The government of the United States was intended by the Founding Fathers to be the servant of the people. But it has become the master of the people. The tyrannical master of the people.
And it is not only the statist, collectivist, Democratic administrations that have exercised and hardened the tyranny. Republicans, who oppose tyranny in principle, have done it too.
This is from PJ Media by Michael Walsh:
It was during the first Nixon administration that the hideous monstrosity of the Environmental Protection Agency came into being by executive order, along with its ugly twin, the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Seemingly innocuous and well-intentioned at the time, both agencies have metastasized, their original missions completed and now forever on the prowl for something else to meddle with. They’re both unconstitutional, of course, but what’s even worse is that they’ve turned into rogue agencies, issuing edicts, orders and regulations largely devoid of congressional scrutiny – pure instruments of executive power, with none to gainsay them. …
This week a young rancher in Wyoming, Andy Johnson, won a battle for private property rights against one of the bureaucratic entities that strikes fear in the hearts of farmers and ranchers nationwide, the Environmental Protection Agency. …
Johnson fought back against a mandate from the EPA to dismantle a pond that he had built on his own land with the required state permits. Fines totaling $16 million were imposed before they were finally overturned in the wake of his court victory. …
[He had] obtained a state permit before building the stock pond in 2012 on his sprawling nine-acre farm for a small herd of livestock. [Yet] not long after construction, the EPA threatened Johnson with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $37,500-a-day fine – claiming he needed the agency’s permission before building the 40-by-300 foot pond, which is filled by a natural stream. … You can read all about the Johnson case, which ought to outrage every real American, here.
And another case:
To get an idea of just how obnoxious and intrusive these do-gooder agencies have become, get a load of this from Lou Ann Rieley, who owns a farm in Delaware:
A few years ago we received a notice that there was suspicious material piled behind our commercial poultry houses that looked like it may be illegally piled manure. Airplane surveillance photos showed large piles of material and had to be investigated by the powers-that-be. We got a letter informing us that inspectors would be coming on our farm and we could not refuse to extend our hospitality to them. We complied and they discovered, as we had told them, it was piles of dirt. Our sons were practicing moving dirt with the new front-end loader. After having gained entrance to our property they insisted on being granted complete access to every part of the farm even though there were no violations.
I looked outside one day to see two men that I did not recognize poking around our barn area. I watched them for a few minutes then went outside to question what they were doing. They informed me they were from the SPCA and had received an anonymous tip that someone in the area had a horse that was limping and it might be us. I told them there was none that I was aware of but they could look at the horses if they wished. They inspected the horses and found nothing wrong.
I asked who had made the complaint but was denied the information … I quoted the 4th Amendment to the Constitution and my right to be secure from unreasonable searches. Needless to say, that did not go over well and the investigators began to look for other things that could be violations of animal welfare since I dared to question their authority. I asked again who made the complaint that instigated their investigation and they told me that I could never know unless I was charged with something and went to court. I demanded that they charge me so I could have my day in court but they refused since they could find no violations, but not before threatening my property. These men demanded my vet records, which by law they had no right to access. It did not matter, they were the voice of government authority and I had to comply … or else.
… Faceless bureaucrats with guns arriving one fine day in order to investigate a citizen who is not even under suspicion. The Constitution doesn’t matter to them, nor do legalistic protestations, nor simple human decency. No … agents from EPA or OSHA or any other federal agency with a SWAT team (which is most of them) can simply make demands on citizens in the name of “regulations”.
This is the inevitable result of ceding representative government to cabals of empowered clerks. Recall that while Republicans talk a good game about “limited government”, in fact they’re almost as big proponents of Big Government as the Democrats, and promises to the contrary are just a ruse to sucker the rubes into voting for the junior wing of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party, so we all can pretend to believe in democracy.
But democracy is null and void in the face of faceless tyranny like the EPA, which cannot reform itself, and will never stop until it is put out of business, dismantled and its buildings pulled down around its ears.
The IRS not only penalizes conservative organizations and assists leftists, its also seizes large sums of money belonging to innocent people and keeps it.
This is from the Daily Signal, by Melissa Quinn:
For more than four years, Maryland dairy farmer Randy Sowers has been fighting the federal government, asking it to right what many say was a wrong.
In Feb. 2012, two federal agents told Sowers, who owns South Mountain Creamery in Frederick, Md. that the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] was seizing more than $60,000 from his farm’s bank account under a subset of civil forfeiture laws governing cash transactions.
According to the IRS, Sowers had committed structuring violations. Structuring is the act of making consistent cash deposits or withdrawals of under $10,000 to avoid government reporting requirements.
But the dairy farmer didn’t know he was doing anything wrong, and because Sowers and his wife sold milk at local farmer’s markets — where customers paid primarily in cash — they frequently made cash deposits into the business’s bank account.
Sowers and his wife tried to fight the government to get their money back, but ultimately decided to settle.
The IRS returned $33,436 to the Sowers and kept $29,500.
On Wednesday, Sowers and his lawyer, Robert Johnson of the Institute for Justice, will appear before a panel of lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee to detail Sowers’ lengthy battle with the federal government and discuss broader issues with how the IRS is using civil forfeiture.
“One of the main issues that’s going to come out of this hearing is the IRS still is holding tens of millions of dollars that it seized from people that it wouldn’t have seized under its policies today,” Johnson told The Daily Signal. “Those people deserve to get their money back, and Randy Sowers deserves to get his money back.” …
Civil forfeiture and structuring laws were put in place to curb drug trafficking and money laundering. However, in recent years, the government has taken money and property from innocent property owners who were never charged with a crime and were unaware they were breaking the law. …
In the last two years, the IRS and Justice Department changed their internal policies regarding structuring, allowing the agencies to pursue structuring cases only in instances where the money stems from criminal activity. Under the policy changes, a number of business owners, including Sowers, wouldn’t have had their money taken.
So a small beginning has been made to curb the arrogant powers of the IRS.
