"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Need to Know Nuremberg: Hobby Lobby, Oliver Stone and the Orwellian United States Government

Hollywood film director Oliver Stone is no ideological conservative. He is probably one of the more ideological liberals in Hollywood. Yet, in an interview yesterday with historian Peter Kusnick, Oliver Stone declares that "the United States has become an Orwellian state." For those unfamiliar with George Orwell's classic work 1984, an Orwellian state can be characterised by a government that is involved in:

(1). The invasion of personal privacy, either directly or physically, or indirectly through surveillance.
(2). State mandated laws designed to control the citizens' daily life, from infancy to death.
(3). The official adoption of laws and policies designed to disentegrate the family.
(4). The development of cult status for state leaders and their Party.
(5). The promotion of "doublespeak," so that the citizens learn to embrace inconsistent concepts without dissent. Examples of doublespeak would be "giving up liberty for freedom." Orwell himself defined doublespeak as "the defence of the indefensible… Political language that consists largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness… the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. Where there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms"
(6). The revision of history in the favor of the State's interpretation of it.
(7). A dystopian future where the individual within the State is dehumanized and the State is exalted and promoted along with a totaliterian view of society. The State rules; not the people.
(8). The use of euphemisms in the naming of State branches of government. The department that wages war on other countries is called The Department of Defense. The department that imprisons the conscientious objector who protests the actions of the State is called The Department of Justice. The formerly named Peace Officer becomes a Police Officer called upon to enforce Political Laws (police and politics come from the same word).

The Hollywood film director backs up his claim that the US has become (notice the past tense) an Orwellian state by giving various facts in the interview. The Obama administration has issued one million Top Security clearances to assist in the surveillance and surreptitious spying on US citizens. The US government has imprisoned more American citizens for espionage in the last four years than any previous administration. The US government now intercepts over 1.7 billion private, daily communications of its citizens. The US is codifying thousands and thousands of new, political laws that compel citizens to lives according to the State's desires. Oliver Stone summarizes his concerns with the following statement (emphasis mine):

I think under the disguise of sheep’s clothing President Obama has been a wolf. Because of the nightmare of the Bush presidency that preceded him, people forgave him a lot. He was a great hope for change. The color of his skin, the upbringing, the internationalism, the globalism, seemed all evident. And he is an intelligent man. He has taken all the Bush changes and basically put them into the establishment, he has codified them. That is what is sad. So we are going into the second administration that is living outside the law and does not respect the law and foundations of our system and he is a constitutional lawyer, you know. Without the law, it is the law of the jungle. Nuremburg (sic) existed for a reason and there was a reason to have trials, there is a reason for due process – ‘habeas corpus’ as they call it in the United States.
 
The Nuremberg Trials

The trouble a totalitarian, Orwellian State brings to its society is tragic. Look at North Korea today. Look at the Soviet Union in the 1960's and 1970's. Look at Germany in the 1930's and 1940's. Yes, let's look at Germany.

During Germany's existence as a nation, the killing of an innocent person was held to be murder based on Natural Law.  Murder was seen by the German courts prior to the 20th century as a crime against--as America's Founding Fathers put it--Nature and Nature's God. Then, political leaders in Germany acquired the political power in the 1930's and 1940's to change the laws regarding murder. When the Nazi government began executing undesirables, judges in Germany, rather than interpreting Natural Law which never changes, went along with the new German Political Law and their cult-like political leader (Adolph Hitler) and ruled that the extermination of undesirables was legal.

The judges in 1940's Germany ruled that the mentally incompetent could be killed by the State without the crime of murder being committed. Then, the  Gypsies and the Poles were marked for death by the totalitarian government of Germany and the courts went along. Finally, the Jews were marked for death by Hitler and millions were killed in extermination camps. When all was said and done, the German State had LEGALLY put to death over 11,000,000 people.

When the Allies won the war, the political, judicial and military leaders of World War II Germany were placed on trial in the city of Nuremberg. At the Nuremberg Trials, the Nazi defendents claimed they were innocent of wrongdoing because they had been following orders from the State and were within the laws of the state in their actions. Their claims were true! The Nazi judges, political leaders and military officers were acting within their nation's laws, but the prosecutors at Nuremberg eloquently argued that "there is a higher duty" than anything a State can impose on its citizens. The Nuremberg Trial judges agreed with the prosecution. They ruled:
"The fact that the defendants acted pursuant to the orders of their government shall not free them from responsibility."
The defendants were executed. The Nuremberg judicial decision is probably the most important legal decision of our time. However, governments that are moving toward an Orwellian State do their best to ignore or hide the signficance of Nuremberg. Interestingly, Oliver Stone mentions Nuremberg. He understands that (1). There is a Higher Law than that of any government's law, and (2). We are all obliged to obey this law, and that (3).judicial courts must seek out and enforce this Higher Law, not Political Law.

Hobby Lobby and the Orwellian United States Government

Oklahoma City based corporation Hobby Lobby is defying Obamacare. Hobby Lobby announced this week that they will not comply with a federal law that requires employee health care plans to provide insurance coverage for certain kinds of contraception that the firm's owners consider to be "abortion inducing drugs and devices." Hobby Lobby's announcement came after a federal court blocked Hobby Lobby's appeal of the consitutionality of Obamacare.

The front page of the paper to which we subscribe, the Daily Oklahoman, reported yesterday on Hobby Lobby's decision to defy the State's mandate. Hobby Lobby believes that the child within a mother's womb is a person, and that to encroach on that person's life for the purpose of killing it is murder. Hobby Lobby's officials are obeying a Higher Law and ignoring Political Law. However, the United States government is now acting just like the German government of the 1940's. Political Law of the State is replacing Natural Law.

Watch the US government's reaction to Hobby Lobby very closely. It would not be surprising to me if the fines against Hobby Lobby were increased into the millions and millions of dollars. It would also not be suprising to me that if Hobby Lobby continues its defiance of Obamacare in the years to come, the US Justice Department will move to imprison company officials. Those who are unfamiliar with history are destined to repeat history's mistakes. America is fast becoming 1940's Germany.

I recently wrote a post explaining why the Founding Fathers established the Second Amendment. Our forefathers believed in a government described by Abraham Lincoln as "of the people, by the people, for the people." In other words, if the State ever exalted itself above the people and established Political Laws that compel citizens to encroach on persons or their property (think of a child in a mother's womb), then it was the duty of a free people to overthrow the State, by force if necessary. This duty is founded on what our Founding Fathers called Higher Law or Natural Law.

