Reality check for the “omg it wasn’t an assault rifle, it only fires one bullet at a time.”

Maybe you should spend less time complaining about what word is used to describe the weapons that killed two Hiroshimas worth of your countrymen in the last decade.

How does a weapon kill someone? I thought there had to be someone pulling the trigger.  Also, if the weapon is so evil, why does every police force in the US use them?  Reality check, you are a moron.

There is so much to unpack here.

The fact that a weapon is usually wielded by a person does not absolve the weapon of it’s own qualities. Are you under the impression that there would be an equal number of murders (and accidental deaths) had technology stopped at clubs?

Do you think that biological and nuclear weapons are safe for sale in America because, hey, they’re just weapons that a person would have to activate to be dangerous?

Are the thousands of yearly accidental firearm deaths the result of an unhinged will and a totally safe piece of technology?

I get that you like guns, and like shooting them. But guns kill twice as many people as cocaine every year, and cocaine is illegal — because it is dangerous.


There is so much to unpack here.

Not really. It’s actually really simple.

The fact that a weapon is usually wielded by a person does not absolve the weapon of it’s own qualities. Are you under the impression that there would be an equal number of murders (and accidental deaths) had technology stopped at clubs?

A weapon is ALWAYS wielded by a person. And there is no need to absolve weapons of anything. Absolve means to declare (someone) free from blame, guilt, or responsibility. A weapon is not a (someone) it is (something). Blame, guilt, and responsibility are all notions which are applicable to people.

Do you think that biological and nuclear weapons are safe for sale in America because, hey, they’re just weapons that a person would have to activate to be dangerous?

Those are weapons of mass destruction. I don’t think governments should have biological and nuclear weapons.

Are the thousands of yearly accidental firearm deaths the result of an unhinged will and a totally safe piece of technology?

Factory produced firearms that have not been tampered with are a totally safe piece of technology. They are safe in the same sense that a motor vehicle is safe, which is to say it all depends on the operator.

Your claim that there are thousands of yearly accidental firearms deaths is a complete lie. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) final report on death statistics for 2013 shows there were 505 deaths from the accidental discharge of firearms. In fact there has been a 57.2% decrease in the number of accidental firearm deaths since 1990.

I get that you like guns, and like shooting them. But guns kill twice as many people as cocaine every year, and cocaine is illegal — because it is dangerous.

I do like guns. I do enjoy practicing my marksmanship. Gun do not kill people, people use guns to kill people. Cocaine doesn’t kill people, people kill themselves by using cocaine. Cocaine is no more dangerous than any other drug. I’ve seen the shit close up. It has a funny odor sure but if I don’t snort the shit or inject it into my body it’s not going to harm me.

Cocaine is illegal because it has no legitimate medical purpose.

Ask yourself, what happened when governments made Cocaine illegal? Did it’s production decrease? NOPE. Did people stop using it? NOPE.

When it was made illegal it’s production and use simply moved to the black market. The same thing has happened and will happen if you attempt the same stupid tactic with personal firearms.

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The minimum wage was originally passed with the intention of providing a full-time worker the capacity to support himself and a family. The federal minimum wage in the United States was set at $0.25 per hour in 1938. It was not tied to inflation and has to be increased by law. The term “Act of Congress” is often used to describe a massive and nearly impossible action. In this case it is both a literal and figurative truth.

Most everyone I meet seems to think that the minimum wage was never intended to be other than a wage for teenagers.  They are wrong.  The minimum wage is just that, the minimum acceptable wage that a full-time worker can make and be able to subsist without assistance.

No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. —President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933

The minimum wage was established to ensure that all workers in the US would be able to live independently on their wages. The existence of a minimum wage provides all other workers with useful bargaining leverage, increasing wages throughout. Historically this typically results in a redistribution of wealth from owners to workers (not a commensurate increase in prices as some here have claimed), which always results in an overall increase in economic growth as workers are also consumers.

In the US minimum wage has become stagnant, failing to reflect inflation. A large part of that is the misconceptions throughout this thread. Minimum wage is not “earned solely by teenagers and college students for beer money.” Nor can any reasonable person suppose that anyone doesn’t deserve to “live comfortably on 40 hours a week.”

These, fairly recent, attitudes have been encouraged by business owners who have little incentive to pay their workers a reasonable wage, so long as there is an army of unemployed and underemployed willing to do the same job. The minimum wage subverts that desire.
Simply put, an owner pays a little as he can for the labor. The rarer a laborer’s skills are (not how skilled or useful he is, the owner never pays anyone he doesn’t have to) the more he can charge because he is difficult to replace. Minimum wage establishes a floor, as do overtime requirements and other fair labor standards.

