Thursday, April 24, 2008

Who is really ahead in the democratic primary?

Popular vote

For whatever it is worth, while it is being claimed that Barack Obama is ahead in the delegates and votes, is he? While I am not for re-do's, roll-overs and rewarding rule breakers, it is kind of tough to claim Obama is ahead on popular votes when he is not. While they may not be seated, you can not talk popular vote and then ignore them. You can legitimately talk about the delegate count and ignore them.

Obama pulled his name off Michigan's ballot, but again are you going to ignore a state the democrats need to win the election in November in the popular vote?

2008 Democratic Popular Vote -hat tip to real clear politics


Popular Vote Count


Popular Vote Total 14,417,134 49.2% 13,916,781 47.5%
Obama +500,353 +1.7%

Estimate w/IA, NV, ME, WA* 14,751,218 49.3% 14,140,643 47.2%
Obama +610,575 +2.1%

Popular Vote (w/FL) 14,993,348 48.3% 14,787,767 47.6%
Obama +205,581 +0.7%
Estimate w/IA, NV, ME, WA* 15,327,432 48.4% 15,011,629 47.4%
Obama +315,803 +1.0%
Popular Vote (w/FL & MI)** 14,993,348 47.4% 15,116,076 47.8%
Clinton +122,728 +0.4%

Estimate w/IA, NV, ME, WA* 15,327,432 47.5% 15,339,938 47.5%
Clinton +12,506 +0.04%


*(Iowa, Nevada, Washington & Maine Have Not Released Popular Vote Totals. RealClearPolitics has estimated the popular vote totals for Senator Obama and Clinton in these four states. RCP uses the WA Caucus results from February 9 in this estimate because the Caucuses on February 9 were the “official” contest recognized by the DNC to determine delegates to the Democratic convention. The estimate from these four Caucus states where there are not official popular vote numbers increases Senator Obama’s popular vote margin by 110,224. This number would be about 50,000 less if the Washington primary results from February 19th were used instead of the Washington Caucus results.)

**(Senator Obama was not on the Michigan Ballot and thus received zero votes. Uncommitted was on the ballot and received 238,168 votes as compared to 328,309 for Senator Clinton.)

Delegates

Barack is certainly ahead in delegates , but superdelegates may legitimately consider that many of his states are solid republican states . Barack is pulling the more liberal, and the more intellectual democrat. Let me be more blunt, he is pulling the base who will vote democratic. Hillary is winning the states the democrats need to win the general election and she is pulling the white blue collar worker. She is pulling the swing voter too.



DEMOCRATIC 'SUPER' DELEGATES


An estimated 795 "unpledged" or "super" delegates will attend the Democratic Party's national convention. The super delegates are national party leaders (members of Congress, governors etc.) who are automatically appointed under party rules. They are not required to vote for any particular candidate and may commit or change their minds at any time up until the convention.

This is almost the exact case scenario that the super delegate system was put in place for. There are two major states who votes will not count in the primary, yet there are super delegates who can correct that and vote to make the outcome as if they did vote.

The question is will they? Or are they afraid to?

2008 presidential primary and caucus results
Where are the candidates delegates from?







How and where democrats have won before

In 1992 and 1996 when Democrats won the elections they carried the following states









Where the Republicans won in 2000 and 2004

2004



2000

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Help wanted

I’m looking for reliable statistics to draw a parallel in between the alleged lost jobs this year, the number of baby boomers retiring and the unemployment rate.

I became suspicious when I first saw the first job reports for this year and saw lost jobs and no change in the unemployment rate. Knowing this is when the baby boomers are starting to retire, I am wondering if the statistics are being manipulated to appear to be what in fact they’re not.

Thank you in advance for any information you may be able to provide.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Can the democratic primary voter be trusted?

It is both a fair and a logical question to ask. It seems the leadership doesn't think they should be.

It’s called the Democratic Party, but one aspect of the party’s nominating process is at odds with grass-roots democracy. Voters don’t choose the 842 unpledged “super-delegates” who comprise nearly 40 percent of the number of delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.
Before 1972, party boss's such as Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Charlie Buckley, the boss of The Bronx wielded inordinate power. But after the 68 convention disaster, the party’s rules were reformed to open the process to grass-roots activists, women, and ethnic minorities.

Sen. George McGovern, running on an anti-war platform, won the 1972 nomination. McGovern turned out to be a disaster as a presidential candidate, winning only one state and the District of Columbia.


So without reverting to the days of party bosses like Buckley, the Democrats decided to guarantee that elected officials would have a bigger voice in the nomination.

Kathy Gill of Newsvine.com shares that:

In 1980, Kennedy (MA) challenged incumbent Democratic president Jimmy Carter (GA). The convention battle was nasty, as the Kennedy camp tried to convince Carter's delegates to ignore "Rule 11 (H) that bound delegates to support the candidate in whose name they were elected." The rule was subsequently changed -- and this is still the 2008 language: "Delegates elected to the national convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them." (emphasis added)

Elected Democrats -- especially those in the House of Representatives -- were concerned about the selection process. Congressman Gillis Long, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus told the Hunt Commission:


We in the House, as the last vestige of Democratic Control at the national level, believe we have a special responsibility to develop new innovative approaches that respond to our Party’s constituencies.

Gov. Hunt (NC) was one of those who felt party leaders should be allowed to exercise independent judgment:


An equally important step would be to permit a substantial number of party leader and elected official delegates to be selected without requiring a prior declaration of preference. We would then return a measure of decision-making power and discretion to the organized party and increase the incentive it has to offer elected officials for serious involvement. (emphasis added)

Who opposed the super-delegate system? Feminists, because they believed super-delegates would be inordinately white and male,and supporters of Kennedy, because the super-delegate system would favor Vice President Mondale.

Rep. Geraldine Ferraro (NY) brokered the compromise: she cut the number of super-delegates in half and "left selection of the Congressional delegates in the hands of the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses." Today, the congressional caucuses do not select all the super-delegates, but all are (or were) elected Democratic officials. In the 2008 contest, there are 3,253 delegates and (about) 796 super-delegates; 2,026 delegates are needed to win.


This is exactly the type of election (or selection) that the super delegate system was designed for. Senator Obama slid through the better part of the primary season as a media darling and the relatively unknown Senator oratory skills and likeability/charisma was a breathe of fresh air from the nasty name calling mud slinging of past campaigns. In reality the campaigns of both parties this year have been the least vitriolic of any that I can remember.

But this campaign has been more of a persona contest than about issues. Hillary has been a polarizing figure, one you really like or really don't like; very few neutrals. But the thing democrats are not openly talking about is electability. Democrats privately see Obama as a repeat of the 1972 and 1984 defeats and this is the type of situation they established a super delegate system for.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, tried telling superdelegates how they are expected to vote. "The Speaker believes it would do great harm to the Democratic Party if superdelegates are perceived to overturn the will of the voters. This has been her position throughout this primary season, regardless of who was ahead at any particular point in delegates or votes."

Pelosi had some of her strong arm tactics come home to roost and was quickly reminded, "This is an untenable position that runs counter to the party's intent in establishing super-delegates in 1984 as well as your own comments recorded in The Hill ten days earlier (link) It really hasnt been a good month for
There also seems to be confusion surrounding the obligation of delegates to actually vote for their pledged candidate. According to the Democratic National Committee, technically, they don't have to.

"A delegate goes to the convention with a signed pledge of support for a particular presidential candidate. At the convention, while it is assumed that the delegate will cast their vote for the candidate they are publicly pledged to, it is not required."

The party's rules ask delegates to "in good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them." Basically, those delegates may be pledged, but they're not legally bound to him.

If I was Hillary I would fight until the final ballot because the system is stacked in her favor. The tide is turning now that Obama is being vetted and the super delegate system may be used as designed. What will it do to the democratic party? Wait until Denver and find out. I doubt Dean can contain the candidates. If I was Hillary I would tell Howard to take a hike, wouldn't you? Especially since super delegates will decide it anyway.



Friday, April 11, 2008

Do SOMETHING!

Hat tip to juandos



With all the complaints about the windfall profits that oil companies are making and the recent congressional hearings of the oil companies executives in Washington, we must ask ourselves......

1.Who makes more per gallon of gasoline, the oil companies or the United States government?

2. How much per gallon after expenses (profit) does the oil company profit on average?

3. How much per gallon of gasoline does the US Government charge you?

4. How much revenue does the US Government make on taxing the remaining profits of the oil companies?

5. If the oil company makes 10% profit, PRE-TAX, and is asked to make less profit per gallon to bring the cost of gas down, should the United States Government in an act of good faith reduce their fee on gas per gallon to be no more than the oil company profit OR should we tax the evil oil companies more for their ALLEGED windfall profits ?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Demagoguery deserves a name.

Let's call it Algoreism
The lack of critical journalism today still amazes me. But it is becoming harder to believe that people will no longer allow reasonable debate about theories and conjecture. And the aiding and abetting of it by once respected news investigative sources like Sixty Minutes is even more troubling.

