CNN recently hosted a "town hall" event for the Democratic presidential candidates to tout their Leftist credentials. Beta O'Rourke immediately went for the jugular of the Conservative Right. CNN tweeted:
Beto O’Rourke on religious institutions losing tax-exempt status for opposing same-sex marriage: “There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone ... that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us”As Tyler O'Neil observed, this is not a neutral position. "This viewpoint discrimination would violate free speech, religious freedom, free association, and the Establishment Clause. Such a policy would involve a government endorsement of pro-LGBT religious groups."
No other candidate condemned O'Rourke's position, and so the Overton window shifted. For instance, O'Neil continues in his article:
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., admitted that "religious liberty is an important principle in this country and we honor that." He warned however, that "any freedom that we honor in this country has limits when it comes to harming other people. We say that the right to free speech does not include the right to yell fire in a crowded theater. A famous justice once said my right to swing my fist ends where somebody else’s nose begins. And the right to religious freedom ends where religion is being used as an excuse to harm other people."Moreover:
He further insisted that "when religion is used in that way, to me it makes God smaller. It to me is an insult not only to us as LGBTQ people, but I think it’s an insult to faith to believe it could be used to hurt people in that way."
Former Vice President Joe Biden seemed to go even further. When asked about how he would fight hate crimes against LGBT people, Biden advocated for three things: passing the Equality Act, monitoring groups that are similar to terrorist groups, and reinterpreting federal civil rights law to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity — an issue currently before the Supreme Court.O'Neil warns that the second proposal is the most dangerous of the three: "Biden was advocating a kind of terrorist watch list that would likely target conservative Christian groups opposed to LGBT activism." (See also O'Neil's article: "Joe Biden Demands SPLC-Style Terror Watchlist to Protect LGBT People"). Elizabeth Warren's response to a question from one of her most ardent supporters about how to respond to someone that believed that marriage should be between a man and a woman was to belittle such position:
"Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that, and I’m going to say to them, 'Just marry one woman. I’m cool with that,'" Warren replied to laughs and applause. "Assuming you can find one."O'Neil notes in his article:
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in the Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) decision legalizing same-sex marriage, wrote that "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."He goes on to warn that the freedom to dissent is under attack, and that the LGBT town hall put that attack on full display.
Biden was not the only one to suggest an LGBT Gestapo. Cory Booker also indicated that, if elected president, he would create an office dedicated to investigating white supremacy and right-wing hate groups. Later, when the moderator mispronounced a tranny's first name, the tranny snapped out, "It’s violence to misgender or alter the name of a trans person."
Is this something of which to be afraid? Well, Ron Dreher notes that "there really is no principled reason to resist [what O'Rourke proposed], given what the Democrats already believe about the sanctity of homosexuality and transgenderism." In fact, he relates:
The Supreme Court in 1983 ruled that the IRS has the right to remove tax-exempt status from a religious institution to achieve public policy goals. Bob Jones University lost its tax-exempt status because of its racially discriminatory policy forbidding white and black students from dating. The fundamentalist school believed that interracial dating was unbiblical. For that, the IRS wanted to take away its tax-exempt status — and SCOTUS upheld it. The Court ruled that Bob Jones University could maintain its own policies, but it did not have the right to hold tax-exempt status.As I've written before (see here and here), the U.S. Supreme Court held long ago that "[i]t was never intended or supposed that the [first] amendment could be invoked as a protection against legislation for the punishment of acts inimical to the peace, good order, and morals of society." Thus, "[t]o extend exemption from punishment for such crimes would be to shock the moral judgment of the community. To call their advocacy a tenet of religion is to offend the common sense of mankind." That was 1890, and the law in question was one that prohibited persons that belonged to any church (i.e., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) that supported polygamy, even if the affected person did not engage in polygamy, from voting or holding political office. As Dreher notes above, in 1983, it was a Christian college that, on a religious basis, enforced a policy against miscegenation. Now, it would just take a law from Congress prohibiting the advocacy of any teaching or belief that was opposed to LGBT practices or gay marriage because, as Buttigieg put it, "the right to religious freedom ends where religion is being used as an excuse to harm other people." So when O'Rourke says that "we are going to make [LGBT rights] a priority, and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans,” it is best to assume that the Left is serious about it.
If that was the limit of what the Left proposed, it probably would not be enough to cause a civil war. Most Americans just aren't that passionate about religion in this benighted age. Rather, I would look to the current attempts at a coup against the President.
