IRS harassment of pro-life groups

More increasingly alarming details are coming out about the IRS scandal.  See this, for the kind of intrusive information the IRS demanded.  See also this and this for how liberal organizations applying for the same status were routinely and quickly approved, no questions asked.  And how as many as 500 conservative organizations were targeted.  We are also learning that the IRS was harassing pro-life groups as far back in 2009!  Not just making them fill out lots of forms and delaying approval for two years and more.  But forbidding pro-life leaders from sidewalk counseling and from protesting in front of Planned Parenthood abortuaries! [Read more…]

Court rules against German homeschoolers

The German government threatened to take away the children of a couple on the grounds that they were being homeschooled.  So the family fled to the United States and applied for asylum, claiming that they faced persecution for their beliefs.  Their application was first accepted, but later overturned, leading to a series of court battles, with the Obama administration arguing for deportation.  Yesterday, an appeals court ruled against the family.

I thought the Obama administration wants amnesty for immigrants.  Why not these immigrants, who–like many of the first settlers–came here specifically in search of religious, political,  and personal liberty?

[Read more…]

“A dagger at the heart” of a free press

Maybe we need to start worrying about those black helicopters after all.  The Obama administration keeps confirming the alarms over intrusive government and the violation of civil liberties.  In an effort to track down the source of leaks, the justice department has secretly subpoened and seized two months of phone records of the Associated Press.  David Schultz, lawyer for the AP, calls this crackdown on confidential sources a “dagger at the heart” of reporters’ ability to get the news.

Whether or not you are sympathetic to the plight of journalists here (and we must not let our dislike of the media distract from the First Amendment issues), this possible government overreach may have an unintended consequence:  What if it turns the press against the Obama administration?  Who knows what else they may dig up? [Read more…]

IRS gave confidential info to left-wing journalists

More malfeasance by the IRS.  The progressive journalism site ProPublica admits that the IRS sent them confidential material from conservative groups.  ProPublica had requested information about organizations whose tax exempt status was approved, but the IRS, in addition, sent them copies of applications whose approval was pending, in direct violation of the law.

From Progressive Group: IRS Gave Us Conservative Groups’ Confidential Docs:

The progressive-leaning investigative journalism group ProPublica says the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office that targeted and harassed conservative tax-exempt groups during the 2012 election cycle gave the progressive group nine confidential applications of conservative groups whose tax-exempt status was pending.

The commendable admission lends further evidence to the lengths the IRS went during an election cycle to silence tea party and limited government voices.

ProPublica says the documents the IRS gave them were “not supposed to be made public”:

The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year… In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six of those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)

The group says that “no unapproved applications from liberal groups were sent to ProPublica.”

For the ProPublica account (and give them credit for coming clean), go here.

Abortionist to get life in prison

Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist found guilty of murder, will not be executed.  He agreed not to appeal his conviction in exchange for a life sentence. [Read more…]

A heresy trial over baptism

Reformed theologian Peter Leithart is in trouble again over his views on baptism.  He was tried by the Presbyterian Church in America and found innocent of doctrinal violations, but when the prosecutor in that case recently converted to Catholicism, the church body is questioning that decision and looks to put Rev. Leithart back on trial.   (So double jeopardy doesn’t apply to church trials?)  I am in no position to know whether his position is in accord with PCA doctrine or not, but I am curious about the extent to which it accords with Lutheran doctrine.  I’ll post his statement of his beliefs after the jump. [Read more…]