Israel, Iran, and Gog-Magog

Israel, Iran, and Gog-Magog
Vol: 81 Issue: 21 Saturday, June 21, 2008

More than one hundred Israeli fighters and bombers participated in a long range mock military exercise that triggered alarms at the Kremlin and prompted Russia’s foreign minister to hold a press conference.

The exercise, conducted during the first week in June, involved the mixed force of F-15s and F16s flying more than 900 miles, which is the approximate distance from Israel to the Natanz nuclear enrichment plants in central Iran.

The exercise included in-flight refueling using airborne tankers and the use of helicopter rescue teams, ostensibly for retrieving downed pilots. When pressed for a comment, the Israeli military issued a statement saying only that the Israeli air force “regularly trains for various missions in order to confront and meet the challenges posed by the threats facing Israel.”

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev offered no comment beyond the military’s statement. Israel’s official position is virtually identical to that of the White House.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has repeatedly said Israel would prefer a diplomatic solution, but refused to rule out military action, mirroring the Bush administration’s warning that “all options remain on the table.”

At the State Department, spokesman Sean McCormack would not comment on whether the United States supports or opposes any future Israeli air strikes against Iran.

“We are seeking a peaceful, diplomatic resolution” to the threat the West sees from Iran’s nuclear program. “We have made that clear to the Israeli government; we have made that clear to the Iranian government; we have made that clear to anybody who will listen and who asked about it.”

In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel published Wednesday, Olmert said the current international sanctions against Iran would probably not succeed alone, saying there were “many things that can be done economically, politically, diplomatically and militarily.”

Asked if Israel was capable of taking military action against Iran, Olmert said, “Israel always has to be in a position to defend itself against any adversary and against any threat of any kind.”

Israeli military analyst Martin Van Creveld of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University said military preparations for a possible attack are indeed under way.

“Israel has been talking about this possibility for a long time, that it would not take an Iranian nuclear weapon lying down. And it has been practicing the operation or operations for a long time,” he said.

The Russians, on the other hand, warned Israel against taking any action against Iran, saying there is ‘no proof’ that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.

That defense is as weak as claiming that just because the kid was caught with a pocketful of cookies and his hand in the cookie jar, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he planned to eat them.

The fact is that Iran wouldn’t have a nuclear program were it not for Russia. Moscow began constructing Iran’s nuclear facilities over global objections. Iran’s repeated threats to wipe Israel from the map using imagery like ‘a blinding flash’ and ‘instant destruction’ have left little doubt in anyone’s mind of Iran’s intentions, should it obtain the means to accomplish them.

All the Russian diplomatic posturing and Iranian bellicose rhetoric aside, it is an absolute certainty that Israel will not permit Iran to get nuclear weapons.

To do so would be an act of national suicide. The Israelis understood that in 1981 when it sent warplanes to destroy the Osirek nuclear facility being constructed by Saddam Hussein.

Last year, the IDF destroyed a Syrian nuclear facility being secretly constructed by Syria and the North Koreans. And Israel has not been shy about its position regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Shaul Mofaz, a former Israeli defense minister who is now a deputy prime minister, warned in a recent interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot that Israel might have no choice but to attack.

“If Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack,” Mofaz said in the interview published on June 6, the day after the exercise ended.

“Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable.”

Assessment:

An Israeli attack on Iran would have to overcome a number of challenges that didn’t exist in its operations against Osirek or the Syrian facilities.

In the first place, most of Iran’s critical nuclear program infrastructure is located underground. The Iranians have constructed huge underground facilities, protected by hundreds of feet of concrete and earth and interconnected by a network of long, concrete and steel-reinforced tunnels.

Even if Israel knows where all the entrances are, the actual facilities could literally be miles away and underground. And it is unlikely that Israel knows where they ALL are — Iran has been at this for a decade or more.

Thanks to Moscow, Iran boasts one of the most sophisticated and extensive air defense networks in the world. In addition to what is already in place, the Russians are sending highly advanced SA-20 surface-to-air missiles to protect Iranian airspace, together with two sets of advanced Russian-made radar systems that will greatly enhance Iran’s ability to detect low-altitude aircraft.

According to Western assessments, once Iran has both these systems fully deployed, Iranian airspace will be virtually impenetrable, which increases the pressure on Israel to act before the systems go fully online.

The SA-20 missile system, while not yet tested in combat, is believed to be the most deadly surface-to-air anti-aircraft system ever developed.

For Israel, it could well be a case of now or never.

This sounds tantalizingly like Ezekiel’s description of the Gog-Magog War. Ezekiel’s prediction names both Russia and Iran as participants in a war that culminates on the mountains of Israel. It sounds like it, but only peripherally.

In Ezekiel’s prophecy, Gog-Magog invades Israel, not the other way around. At the time of the invasion, the world is taken by surprise. Nobody will be surprised at an Israeli strike on Natanz – not even the Iranians.

Israel is, at the time of the Gog-Magog invasion, a “land of unwalled villages” enjoying a period of peaceful co-existence with her neighbors. Israel is currently constructing security walls, not taking them down.

Israel has not known a moment’s peaceful coexistence with her neighbors since 1948, and never has she been in greater peril than she faces today.

Here is what we can know from the Bible. This isn’t the Gog-Magog War, although it could well be setting the stage for it. Moreover, we can know that Israel survives no matter what, and Iran survives intact to participate in Ezekiel’s invasion.

However, since Iran is merely a player in the Gog-Magago scenario, and not the instigator, it is reasonable to assume that Iran is not, at the time of the invasion, a nuclear power.

It is equally reasonable to assume that, since Russia is also a participant in Gog-Magog, that Russia will step back from the brink of any nuclear confrontation with the West over Iran.

Israel may indeed attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, but the Bible precludes the outbreak of nuclear war between Israel and Iran — both have future appointments with destiny. At the time of the Gog-Magog War, Iran is not a nuclear power, but it plays a major supporting role in a massive land invasion.

What it suggests is this. Whatever happens now, Israel has to win and Iran has to lose. If a conflict does break out, it will have to take place soon, before Iran can get its air defenses in place. It will be quick, and it will be clean, and then, it will be over.

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” (2nd Peter 1:19)

As I ponder this, I am struck with renewed awe at the thought that we have such foreknowledge at our fingertips. And the confidence that foreknowledge inspires.

“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” (Proverbs 3:25-26)

The Bible IS true, and it meets every challenge to its outline of future history in ways nobody can predict, but in the end, it is the Bible’s scenario that moves forward, leaving its challengers in the dust.

Which means, should Israel and Iran come to blows, Israel WILL win. It can’t turn out any other way.

Why CAN’T We Drill Our Way Out?

Why CAN’T We Drill Our Way Out?
Vol: 81 Issue: 19 Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why CAN’T We Drill Our Way Out?

I continue to hear the mantra “We can’t drill our way out of our dependence on imported foreign oil” but I’ve yet to hear anyone explain why not.