I am not a political radical. I don't even consider myself a political conservative. I despise politics. I believe in liberty and freedom. It is a strange day in America when a Christian writer and amateur historian in Oklahoma finds agreement with a Hollywood film producer. I resolve in the foreseeable future to (1). Continue to write on the tragic slide of America into Orwellian statism, and (2). To shop at Hobby Lobby as much as possible.




71 comments:

Elisabeth D said...

Wow, Wade, I have been following the Hobby Lobby case to some extent, and have been concerned, but you have given me things to think about that I had not considered!
I noticed that the closest Hobby Lobby has changed hands to Competition Hobby; I hope that there is still at least one Hobby Lobby in the Tucson area. They deserve our business.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

Your words ring true for my country as well. These recent years have seen an acceleration in all of what Oliver Stone lists.

Our P.M., an avowed atheist, has an oft repeated phrase when asked why a decision is being made,"Because it is right!" Right for her totalitarian aims!

She claims that she and your President are "good mates". I wonder why?

Wade Burleson said...

Elizabeth D,

Good for you. Keep it up!

Wade Burleson said...

Aussie John,

Politics is the same in every nation. When the power moves from the people to the State, totalitarianism is the natural result--be it Australia, Britain or the United States.

Thanks for the comment!

Johnny D. said...

Fascinating, Wade. Thanks for putting this informative blog together.

Thy Peace said...

A good post. I would have to add that Republicans and Conservatives were/are hip deep in consort with Democrats in creating this Orwellian system. Kudos to everyone.

The one quibble with Hobby Lobby is this ...

Hobby Lobby was providing contraception in it's health plans prior to Obamacare required of it. So all along they were providing contraception in their healthcare plans and it only became a concern after Obamacare required of them to provide it.

Truth is very funny lot of times.

Wade Burleson said...

Thy Peace,

I think the issue with the Greens is not contraception but the "morning after pill" and other abortion medical services under health care.

By the way, I agree that Republicans and Democrats both share in the responsibility of what has occurred in the US.

Thanks for your comment!

Wade Burleson said...

Johnny D.

You are welcome!

Jay Emory said...

Very great post! Time to share..

stevenstarkmusic said...

Obamacare bends over backwards to provide access to health care while maintaining the status quo private insurance industry. The only way to do this is to use the methods pioneered by Massachusetts under Gov. Romney - an individual mandate to carry insurance. It's the only way to spread the risk enough in order to provide coverage to those with pre-existing conditions (among others). To ignore those who cannot access coverage right now is fundamentally unjust.

And if there is an individual mandate, then there must be standards for what constitutes adequate insurance. Access to birth control is part of this.

A private business cannot determine what constitutes adequate coverage. If it did, what about businesses owned by Jehovah's Witnesses? Would they be allowed to offer their employees insurance that didn't cover blood transfusions? What about businesses owned by Christian Scientists? Insurance that didn't cover hospitals or doctors? None of those would or should satisfy the individual mandate.

And remember, Hobby Lobby does not have to offer coverage at all if they don't want to, Then if an employee gets him/herself coverage on an exchange, Hobby Lobby pays a "shared responsibility" fee to compensate for that. It's something like $2,000 a year per employee. They could do that for all 1,300 of their employees and avoid the massive fines.

But Hobby Lobby does not get to decide what constitutes adequate coverage for its employees and dominate their health care decisions.


We can disagree on the individual mandate (though the only other way to achieve health care justice for our citizens is a single-payer or public option), or we can debate whether birth control is a basic part of health care. But to blow this up into some huge political philosophy makes little sense.

The reason Obamacare looks so "Orewellian" to some is precisely because it works so hard to maintain private business - it uses private business to accomplish health care justice rather than the public sector.

I may disagree with our decision to give subsidies to oil companies, but I don't accuse the government of being Orwellian. I accuse it of being wrong! But to live in a democracy means we don't always get our way and we ALL pay for things we wish we didn't have to.

stevenstarkmusic said...

Here is some info from the Mayo Clinic on the morning after pill, which is birth control. It does not end a pregnancy where a fertilized egg has been implanted. In fact, most evidence suggests it doesn't even keep an egg from implanting, but works by stopping ovulation since conception typically occurs quite a bit after sexual intercourse.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/morning-after-pill/MY01190/DSECTION=why%2Dits%2Ddone

Wade Burleson said...

Steven,

As always, appreciate your comments! Thanks for your thoughtful counter.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2013!

stevenstarkmusic said...

Another way to think of it:

The government buys lots of guns with the taxes that we all pay. But imagine that instead, the government required each individual to buy a gun and give it to the military. There would be cries of "Orwellian Government forcing us to buy guns!"

But it's all a shell game, as we are all buying guns everyday whether we like it or not.

It's the same with Obamacare. If the government just provided Medicare to all, people may disagree, but it wouldn't seem so strange.

That's the price for maintaining so much privatization in a public endeavor. But it's ironic that conservatives are using that preservation of private business as the basis for its criticisms.

Kristen said...

I honestly think that the comparison to Nazi Germany is over the top, and as such it not only makes the US look worse than it is, but it tends to devalue the pain and suffering of victims of the Nazi regime. Obamacare is not a concentration camp, and those who survived concentration camps would not appreciate the comparison.

I also wonder why there is so much reaction to government control and no reaction to corporate control whatsoever. Hobby Lobby executives have decided that they have the right to decide what health care their lowest-paid employees can have access to. The higher-paid employees who want this care will simply purchase it out of pocket anyway. If Hobby Lobby were to be consistent, it would police how all its employees use their paychecks and not allow anyone to use their Hobby Lobby paychecks to buy anything Hobby Lobby disapproves of. In what way is it better to have your boss become your conscience? If Hobby Lobby executives don't want to use the morning after pill, they shouldn't use it. Should they tell their minimum-wage clerk that she can't use it?

Wade Burleson said...

Kristen,

When the government mandates Hobby Lobby provide abortion pills and such to her employees--in violation of the principles of Hobby Lobby's executives--then the government is doing precisely what Nazi Germany did in the 1940's. I respect that the comparison to you may seem 'over the top.' For many of us who love history, cherish liberty, and think logically, the comparison is more than legitimate.

Victorious said...

I'm not a medical person, but as a first responder for sexual assault victims years ago, the morning-after pill was routinely administered to rape victims to prevent conception. It was given with the permission of the victim who obviously was concerned about the possibility of pregnancy as a result of the assault.

It's my understanding that it is a birth-control preventative measure as opposed to the abortion pill.

Europume 3959

Wade Burleson said...

