Based upon the suggestions from a number of Republican activists and my own further reflections on the proposal I set fort a month ago, I have made some changes here. The major one is the creation of the section entitled "Reaffirmation of the Principle of Federalism", which combines the previous two sections entitled "Reaffirmation of States' Rights" and "Texas State Sovereignty" due to each dealing with issues of state powers and federal limits under the Tenth Amendment. It also removes the term "States' Rights", which for better or for worse has historical connotations not intended by the plank where it was used.In light of the Hobby Lobby decision and Democrat efforts to undercut statutory protections of religious liberty, I added language supporting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. There are also a few stylistic changes as well.
We, the Republican Party of Texas, affirm our belief in nature's God and declare our support for government based upon a moral and spiritual foundation. We affirm freedom for every individual as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and protected by the Constitution. We believe that citizens' needs are best met through free enterprise, private initiative, and volunteerism. We support the “Rule of Law” and believe in upholding the law of the land.
THE PROPER ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
We believe government exists by the consent of the governed and that it must be restrained from intruding into the freedoms of its citizens. The function of government is not to grant rights, but to protect the unalienable, God-given rights of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.
REAFFIRMATION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF FEDERALISM
The 13 original Sovereign States in Constitutional Convention created the Constitution of the United States of America and subsequently ratified that document creating a Federal Government and granting to that Government limited and enumerated powers. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States defines Federal powers as those enumerated in the Constitution and reserves all other powers to the States and to the People. We oppose congressional, judicial, and executive abrogation of the principle that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. We oppose unreasonable and intrusive federal mandates.
We recognize the rights of the individual to own property. We resist any effort by government to take private property without an overwhelming need for public use. We strongly oppose civil forfeiture of private property absent the conviction of its owners for a crime involving its acquisition or use.
ETHICS AND STANDARDS
We demand honesty, integrity, morality, and accountability of our public officials. We will work to expose and stop corruption. We reject the buying and selling of endorsements in all elections.
NATIONAL SECURITY AND PUBLIC PROTECTION
We support a military force of sufficient strength and readiness to deter any threat to our national sovereignty or to the safety and freedom of our citizens. We support the Constitutional mandate to protect and secure our national borders. We oppose placement of United States troops under any foreign command, including the United Nations. We support lawful efforts of local law enforcement agencies to protect citizens in their homes and in their communities. We urge reform of the legal system to accomplish a swift and balanced administration of justice, including consideration of rights of the victim. We support capital punishment when appropriate.
We support the individual constitutionally protected natural right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes. We encourage personal responsibility for the care and use of these firearms. We support the Castle Doctrine and the right of individuals to stand their ground when confronted with criminal violence, and reject the notion that law-abiding citizens have a duty to retreat rather than defend themselves from criminals.
FREEDOM OF RELIGION
We claim freedom of religion for every citizen and expect the protection of government in securing to us this unalienable right. We affirm the right to religious expression, including prayer, in both private and public. We support the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
We recognize the traditional family as the fundamental unit of society. We affirm that parents have the fundamental right and primary responsibility to direct the upbringing of their children and to provide nurturing care, discipline and training in moral values.
RIGHT TO LIFE
We believe all human life is sacred regardless of age or infirmity, and therefore we oppose abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the public funding of any of these abhorrent practices. We reject government efforts to force employers to pay for these practices directly or indirectly under the guise of "health care benefits".
We believe that the primary responsibility for meeting basic human needs rests with the individual, the family, and the voluntary charitable organizations. We recognize, however, that there are special social needs that must be addressed through state human service programs. We support requiring welfare recipients to work towards self-sufficiency. We reject the notion that the federal government may mandate the purchase of any insurance product or penalize the failure to do so, as well as federal regulation of insurance products offered for sale.
We recognize the contributions made to our quality of life through ethnic diversity. We reject efforts to sanitize history because it offends some based upon race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.
We believe that no individual is entitled to rights that exceed or supersede the natural rights of others guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Texas. There shall be no discrimination by government in favor of or against any individual due to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
We believe that all children should have access to quality education. Parents have the primary right and responsibility to educate their children, and we support their right to choose public, private, or home education. We support incentives to promote competitive excellence. We encourage cooperative initiatives to help all Texans become literate in English. We support the distribution of educational funds in a manner that they follow the student to any school, whether public private, or home school. We reject federal imposition of educational standards and the tying of federal education funding to adopting federally mandated standards. We reject zero tolerance policies that mindlessly impose punishments that lack a rational relationship to the supposed offense.
We accept the necessity for limited taxation in order for government to perform and administer those services that meet essential public needs. However, we recognize that the power to tax is also the power to control, and believe that the best way to control government is to strictly control the amount of taxes imposed on the people. We encourage further simplification of tax systems, the elimination of the estate tax, and broad-based rate reduction where possible. We reject the imposition of a state income tax and support a meaningful cap on increasing property taxes so that homeowners need not fear being taxed out of their homes.
We recognize that government regulation can be a major impediment to productivity and to competition. We must rely more on market forces and less on government. Regulatory power now exercised by the federal government must be eliminated or returned to state and local governments to the degree that it is practical to do so.
We believe that a strong, diversified economy based on a positive work ethic, a well-trained and well-educated work force, a business-friendly environment, and safe work place will help Texas compete in a world market place. We believe that developing our human resources is essential to the future of Texas. We support the Texas Right to Work Law.