It is one of those mind-numbing mantras that gets repeated over and over until it becomes popular conventional wisdom. And as everyone knows, the label, ‘conventional wisdom’ is almost always a euphemism for something which is neither conventional nor wise.

Arguing that America cannot drill its way out of oil dependency is both unconventional, given that what exists is an oil-based global economy, and unwise, given that there is, as yet, no viable alternative.

It is a bit like arguing that one cannot save enough to afford a comfortable retirement and instead promoting the idea of ‘investing’ one’s savings by buying lottery tickets.

After all, winning the lottery is an alternative way to finance one’s retirement. I am fairly sure I could live out my golden years comfortably as a Power Ball winner, but I have a hard time convincing myself that is a viable alternative.

There are alternative sources of energy besides petroleum fuels; ethanol, flex fuels, synthetic oil, solar power, electrical power, hydrogen fuel cells — the list is endless. Anything that generates heat is a potential source of fuel.

But the percentage of vehicles that can use alternative fuels is not much greater than the percentage of people who retire as lottery winners. Just because they won the lottery doesn’t mean its a good retirement plan for everyone else.

Honda recently announced it was planning to introduce its new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to the US, starting in Southern California. So Honda plans to lease 200 of these cars this year to ‘selected’ Californians as an ‘alternative’ to fossil fuels.

The ‘selected’ Californians who will get these leases are all members of the liberal elite who share in common the mantra, “We can’t drill our way out of this mess.” And if Honda were leasing 200 million hydrogen fuel cell cars to Americans this year, instead of 200, the mantra would make sense.

If you owned one of these cars, you’d probably be repeating it to. But YOU can’t afford one — you’re stuck with your gas guzzler. And what are you going to do with it so you can buy a hydrogen fuel cell car? Sell it to somebody who LIKES paying ten bucks a gallon for gas?

I could claim high gas prices don’t bother me much, and I’d be telling the truth. I drive a 3 cylinder, 45hp diesel ‘Smart Car’ that gets 74 mpg in town. I filled up yesterday from empty for $19.90. Gas prices don’t bother me.

But that doesn’t mean I think that the rest of you should either buy a 900 lb mini-car or stop complaining about paying $90 to fill up your six-cylinder Taurus.

(Not everybody can get by with a car that carries two people and three small bags of groceries.)

My brother owns a small roofing company that employs about five guys. It costs him $130 to fill up his van, which he has to do about three times per week.

He has a number of hard choices before him. He can lay off one of his guys and hope he can get the job done short-handed.

He can raise his prices and hope that his customers aren’t looking for the lowest bid. Or he can go out of business, which is the option, he confided to me yesterday, that is the most viable in his circumstances.

The Democrats who champion the mantra that we can’t drill our way out of this mess say that is the plan. When enough people are hit by high gas prices the way my brother is, then the US will be ‘forced’ to find alternative energy sources.

In this view, my brother, (and the five newly unemployed roofers that used to work for him) are taking one for the team. I suppose we owe them a debt of gratitude. But my brother doesn’t see it like that. Neither does his crew. They’d rather have jobs.

Gratitude doesn’t pay their bills.

Assessment:

Yesterday’s seven-minute long speech by President Bush about the current energy crisis wasn’t your average domestic political pep-talk. It was the opening shots in what is sure to become a political bloodbath.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. The political ramifications will be widespread and immediate. First, let’s look at the backstory, domestically.

For most of his term, the Democrats in Congress have found ways to blame George Bush for everything from the September 11 attacks to Hurricane Katrina. Along the way, they managed to convince the public that, thanks to Bush’s policies, the economy was going down the toilet.

The constant drumbeat of negativity failed to have much impact, despite the willing collaboration of the media, because, until a bit over a year ago, the economy was still growing at record levels. Unemployment was low, inflation was in check . . . then the so-called ‘mortgage crisis’ hit the housing market.

Then the price of oil started to skyrocket — the Dems thought they had a winning combination.

They blamed the Bush tax cuts, the Bush energy policy, the Bush War, Bush’s connections with Big Business, Bush’s Oil Cartel and Bush’s foreign policy for ‘destroying’ the economy and started began the White House ‘do something’ about high gas prices.

Meanwhile, the Democratic standard-bearer, Barack Obama promised, if elected, to tax the oil company’s windfall profits. Evidently, Obama believes that the oil companies will work harder if the government confiscates their profits.

(Some folks might argue that, “Go find more oil and if you do, we’ll take it from you” is not exactly an incentive.)

So the Dems are advancing on a platform of blaming the administration and punishing the oil companies as their alternative energy plan.

The majority of the Democratic opposition to allowing America to drill its own oil wells is partisan, rather than ideological.

Greens tend to vote Democrat because Democrats court the Greens. That is both a distinction and a difference.

The genuine, militant Greens — the Al Gore die-hard environmentalists from the old school have their own agenda. For them, the “we can’t drill our way out of this mess” isn’t a mindless mantra — it’s the bedrock truth.

To the ideological environmentalist, the only solution to problems of global warming, etc., is to reduce the surplus population.

We discussed the idea of human overpopulation as a planetary cancer that the pioneers of the environmentalist movement warned would have to be excised in the June 5 Omega Letter .

“One America burdens the earth much more than twenty Bangladeshes. This is a terrible thing to say. In order to stabilize world population,we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it s just as bad not to say it. – Jacques Cousteau

“If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels. – HRH Prince Philip (UK)

But the extremists are really not the problem. They are clearly nuts, despite their reputation or standing.

They have inspired legions of other nuts to take up their cause, but they don’t have the numbers to do more than be a nuisance. Most folks listen to them until the get to the part where we have to make ‘hard choices’ (ie, starve the Third World so there’s more for the rest of us) and then they tune them out.

It is the partisan opposition that is the greater danger, because, unlike the crazy but thoughtful Greens, the partisans are mindless opponents of anything that doesn’t advance their own political interests.

The New York Times editorialized Bush’s call to allow domestic energy exploration “The Big Pander To Big Oil.” These guys represent the partisan faction of the opposition. Anything Bush proposes, they oppose on those grounds alone.

“The whole scheme is based on a series of fictions that range from the egregious to the merely annoying. Democratic majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, noted the worst of these on Wednesday: That a country that consumes one-quarter of the world s oil supply but owns only 3 percent of its reserves can drill its way out of any problem whether it be high prices at the pump or dependence on oil exported by unstable countries in Persian Gulf. This fiction has been resisted by Barack Obama but foolishly embraced by John McCain, who seemed to be making some sense on energy questions until he jumped aboard the lift-the-ban bandwagon on Tuesday.”

The NYTime’s agenda is clear enough. It is a ‘fiction’ that America has sufficient oil reserves, a fiction advanced by Big Oil and ‘foolishly’ embraced by John McCain — but not by their Messiah, Barack Obama. Instead, he wants to tax Big Oil’s profits.

