I received a comment on "BURSTING OF CREDIT BUBBLE UNDERLIES STOCK MARKET TURBULENCE," which was a repost of a Socialist article about the developing credit/debt crisis written back in early August of 2007. It got me to thinking in my reply to the commentator about how I heard over and over, "Who could have known" about the terrible mismanagement of the economy. It occurred to me that I may never have explained my own situation and how it pertains directly to that "Who could have known" nonsense.
Back in April 2001, I started looking for residential investment properties. I used the old-school method. I looked for a capitalization rate I could live with. I looked for positive cash flow. I looked for properties I could improve. I made dozens of offers, but had no takers. I didn't even get one counter-offer. The agent I was dealing with became rather exasperated with me. I was using the exact same criteria I had used a couple of decades before that had reaped huge, relative rewards for my parents. I won't go into why I didn't continue. It's too personal and other people's feelings will be unnecessarily hurt. We've all gotten beyond things from decades ago even if not quite as frankly as I would prefer, but some people are just more willing to risk self-evaluation than are others. Enough said on that.
Well, the real estate market was literally requiring that I throw caution to the wind. That was before I was a Christian by the way. I hadn't done enough studying to truly know what Jesus was teaching. I was too swept up by American socialization. It had been a long time since I bought the whole thing hook-line-and-sinker, but things were going just poorly enough that I questioned whether I knew better, so I kept trying the American party line.
Getting back to the subject of the real estate and as I mentioned in my comment cited above, back in 2001:
...smaller residential real estate landlords were buying based nearly entirely on appreciation.
I was rusty in investing, but I had studied John T. Reed (not an endorsement of all things John T. Reed; he does know his way around the capitalist-investing system though [real estate]). His investing strategy warned against bubbles. I trusted what I had learned. I backed off looking for real estate investments I could afford (that the lenders would let me buy but would send me into bankruptcy a few years later if I weren't to have gotten out in time — something I didn't feel comfortable about back then — now I know it's insider information) and slowly started analyzing what's wrong with the whole system again. I had done it once before in my late teens. Then came 9/11 followed by Afghanistan but then the hugely conspicuous Iraq invasion. That led me to search out the answers as to why things were heading so wrong again (Vietnam-War wrong). I just didn't think the American people were stupid enough to vote in people who would lead the nation back into that level of pure evil.
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)