Monday, March 24, 2014

The Price of Salvation?

Have you ever asked a simple question only to find you’d opened a can of worms?  That’s exactly what happened when looking for answers on why the Salvation Army had cratered to a law suit filed against them in New York in which they ‘voluntarily’ gave up $ 450,000 to make their legal issues go away.

The Magna Charta was signed ‘voluntarily’ as well; one of those words which apparently means different things depending on the urgency or force used to obtain compliance; but I’m getting off track…

According to an A/P story this past week:

“The settlement announced by the New York Civil Liberties Union calls for the Salvation Army to notify all current and future employees of its government-funded social service programs that it doesn’t discriminate based on religious belief. The requirement applies only to workers in New York.

The notification would also tell employees they are expected to follow professional practices in their work without regard to the organization’s religious practices.”  

When most folks think of the Salvation Army they picture the little red kettle in front of a department stores, an opportunity to drop spare change to help some poor soul regain lost dignity; but there’s more to this benevolent Christian society…a lot more.

Bill Federer’s American Minute records the formation of the Salvation Army and its spreading across the Atlantic:

“Originally named the Christian Mission, the Salvation Army conducted meetings among the poor in London’s East End slums.
Adopting uniforms and a semi-military system of leadership, the Salvation Army ministered to the poor, drunk and outcast, while fighting sex-trafficking and teenage prostitution.”

Somewhere along the way the organization grew to the point where it became necessary to follow local, state and federal rules and laws which govern tax free ventures such as churches and other benevolent institutions.

While going through the many and varied accounts of how the Salvation Army conducts business here in these United States of America a few interesting statements seemed at odds. 

For instance, the official webpage for the Lincoln, Nebraska branch of the Salvation Army states:

“All funds donated to The Salvation Army in Lincoln are used by The Salvation Army, or agencies of which it is a member. The Salvation Army connects your donation directly to the point of most urgent need. It is not funded with any federal, state or city tax dollars.”

Other pubic statements found on the internet indicate that “82 cents of every dollar spent” in donations handed over to the Salvation Army is spent on those services for which they were intended while the remaining money is for standard business expenses. 

This tends to validate the Salvation Army as a truly benevolent privately funded organization; that is until some other items of interest are brought to light.

“Nongovernment donors — including holiday shoppers stuffing bills into the kettles — provide the greatest share of funds nationwide: $1.58 billion in 2009, out of total revenues of $2.86 billion.”

That’s $ 1.28 billion in taxpayer funded donations to the Salvation Army, almost half of the Salvation Army’s income.

It matters not, at least to me, how much money the Salvation Army takes in from private donations or how large their holdings come to, spacious buildings to conduct business or residential housing for their senior administrators; however, it matters considerably when public funds are used to support even the most virtuous philanthropic undertaking.

In my youth I grew up watching tales of Davy Crockett, “King of the wild frontier”, as the tune rolls in memory.  Every kid wanted a genuine coon skin cap and we’d wrestle one another to prove we were up to the challenge; but Crockett was also known as a statesman, elected to represent the will of his constituents. 

The following is an excerpt from Davy Crockett’s thoughts regarding the use of public money.

“I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity, but as members of Congress we have no right to so appropriate a dollar of the public money.”

My question to Congress, “Why is taxpayer money being spent to support the Salvation Army or, for that matter, any welfare entitlement programs”?  Davy Crockett had it nailed; Congress has no authority to spend taxpayer money on entitlements regardless of their good intentions, such discretionary spending is for individuals and the private sector.

I could also ask why millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars was spent to help restore churches, temples and even Muslim mosques throughout the world.  So much for separation of church and state; or is that even part of the discussion when throwing money down the toilet? 

While attempting to mollify the public the U.S. State Department in an official statement said that, “…the money given to the Cairo mosque was “part of” a $770 million program to fix the city’s sewer system.”  (You’re pulling my leg, they really said that?)

So it’s okay to give $770 million U.S. taxpayer dollars to a foreign country to fix their sewer system and provide a safer environment for those wishing to follow Islam and their hatred of all Westerners and infidels; but it’s not okay for a Christian organization to help the down trodden, the wretches in our own culture, at least not with tax money that could be sent over seas to help our enemies.…how silly of me to even bring up the subject. 

At one time there was a saying, “Charity begins at home”; but apparently that doesn’t apply to Christian charities attempting to follow the myriad of laws and restrictions placed on them by Congress in order to placate the ACLU and Atheists among us.

I’ll bet the farm that had the name of the organization been changed from the Salvation Army to Muslim Brotherhood Outreach then nothing, and I mean nothing would have ever been said or done.  Diversification and tolerance are only words to be used in accomplishing the agenda of progressives, the godless intent on destroying America and our Christian culture.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

No Knock Police Raids

 Inalienable individual rights as protected by our constitution and Bill of Rights have been further eroded, almost to the point of being erased.  The 4th Amendment has been under attack for quite some time as police powers have triumphed over and over again under the pretense that society’s safety is more important than individual rights.

It wasn’t too long ago Homeland Security redefined the borders of our United States, expanding the coastline a hundred miles inland to accommodate warrantless searches to (supposedly) combat terrorism.  I used to say, “…and if you believe that… I have some ocean front property in Ft. Worth for sale”; but according to these new parameters the stock yards of Ft. Worth are now adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, who’da’ thunk it!

Here in Texas a homeowner got shot, the victim of a no-knock police raid.  A warrant had been obtained to arrest the homeowner’s son; but because the home owner was thought to own weapons police decided that crashing in unannounced was their best option.

