Are we a just society…

… when we don’t obey our own laws?

“Congress is way out of touch on this issue,” said Paul. “These people who believe in projecting American power, really believe in projecting American weakness. They don’t want us to respond to words with actions or obey our own laws.”

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/08/15/rand_paul_slams_congress_for_aiding_egypt_how_does_your_conscience_feel_now

IRS horror stories…

23 years ago this month my wife and were sitting in a coffee shop in Rota, Spain reading the Stars and Stripes newspaper (I believe I was reading the comics, while Mary had the main section), we were joking around with a couple of friends about the similarities of one of our mates to a particular comic strip character. In the midst of that laughter my wife excitedly exclaimed, “Alan, your parents are in the newspaper!” Thinking this was a continuation of our conversation over the comics, I leaned over to take a look.

Nope. Not a comic.

It was a horror story.

This is what I saw in the upper left hand corner of the Stars and Stripes dated June 14th:  http://newspaperarchive.com/european-stars-and-stripes/1990-06-14/page-3

A federal judge said that he had been lied to and that my parents had been treated rudely and incompetently by agents of the IRS. He went on to say, in a 10 page ruling that the behavior of the IRS “demonstrates the IRS’ lack of organization and respect for the taxpayers.” What the heck happened? I had no idea what this was all about, but over the next few months I would find out.

Here is the gist of the story…

My grandmother died of cancer in 1987 and during the turmoil of that time, managing her estate and tying up loose ends, my parents turned some business books over to an accountant and he failed to pay diesel fuel tax between September of 1988 and May 1989. My family discovered the error when they took the books back over and being good citizens they called the IRS office in Atlanta, GA to let them know that they owed back taxes. The IRS assigned the case to Sherilyn Heyward of the IRS’ Savannah office and boy, did she run with it.

She initially informed my parents that their back taxes and penalties came to about $51K, then a couple of weeks later she said she made a mistake and they owed $7,000 more, then another $1,000, then, ooops, another $37,000. After mortgaging their store, cashing in insurance policies, and getting loans from banks they arraigned to pay off everything except $10K. They asked that they be allowed to pay off the rest in installments. No dice. Heyward put a lien against the business for unpaid taxes and went to a bank to seize money. In an example of the incompetence that the federal judge noted, Heyward got the address for the store wrong on the lien and the bank refused to hand over the cash.

Heyward went before judge Edenfield and lied to him, stating that my parents were moving bank accounts around in an attempt to hide money from the IRS. The judge, acting on this false testimony, issued a search warrant for my parents business and Heyward oversaw its execution with armed federal agents in tow. Some of that is covered in this article in Money Magazine: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/moneymag_archive/1990/10/01/86126/index.htm

After all of this the IRS was ordered by the same judge to leave my parents alone and stop all collections against them. This order was ignored, in fact the IRS went door to door in my parents neighborhood asking their friends how many cars they owned, if they ever drove business vehicles for personal use, really sponsored little league baseball teams and in general ruined my parents reputation out of spite.

So, what happened to the incompetent Ms. Heyward? Well, she received a temporary appointment to oversee all collections in Savannah when last we had any dealings with her. There was never any discipline. In fact, when my mother was interviewed on the Today Show about all of this one of her fellow guests, a former IRS agent, said that agents are never disciplined for overly aggressive collections, but they are disciplined if they don’t collect. Nice, eh?

My parents spent a lot of time in the newspaper (http://archives.savannahnow.com/sav_pdf_archive/text/fr38/A_2301527.pdf

http://archives.savannahnow.com/sav_pdf_archive/text/fr38/A_2301555.pdf)

The Money Magazine article was picked up by Readers Digest as well and with all that publicity guess what happened?  Nothing. In the end my parents closed down two businesses in Georgia, moved to Florida and filed for bankruptcy. My dad had a massive coronary in 1991, surviving thank God, and began to rebuild their lives.

The IRS is raw, uncheck power and when they move on people they are capable of inflicting great harm.