Victorious,

The issue is not whether it is or isn't. You can debate whether it is or isn't till the cows come home.

The issue is the government is forcing Hobby Lobby, who believes the morning after encroaches upon and kills another human being, is being forced by the government to do something in good conscience THEY cannot morally do.

That's the issue.

Wade Burleson said...

In other words, even PRO-ABORTIONISTS should be concerned with the government's actions, because the issue is being forced BY THE GOVERNMENT to do something that violates one's moral conscience.

stevenstarkmusic said...

Happy New Year, Wade! And thanks for the comment, Kirsten.

1. Hobby Lobby is not even being required to provide insurance to their employees. There are other options for them, as mentioned. But they are choosing to try to define what adequate health insurance coverage is for their employees.

2. Obamacare regulates insurance - and therefore what constitutes adequate coverage. Hobby Lobby cannot satisfy the individual mandate for its employees by offering what is considered sub-standard insurance.

3. No one is being required to take the morning-after pill against their will.

I am curious if anyone thinks a business owned by a Jehovah's Witness should be allowed to satisfy the individual mandate by offering insurance that does not cover blood transfusions?

If the problem is with the individual mandate, then we can debate that. If it is with the morning-after pill being called birth control, we can debate that. But blowing this up into a question of religious liberty or a violation of personal conscience is going too far.

Once again, no individual is being required to buy or take the morning after pill. And if Hobby Lobby doesn't want to offer health insurance, because they disagree with what it covers, then they don't have to.

What Obamacare does is provide the possibility of justice to millions of Americans with health conditions. And it requires personal responsibility for every individual who can afford health insurance. Hospitals are required to save lives in emergency rooms, no matter who it is (thank God). But now there is no more skipping out on the bill.

We will also see a dramatic drop in bankruptcies due to health issues. An American without adequate access to health care lives in a state of diminished freedom. Obamacare will free millions from the fear of getting sick for financial reasons, and will treat millions more with preventative measures that should be taking advantage of by all in a country as wealthy as ours.

These are the true issues - more freedom and justice for all Americans. Hobby Lobby has other options. Millions of Americans do not. They are waiting desperately for 2014 to arrive.

Anonymous said...

Economic freedom is a precious and often violated right.

People should be free to pursue their own interests and to use their wealth to support and promote the things with which they agree.

I do not disagree with the idea that a society should provide a safety net to those in need, and that this often involves government action.

The government is already too involved in healthcare, way before the Affordable Care Act was passed.

Healthcare would be better, cheaper and more available if it had developed over the last 50 years like other aspects of the economy.

The cost curves on healthcare and higher education show more inflation than any other sectors of the economy. The reason? The pumping of billions of dollars into those systems by government. Insurance as a third party payer is also a problem. Regulations created to try and thwart this outcome in the healthcare world in the form of price controls etc. do not help.

According to a friend who is the former chief economist at the FTC, one can look at cost curves of 2 surgeries, that are essentially the same surgery - 1 covered by insurance and federal dollars, and 1 that is not covered, but paid for by private pay, to see the affect on cost.

Elective breast augmentation is not covered by insurance or government dollars. The cost curve over the years has gone down. Market pressure has assured that this surgery is available and affordable.

Breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy IS covered by insurance and government dollars. The cost curve over the years has gone up. Essentially the same surgery, but one that is not subject to market pressures.

Too be continued...

Louis

Anonymous said...

Another way to look at this is to just consider lunch in New York City. Almost everyone eats lunch in NYC. This is done through the completely free actions of millions of people who eat what they want to eat, when they want to eat, and pay the price they want to pay.

What would it take for the government to see that everyone in NYC eats lunch?

In one scenario, the government could take it over completely. The government would confiscate through taxes the money necessary to pull off the endeavor. It would hire thousands of people to deliver the food, cook the food distribute the food, make sure they everyone got what the government thought they should get. The government would decide on the menu. The times for eating. The cost.

In a less "government owned" scenario, but "government regulated" scenario, the government would commandeer the private sector to continue providing food.

But government regulators would still decide what is served, to whom, when it is served. It would just be done by regulation.

This would result in 3 things - less people actually getting good food, less freedom in the choice of food and when it is served, and higher prices, as the government funded the feeding would remove market pressure, resulting in food inflation.

Every time a free people, even in a free society such as the US, opt for a government solution, it results in a transfer of wealth from the private sector to the public sector for redistribution according to a plan, less freedom and bad results.

Over the last several decades, the US has continued to opt for solutions that are owned or run by government.

In other societies, this happens, too, on a bigger scale. Take Mexico or Venezuela, for example. The energy resources and delivery are owned by the government, not the private sector. Mexico has the government entity - Pemex. It would be like the U.S. congress running Exxon. Who on this blog wants that?

Anonymous said...

Here's the final comment in this stream -


So, we come to this situation - the Affordable Care Act. Is it any surprise that groups of bureaucrats now decide what private insurance should cover AND that there should be no choice in the matter?

Doesn't covering things like contraceptives make insurance more expensive?

There is no doubt that the Affordable Care Act is the latest in a series of bad decisions by the US political leadership.

The stated goal is to provide healthcare to people who cannot afford it. A good goal. We all know stories of how middle class families lose everything to illnesses that they did not chose, and for which they cannot get insurance.

The question is this - is there a better or more free way to provide healthcare in such situations than for the U.S. government to become a greater presence by trying to organize all of the healthcare options and choices for its citizens?

There is. One, for example, would be to tax the health insurance benefits that all people get - tax free. Take those funds and pay for the healthcare of the uninsured - through an expanded public health centers or the VA system, or through a public insurance option for the poor.

That is just one example. I am sure there are other options that do not involve either a massive takeover of the US health system or the massive regulation of the US health system.

This example is just the latest in a multitude of others where the promise of governmental confiscation of resources and the redistribution of same according to a government plan. This never works as well as advertised. But it is alluring.

The Soviet Union tried this for years. 5 year plans out the wazoo to try and boost agriculture and thus feed the poor. This resulted in more poverty and starvation in both the USSR and China than can be imagined.

China is growing now after decades of failure for allowing more freedom, not less.

I am not sure that I agree that Hobby Lobby should not find another legal option here.

I am not sure that I know all about the science here.

But the bigger issue is that too many people in the US believe that government ownership or coordination of things like healthcare will result in a more fair and efficient system.

The opposite is true. It's less fair, less efficient AND less free.

That's the point I hope the people can realize.

Louis

stevenstarkmusic said...

Another way to think of it:

What if I belong to a religion based on ancient Aztec practices? We need to ritually sacrifice one human life a year in order to maintain harmony with nature.