The minimum wage has nothing to do with whether or not someone “deserves” to be paid for their work. Your boss will never pay you more than he has to, that is the central premise of a free market. A minimum wage says that no matter how little he wants to pay you, he should still pay you enough to live on. It is also simple economic sense, it saves money that would go to public welfare to support people who are employed. It is a decision by society as a whole that no one who is willing and able to work should find themselves in poverty.

All that being said, the shareholder prefers that money goes to his bottom line, and not into wages. So he fights any increase tooth and nail. The misconceptions and the insane anger from some focused on those on the rung lower on the socio-economic ladder are one tool to avoid it. Another is spreading misinformation to lawmakers; claiming that increasing minimum wage dampens, rather than strengthens, the local economy. And the last is simple apathy, since the minimum wage is not tied to inflation it becomes increasingly trivial as time goes by. After a while it becomes, as it has now, a poverty wage.

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I recently had a discussion come up over the following video.  The individual made the argument that since private sales of firearms do not requiring a background check, private sales are a loophole.  I explain why that just isn’t the case.  What follows is the video and our exchange.

PGFL1988:

Quick google search gave me this:

‘Under federal law, private-party sellers are not required to perform background checks on buyers, record the sale, or ask for identification. This requirement is in contrast to sales by gun stores and other Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders who are required to record all sales and perform background checks on almost all buyers, regardless of whether the venue is their business location or a gun show.’

So Fullauto can sell me a gun without performing a background check, recording the sale or even asking me for identification. Now, if fullauto gets an FFL (allows you to manufacture, import and sell guns and ammo) then he will need to perform a background check on anyone he sells guns to.

So, if a gang in Chicago wants to buy guns to exploit this loophole, they get a guy in Indiana who can pass a background check to buy the guns, ‘sell’ them to the Chicago gangmembers and voila, that seller hasn’t committed any crimes despite the fact that he knowingly sold guns to people he knows wouldn’t be able to go through the legal avenues.

Please correct me if I’m wrong.

 

Here’s the deal PGFL1988.

It’s perfectly lawful to sell a firearm privately in the USA.  Now of course if you knowingly sell one to a felon then you’re committing a felony.

The gun grabbers want to criminalize private sales without government permission so they dishonestly label private sales as being a LOOPHOLE.

There is no GUN-SHOW LOOPHOLE for the simple fact that federal gun laws do not magically go away at a gun-show.  The dealers at gun shows are basically Federally Licensed Dealers who go on the road.

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever been to an American Gun Show but there’s a reason criminals do not aquire guns there.   First, THEY DO BACKGROUND CHECKS.  Second, gun shows are over priced.  You’re better off finding a good deal online.  HOLY SHIT YOU CAN GET A GUN ON THE INTERNET!?  Yes, HOWEVER the firearm MUST BE shipped to an FFL in your State.  This involves you calling the FFL first and asking if they are willing to handle the transfer and getting their license number to give to the online shop.  You then must pay for a background check and whatever fee the FFL wants to charge for handling the transfer.

The bottom line is that Obama is a fucking liar.

A quick google search?  A QUICK GOOGLE SEARCH?  Sure, if you google “gun show loophole” of course you’re going to get links to all the bullshit anti-gun sites repeating the same lie.  “I’m right because of a google search” does not a valid argument make.

 

PGFL1988:

”Under federal law, private-party sellers are not required to perform background checks on buyers, record the sale, or ask for identification. This requirement is in contrast to sales by gun stores and other Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders who are required to record all sales and perform background checks on almost all buyers, regardless of whether the venue is their business location or a gun show.”

Is this statement incorrect? Are private sellers not allowed to sell guns at a gunshow?

If yes, then there is a gunshow loophole. Just because the majority of people selling guns at gun shows are FFL holders doesn’t mean that all of them are.

This is from the CATO institute, which is clearly a right wing think tank and even they say that the gun-show loophole doesn’t exist:

 ‘Since 1938, persons selling firearms have been required to obtain a federal firearms license. If a dealer sells a gun from a storefront, from a room in his home or from a table at a gun show, the rules are exactly the same: he can get authorization from the FBI for the sale only after the FBI runs its “instant” background check (which often takes days to complete).