I heard Al Gore was going to be on Sixty Minutes so I wanted to see if he was really going to be asked any tough questions in the interview. It is was premised that there were those who did not agree with his theory of climate change, he basically shrugged them off as people who also believe the moon landing was staged and were “flat earthers”. And now Al Gore has spoken-agree with me or else you will be discredited.

This is the same thing that happens with people who challenge Darwin’s theory with any other theory. Ben Stein is promoting Expelled which is to open April 18th that highlights the anti-intellectualism embraced by the current scientific community with forced acceptance of theories that still remain disputed.
Lynn Wolley writes:

“The earth has a fever! Global warming is unequivocal! The world’s scientists have spoken clearly and with one voice! The discussion is over!”

Such demagoguery deserves a name. Let’s call it “Algoreism” after the High Priest of climate change and Nobel Prize laureate Al Gore. Gore has made it his life’s work to scare the hell out of the peoples of the world en route to what is rapidly turning into a neo-socialistic global movement.

Algoreism is based first and foremost of the principle of the Big Lie. That is, if you tell a lie often enough, it transmogrifies into truth. The bigger the lie, the better. And to push the lie forward, you make every attempt to cut off reasonable debate.

In the case of Global Warming, Algoreism has led to two rather incredible scenarios. First, we’re seeing the elite proponents of the movement advocating a return to the horse-and-buggy days for the masses – while they, the rich and powerful, continue to live their jet-setting lives through the purchase of carbon credits. This is mind-numbing hypocrisy.”

In no time in my life since high school have I seen such acceptance of principles without questioning. In a era of relativism , where there are no alleged truths, one must swallow theories that can not be proven and can not believe other theories or do more research, because we have reached the conclusion wanted. Has the public school curriculum suppressed critical thought to eliminate questioning educational theory? Isn’t this the exact false charge they placed against Christians?

Well fortunately, there are still those who do not think Al Gore is god or a scientist, but a man with a political agenda who owns

If you’re one of the flat-earth masses, remember that under the principles of Algoreism, you may not challenge any of these statements. The consensus has been reached. The die is cast.

If you’re still subject to independent thought, you may be interested to know that there are some pretty amazing developments in the field of climate change. The BBC reports that global temperatures will dip slightly this year due to the effect of the La Nina current in the Pacific. In fact, says the BBC, if La Nina continues into the summer, as expected, global temperatures will not have not risen since 1998.

Investor’s Business Daily reports on studies from the Danish Meteorological Institute showing that global temperatures closely track solar cycles. These scientists are more concerned that the earth may be cooling. These revelations hearken back to the famous article in TIME Magazine of June 24, 1974 in which the magazine warned that “…weather aberrations…may be the harbinger of another ice age.”

From the Sydney Morning Herald comes a report that one of the world’s foremost scientists in the field of meteorology is calling Al Gore’s theories “ridiculous.” Dr. William Gray told a packed auditorium at the University of North Carolina that humans are not responsible for the warming of the earth. “We’re brainwashing our children,” he said.

And to bust the scientific consensus myth altogether, Lawrence Solomon’s new book “The Deniers” shines the light on many famous scientists who are not in lockstep. We’re talking people like Prof. Hendrik Tennekes, director of research at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, and Dr. Antonino Zichichi, the man who discovered nuclear antimatter.

These are scientists possessed of incredible intellects. And yet, Algoreism holds that they should be treated as pariahs. We already HAVE a consensus; we do not need any more research, studies or opinion. Under Algoreism, the discussion is therefore ended and the time has come to start confiscating anything that contributes to the “reality” of Global Warming.

Say goodbye to your SUV, your pickup, your lawnmower, your gas grill – just about anything that makes life worth living. Prepare for $10 per gallon gasoline – if you can get it at all. In fact, under the tenants of Algoreism, everything will cost more and there will be less of it. But you shouldn’t worry because the earth’s fever will go away and government will take care of you. The government will give you what you need and the old pleasures of life will soon be forgotten.

Now don’t forget, it is yours to sacrifice, not the elites. NO, they have to use energy at higher rates than anyone , because say like in Al Gore’s situation; because he is Al Gore. Oh, and what is in it for big Al? Deborah Barnes reports in The Money and Connections Behind Al Gore’s Carbon Crusade

Gore’s Circle of Business

Al Gore is chairman and founder of a private equity firm called Generation Investment Management (GIM). According to Gore, the London-based firm invests money from institutions and wealthy investors in companies that are going green. “Generation Investment Management, purchases — but isn’t a provider of — carbon dioxide offsets,” said spokesman Richard Campbell in a March 7 report by CNSNews.

GIM appears to have considerable influence over the major carbon-credit trading firms that currently exist: the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) in the U.S. and the Carbon Neutral Company (CNC) in Great Britain. CCX is the only firm in the U.S. that claims to trade carbon credits.

CCX owes its existence in part to the Joyce Foundation, the Chicago-based liberal foundation that provided $347,000 in grant support in 2000 for a preliminary study to test the viability of a market in carbon credits. On the CCX board of directors is the ubiquitous Maurice Strong, a Canadian industrialist and diplomat who, since the 1970s, has helped create an international policy agenda for the environmentalist movement. Strong has described himself as “a socialist in ideology, a capitalist in methodology.” His former job titles include “senior advisor” to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, “senior advisor” to World Bank President James Wolfensohn and board member of the United Nations Foundation, a creation of Ted Turner. The 78-year-old Strong is very close to Gore.

CCX has about 80 members that are self-confessed emitters of greenhouse gases. They have voluntarily committed themselves to reduce their emissions by the year 2010 to a level 6% below their emissions in 2000. CCX members include Ford Motor Company, Amtrak, DuPont, Dow Corning, American Electric Power, International Paper, Motorola, Waste Management and a smattering of other companies, along with the states of Illinois and New Mexico, seven cities and a number of universities. Presumably the members “purchase” carbon offsets on the CCX trading exchange. This means they make contributions to or investments in groups or firms that provide forms of “alternative,” “renewable” and “clean” energy.

CCX also has “participant members” that develop the carbon-offset projects. They have names like Carbon Farmers and Eco-Nomics Incorporated. Still, other participant member groups facilitate, finance and market carbon-offset projects to “sequester, destroy or displace” greenhouse gases. CCX aspires to be the New York Stock Exchange of carbon-emissions trading.

Along with Gore, the co-founder of GIM is Treasury Secretary and former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson. Last September, Goldman Sachs bought 10% of CCX shares for $23 million. CCX owns half the ECX, so Goldman Sachs has a stake there as well.

GIM’s “founding partners” are studded with officials from Goldman Sachs. They include David Blood, former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM); Mark Ferguson, former co-head of GSAM pan-European research; and Peter Harris, who headed GSAM international operations. Another founding partner is Peter Knight, who is the designated president of GIM. He was Sen. Al Gore’s chief of staff from 1977-1989 and the campaign manager of the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign.

Like CCX, the ECX has about 80 member companies, including Barclays, BP, Calyon, Endesa, Fortis, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Shell, and ECX has contracted with the European Union to further develop a futures market in carbon trading. What’s in it for the companies? They will benefit either by investing in carbon credits or by receiving subsidies for doing so.

Front and Center

Clearly, GIM is poised to cash in on carbon trading. The membership of CCX is currently voluntary. But if the day ever comes when federal government regulations require greenhouse-gas emitters — and that’s almost everyone — to participate in cap-and-trade, then those who have created a market for the exchange of carbon credits are in a position to control the outcomes. And that moves Al Gore front and center. As a politician, Gore is all for transparency. But as GIM chairman, Gore has not been forthcoming, according to Forbes magazine. Little is known about his firm’s finances, where it gets funding and what projects it supports.

We do know that Goldman Sachs has commissioned the World Resources Institute (affiliated with CCX), Resources for the Future, and the Woods Hole Research Center to research policy options for U.S. regulation of greenhouse gases. In 2006, Goldman Sachs provided research grants in this area totaling $2.3 million. The firm also has committed $1 billion to carbon-assets projects, a fancy term for projects that generate energy from sources other than oil and gas. In October 2006, Morgan Stanley committed to invest $3 billion in carbon-assets projects. Citigroup entered the emissions-trading market in May, and Bank of America got in on the action in June.

Some environmentalist groups disparage Gore and his investment banker friends. They say the Gore group caters to others who share their financial interest in the carbon-exchange concept. The bulletin of the World Rainforest Movement says that members of a United Nations-sponsored group called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stand to gain by approving Gore’s carbon-trading enterprise. The IPCC has devised what it says is a scientific measure of the impact of greenhouse gases on global warming. In fact, the critics charge, the IPCC sanctions a mechanism that mainly promotes the sham concept of carbon exchange.