Even just a couple weeks ago, the idea of a "deep state" was derided by the Left and, even, some on the Right as a fringe conspiracy theory. Now even a writer for the New York Times admits that there is a "deep state," only that it is the true defender of liberty. New York Times’ columnist James B. Stewart has written a book about the Deep State, and says:
“Well, you meet these characters in my book, and the fact is, in a sense, he’s right. There is a deep state. There is a bureaucracy in our country who has pledged to respect the Constitution, respect the rule of law. And as Director James Comey told me, ‘Thank goodness for that,’ because they are protecting the Constitution and the people when individuals – we don’t have a monarch, we don’t have a dictator – they restrain them from crossing the boundaries of law.”Kevin McCullough, writing at Town Hall, finds this position preposterous.
The truth is the Deep State, this network of people that were never elected, that exercised unprecedented power grabs, and that harassed the lawfully elected president that the voters of 31 of 50 states stormed into office with, are the opposite of what Stewart claims.The Deep State is a conglomerate of federal employees and former federal employees (taking advantage of the revolving door between regulators and the powerful among the regulated) that have decreed themselves a Praetorian Guard with the final say on who controls the country. And perhaps even something behind them.
They may have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, but they violated it. They may claim to be patriots, but they are traitors. They claim to be working to protect the American people, but they are working against them. They claim to be heroes, but they are criminals.
Matt Taibbi, in his article, "We're in a permanent coup," relates:
I’ve lived through a few coups. They’re insane, random, and terrifying, like watching sports, except your political future depends on the score.In this case, he writes:
The kickoff begins when a key official decides to buck the executive. From that moment, government becomes a high-speed head-counting exercise. Who’s got the power plant, the airport, the police in the capital? How many department chiefs are answering their phones? Who’s writing tonight’s newscast?
The Trump presidency is the first to reveal a full-blown schism between the intelligence community and the White House. Senior figures in the CIA, NSA, FBI and other agencies made an open break from their would-be boss before Trump’s inauguration, commencing a public war of leaks that has not stopped.
* * *
... The leak of the January, 2017 “meeting” between the four chiefs and Trump – which without question damaged both the presidency and America’s standing abroad – was an unprecedented act of insubordination.The coup attempt started with the intelligence chiefs meeting with Trump and presenting him with a classified report (the infamous dossier), with representations that they were presenting him with this information to make him aware of a blackmail threat, and to reassure him they would not give news agencies a “hook” to publish the news, "... if he went along with them" being implied.
It was also a bold new foray into domestic politics by intelligence agencies that in recent decades began asserting all sorts of frightening new authority. They were kidnapping foreigners, assassinating by drone, conducting paramilitary operations without congressional notice, building an international archipelago of secret prisons, and engaging in mass warrantless surveillance of Americans. We found out in a court case just last week how extensive the illegal domestic surveillance has been, with the FBI engaging in tens of thousands of warrantless searches involving American emails and phone numbers under the guise of combating foreign subversion.
The agencies’ new trick is inserting themselves into domestic politics using leaks and media pressure. The “intel chiefs” meeting was just the first in a series of similar stories, many following the pattern in which a document was created, passed from department from department, and leaked. ...
The current hysteria over the "Ukraine call" is also closely tied to the intelligence agencies. The first and primary "whistleblower" in the current matter has tentatively been identified as Eric Ciaramella, a career CIA analyst who was Obama's National Security Council Director for the Ukraine. Joe Biden worked with the whistleblower when Biden was vice president. The current "impeachment" investigation is being led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who has two staff members--former National Security Council aides--who worked with the whistleblower when he was with the NSC: Abigail Grace, who worked at the NSC until 2018, and was hired by Schiff in February; and Sean Misko, an NSC aide until 2017, who joined Schiff's staff in August. Even the attorneys representing the whistleblower have backgrounds in the intelligence community.
How all this ends may be a different matter according to Taibbi, who concludes his article with:
I don’t believe most Americans have thought through what a successful campaign to oust Donald Trump would look like. Most casual news consumers can only think of it in terms of Mike Pence becoming president. The real problem would be the precedent of a de facto intelligence community veto over elections, using the lunatic spookworld brand of politics that has dominated the last three years of anti-Trump agitation.It is made all the worse because many on the Left are not mere ideologues, but people to which the Left is its tribe, and Leftism its mores. Daniel Greenfield explains that while the ideologues see Trump and his supporters are political hindrances, the latter "don’t think in political terms," but view the positions taken by those to the Center or Right "as an assault on their mores." Thus, to Greenfield, "[w]e [are] no longer members of the same tribe, the same system or the same nation."
CIA/FBI-backed impeachment could also be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Donald Trump thinks he’s going to be jailed upon leaving office, he’ll sooner or later figure out that his only real move is to start acting like the “dictator” MSNBC and CNN keep insisting he is. Why give up the White House and wait to be arrested, when he still has theoretical authority to send Special Forces troops rappelling through the windows of every last Russiagate/Ukrainegate leaker? That would be the endgame in a third world country, and it’s where we’re headed, unless someone calls off this craziness. Welcome to the Permanent Power Struggle.