If the our government stops the sacrifice from occurring, are they violating my conscience in an immoral way? I want harmony with nature.

What if I belong to a religion that doesn't believe in seat belts for children? Is the government violating my conscience in an immoral way by requiring it?

So the issue IS the morning-after pill rather than religious liberty. That's what the discussion should be about.

Sara said...

Makes me wonder. If Hobby Lobby was owned by Muslims who wanted to dictate that their employees health care to only services that fit under their view of healthcare would you agree with that?

Hobby Lobby doesn't want to protect their religious rights, they want to force their religious beliefs on others, much like the Taliban does. Using the law (or your company) to dictate that others follow your religious beliefs puts you in the same league as those Muslim extremists who want to do the same thing with their religion.

stevenstarkmusic said...

Arguing about what should be done publicly and what should be done private in our society is always a relevant debate. Finding the right balance is difficult, and surely there is no perfect answer.

We must remember that many things the government does are not necessarily done inefficiently - rather they are naturally inefficient endeavors which is why the government does them. These are called public goods. Things like delivering mail to people living in extremely rural areas, or providing health care to the poor and the elderly. No business would seek to do these things on its own in the private sector.

Louis, the problem with your breast surgery analogy is that we are willing to allow people to go without breast augmentation who cannot afford it. But we are not willing to allow people to go without heart surgery who cannot afford it. Market pressures require leverage, the ability to walk away, and any moral approach to health care does not have that leverage on its side.

Another big reason that inflationary pressures have hit health care is because we cannot import it from another country. The US has suppressed wages for the middle and working class for decades. This can work if imported products get cheaper too. But things like health care and higher education continue to rise - and people continue to purchase them, because once again, they are not willing to walk away. Instead, we offer them debt. And they take it. So profits for the few continue to rise on the backs of the working many.

Thy Peace said...

I would like to clarify what I said on the Orwellian state of USA. It does not reflect on Obamacare. It focuses purely on the loss of Civil Liberties since 9/11. A good place to look at the commentary of the loss of Civil Liberties in USA since 9/11 is Glenn Greenwald's blog at The Guardian. Some sample posts ...

Obama's gift to al-Qaida, support for tyranny, and FBI monitoring of dissent

Newtown kids v Yemenis and Pakistanis: what explains the disparate reactions?

Bradley Manning: a tale of liberty lost in America

FBI's abuse of the surveillance state is the real scandal needing investigation

I understand most of the current Republicans/Conservatives/Democrats/Progressives may not agree with the above posts, but the loss of Civil Liberties in USA is undeniable.

stevenstarkmusic said...

One more brief comment, and I should probably let this comment stream rest (we'll see).

Wade is presenting the dichotomy of "political law vs. higher law".

But the problem is that we disagree on what properly constitutes higher law. I actually think that most people agree on the basics of this higher law. But when it is translated into practice, we disagree a lot.

So one side is not arguing for political law. Both sides are arguing for higher law. To deny this is to call one's opponent a liar, and to dehumanize him/her.

We should question each other's judgements and perhaps even our deep motivations (if done respectfully). But we shouldn't question that most people are seeking a better world, through their political and religious beliefs.

Therefore, the claim of higher law vs. political law is a red herring. It's actually "my version of higher law put into practice" vs. "your version of higher law put into practice."

Wade Burleson said...

Steven,

You write:

"What if I belong to a religion based on ancient Aztec practices? We need to ritually sacrifice one human life a year in order to maintain harmony with nature."

I think you know the difference between a human being taking a life and a human being saving a life.

If government demands you take a life, you oppose the government. If the government punishes the murder, then government is fulfilling enforcing Natural Law that no human being is to encroach on other persons or their property.

Your Aztec illustration doesn't wash.

Wade Burleson said...

Steven,

I don't disagree that we mostly agree on Higher Law:

"Do all you have agreed to do and do not encroach on other persons or their property."

That is the Higher Law.

Hobby Lobby is defining what is in the womb of a woman as a "person."

Others may not.

The issue is the government FORCING Hobby Lobby to provide for their employees abortion services that would take the life of a "person" (as defined by Hobby Lobby).

That's the issue.

Yes, other will disagree with Hobby Lobby's definition of a person. That's NOT the issue.

The ISSUE is "Can the government force a human being to encroach on another persos (i.e. "the baby in the womb").

Answer according to Higher Law?

NO

Wade Burleson said...

Louis,

Excellent comments.

stevenstarkmusic said...

Hi Wade,

Obviously I am not defending the misguided murder of an innocent and the crass utilitarianism displayed by the Aztec practitioner. I am showing that the government should interfere with certain acts of conscience.

Please take my other examples - for instance, a religion that doesn't believe in blood transfusions or even doctors for its children. Is this their right? Or is it child abuse? Is it OK for the government to violate their consciences and protect their children's health?

But this discussion is exactly right - the real questions should be - "is the morning-after pill birth control? Is birth control part of a woman's health care?"

The political law vs. higher law question isn't relevant because almost no person believes he/she is on the political side rather than the higher side.

stevenstarkmusic said...

A Jehovah's Witness may not want a blood transfusion for her child, because she believes it is a sin against God. Presumably, she assumes that her child will be better off maintaining God's requirements rather than accepting another's blood.

Should the government honor her act of conscience, which she believes to be in the best interest of her child - even if the child dies?

Kristen said...

Wade, you said:

The ISSUE is "Can the government force a human being to encroach on another person (i.e. "the baby in the womb").

If we agreed that this is what is going on here, of course we would agree that the answer should be "No."

But I just don't see how Hobby Lobby is being forced to abort anyone's child. That simply isn't what's going on.

Thy Peace said...

FDL > Dissenter >
Jacob Appelbaum on Resisting the Surveillance State

Anonymous said...

Steven:

Thanks for the good dialogue.

On the moral end, your questions relative to morality simply show the fact that all societies believe in a shared sense of right and wrong. Once that breaks down, the bonds of society are loosened and the culture is at risk.

Whether a society believes in or protects human sacrifice, allowing parents to deny life saving healthcare for children, abortion, plural marriage, pedophilia and other moral issues - and how religious freedom interfaces with that are unavoidable questions.

Even stately atheistic governments have a sense of good and evil that is imposed by law.

It is impossible for governments and societies to be morally neutral.

In the West, the Christian ethics are still pretty much the basis for morality upon which laws are built.

There are a few exceptions where the West is lurching back toward pagan beliefs, but the often unstated moral presumptions of Christianity (some of which are shared by other religions and some non-religious people) are the basic framework that is used to decide some of the moral questions you raise.

