...the Bush administration has again defended "harsh interrogation techniques" that all previous American administrations condemned as torture. Further, despite the U.S. Constitution's clear ban (in the 8th Amendment) on "cruel and unusual punishment," and our obligation to uphold signed and ratified treaties (and the Constitution places ratified treaties as equal to the Constitution itself as "supreme law of the land") banning torture and all "cruel, inhumane, and degrading punishment," Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court (THE legal hero of the U.S. Right, including the Christian Right) defended "so-called torture" before a British audience. (This has led the National Lawyers' Guild to call for Scalia to recuse himself in all interrogation-related cases. I wonder if it is grounds for his impeachment. We have never impeached a sitting Supreme Court Justice, but this seems a clear violation of his oath to defend the Constitution.)
Most disturbing, because most unexpected, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who was tortured (including by waterboarding) as a P.O.W. in Vietnam, recently reversed his longstanding opposition to U.S. torture and torture-lite, by voting against a new law which would classify waterboarding explicitly as torture and require the CIA and others to abide by the U.S. Army Field Manual interrogation standards (which rule out waterboarding). McCain has tried to explain away his vote and claim that he has not flip-flopped on this issue, but it is a clear departure from his previously strong opposition.
RLCC: As well-intentioned as is Michael Westmoreland-White (who is much closer to the kingdom than the vast majority), the way is not through the system but rather to end it peacefully by displacing it with real Christianity. We are to bring forth the giving-and-sharing system (the New Commandment, the Christian Commons) advocated by our founder, Jesus Christ. That's our job.
As for Scalia and McCain, I don't vote and I'm not working within the worldly system anymore, but I wouldn't choose either to follow, regardless.
I'm in the world working to bring in a completely different one that can't rise out of the former. I want all people calling themselves Christians to come to the same vision. Please join with me in that.
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)