There’s still a long way to go to restore – or initiate? – government of the people, by the people, for the people.
Tiffany Gabay comments at Truth Revolt:
Film maker Ami Horowitz is perhaps best known for his college expose-videos. You might recall the one he did back in 2014 when he waved an ISIS flag at the UC Berkeley campus and students witnessing the scene were either unfazed or openly expressed support for the terror-outfit.
His latest video is just as disturbing.
Horowitz visited the campus at Portland State University where he posed as a member of Hamas raising funds to “wipe Israel off the map”.
Usually I refrain from posting these types of gotcha-videos as they can be edited to make anyone simply “look bad”. But given the egregious nature of the content here, we think it worth sharing.
Horowitz asked student passersby if they would consider donating to Hamas. He openly identified Hamas as a “terrorist” organization (in case the students were too dumb to know), and told students, at least in several cases, that their donations would fund suicide bombings and attacks on schools, cafes, houses of worship and other “soft targets”. He openly told several of the students featured that Hamas’s goal is to “wipe Israel off the map”.
Is the video edited to show instances in which students may have rejected his overtures? No doubt. But there is also ample footage showing enough students who were all too happy to reach into their pockets and support the murder of innocent Israelis, including children.
At the end of the day, Horowitz said he raised “hundreds of dollars” from these pro-Hamas students.
This is no laughing matter, because this isn’t about exposing how grotesquely ignorant students are these days. This isn’t even about their misguided politics, either.
This video illustrates how the minds of an entire generation have been completely and utterly poisoned — by the media, by Hollywood, through the words of presidential candidates (read: Bernie Sanders) and most of all by their professors.
Really consider this, for a moment. There are American students who don’t even flinch when approached by a so-called Hamas member. They don’t hesitate when told that Israel should be wiped off the map. They don’t blink an eye when told that children in schools will be murdered. In fact, they are even willing to fund such an effort.
This is anti-Semitism at its most blatant. This is utter lack of humanity. Barbarism at its basest. These students barely differ from the terrorists they openly support.
This is the left’s legacy. And once again, it is a disgrace.
We quote the whole article:
If Mitt Romney had given the speech that Donald Trump did today, and if he had followed its strategy during the third presidential debate with Obama on foreign policy, he would have won the 2012 election.
Trump’s themes were straightforward: Make America strong again, put America’s interests first. The Obama-Clinton-Kerry foreign policy has strengthened our enemies, disparaged our allies, and earned us global disrespect. It has led to disasters that include the rise of ISIS and the destabilization of the Middle East. The theme of the Obama-Clinton-Kerry years has been the weakening of America – point Trump made with maximum bite: “If President Obama’s goal had been to weaken America, he could not have done a better job.” And of course the Jeremiah Wright-Billy-Ayers-radical-Barack Obama did set out deliberately to do just that.
Obama’s agenda is American weakness, which leads to losing. Trump’s agenda: we must start winning. There were specifics.
First a rejection of the neo-conservative dream of democratizing the world, and in its place old-fashioned conservatism: limited foreign policy goals and stability, as the framework of peace: “We are getting out of the nation-building business, and instead focusing on creating stability in the world.”
And second, a rejection of liberal internationalism, and a defense of the nation state, in particular this nation state with its unique political culture: “Under a Trump Administration, no American citizen will ever again feel that their needs come second to the citizens of foreign countries. I will view the world through the clear lens of American interests. I will be America’s greatest defender and most loyal champion. We will not apologize for becoming successful again, but will instead embrace the unique heritage that makes us who we are.”
And the (accurate) justification for this nationalism: “The world is most peaceful, and most prosperous, when America is strongest.”
These were reassuring clarifications by Trump about his foreign policy views and should be a step towards satisfying his conservative critics although obviously a speech can also be only that – words to pacify critics. We’ll have to wait and see how he elaborates it further in response to specific events. But this was a very good beginning.
Our only point of criticism: Mitt Romney could not possibly have given such a speech, because Mitt Romney – as far as the American public knows – did not have these ideas.
Trump is saying now what has needed to be said for sixteen years. May he be given the opportunity to put the ideas into practice!
Here is a Christian conservative‘s statement about atheists:
It’s often remarked that atheism is simply religion by another name (as the officially atheist, now deceased Soviet Union demonstrated). Else why would atheists be so adamant and aggressive about their beliefs? Not only do they choose not to believe in God, or even a god, but they demand that their fellow citizens submit to their ideology and purge all evidence of the (Christian) religion from the public square.
The passage comes from The Devil’s Pleasure Palace by Michael Walsh.*
It may be “often remarked that atheism is simply religion by another name”, but the frequency with which the remark is passed doesn’t make it either true or intelligent. NOT believing is not believing-in-another-way, any more than NOT smoking is smoking-in-another-way.
We would agree that Communism is a kind of religion. We would also agree that the dogma of Communism often excludes belief in a divine being.(Not always.”Liberation theology” is Communism taught by Christian priests who have married St. Paul to Karl Marx.) But it does NOT follow that the non-belief is identical with the Communist faith, or is the essence of it, the vital active ingredient that generated all that was wrong with the Soviet Union.
Though all atheists might be “adamant” about their non-belief (just as all believers are adamant about their belief), very few are aggressive about it. Of the millions of non-believers in the free world, how many “demand that their fellow citizens submit to their ideology”? I’ve never met or heard of one who does. And “submit” to what “ideology”? There are some in America who demand that public displays of Christianity be removed from the public square. And a very silly demand it is too. A small number of silly atheists in America insist that if crosses or Christmas “nativity” scenes are placed on public sites, they should have the right to put some atheist symbol or tableau beside them. A symbol or tableau is then hastily invented, having meaning only for the inventors, none whatever to other atheists.
Because: Atheism is NOT a religion, or an ideology, or a system, or a tradition. It has no symbols or rituals. It has no orthodoxy or heterodoxy.