We appreciate the quality of our environment. Our air, water, and land are at the heart of our existence and must be protected through balanced management. We support reasonable laws and volunteer efforts to improve air and water quality. We continue to seek responsible solutions to controversies surrounding uses of our wilderness. We seek to preserve the environment while serving the best interests of our Texas citizens. We oppose as unconstitutional the declaration by any President without approval from Congress of any large tract of land as a national monument. We call on the State of Texas to use the resources at its disposal to challenge any such declaration in the courts of the United States.
The jury is a fundamental institution of liberty, because it is the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution. The jury has the right and the authority to acquit if jurors feel justice will be served.
America is a stronger and better nation because of the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of legal immigrants, and the Republican Party honors them. We believe that control of our borders is critical to both national security and national sovereignty.
We oppose illegal immigration and all forms of amnesty for illegal immigrants. We oppose granting government benefits to those illegally present in the US. We believe that current laws against employing illegal immigrants should be vigorously enforced, particularly to stem the now too common crime of identity theft in obtaining employment. We support the imposition of civil and criminal penalties for employers that knowingly employ illegal aliens. We support the mandatory use of E-Verify so that employers can determine whether job applicants are legally entitled to employment in the United States.
The Republican Party is a party by the people and for the people. We appreciate the productivity of our citizens, affirm the infinite worth of all individuals, and seek the best possible quality of life for all. We invite all citizens to join us in working together for a better Texas.
CROSSPOSTED AT Texas GOP Platform Reform Project.
Next time you hear someone say that Islam is a tolerant religion or that it does not allow for coercion in religious matters, point this one out to them.
Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Saad Sirop of Baghdad has confirmed a troubling report from Mosul that the Islamic State is now presenting Christians in that city with a final ultimatum of conversion, subservience or death.
According to sources known to Aleteia, but kept anonymous due to security concerns, a number of mosques in the city of Mosul, and through loudspeakers, called on Christians Friday to leave the city. They said they were doing so because bishops had refused to attend a meeting this week with members of the Islamic State in which the new rulers would dictate terms to the Christians: pay a special tax or convert to Islam.
Christians have until tomorrow to leave, or face execution.
That is the way it goes in Muslim countries -- Christians can submit, convert, or die. And sometimes they are left only the latter two options.
So, Dan, what is your solution to this alleged problem?
Statement from Dan Patrick on the use of Common Core in AP US HistoryHOUSTON – Today, Dan Patrick, Texas State Senator and Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor, issued the following statement on the use of Common Core in AP US History in Texas.
“Common Core is a threat to our state's high-quality education standards. As State Senator, I carried H.B. 462, which was signed into law in June 2013, to keep Common Core out of Texas. I also asked Attorney General Greg Abbott to issue an opinion against the use of Common Core in Texas. In this opinion he agreed that the intent of H.B. 462 was to prohibit the outright adoption of the national Common Core standards.”
“Today, I applaud SBOE Member Ken Mercer and his efforts to fight Common Core. Ken is leading the charge to prevent Common Core from being brought back into Texas classrooms via a backdoor through the Common Core aligned AP US History exam. As Lt. Governor, I will fight to ensure that Texas continues to educate students with our own high-quality standards, rather than national mandates pushed by special interests.”
Interestingly enough, Dan Patrick does not offer an explanation of what is wrong with the AP exam beyond vague invocations of "Common Core". For that matter, Dan doesn't offer any explanation of what he thinks are wrong with the Common Core standards for US History. Nor does he offer a solution for the alleged problem. Is it his intent to make the teaching of AP US History -- or administering the exam -- illegal in the state of Texas because it is "contaminated" with Common Core?
By the way -- I've taken a quick look at what appear to be the Grade 11 & 12 Common Core standards for Social Studies. Their requirements are similar to the requirements of US History TEKS 29, 30, 31, and 32 in terms of the skills required. So I'm curious -- what is the real objection here? Does Dan Patrick really expect the College Board to use the standards adopted by the state of Texas -- as opposed to the standards in effect in over 40 other states -- to write its standards and examination?
Here's the reality -- the College Board is not going to roll over and submit to the demands of one state -- or even ten -- when their standard are different from what the rest of the country uses. And unless Dan Patrick and the anti-Common Core crowd want to deny Texas students the ability to get college credit for their high school coursework, they are going to have to accept that the exams will be use Common Core standards as a part of their template.
I would have ignored the following email, but for the fact it came in the form of an email blast from the allegedly defunct Denise Pratt campaign.
SCANDAL: Republicans throw local conservative judge under the bus
"Deals" struck behind closed doors - attorneys plot to profit from child abuse cases
The Republican primary season in Harris County is one of the most contentious and vicious in recent memory. It is made all the more sanguine by the fact that Republicans joined forces with Democrats in several key family court races to depose sitting pro-family judges or put transparent Obama supporters (one-time R’s) on the bench.
Such moves are not simply the result of ignorance, as evidenced by the case of Denise Pratt. Republicans from start to finish were virtually complicit with Pratt’s attackers. [Silence is not the absence of wrongdoing but rather, passive wrongdoing.]