(Ok, so I don’t love Big Oil either. But I’m not an idiot. If you tax Big Oil, then they’ll pass on the tax to me. That neither increases the supply nor reduces the price.)

The partisans aren’t advancing a plan to reduce the surplus population. They are advancing their political aspirations — if it starves off a significant portion of the Third World, they can just blame that on the Republicans and nobody will be the wiser. In that sense, they are the more dangerous. (At least the Greens let you know they are nuts up-front.)

The Democrats have been winning elections by embracing the scare tactics of the environmentalists and by demonizing “Big Oil” for forty years.

During the OPEC Crisis, the US was 35% dependent on foreign oil. Gas prices quadrupled in a decade and Jimmy Carter told us all to put on sweaters.

In 1981, as the oil shortage eased, the Democrats immediately voted to cut off access to offshore drilling. Today, America is almost 70% dependent on foreign oil, mainly from unfriendly regimes.

To argue that they didn’t see this coming is like arguing they were startled by daylight at sunrise. They sold out the country’s best interests to advance their own best political interests.

Now that their policies are producing the results that have been predicted for decades, they are looking for ways to shift the blame to Big Oil and exonerate themselves.

Hence, the mindless mantra, “We can’t drill our way out of this mess.” They have no other alternative. To argue otherwise would raise the question of how we got in ‘this mess’ to begin with.

They’d rather wipe out small business, starve off the surplus population and hope the economy doesn’t collapse (until after November) than try to explain that in an election year.

You just can’t make this stuff up. You can step in it. But you can’t make it up.

Peace Breaking Out In Israel?

Peace Breaking Out In Israel?
Vol: 81 Issue: 18 Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yesterday, it was all over the headlines: “Hamas, Israel Agree To Truce.” Even more startling that the surprise agreement was the time frame. The truce was to start today.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev confirmed Wednesday that Israel has accepted the Egypt-brokered ceasefire. As the truce goes into effect, talks to kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit will intensify, Regev said.

Egypt announced it’s own a six-month agreement on Tuesday, saying it would begin Thursday at 6 a.m. Hamas confirmed the deal shortly afterward.

“Thursday will be the beginning we hope of a new reality where Israeli citizens in the south will no longer be on the receiving end of continuous rocket attacks,” Regev said. “Israel is giving a serious chance to this Egyptian initiative and we want it to succeed.”

According to the deal brokered by Egypt, the cease-fire will bring a complete cessation of terrorist activity in Gaza and Israeli military operations.

After three days, Israel will slightly ease the blockade on Gaza and open up the crossings to allow in vital humanitarian supplies. If the cease-fire lasts, Israel will further ease restrictions at cargo crossings.

In the final stage, Israeli negotiator Ofer Dekel will travel to Cairo and begin intensive negotiations with Hamas, via Egypt, for the release Schalit. Defense officials said it was possible that the negotiations, which have been frozen for several months, would be renewed as early as Sunday.

If progress is made, Israel has said it will consider reopening the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. That is the Israeli version. Hamas has a somewhat different understanding.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal explained to Reuters: “The enemy tried…to merge the issue of Gilad Schalit with the truce. We rejected this and in the final Egyptian offer the two issues are not linked,” he told Reuters.

“The Gilad Schalit issue is linked to an exchange deal … whereas the truce involves a bilateral cease-fire, lifting the blockade and opening the crossings,” Mashaal added.

In other words, Israel opens the borders, and in return, Hamas stops attacking them. It’s not a great deal, and it already doesn’t sound like the deal Israel THINKS it signed.

But it IS a deal.

Assessment:

The deal is contingent on both sides maintaining three days of calm. If that holds, Israel will allow some construction materials and merchandise into Gaza.

After that, Israel thinks it can move on to discussing the release of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped from Israel by Hamas two years ago.

Why would Israel think that Hamas will negotiate over Schalit after Mashaal has said in no uncertain terms that Schalit is a ‘separate issue’?

Evidently, this is the way one negotiates with liars. Mashall is probably lying about the cease-fire, so maybe he lying about the terms? And even a liar stumbles over the truth every so often.

There is an old saying to the effect that even a broken watch is right twice a day. It isn’t much, but it is all Israel has to work with.

So this has been Israel’s negotiating tactic with the Palestinians ever since the Oslo Agreement. The Israelis KNOW that any agreement between themselves and the Palestinians will last only as long as the Palestinians think they’re getting the better deal.

The moment that Hamas sees the agreement begin to benefit Israel, it will find a reason to resume the conflict. Israel ALSO knows what the Palestinians mean when they call it a ‘hudna’ — for a short word, it carries a lot of meaning.

A ‘hudna’ is styled after Mohammed’s peace agreement with the Quriyash tribe that inhabited Mecca. Mohammed wasn’t strong enough to defeat them, so he entered into a ten-year truce with his enemy.

But Mohammed NEVER intended to honor its terms — its purpose was to buy him time to build up his forces.

When Mohammed was strong enough to attack, he abrogated the hudna, conquered the unsuspecting Quriyash, and personally beheaded more than nine hundred Quriyash defenders. A ‘hudna’ is what Mohammed offered the Quriyash. A ‘hudna’ is what Hamas offered Israel.

So why does Israel continue to hammer out agreements that it knows won’t be honored? There are a number of reasons. The first is because of international pressure.

If Israel were to refuse, Israel fears that either the UN, the EU (or both) will decide to take an active role in solving the crisis. That would be a catastrophe for Israel.

Secondly, even a temporary respite from the constant shelling of its border towns along the Gaza Strip is an improvement over the status quo. Even after the truce was announced, rockets continued to rain down on Israeli targets.

A total of ten Kassam rockets were fired at Israel AFTER the truce was announced, but just BEFORE it was to go into effect. Still, even a day without attacks is better than a day under bombardment.

Thirdly, it gives the Syrian government an excuse to pull back somewhat from the abyss — Syria’s Assad has been taking his cues from Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but he doesn’t really want war with the Jewish state.

Especially if Iran intends to push Israel to the brink, and then pull back and leave Syria standing alone — which is a real possibility, unless Ahmadinejad has obtained the nuclear capability he’s working towards first.

That isn’t to suggest that Damascus is willing to be reasonable:

“We support this agreement. We support the lifting of the boycott of Gaza, and we hope and we are waiting to see whether the Israelis are going to fulfil their part of this truce,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said.

Notice that Syria only intends to scrutinize Israel. If Hamas resumes its bombardment and Israel retaliates, Damascus will argue that Israel failed to fulfill its part of the truce.

But despite the pitfalls, every truce agreement portends at least the hope of peace, so the Israelis will grasp at any straw that is offered, no matter how tenuous it might be.

At some point, peace WILL come, even if it is only temporary. We have God’s Word on it.

The Prophet Ezekiel’s forecast of the Gog Magog War demands that, at the time of that invasion, Israel will be “a land of unwalled villages, having neither bars nor gates.”