Atheism is a decision, made by individuals. A private conclusion they draw from thought. It’s a denial of dogmatic claims that they find have never been proved, seem to them unprovable, absurd on their face, and ever more absurd the more they test them against observation, experience, learning, coherence, intuition, taste, and common sense.
*Encounter Books, New York, 2015. Our quotation comes from page 136.
What is wrong with racial prejudice – before it is even acted on – is that it is a collective verdict. Individuals are seen primarily as belonging to this or that race, and the characteristics presumed to be those of the race are presumed to be those of each member of it.
To individualists, every human being is unique. Fair enough to judge him by the contents of his character (as Martin Luther King advocated), or the the contents of his mind (as we do), or his actions (as those affected by them inevitably will). He (or she, understood) may be – probably will be – first reacted to according to his perceived race, color, ethnic descent, place of origin, accent, physical build, manner and style; but to what extent do such facts about him have any significant effect on his social relationships and transactions? Impossible to know, and foolish to presume.
It is intensely unjust to select a person to be a specimen of a class and punish him for whatever its offenses are presumed to be.
It is what terrorists do when they inflict pain and death on someone because he is of this or that race, class, or occupation. In the 1970s young middle-class, affluent, educated, European terrorists seized businessmen and industrialists, held them to ransom, tortured and murdered them because they “belonged to the class” of businessmen and industrialists. The terrorists justified their actions as being blows against injustice – the injustice of racism, classism, and (especially) capitalism.
It is what Muslim terrorists do when they cut off an American’s head because he is American. And it is what Islam does perpetually to women. Muslim women are under a collective sentence of enslavement. The only thing that matters about any one of them is her sex.
It is what black racists do when they hold “whiteness” to be an offense that needs to be atoned for by every “whitey”.
It is what feminists do when they complain about “the patriarchy” and want revenge on every man for that ages-long male dominance (thanks to which we have a great civilization).
As stupid as treating others according to presumptions about their race or class or occupation, is setting oneself up as a representative of a race, or class, or country.
That is what Barack Obama does – has the breathtaking hubris to do – when he apologizes to other (often morally and culturally inferior) nations as the self-appointed spokesman for the American people, past and present, for something done that he personally disapproves of.
In all circumstances it is absurd and immoral to apologize for something you personally haven’t done. Just as it is absurd and immoral for you to forgive someone for something he did to someone else.
Obama, the Democratic Party, collectivists in general take an opposite view of course.
The Democrat-dominated government of Delaware provides a nice fresh example of this kind of nugatory group-think:
Gov. Jack Markell-D signed a resolution Wednesday apologizing for Delaware’s role in slavery and wrongs committed against blacks during the Jim Crow era. …
The resolution apologizing for slavery is a symbolic measure aimed at promoting “reconciliation and healing”. …
According to the resolution, legislatures in eight other states also have apologized for their roles in slavery.
Nationally, congressional resolutions apologizing for slavery were passed separately in the House in 2008 and the Senate the following year, but the two measures have never been reconciled into a single version to be submitted to the president for his signature.
Why not, we wonder. President Obama would sign the ridiculous thing for sure.
Today we have posted the last essay, number 18, in the series by Jillian Becker titled The Darkness of This World.
Find it in full under Pages in our margin.
Here is part of it:
America the Last Best Hope?
A multitude of enlightened Europeans cultivated reason, and built a culture that was innovative, prosperous, powerful, and humane. Other Europeans wanted to destroy all that, and succeeded. Rebels from and against the prosperous educated classes – philosophers and poets, artists and politicians – taught generations to intoxicate themselves with fantasies of destruction, spoliation, and atrocity that could, and at times did, inspire real events of vast horror, suffering, and death. From each of them Europe seemed to recover for a while. But at the time of this writing, the rebels have triumphed. The dark vision prevails. Europe is rotten. Multitudes of Europeans, seeing nothing in their culture worth preserving and no point in its survival, reluctant even to beget children, are yielding to immigrating hordes of aliens from the Third World who lust for conquest and are governed by laws devised in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula in the Dark Ages.
So must the greatness of Europe be altogether lost? Surely not! Surely in the states of America, united on Enlightenment principles of liberty, reason, tolerance, and participatory government, European civilization will be preserved and enhanced? There where every citizen is free to pursue his own happiness, to hold property securely, to have his say in a government of limited powers, the United States will continue to prosper and advance? America, it is said, is a forward-looking “can do” society – innovative, prosperous, powerful and humane. “The last best hope of earth.” [As President Lincoln said of his country in a message to Congress on 1 December, 1862.]
And for a while yet it may continue to be so. But the seed of the evil flowers of the culture – Marxism, political sadism, and most potently poisonous of all, the political philosophies of the New Left – have found as fertile soil in America as in Europe.
The mainly bourgeois “anti-bourgeois” terrorist groups that rose with the “sixty-eight” protest movement in America, did evil just as intentionally as their European counterparts. And went in for the same posturing and frivolity. The US was at war in Vietnam, and the anti-draft demonstrations on university campuses gave a serious aspect to the American rebellion, but the war and the draft were pretexts rather reasons for it, as two leaders of the young radicals, Peter Collier and David Horowitz, confessed years later in their book – the best I have found on the subject – Destructive Generation: “The war in Vietnam was a gift of chance that allowed radical leaders to convince others of a need for a social apocalypse and of the necessity for their destructive strategies.”
These authors, long since cured of the romantic radicalism of their youth, look back and “wince” at the “homemade hankerings for Armageddon”. The Sixties, they write, was a time of “monumental idealism”, when “dewy-eyed young people in the throes of a moral passion … sought only to remake the world”. They would do this by destroying “the evil empire of ‘Amerika’” and freeing “the captive peoples of the world”. It was a time, they say, “when innocence quickly became cynical “ and “when a gang of ghetto thugs like the Black Panthers might be anointed as political visionaries”.