The global non-profit organization Winrock International is an example of one IPCC panel member that seeks out groups and individuals with an interest in carbon trading. Arkansas-based Winrock provides worldwide “carbon-advisory services.” Winrock has received government grants from the EPA, USAID and the Departments of Labor, State and Commerce, as well as from the Nature Conservancy (whose chairman used to be Henry Paulson). Winrock argues that cap-and-trade carbon trading is the best way to prevent a climate change crisis. But consider this: When a non-profit group takes money from oil companies and advocates drilling for oil as a solution to energy shortages, it is certain to be attacked as a tool of Big Oil. So far, the groups linked to Al Gore have avoided similar scrutiny.

Then there’s the World Resources Institute (WRI). It was the first nongovernmental group to join CCX as an associate member (a designation for virtuous groups whose greenhouse-gas emissions are negligible). Many of its donors are CCX members or otherwise support carbon exchanges, including the Shell Foundation, Whole Foods Market, the Nature Conservancy, American Forest and Paper Association, and the Pew Center for Climate Change, as well as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Ford Foundation.

Connect the Dots

In June 2006, the World Bank announced that it, too, had joined CCX, saying that it intended to offset its greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing emission credits through CCX. The bank says its credits would contribute to restoring 4,600 hectares of degraded pastureland in Costa Rica. Somehow, CCX has figured out that this is an amount equivalent to 22,000 metric tons of emission that the bank calculates are created by its activities.

A World Bank blog called the Private Sector Development Blog regularly features items touting Al Gore and the concept of carbon credits. Its articles typically announce corporate “green” initiatives in which carbon credits are said to cancel out “bad” CO2 emissions released by a company’s activities.

In fact, the World Bank now operates a Carbon Finance Unit that conducts research on how to develop and trade carbon credits. The bank works with Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain to set up carbon-credit funds in each country to purchase emission credits from firms for use in developing countries. In addition, it runs the Carbon Fund for Europe helping countries meet their Kyoto Protocol requirements. These funds are traded on the ECX (half of which is owned by CCX, itself a creature of Al Gore’s firm, Generation Investment Management). Can we connect the dots?

A website affiliated with An Inconvenient Truth invites concerned citizens to personally fight global warming by offsetting their “carbon footprint.” The ways to do that include changing over to fluorescent light bulbs and turning down your thermostat at home. But the website also urges Americans to offset their personal CO2 emissions by “buying” carbon offsets from a native-American-owned company called Native Energy. Native Energy promotes “renewable” wind energy by buying and selling carbon-emission credits and futures for wind turbine projects on Indian reservations.

What the website doesn’t mention is that that the founder of Native Energy, energy industry veteran Tom Boucher, also founded a marketing company called Green Mountain Energy, a CCX associate partner that describes itself as “the nation’s leading retail provider of cleaner energy and carbon-offset solutions. Green Mountain offers residential, business, institutional and governmental customers an easy way to purchase cleaner, affordable electricity products, as well as the opportunity to offset their carbon footprint.” In other words, Green Mountain sells advisory services to energy users, alerting them to opportunities to contribute to or invest in groups like Native Energy.

So it seems banks and investment houses are going green, eager to enter an emerging emissions market. Meanwhile, environmentalists are discovering new ways to get rich while believing they are saving polar bears and rainforests.

Gore’s Non-profit Agitators


In 2006 Al Gore established his own global-warming non-profit group, the Alliance for Climate Protection, a 501(3)(c) charitable organization. The group favors more stringent environmental policy regulations on the private sector and especially wants cap-and-trade legislation so that companies will be forced to lower their greenhouse gas emissions and buy carbon credits.

The alliance CEO is Cathy Zoi, a former environmental advisor to President Bill Clinton. Gore is chairman of the board, which also includes environmental activist Theodore Roosevelt IV, Clinton EPA Director Carol Browner, the President George H.W. Bush’s National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and Reagan-era EPA Director Lee Thomas. Gore has reportedly given the alliance $250,000 and has said he will donate his share of the profits from An Inconvenient Truth to the group. “

Hat tip to Steve at Mezzanineview for the following,

“Quite a few people have a hard time getting their brain around Global Warming™. I admit that it took me a time to grasp the facts of it, as opposed to the dribs-and-drabs sound bites we get from an essentially ignorant media. In my darker moments I smell a media conspiracy but that’s another subject altogether.

But this next bit is important. The National Center for Policy Analysis has produced a very simple to understand Global Warming Primer. Go here: [Link]. The primer is based on a review of currently available scientific data.

I suggest that anybody who is even minutely interested in GW to peruse it. It is simple to understand (using graphs and charts) and the facts are unimpeachable. I found pages 5-8 interesting with page 8 being the payoff.

Obviously, this primer was compiled before the recent research that is signaling that we are now entering a cooling period (reduced sun activity) that could end-up being quite cold. More on that later.”


Al Gore says global warming is a planetary emergency. It is difficult to see how this can be so when record low temperatures are being set all over the world. In 2007, hundreds of people died, not from global warming, but from cold weather hazards.

Since the mid-19th century, the mean global temperature has increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius. This slight warming is not unusual, and lies well within the range of natural variation. Carbon dioxide continues to build in the atmosphere, but the mean planetary temperature hasn’t increased significantly for nearly nine years. Antarctica is getting colder. Neither the intensity nor the frequency of hurricanes has increased. The 2007 season was the third-quietest since 1966. In 2006 not a single hurricane made landfall in the U.S.

Creating a market

Insurance is an example of a government mandated forced market. If one drives a car, they must have auto insurance, if one finances a home they must have homeowners insurance. The best way to start a whole new market is for the government to mandate it. And who better than a professional politican who has the connections and knows how the system works?

As Ms Barnes concludes,

“The President is unwilling to call for mandatory nationwide emissions rules and instead favors voluntary carbon-emission cuts in the private sector. This is deeply frustrating to all the brokers, wheeler-dealers and interest groups that want to jump on the cap-and-trade bandwagon. There are billions of dollars to be made in trading emissions credits. But first the federal government must force everyone to play the game.

As for Al Gore, the former Vice President brings emotional fervor to his carbon crusade. He travels the country displaying charts and graphs, quoting scientific experts and appealing to philosophers and religious leaders to save the planet from global warming. But he says nothing about his business partners who yearn to trade on the emerging carbon market. And the media pay no attention to the companies offering “carbon advisory services” that will profit from federal carbon emission controls.”


When in doubt, follow the money. Algoreism…no thank you.

Homeschool Ruling Vacated; Court Will Reconsider

In doing some promised follow-up, I just went to the Pacific Justice Institute and there was this notice posted.

Special Bulletin: Homeschool Ruling Vacated; Court Will Reconsider


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pacific Justice Institute has just received word that the court ruling which declared most forms of homeschooling unlawful in California has been vacated. This means the Rachel L. decision, which has sparked a nationwide uproar, will not go into effect as it is currently written. The Second District Court of Appeal has instead decided to re-hear the case, with a new round of briefings due in late April. It would likely take the court several additional months to schedule oral argument and issue another decision.Today’s announcement by the court that it will re-hear the case reinforces PJI’s position that homeschooling families should continue their current programs without fear of governmental interference. PJI will be actively involved in the upcoming briefs and will continue to post updates and special bulletins on this vital issue.Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “We are pleased that the Court of Appeal has decided to re-hear the Rachel L. case, and we are hopeful that the fundamental rights of these parents, our clients Sunland Christian School, and the tens of thousands of homeschooling families in California will be honored. Homeschooling parents should be treated as heroes - not hunted down or harassed by their own government.”

Online Petition to Governor Schwarzenegger


______________________

A California appellate court, ruling that parents have no constitutional right to homeschool their children, pinned its decision on this ominous quotation from a 47-year-old case, “A primary purpose of the educational system is to train schoolchildren in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare.”

There you have it; a primary purpose of government schools is to train schoolchildren “in loyalty to the state.”

The words echo the ideas of officials from Germany, where homeschooling has been outlawed since 1938 under a law adopted when Adolf Hitler decided he wanted the state, and no one else, to control the minds of the nation’s youth.

Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, has said “school teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct, encourages dialogue among people of different beliefs and cultures, and helps students to become responsible citizens.”

_________________________

I posted the vacated appeal here

In re RACHEL L. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. JONATHAN L. et al, Petitioners, v. THE SUPERIOR COURT OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Respondent; LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, Real Party in Interest.

B192878

COURT OF APPEAL OF CALIFORNIA, SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT, DIVISION THREE

160 Cal. App. 4th 624; 2008 Cal. App. LEXIS 292

Monday, April 7, 2008

Parental rights?

I should not be stunned, yet I am. I should not be shocked, but I am. The article below by John Stossel is quoted in full . Hopefully the case will be on Lexis shortly.

I will reiterate what I said to some homeschoolers earlier–If there is ever a case for civil disobedience that could be effectively applied, this is it. If 166,000 cases demanded a jury trial on their case in California, it would overload the system. Use the math to your advantage. If you do not fight for your rights you will lose them.