Pratt, like many Republicans, was the victim of a leftist tirade. The Houston Chronicle, and its neophyte reporter Kiah Collier, succeeded in filling the blogosphere with patent falsehoods about the embattled judge. The reality? Pratt allowed plaintiffs to speak directly to her, minimizing the role of attorneys and impacting the pocketbook of a few left-leaning attorneys with an ego to protect. Moreover, many of these attorneys profited from a system that perpetuates abuse and is biased against the traditional family unit.
The attorney leading the charge against Denise Pratt is a man named Greg Enos, who went so far as to tap her phones and monitor her private, privileged communications while she sat as judge. Harris County is starting to look more like an episode of Dukes of Hazzard with men like Enos running around loose. Enos would likely be content if Boss Hog were sitting in Pratt's place. Instead, Obama supporter and pro-abortion attorney Alicia Franklin will.
No self-righteous “crusade” legitimizes the violation of a judge’s private communications.
Collier (Chronicle reporter) consistently references "many attorneys" as her source for most of the alleged "facts" she prints in her ongoing witch-hunt against Pratt, even though Pratt has more than once thoroughly and publicly addressed the allegations - and has been 'no-billed' by her fellow citizens.
Further, Collier produces an Excel sheet as her primary evidence for the alleged dismissals, even though she fails to include that a majority of all cases thrown out were thrown out because they had not been re-filed, or were possessed of other clerical issues that did not permit a hearing. When an attorney fails to request reinstatement of a case, it dies – simple, the end. Why are the left-leaning attorneys who have made it their mission to sink Pratt, not aware of this? Or could it be, that the implied allegation of incompetence or foul play is merely a red herring, a means to an end? Where liberals are concerned, stranger things have happened. And where liberal attorneys are concerned, red herrings and straw man witch-hunts are a virtual certainty. Tom DeLay and Ronnie Earl, anyone?
Dismissals of the kind attacked by Collier in her role as Enos-lackey were lawful and a normal clerical practice of courts with large caseloads and backlogs of cases that are inactive and not in compliance with the rules of the courts. Making dismissals is part of any judge's JOB, and turning dismissals into a scandal would be akin to gasping in shock that a preacher preaches or that a lawmaker makes laws.
Reducing a common part of a judge's duties to the absurd is beneath even the Chronicle, a publication that always seems to endorse the most liberal Republicans for offices.
So, a few attorneys do not like Denise Pratt or her decisions - what manager in an organization is loved or adored by all its employees? If businesses were run this way, businesses would fail.
A judge should be less concerned about popularity with attorneys and more concerned about the law they are charged with protecting.
With only 32 family law attorneys (Democrats or primary opponents make up the entire list) out of over 500 family law attorneys in Harris County opposing Judge Pratt, the odds are that Pratt was doing something worth doing.
CONSIDER THE SOURCE. LET'S STOP ALLOWING THE LIBERAL LEFT TO DICTATE THE PARAMETERS OF REPUBLICAN PRIMARIES.
Denise Pratt for Judge · PO Box 8012 · Baytown, TX 77522 · USA
We are left with only two conclusions here. The first is that the Pratt campaign's MailChimp account was hacked and some unauthorized individual sent out this anonymous rant. The second is that disgraced former judge Denise Pratt and her campaign organization sent out this email -- and that they are making accusations of criminal activity against those who brought her down. Given that the Pratt campaign has not come out and said they were hacked, I have to conclude (once again) that Pratt and her die-hard supporters are engaged in a bizarre campaign of libel.
I don't use the word libel lightly. After all, this email states that Enos and company tapped government phone lines. I'm hoping Enos files suit against Pratt and her campaign over this accusation, and forces her to put up or shut up.
And that when all is said and done, Denise Pratt crawls into a hole somewhere and disappears from all public notice.
The Houston Chronicle, for reasons that I have never quite figured out, continues to run a blog by a former Houston ADA who moved to the Chicago area as somehow representative of GOP thought on issues. It's author, Chris Ladd, is a nice guy, but would generally be seen as outside the mainstream of GOP thought in Texas -- and based upon having lived nearly half my life in and around that state, I suspect he is outside of the mainstream in Illinois, too.
His most recent post is all about immigration, and contains some good points. But he falls into a trap when he goes this direction.
Is the mere presence of a large number of migrants from Latin America a problem, or are we trying to address the broader problem of illegal immigration? The reason we haven’t settled on an immigration reform scheme that we still aren’t being honest about our priorities.
There are good reasons why illegal immigration should be discouraged. Having a large pool of people who exist beyond the reach of basic legal protections – essentially outside of the social contract – is harmful. Even if it created no economic costs, and in reality illegal immigration probably benefits us far more economically than anyone wants to admit, there are social and moral consequences to this situation that we should not be willing to bear.
That said, when we debate immigration issues it can be difficult to separate authentic problems from cultural biases. Chicago, for example, has a very large population of illegal migrants from Latin America. It also has many from Poland. Guess which population gets the most attention from law enforcement and the public?
When someone says that we should address our immigration problems by first “securing the border” they tipping their hand. It’s gentle way of saying that their main concern is not whether people can come here but who is coming.(Bold added)
There we have it -- as Ladd often does when he disagrees with conservatives and agrees with liberals, he imputes racial animus to those who hold a different policy view. I would argue, however, that he is dead wrong in this case -- and I've said as much over at his blog.