The Black Panthers and many of the “dewy-eyed” rebels intended to do what they fully recognized as evil in pursuit of their ideals. For instance, a man known as J. J. – a member of the white middle-class group that became the terrorist organization called Weatherman and later Weather Underground – was notable for “his [drug augmented] high energy, his nonstop, almost demonic chatter, his ability to carry listeners with him by the sheer force of his words rather than their depth”. And J. J.’s idea “was not to create a perfect state operating by the clockwork principles of Marxist law but to promote a chaos that would cripple America and ultimately cast it into a receivership that would be administered by the morally superior Third World. Unafraid to pursue his theme to its logical end, J. J. would add that people shouldn’t expect the revolution to achieve a Kingdom of Freedom ; more likely, it would produce a Dark Ages.” J. J. “[laid] out the ‘White Devil’ theory of world history. ‘We’re against everything that’s “good and decent” in honky America. … We will loot and burn and destroy. We are the incubation of your mother’s nightmares!’”
As in West Germany, France and Italy, the terrorist bombers of America demanded their rights under the law that they broke, mocked, and abominated. “Despite their incessant complaints of police brutality, Sixties radicals lived for the most part in a no-fault system, demanding their constitutional rights at the same time as they were abusing and denouncing the Constitution. They knew they had the option, which many of them ultimately used, of diving back into the System [and their comfy bourgeois lives] when they tired of being extrinsic. (For this reason New Leftism, although discredited in politics, continues to thrive in the ‘academic work’ of former radicals who returned for postgraduate degrees to the universities they had earlier tried to destroy.) It was an example of the cynicism that marked the decade – counting on the fact that America was exactly the sort of flexible and forgiving society they were condemning it for failing to be.”
The evil was done not only to shock their bourgeois parents, as their drugs, promiscuous sex, and bombs were meant to do and did, but for a very much higher good, of course. The very much higher good: “social justice”; “ending oppression” in the forms of “ racism”, “sexism”, “homophobia”, “classism”, “imperialism”, “colonialism”; all of which required the destruction of “the capitalist system”.
Most of them did not, however, describe themselves as Communists. Without reading the works of Marx, or of Marxists, Trotskyites, or New Left political philosophers, they all – in harmony with their European counterparts – looked forward to a political apocalypse; a revolution that they considered themselves to be hastening, that would change everything and replace the earthly Hell of oppression and social injustice with a Heaven of … something yet to be defined.
Collier and Horowitz write of “the decade’s transcendental conviction that there was something apocalyptic lurking behind the veil of the ordinary, and that just a little more pressure was needed to pierce the last remaining membrane – of civility, bourgeois consciousness, corporate liberalism, sexual uptightness, or whatever else prevented us all from breaking through to the other side”. And: “Again it was that hunger to reach the apocalypse just beyond, the essential act that would make them real revolutionaries.” And “the Weatherpeople, like all parvenus, spent considerable time working on a genealogy that would connect them with noble [sic] forbears: Russian narodniki and European anarchists, Cuban fidelistas and Vietnamese guerrillas.”
A work of fiction that impressively conveys the real evil of the 60s rebels is American Pastoral by Philip Roth. A percipient discussion of it and the issues it raised was published in Commentary magazine by Carol Iannone. I summarize the plot and quote her most illuminating comments relevant to my theme:
An only child – cheerful, affectionate, charming as a little girl – of a business man who in his youth had been an athlete and a Marine, and his beauty queen wife, grows up to be “overtaken by the 60s”, sets a bomb in a post office and kills a local doctor. She goes underground and kills three more people in another bombing.
“In his manly way” (Carol Iannone writes) the father “ tries to see where his own responsibility lies for what has happened to his much loved daughter … only to be forced again and again to confront the blazing chaotic irrationality of it all. What he cannot understand … is her hatred of America. ‘How could she “hate” this country when she had no conception of this country? How could a child of his be so blind as to revile the “rotten system” that had given her own family every opportunity to succeed? To revile her “capitalist” parents as though their wealth were the product of anything other than the unstinting industry of three generations …’”
“The 60s, in brief, are not just about the bomber young and their war with ‘Amerika’; in the 60s, ‘the indigenous American berserk’, have entered the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, touching everything and everyone with their ‘mockery of human integrity, every ethical obligation destroyed’.”
It entered the academies, and through them the mind of the nation, until the counter-culture has become The Culture. Collier and Horowitz write: “[N]owhere is the entrenchment of the Sixties mentality more complete or more destructive than in the university. That the Left should now dominate the academy involves a savage irony, of course. It was only after failing in their intent to burn down the university in the Sixties that radicals decided to get on the tenure track in the Seventies. Unimpeded in their long march through these institutions by fair-minded centrists of the sort they themselves now refuse to hire, these Leftists have brought a postmodern Dark Age to higher education – “deconstructing” objective truths to pave the way for chic academic nihilism: creating a curriculum of contempt for American history and culture; and transforming many classrooms into chambers of inquisition and indoctrination.”
The demonic achievements of the rebels were crowned by the election, in 2008, to the presidency of the United States of one of their own: Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a 60s counter-culturist mother and an African father who was both a Communist and a Muslim; and was associated eventually in the son’s mind with “colonial and imperial oppression” of his ancestral land, Kenya, when it was under British rule.
President Obama acceded to the White House with all his ideological baggage intact: the credo of the New Left plus admiration of Islam. And this at a time when Islam was becoming the main enemy of the Western world, practicing terrorism on a large scale, waging open warfare in the Middle East, and launching a migrant invasion of Europe that European governments allowed, encouraged, and all too willingly submitted to. Obama’s policies facilitated the European calamity, and he took steps to help Islamic Iran, which constantly reiterates its intention to destroy America and conquer the non-Muslim world, to become a nuclear power. He has lowered America in the eyes of the world. He and his minions treat the Constitution with contempt.