By JOHN STOSSEL

“THE CAT is finally out of the bag. A California appellate court, ruling that parents have no constitutional right to homeschool their children, pinned its decision on this ominous quotation from a 47-year-old case, “A primary purpose of the educational system is to train schoolchildren in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare.”

There you have it; a primary purpose of government schools is to train schoolchildren “in loyalty to the state.” Somehow that protects “the public welfare” more than allowing parents to homeschool their children, even though homeschooled kids routinely outperform government-schooled kids academically. In 2006, homeschooled students had an average ACT composite score of 22.4. The national average was 21.1

Justice H. Walter Croskey said, “California courts have held that under provisions in the Education Code, parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children.” If that is the law in California, then Charles Dickens’s Mr. Bumble is right: “the law is a ass, a idiot.”

The California Constitution says, “A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the Legislature shall encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement.”

That doesn’t appear to rule out homeschooling, unless you read it as a grant of absolute power to politicians.

Admittedly, the education code is vague. It requires children to attend public school or a private school (where certified teachers are not required). But they can also be taught by state-credentialed tutors. Homeschooling is not directly addressed. There’s disagreement over what that means. The court and the teachers’ union claim homeschooling is illegal unless the teaching parent has state credentials.

Homeschooling parents, many of whom have declared their homes private schools, say what they do is legal. Up till now that’s been fine with the California Department of Education. And California reportedly has 166,000 homeschoolers.

Nationwide, the National Center for Education Statistics says that in 2003 (the latest year for which it has a number), almost 1.1 million children were being homeschooled. The numbers keep increasing, so clearly homeschooling parents think their kids get something better at home than they would from public schools.

The Los Angeles Times isn’t sure where the state law stands. “If no such right (to homeschool) exists, as a court ruled, the Legislature should make it an option,” the newspaper’s editorial board said. The editorial wondered why parents who teach one or two children at home need credentials, while private-school teachers in classes full of kids don’t.

The danger in having the legislature clarify the law is that the legislature is controlled by politicians sympathetic to the teachers’ union, which despises homeschooling. “(H)ome-schoolers fear that any attempt to protect home-schooling would end up outlawing it,” writes Orange County Register columnist Steven Greenhut.

It reminds me of what New York Judge Gideon Tucker said in the 19th Century, “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”

This particular case is muddied by suspicions of child abuse, but as the Times said, the court improperly “used a single example of possible child abuse to throw the book at tens of thousands of home schoolers.”

I think the state court is looking at the state Constitution upside down. The court finds no constitutional right to homeschool one’s children. But in a free country, people are free to do anything not expressly prohibited by law. If the Constitution is silent about homeschooling, then the right is reserved to the people. That’s how the Framers of the U.S. Constitution said things are supposed to work.

Last week, the appellate court surprised everyone by agreeing to rehear the case.

On top of that, state Schools Superintendent Jack O’Connell says he thinks homeschooling is legal and favors choice in education.

That’s reasonable news. But why is education the business of government?

It’s taken for granted that the state is every child’s ultimate parent, but there’s no justification for that in a free society. Parents may not be perfect — some are pretty bad — but a cold, faceless bureaucracy is no better.

Let’s hope the court gets it right in June.”

John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News’ “20/20″ and the author of “Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.”

Let’s cut through the theological jargon

Let’s cut through the theological jargon and think about the church for a while. First published September 29, 2007

A couple weeks ago I started to do an blog on ekklesia, because in many ways it is at the heart of christian unity and a misunderstanding of the greek term, heavily aided by both the institutions and the King James Version of the Holy Bible, actually works toward disunity among believers. Here is a good article on the word ekklesia. Your thoughts and comments are encouraged.

Let’s cut through the theological jargon and think about the church for a while.In the New Testament (NT), the church is actually the ekklesia (Greek). The problem is that “church” is not a helpful translation of ekklesia. In the world of the NT, the ekklesia was a socio-political term, an assembly of people called together to discuss and decide civic issues. It had no special religious significance. It’s interesting that Jesus and the NT writers selected this word to describe the special “called-out” community He founded. Under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, they apparently wanted to stress the communal side of Christian experience, not so much a “religious” or cultic side. After all, they didn’t identify this new community chiefly as “the temple” or any such thing. There is a total absence of any religiosity in the Greek and Roman idea of the ekklesia, and there is no religiosity in the NT idea of it either. It is the local, called-out followers of Jesus joined together in assembly.

The real distinctive of the church is that they are the followers of Jesus — as opposed to the rest of the world, which does not follow Jesus. This is probably why ekklesia was chosen to describe this congregation in the first place (1 Cor. 11:18; 14:23, 26). It is an assembly called out from the world for a particular purpose. It designates a distinction from the world of unbelievers — the church is distinct from the world.

This congregation is under Jesus’ authority (Eph. 1:20-23). He places human leaders in this assembly. They are called elders or bishops (Tit. 1:5-7). The assembly is called to follow and obey them (Heb. 13:7-17), but they are servants and may never lord it over the assembly (1 Pet. 5:3). They are not “priests,” in an a way more “spiritual” than the other believers, who are priests also (Rev. 1:5-6). They are not a member of some spiritual caste system; the Bible knows nothing of clericalism. They are specially gifted (Eph. 4:7-16), but they are not of a different order than their sisters and brothers (“laypersons”). Their goal is simple but often hard — oversee the spiritual health of the “flock” (1 Pet. 5:1-4).

Second, the only church the Bible knows about is local. In the NT era a city would have a church, usually planted by an apostle or another elder (Ac. 14:23; 15:41; Rom. 16:4; 1 Cor. 4:17). It was a local church. In Hebrews 12:23 we read of the ekklesia registered in heaven, but even here it is visible and localized [!]. Sometimes the Bible uses “church” in a generic sense, as we would of the family, as in, “The family is under attack in today’s world.” The Bible uses the term “church” in this way (Ac. 8:3; 1 Cor. 10:32; 12:28; Eph. 1:22), but it is the local church being talked about. The only church is this local assembly or congregation.

This means that the Roman Catholic Church is not a church. Neither is the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Church of Christ or the Lutheran Church-Missouri-Synod. Neither is the OPC, the PCA, the CREC, the URC, the PRC, the ELCA, the RCUS, the RPCUS, the RPCGA, the CRC, the RCA, or any of the rest of the Protestant ecclesial alphabet soup. An assembly of believers from around the state or nation is not a church. A collection of ministers and elders from a denomination is not a church. These are all human organizations, and they may be useful in the Kingdom of God (see below); but they are not the church, and they should not act as though they are the church. They have no elders, no deacons, and do not enjoy the promises that God granted His church (e. g., Mt. 16:18-19). Now, it’s possible that the true church may have met in different houses, portions at one spot and portions at another in a city (Rom. 16:5; Col. 4:15). But if it isn’t local, it’s not a church.

Nor is the church “invisible.” The ideas of the “invisible church” arose when men had to deal with the problem of sinners and depravity and apostasy in the church. “How could a church that contains sinners and apostasy be the bride of Christ, the blood-washed body the Bible talks about?” It is a good question, but it should not have been answered by creating a new category the Bible knows nothing about: the “invisible” church. The Bible knows only about very visible, local churches — nothing else. True, there is an invisible dimension of the church — the true believers seen to God’s eyes alone. But this is no church the Bible knows anything about, and we shouldn’t act as though there’s a separate “invisible” church.

The Church is Not the Kingdom

There are two final problems — (1), when the church claims to be something it is not; and (2) when things that are not the church claim to be the church.

Let’s take these in order. One of the most injurious errors in the history of Christianity is when the church is identified with the Kingdom of God. Jesus said very little about the church and very much about the Kingdom, and He did not equate the two. Nobody else in the Bible did, either. This is just a fiction dreamed up early in the Western church in the attempt to conform it to the structures of the collapsing hierarchical Roman Empire by which it was surrounded, and this view was later passed on to the Protestants (and even in the Westminster Confession). The church is a local assembly of Christians, but the kingdom is the rule of God by Jesus in the world, wherever that may be (1 Cor. 15:23-28). The church should not try to monopolize these aspects of the kingdom. Sometimes I hear well-meaning Christians say, “All ‘para-church’ ministries are anti-Biblical.” They have yet to find a Bible verse for this assertion. They believe that if the church isn’t doing it, it shouldn’t be done. The problem with this is that God’s plan in the earth is bigger than the church, which is to be sure a vital part of it. The family is a basic ministry in God’s plan. It should be a part of the church, but it is not the church. It has its own calling separate from the church (Gen. 1:26-28). The same is true of the state (Rom. 13:1-7). It is not a part of the church, though it is God’s minister and subject to His authority. The state should be a part of the Kingdom of God in Jesus, yet it is not the church. “Ecclesiocentricity” (church-centeredness) subverts the Lordship of Christ by arrogating to itself tasks and institutions beyond its purview. So, the church is not the Kingdom.