More Bible, More Voting…

… Sure I know it has been 7 months since my last post.  What? Your’re not busy?

“When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.

(Deuteronomy 17:14-20 ESV)

 Here are a few thoughts I am carrying with me into the November Election in the US. My friend Todd mentioned Lex, Rex by Rev. Samuel Rutherford, during our men’s fellowship Todd leads. It sparked some good conversation and got me thinking. I know many people disagree with me on the issue of voting for a Mormon for president and I pray that we might disagree with godliness and not go down the road of vilification… May that tactic be reserved for more governmentally entrenched targets?

 1. When setting a king (how much more a President?) over us in our voting we should remember he is to be “from among our brothers.” I take this to mean one of the covenant people of God. We ought not set someone over us who does not know God.

Rutherford talked about the role of the people in “Setting a king over” them. In Question VI of Lex, Rex Rutherford answers the argument, “WHETHER THE KING BE SO FROM GOD ONLY, BOTH IN REGARD OF HIS SOVEREIGNTY AND OF THE DESIGNATION OF HIS PERSON TO THE CROWN, AS THAT HE IS NO WAY FROM THE PEOPLE, BUT BY MERE APPROBATION.” In other words isn’t it true that it is God alone who sovereignty appoints kings? Don’t the people just show “approbation” or approval? Rutherford uses the text above to note that the people do put kings up and they have the capacity, because of the fall, to choose a king who is not “your brother.” How is this?

Rev. Rutherford answers in part: 

“The assumption (that it was God alone who chose Saul and David) is also false, for the people made Saul and David kings; and it were ridiculous that God should command them to make a brother, not a stranger, king, if it was not in their power whether he should be a Jew, a Scythian, an Ethiopian, who was their king, if God did only, without them, both choose, constitute, design the person, and perform all acts essential to make a king; and the people had no more in them but only to admit and consent, and that for the solemnity and pomp, not for the essential constitution of the king.”

 

To say that the people simply approved of what God does, guts the command of God for the people to do the choosing and makes the king of no “essence” from the people. He later goes on to prove his argument that though Saul and David were chosen by God they were also chosen by the people. By the way if you gut this command of God, which other commands will you eviscerate?

 2. This is not a reason to vote for someone who is a brother by baptism yet mocks God and hates his rule. Lex, Rex (Law over the King) is a Biblical idea, and the king must learn to fear the Lord his God. Notice above that the king is to hand write a copy of the Law so that he might not be lifted up above his brothers. He is to get the law from the priests and he is to do the copying. 

 

Rutherford in discussing elections over hereditary assumption of the crown says this in question X

 “Elections of governors would be performed as in the sight of God, and, in my weak           apprehension, the person coming nearest to God’s judge, fearing God, hating covetousness;     and to Moses’ king, (Deut. xvii.) one who shall read in the book of the law; and it would seem now that gracious morals are to us instead of God’s immediate designation… The genuine and intrinsical end of making kings is not simply governing, but governing the   best way, in peace, honesty, and godliness, (1 Tim. ii.) therefore, these are to be made kings who may most expeditely  procure this end. Neither is it my purpose to make him no king who is not a gracious man, only here I compare title with title.

 And in question XIV,

             “…the king oweth to God proper and due obedience as any of the subjects, and also to govern the people according to God’s true religion, (Deut. xvii.; 2 Chron. xxix.;) and in this the king’s obligation differeth from the people’s obligation; the people, as they would be saved, must serve God and the king, for the same cause.”

Our ruler is to be righteous “according to God’s true religion” if he is to rule rightly and if one has proven that he would not rule thus he is not to be king. Rutherford argued that this is the peoples power and place to exercise wisdom in this area, but exercise it they must.

More later, but feel free to comment now…

al sends

WWJD… What Would Jesus Decry…

… Or can political liberals be Christians?