In the universities the counter-culture has become the orthodoxy. A majority of instructors indoctrinate students rather than educate them, teaching them what to think rather than how to think. Some Leftist representatives in Congress have passed a resolution to curb free speech. And the spirit of free enterprise, which made America rich and mighty, has been all but crushed by tyrannical regulation. Wealth has been taken from those who have earned it and given to those who have not. In short, the New Left has triumphed – though without attaining its heaven on earth.
Can the harm it has done be undone? At present the dark stream of unreason flows strongly. The resistance to it should be the vigorous self-interest inherent in human nature, the desire in most of us to succeed; and the lure of science, technology, all they give us for the betterment of our lives. Only as long as free personal endeavor and innovation continue to characterize America, will there be hope – if not the last, certainly the best – for our splendid civilization to survive in this, our only world.
Is there a war on Christianity?
In Islamic countries, in Arab countries in particular, there is. In the Islamic State it is a war of annihilation. And the Christian Powers do nothing to save the victims. There does not even seem to be any emotion about it among Christians in Europe or America.
Is there a war on Christianity in America itself? Some say there is, and a lot of emotion has been aroused over it.
Jay Michaelson writes at the Daily Beast:
Why try to understand complicated things like demographics for the decline of your faith when you can blame gays and liberals for waging a “war on religion”?
Among the Christian Right, and most Republican presidential candidates, it’s now an article of faith that the United States is persecuting Christians and Christian-owned businesses —that religion itself is under attack.
Religion has been under attack for a very long time. But are Christians under serious threat? Now? In the United States?
“We have seen a war on faith,” Ted Cruz has said to pick one example. “His policies and this administration’s animosity to religious liberty and, in fact, antagonism to Christians, has been one of the most troubling aspects of the Obama administration,” he said.
Well it is true that the Obama administration does not seem to like Christians. It is reluctant to admit Christian refugees from the wars in the Middle East, while it insists on bringing in tens of thousands of Muslims. But is it against religious liberty?
The writer thinks the very idea that Christianity is under assault is a “bizarre myth”. But he also thinks it is true “in a way”:
Why has this bizarre myth that Christianity is under assault in the most religious developed country on Earth been so successful? Because, in a way, it’s true. American Christianity is in decline — not because of a “war on faith” but because of a host of demographic and social trends. The gays and liberals are just scapegoats.
The idea that Christians are being persecuted resonates with millennia-old self-conceptions of Christian martyrdom. Even when the church controlled half the wealth in Europe, it styled itself as the flock of the poor and the marginalized. Whether true or not as a matter of fact, it is absolutely true as a matter of myth. Christ himself was persecuted and even crucified, after all. So it’s natural that Christianity losing ground in America would be seen by many Christians as the result of persecution.
According to a Pew Research Report released earlier this year, the percentage of the US population that identifies as Christian has dropped from 78.4 percent in 2007 to 70.6 percent in 2014. Evangelical, Catholic, and mainline Protestant affiliations have all declined.
Meanwhile, 30 percent of Americans ages 18-29 list “none” as their religious affiliation (the figure for all ages is about 23 percent). Nearly 40 percent of Americans who have married since 2010 report that they are in “religiously mixed” marriages, which means that many individuals who profess Christianity are in families where not everyone does.
These changes are taking place for a constellation of reasons: greater secular education (college degrees), multiculturalism, shifting social mores, the secular space of consumer capitalism and celebrity culture, the sexual revolution (including feminism and LGBT equality), legal and constitutional changes (like the banning of prayer in public school, and the finding of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage), the breakdown of the nuclear family, the decline of certain forms of family and group identification, and the association of religion in general with nonsensical and outdated dogmas. The Pew report noted Americans are also changing religions more than in the past, and when they do so, they are more likely to move away from Christianity than toward it.
While we like to hear talk of “nonsensical and outdated dogmas”, the rest of that paragraph needs critical examination. Quite a few of the impersonal causes listed are in fact the result of liberal policies: multiculturalism, the legal and constitutional changes, the breakdown of the nuclear family. Feminism is a leftist cause. And the Left has promoted “LGBT equality” for political rather than moral reasons.
So while changes in public morals regarding women and LGBT people (and how the law treats them) are part of the overall shift, they are only one part of an immensely complicated set of factors — and I’m quite sure I’ve left out some of the most important ones. Probably the never-ending stream of sex scandals, from the Catholic clergy to the Duggar mess, haven’t helped either.
But no one likes a “constellation of reasons” to explain why the world they grew up in, and the values they cherish, seem to be slipping away. Enter the scapegoat: the war on religion, and the persecution of Christianity.
It’s much easier to explain changes by referring to a single, malevolent cause than by having to understand a dozen complex demographic trends. Plus, if Christianity is declining because it’s being attacked, then that decline could be reversed if the attack were successfully repelled. Unlike what is actually happening — a slow, seemingly irrevocable decline in American Christianity — the right’s argument that “religious liberty” is under assault mixes truth and fantasy to provide a simpler, and more palatable, explanation for believers.
We think he is right that there’s a “constellation of reasons” for the decline of religion. While we think a decline in religion is highly desirable, we cannot help but notice that Leftist intolerance is among the reasons for it.
Take, as an example, Christmas. The weird idea that there is a “War on Christmas” orchestrated by liberal elites — Starbucks cups in hand — is, on its face, ridiculous, even if it is widely held on the right. Shop clerks saying “Happy Holidays” aren’t causing the de-Christianization of Christmas — they’re effects of it. Roughly half of Americans celebrate Christmas as a cultural, not a religious, holiday: Santa Claus and Christmas trees, not baby Jesus in a manger. So that’s what businesses celebrate. It’s capitalism, not conspiracy.
And long may it flourish!