The church (ekklesia) is God’s called-out assembly of Jesus’ followers, his blood-washed people under His Lordship and governed by elders. It is local. All Christians should be members of a local church. The church is not the Kingdom.

The Church and the State Relationship, Part 4

Many legitimate questions have been raised in the first three parts of this series, and the feedback received, as it is established there is no pure separation of the church from the state, and in fact the state wields influence on the church’s internal activities by the very nature of its incorporation and tax exempt status. My friend ECD Pilgrim is concurrently looking at other aspects of the relationship, as well as internal governance issues.

Jesus Christ addressed a situation very similar to what the church in the United States faces today. In his famous interaction in Matthew 12:13-17 (cp. Matthew 22:15-22, Luke 20:20-26), where He was entrapped into a lose-lose situation, Our Lord showed his ensnarers were no match for Him. We must realize that at the time the Temple had aligned with Caesar in a quid pro quo relationship, and backed the oppressive tax render going to Caesar and his minions for their own benefit. There was a legitimate dispute about whether it was legitimate and there was a resistance among many of the believers to pay the tax because it was illegitimate. Our Lord, clearly separates the kingdoms here and shows that the state is always under and subject to God’s authority as it is all His.

So, as pointed out in Part 1, the church has ceded its diaconal ministry to the state and I would further state ,I believe as a matter of convenience or expediency, or at best as a serious lack of discernment. Consider it for the best part gone, as the taxation by the government has placed many church members diaconal gifts rendered to the state as they are the ones whose care we have placed our widows, orphans, elderly and disabled under.

So as we look at governance we need to look at the larger issue, to whom do we ultimately depend on as Christians, Our God or our state? I am not condemning anyone who by nature of the system we live under, has been forced to paid into and receives retirement or disability from the state. Ex post facto condemnation is wrong and is the worst of monday morning quarterbacking.

Our legitimate areas of concern of the church needs to be how we can be faithful to our Lord and live in both kingdoms, rather than making the church a subsection of the state to be used. The first area I think we must meet with strong resistance is liberation theology. In that article I quote Hoyos, “When I see the church with a machine gun, I can not see the crucified Christ (or the risen Christ)in that church”

How do Christians effect change in society? How does that meld with the great commission? I am not for one minute suggesting that Christians take no part in the earthly kingdom of the state, I am suggesting however, it becomes wrong for the church to be a political arm of the state. There are current theologians who have watered down their effectiveness for the gospel of Jesus Christ by wrapping Jesus in the flag. There are others who promote our alliance with the state for programs the “church can’t afford otherwise”, by taking public funds. You can justify it by working within the system and using to our benefit pragmatically. I will agree on one point, “the church can’t afford” to be in such a relationship as she cedes even more authority every time she takes a single dime from the state (all inclusive of government).

We are not our own, and we have been bought with a price . Until we start taking our worldviews and our eschatologies out to the grander scale we see scripture dictating, we have to end our reliance and alliances with the state in any future actions we take. While each of us has our particular worldviews, there is one thing we have in common as the mission of the church, and that is to spread the good news until the day of the Lord.

We must stop where we are and think seriously about our actions and the message the church is sending to the world. Many view us not as an offense, but either just plain offensive, as malcontents, or just plain idiots, and who do we have to blame?

In our common missions, in preaching Christ crucified, in preaching the risen Savior, in equipping the saints and worshipping the Living Triune God, who is alive and well, we need to start to remove the stumbling blocks we place in the way of the gospel. There are so few faithful churches todays, our core message should not be our politics, our activism, our economic theories, it needs to be the whole counsel of God, preached faithful, and worship of our Triune God in spirit and in truth. When we do this, we will affect the earthly kingdom and being obedient to our Master, the one who owns us. We can work across most worldview lines. We have allowed Satan to use this to our detriment in our effectivesness on influence in our community and our culture.

I believe at the same time we need to have systemic theology taught, our children need to be brought up in the faith and properly trained in the confessions of the faith, so they know their own comfort in life and are able to share the hope that lies within them. It is then we build a strong family, a strong church and a strong community. Until those occur we are just fragmenting and spinning wheels with some illusion of what could or should be with no practical implementation of it.

The church needs to put the cart back behind the horse, clearly focus on its scriptural mission and work within the earthly kingdom. Until our own houses and houses are in order, and our reliance is on God and not the state to effectualize change, we are like the jeep stuck up to its axles in mud. Jehovah Jireh , He is our Provider .Soli Deo Gloria.

Church ownership of property and it’s implication (s)-Part 3

Two years ago I was reflecting on the following:

This summers church general assemblies season made headlines in the secular world as well as sent shockwaves across the evangelical community. In reality, none of these were really new developments, of a scripturally sound denominations, suddenly ‘doing a 180′, but just further and more blatant departures from scripture.

Salt losing it savor and lights turning a harlot red. I know several faithful elders within the PCUSA who hold firmly to scripture who are extremely upset with their churches decisions and direction, and just positioning themselves on how to distance themselves from the denomination even further or waiting for an inevitable split between those who hold to biblical views and the liberal control of the denomination. I know of quite a few in ECUSA who are utilizing church by-laws to get around the ECUSA decisons in a way to distance themselves as well. One of their blogs I read this morning recounted a catholic friend asking them why they even bothered to hold services.

Lets just take a quick look at three different views of this. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Property Trust Clause (G-8.0201) ,the OPC FOG XVI, 7 regarding dissuasion, and the PCA BOCO 25-9. The purpose of comparison is not for the technical legal aspects but for a broader application as it relates to this series.( The latter two documents are not directly from the BOCO, but discussed in context)

The context we are looking at this in is why when a denomination departs from it’s orignal standards and stated purpose ,do particular churches stay within the denomination? The answer many times is given that one stays within the denomination to be a defender of the faith, a voice of truth, heralding the Word of God and calling their brothers unto repentence as dictated by our Lord in the application of Matthew 18:15-18. But what do you do when they fail to repent? Can you remain under the authority of one who has departed from the teachings of scripture?

Strange how it seems we again come to the issue of secular law and the church in dealing with scriptural premises and the Christians life/the life of the church. But we must examine its implications on the body and how we can build up the body, not be mere complainers and finger pointers.

Many of the mainline denominations we see today who have departed from scriptural truth very likely could have never done it and retained their churches without the secular courts on their side. If a church dissents in changes in denomational doctrinal changes such as the Resurrection, the nature of Salvation, the Atonement , while they have the right to leave the denomination by the particular churches vote, they may lose all their property, their assets, and in some cases the pastor may endanger his pension. If a church just choses to ignore the presbytery and hire another pastor anyway, they may well find themselves being sued by the denomination, and even find their denomination going to file briefs on behalf of other denominations to hold this grip on churches.

In the OPC, for instance while each particular church has ownership rights to its property, they use a process of dissuasion. ” ..As a session is obliged to attempt to dissuade a member from leaving the church, so a presbytery is obliged to use its powers of dissuasion against a congregation’s leaving. And as long as that congregation is under the immediate oversight of its presbytery as a congregational unit, some open process must be provided. This FOG XVI #7 does. And in case there is a minority of members opposed to leaving, the OPC has the duty to make provision for their continuing in the OPC with constitutional oversight as paragraph c provides.” Much of this came from the formation of the OPC where all but one church lost their property to the PCUSA.

The PCA in 25-11 states “Particular churches need remain in association with any court of this body only so long as they themselves so desire. The relationship is voluntary, based upon mutual love and confidence, and is in no sense to be maintained by the exercise of any force or coercion whatsoever. A particular church may withdraw from any court of this body at any time for reasons which seem to it sufficient.”

Quoting again from the OPC document I linked above, “Schism is a serious sin. This is not to say that ALL separating congregations are thereby declared guilty of sin against the unity of the visible church (whose unity is disunity is very evident in the church’s present state on earth). but we take seriously John 13:34-35 and 17:20-21 as applying to the visible church as well as the body of Christ invisible.

In fairness we have viewed denominations that have oversight in the form of hierarchial governance. I am strongly in favor of presbyterian style of governance as in my humble opine, it adds to the stability of the local church and guarding against false doctrine.; as well as settling disputes of doctrine and practice by a larger body and a doctrinal standard by which teaching elders are ordained. The ability to have a group outside your own who can advise and mediate internal disagreements upon request is invaluable in maintaining order in the body of Christ.

In looking at these different forms of how much control is ceded to the hierarchial body, I believe that there is a strong case to be made scripturally that when it comes to ceding rights of our property and assets to a larger body, the larger body no longer feels constrained to a check and balance system and has led to an abuse of its authority, and has trusted in the power of the civil magistrate and lorded that civil power over the church of Jesus Christ. What say you?