The White House will have new tenants in January 2009. It appears that it will not be Ron Paul (or me for that matter). What are we to think of our two candidates? In what pleasant meadow should our thought frolic as we make our decision in November? This post has been in the hopper for awhile now. Let me post it up and get your reaction -

At our previous and lesser blog a commenter posted the following:

Despite being a liberal, I agree that reason and Biblical thought are not incompatible. I don’t think that my post went that far. A voter informed by their Bible, as well as other sources, is not a bad voter or an idiot. Nonetheless, one who merely votes for whomever their pastor/priest/minister endorses, well that’s another story. I’m sure that you know the type, the ones that go to church to be told what the Bible says, instead of reading It and discerning for themselves.

Now I pass it back to you…can one be politically liberal and Christian?

A couple of things here… First of all, let me point out this one pathetic straw-man.  He said that I know the type of person who goes to church to be told what the bible says instead of reading it for themselves.

Actually, I don’t know anyone like that. In theory I guess they exist, but I don’t know anyone that actually takes their Bible that way. The Christians I know are all fairly well read when it comes to the Bible and are more than capable of discerning for themsel ves what the Author intended. That is not the point of post, but I thought I would mention it.

Now on to his actual question. At first I read it as him asking whether one can be politically liberal and a Christian, putting the article “a” in front of Christian. If that was his question then I would be happy to report in the affirmative… Yes Virginia, you can be wrong on any of a number of political issues and remain ‘A’ Christian. You are saved by Grace through Faith and not of works (political or otherwise).

That was not his question though. I think he really wanted to know if politically liberal positions were Christian or not. On some issues that question is very easy to answer. Abortion, enshrinement of sexual deviance into law, property rights, the collectivization of the raising of children and others that go against clear biblical teaching are issues where the so called conservative in this country is in l ine with Christian thought.

 There are other issues that may be a bit more difficult to nail down. For example… There is on the left a great desire for social justice. They have put that desire into laws, preventing government and society from stepping over the poor to get to next level on the wealth ladder. That is something the bible talks about in great detail (read Micah 6; Is 56; Jer 22) and it is something the rulers of a nation should be concerned with.

So, can you be a Christian and vote as a liberal? On a few issues we might all be a little more liberal. Since we have said that all our candidates are sinners and their sins are going to take the form of political positions we have to ask ourselves are any of their sins are disqualifying. Does God want us to support a Presidential candidate who supports state sanctioned murder? If a candidate for Senate is a known drunkard, wanting vodka served before every meeti ng of Congress, should he get our vote? Can we vote for a pro-life guy who thinks that your neighbor has as much right to the dollars in your pocket as you do?

Always remember that Jesus hates and loves many things and we as Christians are to hate what He hates and love what He loves. Every pastor, husband, wife, child, owner of the local Sizzler, and candidate loves things that God hates. That is the nature of sin, loving what God hates.

 Here is the thing… Some sins disqualify you from being a pastor, husband, wife etc… There are some sins that disqualify you from being President. It will take bit of wisdom and biblical discernment to hash those out. Let’s do it together.

One more thing… given how we are to treat the stranger and visitor within our gates, what is the biblical position on border control and immigration? Conservatives may have this one wrong.
 
al sends

Pure Politics…

… pure as the yellow snow.

So, when your campaign is built on something less than a record of sure accomplishment and your followers are prone to swooning in your presence can you afford something like this:

Barack Obama now admits his involvement in this land deal was a mistake

That link is from The Times of London.  Ed Morrissey has taken over for Bryan at Hot Air and has brought us some very good analysis of MessiahObama’s difficulty in all of this.  Let me give you a bit from Ed and then ask a couple of questions:

The Times of London follows the money in the journalistic tradition of Watergate and finds a strange connection between Tony Rezko, Barack Obama, and Nadhmi Auchi. The latter, one of Britain’s richest men, has a long historyof shady financial dealings as well as numerous connections to Saddam Hussein, who he helped to power. According to the Times, Auchi sent a lot of money to Rezko just before his wife bought property adjacent to the Obamas in a land deal that has already raised a lot of eyebrows:

The story goes on to say that Sen Obama received about a 15% price reduction on a piece of property, because a British-Iraqi helped him out by lending money to a fundraiser of Obama’s.  Obama and the fund raiser bought adjacent property, with the fundraiser paying the asking price and the Obamas receiving a hefty discount.