The notion that those of us who talk about “securing the border” really mean “no more Mexicans” is wrong. It has to do with the sort of problems that come from having a relatively open southern border that people can more or less walk across without consequence. Arguing that it is about "who" rather than "what kind" and "how many" is to ignore the realities of illegal immigration.
For example, Ladd mentions the high number of Polish illegals in Chicago -- something I know about from having lived on the edge of a largely Polish community during my high school years. How did they get here? By and large by getting a visa, flying into the United States, and then not returning home. In other words, the government knows who they are — it simply becomes a matter of devoting the time and resources to finding them and returning them to Poland.
Now consider the issue with the average person coming across our southern border from Mexico or points south — they never had papers, there is no record of who they are, and they often cross into this country with the aid of organized crime. Add to this the criminal activity associated with their illegal border crossings against American citizens whose life an livelihood is in the area along the border and you have an entirely different set of problems created by illegal alien Juan Garcia than by illegal alien Stefan Kowalski.
How do we stop Stefan Kowalski? Easy — match those entering and those leaving the country and make a concerted effort to locate anyone from Category A who does not show up in Category B at the appointed time. Stopping and deporting Juan Garcia and those like him requires different methods -- including a stronger presence at the border. We have to stop him on the way in or he is harder to find and deport later.
By the way, there is one other reason that we have to focus on the Juan Garcias rather than the Stefan Kowalskis — it is numbers. The Pew Hispanic Research Center several years ago estimated that 57% of illegal aliens are Mexican nationals and another 24% come from the rest of Latin America. About 9% of illegals are from Asia while Europe and Canada contribute another 6%, with 4% coming from the Africa and other regions. If we rid ourselves of Stefan Kowalski, Sean O’Connor, Hans Klein, Chou Liu and Krishna Patel, we still barely make a dent in the illegal immigration problem — we have to focus on Juan Garcia and those like him who come here from Mexico and points south.. That isn’t racism — that is reality.
You know, just so we understand the state of religious freedom under Barack Obama.
This is Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church.
It is a Missouri Synod Lutherna Church in Redford, Michigan. It also runs a school as a part of its ministry. It designated its teachers as ministers and subjected them to the same call and dismissal procedures as a pastor.
The Obama Administration took them all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing that the church had no right to define who constituted a minister and that its decisions on ministerial employees was subject to review by the federal government. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected this contention.
This is the Green family.
In 1972, they opened a family business, selling craft supplies. Their business prospered. In time, it became has grown to 575 stores around the country. They also operate Christian bookstores -- and the devoutly Christian family is working to establish a museum composed of biblical antiquities and manuscripts that they have collected over the decades. They are noted for running their business based upon Christian principles -- to the point that their retail stores are even closed on Sunday.
This is the Hahn family.
They have operated Conestoga Wood Specialties since 1964, making cabinets and other wood specialty products. They are members of the Mennonite Church, and have sought to run their business according to their faith.
Barack Obama and his administration fought all the way the Supreme Court, arguing that these families do not have a right under the First Amendment or the religious Freedom Restoration Act to operate their business according to their deeply held religious principles. The Supreme Court recently upheld the right of these families to practice their faith in the conduct of their businesses -- at which point the Obama Administration vowed to see if there was some way to undo that decision and Senate Democrats introduced legislation to partially repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
This is Gregory Houston Holt.
He's a Muslim extremist who now goes by Abdul Maalik Muhammad. He's described himself as "American Taliban". He's done time for threatening to murder the daughters of then-President George W. Bush. He is currently serving a life sentence for murdering his girlfriend by slitting her throat. He wants to grow a beard in defiance of prison regulations, claiming it is a requirement of his religion.
And the Obama Administration is supporting him on the basis of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
So I guess we can now see what it takes to get your religious freedom respected by Barack Obama and his administration. Being a Christian just doesn't cut it. You have to be a murderous Muslim terrorist wannabe who has threatened to murder the children of a Republican president.
Let's look at some ACTUAL racial animus directed at African-Americans participating in government and politics.
[T]here is regular coverage of Republicans accused of making racially biased remarks, whether they are nationally recognized figures, or merely local candidates and officials. I should know, having covered a number of such incidents.
But while the Republican National Committee has regularly denounced such incidents—even when the organization has no direct ties to the individuals involved—prominent Democrats and Democratic organizations rarely face similar pressure. This helps confirm Steele’s theory that attacks on black Republicans are not taken seriously by media.
“When the [Republican] Party tries to call attention to it basically the press just yawns,” Steele said.
Bravo to Keli Goff for pointing out the double standard at work. What a pity that Eric Holder and Barack Obama aren't willing to have a courageous conversation about the racism that lurks in the heart of the Democrat Party -- the party of slavery, segregation, and the Klan. Maybe it is time to recognize that what we have is not a nation of cowards when it comes to race, but an administration of cowards.
The Attorney General of the most racially divisive administration since Klan-lover Woodrow Wilson was president has declared that opposition to him and Obama is based upon racial animus.
Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday he and President Obama have been targets of “a racial animus” by some of the administration’s political opponents.
“There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me [and] directed at the president,” Holder told ABC. “You know, people talking about taking their country back. … There's a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there's a racial animus."