The state of the Church. Has the church joined with the state? (Part 2)

Last year I was contacted by a pastor who had some comments on a situation he knew I was involved in . This gentlemen made a remark that ended the conversation turning it into a one-sided lecture on his part,. He flatly said that a church is wrong to incorporate as it removes the Bridegroom as the head of the church, and by the very nature of incorporation, derives it existence from the state. He further went on to say how we were wrong to file for tax exempt status.

My initial reaction was flat rejection of his statement and thinking this guy is too heavenly minded to be of any earthly use. He lives in between Nirvana and la-la land, and most likely why he has had financial problems. Of course, it is a pragmatic reaction, that’s just not how things are done today! Join reality buddy. And there was the defensive mechanism-I have personally drawn up articles of incorporation for a church and been a legal officer of a church corporation previously.

Let’s take a look back into history. When King Henry ended the relationship with the pope centuries back, he became the head of the Church of England, and each king thereafter was to succeed him as the head of the church. Whether the King was active or inactive in any governance or oversight is really secondary to this series, it is the fact he was the de facto head.

When the colonists came to America, they had a great desire to have the church be a institution free from any control by the state. Their dream became reality when our constitution made the church immune to any interference by the government and immune from being taxed.

The early church in America was a great influence in society. The reformed churches became education centers for their children where they were both educated and received religious training. Universities, book publishing houses, outreaches, soup kitchens, the list goes on. The Catholic church realized the impact and started their own schools so they could indoctrinate their children as well. In concise summary, the church was having a great influence on society and on its governance. They were salt and light. Immune from any interference from the state.

As churches began having impact beyond their community and began to amass finances, government introduced the concept of tax exemption. Churches and non-profit ventures of the religious institutions would incorporate and be exempted from taxes. Now what is incorporation? It is a fictious person, that would exist beyond the passing of the person who formed it (perhaps overly concise). It’s existence and authority is derived from the state. Now this may seem like hair splitting, but our legal eagles will tell you there is a great difference between immune and exempt.

Immune is free from any authority, where exempt acknowledges the authority and in exchange for an action or inaction, is freed from its obligations to the authority to pay taxes. So what is the quid pro quo? Tax exemption, and the ability of its member to deduct their donations to the church in exchange for no direct involvement in the political process, as long as they file for tax exemption.

Tax deductions are good, I take them. The idea of the church not paying taxes is good stewardship, isn’t ? Aren’t we to be good stewards of the Lord’s money? A win-win situation pragmatically.

Does Matthew 12:13-17. (cp. Matthew 22:15-22, Luke 20:20-26), Render unto Caesar those things that are Caeser’s, …. Come into play here at all? Historically this was addressing the annual tax to Rome, not the taxes on land, to the temple, or customs taxes, but the tax unto Caesar. Jews were divided about this tax and whether they were morally obliged to pay it. The temple authorities (who gave Jesus up to be crucified) collaborated with Roman rule and endorsed the tax, while those sympathetic to the Roman resistance rejected it. Most commentators do feel Jesus Christ answer was a separation of the two kingdoms/realms and that believers should give what is required of them in both realms.

While the passage show our Lords adept debating style and ability to avoid a trap set for him, and generally believed that since all belongs to God anyway, it has little to do with everyday taxation. So why include it here? I wonder aloud is there application in that since God owns everything anyway, are we in anyway perhaps hindering the mission of the church and its influence we have on society by entering into a voluntary agreement with the state to avoid taxation of the church and the donations of its members?

I look around and see where our churches no longer the education centers for our children, the impact the church has on our communities has been diminished. In Pennsylvania pastors have been ruled to be at-will employees whose employment is “at the whim” of the corporation. In fact I would go one step further and say the outside world is having much greater impact on the church, than the church is having on it. We have watched mainline church after mainline church go the way of the world and be influenced by the world, rather than us being salt and light to the world. To the point commentators are laughing at it calling the devolvement, “Larry, Moe and Curly Joe” or “Our Mother Jesus”,.

I do not come with the answer, or with condemning finger pointing. I am not on the higher road looking down at all you infidels .I have actively participated in “what seemeth right unto man”. I do know the Scripture is very clear that Christ is the head of the church and its bridegroom. I only wonder if we are having an illicit affair with the state, citing we have not yet come to the wedding feast, and are reaping the benefits of that relationship.

I actively am calling for a new reformation, am involved in a group entitled reformation42day, am encouraging youth to rise up and take active roles in the church. In doing so I must be willing to examine my own actions and attitudes and be able to be ready with solid biblical answers. Aping a popular talkshow host-what say you?

The state of the Church. (Part 1) Has the church joined with the state?

The perversion of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment has been a cause of controversy for years. I am not as concerned about the traditional arguments here and in fact wish to turn the refocus how the church has abdicated its roles and broke down the walls of separation. The focus on this is not the constitutional aspects, which I believe could debunk most of modern opinions of the court by examing the federalist papers and the writings of the founders, but the aspect of the church and its relationship to the state via its own abdication of authority by choice.

My thesis is actually that it is the church who has broken down the barrier wall between itself and the state and it’s willingness to throw it’s responsiblity to it’s flock off onto the state and the heathen, as well as its willingness to take money from the state in exchange for their union.

Starting at the “New Deal”, social security and social assistance programs, the church should have been up in arms in protest. (Maybe a step backward, starting at the prohibition, it should have been in protest of legislating “alleged Christian principles” but was in support of it-with the exception of J. Grescham Madchen. ) But it gladly ceded it’s responsibility to the widows, the infirmed, the orphans and to the needy to the state.

The principle of teaching someone to fish , rather than to merely give fish lost out. We find in Acts where the burden of meeting the needs and serving the tables interfered with the evangelistic and ministerial aspects of the apostles (now transfer to elders), so there were among them those chosen to meet those needs. That office has all been lost today.

How did the church ever allow this to happen? Disorder in the offices is one of the quickest ways to destroy a church and make it unhealthy. Non- functional offices in the church is the norm, not the exception.

The diaconal concept is skewed into distribution only, and the modern day deacon takes care of books, and does labor in the church, cut the lawn, paint the building, clean the church. What does he do with the flock? Maybe a household chore or a ride to the store or doctor or to the state office to sign someone up for benefits? And that is a healthy deacon in today’s church. But, I see this as one of the core problems in todays church.

A deacon must be one who can counsel and instruct and discern. When a deacon cares for the needy, by a members submission to the authority of the church, a deacon should be helping to set up budgets, and look for root causes of the need, not only to “give fish”. When the church gives assistance to a member, it has the responsibility to ascertain why that need is there, and how to overcome the need for assistance. This sets the stage for interaction between the deacon and the member in need?

Is the member terrible with handling funds? Is the member lacking discipline in his own life? Is the member tithing? Is the member involved in some habit that is causing them to deprive their family of their needs to the point the church has to step in? Does the member lack direction in life? Or are they just lazy? Or is there a disability that will exist for a more permanent need for assistance from the church? These are issues that the biblical deacon looked at and it was a way of direct ministry to the flock. Sometimes there is nothing but circumstances beyond their control. In that case, the church would have to make longer term plans and solutions to meet the need and to adjust the members needs downward into what is needed, not just what is comfortable.

But, by abdicating the responsibility of the needy (same principles apply to widows and orphans and the church) to the state we eliminate an entire area of ministry and oversight the church is responsible to its members for. While there are qualifications and programs the government has to support the member, the government does not provide ministry to the flock. Well yes it does, but not a biblical one. How can you legitimately ask a member to see their finances when the state is helping them meet their needs. They can keep getting fish and never need to learn to fish themselves.

We will take a look in the near future about other areas of church offices and members roles, and to see where we have strayed and how (and if we are willing) to correct the error of our abdication and restore our churches to biblical roles .

While we have many issues with the workings of our government that deserve attention, perhaps it is time we start getting the log out of our own eyes before dealing with the governments problems. Our governance is from God as expressed through our roles as priests in our own families, and from the local church to which we are to submit to its biblical authority.

If we want a change in how things are going in our government, perhaps the way to institute that is to get our churches and homes in order first, the ones in which we have the greatest chance of effecting change. When we accomplish that, we can turn our eyes onto the world.

The State-Church

A State-Church is any of the following:

An incorporated church
An incorporated 501c3 church
A 501c3 “unincorporated association” church
A corporation sole church (contrary to the myths promulgated by the corporation sole peddlers, a corporation sole is a corporation, and it makes little difference whether or not it is also a 501c3. A corporation sole church is a State-Church).
A great many of the church’s problems today are a direct result of the church “taking” and actively pursuing a legal status that makes it inferior to, and a subordinate of, the civil government. The two most significant ways this occurs is by incorporation (state jurisdiction) and the tax-exempt 501c3 status (federal jurisdiction).

Scripture simply does not support the notion that the church is an inferior institution to the State. Nor, for that matter, is the church a superior institution to the State. God has ordained both the church and the civil government as His “ministers.” The church is the minister of grace, while the State is the minister of justice. Church and State are two distinct and independent spheres of authority (jurisdictions) ordained by God.