Unfortunately, even if the war on religion is fictive, the “defense” against it is very real and very harmful. This year alone, 17 states introduced legislation to protect “religious freedom” by exempting not just churches and religious organizations (including bogus ones set up to evade the law) from civil rights laws, domestic violence laws, even the Hippocratic Oath, but also private individuals and for-profit businesses. Already, we’ve seen pediatricians turn children away because their parents are gay, and wife-abusers argue that it’s their religious duty to beat their spouses, and most notoriously that multimillion-dollar corporations like Hobby Lobby can have religious beliefs that permit them to refuse to provide health insurance to their employees on that basis.
Meanwhile, the “war on religion” narrative appears to be gaining ground.
According to data from the Public Religion Research Institute, 61 percent of white evangelicals believe that religious liberty is being threatened today. (Only 37 percent of non-white Christians believe this, suggesting that what’s really happening is an erosion of white Christian hegemony; the “browning of America” goes hand in hand with the de-Christianizing of America.) They believe they have lost the culture war, and even that LGBT people should now pity them.
In other words, “religious liberty” is not merely a tactic: it is a sincerely held belief among the religious right, which, not coincidentally, feeds into the belief that we are living in the End Times — something an astonishing 77 percent of American evangelicals believe.
We shouldn’t think of Kim Davis and her ilk as motivated by hate. Actually, they are motivated by fear, which is based in reality but expressed in fantasy. Christianity is, in a sense, losing the war — but the fighters on the other side aren’t gay activists or ACLU liberals but faceless social forces of secularization, urbanization, and diversification.
There’s not really a villain pulling the strings of social change, but like the God concept itself, mythic thinking creates a personification of evil who is fighting the war on religious liberty, the war on Christmas, the war on Christianity. These malevolent evildoers are like a contemporary Satan: a fictive embodiment of all of the chaotic, complex forces that threaten the stability of religious order.
Leftists really do have “a sincerely held belief” that they are on “the right side of history” – as Obama likes to say he is. History itself, according to Marxist dogma, is a force moving inexorably towards global collectivism. Leftism is itself a religion. (See our much read essay Communism is Secular Christianity, January 14, 2015, listed under Pages in our margin.) How many adherents does it have world-wide? For all we know, they outnumber the 1.6 billion Muslims, and the 2.2 billion Christians.
Jay Michaelson believes that inexorable forces determine the direction of human affairs; that human agency has little or nothing to do with it.
He “mixes truth and fantasy”. Christianity may well be a declining religion. We hope it is. It did much harm in its time, and we cannot see that its fading away is a regrettable loss to humankind. And the fading away of Islam would be an enormous boon. An abandonment of old religious beliefs generally would remove a major cause of conflict. But other than Islam, they no longer pose a serious threat.
The serious threat comes from the Left. The Left is in power in most of the institutions of the West, most notably and dangerously in the media, the academy, and above all the executive branch of government of the United States. The Left, in the person of journalists and educators teach and preach statism and collectivism, and the Obama administration forces its will on the nation by executive order.
They are “pulling the strings of social change”. Many of them may believe – just as Christians and Muslims do – that what they are doing is to achieve good ends. They may not all be malevolent in intention. But they are doing much harm nonetheless, by making war on personal liberty.
We quote Paul Sperry’s article at Investor’s Business Daily, titled Can America Survive Obama’s Pro-Muslim Bias?:
In a new NPR interview, President Obama complains that “strains in the Republican party suggest that somehow I’m different, I’m Muslim, I’m disloyal to the country, which unfortunately is pretty far out there”.
While there’s no evidence to suggest Obama is a practicing Muslim, there is plenty to suggest he is disloyal. He not only shares Muslim hatred for America and Israel, but actually sympathizes with the endless anti-Western grievances lodged by Muslim terrorists.
The reason the president won’t engage this enemy is because he sides with it, not because he can’t see it or understand it. It is not a matter of incompetence. It is a matter of bias.
If this sounds like betrayal, that is because it is.
Here is a bill of indictment:
Count 1:In 1995, in his first memoir, Obama shares the “rage” of his Kenyan Muslim grandfather who he claims was tortured by British colonizers, while exalting his Muslim-convert brother Roy, who swore off “the poisoning influences of European culture,” as “the person who made me proudest of all”.
Count 2:In 2004, in a little-noticed preface to his re-released memoir, the newly elected senator implied that America was punished for past wrongs on 9/11, writing that “history returned with a vengeance” on that terrible day.
Count 3:In 2006, in his second memoir, Obama vowed that he “will stand with” Arab and Pakistani Muslims to protect “their sense of security” should their community be implicated in another terror attack on America.
Count 4:In 2009, Obama in his first foreign speech apologized to world Muslims for the War on Terror, inviting banned Muslim Brotherhood leaders to sit on the front row of his Cairo address, while declaring “Islam is not part of the problem” and demanding that Israel give Palestinians “a state of their own”.
Count 5:That same year, Obama stopped cold a major investigation of terror-supporting Muslim Brotherhood front groups and mosques following the successful prosecution of Brotherhood charities by U.S. attorneys.
Count 6:Then he ordered the FBI and Homeland Security to delete “jihad” from counterterrorism manuals and fire all trainers who linked terrorism to Islam.
Count 7:Obama vowed to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison and bring 9/11 terrorists to America, where they would enjoy full rights, including habeas corpus, in civilian courts.
Count 8:As Obama kicked off a two-day summit on combating generic “violent extremism”, he argued that Muslim terrorists have “legitimate grievances” that must be addressed.
Count 9:He also asserted that “the Muslim world has suffered historical grievances”, and blamed the rash of global terrorism in part on “a history of colonialism” in the Mideast, Africa and South Asia.
Count 10:At the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama told Christians to get off their “high horse” about Muslim terrorism and “remember the terrible deeds in the name of Christ” committed by Crusaders 1,000 years ago.
Count 11: He credited Muslims with “building the very fabric of our nation” and “the core of our democracy”.
Count 12:The president boycotted January’s world march against terrorism in Paris following the slaughter of anti-Islamist cartoonists by two French Algerians, in a shocking move that would have made Obama’s late hero, Algerian mujahedeen Frantz Fanon, proud.