Conversely, people who are not engaged in the business of selling firearms, but who sell firearms from time to time (such as a man who sells a hunting rifle to his brother-in-law), are not required to obtain the federal license required of gun dealers or to call the FBI before completing the sale.

If you walk along the aisles at any gun show, you will find that the overwhelming majority of guns offered for sale are from federally licensed dealers. Guns sold by private individuals (such as gun collectors getting rid of a gun or two over the the weekend) are the distinct minority.’

http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/facts-about-gun-shows

it seems pretty clear to me that there is a loophole. Can you explain how you read this same information and come to the opposite conclusion?

If you want to say that closing the loophole will hurt individual sellers too much, or that it’s way too inconvenient then that’s a reasonable argument, but to simply say that the gun-show loophole doesn’t exist is bordering on delusional.

 

“Can you explain how you read this same information and come to the opposite conclusion?”

Yes your statement regarding current law is correct.

  • Licensed dealers who make their livelihood from selling firearms are required to perform background checks.
  • Private individuals (people NOT in the business of selling firearms) are not.  Some wanting to unload part of their private collection may engage in commerce with another private citizen.  If I wanted, I could take my rifle to a gun show and sell it to another attendee.

Now pay attention because although what I’m about to write is very simple to grasp, it non-the-less seems to fly over the heads of people like yourself who, in their lack of understanding, have swallowed the lies of the elitist gun-grabbers.

The fact that a PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL may sell their PRIVATE firearm without first obtaining government permission IS NOT, IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM, A LOOPHOLE.

A LOOPHOLE arises when ambiguity in the law is exploited to circumvent that law.

There is NO AMBIGUITY in the current federal gun law stating when background checks are and are not required.

This notion that violent felons are lining up at gun shows because it allows them to circumvent federal law is absolute bullshit.

It is ALREADY unlawful for a felon to possess a firearm.

It is ALREADY unlawful for someone to knowingly sell a firearm to a felon.

Criminalizing private sales WILL NOT stop felons from obtaining firearms.  Background checks WILL NOT stop felons from obtaining firearms.  You’re fond of Google searches, Google “straw purchase”, lying on a government form is not difficult.

If the chicken-little(s) screaming about the so-called “gun show loophole” are really concerned with gun shows, why are they pushing for a law that effects everyone?

Mind you, they don’t want to just require background checks for private sales at gun shows.  They are demanding Congress outright prohibit private sales PERIOD.

When you stop using the propaganda term “gun-show loophole” and call it by it’s actual name the fallacy reveals itself; it is the “freedom-to-engage-in-lawful-private-commerce loophole”.  Did you catch that?  They’re saying that a freedom enjoyed by law abiding people is a fucking loophole.

They don’t give a flying fuck about gun shows.  The gun show is just a boogie-man used to scare ignorant people into giving up their personal liberty.

“If you want to say that closing the loophole will hurt individual sellers too much”

^^ I’m not saying that.

“it’s way too inconvenient”

^^ I’m not saying that either.

“but to simply say that the gun show loophole doesn’t exist is bordering on delusional.”

It appears that way to you because you’ve been brainwashing into accepting a 1984-ish version of the term “loophole”.

What they ACTUALLY WANT is to criminalize people who engage in private lawful commerce absent paying fees and obtaining a one off government license for each transaction.

To what end?  We know it doesn’t stop criminals.

It’s simple, they want is to open up a backdoor to the creation of a national gun registry.

How do we know this?  Because Republicans actually submitted a background check bill in the Senate that would have opened NICS to private individuals FOR FREE.

Guess what, it was voted DOWN by Democrats who were pushing for their bill that would have forced all sales to go through a 3rd party FFL dealer.

The biggest reason why this issue is bullshit is that there is ZERO evidence that UBCs do anything to hinder the ILLEGAL trade of firearms among criminals.  And the reason is simple yet I constantly have to repeat it here, CRIMINALS BY DEFINITION DO NOT FOLLOW LAWS.

 

PGFL1988:

Can you sell guns at a gun show without doing a background check? If so, then how is that not a loophole?

 

It just keeps flying over your head doesn’t it.  I just answered you but I’ll do it again because I’m just that awesome.

If I want to sell my personal property at a gun show, there is NO LAW PROHIBITING me from doing that.

If I want to sell my personal property just outside the entrance of the gun show, there is NO LAW PROHIBITING me from doing that.

If I want to sell my personal property in the parking lot of a gun show, there is NO LAW PROHIBITING me from doing that.