Something has to happen to bring that scenario to pass — Israel has NEVER fit Ezekiel’s description since the day it first raised its national flag in 1948.

A formal state of war still exists between Israel and every Arab country in the Middle East except Jordan and Egypt. But Ezekiel’s vision of Israel before the Gog-Magog war pictures an unsuspecting nation at peace, not a nation entering its sixtieth year of war.

Will this be the truce that leads to that peace? I don’t know — nobody does. But it certainly could be — and that is my prayer for Israel. Maybe this is it — and maybe not.

But we’re closer than we were this time yesterday.

Note:

This brings us back to our upcoming tour of Israel and Poland. I won’t sugar-coat things — you aren’t merely members of the OL, you are my friends. That’s how I think of you, and that is how I address you.

That said, know that I wouldn’t take you anywhere I wouldn’t take my wife. So, here’s how I see our prospects going forward.

I am admittedly pessimistic about the prospects that Hamas will keep its agreement, but the timing is fortuitous.

If this peace is going to hold, we’ll know well before we’ve reached the point of no return on our tour plans. If not, we’ll know that, too. So I am encouraged, in any event.

We now have firm dates for both the tour and the registration deadline. The tour is scheduled from March 18-March 29, 2009.

We’ll be posting both the itinerary and the registration forms over the weekend as part of the scheduled roll-out of the new upgrades.

Frank and I are still working on the upgrades, but we appear to be on-track for this weekend. I’ll let you know before the we make the transition and we’ll dedicate the first part of next week to going over all the new features with you.

If any of you would like to help out with beta testing, or would like to join our new Website Advisory Board, please email Frank via the website contact form and let him know.

Maranatha!

When is Discrimination Discriminatory?

When is Discrimination Discriminatory?
Vol: 81 Issue: 17 Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The question that serves as the title of todays OL Digest would seem to answer itself, no? Discrimination is discriminatory when it discriminates. Period.

For all you linguistic purists, ‘discrimination’ means: “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, age, sex or religion.”

Got it? If one singles out a category of people, based on race, age, sex or religion unjustly, then one is guilty of discrimination. And discrimination in America is not just against the law, it is a federal crime.

Why is that important? Many states have anti-discrimination laws. So, suppose you were tried in a state court for discrimination and were acquitted by a jury. Since it is also a federal crime, the feds can try you all over again.

What’s that you say? The Constitution forbids putting a person on trial twice for the same crime? When it comes to civil rights, the feds have come up with a novel new way of ignoring 5th Amendment guarantees against double-jeapordy.

No matter what the state courts charge you with, only the feds can charge you with violating someone’s civil rights. So it is a different crime than the one you were acquitted of. Sort of.

The point is, the US federal government takes discrimination so seriously that it doesn’t feel that race-motivated crimes should be protected by the 5th Amendment.

But only in certain instances. It is a crime, for example to discriminate based on sexual orientation, but ONLY if the orientation is something other than heterosexual.

For example, a heterosexual named Byron Cleaves filed a lawsuit in federal court against the City of Chicago because the employer took adverse action against him when he took time off from work when the father of his female partner died.

Had Cleaves and his partner been a same-sex couple, such leave would have been permitted.

In a similar case, Paul Foray filed a lawsuit against Bell Atlantic when it refused to provide health benefits for his live-in female ‘life partner’ despite the fact Bell Atlantic provides the same benefits to same-sex couples.

In both cases, the courts dismissed the suits and the employers won.

A lawsuit was filed against a Christian school in Riverside County California by two lesbian students who were expelled by the school for being lesbians. And then there are the Boy Scouts of America who are the target of constant lawsuits alleging discrimination of one kind or another.

The Boy Scouts have been sued for religious discrimination, sexual-orientation discrimination, and even sexual discrimination lawsuits filed by gender-confused girls objecting to being excluded from membership in the BOY Scouts.

What is significant in each of these cases is that these are private institutions which are not supported by the government. Discrimination is a crime, if the government rules something discriminatory, irrespective of whether or not an institution receives government support.

But it only seems to be a crime when the perpetrators are white, or heterosexual, or male, or (especially) if they are Christian.

In essence, the courts have ruled that discrimination is not based on the act, but by the racial, sexual, or religious persuasion of the actor.

Which, by any possible understanding of the word ‘discrimination’ is, well, discriminatory. Isn’t it?

Assessment:

Last week, the results of a federal investigation into the Islamic Saudi Academy – with campuses in Alexandria and Fairfax — confirmed that the textbooks at the 900-student school singled out Jews as “the cause of discord.”

Specifically, the social science textbook used by the academy contained this passage: “The cause of the discord: The Jews conspired against Islam and its people. A sly, wicked person who deceitfully professed Islam infiltrated the Muslims. He was Abd Alllah b. Saba (from the Jews of Yemen.)”

Is being a Jew a racial attribute? Most anti-Semites would say yes. (Being a converted Jew was no defense against the Nazis, for example.) Is being a Jew a religious identity? Of course it is.

Could one argue that Jewishness is indicative of national origin? Since there exists a Jewish state, one could mount a strong argument that it is, at least for the purposes of discrimination laws.

(American blacks often claim ‘African’ as their national origin, even if they were born in Manhattan.)

While the Saudi Academy is ostensibly ‘private,’ (it is financed by the Saudi government, but not by the US government) so are the Boy Scouts. (And so is the Cal Lutheran Academy in Riverside.)

But the Saudi Academy is located on property it leased from Fairfax County, so it is located on government property. (Which was also the Boy Scout’s legal Achille’s Heel in many of its legal battles — it was a private organization that sometimes used government facilities.)

And federal anti-discrimination laws go much further than simply singling out one religion as being both ‘false’ and ‘divisive’. One takes it to a whole new level should one advocate doing harm to a member of an identifiable group based on race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

One has then crossed the line into “hate crimes” — an offense that often receives the same punishment as the law prescribes for actual murder.

Penalty-enhancement hate crime laws are traditionally justified on the grounds that, according to a ruling penned by Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist: “this conduct is thought to inflict greater individual and societal harm…. bias-motivated crimes are more likely to provoke retaliatory crimes, inflict distinct emotional harms on their victims, and incite community unrest.”

The federal investigation also cited the Saudi Academy’s 12th grade textbook, which taught its students that it is permissible to kill those who have left the faith, are deemed guilty of adultery, or someone who has intentionally murdered another Muslim.

The investigation specifically ruled that the text defines “just cause” as “unbelief after belief, adultery and killing an inviolable believer intentionally. (It is worth noting as we go on that the 1999 Saudi Academy valedictorian Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was later convicted of joining al-Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President Bush and is now serving a thirty-year federal prison sentence.)

The study, conducted by the congressionally mandated U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), found the textbooks also glorified the caliphate, urged Sunnis to turn against Shiites, and portrayed the Baha’i faith as an effort to undermine Islam from within.