Count 13:Obama agreed to release five Taliban commanders for a POW who he knew was a deserter and who may turn out to be a traitor.
Count 14: Obama removed sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, despite overwhelming evidence by Israeli and U.S. intelligence showing that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons to wipe our closest and most trusted Mideast ally off the map.
Count 15:Obama broke his promise to 9/11 families to release the 28 pages documenting Saudi Arabian and other foreign Muslim sponsorship of the 9/11 attacks.
Count 16: The president insists on calling ISIS “ISIL” — which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — because it includes “Palestine”, a slap at Israel.
Count 17: Despite his entire security team warning that such Muslim immigrants cannot be screened for terrorist ties and evidence that ISIS has infiltrated their ranks, Obama stubbornly insists on bringing another 10,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S.
Count 18: In the heat of the San Bernardino attacks, as bodies were being removed from the scene, Obama called a high-level security meeting to keep a lid on the Muslim connection.
Count 19: In his prime-time terrorism speech, the president spent half his time warning Americans not to blame Muslims.
Count 20: Obama insists on emptying Gitmo of terrorist prisoners, even after one of his earlier releases re-emerged as a leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Count 21: The Obama regime has invited members of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood front groups to serve in the Homeland Security and State departments, and meet regularly with the attorney general, as well as the president and his security advisors in the White House.
Obama is hellbent on shuttering the detention camp and is queuing up for release another 17 dangerous al-Qaida terrorists, earlier classified as “forever detainees” due to the high threat they pose to America.
Americans should know that if we are attacked again in a major way in his remaining 13 months in office, Obama “will stand with” Muslims over Americans, meaning that he will continue to back off radical mosques, refuse to connect terrorism to Islam and continue to hold open the floodgates to mass Muslim immigration.
This president, who had Pakistani roommates in college, is more concerned about “their sense of security” than non-Muslims threatened by Muslim terrorism like the massacre carried out by the two Pakistani Muslims who attacked San Bernardino.
What if the enemy of the state is actually the head of state?
The bill of indictment, long and bad as it is, is incomplete. It does not, for instance, include Obama’s instruction to NASA to concentrate on reaching out to Muslims rather than to outer space; nor his close friendship with President Erdogan of Turkey; nor his persistent persecution of Israel; nor his long refusal to allow the assassination of Osama bin Laden and his reluctance in finally permitting it; nor – worst of all – his fanatical wooing of Iran, in the course of which he has given the regime everything it has demanded, and swept away every impediment to its becoming a nuclear armed power.
Sperry’s list is more than sufficient, however, to make the case. As we have been saying for years: Yes, the enemy of the state is actually the head of state.
The media, including Fox News, and the police, the president, and all Democrats, are having difficulty finding a motive behind the massacre of San Bernardino, carried out yesterday by a Muslim man and a Muslim woman.
Daring commentators go so far as to say that the killing might have been Islamic terrorism, acts of which, they recall, have been carried out from time to time in America and elsewhere; or it might have been workplace violence – which they’d much prefer it to be.
We are happy to come to their aid and resolve the dilemma.
For jihadis, they are the same thing.
Islamic lore has it that the whole non-Muslim world is the Dar-al-Harb, the Place of War. And that whole vast wicked region is their workplace.
So – you see – by killing non-Muslims, Muslims are performing acts of workplace violence in order to terrorize the infidel. And that is not wrong, it is the work they are instructed to do by no less a boss than Allah himself.
We are all aware that workplace violence is an everyday occurrence. It’s as American as apple pie. Why make a fuss about it?
When you should be worrying about global warming.
… my golden door is barred to Christians,” says the Mother of Exiles, who earlier misspoke, and whose views on who is welcome to America have now evolved.
We do not like Christianity, but we are appalled by the persecution of Christians by Muslims in the Middle East.
Donald Trump has noticed that the Christians in the Muslim countries of the Middle East, and those who fall under the rule of IS/ISIS/ISIL, are being persecuted almost to extinction – and that the Obama administration is unmoved by their plight.
From the Refugee Resettlement Watch:
Trump speaks out on Syrian refugees: “We are saving the Syrian Muslims and not the Christians!”
Trump is almost right. It isn’t zero Christians, but it’s pretty close to zero. Although we have admitted a small handful of Syrian Christian refugees, the vast majority are Muslims and mostly Sunni Muslims. 96% [of those] admitted so far in 2015 are Muslims.
But, don’t forget!
Led by the Senate Jihad Caucus, the push is on to admit 65,000 Syrians before Obama leaves office and the vast majority of those will be plucked from UN camps populated by mostly Syrian Sunni Muslims.
One man in America is trying to bring Middle Eastern Christians to safety in the US, for which he is now threatened by the administration with imprisonment.
From Creeping Sharia:
Living as a Christian in many parts of Iraq or Syria has become impossible – a one-way ticket to martyrdom at the hands of ISIS – yet it remains a near-impossible feat for these persecuted religious minorities to find refuge in America.
But if you can get to America and get your case in the hands of Robert DeKelaita, your chances are greatly improved.
As it turns out, this high-powered Chicago attorney may have been a little too successful. He’s gained asylum for thousands of persecuted Christian from Iraq, Syria and Egypt, and that caught the attention of the Obama Justice Department, which is known to be no friend of Middle Eastern Christians.
DeKelaita, 52, grew up in Kirkuk in the heart of Assyria, a portion of northern Iraq that is home to one of the world’s most ancient Christian communities. …
After Saddam Hussein took power, DeKelaita’s family emigrated to the U.S. in 1973 and settled in the Chicago area. …
He’s helped reunite hundreds of families in the U.S., most of them since 2003 when the U.S. invasion and overthrow of Saddam unleashed a wave of Islamic terror against Christians that far exceeded anything that was seen under the secular Baathist regime.