If I want to sell my personal property on Thursday at 6:30pm while eating a taco, there is NO LAW PROHIBITING me from doing that.

Gun show or not, if I choose to sell my privately property to someone whom I have no reason to suspect is a prohibited person, there NO LAW PROHIBITING me from selling my personal property if I so choose.

Why is it not a loophole, because words have meaning and you are applying the term loophole to something that isn’t a fucking loophole, it’s merely something that is lawful and has always been lawful.

For example.  An FFL may not sell a handgun to someone under the age of 21.  But an 18 year old person is a legal adult and may lawfully purchase and own a firearm from a private individual.

Now by your reasoning that is a loophole.  Your reasoning is in error because you have a false definition of what constitutes a “loophole”.

Let’s pretend Congress had intended to enact Universal Background Checks when it passed the FOPA in 1986.  Furthermore, let’s pretend that somewhere in the law they fucked up the wording and by some unseen method of legal judo, under certain conditions a person could indeed technically sell their privately owned firearm without a background check.

That my friend is the definition of a loophole.

In reality Congress has NEVER INTENDED to enact Universal Background Checks.  The FOPA of 1986 unambiguously states that background checks are ONLY required when a firearm is sold by an Federal Firearms dealer.  Furthermore it unambiguously states that a Federal Firearms dealer is someone who makes their living from selling firearms.

QED: There is no loophole.  The term is being intentionally misapplied in order to suggest something semi-illegal is happening.  It’s nothing more than a dishonest buzzword used to scare people.


Here is an example of how one might misapply the term loophole as you are.

By law, an individual must have a Class A (Commercial Drivers License) in order to operate a for-hire tractor trailer on US roadways.

By law, an individual may operate a tractor trailer on US roadways WITHOUT a Class A license if they are only transporting items for themselves.

Is that a loophole?  Absolutely not.  The law is clear and unambiguous.

If certain powerful companies wanted to put a stop to farmers hauling their own goods to market, they could do what you and the gun grabbers are doing.  They could act as if it should be unlawful and assert, dishonestly, that the farmers are somehow exploiting a loophole.


Suppose I purchase three pair of high quality sun glasses at a great deal.  The law requires the business to collect sales tax on my purchase.

A few months later I turn around and sell those glasses individually for a profit.

Am I exploiting a loophole and avoiding the collection of sales tax?

According to you that could be construed as a loophole.

But the law is clear and unambiguous.  Only people in the business of selling sun glasses must collect sales tax.

Let’s take it one step further.  You manage to convince enough politicians to enact UNIVERSAL SALES TAX and everyone must collect sales tax any time they sell something they own.  Do you really expect the criminals selling knock-offs on the street to follow your new little law?

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Ez75Ty4[1]

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ANTI-GUN ARGUMENT

I can go buy a tool that has the power to end multiple people’s lives, and it wouldn’t take me very long or that many resources.  You can offer the, “oh, they’re ah-regulating us” argument (which has been moving at a snail’s pace relative to other first-world nation’s progress in terms of gun control), but at the end of the day you have access to most everything you can ask for in regards to handheld weaponry.

There may be people out there who want to come for your guns, but if they couldn’t succeed after Sandy Hook then your guns are fully protected and good to go and tonight we will sleep a glorious and restful sleep knowing that after multiple children were killed in their own school that NOTHING was pushed through on gun control.  A few dead children or innocents every year is simply the price we pay is all.  We salute them for their sacrifice, but it’s far more important we have our guns than to try to stem massacres like that.

– Grothesk (Anti-Gun Forum Member)


THE RESPONSE

I’m of the belief that if we banned guns 100% outright – that we would still have guns on the streets being used as tools in violent crimes, (criminals won’t turn them in, some legal gun owners won’t, they can be built, imported illegally, or stolen / bought from those we would still entrust them to).

Additionally I’m also of the belief that if you remove the specific tool, this does not remove the motives or the means to do harm. What kind of equipment would I need to murder a bunch of kindergartners? I dunno, a lead pipe? An Axe or Ford F250? I don’t need an AR15 to attack children and unarmed civilians in a ‘gun free zone’.

The ‘Happy Land Fire’ was an arson attack that killed 87. The ‘Bath massacre’ killed 45 in a school with commercial explosives. Oklahoma bombing killed 168 using store bought fertilizer. Heck on the day of the Sandy Hook shooting, some whack job stabbed 24 at an elementary school in China. (Never mind 9/11). Bad people doing bad things, even without guns, because you can’t regulate away crazy.