Are these discriminatory? The Commission says yes. The State Department says no.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors came up with yet a third answer. They claimed it was the USCIRF that was guilty of discrimination,instead.

During the hearing, County Supervisors dismissed concerns as “slanderous, bigoted, and unfounded”. During the course of the hearing the Fairfax County Chairman apologized to the school’s director, Abdallah Al-Shabnan for what he deemed slanderous accusations that impugned the integrity of the Islamic Saudi Academy.

(A week later, Al-Shabnan was arrested for obstruction of justice during an investigation of an unrelated child abuse complaint against the school. (No word on whether the County intends to apologize for that.)

The State Department, which has jurisdiction over foreign-owned and financed educational institutions, says, “So what?”

Last October the commission asked that the ISA be shuttered, pending a full review of its curriculum. Not only did the school remain open, but the State Department refused to turn over the texts in use, despite the commission’s Congressional mandate.

USCIRF eventually obtained copies of seventeen books through alternate channels.

The Secretary of State has authority under the Foreign Missions Act to close the school because it operates as an arm of the Saudi embassy. But that is not going to happen anytime soon.

“They told us they would revise the textbooks by the 2008 school year,” a State Department spokesman said. “We don’t plan to take additional action apart from the discussions that have been going on with the Saudi government.”

(“Additional” action? Additional to what?)

So, if you are a Christian, you can be guilty of discrimination if you argue that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. If you are a Jew, you can be guilty of discrimination against Arabs if you argue that Israel is a Jewish state.

Anybody of any persuasion who argues that Islam or the Koran are ultimately responsible for the Islamic jihad being waged against the West is guilty of discrimination.

But advocating the murder of infidels or inciting against Jews is insufficient reason to close a foreign-owned, exclusively Islamic school does not violate anti-discrimination laws, even when it is located on government property in violation of the popular interpretation of the 1st Amendment forbidding any link between government and religion.

So, when is discrimination ‘discriminatory’? Evidently, that depends on who you are and who you discriminate against. Which means we need yet another new word to replace the old one. Because the current definition of discrimination is evidently discriminatory. Or something.

I’m not sure. Which is a kind of a scary place to be. For all I know, this very column might be the one that results in my getting one of those midnight knocks on the door.

After all, I’m white, I’m heterosexual (or, in gay slang, a ‘breeder’) I’m male, I’m Christian and I have an opinion. So I’m toast.

Next case!

“Who Is Like Unto bin-Laden?”

“Who Is Like Unto bin-Laden?”
Vol: 81 Issue: 16 Monday, June 16, 2008

The so-called “Bush Farewell Tour” of Europe has brought Osama bin-Laden to the front pages under headlines like “Bush: Get Me Osama” [Melbourne Sun] and “Bush Tries to Save Presidential Legacy” [Scopical AU]

The Jerusalem Post’s headine reads: “Bush has Last Go At Nabbing bin-Laden” while Israel’s Ynetnews’ headline reads: Report: Bush Wants bin-Laden Captured Before Leaving Office.”

And on they went, headline after headline, all playing variations of the same theme: this is between George Bush and Osama bin-Laden — and its personal.

The media paints a picture of a clash not unlike that of David and Goliath, with the president of the United States playing the role of the Philistine giant, Goliath, with Osama bin-Laden filling in for David.

Osama’s allies must feel a sense of enormous pride to know that their chieftain is viewed by his enemies as such an heroic figure. It is their leader who has reduced the leader of the world’s most powerful nation to little more than an aging bounty hunter.

It is something right out of Arab literary mythology — the cultural image could not be more powerful than this.

It evokes a mental image not unlike that presented by the Apostle John: “Who is like unto bin-Laden? Who is able to make war with him?”

Osama’s latest propaganda coup emanated from a story in the London Sunday Times, but it’s been picked up, reworked and re-edited the world over to create the proper effect, as the headlines I mentioned earlier attest.

Opined the JPost staff writers in their piece: “Bush has enlisted British special forces in the renewed search for the elusive arch-terrorist. The paper was quoting defense and intelligence sources in Washington and London.

“If [Bush] can say he has killed Saddam Hussein and captured bin Laden, he can claim to have left the world a safer place,” an American intelligence source said.”

Assessment:

And there you have it in a nutshell: it’s Bush vs. bin-Laden. The media could not have done more to boost bin-Laden’s stock in the region if it reported that Bush was paying bin-Laden a state visit.

It’s the Gunfight at the OK Corral, and bin-Laden is Wyatt Earp; Bush, the sniveling coward Ike Clanton getting his cohorts to do his dirty work.

And that is the way America’s friends are framing it! Al-Bayan, the United Arab Emirates daily, highlighted the Times’ contention that Bush needs to ‘get’ Osama bin-Laden to keep his presidency from being a failure.

The subliminal message behind the theme is simple: Osama bin Laden holds the key to the Bush legacy. If Bush leaves office with Osama still at large, Osama wins and George Bush loses. And, from the tone of the reports abroad, Osama bin-Laden is the odds-on favorite.

How did this happen? This is, by my count, the third popularity contest George Bush has lost to a guy that even Satan could have beaten hands-down.

Saddam Hussein murdered uncounted hundreds of thousands of his countrymen; George Bush took the word of the world’s intelligence services, which turned out to be wrong.

Yet the demonstration marches the world over were festooned with anti-Bush slogans, not anti-Saddam.

The global cry of ‘war criminal’ was never once leveled at Saddam Hussein by the global media — that is a title set aside exclusively for George Bush, Dick Cheney, and the United States Armed Forces.

Even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has more mainstream media allies than does the current President of the United States.

It has now evolved to the point that the benchmark for Bush’s presidential success or failure has been placed squarely in the hands of a 6th century tribal warlord living in a cave somewhere in northern Pakistan.

George Bush has been demonized by the media since the day the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitutional Electoral College system gave Election 2000 to Bush, rather than Al Gore.

The demonization began even before the election had been settled. Gore conceded, then took back his concession before launching a legal campaign to disqualify any votes that didn’t break for him, while insisting any vote that was ambiguous should be counted FOR him.

Gore’s quest to overturn the election threw the presidential transition into turmoil, and dragged the nation through one of the most contentious legal battles in history.

His efforts to overturn the election made him a media darling whose love affair with the press continues undiminished to this day.

Bush, who won according to every single official count, every official recount, and even every unofficial recount later conducted by an unfriendly media, was characterized as ‘selected, not elected’, ‘the usurper’ who ‘stole the election’, etc..

Gore, who didn’t even win his home state of Tennessee, was cast in the same heroic role of David to Bush’s Goliath now enjoyed by Osama bin Laden.

Were it anyone other than George Bush, say, Bill Clinton, who were in office over the last seven years, his presidential legacy would be secure.

