Knock, knock, knockin' on someone's door....
I want to think about the importance of hospitality to Christian practice; indeed, to Christianity itself.
I did; and then I quit. So I'm going to, again.
"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton
"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein
“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson
Bill Cosby admitted in a 2005 deposition that he obtained Quaaludes with the intent of giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with. He admitted giving the sedative to at least one woman.That's rather poor reporting: I had to look it up, but Cosby was born in 1937, making him 67 or 68 at the time of the deposition. He's 77 now. Anyway, I dunno, maybe Mr. Cosby is as guilty as sin. Slipping somebody a Quaalude so you can sleep with them sounds pretty damned sad to me. Actually giving it to someone is very bad behavior.
The Associated Press went to court to compel the release of the documents, and they were made public Monday. Cosby’s lawyers had objected on the grounds that it would embarrass their client.
The 77-year-old comedian was testifying under oath in a lawsuit filed by a former Temple University employee. He testified he gave her three half-pills of Benadryl.
The Electoral College controversy would drag on for months, not reaching resolution until almost the eve of the scheduled inauguration on March 5, 1877. To break the deadlock, Congress appointed an Electoral Commission, made up of five Senators, five members of the House of Representatives, and five Supreme Court justices. Congress originally hoped to have seven Republican members of the Commission, seven Democrats, and one independent. As it turned out, however, the actual membership turned out to consist of eight Republicans and seven Democrats. The Commission voted along straight party lines 8 to 7 to accept all of Hayes' electoral votes and reject the Democrat's claims. The night before President Grant's term expired, the Senate announced Hayes had been elected President. The deadlock was broken behind closed doors when Southern Democrats agreed to support Hayes' claim for the Presidency if he would support increased funding for Southern internal improvements and agree to end Reconstruction, thus guaranteeing home rule -- meaning white control -- in the South. Hayes became President and the Southern Democrats could reverse with impunity the gains that blacks had made during Reconstruction.
The criminal investigation against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has taken a more serious turn, with special prosecutors now planning to present a first-degree felony securities fraud case against him to a Collin County grand jury, News 8 has learned.In May Paxton was fined by the Texas Securities Board for steering clients to a friend's investment firm without registering as an investment advisor (word is both gays and straights can register under Texas law. In fact, they have to.). That led to an investigation which finally led to two private attorneys in Houston being appointed as special prosecutors. They also plan to bring charges for failure to register, a third-degree felony.
Special prosecutor Kent Schaffer told News 8 Wednesday afternoon that the Texas Rangers uncovered new evidence during the investigation that led to the securities fraud allegations against the sitting attorney general.
"The Rangers went out to investigate one thing, and they came back with information on something else," Schaffer told News 8. "It's turned into something different than when they started."
Schaffer, a Houston criminal defense attorney, said the securities fraud allegations involve amounts well in excess of $100,000. He declined to comment specifics of the fraud allegations.
A first-degree felony conviction is punishable by up to life in prison.
Several conversations with county clerks and assistants also revealed that, while generic same-sex marriage application forms might have been sent to counties across the state (or not, as the case may be), marriage licenses, themselves, still used the gendered language of "Mr." and "Mrs." instead of "Applicant 1" and "Applicant 2."And there's the ever popular "the computer program needs to be upgraded." But whatever the excuse, only three counties refused to explain why they weren't issuing licenses; and interestingly, none of the counties have a population above 150,000 (Lubbock, at just under 300,000, is the exception that proves the rule). Most of the counties, in fact, are under 50,000 in population. I went to school with more students than that at UT-Austin. I went to college in Nacogdoches with more students than in many of the smallest rural counties on the list. The majority of the counties seem to be under 20,000. This gives rise to a few thoughts.
Time for Public Officials to take their stand one way or the other
Jesus Christ is Lord of all. He came to save the world by His death and resurrection. That world includes you, me, the family, the civil government, all the institutions of life. He came to advance His Father's kingdom, not watch man run rampant upon the earth as if Christ had never come. As if it were the days of Noah!
Public officials are ministers of God assigned the duty of punishing the wicked and protecting the righteous. If the public officials decide to officially approve of the acts of the wicked, they must logically not protect the righteous from the wicked. In fact, they must become protectors of the wicked. You cannot serve two masters; you must pick – God or Satan.
The criminal laws against homosexual sodomy are for the protection of the righteous, particularly the young, the weak, the vulnerable, who need the law to teach them right from wrong when in a vulnerable state. The U.S. Supreme Court, although it claims to have done so in 2003, cannot take something that God calls a crime and declare it not a crime.
We're facing something even worse now, the civil government taking a new step and actually requiring the approval and sanctifying by the state of an evil behavior. Five justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have now opined that the States of this country and all of us must approve of so-called marriages of same sex couples.
Therefore, the civil government must now become a persecuting power; you cannot avoid it. The civil government must protect what it approves of. It must protect the advocates' employment, their business dealings, their lives in every way. Against whom? Against those who think their lifestyle is evil. That's you and me, bible-believing Christians, the Church, etc.