Like the old adage says “if there is a will, there is a way”.

This is usually where you concede that banning guns outright, would not remove gun violence/crime outright (because it won’t), but isn’t it worth a shot if it helps save a life/lives/cuts the number etc.? (In your words “Try to stem massacres”). Well – that’s a very fair argument, that I am willing to discuss.

The argument I think essentially boils down to “You should surrender individual liberty, in exchange for community safety”. And that is not an unreasonable argument, you can’t drive 200MPH through a school zone, or perform surgery while drunk/high. We make sacrifices like that every day to ensure the safety of all. Where I take offense to this argument is that on the issue of guns (and only on the issue of guns) it often becomes black and white. “If we could save just ONE childs life, isn’t it worth it?” No – sorry, its not that easy. There is weight to the pros and cons – it is not absolute.

Currently the speed limit in CA highways is 65. If we reduced the speed limit to 60 I assure you, at least one life would be spared. As we lowered the speed limit to 50,45, 20 and so on, more and more people would be saved. But do we do it? No – because the convenience of getting from point A to point B 5 minutes faster outweighs the value of the lives that would be saved.

Religion and Expression/Speech have killed more people historically than all the mass murderers combined, but we don’t stop the Klan from having their annual parade down the street, or censor the Westboro Baptist Church from spreading their message of religious hate. Why? Because we value the ability and freedom to express our opinion (no matter how distasteful) more than the lives that could be saved by preventing this kind of toxcicity in our culture.

(Example: Aug 4th man arrested, could face up to 3 years for performing a Hitler Salute in public.

http://www.bild.de/news/inland/adolf-hitler/hier-baendigt-ein-polizist-einen-hitlergruss-affen-42030530.bild.html

Germany has got their shit together – why don’t we do that?)

We could outright ban alcohol or at least limit the legal BAH in public to 0.0% to prevent “buzzed driving” or prevent people from making unsound choices while intoxicated (never mind lives actually lost to alcohol use). But we don’t, why? Because we still have hopes that people can enjoy their liberties, if they take responsibility for their actions.

In all cases of personal liberty BUT firearms, can we say that we value our freedom to X, more than we value to lives that would be saved if we further regulated or restricted X – without sounding like a total asshole. And I don’t think that is fair.

Why do I support gun ownership?

Essentially – firearms are the great equalizer. I’ve lived on and off in some pretty bad neighborhoods where safety is a real issue. Never once have I specifically worried “I hope I don’t get shot”. Why? Because as noted above – it’s not needed, it’s overkill. If 5 unarmed dudes walk up to me on the street and demand my wallet – they are going to get it. I have no delusions of going Steven Seagal on their asses and coming out on top. If I had a firearm, the odds are flipped 180* – they don’t have a chance. (As an aside, about 3 months ago a friend of a friend was mugged on the street, they asked for his wallet, he gave it up instantly, they then took his wallet and beat him anyway – ended up with a punctured lung, broken ribs, broken eye socket and I think a couple others. He was fucked up enough that his wedding this summer had to be postponed.) It is in the nature of criminals to be predatory – they will attack when they have the advantage of numbers, strength, weapons or surprise. A firearm is your only hope of being put on level footing.

This goes doubly so for those less able to protect themselves, I’m 6ft Combat Vet that is 200 lbs of mean motherfucker – and as I noted before, I know my limitations in a fight. My wonderful girlfriend (that means the absolute world to me) is 5’6 110lbs with wrists about the size of a half dollar. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body and couldn’t protect herself in a fight if her life depended on it – however she is a crack shot and with only 1 day of instruction can sink 6/6 shots center mass every time. The gun gives her the power to be self reliant, where without it she would be wholly at the mercy of her attackers (regardless of it they were armed or not). Essentially I believe that rendering good people helpless, does not render bad people harmless.

I’m just being a realist. I’ve seen violence first hand, and I’d prefer to prevent my loved ones from being victims. There are bad people in this world (criminals), there are crazy people in this world (mass murderers), there are opportunists (Black Lives Matter riots), and there are good people who are doing what they have to do to survive (Katrina victims, a situation that could *easily* be replicated in California). Disarming me, may reduce my chances of being specifically shot, but it ultimately does not keep me safer from any of them. *PHEW* Ok groth. Just a heads up that I won’t bother to continue this conversation, you can reply if you like and I might read it, but I won’t reply in kind just because this is already too much damn typing. Sorry to dip out, but I have faith we could do this forever and get nowhere. Cheers.