Louis

David Fraser said...

Thanks Stephen for a voice of reason in this blog and comment stream. The Orwellian fantasy about Obama and the current administration is a strange extrapolation. The Obama administration may be rather tone-deaf to the religious conservatives (and Catholics), but the comparisons made to Germany and the notion that we are anywhere close to a totalitarianism is simply false historically and factually. That those who claim to be "truth-tellers" indulge in this rhetoric is unfortunate.

Anonymous said...

Steven:

Also, thanks for your comments regarding economics.

But let me suggest that the fact that as a society we want cardiac surgery to be covered as part of a social safety net, and can tax people to cover it, is not justification for the massive regulation and government involvement in the healthcare choices of 300,000,000 over the last 50 years.

As I said, a tax could be imposed to covered basic healthcare for the poor without all of the rest of this.

But remember that even in the Affordable Care Act, the government will decide in certain cases what procedures a person can have. My mother is 77. Last year, she had a hip replacement. Eventually, we are headed to a situation where someone that age will be given a wheelchair because central planners will claim that it will be too expensive to allow that benefit. So, no system is perfect - allowing all the healthcare, even of life saving procedures, that anyone wants (e.g. heart and lung transplant at age 100,) But it would be better to let a free people decide with their own money what they want to spend it on.

Also, it is always the promise of people in love with central planning to claim that something is too complex, so the government must run it. That is an assertion that is simply untrue. You can assert it, but that doesn't make it true.

The example you give is the mail service.

Are you kidding?

Do you know how much the mail service lost last year? That is a failing business. I do not think that we want to hold that up as an example of anything.

Look at FedEx. Look at UPS. They are not failing. They had to fight to break the monopoly on package delivery, and look what happened when they did. That has brought more freedom to people's lives than just about anything.

I understand what public goods are in the economic sense. But public goods are non-rivalrous and non-excludable.

Healthcare is a public "good" (because it benefits the public), but it is not a public good in the economic sense because it is not rivalrous or excludable.

The delivery of non-public goods through central planning is a most inefficient thing. And it leads to less freedom.

What's wrong with letting people have economic freedom, as much as possible.

As we do in education (except for the failing public system), food purchasing, housing, transportation.

All of the failures in these areas comes through government intervention and central planning.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Stephen:

I forgot to mention something that I would like your opinion on.

A few years ago, our state passed a lottery to fund higher education.

I was in favor of the lottery, in that it was a voluntary tax. I say if people want to pay a tax, that's fine by me.

But the question is whether in the long run the lottery actually helped people go to college.

The lottery award is about $4000 a year, I believe.

So, did the $4000 award to all students who maintain a certain GPA in high school, make college $4000 cheaper?

Or, did the $4000 subsidy put the cost of college on an inflationary curve that is greater than it would have been otherwise, such that college costs eventually eat up the lottery scholarship?

I would be interested in your thoughts on this.

And remember, the 2 ares where the government has been most involved in the economy - healthcare and higher education, have the highest inflationary curves.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Louis

Wade Burleson said...

Kristen,

You write: "But I just don't see how Hobby Lobby is being forced to abort anyone's child. That simply isn't what's going on."

They (Hobby Lobby) is forced through the government medical plan to provide the morning after pill that takes the life of the baby--life as defined by Hobby Lobby--and the government is demanding Hobby Lobby redefine its definition of life in order to comply (to fit the governments) or TAKE A LIFE (as defined by Hobby Lobby).

Thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

Jesus established the principles whereby His followers should handle the tension of their dual citizenship, saying they were in the world, but not of the world.
"Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12:17). When the early disciples had to make a choice, they said: "We ought to obey God, rather than men (Acts 5:29). They recognised a higher court of accountability. Our American, Canadian and Australian friends could be well on the way to suffering persecution for their beliefs,if it is true that the Gospel can be preached more freely in Russia or in some Moslem countries to-day. God has always chosen suffering to prove and to prepare His people to take up their eternal inheritance. Be strong in the Lord, brothers and sisters in Christ !

Gordon.

Kristen said...

Wade, you wrote:

"They (Hobby Lobby) is forced through the government medical plan to provide the morning after pill that takes the life of the baby--life as defined by Hobby Lobby--and the government is demanding Hobby Lobby redefine its definition of life in order to comply (to fit the governments) or TAKE A LIFE (as defined by Hobby Lobby)."

But Steven Stark says:


"And remember, Hobby Lobby does not have to offer coverage at all if they don't want to, Then if an employee gets him/herself coverage on an exchange, Hobby Lobby pays a "shared responsibility" fee to compensate for that. It's something like $2,000 a year per employee. They could do that for all 1,300 of their employees and avoid the massive fines."

So if Hobby Lobby has the choice to not provide coverage at all, no one is forcing them to provide the morning after pill to anyone. According to this newspaper article, if an employer with over a certain number of employees wants to opt out, they pay a "penalty" which is actually lower than the actual cost of employee coverage. http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/16262946-418/with-obamacare-now-the-reality-employers-choose-strategies.html

This really doesn't look like an Orwellian situation.

It seems to me that what Hobby Lobby is doing is choosing to defy the government for reasons of their own. Of course they can do that, but this seems to me to be a political battle, not a moral one.

Kenneth E. Hines said...

Thank you for your post. Ron Paul has been saying these things for years. You say you hate politics which is understandable. However, a new "political" alignment has been developing for a while now. No longer is it Dems vs GOP. It is liberty vs the state. Jonah Goldberg's book "LIberal Fascism" demonstrates the close parallel between modern progressives and fascist Germany. Rep. Paul summed up our current battle for liberty well in his farewell address to Congress here: http://kenhin.es/U0omao May God raise up more like him!

I look forward to your future posts on these issues.

stevenstarkmusic said...

Great discussions here. I appreciate the dialogue.

Louis, I agree with your points on morality. I don't see the West being built completely on Christian ethics, I also see a lot of the humanist enlightenment in our system, but Christianity has definitely played a big role.

But if morals are real, meaning they benefit individuals and societies, then we will discover them eventually, whatever system we use to "explain" them.

But yes, all political law is an attempt to put higher law into practice.

As to the Affordable Care Act, there are specific laws in place to keep the government from rationing health care. And previous to ACA, health care was rationed in insurance board rooms, where decisions about life and death were made everyday in order to facilitate profit.

In a "free market" system, health care will be rationed by prices. And that is fine for cars and cell phones, but it is deeply immoral for access to health care - which I describe as the right to life!