Public official, what will you do? Will you stand up for the law of Alabama, for the people, for the weak and vulnerable, for the law of God? Or will you capitulate? Will you become complicit in the takeover by the wicked?
"I must follow the law," you say. Law? What law? There is no law anymore, there's just opinion. One day this, one day that. When the law becomes merely the opinion of a handful of people on the courts, there is no longer any law. There is tyranny. There is chaos. But there is no law.
The young and the weak, those that are caused to stumble by courts that approve of what is evil, are those whom Jesus referred to when he said, "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." Luke 17:2. You don't want to be complicit in allowing such stumbling blocks.
Don't use the Nazi war-crimes trial defense: "My superiors (or the courts) told me to do it." You're not standing for the rule of law when you capitulate to a law that defies God and exposes people to the wicked. You're just a coward making excuses!
Or will your conscience cause you to resign? Why would you leave the people of this State, their children, your children and grandchildren to the wolves, those who would rend the society apart with their denial of what's good and evil?
Your duty is to stand against the ravages of a superior authority that would go beyond its rightful power and force upon the people something evil. That's what the founders of our country did when Parliament exceeded its powers. That's what the Puritans in civil government in the 1600's did when the King exceeded his powers.
On Judgment Day, you won't stand in front of the media, the advocates of "Equality," or even the federal courts; you'll stand before the King of Kings, the Judge and Ruler over the Kings of the Earth, Jesus Christ. His law is not subject to the vote of man, and He, asthe good and loving author of that law, does not exempt any nation from it. The law's author, speaking of Himself as "the stone which the builders rejected," said, "Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." Luke 20:18.
What can you do? You have authority as an elected official. You also are sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution and Alabama Constitution. Find a way to do so. Don't acquiesce to the takeover (actually the takedown)! Use your authority and every legal angle to oppose the tyrants! If necessary, just say, "No." It is not rebellion for you to say, "Your interpretation of the Constitution is wrong, beyond your authority, and detrimental to this nation." In fact, it's your duty. You're not opposing the rule of law, you're upholding it by saying that.
“We were the first people to be affected and the last ones to be contacted,” wrote Deborah Rushing from Yoakum County. “No one had our back.”That last paragraph refers to the now infamous County Clerk of Hood County, who apparently has the backing of her county government. Of course, so far no same sex couple in Hood County has come to the clerk asking for a marriage license, so the county doesn't face the costs of a lawsuit, the clerk doesn't face the prospect of a fine. (As the AG noted in his opinion letter, Texas law levies a $500 fine against any county clerk who refuses to issue a lawful marriage license. Minors and cousins can't marry in Texas, so there are still some grounds for refusal.)
After Attorney General Ken Paxton — the state’s civil lawyer, not a primary legal authority on county matters — advised clerks to defend religious freedom but expect lawsuits, Ellis County Clerk Cindy Polley wrote: “Does it seem to anyone else the AG is putting it back on us?”
“HELP!” Brewster County Clerk Berta Rios Martinez wrote. “I just had my first gay couple come in for a marriage license and I ran them off!! … Did I do right? HELP!!!”
Shelby County Clerk Jennifer Fountain wrote her “vent” after a resident told her that issuing the licenses was “taking Shelby County to the fires of hell”:
“Why didn’t [Abbott] say ‘The state of Texas WILL NOT ISSUE same sex marriage licenses. If you want to sue, sue the State.’ Instead, he hung us all out to dry, threw us under the bus.”
Fountain went on: “I’ve issued marriage licenses to couples that I’ve had in court for beating each other up. I’ve issued to people that have lived together for 20 years. … Did I get ugly phone calls and blasted on [Facebook] for issuing them? No!!”
Lang’s other emails declined interviews and quoted Paxton. When she wrote about “instilling my religious liberty,” Hood County Commissioner Butch Barton wrote telling her to “hang in.”
Factual situations may arise in which the county clerk seeks to delegate the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses due to a religious objection, but every employee also has a religious objection to participating in same-sex-marriage licensure. In that scenario, were a clerk to issue traditional marriage licenses while refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, it is conceivable that an applicant for a same-sex marriage license may claim a violation of the constitution.If you are wondering, that is legal weaselspeak for "HellifIknow, but you're probably screwed." Everything in law does "depend upon the facts." And a legal opinion that constantly refers to the facts without reaching a conclusion about the law, is a legal opinion that knows the facts are not on its side, which means the law is not going to swoop in and save the political position.
If instead, a county clerk chooses to issue no marriage licenses at all, it raises at least two questions. First, a clerk opting to issue no licenses at all may find himself or herself in tension with the requirement under state law that a clerk "shall" issue marriage licenses to conforming applications. TEX. FAM. CODE ANN.§ 2.008(a) (West 2006). A court must balance this statutory duty against the clerk's constitutional rights as well as statutory rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. Second, a court must also weigh the constitutional right ofthe applicant to obtain a same-sex marriage license. Such a factually specific inquiry is beyond the scope of what this opinion can answer.