-N M E (2nd Amendment Supporter)

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Todd Starnes

Todd Starnes – Christian Nationalist

On June 9th Fox News resident Christian alarmist Todd Starnes published an article detailing how the U.S. Army is snubbing a historic poor little Baptist Church in Georgia.  According to Todd Starnes and the people he quotes, you’d think the Anti-Christ himself were running the U.S. Army and that patriotic displays at religious serves were all but outlawed. Like most of the tripe written by Starnes, nothing could be further from the truth. So let’s get down to rebutting this massive load of bovine excrement Mr. Starnes has dumped onto the internet.

For nearly two decades, the U.S. Army has provided an honor guard for an Independence Day celebration at a Baptist church that predates the founding of the nation. But this year – that tradition has come to an end.

"poor little Baptist Church"

“poor little Baptist Church”

Really, two decades, that’s like, OMG-FUR-EVER! This is the old appeal to tradition that Christian Nationalist love to trot out. The argument is meant to imply that nothing was wrong with the U.S. Army’s involvement for twenty years so why now. The fallacy here is the premise, assuming the circumstances were the same in times past (which they were not), the U.S. Army should never have been providing honor guards for a Church. Speaking of traditions, the Abilene Baptist Church traces its founding back 1774. This means that for 221 years there was a much longer tradition of keeping their Church separate from the State. Around 1995 that tradition came to an end when church officials began a tradition of co-opting the U.S. Army for their religious ceremonies.

After being informed of what should be obvious, that the Government (or any subdivision thereof) cannot endorse or promote a particular religion, Mr. Starnes avoids addressing that simple fact with this nonsense.

That policy would be an offense to most churches in America – but it is especially offensive when you consider the Army just refused to provide an honor guard for a church whose first pastor was a chaplain in the Revolutionary Army.

That Mr. Starnes finds the U.S. Army obeying the law offensive is ridiculous as well as irrelevant. His argument that the offense is magnified because the founding pastor was a Chaplain in the Revolutionary Army is laughable in addition to being a non-sequitur. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Starnes and anyone else throwing a sissy-fit over this decision is just angry because a church that promotes their religion is no longer receiving its special privilege.

It was an absolute shock,” said Brad Whitt, the current pastor of Abilene Baptist Church. “What a sad commentary on the state of affairs in America – when we cannot even allow the flags to fly if they are in a church building.

I thought Pastors were forbidden to bear false witness.  I know that Pastors lie through their teeth all the time, it’s how they make their living, but to be so blatant when the truth of the matter is so obvious is surreal. Who or what is preventing flags from flying inside his church building?  The U.S. Army never asserted that flags could not be flown inside Abilene Baptist Church. The U.S. Army only said that THEY could not provide personnel to carry said flags. There is NOTHING preventing Mr. Whitt, Mr. Starnes or any other member of Abilene Baptist Church from strapping on a harness and organizing a volunteer color guard of their own.  Awe, but that doesn’t restore the privileged status they want.

We’ve had a tremendous working relationship with the fort,” he told me. “We’ve hosted all sorts of events for military families. We really try to show our love and respect and we try to honor our military folks.

And nothing about this policy says that the church cannot continue to have a “working relationship” with the military, but only so long as that relationship does not involve the military promoting or involving itself in a religious observance. Hosting family events for military families is irrelevant since the event is for the family and not for the military itself. Lastly, the fact that Whitt’s church may well do things to honor “military folks” does not obligate the military to violate church state separation by providing personnel for his worship service.

Pastor Whitt said they were genuinely confused by the Army’s slight – seeing how Fort Gordon has been providing an honor guard for the past 20 years.

And there we have it, Pastor Whitt falsely believes the U.S. Army’s refusal to further officially involve itself in his religious service is a “slight”. Why? Well obviously Pastor Whitt believes the U.S. Army should show his religion the proper respect he thinks it deserves. How? By bending over backwards, disregarding the separation of church and state, and showing the reverence he believes his religion ought to be shown by sending official representatives of the U.S. Army to present our Nation’s colors before his Almighty God, of course.

They have participated for the past two decades and now they are saying – no,” he said. “This is just another example of the secularization of America.