As to mail service, you are missing my point which is that the government does not seek a profit! If it made a profit it would be a tax on us all! And delivering mail to rural areas is a very inefficient thing to do, which is why the postal service was established - to facilitate communication as a public good. No company can make money doing daily deliveries to extremely rural communities without charging an arm and a leg.

Also, there are issues with the extreme amounts of funding the postal service is required to put into its retirement program, but that's another issue.

And I stick with my points about the reasons that health care and higher education are so inflationary - it's because we want people to have access to them! We are not willing to allow folks to go without - because we are still a moral society.

The second someone dies of heart failure, because she could not afford a bypass, we have deeply failed.

There are a myriad of other reasons why these things are so inflationary - the inability to manufacture them abroad, depressed wages for workers, bad incentives to drive up costs, etc. but that's another issue.

I might mention that Medicare costs to cover beneficiaries have risen 400% since 1969. That is too much. But private insurance premiums have risen 700% over the same period.

You also mention transportation - the government builds roads and monitors traffic. Food purchasing - there are giant government subsidies driving prices down. We could go on and on.

Finding the right balance is difficult however, and I am definitely an advocate for market-based solutions in most areas. But health care coverage and education are way too vital to be left to for-profit entities.

David Fraser, thanks for the encouragement!

stevenstarkmusic said...

Louis,

As to your example on higher education, it still goes back to the same point. We want people to have access to it.

Inflation is caused when too many dollars chase too few products. When the price rises, people can stop purchasing, but we don't want people to stop purchasing higher education - there is no leverage -so the price rises.

I think your argument is akin to this health care argument - "I don't want more people to have access to health care, because it will make the line longer." If we will just show health care providers that we are willing to go without, and perhaps die, then maybe they'll fire some administrative staff and cut costs.

But we can't do that.

There are many reasons why the cost of higher ed keeps rising so quickly - they are trying to get as much as they can from rich folks, and then offer scholarships to everyone else - kind of a "coupon" system meant to game the demand/supply system. There's the ever increasing emphasis on sports, technology, student perks, health care for employees, etc.

And yet we still want people to be able to go - I realize this is a difficult problem, but we have to find solutions that don't deny those who can't afford it. Doctors get really grumpy when Medicare tries to lower their payments (lowering costs) - one person's cost savings is another person's lost income. Lowering costs means lowering profits and that is tricky business.

But we have to accept that we don't have the leverage to walk away.

stevenstarkmusic said...

Kristen,

Thanks for your excellent, to-the-point statements!

Anonymous said...

Steven:

Thanks.

I agree that the Enlightenment plays a big role in the morality of our current society. In some ways, that is not inconsistent with the Christian faith at all.

In other ways, it is negative.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Steven:

I cannot believe what you are saying.

I am not suggesting a heartless approach at all.

I don't believe that people can name a non-public good that is not delivered more efficiently by the market than by government.

You assert, without proof, that healthcare is different in terms of a good or a service. You have not demonstrated that it is different beyond asserting it.

You assume that because there are inequities in the delivery system as it exists today, that a market based system is bad. But remember that we do not have a market based system, or anything close to it, even now.

I have not said that we don't need a safety net. I am for helping to provide food, housing, healthcare to the poor. I don't know why you keep ignoring that.

I do not support providing healthcare to all US citizens through a centralized plan. History and world experience show that providing non-public goods by a centralized plan is not a good idea.

You also assert that you have the right commandeer people's private property to accomplish a moral good that you would like to see accomplished - medical and education are the 2 you have mentioned and that justifies a centralized plan.

Other than the assertion, I have not seen any information that supports that.

In fact, public education is not looked upon with admiration in this country.

Why do you assume healthcare will be different?

But food and housing are also important. Food is probably more primary than healthcare, because if a person doesn't have food, there is no need for healthcare.

By your rational, it would make sense for the government to deliver food and housing according to a centralized plan.

I submit that you care.

I do not submit that you are thinking very clearly about it, however.

If you have some real world examples, I would be interested in examining them.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Steven and all:

While I would not personally draw some of the same conclusions that the blog host does, what this post shows is that as governments grow large and take over areas of the economy and people's lives, they have the opportunity to act in fascist ways.

A small government has a very hard time acting in a fascist manner because most of life's choices are left up to the free decisions of the people in the society.

The government provides a police force and courts to enforce the law etc.

But history has shown that abuses occur when government becomes large and tries to run the lives of its citizens.

Many people believe that abuse occurs in these situations because the specific actors or states had bad people running them.

Truth be told, abuse usually occurs when the plan doesn't work, and the planners react by forcing it to work.

This takes many different forms - from people who were forced by the Soviets to give up their land for collective farming and agricultural ventures, to the small slights that people face in Great Britain under the British Health Services that often come in the form of long lines and conditions that are not treated fully or properly.

Louis

stevenstarkmusic said...

Louis,

I certainly don't think you advocate a heartless approach - I'm sorry if it came across that way! What I am saying is that without some central planning, there would be heartless consequences, whether we like them or not.

I have named healthcare as a public good that we cannot let folks go without. Food is similar, and we subsidize that. Under Obamacare, we are not giving people healthcare any more than we give people food. We are trying to provide reasonable access to healthcare (like we do food).

If food was out of reach for millions of AMericans, you better believe the government would intervene. Luckily the private/public hybrid we have now mostly works. Private businesses make the food. Farmers are subsidized to insure that can stay in business and don't convert their fields to into housing additions. The public sector builds transportation infrastructure to provide the food....etc.

This reminds me a lot of the hybrid system Obamacare is striving towards.

You are absolutely right that we do not have a market-based healthcare system right now. Too true. Doctors don't even know how much their services cost. Nor do patients!

I favor offering Medicare to all US residents, but that is not the issue here. Obamacare does not ration healthcare or filter it through a centralized means of distribution. There are specific points in the law which prohibit that.

You are right that I do think reasonable access to healthcare and education are human rights. Therefore justice demands that we provide that to all citizens.

Public education is another topic. I deeply believe in it and there are many parallels - for instance the public school system must accept all students. It cannot turn away those with disabilities like a charter or private school can. But once again, this is another issue.

stevenstarkmusic said...

Louis,

I would argue that the British health care system is underfunded (they spend half as much as we do as a percentage of GDP). Since my deductible is $10,000, I would rather get most sicknesses in GB than here.......

But to your more broad point, I generally agree. We should always be on the watch for the erosions of freedom and the rent-seeking of the few private individuals who over-influence the public and private sector.

I would offer, however, that "small" government is a relative term. Small compared to what? We need an adequate amount of public, cooperative effort - but we certainly don't want to get too much in the way of creative individuals! Absolutely not.