Are there some folks who have a problem with you guys because you are black? A few, I'm sure -- but not nearly to the degree you want to hint it is. But that you would imply that dissent is not patriotic, but is instead racist, tells me that you are truly worthy of the contempt you have been show.
This investigation should be treated as another Obama Regime scandal.
Mayor Sue Fuchtman confirms to KMTV Action 3 News that Department of Justice officials are in Norfolk to discuss a controversial parade float.
Last Saturday, a man put an outhouse on his parade float with a sign that read, "Obama Presidential Library." A zombie dressed as a farmer was leaning against the building. Parade organizers told KMTV they talked to the creator, who's a farmer, and he said the zombie was supposed to be him, not the president.
Today, the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP State Area Conference of Branches sent a news release to KMTV Action 3 News, saying they were meeting with Mayor Fuchtman Thursday afternoon. "The State Area NAACP has received numerous concerns and inquiries about this issue," the group said, "and appreciate Mayor Fuchtman and the parade officials' willingness to have open dialog (sic) and address these concerns."
This afternoon, Mayor Fuchtman told KMTV Action 3 News that she and the city administrator would be meeting with a representative of the Department of Justice before the meeting with the NAACP. She did not know if the media would have accessibility to the meeting, as it was being facilitated by the Department of Justice. The DOJ apparently told the city it had received concerns, including from the NAACP, regarding the float.
The mayor's response to both the DoJ and NAACP should have been "pound sand".
The float was First Amendment protected political speech.
The investigation is use of the Department of Justice for political purposes to intimidate the president's political opponents. It needs to be investigated by Congress and added to the list of impeachment charges against Eric Holder -- and any report produced by the House Judiciary Committee looking into the impeachment of Barack Obama if it is determined that Obama had any part in this effort at speech suppression.
The NAACP, on the other hand, is just playing their usual game of falsely crying racism. Americans are not required to like or approve of Obama, show him respect, or refrain from criticizing him merely because of the color of his skin. Especially given that the NAACP has never gone after those who speak disrespectfully of Justice Clarence Thomas -- in fact, it regularly does so itself. Therefore it is nothing more than a discredited political group trying to use government to intimidate its opponents and merits no consideration at all.
And it isn't like this float was a threat or anything like it -- or even as extreme as what Obama's immediate predecessor was subjected to on a regular basis.
Folks who have read this blog over the long term know a couple of things about me. One is that I am a staunch supporter of enforcing our nation's immigration laws. A second is that I really have little use for Glenn Beck. A third is that I take my Christian faith and the teachings of Scripture seriously, even if I at times live those teachings out imperfectly (as does every Christian). It is therefore fitting and right that there is a confluence of these three on one of the most pressing issues facing our country today -- the DREAMer Deluge created by our nation's inept wannabe dictator's failed border policy and the open borders crowd.
Now I was outraged the other day when word broke that the Obama Regime is denying Christian groups and local congregations the opportunity to do something to alleviate the human suffering that Obama's failed policies have created. But now it appears that Glenn Beck and others are going to make a concerted effort against that malignant government policy.
Glenn Beck on Tuesday announced that he will be bringing tractor-trailers full of food, water, teddy bears and soccer balls to McAllen, Texas on July 19 as a way to help care for some of the roughly 60,000 underage refugees who have crossed into America illegally in 2014.
Beck said he will be joined by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), and a number of pastors and rabbis.
“Through no fault of their own, they are caught in political crossfire,” Beck said of the children. “And while we continue to put pressure on Washington and change its course of lawlessness, we must also help. It is not either, or. It is both. We have to be active in the political game, and we must open our hearts.”
Beck has it exactly right there. The bulk of these kids are victims of the implicit invitation Obama has been extending to illegals to come to this country without consequence through his executive orders that have overridden the clear mandate of the law. They are the victims of parents who have either sent them to the US to provide a basis for the rest of the family to come after some future amnesty and legal status is granted them or who are being brought to the US by parents who abandoned them in their homelands in order to come to the US illegally. Relatively few are criminals and gang members, although it is undeniable that there are a significant number who are. They are often being housed in inhumane conditions, as demonstrated by the unwillingness of the Obama Regime to allow members of Congress to visit these camps (much less photograph or video the the conditions in them) other than a few administration favorites who are given tours of specially selected camps that are akin to Potemkin villages or the Theresienstadt ghetto. And let there be no doubt -- we have an obligation to provide humane treatment.
So Beck and the rest of his group are going to this camp near the border with relief supplies for the children interned there. I just wish they were going sooner and not announcing the camp they intend to visit and force the guards to open the gates or turn back the gifts in the face of the television cameras. But I think I understand why Beck is not doing so -- and I'll explain that reason in a moment. In the mean time let me note that Beck and others who have said that we have a moral obligation to treat these children properly have been condemned as bad conservatives, RINOs, amnesty supporters, and other slurs. Such claims are absolutely wrong.
So why is this effort being undertaken? Well, this is where the matter of Christian faith comes into play. After all, Jesus did have a few words to say on matters of this sort.
Matthew 25:31-46 (NKJV)
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
The call there is for each believer to do these things as an individual, not rely on the government to do it on their behalf, so Beck is clearly doing these things. Now that need not be interpreted as requiring that any believer support that these kids be allowed to stay indefinitely or be granted legal status. But while they are here, we -- individually -- have an obligation to act charitably towards them. Otherwise we risk finding ourselves numbered among the second group in the parable -- and attacked by the anti-Christian Left (as was done by one of our local anti-Christian bloggers in a post that included this editorial cartoon).