However, no church can remain separate and distinct from the civil government when it incorporates and/or accepts 501c3 status. For legal purposes an incorporated 501c3 church has subordinated itself, by contract, to the civil government. For theological purposes, that church has made a covenant with the State, a covenant which Scripture in no way supports.

What is the solution to the church’s current messy state of affairs? It must cease operating as an underling of the State. The solution is for the church to legally operate as it once had in America (and we might add, quite successfully so). Rather than operating as “tax-exempt nonprofit religious corporations,” churches once functioned as “free-churches.” Just what exactly is a free-church? A free-church operates independent of, and is in no way subordinate to, the civil government.

It is the right of any church to operate free of the corrupting and compromising influence and control of the State; and it is a right guaranteed by the Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
A free-church is not some radical-fringe concept. Rather, the free-church was one of the most influential, and certainly one of the most common, institutions in early American history. The worldview of those men who fought for America’s independence embraced an uncompromising belief that the church was not an underling, a vassal, or in any way subordinate to any king, parliament, or any other civil government body.

The church is the religious institution ordained and established by Jesus Christ Himself, and Christ has never delegated His authority to the civil jurisdiction to rule in the affairs of His church.

A free-church is the opposite of a State-Church. The Church Of England is a State-Church system. State-Churches are well known throughout Europe, and there have been State-Churches there for many centuries. Rather than being quick to criticize the Europeans for not attending church, we should ponder whether their contempt for the State-Church system isn’t well deserved.Americans, on the other hand, are generally offended by the notion of the State creating or controlling their churches, or that their churches would be subordinate to the State. However, this is exactly what has occurred in recent years as a direct result of churches incorporating and seeking a 501c3 status — they have become State-Churches.

A free-church is a church that is truly separate, independent and autonomous from the State. It is established by a local body of Christian believers, or chartered or “planted” by another church body or denomination, without the permission or sanction of the State. The only “sovereign” of the free-church is the Lord Jesus Christ. A free-church cannot incorporate, it cannot seek a 501c3 status, it cannot become a tax collector for the State (withholding agent), it cannot accept government-issued tax numbers (EIN).

The term “free-church” was widely used by the American colonists. It was not a term that they coined, but one which they inherited from their fathers and forebears such as the Scottish Covenanters, and the “non-conformist” English clergy, both of whom fled the persecutions of the Anglican State-Church and it’s “sovereign head” the British monarchy.Even after American independence there continued to be Christians who fled the religious persecution of their State-Church systems for the freedom of religion America offered them. They too often used the term “free-church” to describe the churches they organized. Such an example of this would be the Evangelical Free Church, which was founded by a group of Scandinavians who settled in America in the mid-nineteenth century.

Tragically, the Evangelical Free Church In America today has become a “Free Church” in name only. By incorporating and becoming a 501c3 they, some years ago, decided to abandon those principles that their Swedish, Danish and Norwegian forefathers endured great persecution for.Equally tragic is the demise of the so-called “Free-Church of Scotland.” Were they honest it would be renamed the “State-Church of Scotland.” So thoroughly has it become a State-Church that Scottish pastors receive their paychecks from the government (and it happened because the Scottish clergy insisted upon it). He who pays the piper calls the tune.

The church must cease operating as an underling, subordinate to the State, or in any way dependent upon the State for “privileges and benefits.” The solution rests in the church organizing and operating as a church — the ecclesia, not as something other than what the Lord Jesus Himself ordained and specified. Jesus spoke of the church as a “body” with Himself as the “head” of His church, and we as various “members of the body.” The church is, therefore, not an “organization” (a “legal entity”) but a living, breathing “organism.”

This should not be a difficult biblical doctrine to grasp, particularly for the Pastor. Sadly, however, ever since local churches started organizing as tax-exempt non-profit corporations in the mid-twentieth century, and since the incorporated 501c3 church is now the status quo, many folks have a hard time conceiving of the church operating as just a church. For some odd reason, just being a church isn’t good enough anymore for too many Christians.

The thinking today appears to be that we must somehow be smarter than Jesus and His disciples were. They refused to incorporate and that refusal resulted in their persecution (incorporation of all “spontaneous collectivities of persons” became mandatory throughout the Roman Empire by 6 A.D.). We’re told that we live in a far more complex world than the first-century church, and so the church too must inevitably become more complex and just adapt to the complexities of the modern information age. The simplicities of the organizational infrastructure (polity) of the early church are no longer adequate to address the complex world in which we live.

Those who hold to such beliefs, whether in word or deed, are in reality, making a public proclamation that Jesus Christ is no longer competent to govern His own church and provide for, and protect it. The courts well-understand that “a church is not an entity recognized in law,” meaning that they have no jurisdiction over the church. However, organizing a church as a church is an especially difficult concept for attorneys to grasp. Few attorneys can comprehend that there are things and issues completely outside the purview and jurisdiction of the civil government, nor do they much care for the idea. After all, it’s hard to get many billable hours out of those churches that understand that the civil government has no jurisdiction over them. A free-church needs an attorney like a fish needs a bicycle.

The legal support for the State’s lack of jurisdiction over the church in America is not only the Word of God, but the First Amendment to the Constitution for the United States:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
No church in any nation at any point in history can lay claim to the freedoms and liberties that are guaranteed the church in America. The First Amendment is an act of God’s Providence to safeguard His church and maintain its independence from the State. The First Amendment is the highest form of real protection the church has ever known in history.The solution rests in the church abandoning the phony third-rate protections and benefits of the State and returning to those real protections and benefits that are ours in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

This is your brain on drugs

If anyone should be given a cup to have their urine checked, it is Ted Turner. Another example of elitist selectivism. This reminds me of the World Health Organization (the irony of that name!) genocide in the 1960's banning DDT because we were becoming overpopulated, and we would run out of food from all those africans. (link)

Ok, Ted tell us, how are your five children doing? This seat of privilege- do as I say, not as I do is sickening pontificating. It reminds me of the John Travolta limit our travel pontifications (link)while he lives in a home that is an airfield with several jets. This entire pontification by the powerful elite , of do as as you are told and not as we do disgusts me.

Ted Turner: Global warming could lead to cannibalism
Billionaire environmentalist says world has too many people

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/news/stories/2008/04/03/turner_0404.html

By MIKE MORRIS
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/03/08

Failure to address global warming will have us all dead or eating each other by mid-century.

So says Ted Turner, the restaurateur, environmentalist and former media mogul whose controversial comments have earned him the nickname "Mouth of the South."

If steps aren't taken to stem global warming, "We'll be eight degrees hotter in 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow," Turner said during a wide-ranging, hour-long interview with PBS's Charlie Rose that aired Tuesday.

"Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals," said Turner, 69. "Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state — like Somalia or Sudan — and living conditions will be intolerable."

One way to combat global warming, Turner said, is to stabilize the population.

"We're too many people; that's why we have global warming," he said. "Too many people are using too much stuff."

Turner suggested that "on a voluntary basis, everybody in the world's got to pledge to themselves that one or two children is it."

Admitting that he's "always suffered from foot-in-the-mouth disease," Turner added, "I've gotten a lot better, though. It's been a long time since anybody caught me saying something stupid."

Turner went on to say that military budgets need to be cut "way back."

"Right now, the U.S. is spending $500 billion a year on the military, which is more than all 190 countries in the world put together," he said.

"The two countries that the military industrial complex and some of our politicians would like to demonize and make enemies are Russia and China," Turner said. "China just wants to sell us shoes. They're not building landing craft to attack the United States, and Russia wants to be our friends, too."

He said that despite the United States' huge military budget, "we can't win in Iraq."

"We're being beaten by insurgents who don't even have any tanks, they don't have a headquarters, they don't have a Pentagon, we don't even know if they have any generals," Turner told Rose.

Turner called the Iraqi insurgents "patriots" who "don't like us because we invaded their country and occupied it. Nobody likes to be invaded."

The CNN founder also said he thinks his old network has veered too far away from serious news, instead favoring lighter stories delivered by attractive female "chickies" and opinion-based news such as Lou Dobbs' show.
Link: Travolta- Global Hoaxing
DDT genocide

The created sub-prime mortgage crisis

Compare and contrast the candidates positions

Last week John Mc Cain delivered a speech on the sub-prime mortgage lending crisis and the issue of bail outs. The New York Times said, ” Drawing a sharp distinction between himself and the two Democratic presidential candidates, Senator John McCain of Arizona warned Tuesday against vigorous government action to solve the deepening mortgage crisis and the market turmoil it has caused,saying that “it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.”

In contrast, ” Mr. McCain’s comments came a day after Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York called for direct federal intervention to help affected homeowners, including a $30 billion fund for states and communities to assist those at risk of foreclosure. Mrs. Clinton’s Democratic opponent, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, has similarly called for greater federal involvement,including creation of a $10 billion relief package to prevent foreclosures.”