Were it Bill Clinton, the media would note that he kept the economy together, even after 9/11. He took bold, decisive action in the wake of the attacks, taking the war to the enemy on the enemy’s own turf.

Thanks to Clinton’s strong leadership, America has not suffered another attack on her soil since September 11.

Although Clinton’s intelligence services may have failed him, he acted in good faith, and in the process, rid the world of a depraved, murderous dictator in Iraq, and freed Afghanistan from Taliban’s iron grip on the Afghani people.

While President Clinton may not (as yet) captured Osama bin Laden, it is because he refused to violate the territorial integrity of Pakistan’s sovereign borders.

Clinton understands that bin-Laden is only a figurehead, and that turning it into a contest between himself and the terrorist would only bolster bin-Laden’s reputation.

So that’s why he didn’t make Osama his top public priority. It wasn’t because he dropped the ball — it was because he was in control of the whole ball game from the start. What a guy!

If anything, President Clinton’s policies kept bin-Laden in a cave, where he lives a miserable existence while unable to mount any significant counter-attacks.

Same bin-Laden, same US anti-terror policies, same Afghan war, same US-Iraq policy (Bill Clinton declared regime change in Iraq official US policy in 1998 to the huzzahs of the global mainstream media) — the only difference is the name of the official occupying the Big Chair in the Oval Office.

Had the media taken that approach to the Bush White House, the US would now enjoy the popular support of the Western world, who would by now have recognized that this is a war between civilizations, and not just a grudge match between the White House and a bearded terrorist living in a cave somewhere.

When one counts up the actual, verifiable scandals of the Bush administration, one comes up with Valerie Plame, and, uh . . . well, (somebody help me, I’m stuck).

On the other hand, the actual, verifiable Clinton scandals are too numerous to mention. How can this be? Behold, the power of propaganda!

According to Bible prophecy, the most evil and depraved individual to walk the earth since Judas Iscariot will one day capture the world’s affection and will be ushered into office as the leader of the free world by global acclamation.

That used to baffle me. Growing up in the post-war era, I knew about ‘propaganda’. It was his control of the propaganda machine that enabled Adolf Hitler to prosecute his mad plan to conquer Europe and exterminate the Jewish race.

Throughout my youth, I learned that the citizens of the Soviet Union were kept in chains, not by the force of arms, but by the incessant repetition of Soviet propaganda. Americans willingly contributed to keep “Radio Free Europe” broadcasting the truth to those stuck “behind the Iron Curtain.”

It was through their control of the propaganda machine that the most depraved dictatorships of the 20th century operated, and the secret to American freedom was a free press unfettered by government control.

Nobody ever took into consideration what would happen when the ‘free press’ unified around its own private agenda. Indeed, they didn’t consider it because prior to this generation of instant communications and a global press corps, it wasn’t possible.

Following the Election 2000 debacle, the mainstream media had an agenda — get George Bush. It soon became a global agenda — a ’cause’ to rally around. The rest, as they say, is history. (Or prophecy, depending on one’s perspective)

Bible prophecy forecasts a media-driven world wherein the press can create a reality in which an American president is more depraved than an Islamic fanatical terrorist dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization.

It pictures the kind of world where Jesus Christ would get booed off the stage as a ‘right wing nut’. But Satan would be swept into office by popular acclamation.

We live in a world where George Bush’s biggest political mistake was in acknowledging Jesus Christ in 2000 as the ‘most important person in history’ — while TIME Magazine considered naming Osama bin-Laden “Person of the Year” in its December, 2001 edition.

You can bet that when the time comes for the antichrist to make his appearance, his propaganda machine will be there, oiled and ready — just as the Bible prophesied it would be.

“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4)

Supremely Stupid

Supremely Stupid
Vol: 81 Issue: 14 Saturday, June 14, 2008

Conservative voters are desperately looking for a reason to vote for John McCain in November instead of staying home in disgust and letting Barack Obama win by default.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court gave it to them.

In a split decision, the Court ruled 5-4 that the terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay have the same rights under the Constitution as do US citizens.

The decision was greeted by the Left as being, in the words of Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy: “A stinging rebuke of the Bush administration’s flawed detention policies.”

This is as moronic as a passenger on a plummeting aircraft calling the impending crash “a stinging rebuke of the airline’s flawed pilot training policies.”

The Supreme Court decision doesn’t affect the “Bush administration” — it affects the United States of America. We’re ALL on the same plane.

If the US is forced to release Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for lack of evidence, it won’t only affect Republicans. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is charged with the murder of 2,974 people, not 2,974 Republicans.

In fact, considering that the Twin Towers were in New York City, the odds are good that the majority of the casualties were probably Democrats.

The Court split according to philosophical lines with the five liberal justices discovering a Constitutional right for foreigners to make war on the United States.

Writing for the liberal majority was Justice Anthony Kennedy, who found:

“The detainees in these cases are entitled to a prompt habeas corpus hearing. . . The laws and constitution are designed to survive and remain in force in extraordinary times.”

They are indeed great, swelling words, but that is all they are. When examined for what those words convey, one finds them ultimately meaningless, however.

The Constitution’s survival was never at risk. And it wasn’t ‘suspended’ in order to allow ‘the administration’ to detain enemy combatants.

It was NOT ‘the administration’ that detained them — it was the United States government. They were not detained for violating the US Criminal Code — they were taken as prisoners of war.

The military tribunals were not convened to try them for civilian crimes. They were convened to try them as war criminals.

The laws and Constitution do not, therefore apply. America has fought its share of wars since its inception, including the Revolutionary War that gave it birth.

The Constitution did not protect British prisoners of war during either the Revolution or the War of 1812. They were incarcerated for the duration.

Neither side was afforded Constitutional guarantees by the other during the Civil War — even though BOTH sides were Americans.

On both sides, prisoners of war were held for the duration. During WWI, POW’s were held for the duration of the conflict.

During World War II, German POWs were interned in more than 175 POW camps on US soil housing more than 425,000 POWs. These camps were located in nearly every state in the Union, from Connecticut to Texas, and from California to Florida.

The POW prison designated “Camp Andrews” was located in the middle of Boston Harbor, for example.

The United States designated Japanese Americans to be ‘enemy aliens’ and interned them in concentration camps across America for the duration of the conflict.

While one may argue that the Supreme Court was wrong in those cases, the argument has to be framed this way for that to make sense:

For two hundred and thirty-three years, the Supreme Court did not understand what the Constitution actually said and it wasn’t until June 12, 2008 that there were enough liberals on the Court to have finally figured it out.

And if you listen to the self-contratulatory drivel being spouted by brain-dead liberals like Patrick Leahy, it isn’t because the Supreme Court has been blind for 233 years.

It’s because of the “failed detention policies of the Bush administration”.

Assessment:

Writing for the minority, Chief Justice John Roberts had this to say: “Today the court strikes down as inadequate the most generous set of procedural protections ever afforded aliens detained by this country as enemy combatants.”