Frankly, the reaction some of those who claim to be Christians in the face of this Obama-caused disaster has been appalling -- and a source of scandal. Do we give glory to God when some block buses full of women and children? Do we give glory to God with ordinances forbidding cooperation with federal authorities in providing temporary shelter for the children? Do we give glory to God with threats to shoot illegals between the eyes if they don't return to the other side of the border? Dare I suggest that doing and supporting such things (even if because we have a lawless president and we fear for the future of our nation for that reason) constitute a rejection of the Gospel and therefore a grave sin -- and that when clueless folks like Sheila Jackson Lee act more in conformity with the commands of Christ than do those who proclaim themselves to be supporters of Godly principles in government we are facing a spiritual crisis that far surpasses the legal and constitutional ones of this country once described as the last best hope on earth?
I believe that James, the brother of our Lord, said it quite well.
James 2:14-26 (NKJV)
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also
What I am saying is that it is time for those who claim to be followers of Christ to either put up or shut up -- to either live out their faith or publicly concede that their professions of faith have been nothing but blasphemous lies. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord -- and will stand with the likes of Glenn Beck, Mike Lee, Louie Gohmert and the rest of those going with him to McAllen in doing so. And if it comes down to being rejected by certain friends and associates for taking this stance, it will be time to follow the words of the Lord in Luke 9:5 -- "shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them".
UPDATE: Looks like Erick Erickson of RedState is in general agreement with me on this one.
I am a citizen of the United States and I appreciate people are yearning to breathe free in America. But I am a citizen of the United States and want our laws enforced, our borders secured, and these illegal aliens — some not yearning to breathe free, but here with other motives — sent home.
I am also a citizen of the Kingdom of God. And I want these people, particularly the children, to know Christian charity and love and to go home understanding that we are willing for them to come — but to come legally and lawfully through secure borders.
What Glenn Beck is doing is the kind thing to do. He is using his own money, while calling on the government to enforce the law. Conservatives and Christians can both want American borders secured and our laws enforced. But we should also be willing to show personal and private grace, mercy, and charity to the many troubled souls who have come here as they have.
Beautifully said, sir.
I have no problem with finding new and better ways to deliver birth control. But I am offended that that goal is the first priority for this bit of technology.
The term “wearable technology” is about to get a little deeper; skin deep.
According to CNET, a chip has been developed that is capable of being used as a contraceptive or for other drug administration purposes once placed under the skin.
As part of the Bill & Miranda Gates Foundation Family Planning program, a team led by MIT’s Robert Langer has proposed that the chip be used to deliver birth control to women.
The company MicroCHIPS in Lexington, Massachusetts developed a chip that is a 20 x 20 x 7 millimeter reservoir array which could be used to deliver birth control to women for 16 years once placed under the skin.
Just imagine how useful something like this could be for dealing with hypothyroidism or diabetes. But I guess that making it easier to screw without consequences is much more important -- and profitable -- than delivering substances that might extend someone's life.
Israel has this interesting practice in their efforts to get rid of the Islamist terrorists that infest Gaza -- they call every known phone number in the area targeted and warn those who answer of the impending attack. This is necessary because Hamas commits crimes against humanity by hiding weapons and personnel amongst civilians in an effort to paint any Israeli response to their acts of terrorism as the equivalent of the indiscriminate targeting of civilians that Hamas engages in.
So what has Hamas done? Ordered their human shields to stay put.
Hamas’ Interior Ministry has ordered residents of the Gaza Strip to remain in their houses if they are about to be bombed by the Israelis, a move that effectively turns citizens into human shields and is intentionally meant to boost the casualty rate, according to a copy of the order published by Hamas.
Israel warns Gaza residents of air strikes before they take place so innocent civilians have time to flee and seek shelter.
The latest Hamas order that citizens ignore Israel’s warnings and stay put is a clear effort by the terror group to increase the death count and apply pressure on Israel to cease its military campaign meant to end Hamas’s attacks.
Now one might ask why the civilians don't leave anyway. That's easy - Hamas has this habit of murdering those who are deemed collaborators with Israel for doing things like selling land to a Jew or suggesting the legitimacy of a two-state solution. Therefore the civilians stay put and hope they avoid death in the attack (which Hamas defines as martyrdom) rather than risk being hacked to death at the hands of their own "leaders".
On Wednesday, Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would force Christians and other conscientious objectors to pay for drugs and devices, including the "week-after" pill, that may kill human embryos.
The new bill was drafted in response to Supreme Court's ruling last week that Obamacare's so-called contraceptive mandate as applied to family-owned religious businesses was a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Democrats' legislation would strip away the religious freedom law's protections for Americans who provide health benefits to their employees.
The text of the bill states that an employer-sponsored health insurance plan shall not exclude coverage of any item or service "where the coverage of such item or service is required under any provision of Federal law or the regulations promulgated thereunder" and that the new law would "apply notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, including Public Law 103–141 [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act]."
