The two main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, say fighting between them in the Gaza Strip has turned into all-out civil war. On Tuesday, at least twenty-five Palestinians were killed and more than one hundred wounded as forces loyal to Hamas seized increasing control across Gaza. Hamas fighters took the main headquarters of Fatah's security force and grabbed key positions in several refugee camps. The death toll over the last five days of internal Palestinian fighting has now reached fifty-five. More than one thousand Palestinians marched through Gaza City chanting "stop the killing" but were dispersed by Hamas gunfire. Gunmen traded attacks on an empty home belonging to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas and the Gaza offices of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah. Abbas has accused Hamas of staging a coup. Fatah officials also announced they will pull out of the Palestinian unity government until the violence stops. Palestinian Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amr singled out the Israeli and U.S.-led international boycott on the Palestinian government as a source of the conflict. He said, "If you have two brothers put into a cage and deprive them of basic essential needs for life, they will fight. I don't think we should put the blame on the victim."
Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul-Ilah al Khatib called on all sides to take action. He said, "The main priority at this stage is to stop the Palestinian fighting so the Palestinians can face up to their challenges. We are also jointly calling on Israel to act positively with regards to the Palestinians' right to receive their money that is being held by Israel."
"If you have two brothers put into a cage and deprive them of basic essential needs for life, they will fight. I don't think we should put the blame on the victim." This is ridiculous. Israel is largely responsible for all the stress and insanity, but this blanket excuse of the "two brothers" is flat out wrong. If you put Jesus into a cage with his brother and deprive them of basic essential needs for life, they would not fight!
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)