Feb 02 2009

Who’s Sorry Now?

Category: corruptionamuzikman @ 12:25 pm

Tom Daschle, former Senate Democratic leader and current Obama nominee for leading the Health & Human Services Department says he is sorry for failing to pay more than $120,000 dollars in back taxes.

Timothy Geitner, Obama nominee to be Secretary of the Treasury says he is sorry for failing to pay $30,000 dollars in back taxes.

I lost track – did Eric Holder, Obama nominee for Attorney General, ever apologize for enabling the pardon of Marc Rich, multimillion dollar tax evader?  Not that it matters, since Democratic President Bill Clinton granted Marc Rich a full Presidential pardon.  But it was ol’ Eric who made it all happen.

(click here to read more about Eric Holder and the Marc Rich pardon)

Now, imagine a nominee from a Republican President showing up on Capitol Hill for confirmation hearings, carrying baggage like this.  They’d be crucified in the hearings, and they’d be crucified again in the media.

But here we have THREE nominees put forth by Obama who have serious blemishes on their records. There is virtual silence in the media and the confirmation hearings are little more than posturing and formality.

If you were seriously delinquent in paying your taxes would you want to face the IRS with nothing more than an “I’m sorry”?  You know what would happen to you, right?

Can there be ANY doubt the media is nothing more than a Democratic lap dog?

There is really only ONE thing these cheaters are sorry about, and it’s not the “errors of judgment”. They are only sorry they got caught.

I’m sorry too.  I’m sorry so many of my fellow citizens, in their zeal to find hope and change have embraced a radical liberal leftist without moral compass who intends to surround himself with others who have similar bents.  These people will be making policies, rules and laws about you and me, after having already demonstrated the fact they think those same laws don’t apply to themselves.

So to all you who voted for Obama I have a question: Is this OK with you?

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Feb 02 2009

Religious Freedom in America

Category: freedom,religionharmonicminer @ 10:46 am

Excerpt from a very useful article on religious freedom in the USA, from Richard Garnett at Public Discourse:

The first approach—“freedom from religion”—accepts religion as a social reality, but regards it primarily as a danger to the common good, and regards it as a practice that should be confined to the private, personal realm. On this view, it is “bad taste”—or worse!—“to bring religion into discussions of public policy.” Under this approach, as Professor Stephen Carter memorably put it, religion is “like building model airplanes, just another hobby: something quiet, something trivial—not really a fit activity for intelligent . . . adults.” Religious belief is protected, but the permissible implications and expressions of those beliefs are limited. The dominant concern is the domestication of religion, and its assimilation to the often-relativistic ideology of the state. The role of law and government is to maintain the boundary between private religion and public life; it is certainly not to support, and only rarely to accommodate, religious practice and formation.

This “freedom from” approach has found some expression in American law and policy, both in the past and—in some instances—today. It is not, however, true to the Constitution, to religious liberty properly understood, or to the nature of the human person, who is hard-wired and by nature drawn to search for truth and to cling to it when it is found. It is a good thing, then, that this approach’s influence seems more pronounced among academics and a few political activists, than among Americans generally.

The second approach—“freedom of religion”—tends to emphasize toleration, neutrality, and equal-treatment. Religion, on this view, is something that matters to many people, and so the law does not permit it to be singled out for special hostility or discrimination. It is recognized and accepted that religious believers and institutions are at work in society, and the stance of the law is even-handedness. Because we are all entitled to express our views and to live in accord with our consciences, religious believers are so entitled, too. The law, it is thought, should be “religion-blind.”

Although this approach is not hostile to religion, it is also reluctant to regard religion as something special. Religious liberty is just “liberty,” and liberty is something to which we all have an “equal” right. Religion is not something to be “singled out,” for accommodations and privileges, or for burdens and disadvantages. Again, religious commitment, expression, and motivation are all, in the end, matters of taste and private preference.

This approach represents an improvement on its “freedom from” competitor, and it, too, has been and is reflected in American law. In fact, it is fair to say that its influence is much more pronounced in the Supreme Court’s recent decisions. The Justices have emphasized, for example, that officials may not treat religiously-motivated speech worse than speech that reflects other viewpoints. Similarly, courts have ruled that public funds may be allocated to religiously affiliated schools and social-welfare agencies—so long as they are providing a secular public good—on the same terms as non-religious ones. At the same time, governments are not required to provide special accommodations for religious believers, or to exempt religiously motivated conduct from the reach of generally applicable laws.

Finally, a third approach: “freedom for religion.” This approach, in my view, represents the American experiment in “healthy secularism” at its best; it is the one that we should be rooting for. Under this approach, the search for religious truth is acknowledged as an important human activity. Religion, as religion, is special; its exercise is seen as valuable and good, and worthy of accommodation, even support. The idea is not, to be clear, that the public authority should demand religious observances or establish religious orthodoxy; it is, instead, that a political community committed to positive secularity can and should still take note of the fact that people long for the transcendent and are, by nature, called to search for the truth, and for God.

The entire article is worth reading. I’m a fan of the “freedom for religion” approach, as is the author of the piece. I also believe it is the only approach consistent with the clear meaning of the words in the Constitution, and the intent of the Founders as revealed by their actions, letters, civil participation in various state governments, etc. If we settle for less than this (and Garnett points out just how fragile our religious liberty is), we are giving up on a central aspect of what makes America what it was, and should continue to be, in contrast to the utter secularization of Europe.

Further, our religious institutions, churches, schools, colleges and universities, service organizations, etc., must be at the forefront of defending that religious liberty. Unfortunately, all too many are engaged in seeking the approval of the very secularism that is hostile to religion in the first place, adopting secular initiatives as if they were central to faith (but for which scriptural support has only recently been discovered, somehow), and pressuring their own constituencies to buy into secular-Left policy-prescriptions as an obligation of the faithful.

Sadly, the very institutions that should be defending our religious liberty are too often complicit in reducing it.

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