So the Gitmo detainees already had greater procedural protections than did POW’s held by the US in any war from the Revolutionary War to the present conflict, but those protections were deemed ‘inadequate’ by the current liberal majority.

The Constitution’s 4th and 4th Amendment guarantees remained unchanged since they were first ratified. If they remain unchanged, and if the nature of war remains unchanged (ie; both sides are supposed to try to win it) then what, pray tell, has changed that would cause the current Supreme Court to ignore 233 years of legal precedence?

The only thing that has changed is the politics. The Bush administration’s ‘flawed detention policies” are flawed in that they are more generous than in any previous administration in history.

So this is NOT a legal ruling based on the law, but rather, (and glaringly obviously) a political opinion rooted in partisan politics. The Surpremes did not rule in favor the United States, it ruled in favor of one political partisan position — that the Bush administration’s policies are ‘flawed’.

It is interesting to note that the Supreme Court didn’t explain what the flaws were — evidently, they must have been self-evident. But of course! The flaw isn’t in the detention policy, itself. It is flawed because it was the Bush administration that implemented it.

The “Center for Constitutional Rights” is the misnomer chosen by the legal outfit that has taken it upon itself to protect the Constitutional rights of the foreign jihadists dedicated to the destruction of the system the Constitution defines.

Its chief attorney is a guy named Shane Kadidal. He hailed the decision, writing, “Justice Kennedy, the opinion s author, has a reputation for pragmatism, and it shows in today s opinion, which is rooted in a sound practical sense. The decision today allows courts to do what they do best: to decide whether the government has the right to hold someone in detention, sorting out claims of factual innocence by weighing the evidence.”

According to Kadidal’s bio: “Shane is senior managing attorney of the Guant namo project at the Center for Constitutional Rights and has been at CCR since 2001. In addition to supervising the Guant namo litigation, he also supervises the Cuba Travel project and works on the Center s case against the NSA s warrantless surveillance program, CCR v. Bush, and its challenge to the material support statute, HLP v. Gonzales. He also works with the Vulcan Society of Black firefighters challenging discriminatory hiring policies of the New York City Fire Department; and with the Sikh Coalition against religious discrimination by New York s Transit Authority, among other cases.

He graduated from Yale Law School and clerked for a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Shane has testified before Congress on the material witness statute and is a contributor to the Center s book Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush, 2006.”

You tell me. Does his bio suggest Kadidal’s main interest is legal? Or partisan?

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. He planned the attacks, chose the attackers, oversaw the operation and had a number of other devastating attacks in the works when he was captured.

He is one of three detainees that were subjected to water-boarding interrogation — an interrogation that broke al-Qaeda’s inner circle wide open and foiled plans that could have claimed thousands more lives.

Under the newly-extended Constitutional protections, none of the evidence obtained by that interrogation can be used against him. Neither can any subsequent evidence that was obtained as a result of the first interrogation. In legal parlance, it becomes “the fruit of the poisonous tree.”

All of the detainees who were captured as a result of breaking Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are similarly exonerated by the same technicality.

The decision is moronic and blindly partisan. Like all things that are blindly partisan, when one side wins, the entire nation ultimately loses. Sometimes the nation only loses its way temporarily.

This decision could lose the war and permanently hamstring its capacity to prevail in any future war. If, of course, America survives this one.

It is probable that the next president will appoint replacements for at least two justices — John Paul Stevens, who is pushing 90, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg — both of whom ruled with the majority in this case.

If one needs a reason to hold one’s nose in November and pull the lever for McCain, one need look no further than the Supreme Court.

After Thursday’s ruling, it isn’t just a no-brainer. It’s a matter of survival. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. Justice Scalia noted in his minority dissent that, “the nation will live to regret this.”

There is little doubt that the nation will regret this decision — it’s the ‘living’ long enough to do so that is now somewhat more problematic.

Note:

Something has happened that has scrambled the OL article database. We’re not sure what the problem is, but Frank is working on it. The OL will be down while we try to figure out what the problem is — we’ll notify you by email the moment it is fixed and the OL is back online.

We’re not sure, as I said, exactly what the problem is, so we don’t yet know how to fix it. We solicit your prayers as we investigate the problem.

But we will keep you posted.

Shut Up — or Shut Down

Shut Up — or Shut Down
Vol: 81 Issue: 13 Friday, June 13, 2008

The Internal Revenue Service has launched an investigation/crackdown on Christian ministers and ministries that the IRS believes is in violation of the rules governing 501 (c) (3) religious tax exemptions.

In the main, the investigations are aimed at determining if a minister or ministry has made any political statements that violated IRS rules.

The IRS crackdown came following a special IRS task force investigation that concluded that as many as three-quarters of Christian ministries violated federal tax laws governing 501 (c) (3) religious charitable exemption status during the 2004 general election.

This time around, the IRS is taking a pro-active approach, targeting any Christian ministry that dares to express a political opinion, particularly those who express an opinion regarding Barack Obama or his relationship with Trinity United Church.

I’m not going to name the ministries now under investigation (they’ve already got enough to worry about) but I will say that among those now under IRS scrutiny is one that is nearest and dearest to us here — but it isn’t the OL.

If it seems to you that I am speaking in code, it means you are very perceptive.

Who would have ever believed that the day would come in America where one would have to speak in code about Christianity?

I have preached it for twenty years, but frankly, I never thought I’d live to see it. It came slowly, almost imperceptibly, until POW! — it was here.

The IRS 501 (c)(3) religious tax exemption status is a fairly recent trend dating back to 1954 when Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson added an amendment including ‘religious organizations’ to the tax code. Johnson was taking a lot of fire from church organizations back home at the time.

Johnson presented the amendment as a ‘favor’ to church organizations, but the ‘favor’ came with strings attached. Over time, those strings began to morph into the handcuffs they are today.

For a 501 (c)(3) church to openly speak out, or organize in opposition to, anything that the government declares “legal,” even if it is immoral (e.g. abortion, homosexuality, etc.), that church will jeopardize its tax exempt status.

The 501 (c)(3) serves to not just infringe upon, but to actually abrogate the free speech rights of the church.

To summarize, ever since 1954, churches and religious organizations have been able to claim a religious tax exemption under 501(c)(3) rules.

That begs a question – what about the tax status of religious organizations prior to 1954?

The United States has existed since July 4, 1776. The Internal Revenue Service came into being during the Lincoln administration under the authority of the Revenue Act of 1862.

It was called the “Bureau of Internal Revenue” until 1918, when it began using the name “Internal Revenue Service” on its tax forms. The 501 (c)(3) religious organization tax exemption status was created in 1954.

What was the tax status of churches from 1776 to 1862? Or, for that matter, from 1862 to 1918, or from 1918 to 1954?

It was tax-exempt. Churches and ministries were tax exempt in America since the day the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock.

