Coalition of the Unwilling, so U.S. will act alone

The British parliament voted not to attack Syria over the alleged chemical attacks.  France and Germany have decided not to act without the UN Security Council finishing its investigation.  These countries were the first ones to raise the red flag against Syria, but now they are backing off.

But President Obama, who, unlike the British Prime Minister, is not taking the issue to the legislative body that is supposed to approve such action, is saying that the United States will act alone. [Read more…]

Religious compromise as “the price of citizenship”

Michael Avramovich gives us useful details about that New Mexico Supreme Court case we blogged about that ruled that a Christian photographer had to shoot a gay commitment service (New Mexico doesn’t even have gay marriage!) against the dictates of her conscience.

In the account, we hear from the judge, who puts forward a new legal principle that, if it becomes a precedent, would essentially end religious liberty in this country.  The judge said that compromising one’s religious beliefs is “the price of citizenship.” [Read more…]

Does anyone have power anymore?

Richard Cohen reviews The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be
by Moises Naim.

“Power is decaying,” Naim writes — and he provides all sorts of examples. Companies that once ruled the world (sort of) suddenly disappear. Kodak went bust (in a flash). Two huge American auto companies came to Washington with a tin cup. BlackBerry was once supposedly so addictive it was called “crackberry.” Now it’s nearly a goner. CEOs come and go at a dizzying pace — about 80 percent of the leaders of major companies are forced out before their terms are up, gridlocking golf courses all over America. Belgium veers to the ungovernable; the United Kingdom may not be united for long, the Northern League wants out of Italy, and in this increasingly fractured world, South Sudan in 2011 became the world’s 193rd nation, up from 51 in the 1940s. [Read more…]

Making churches pay taxes

We should make churches pay taxes. So say two recent articles.  Matthew Yglesias of Slate says that tax breaks force citizens to, in effect, fund religions they disagree with. Also, tax breaks don’t improve church productivity, since upgrading the building and other things churches spend money on won’t necessarily save more souls.  Also, eliminating the non-profit tax break would allow churches to proclaim their moral convictions more forthrightly and to endorse political candidates, which he thinks is perfectly appropriate.

Then Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post, expressing agreement with Yglesias, counts just how much tax breaks for churches cost the government and, following the assumption that all money belongs to the government so that not taking someone else’s money is an government expense and a giveaway, he concludes that “You give religions more than $82.5 billion per year.”

After the jump:  The links and excerpts giving their arguments.  Can you answer them?  Or are they right? [Read more…]

A Constitutional convention?

Conservative pundit Mark Levin has written a book entitled  The Liberty Amendments (which debuted at #1 on Amazon) which calls for a Constitutional convention to propose amendments that would rein in the power of the federal government.  (Under Article V of the Constitution,  2/3 of the states could call such a convention.  That would mean 34.  It would take 3/4 of the states to ratify any amendments that were proposed.)

The idea is picking up supporters from Rush Limbaugh to Senator Tom Coburn, from Tea Party activists to Conservative think tankers.  And efforts are being organized to sell the notion to state legislators.

After the jump:  A list of Levin’s proposed amendments, an excerpt from a review discussing them, and thoughts from me.

What do you think of this idea?  Would it work?  Should it?  Could it get the support of enough states?  What do you think of the individual amendments he is proposing? [Read more…]

Photographers must shoot same-sex weddings

Advocates of gay marriage and even opponents who grudgingly accept its inevitability say that it won’t affect Christians and other people who have moral qualms about homosexuality.  But religious exemptions apparently only apply to churches and not to religious individuals.  It looks like the anti-discrimination laws are going to force individuals and businesses to go along with gay marriage despite the dictates of their conscience.  Or so says the New Mexico Supreme Court in ruling that a photographer has to shoot gay weddings even though he has religious objections to them. [Read more…]


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