Now you realize what this means -- under this bill, it won't just be Hobby lobby and closely held corporations that will be required to pay for abortion pills. No, it will also be the pro-life organizations, religious groups, Christian schools and Catholic universities that will be forced to provide that which goes directly against their institutional beliefs. They want to strip all Americans of the ability to act on their sincerely held religious beliefs despite the lack of a compelling government interest for such coercion -- the opposite of what the law currently requires.
Apparently the Democrats want to take us back to the days when Christians had to make a choice.
As our nations struggles with the unchecked DREAMer Deluge on our southern border, the Obama Administration focuses on a greater cross-border threat -- Canadian potheads headed to locales where marijuana is legal.
While the Obama administration is allowing hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied minors into the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security has its eyes on the real threat: Canadian potheads.
Canadian tourists looking to buy weed in the U.S. will not only be turned away at the border, but could be banned from the country for life, Global News reports.
Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Canada, so industrious potheads have been watching Washington’s recent legalization with keen interest. Washington shares a border with the Canadian province British Columbia–Canada’s most pro-legalization province. (RELATED: Marijuana Stores To Finally Open In Washington)
While non-citizens purchasing marijuana in Washington is not itself illegal, DHS isn’t comfortable with these pot pilgrimages, saying “Anyone who is determined to be a drug abuser or user is inadmissible. A crime involving moral turpitude is inadmissible, and one of those areas is a violation of controlled substances [law].”
Does this seem like a failure to properly prioritize our nation's needs? We don't need to worry about the the members of violent gangs or the carriers of serious illness streaming across the southern border at a serious clip and being housed at taxpayer expense for who knows long. No, we need to make sure that folks looking for a legal buzz don't come for a weekend smoking a little ganja. And unlike the tens of thousands entering illegally, these folks who are seeking legal entry will be banned from the country for life because they want to consume a controlled substance where it is legal to do so.
I'm curious -- has any one consulted President Choom Gang about this policy?
If he were a Republican dissing a black Democrat, there would be outrage -- but since Harry Reid is a Democrat and Justice Thomas is a Republican, the media will generally remain mum.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is so angry over the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the Hobby Lobby contraception case last week that he apparently forgot Justice Clarence Thomas is black.
* * *
“People are going to have to walk down here and vote, and if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think it’s — they’re going to have — be treated unfavorably come November with the elections,” Reid told reporters on Tuesday, according to ABC.
The Senate will act soon to “ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men,” Reid added.
I'd like to remind folks of something. Barack Obama is much whiter than Clarence Thomas could ever legitimately be accused of being.
Clarence Thomas was raised in poverty by his semi-literate black grandparents in the segregated South. Barack Obama was raised in an upper-middle-class community by his white grandparents, one of whom was a bank vice president.
Clarence Thomas went to a segregated Catholic school -- Obama went to Hawaii's most elite prep school.
Clarence Thomas is the descendant of slaves. Barack Obama is the descendant of slave owners (on both sides of his family).
So tell me -- who is the white guy, and who is the authentic black man?
So where are the calls for Reid's resignation from civil rights groups? Nope -- they will be silent, since Massa Harry is so good to them.
This one troubles me deeply, both as an alum of Washington & Lee University (as well as another university which has deep ties to Abraham Lincoln) and as a student of history.
Washington and Lee University expressed regret Tuesday for the school’s past ownership of slaves and promised to remove Confederate flags from the main chamber of its Lee Chapel after a group of black students protested that the historic Virginia school was unwelcoming to minorities.
President Kenneth P. Ruscio’s announcement was a surprising move for the small, private liberal arts college in Lexington, which has long celebrated its Southern heritage. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee served as the university’s president after the Civil War, his crypt is beneath the chapel, and the school has gingerly addressed its ties to the Confederacy and its having profited from the possession and sale of slaves.
The Confederate banners — battle flags that Lee’s army flew as it fought Union forces — have adorned the campus chapel that bears Lee’s name since 1930, and university officials said they were a nod to history and not a message intended to offend anyone. Others, however, see the flags as hate symbols representative of slavery, racism and grievous times in the nation’s history.
Let's set aside the silliness of apologizing for historical misdeeds committed by and against those who are long dead and the notion that there need be some sort of reparation for them. Nothing in this apology undoes the reality of the harm caused by slavery. But if an expression of regret soothes some troubled souls, so be it -- it is not a big deal.
No, it is the removal of the battle flags that is troubling to me. The flags are next to a statue of the general in a building named for him. General Lee and his family are buried in the crypt below -- which is a few feet from the office Lee used while he served as college president after the war (faithfully preserved as he left it on the day he fell victim to his final illness) and the museum that is devoted to the school and the school and the Lee family. Indeed, the statue of Lee that the flags surrounded is one that depicts wearing his uniform, asleep as if in a tent on one of the many battlefields of the Civil War. The flags are nothing if not appropriate there, as artifacts related to the lifetime of the man who saved a failing school from certain bankruptcy and who along with the son who succeeded him as college president (himself a former Confederate general) turned the school into one of the top educational institutions in the country. They are contextually correct.
And. . . you only bring it up because you hate Hispanics.
The Senate easily confirmed San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro on Wednesday to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, boosting the national profile of a Democrat with a compelling biography who's considered a vice presidential contender in 2016.