The 1st Amendment (the infamous ‘separation clause’) clearly places the church outside the jurisdiction of civil government, saying, “Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

If the Supreme Court can interpret some county courthouse in Kentucky that displays the Ten Commandments as being in violation of the 1st Amendment ‘by Congress’ how is it that tax laws passed by Congress does not?

As noted, the church was tax-exempt BEFORE Johnson tacked on the 501 (c)(3) exemption for churches. Religion cannot be free if you have to pay the government, through taxation, to exercise it.

In order to be governed by IRS rules, churches must place themselves under its jurisdiction. In order to be considered for tax-exempt status by the IRS an organization must fill out and submit IRS Form 1023 and 1024.

Otherwise, churches and religious organizations are ALREADY exempt under the IRS’ own rules. According to IRS Publication 557:

Churches, interchurch organizations of local units of a church, conventions or associations of churches, or integrated auxiliaries of a church, such as a men s or women s organization, religious school, mission society, or youth group. These organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3).

Did you catch that? Let’s look at it again. “These organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3).”

But wait! There’s more!

According to IRS Code 508(c)(1)(A): Special rules with respect to section 501(c)(3) organizations.

(a) New organizations must notify secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c)(3) status.

(c) Exceptions.

(1) Mandatory exceptions. Subsections (a) and (b) shall not apply to

(A) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches.

I’m not making this up. Churches are ALREADY exempt! They always were. This is known as the “mandatory exception” rule.

Thus, we see from the IRS own publications, and the tax code, that it is completely unnecessary for any church to apply for tax-exempt status.

In the IRS own words a church is automatically tax-exempt. Not only that, but individual contributions to religious organizations that qualify for 501(c)(3) status are ALSO “automatically tax-exempt” — whether that organization has filed for 501(c)(3) status or not.

Not only is a ministry not REQUIRED to file for a 501 (c)(3) exemption, until it does, it is not under IRS jurisdiction. It is the act of FILING for that exemption that grants the IRS jurisdiction.

If a church does not place ITSELF under IRS authority, neither can the IRS.

We’ve all heard about the tax protestors and “freemen” who refuse to apply for a Social Security number or refuse to file taxes by claiming the Sixteenth Amendment authorizing income taxes was never properly ratified.

This is different. In the case of the church, 1st Amendment trumps the 16th. Whether the 16th Amendment was legally ratified or not is irrelevant.

Congress is constitutionally forbidden from making ANY laws respecting the establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof.

Tax laws are “laws” — and they certainly aren’t ‘free’.

Assessment:

Since churches and religious organizations are already exempt from taxation, why do so many of them voluntarily place themselves under IRS rules? There are several reasons, not the least of which is ignorance.

501(c)(3) organizations can issue a tax receipt which can be deducted from a person’s individual income taxes.

This is a powerful incentive for donors to take money that would otherwise go to the government and redirect it to a ministry.

If a donor gives to a 501(c)(3) organization, he is, in fact, donating the government’s money, rather than his own — the donor doesn’t get to keep it in any case, so why not?

We see how effective the scheme is every day here at the OL. We’ve received a lot of emails over the years from members encouraging us to apply for tax-exempt status so we can issue tax receipts for donations.

We refused 501(c)(3) status from the beginning because it gives the IRS the authority to censor what we can say.

But when we tell prospective donors we cannot issue 501(c)(3) receipts, they tell us, sorrowfully, that they can’t donate unless they can submit tax-deductible receipts with the tax return.

In fact, whether or not a church or church ministry applies for and receives a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt recognition letter from the IRS is irrelevant under the law.

Any contributions made to a church are automatically qualified as a tax write-off to the contributor, pursuant to IRS Publication 526, and IRS Code 170(c)(2)(B).

A church does not have to be a “nonprofit charitable organization” to be tax deductible, nor does it need IRS authorization to be tax deductible. According to the IRS, churches have that status automatically.

I’m not saying go ahead and donate to the OL because its tax-deductible. It is — but I wouldn’t ask anybody to go toe-to-toe with the IRS over it.

If I am not willing to tackle them head-on, (and I am not) I’m not about to ask you to — increasing donations isn’t the point of today’s OL.

The point is that, via the 501(c)(3) fiction, Christians have exempted themselves from the 1st Amendment guarantees, and consequently, churches are under Congressional oversight and have no free speech protection.

A pastor who speaks out about abortion can be censored. A church that speaks favorably about an anti-abortion candidate can face legal government persecution.

But their rights to the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech have NOT been ‘taken away’ from them.

They SOLD them to the federal government in exchange for tax-free money. The irony is that they sold their freedom in exchange for money that was ALREADY tax-free.

When a church accepts the 501(c)(3) status, that church also:

* Waives its freedom of speech.

* Waives its freedom of religion.

* Waives its right to influence legislators and the legislation they craft.

* Waives its constitutionally guaranteed rights.

* Is no longer free to speak to the vital issues of the day.

* Becomes controlled by a spirit of fear that if it doesn t toe the line with the IRS it will lose its tax-exempt status.

* Becomes a State-Church.

It is fascinating to me that one of the ministries under investigation for 501(c)(3) violations is under investigation because of comments about Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright’s political statements from the pulpit.

The offending comments were not about Obama, but about the racial politics espoused by Trinity United Church.

The Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s political sermons are now among the most widely-circulated and politically controversial sermons in the land. If ever there were a case of politics masquerading as religion, Jeremiah Wright is its poster child.

But the IRS isn’t going after Jeremiah Wright, Otis Moss, Father Pflueger or Trinity United Church for violating IRS political rules. It is going after Christian pastors who disagree with the merits of the political statements themselves.

So, some minister (who will remain nameless of out fear of further government persecution) that questions whether or not America deserved the attacks of September 11 and dares to mention that it emanated from Obama’s church finds himself a target of the IRS Gestapo.

While the IRS ignores the sermon (and sermonizer) that predicated the disagreement in the first place.

One pulpit is protected, the other is not, based on the arbitrary whims of some government apparatchik. The church’s freedom of speech wasn’t taken from it — the Church sold its freedom — for money.

In His seven letters to the Seven Churches, Jesus outlined characteristics of each that, in hindsight, we can clearly see corresponding to seven distinct epochs within the Church Age, from the Apostolic Church of the first century to the lukewarm Laodicean Church of the last days.

Of all the seven churches, the Church of Laodicea was the ONLY one the Lord singled out for criticism without offering a single word of commendation.

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” (Revelation 3:14-17)

Among 501(c)(3) ministries, fire-breathing sermons about social moral issues, like abortion, homosexuality, the family, divorce, child-rearing, and even doctrinal issues, like salvation through Christ alone, are largely a thing of the past.

Every word has to be weighed against the possibility it may violate one’s tax-exempt status, which would then shut off the donor spigot.

It boils down to a choice between shutting up and shutting down.

“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” (Revelation 3:18-19)

The Lord offers this advice to the remaining ‘free churches’ while there is still time:

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:22)