In short, county clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may provide for certain accommodations of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses--or issuing licenses at all, but the strength of any particular accommodation claim depends upon the facts.
The religious doctrines to which I adhere compel me to personally refrain from issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Nonetheless, in addition to the county clerk offices in the several surrounding counties, as soon as the appropriate forms have been printed and supplied to my office, the County Clerk’s Office of Hood County will have staff available and ready to issue same-sex marriage licenses.I really don't think the hold-outs are going to hold out for very long. It won't be long until Texas does speak with one voice on this issue.
Because some have misreported and misconstrued my prior statements, I want to make clear that the County Clerk’s Office of Hood County will comply with the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States.
I am grateful that the First Amendment continues to protect the sincerely held religious beliefs of public servants like me. That has not changed since last Friday. As Justice Kennedy stated, “it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”
“It is a tragic and ominous day for the United States when a decision by five unelected justices of the U.S. Supreme Court blatantly violates the law in order to destroy the foundational building block for society provided by Nature and Nature’s God – that was stated as divine law by Moses and Jesus. Our nation has been blessed with liberty, opportunity, power, and individual prosperity beyond any other nation in history. Both Moses and Jesus stated that it was God’s law that ‘a man will leave his father and mother and a woman will leave her home and the two will come together as one.’ That defined marriage. Jesus even added that the defined marriage that God brought together should not be divided by anyone. The Supreme Court ruling is heartbreaking for the turmoil it will mean for our nation’s future.I'm not sure, but I think he just said that county clerks shouldn't be forced to issue marriage licenses to people who have been divorced. Or maybe he wants to repeal Texas' divorce laws. It's a little vague. And I'm quite sure the divine law of Moses forbade the eating of cheeseburgers or milk shakes with hamburgers, and certainly no one should be eating shrimp po'boys or shrimp creole or crab cakes. I'm not sure why those things haven't already meant turmoil for our nation, but then, I'm not the Biblical or Constitutional scholar Rep. Gohmert is.
The U.S. Constitution gives neither Congress nor federal Courts any authority over marriage.
[O]ur laws and tradition afford constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, and education. … Persons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do.”
"I have serious concerns about the far-reaching implications of this blanket protection for officials who may chose to ignore the law based on their personal religious beliefs," [Texas state Sen. Rodney] Ellis wrote to [U.S. Attorney General Loretta] Lynch. "Will judges be able to argue that they should not recognize or authorize divorces if it offends their religious sensibilities? Could a judge refuse to send a defendant to the death penalty under his or her belief that 'thou shalt not kill' means just that?"
"Is there something about the left — and I am going to put the media in this category — that is obsessed with sex?" [Texas Sen. Ted] Cruz responded.Alito and Roberts were concerned with being called bigots; but their animus to gay marriage was actually fairly clear: marriage means sex, and gay sex is icky!
Sec. 2.001. MARRIAGE LICENSE. (a) A man and a woman desiring to enter into a ceremonial marriage must obtain a marriage license from the county clerk of any county of this state.
(b) A license may not be issued for the marriage of persons of the same sex.
The only statutory restriction on their authority is that they are "prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, or national origin against an applicant who is otherwise competent to be married." Id.§ 2.205(a) (West 2006).
"I don't think a lot of pastors and Christian schools are going to have a choice" but to resist, Huckabee said on ABC's "This Week." "They either are going to follow God, their conscience and what they truly believe is what the scripture teaches them, or they will follow civil law."A: as a Christian pastor, I don't have to conduct any wedding I don't want to. I've known many a pastor all but brag about threatening not to officiate at a wedding if the couple didn't accede to his pre-marital counseling; never knew one who actually went through on the threat.
Underlying all of this seemed to be an anxiety, one expressed in Justice Alito’s dissent, that the decision would get anyone who didn’t agree with it labeled a bigot. “Forty percent of Americans still oppose it. We need to treat those people with respect and not just fall into liberal groupthink that they’re all just bigots,” Kurtz said. “If someone doesn’t wholeheartedly agree, they are going to be called bigots, or that they’re anti-constitution,” Lee said.
It was no surprise that the Supreme Court held Friday that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. It is very difficult to distinguish the case from Loving v. Virginia, which in 1967 invalidated state laws forbidding miscegenation. There was, as an economist would say, a “demand” (though rather limited) for biracial marriage, and it was difficult, to say the least, to comprehend why such marriages should be prohibited. In fact the only “ground” for the prohibition was bigotry. The same is true with respect to same-sex marriage. No more than biracial marriage does gay marriage harm people who don’t have or want to have such a marriage. The prohibition of same-sex marriage harms a nontrivial number of American citizens because other Americans disapprove of it though unaffected by it.
“The two best opinions Roberts has written on the court are his opinion in the Obamacare and gay marriage cases,” said Walter Dellinger, who served as acting solicitor general in the Clinton administration. “While I don’t agree with his bottom line in the same-sex marriage case, he wrote the most respectful and best-reasoned argument for allowing the democratic process to run its course. None of the advocates defending bans on same-sex marriage at the court came close to articulating as good an argument as Chief Justice Roberts.”