Here are my questions:

  1. What does it take for the NYT to run a front page story on a candidate?  For McCain the bar was pretty low, basically rumors that he had an affair.
  2. Is Obama the only one treating the office of President as a platform for national salvation?  I think not, but I would be interested in what you have to say.
  3. Lastly, this is not the first time in history a political figure has been lifted high, drawing many to his side by force of personality.  The question is this:  Is he more like Mussolini or Stalin?  I am speaking politically here, not in the number of people he may kill.

The Savior State will always fail.  Rome and its Caesers could not sustain their role as bringers of peace.  The US under Wilson did not make the world safe for Democracy, George W. Bush has not brought democracy, all bow down, to the Middle East and Barrack Obama is not the hope of the entire world as Louis Farrakhan said.

Jesus Christ and His Gospel are the hope of the world.  As Frank Turk’s pastor says, “It is the solution to the culture.”

al sends

Huckey…

… and the elusive “presidential bearing.”  Mike Huckabee has not money to speak of.  What has been remarkable about his campaign is how well it has done when you look at expenditures verses delegates.  That ratio looks like this (these numbers are estimates and should not be quoted) dollars spent:delegates earned -

Mitt Romney – $10 gazillion:286 delegates

John McCain –  $25 million:714 delegates

Mike Huckabee – $13.95:181 delegates

I must admit this is pretty impressive.  How is he able to do this?  For starters he is a populist.  His desire is that the common man run the government.  If Mike Huckabee is Andrew Jackson then Mitt Romney is John Quincy Adams.  Mitt is part of the privileged class in America and Mike is a regular guy, looking to empower other regular guys.  Huck may not win the presidency this time around, but look to the future.  If the country goes to Hell in a Handbasket under the rule of our likely nominees, his brand of populism will take off.

Some may be thinking this is a good thing.  Let me give you two reasons why this would be terrible:

First, the 17th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Second, AirHockey and Gravitas do not go together.  This would not stop after he was elected.

al sends

P.S.  I would have included Ron Paul’s ratio in this post, but as far as I can tell he has not actually spent any of the money he has raised.  I’m just saying…

Thanks To The Folks In Minnesota…

… and Oregon, Georgia, The Dakotas, well… thanks everyone.

 Apparently, I am due getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 bucks from the Federal Government (not that the government actually has its own money, they took ours).  If you make under gobs and gobs of money a year, you too are going to get a check.  Praise be the Federal Reserve.  Here is what Congressman Boehner, A REPUBLICAN!!!, had to say about this deal:

“You know, many Americans believe that Washington is broken,” the Ohio Republican said. “But I think this agreement and I hope that this agreement will show the American people that we can fix it and will serve to move along other bipartisan agreements that we can have in the future.”

Three questions to ask yourself as you cash this check… 

  1. How does giving folks a bunch of new money help our economy, where debt is one of the contributing factors to its floundering?  By new I mean, printed up just for the occasion.   
  2. Is this kind of bipartisanship a good thing?  I liked it better when they were so deadlocked they could not pass a spending bill.
  3. If we did not earn this money coming to us then how does it square with the 8th Commandment? (for further study see Doug Wilson’s sermon, titled The Forgotten Duty, on this topic)  If Uncle Sam plays middle man is it not just as egregious a theft?

I am really struggling with that last part by the way… We have a rental house that has been without a tenant for 6 months.  Two mortgages can put a hurtin’ on budget.  Perhaps this is like the Egyptians giving out going away presents to the Hebrew children as they headed out toward the Promised Land. 

Nuts, that does not work… If I cash that check then my wagon would be full of gold from my Hebrew neighbors too.  That reminds me…

Thanks New York.

 al sends