Yes Mr. Whitt, we know, you’ve made it abundantly clear, the U.S. Army mistakenly allowed your church to co-opt their official color guard for your religious service for 20 years. Well now that mistake is being corrected and it hurts your feelings, so cry me a river. This is not an example of the secularization of America, the United States was founded as a secular government. If anything, this is an example of improper religious entanglement with our secular military being rolled back after 20 years.

Mr. Starnes then attempts to explain what changed by citing Army Regulation 360-1 – dated May 2011. The inclusion of the date could be a dishonest attempt to imply that military involvement with worship services was allowed prior to 2011. However the actual regulation states that it is a “major revision” of a regulation dated 15 September 2000; which itself was a combination of three separate regulations dating from the early 1970’s.

Starnes actually does a decent job of explaining the ins and outs of when the military can participate before drawing his eventual idiotic conclusion. Starnes explains that according to Army public affairs, the 2007 service was designated a “non-sectarian (secular) musical and patriotic program”. Starnes’ source is quoted as saying, “Because this was not a religious service, our participation was permitted.” The source further explains, “…the key factor is, whether or not the event is an actual religious service.” Brilliant! An explanation so simple that a child could understand. And then Todd shows just how dishonest and/or dimwitted he actually is with his conclusion.

So it’s okay to invite the troops so long as you don’t pray, talk about Jesus or read the Bible?

No, that is not what the man said, Todd.

Mind numbing is the only way I can describe how it felt when I first read this idiotic conclusion. Obviously any church can invite troops. Obviously those troops can pray, talk about Jesus and even read the Bible. It’s very simple Todd, when the nice man on the phone used the word “our”, he was referring to the U.S. Army in its official capacity. In other words, the U.S. Army (NOT individual troops in their own time) is not allowed to send an official color guard to “selectively benefit (or appear to benefit) any […] religion, sect, religious or sectarian group…“.

That’s what makes this so sad,” Pastor Whitt told me. “This is what we’ve come to in our nation – where even just representing the colors is some sort of political thing.

Again, the conclusions being drawn here are mind numbing. Obviously Pastor Whitt is free to represent the colors however he wishes. The issue is not the representation of the colors in a church. The issue is the involvement of the U.S. Army with a religious worship service, and it is political because it is forbidden by the Constitution.

The article could have ended there, but no Christian alarmist article would be complete with taking a stab at all those evil queers.  Starnes, in a very childlike “IT’S NOT FAIR!” sort of tone writes.

While the Pentagon won’t allow an honor guard to set foot in a church, they have no problem allowing them to march in a gay pride parade.

Now, to hear Todd Starnes explain this in his typical alarmist manner, everything is all a conspiracy by evil godless atheist to ultimately outlaw Christianity, while promoting a bunch of penis loving, scissor sex having, carpet munching faggots; which then obviously leads to the anti-Christ taking over, the battle of Armageddon; dogs and cats, living together! MASS HYSTERIA!

So if a military honor guard can celebrate gay pride in a public parade, why can’t they celebrate American pride inside a Baptist church?

Well that’s easy Todd. There is no special exemption being given to the Capital Pride parade. The Capital Pride parade simply doesn’t violate church state separation, nor AR 360-1, subsection 3-2(a). And it’s sad that it must be repeated so often, but the fact that the service is being held inside a Baptist church is not at issue. The defining issue is that Abilene wants a U.S. Army color guard to participate in a sectarian worship service.

 


Whisper Words

SECRET PRO-TIP!!!

I really shouldn’t do this but I’m going to tell Todd Starnes and the Pastor of this rather well-off Church about a not-so-secret loop-hole that will allow them to have a “military” color guard.

Step 1) Order the flags you wish to represent with enough poles and harnesses from Amazon.com

Step 2) Exploit your working relationship with “military folks” by asking for services member in your congregation to volunteer for a church created color guard.

Step 3) PROFIT!!!

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It has been close to three years now since a town of angry theocrats learned the hard way that our system of government forbids the mixing of church and state.  And as I discovered in my follow up, make no mistake, they’re still very pissed off about it.

Water TowerTo recap the story of what happened.

1.        Beginning in 2010 the FFRF began sending letters to the Mayor of Whiteville, TN informing him that the large Latin cross the city had paid to mount on the town water tower was a an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.

2.       After the letters were ignored, the FFRF filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a local resident to force James Bellar, the town’s mayor, to remove the religious symbol the town’s water tower; as well as smaller wooden crosses that had been erected in front of Whiteville City Hall on the city-owned sidewalk by that time.

3.       Bellar announced on Oct. 3, 2011 that he would move the cross, and angrily referred to the FFRF and its members as “terrorists” in local media reports.