So "large" or "small" government is too relative. We should discuss what the appropriate level of governance is.

Thy Peace said...

Esquire [Charles Pierce]SHOULD AULD CIVIL LIBERTIES BE FORGOT
Of course, while everyone in Washington, and the courtier press that serves them, were endlessly droning on and on about the Gentle Fiscal Incline, the Bill Of Rights closed out 2012 by having one of the worst weeks it's had in the two centuries of its existence. But the courtier press paid that little mind, possibly because selling out the Bill Of Rights was done on a "bipartisan" basis, and the denizens of the various Green Rooms would endorse cannibal murder if both parties agreed to subsidize it.

Steve InDixie said...

When I hear the self-appointed limiters of others' roles, I wonder if they've never been around female scientists and mathmeticians able to solve things we couldn't imagine tackling. Having been there, I can't imagine The Almighty having anything to do with these plottings.

Greetings from Ky. Go, Cats!

Steve InDixie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks, Steven. I respect your thoughts very much.

I agree with the government providing what economists call "public goods", which are non-rivalrous and non-exlcudable.

When the government provides non-public goods, it usually does so to protect some well-placed constituency or to promote some political self interest.

No government is perfect, which I am sure we both agree on.

A government that is "too big" is one that has resorted to providing non-public goods.

Governments build roads. All for that, but even then graft abounds. Where roads are built, who builds them - all are influenced by connections with politicians.

But just because the government builds a road, doesn't mean that it is "partnership" with every business.

I also believe in regulation. Food safety, for example, is a good one, so long as it is reasonable. But that still doesn't mean that government is providing food for people.

Farming subsidies are some of the worst abuses that abound. Many people opposed these from the beginning. The Agriculture Administration was the first of the New Deal administrations to be riddled with young communists and socialists who liked what Stalin was doing with his 5 year plans in the USSR.

Farming has changed so much. It is just more efficient for large companies to do it nowadays.

But the subsidies should end. Especially the ones for Ethanol, which pays ADM and other well placed corn farmer conglomerates billions.

And don't get me started on the constant drum for an "Energy Plan." The US gov't would do good to oversee the energy industry fairly, but not become a player in it.

Finally, one thing that you said is probably a key to our differences. When I say something is a "right", it means that the government can use force to ensure that it is given to another.

So, our Founders in the US said that rights were - life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, freedom of religion, speech, association, the press, due process, equal protection under the law, the freedom to contract.

It is instruction that neither the Declaration nor the Constitution even mention food, healthcare, education, let alone calling them rights.

The government should intervene and use force if people are being denied life, liberty, freedom of religion, speech, association, due process etc.

But if someone is malnourished or uneducated, the government does not have the right to use force to remedy that situation, as tragic, as that might be.

That is because those things are not rights in the US legal system.

They are rights in the communist and other collectivist societies, and so those governments use force to try and guarantee those things.

It's not that the founders of the US were stupid or uncaring. But they understood the proper limits of government. And they knew that a free people would deliver these services in a free society.

Would the distribution be perfect? No. But no system is perfect.

I have read that the literacy rate in the US was above 90% prior to the Civil War. So something was working well.

At any rate, it may sound like I am a nut and am against all government. I am not.

I simply believe that when government gets involved in the provision of non-public goods, and develops a central plan for the delivery of same, that government is expanding in way that is inefficient and will not work better than letting people have freedom to work these things out.

And when government does that, watch out. Because that is where government will become abusive.

I think that is what Wade was driving at with his post.

We are so far down the road on government intervention in healthcare that it is almost impossible to see a free market solution.

But here are some things that I think would help.

Louis

Anonymous said...

One point:

the morning after pill is definitely not "health care."

Either it is contraceptive at best or abortifacient at worst.

Pregnancy is not a disease.

Linda

Anonymous said...

Here are some recommendations:

All people to purchase health insurance that is really catastrophic and doesn't cover everything. Insurance is too expensive because it covers too much. Just think if your auto insurance covered tire replacements, oil changes, and gasoline. But auto insurance covers only major items. That's how health insurance should be.

I would not allow states to give Blue Cross and other major players preferred treatment through regulation.

I would allow insurance companies to compete across state lines.

I would not allow the AMA or other groups to severely restrict or limit entrance into medical schools.

There is no reason that doctors cannot be trained at for-profit institutions like nurses and paralegals are being trained. If the market for becoming a doctor were much more free and open, we would have more doctors.

What would happen if the number of doctors in the US doubled or tripled in the next 10 years?

I would relax rules about where medical services could be provided. I know of churches in communities that would love to open up their facilities for low cost or free routine visits for community doctors who are retired etc. There are other options, as well.

I would make sure that drug companies that develop wonder drugs were allowed to keep as much of the profits as possible. That will insure continued R&D and the chance of greater profits.

The most and greatest developments in the world in the last 30 years have come in the computer industry. With very little "help" from the government or regulation, an industry sprang up. It has impacted everyone.

This industry, as much as any other, has benefited from the pressures of the market. Computers, cell phones, tvs etc. have all been developed without government help or a central plan.

Almost everyone owns a cell phone?

How did that happen without the Kennedy-Dole cell phone act of 1995?

It happened through taking away AT&T's preferred status, and government leaving the computer industry alone.

As one person has written, if government had been involved, there would still be only 1 type of cell phone. It would be the size of briefcase. It would be lime green. And it would only work within a 5 mile radius.

But the increasing innovation, simplicity and declining cost is amazing.

I truly believe that if the healthcare industry had been allowed to develop like that, we could walk into the equivalent of a store like the Apple store. We could walk to the genius counter, step into a box, go through as scan, have a report issued, and it would cost $50.

We are seeing some innovation in the healthcare industry, but not nearly enough.

Instead of going more the private route, we are allowing one basic situation - chronic illness and major organ issues, and the inability of small percentage of people to pay for that (not to get it - people get the care - the cost is just spread across the paying population) to drive the entire equation. And that is pushing us toward a full blown, centrally planned system, which is more reminiscent of the thinking of 1940 than today.

I appreciate your listening. Have a Happy New Year.

God bless.

Louis

stevenstarkmusic said...

Hi Louis!

I am sure there is much on which we agree! There is no perfect system, and whichever way we go, things will "work out". It's just always a question of what the humanitarian consequences will be.

As Keynes famously said, "The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again."

I would argue the same for the free market in general. It's a powerful tool that will take care of things one way or another, but we owe it to ourselves to guide that invisible hand just a bit.