“In August 2006, Collin County (Texas) police obtained a warrant to search John Quinn’s home based on information that Quinn’s son might be in possession of controlled substances. The warrant did not authorize police to enter the residence without knocking and announcing their entry. Nevertheless, based solely on the suspicion that there were firearms in the Quinn household, the SWAT team forcibly broke into Quinn’s home after he had gone to bed and proceeded to carry out a search of the premises. During the raid, Quinn was shot by police, who panicked and opened fire on him through a solid wood door. Quinn had been reaching for his lawfully owned firearm, thinking that his home was being invaded by criminals.” (emphasis added)


“The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of a Texas man whose home was subject to a no-knock, SWAT-team style forceful entry and raid based solely on the suspicion that there were legally-owned firearms in his household. In denying a petition for certiorari in Quinn v. Texas, the Court let stand a lower court ruling that essentially makes lawful gun ownership and possession grounds for police to evade the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment and improperly penalizes and limits the Second Amendment right to bear arms. The Rutherford Institute had asked the Court to weigh in on the case and protect Americans against encroachments on their Second Amendment rights.”

There’s an important issue which runs afoul of the rule of law.  The warrant, which I’ve not seen, didn’t authorize a no-knock raid by police; but police took it upon themselves to add a variable, “based solely on the suspicion that there were firearms in the Quinn household” in order to ‘get around’ the directions of the court issued warrant.

Think about that for a moment and you’ll come to the same dark conclusion.  If this stands, and apparently the Supreme Court isn’t interested, then any and all future police raids will include the presumption, before or after the fact, that the homeowner may have a weapon based solely on suspicion rather than on recorded fact.  Hell, anyone might have a weapon. 
Just wait until the federal government produces a list of registered gun owners based on forms that supposedly are used only at the point of purchase to verify the buyer isn’t on the list of folks who can’t own or purchase a firearm.  You think I’m a conservative oddball conspiracy nut cases…think again.

Last week agents of the federal government (ATF) raided a gun shop that sold lawful firearms and parts in order to obtain the names of everyone who had purchased parts.

“According to a memo from the Anchorage Second Amendment Task Force, the Great Northern Guns store in Anchorage was asked to give their Bound Book to the ATF so it could be copied in its totality. The store refused, citing their legal rights and the fact that to do so would be a violation of the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986.” (emphasis added)

Asked?  Demanded is more accurate; if you don’t comply we will shut your business down, put you in jail and let your family starve.  Tell me again how the federal government respects the rule of law and individual God given rights…

George Washington warned:

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

Getting back to John Quinn, the homeowner who got shot defending himself inside his own home; had the police officers followed the letter of the law as printed on the warrant would the outcome have been different?  What criminal and/or civil charges have been filed against these police officers for expanding the effective limits of the court ordered warrant?  Apparently the courts have already decided; they don’t give a crap because they refused to hear the case.

Watching America become a police state one incursion at a time may be the most painful part of being a citizen in our day.   We are being destroyed from within. 

In summary, the 4th Amendment, intended to restrain government from improper search and seizure, that 4th Amendment has no meaning in our day and age.  The 2nd Amendment, the important reminder to government that individuals were to own and bear arms to protect themselves from government tyranny, that 2nd Amendment is hanging by a thread and is under constant assault from every level of government.

The courts and police have determined that force of government trumps antiquated thoughts such as the rule of law and individual God given rights.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Final Resting Places

In the movie, The Bishop’s Wife, there was a line spoken by the old professor that garnered my attention.  Professor Wutheridge had procrastinated working to complete a history book, one he’d supposedly been working on for many years.  He recognized time was running out and wondered out loud to Dudley if he’d ever complete his book as he commented, “For some time now, every time I pass the cemetery, I feel as though I’m apartment hunting”. 

We’re all going to die some day, you know, “Death and Taxes”; just that we don’t dwell on the subject too much as it gets in the way of living.  

Going out with a bang might be the way to go; the Darwin Awards, a spectacular exit from this spinning planet.  I personally like the fellow who strapped a Jet Assisted Takeoff Pack (JATO) to his vehicle thinking he’d set some kind of land speed record.

“The Arizona Highway Patrol were mystified when they came upon a pile of smoldering wreckage embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The metal debris resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it turned out to be the vaporized remains of an automobile. The make of the vehicle was unidentifiable at the scene.” 

As it turns out there really was no car embedded in the side of a cliff, a car that took flight after some fool strapped a JATO unit to his Chevy; but it sure makes you wonder about how stupid some folks are.  The problem with many of these stories; they turn out to be nothing more than fabrications.  

Speaking of fabrications…

Years ago Hal Holbrook had a one man show, Mark Twain Tonight.  He’d stand on stage addressing a variety of topics dressed in such a way as to convince the audience they were in the presence of that old story teller.  With the house lights turned low as if he were in his study talking to a few close friends, he looked up into the heavens, carefully gathering his thoughts about the fellow who fell into the carpet weaving machine and became part of a beautiful 9 by 12 area rug.  He then would tap his foot on the small area rug he’d been standing on; how’s that for imagery?
Then there are pop up ads that present themselves on the internet while you read about airplanes vanishing into thin air or Russia invading the Ukraine, an endless stream of products and services, momentary diversions.

Is it just me...or does this advertisement that showed up on my Facebook sidebar strike anyone else as a bit morbid while at the same time comical? I mean... a John Deere Custom Urn to preserve your dearly departed's ashes?

Then again...we gave my sister in law a jar full of biscotti for Christmas one year so when it was empty she could transfer the remains of her husband into it.  John came home from the crematorium in an old shoe box and had been kept on a shelf in the closet for years. 

I saw a bumper sticker some time back; wish I’d been able to obtain one. It had the John Deere green and yellow logo along with a reminder, “Tractors are Green - Trucks are Red”; yea, that would have looked good on my truck’s bumper.

Not sure about that urn; but I’m still looking around for a JATO to put on my truck, “fastest locksmith in town”, just aim me in the right direction.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.