4.      On Oct. 17, 2011 Bellar told reporter Daniel Wilkerson, WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tenn., that “Somebody has to stand up to these atheist sons of bitches, and you can quote me on that.”

5.       In late October, Bellar wasted another $4,000 in taxpayer money to inexplicably break one arm off the cross and using town funds to illuminate what remained of the cross.

6.       On Aug. 8, 2012, Judge Daniel Breen approved a settlement and entered an agreed judgment. The Town and Mayor were enjoined from installing future crosses on city hall property. The defendants also agreed not to replace the arm on the remaining structure on the water tower.  Lastly, Bellar agreed to pay $20,000 in attorney’s fees, a waste of money that could have been avoided were it not for his religious fanaticism.

While that was ongoing, an all out witch-hunt was undertaken to ferret out the heretic(s) who dared challenge the Mayor’s decision.  Those involved in the witch-hunt apparently included members of the Whiteville Police Department.  Internet message boards and blogs were scoured daily for discussions or articles unfavorable toward the Mayor’s actions and then spammed in an attempt to shut down dissenting commenters.  Their preferred tactic was to spam the names of people on a short list of ‘suspects’ they had collected.

This tactic gloriously backfired on them after they came upon an article by a blogger at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.  The author of the piece was an Attorney from southern California and his article was critical of the Mayor’s defiance and his accusations of “terrorism” on the part of the FFRF and secularist.  The group, variously labeling themselves “lawman1”, “lawman2” or “the gang of six” (which was approximately the number of cops employed by the city) began spamming names and threatening anonymous commenters who were complaining about wooden crosses were being built and handed out with the expectation that all residents stake them in their yard.  Anyone who refused was labeled suspect and subject to police harassment and social ridicule.

Their goof was due to an ignorance of technology and deciding to harass people in a moderated forum, leading to the “gang of six” getting a taste of their own medicine.  You see, unlike Topix, the author of the article was also the blog’s administrator.  The ‘gang of six’ had unknowing let their IP address be logged when they commented.  A simple reverse look-up revealed a woman’s name and approximate location.  The blog’s author, justifiably perturbed by the blatant harassment, posted the name and corresponding address linked to the IP address.  And then the puzzle pieces began coming together.

For months “the gang of six” had been blindly accusing random people, who they laughably labeled ‘suspects’, of being atheists and ‘terrorist’ based on nothing more than their unwillingness to get involved and pick a side.  If you weren’t with the party of god, as evidenced by your willingness to stake a wooden cross in your yard and publicly support the Mayor in his righteous fight, you were labeled an evil atheist in league with Satan; so went their reasoning.  But now the ‘gang’ was faced with having someone they respected named and they were not pleased.  The woman’s name was re-posted to the forums on Topix where “the gang of six” had been freely harassing and attempting to dox people without fear of moderation.

James Bellar

An individual soon posted a demand on the blog article that the woman’s name be removed from the blogs comments as well as Topix, asserting she was not involved because he was “the one that pays the bills”.  That statement was the key to unlocking the identity of “the gang of six” or at least its leader.  As it turned out, the woman (likely not involved) was an employee of Bass Insurance in Whiteville, TN; her name just happened to be the name on file with the ISP.  The question was, if the harassing comments and doxing were coming from Bass Insurance then who is the person that “pays the bills”?  Well that would be the owner of Bass Insurance, the right honorable Mayor of Whiteville himself, James Bellar.  Once this link was revealed in the blog comments and Topix forums the harassment, online at least, quickly died out.  Although there were further comments, they were posted through European proxies.

I decided to check in on the old Topix forums recently to see how the gang was doing.  It didn’t take much to stir them up and what I found was a cult like mentality of pretending their religious symbol is still there.  They write as if the lawsuit and the settlement either never occurred or had no effect.  They still cling to the false notion that the lawsuit was motivated by a hatred of crosses and Jesus, refusing to acknowledge any sort of church state issue.  A user calling himself ‘lawman 2’ wrote“…that cross [has] burned into you memories you will take to your grave and it has taken over your life.”  Further threatening “It is you that should be worried about our ticket book.” , supporting past complaints by locals that being on the wrong side of local politics can make you a target.

When I raised the point that their veneration of a broken religious icon is essentially idolatry they have no answer.  Apparently they’re to busy basking in their own imagined victim-hood to take the time required to understand the actual teachings of their own religion.

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