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July 01, 2004


Jay V

The legal definition that we used when we were opposing the lottery in TN was that any non-profit organization can spend funds on issue related advocacy as long as it is not the primary function of the agency (this includes churches) The IRS courts have ruled that this means that the limit in spending on advocacy is no more than 5% of the organization's total budget. We also believe that church's and non-profits are not supposed to endorse specific candidates or parties, but rather focus on issues.


somewhat related: I posted a while ago about preachers fundraising for Bush and the legalities of it.


It's always quite pleasurable to attack the real or perceived shortcomings of others, particularly large entities to whom you can ascribe sinister and conspiratorial motives. Much more difficult is the laborious attempts at addressing the piety and obedience of those in the pew starting, as one must, with the preacher. To put it rather crassly: moral indignation/outrage is to virtue what masturbation is to making love.


Know of any churches like yours in Austin? I got tired of "shopping around"--the politics in most churches (both in and of!) drive me nuts.

Good for you for having tenure! I knew tenure meant you could be more comfortable, but I always thought that was in a purely psychological/intellectual freedom sense. Never realized it was also in a literal sense...jeans, lucky you! My school district's policy will backfire on them when it comes to teachers like me, because like the kids, we can find loopholes..

Col Steve

A few posts back you mentioned your discussion group: "Ours is a fairly left-wing group, and one of our more passionate members talked about how difficult it was for her to be anything BUT angry with our current president and his advisors."

Perhaps your next meeting you could discuss the comments raised by George Regas you cited:

"It is now abundantly clear that America went to war in a dishonest way..."

But, perhaps we could add some more perspective:

We could add the Senate vote of Oct 2002 that stated:

The president is authorized to use the armed forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq, and (2) enforce all relevant United Nation Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."

And, let's see the roll call: Sen Kerry, Yea; Sen Feinstein; Yea

And Sen Daschle's comment with his Yea vote:

Daschle, D-South Dakota, said the threat of Iraq's weapons programs "may not be imminent. But it is real. It is growing. And it cannot be ignored."

"There is much evidence that Iraq was part of the new Bush doctrine of empire in the making before 9/11, where the US was the first among the nations.... the arrogance of that is stunning."

Ok, I'll bite - does he cite any evidence? I was around both the Pentagon and White House in those short 8 months I guess he thinks this "doctrine of empire" was developed..I must have missed that memo when it was staffed..Because, actually, this Administration didn't produce any kind of strategy document until AFTER 9/11..and I'm sure George Regas read all those documents (they're on the web)..Here's a passage:

"America must stand firmly for the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law; limits on the absolute power of the state; free speech; freedom of worship; equal justice; respect for women; religious and ethnic tolerance; and respect for private property."

These demands can be met in many ways. America’s constitution has served us well. Many other nations, with different histories and cultures, facing different circumstances, have successfully incorporated these core principles into their own systems of governance. History has not been kind to those nations which ignored or flouted the rights and aspirations of their people.

America’s experience as a great multi-ethnic democracy affirms our conviction that people of many heritages and faiths can live and prosper in peace. Our own history is a long struggle to live up to our ideals. But even in our worst moments, the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence were there to guide us. As a result, America is not just a stronger, but is a freer and more just society.

I agree it's a debateable topic on how well we executed the strategy - but it's hardly a doctrine of "empire making"..But I'm always open to read the "evidence"....

"In the face of staggering poverty, the military budget this year is $400 billion... I personally think this is a criminal mismanagement of our nation's resources."

Your group may also want to review Sect 1, Art 8 of the Constitution that states (among other things) Congress has the power

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

And then your group can review the records of the Sens from California:

DOD Appropriations Bill for 2003: Boxer, Yea; Feinstein, Yea (HR 5010; 8/1/02)

DOD Supplemental to the App Bill for 2003: Boxer, Yea; Feinstein, Yea (S762; 3/3/03)

DOD Appropriations Bill 2004: Boxer, Yea; Feinstein; Yea (HR 2688; 7/17/03)

DOD Supplemental to the App Bill for 2004: Unanimous Consent (So, we'll mark that as a Yea for both of them) (S108/160; 10/30/03)

And the current bill in the Congress: Rep Tauscher (D; CA) and Sen Reed (D; RI) both want to add 10 to 30 thousand troops permanently to the Army (at a cost of 1.2 to 3.6B/yr) despite the fact that the President, Sec Def, and Chief of Staff, Army did not asked for this and are on record as requesting no permanent troop increases.

Now, personally, I may agree more with Sen Reed and of course, it is the authority of Congress to change the President's budget request - but let's be careful when agreeing with those who cast stones for "criminal mismanagement" on "who are the criminals." I won't even go into the list of members of Congress from BOTH parties that want to stop the Base Closures process scheduled for 2005 in spite of DoD (and the President's) desire to see another round of base closings.

I also think 400B is a bit too much and personally we're spending a lot on items - especially on expensive fighter aircraft (3 of the top 5 DoD programs for 2004 are for fighter aircraft) - that I'm pretty sure we will have superiority in those areas for at least the forseeable future. But, here's those California politicians again:

Governor Gray Davis today applauded House passage of the Defense Authorization Act (HR 4205), which directs the Pentagon to study the best site to construct the Joint Strike Fighter. This follows the recommendation of a letter signed by Governor Davis, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and 51 members of California's Congressional Delegation

Oh, FYI- the Joint Strike Fighter program is estimated to have a total price tag of over $350B (yes B) according to GAO - but guess where a lot of the production is going to occur? - California! Seems like we could solve a lot of other problems with just a chunk of that change..

Should I hold my breath that your friend gets as angry at California's congressional delegation as much as the President?

At least for this sinner, worldly cares and matters are great hinderances to profiting from the word of God - I prefer my priest to stick to latter..there's enough of the former outside of the church.


Well said, Steve -- up until your last paragraph, I'm with you in many respects. But private morality and personal spiritualitism can never be the sole focus of the church in the world. How I vote and whom I love and how I love them and what I wear and how I spend my money -- I expect to hear about ALL of these issues from the same pulpit!

Col Steve

I see the merits of your statement up to a point. There is much utility in placing scriptures in the context of the world in which we live. I just believe for some in the pulpit that the line gets too blurred between helping me live in the earthly world according to God's word and influencing me based on personal biases.

Hope your enjoying your 4th...it's a little soggy in DC.

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