to provide a religiously-objectionable service or product to another person. It is one state's small defensive maneuver against the Left's ongoing battle to silence the voice of the religious in the public square and to cow organized religion into sanctioning the immoral agenda of the Left including abortion.

I suspect that if Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer vetoes this bill, it will be because of the expected cost to defend it against Leftist social engineers -- not because of the merits of the bill. That is a sad statement on what the Left has done to this "land of the free and the home of the brave".

Ironically, opponents of this bill -- which protects diverse religious beliefs -- are the most vocal in demanding tolerance of their own diversity. The leaders of my church teach that we are to give due respect to all, even to those who have beliefs or behaviors I might disagree with (yet, some single out my church as hateful). Is there any reason why those who reject certain religious standards can't also be respectful?
If they believe their own rhetoric, that we’re hateful bigots, why would they even risk eating our cakes? — Jan LaRue

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rein in the government -- beginning with the EPA!

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. -- US Declaration of Independence
Congress has created scores of agencies which are out of control and which don't really solve the problems they were intended to solve.

Most of these agencies have no constitutional authority to exist (see Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution). These agencies are under the executive branch, transferring to the president ever-expanding extra-constitutional power.

These agencies employ hundreds of thousands of employees who are unaccountable to the voters and even to Congress. Congress has abdicated its legislative power by delegating most of its lawmaking authority to these unaccountable bureaucrats. The US Constitution was designed specifically to prevent such abuses!

Congress has shown little interest in reining in any of the monsters it has created.

Among the worst of Congress' monsters is clearly the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Over the years, this agency has imposed ever harsher standards for fuel economy which have resulted in cars and trucks that are so lightweight and fragile that they disintegrate in collisions and cannot carry the payload (in weight or passengers) that vehicles of 50 years ago could carry. This is the reason SUVs have become so popular -- not because soccer moms need or want a huge four-wheel-drive four-door truck with an enclosed cargo area, but because they simply need a vehicle that will safely and comfortably carry what a full-sized 1964 Ford station wagon could carry. (When you really need to get some work done, ya gotta burn carbon or fire up a nuke.) But, today's laws are based on the presumption that we all want and deserve nothing more than a Yugo.

Now, Obama has announced his instructions to the EPA to further tighten fuel economy standards for trucks. This is nothing more than another step toward forcing manufacturers to make products that the consumers, farmers, and businesses don't want or need.

Every member of Congress must muster the courage and integrity to reassert its sole legislative authority under Article I of the US Constitution by:
1 - Make the laws, not delegate power to make laws,
2 - Where law-making authority is delegated, all such regulations must be reviewed and ratified by roll-call vote of Congress,
3 - All current agencies must be reviewed for constitutionality and those found to not comply with authority given in the Constitution must be sunseted within 5 years,
4 - All future agencies created must have a maximum five-year sunset.

Congress must immediately begin these steps by eliminating the EPA. Where necessary, the roles now assumed by the EPA will continue to be accomplished at the state level as required by the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution.

What are your congressmen doing right now to cut the size and power of our bloated, intrusive, oppressive, inefficient, expensive federal bureaucracy?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

An anti-gun elitist's view of a pro-gun judicial decison

Through a series of gun-rights court cases beginning with the 2008 Heller decision, the US Supreme Court has settled the fact that individuals have the constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms. Now, a case before the Ninth Circuit challenges a policy imposed by San Diego County requiring residents to show a "pressing need" to be able to receive a permit to carry weapons outside the home.

Of course, the idea that the Second Amendment makes any distinction between "bearing" (ie "carrying") in public as opposed to private venues is simply silly. Thankfully, the normally silly Ninth Circuit acknowledged this truth. As expected, this has anti-gun activists in a fit:
Neither history or precedent supports this aberrant, split decision that concocts a dangerous right of people to carry hidden handguns in public places to people whom law enforcement has determined that they have no good cause or qualifications to do so. -- Jonathan Lowy, Director, Legal Action Project, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Mr. Lowy, the judicial decision you reference does not "concoct a dangerous right of people to carry hidden handguns in public places". It partially restores that constitutionally-guaranteed natural right! Further, there is no rational reason why any responsible American should ever be required to prove to any government agent that he/she has "good cause or qualifications" to exercise any constitutionally-protected natural right right.

Ironically, Mr. Lowey, California arrived at needing this long overdue decision on concealed carry because anti-liberty thugs like you legislatively took away the constitutionally-guaranteed right to open carry for most California citizens. Because many California counties refuse to issue concealed-carry permits to ordinary law-abiding citizens, that left responsible residents with anti-gun sheriffs in California with no ability to lawfully carry the best means of self-protection -- a firearm. Hence, the litigation and judicial decision you arrogantly condemn.

BTW, Mr. Lowey, we know that you (like most anti-gun elitists) enjoy the protection of the gun. Hypocrite! The Constitution was designed to protect us commoners from politicians who think like you do.