But his remarks drew a quick, pointed rebuke from Mrs. Clinton, who criticized Mr. McCain’s hands-off, market-oriented approach, saying it would lead to “a downward spiral that would cause tremendous economic pain and loss” for Americans.

“It sounds remarkably like Herbert Hoover, and I don’t think that’s good economic policy,” Mrs.Clinton told reporters in Greensburg, Pa. “The government has a number of tools at its disposal. I think that inaction has contributed to the problems we face today, and I believe further inaction would exacerbate those problems.”

In addition to urging $30 billion in federal aid to states to help homeowners, Mrs. Clinton on Monday also endorsed federal legislation to expand the government’s ability to guarantee restructured mortgages, which she believes would lead more banks and other private entities to buy and resell mortgages.

Mr. Obama’s plan emphasizes making it easier to convert subprime loans to fixed-rate, 30-year loans, while requiring that borrowers have access to better data on loan costs and requiring greater scrutiny of lenders.On Tuesday, he said, “It’s deeply troubling that John McCain is suggesting that the best way to address the housing crisis is to sit back and watch it happen.”

Ok, enough BS

Federal regulations have created the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Two of the senators are playing a game of CYA at all of our expense.

Jerry Bowyer, reports in Meet Barry Obama, Fair Housing Lawyer that ,

“there simply was no such thing as a developed Subprime mortgage industry until the US congress created it by ordering banks to issue loans to people who were not credit worthy. Community activist groups (such as the Public Interest Research Group and Acorn)and civil rights law firms (such as Miner, Barnhill & Galland) had make their living by accusing banks of racism when the banks hesitated to approve loan requests from minority citizens with poor credit scores. Fair Housing laws, championed by American Heros like Martin Luther King, Jr., had long-ago outlawed the practice of ‘redlining’,which is refusing to sell or rent to blacks in certain neighborhoods.But a new generation of activists modified the concept of redlining,applying it not just to race-based home sale covenants, but to any refusal to lend to a minority member, even for sensible financial reasons.

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)

The Community Reinvestment Act was created as a result. Initially the act was used, not to get banks to lend to minority households, but to get them to cut checks to ‘community groups’. Left of center activist agencies, which had pushed for the act in the first place, used it as a shakedown tool. So long as the banks kept paying off to the activists, the activists would hold off on sending complaints to the bank regulators’ CRA files.

Eventually, under Clinton, the CRA was renewed and, not surprisingly,made more punitive. Banks were required to make Subprime mortgage loans now too, or else suffer a low CRA rating and be punished accordingly.The Fed played it’s part. The Home Mortgage Disclosure rules created an unfunded mandate for banks to track and publicly disclose the race and gender of it’s mortgage clients. Now the shakedown artists had an easy source of complaints and a club with which to beat the banks into submission. The bankers complied and the Subprime mortgage market was born.

But the bad paper remained principally on the balance sheets of the originating banks for a couple of years. The banks and their shareholders were directly hurt, but not the general public, at least in the beginning, that is until the bank regulators once again intervened and encouraged banks to push the paper out to unsuspecting investors.

First the Fed issued guidance which warned the banks that their capital requirements would be severely raised in response to the Subprime mortgages. In other words, banks were told that to the extent that they issued mortgages to high risk borrowers, to that extent they would not be allowed to put as much of their money into income-producing activities. The banks had already been told by the Fed that they would have to set aside more money for mortgages in general,and now they were being hit again for the Subprime variety.

Second, the Fed issued guidance on how to mix Subprime mortgage paper in with good paper and sell the resulting composite security to the general market. This is how the ‘toxic waste’ of bad debt was pumped out into the world. This is why credit markets are now having trouble clearing. This is why banks are taking massive write-downs of the loans which still exist on their books. This is why foreign investors don’t want to buy US mortgages, or bank stocks, and consequently don’t want to buy the dollars in which they are denominated either. If you add to this a Security and Exchange Commission ruling which compels banks to‘mark to market’, which means they are forced to show large losses in times of market panic, you give a legal mandate for short-term thinking. You create a more serious crisis for the system and a fatal blow to the weaker banks.”

“This crisis has the fingerprints of congress and its bureaucratic enforcers all over it. It also has the fingerprints of a generation of activists and ‘fair housing’ lawyers as well, such as Barry (now known as Barack) Obama. That part of the story is yet to be told. And of course, to be fair, it also has the fingerprints of Maggie Williams, Mrs. Clintons loyal campaign manager and former chief of staff. ” (links not in original article )

A recap of their stated positions :

Mc Cain’s : “it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.”
Clinton’s : direct federal intervention to help affected homeowners, including a $30 billion fund for states and communities to assist those at risk of foreclosure.
Obama’s: “greater federal involvement, including creation of a $10 billion relief package to prevent foreclosures.”

PA Primary

As everyone knows, the next primary is located in my homes state of Pennsylvania. The Presidential Primary of Consequence is the Democratic Primary. So we are being flooded with advertisements. But are all the claims valid? ABC reports the following: “Campaigning in Pennsylvania, Tuesday, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.,continued to argue she has opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement since 1992.

“I did speak out and opposed NAFTA,” Clinton told an AFL-CIO audience in Philadelphia. “I raised a big yellow caution flag. I said,’I'm not sure this is going to work.’”

But if Clinton “spoke out” against NAFTA, she did so quietly and behind closed doors, and made no mention of it in her 2003autobiography “Living History.”

Fact Check: Clinton’s Anti-NAFTA Rhetoric
In fact, Clinton worked to sell NAFTA at a Nov. 10, 1993, meeting with business women detailed in her recently-released White House schedules.

Three attendees of that closed-door briefing told ABC News last month that Clinton’s comments were supportive of the trade deal eventually signed into law by her husband.

Laura E. Jones, executive director of the United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel, who was there, said,”There was no question that everyone who spoke, including the firstly, was for NAFTA. It was a rally on behalf of NAFTA to help it get passed. It’s unquestionable. And there are many people out there who were there, who remember the incident, who work in this industry.”

Julia K. Hughes, senior vice president of the same organization, is likewise incredulous of the Clinton campaign’s claims.

“This is such a non issue to us, because, obviously, it was a pro-NAFTA group and a pro-NAFTA event,” said Hughes. “It was a 100percent pro-NAFTA event. No one suggested any inklings of doubt, since part of the agenda was to promote enthusiasm for passage of NAFTA.”

Did that include then-first lady Clinton?

“Absolutely. She was the highlight of the event. She was absolutely the capper to the event. It was a positive rally. I assure you, if there had even been a hint of waffling from her because we were in the last days before NAFTA passed, and it was a pretty hectic time we would have freaked out.”

“It wasn’t a drop-by it was organized around her participation,” said one attendee. “Her remarks were totally pro-NAFTA and what a good thing it would be for the economy. There was no equivocation for her support for NAFTA at the time. Folks were pleased that she came by. If this is still a question about what was Hillary’s position when she was first lady, she was totally supportive of NAFTA.”

A second attendee recalled, “They were looking for women in international trade who supported NAFTA. Sen. Clinton came by at the end. And, of course, she asked for our support and help in passing NAFTA.”


Claiming Credit for Children’s Health Insurance Bill
In another instance of campaign rhetoric not matching the facts,when Clinton talks about health care reform on the campaign trail, she claims credit for the multibillion-dollar children’s health insurance program S-CHIP as one of her signature accomplishments.

Enacted in 1997, the program has provided $24 billion over 10years to states to cover more than 6 million children whose families cannot afford private insurance, but who earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid.

A Clinton campaign TV ad says she “got health insurance for 6 million kids.”

As first lady, Clinton did help by pushing her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to support the program. However, the bill was written and the charge led by Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

“Where I think she has gone too far is when she drops the qualifier, and she says, ‘I created S-CHIP,’ and in that case, that’s not true,” Bill Adair of Politifact.com said.

Obama’s Oil Slick
However, Clinton isn’t the only Democratic candidate making dubious claims on the campaign trail.

In a new TV ad about gas prices, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., says: “I don’t take money from oil companies.”

While it’s true that Obama doesn’t take donations from the oil companies’ political action committees, he has taken $213,884 from people in the oil and gas industry, much of it raised by two oil company CEOs, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

“I’m not quite sure why a bunch of individuals, who are executives at oil companies, giving the limit, which may add up to $30,40,50,000,would be less significant and less potentially influential on the candidate than PAC money,” Viveca Novak of Factcheck.org said.

Obama avoids credit for answers in a 1996 questionnaire supporting a complete ban on handguns and taking other liberal positions he now says he never held.

The Obama campaign blames the answers on a staffer and says the senator “never saw or approved” the questionnaire.

However, in a copy of that questionnaire obtained by ABC News,Obama took notes on it calling into question the claim he “never saw” it.”

As Pennsylvanians look forward to the first day of trout season, we sure see the dual use for our hip boats this primary season.

http://reformedville.reformedblogs.com/2008/04/02/how-the-candidates-differ-on-the-mortgage-crisis/