The Gross National Debt

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Controlling your thoughts

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The recent attempt by the City of Houston to get ahold of preacher's sermons on homosexuality et al has got a number of people riled, including the American Civil Liberties Union.

I have read reports that the subpoenas were filed by a "pro bono" attorney, done without the mayor's knowledge and it's just a fact-finding effort.

For the record, I don't believe any of that. The attorney filing the paperwork may not be getting paid in cash direct, but that lawyer is getting something for this other than a "feel good." The mayor knew about this. I have covered politics and politicians for 30 years now and when a politician says "I didn't know" about something like this, he's lying. So yes, I am calling Annise Parker a liar. As for it being a fact-finding mission, the same can be said of just about any witch hunt.

Brutal Antipathy, a devout atheist and one of the most rational people I know is likewise quite bent about this. He wrote to me:"Talking about Houston mayor Annise Parker's subpoenas ... for churches to turn over their sermons pertaining to homosexuality, gender identity, or herself.  Her office has now 'narrowed the scope' of the subpoenas so that it is only 'speeches' given on those topics. 'Scuse me, but isn't a sermon a speech?"

Indeed it is. However in a part of the law I don't understand, churches are tax exempt. Why? People point to the First Amendment and the mistaken idea of "separation of church and state." Me? I think churches ought to pay taxes on everything except their charitable work like a food bank (which the church I attend has).

In another byzantine twist of the law, churches only get to maintain their tax-exempt status when they do not engage in obvious political activities. Supposedly.

The truth screams otherwise. Jeremiah Wright, the current president's former pastor in Chicago, has politic'ed from the pulpit. Other megachurch leaders have done the same. Why aren't they the subject of government scrutiny? Because they are too big and too well connected. Tax exempt status maintained.

It's a clear case of picking on someone who can't effectively fight back. It's what bullies do.

BA says, "This is again one of those issues of separation of church and state.  The state, in this case the city, is attempting to bully and intimidate churches into silence. The mayor is saying that churches are only free to promote what she, a self-identified and open lesbian, approves of."

The Thought Police, led by liarberals and cantservatives of the ReDamnoboobicratican stripe, are out to shut you down and shut you up. If they can manage to shut you sideways, diagonal and inverted, they'll do that too.

BA extends the logic: "Now to take a ride on the slippery slope, but it can't be helped. If the mayor of Houston is allowed to tell churches they are not allowed to interpret Leviticus 18:22-23 as literal, what is to stop her from telling churches they are not allowed to interpret Romans 4:25 as literal? While this is unlikely to ever happen (though I seem to recall something akin to this happening in Soviet Russia), it should never be within the power of the state to dictate what we can and cannot believe. That wall of separation is there to protect everybody. WBC has as much right to believe what they believe as the LGBT community has to believe what they believe."

Except government will not accept this. And that, luddites and geraniums, is exactly what this is all about.

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