The Obama administration moved against DeKelaita in September 2014, raiding his office and scooping up whatever “evidence” they could find against him. He was indicted on charges of falsifying the asylum applications of 12 clients over a 10-year period, allegedly concocting “phony claims” of religious persecution. The government has delayed his trial twice while it seeks to firm up witnesses who will testify against him. Each count of immigration fraud carries a maximum of 10 years prison and a $250,000 fine. …
Some find it ironic that the Obama administration is going after a lawyer who helps persecuted Iraqi Christians gain asylum while it welcomed and granted asylum for more than 68,000 unaccompanied alien children from Central America last summer.
At the same time Central Americans are being greeted with a “catch and release” policy at the border, a group of 27 Assyrian Christians who made it to the border earlier this year are being detained indefinitely.
“The way that some of our federal judges view the plight of Christians in Iraq and the way some of the adjudicators view them, you would honestly think ‘what is wrong with these people?’” DeKelaita [said]. …
One judge told him: “To argue that Christians in Iraq are being targeted for their religious beliefs is to appeal to either ignorance or emotion.” …
DeKelaita, after his indictment, learned that the FBI had been investigating him since 2008, soon after Obama took office. …
He points to the Obama administration’s attempt earlier this year to block an Iraqi nun from entering the country to testify before Congress on the issue of Christian persecution in the Middle East. After … a public outcry, Obama relented and issued the visa to Sister Diana Momeka. …
The Obama-led Department of Homeland Security has detained 27 Iraqi Christian asylum seekers in California for six months, despite the fact that most of them have family who are U.S. citizens living in San Diego. …
One of DeKelaita’s biggest successes was in getting a judge to strike down an outdated and inaccurate report out of Europe that insisted there was no persecution of Christians in Iraq. …
Meanwhile, the slaughter continues in Iraq and Syria. Another 220 Assyrian families were kidnapped just last week in Syria and fears are growing that the men will face beheading, the women a life of servitude as sex slaves. Bishops in Syria and Iraq have put out desperate pleas for help, saying they feel abandoned by the West.
While it detains Iraq Christian asylum seekers, the Obama administration has been welcoming thousands of Muslim refugees from jihadist hotbeds in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, despite warnings from House Homeland Security Chair Michael McCaul, R-Texas, that some of these refugee programs may become a “jihadist pipeline” into the U.S.
Obama is not perturbed by jihadism. He is dropping the bar against admitting Muslim refugees who have links to terrorist organizations:
From a January 2014 report by the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. plans to resettle thousands of Syrians displaced by their country’s civil war could hinge on those refugees receiving exemptions from laws aimed at preventing terrorists from entering the country.
A U.S. official stated publicly for the first time this week that some of the 30,000 especially vulnerable Syrians the United Nations hopes to resettle by the end of 2014 will be referred to the U.S. for resettlement.
More than two million Syrians have fled their country since the war erupted in 2011, creating the worst refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide, advocates say. About 20 countries, mostly in Europe, have agreed to take 18,000 Syrians, according to United Nations High Commission for Refugees, or UNHCR, the agency charged with referrals.
The U.S. has not set a specific target for how many refugees it will resettle. But at a Senate hearing Tuesday, State Department Assistant Secretary Anne Richard said, “We expect to accept referrals for several thousand Syrian refugees in 2014.”
Post-9/11 immigration laws designed to keep out terrorists have had the unintended consequence of ensnaring some innocent people. …
And rather admit a thousand terrorists than keep out one “innocent” Muslim.
Anwen Hughes, a lawyer at Human Rights First …
One of those bleeding-heart organizations that do so much harm in the world …
who has studied the laws’ impact, said that the government has been “reactive, slow,” about giving exemptions up to now, and urged a swifter process, given the magnitude of the Syrian crisis.
The advocacy group has called on the U.S. to work to resettle 15,000 Syrians a year. The International Rescue Committee, another advocacy organization, is pressing the U.S. to set a goal of 12,000 Syrian refugees this year.
The U.S. leads the world in refugee resettlement. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the U.S. received 70,000 refugees from 65 countries, including more than 19,000 from Iraq. In that year, more than 1,340 Syrians already in the U.S. applied for asylum.
And you can safely bet that Anwen Highes wil not be investigated by Obama’s sniffing-dogs.
But aren’t we going too far when we blame Obama personally for this injustice?
No. He makes the decisions:
From a Fact Sheet of the American Immigration Council:
A refugee, as defined by Section 101(a)42 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), is a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” due to race, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, religion, or national origin. This definition is based on the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocols relating to the Status of Refugees, which the United States became a party to in 1968.
Each year the President, in consultation with Congress, determines the numerical ceiling for refugee admissions. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, the ceiling is 70,000.
Under Obama, the US has “pivoted eastward”:
Almost half of all refugee arrivals (46.4 percent, or 32,450) in FY 2014 came from the Near East/South Asia—a region that includes Iraq, Iran, Bhutan, and Afghanistan.
There are three principle categories for classifying refugees under the U.S. refugee program.
Priority One. Individuals with compelling persecution needs or those for whom no other durable solution exists. These individuals are referred to the United States by UNHCR, or they are identified by a U.S. embassy or a non-governmental organization (NGO).
Priority Two. Groups of “special concern” to the United States, which are selected by the Department of State with input from USCIS, UNHCR, and designated NGOs. Currently, the groups include certain persons from the former Soviet Union, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Iran, Burma, and Bhutan.
Priority Three. The relatives of refugees (parents, spouses, and unmarried children under 21) who are already settled in the United States may be admitted as refugees. The U.S.-based relative must file an Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) and must be processed by DHS.
The INA requires that the majority of prospective refugees make their individual well-founded fear cases.
The Christians of the Middle East have well-founded fears. But they are Christians. That, apparently, is enough to bar them from the US, which Obama has clearly stated is “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world”. (Watch and listen to him saying so here.) And in his opinion, the more Muslim the better.