And you are right that we tend to dis-incentivise good health and efficient ways of curing people. However the private sector is in the same boat. Drug-makers', hospitals', etc. bottom lines depend on a sick society. And drug makers spend far more on advertising than R&D these days.

I hope that your vision of a "Star Trek tricorder" diagnosis machine is in our near future!

I was more defending farm subsidies in theory rather than practice. In times of drought, it would be downright dangerous to allow many farmers to sell their land to developers, for instance. Quick riches today can't be allowed to threaten our food supply for tomorrow. I refer back to Keynes' quote. Some "creative destruction" can have terrible consequences.

Also off-topic, but I don't know that big farming is so efficient when we consider the consequences of the methods. It may be a lot more efficient in the long run to produce more food locally and organically if we factor in everything (dependence on fossil fuels for fertilizer and transportation, destruction of habitats and animal species by giant farming methods, the devastation of diversity among types of crops raised, etc.)

Finally, I'll just say that I think reasonable access to food and healthcare falls firmly under a "right to life." If we have the means, but don't provide access to everyone, then we are denying that right.

But I find it encouraging that we both seem to argue from the point of view of what a proper balance of things is, rather than the "slippery-slope, all-or-nothing" ways we see too often in "discussions."

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Couple of issues with your post:

1. Who is forcing anyone to take abortion pills? Seems to me that the employee would still have to choose to ask for this medical service. After all this is a legal medical service whether you like it or not.

2. Underlying much of your argument is that there is a Natural or Higher Law. Let me guess the source of this law... I am very happy to be free to not believe in a higher power. After all, whose god and or standard on which can we base this natural law. For example, we could use it to justify public stoning for adultery -- that probably squares with someone's definition of natural law.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Higher law is simple:

"Do all you have agreed to do and do not encroach on other persons or their property."

You can believe Mickey Mouse as your saviour, your grey matter as your god, or any number of Greek or Roman gods and you STILL have HIGHER LAW.

Think, my friend. You do not want anybody telling you what to believe and forcing you to believe something you don't want to believe.

You, kind anonymous sir, have just advocated Higher Law, and you don't even know it.The government is forcing Hobby Lobby to supply abortion pills. Hobby Lobby no more wishes to be encroached on in this area as you in the area of religion.

Go, and be blessed in your atheism, but know you believe in Higher Law as much as the next man and your comment proves it.

Rex Ray said...

Wade…Good Post on Natural Law vs. Political Law.

Would this be an example of “The invasion of personal privacy”?

Last week, I received a letter from the Census of Agriculture stating “YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW”.

It has 24 pages of questions ranging from how many chickens and eggs produced to farm machinery and operator’s age and sex. It even asked if internet was used and which of 7 services.

I’m surprised it didn’t ask “indoor or outdoor toilet’?

How good will Government health care be? Look at the VA, I know they’ve helped a lot of people, but this is how they helped me:

For two years x-rays revealed my left knee had bone on bone and I asked for a knee replacement but the VA kept stalling until my right knee hurt more than my left.
I could hardly walk. The VA doctor said both needed to be replaced, but I was sent 3 months of pain medicine to try and if it didn’t work, they’d try another medicine.

I didn’t take the medicine, and paid to have them replaced by a hospital, The VA keeps billing $300 because I’ve refused to pay for their medicine.

The picture of my wife and I no longer represents our 55 years together because two days after Christmas she met the One we celebrate.

stevenstarkmusic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stevenstarkmusic said...

I wasn't clear in my last comment:

I don't think we have an argument necessarily against the existence of higher law (or moral law) from anonymous.

We have an argument that the term "higher law" is not very useful, as it can refer to different things. The grand majority of folks are arguing from their heartfelt morals.

We need to be arguing about what the right thing to do is, not creating extra layers of rhetoric.

Lee said...

A lot of what you have listed regarding the "Orwellian" character of the Obama Administration comes from the rumor mill and not the fact checkers. I would say that it is no more, or no less, "Orwellian" than any of the previous administrations going back at least as far as FDR. The comparison with Nuremberg is apples to oranges.

I appreciate the convictions of the ownership of Hobby Lobby. But in order to be in business, they have already complied with a myriad of government policy and regulation to ensure that their employment practices are fair. They cannot discriminate in hiring. They are obligated to pay at least a minimum wage. And they must realize, in the course of hiring hundreds of employees, that some of them will not share their personal, Christian convictions.

Their compliance with government regulation as a business and an employer, does not in any way diminish the faithfulness of their Christian testimony, nor does it take away from the way they conduct their business, which reflects, in virtually every way, their Christian faith. The way they run their company, and especially the way they treat their employees, speaks volumes about their beliefs, and I wish them success and hope they continue to have this opportunity for years to come.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex Ray,

I heard about your wife's death and sent you an email from my wife and me. For some reason, it bounced back and you did not receive it (I do not know if I had a poor email address or not).

Nevertheless, please know of our prayers for you and your family.

And, yes, the government has definitely intruded on your privacy.

Loren H. said...

Rex,

I'm sorry to hear about your wife. I lost mine 12 years ago. The memories will be painful for a while, but then they will be sweet again. May God bless you.

Loren

Victorious said...

Rex Ray,

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your wife.

Mary Ann

stevenstarkmusic said...

Rex Ray,

I know we have had some good arguments in the past, but I want you to know that I always enjoy reading your stories and that you and your family are in my prayers.

Steven

Rex Ray said...

It’s hard to reply other than thanks.

Before we married I only saw Belle’s mother at her funeral. During the last days of a six year disease, the name that Belle called so often was “Mother”.

Loren…I believe memories become sweeter as we get closer to heaven.

Anonymous said...

Steven:

Been gone a few days. Thanks for following up and the good thoughts.

Look forward to chatting again in the future.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray:

I am sorry to hear of your wife's passing. I know that your close relationship to the Lord will be of great comfort during this time of loss.

You are in my prayers. God bless.

Louis

Anonymous said...

I'm a "market participant" in US Equities. This afternoon, I completed the continuing education requirement for licensing.
I was reminded just how invasive the new financial rules are. Under the guise of "Anti- Money Laundering," that could support terrorism, EVERYONE is supposed to submit a "Suspicious Activity Report," or SAR, when any of a growing list of formerly private situations are encountered.
But what is even more chilling, is that even lawyers, accountants, etc., are FORBIDDEN, under penalty of "law," to ever reveal that a report was ever made.
You must be reported simply opening an account and hesitating to reveal the full history of the funds. It's chilling.
All under the guise of "protecting the homeland." Sounds familiar.