The 71-26 vote makes the 39-year-old Castro one of the government's highest-ranking Hispanics, a growing group of voters who lean solidly Democratic. His ascension comes two years after he got his first broad national exposure when President Barack Obama picked him to deliver the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Well, he's really nothing but a Mexican-American Obama -- the child of radicals with a compelling biography and few accomplishments of note but who is able to read off a teleprompter.
So who cares about this minor detail about this maladministration of federal funds while serving as head of a city with a weak-mayor/strong-council system of government?
Though I will give him this much -- having served as mayor, he is more qualified than Obama and almost as qualified as Sarah Palin to serve as president.
I don't deny that I am, when it comes down to it, an advocate of the original understanding of the Constitution when it comes to interpreting that document.
What was meant by those who wrote and ratified the Constitution in 1787 and 1788?
How did the authors of various constitutional amendments mean by their creations and how did those who ratified those amendments understand them them?
Those strike me as essential questions to be asked, and their answers ought to be normative. It is why I am frustrated at times by the constitutionalization of policy preferences by unelected judges -- usually of a liberal sort -- based upon some evolutionary theory. Bad policy is not unconstitutional, and a change in the country's social and political mores does not constitute a de facto amendment to our foundation document. Thus I might disagree with the execution of those who committed a crime while they were minors, but I do not see it as constitutionally forbidden (especially because those who wrote and ratified the Constitution and the Bill of Rights did, in fact, understand the Eighth Amendment as allowing such executions). I might, like Justice Clarence Thomas, find a ban on homosexual sodomy to be a silly law and one worthy of opposition as a legislator -- but such an assessment of said law does not make it a violation of any provision of the Constitution. the document means what it says and says what it means -- and reading something more into it is ultimately disrespectful.
I was therefore struck by this from EJ Dionne's most recent column.
The problem with "originalists," Strauss says, is that they "take general provisions and make them specific," even when they're not. One might add that the originalists' versions of specificity often seem to overlap with their political preferences.
Dare I say that the analysis is dead wrong -- and is 180 degrees reversed. We originalists do not hold to a particular understanding of the Constitution because it suits our politics -- our politics are guided by what the Constitution says.
Let me offer an example from the headlines. In recent weeks, we have heard that the President will "borrow" power from Congress and override existing law if Congress will not pass statutes that he wants. I, and most originalists like me, don't oppose Obama doing so because we disagree with the policies he wants to implement (though many of us do disagree with them) -- we oppose him doing so because the Constitution says that the legislative power belongs to Congress alone. I might fight against their adoption, but will accept their legitimacy if Congress were to pass them and Obama sign them into law -- but not otherwise.
For liberals like Dionne, however, it is quite different. He sees the policies he wants adopted implicit in the Constitution, just waiting to spring forth from some emanation of a penumbra of some random constitutional provision. It is his politics that are not merely permitted but which are affirmatively required by a document that mentions them not at all. In other words, he's projecting his own fault onto those he disagrees with -- and in the process gets his analysis absolutely ass-backwards.
Most folks were blissfully unaware of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act before the Hobby Lobby ruling was handed down. That should not surprise anyone, given that most Americans are unaware of most laws and would, in any event, presume that the government should not be telling religious people or organizations that they must act contrary to their religious beliefs in most instances. But now that everyone has been made aware of that law, let's look at what it requires.
Every RFRA case has at least three threshold questions:
(1) Are the litigants bringing a suit based on sincere religious objections?
(2) If they are sincere, are the litigants burdened in their religious exercise?
(3) If they are burdened, is the burden substantial?
Only if all three are answered affirmatively do courts engage in rights-balancing analysis, which consists of two subsequent questions:
(4) Is the state pursuing a compelling state interest?
(5) If so, is the state pursuing that interest using the least restrictive means possible?
So let's think about these for a minute. The question of sincerity simply revolves around whether or not one is serious in one's belief. The question of burden is about whether one is being required to go against one's beliefs. And the question of whether the burden is substantial goes to the question of how serious the burden is.
So let's look at my previous piece in which I used the example of Catholics and the use of wine in Holy Communion. It is beyond doubt that the Catholic Church teaches that the bread and wine consecrated in the Mass really and truly becomes the body and blood of Christ and that receiving Communion is a sacrament in which the faithful ought to be participate in if they are of the right disposition. Imposing criminal sanctions upon the participation in that sacrament due to age would obviously be a tremendous burden.
Now one could argue that there are compelling state interests at work -- preventing impaired operation of a motor vehicle by a young person or preventing the intoxication of a minor -- in banning alcohol consumption by those under the legal age to purchase and consume alcohol. However, citing and punishing those who receive or distribute communion because of the alcoholic content of one of the elements used is not the least restrictive means of carrying out those laudable ends, not the least because of the reality that the amount of alcohol consumed by an individual receiving communion would be insufficient to cause any impairment. The de facto criminalization of the sacrament for those under the legal drinking age -- or the de facto legal requirement that young people receive communion only under one form -- could never be seen as the least restrictive means of furthering the ends of the statutes in question.
I think a similar issues might well be raised in this current case from Louisiana regarding the seal of the confessional, which I suspect will ultimately have to be resolved under RFRA.
Which brings us back to Hobby Lobby. The justices found -- by my reading by a margin of 7-2 and some would argue unanimously -- that the first three tests were met by Hobby lobby. The matter then came down to the final two issues -- is free birth control for all a compelling government interest and has the government found the least restrictive means of providing it. The issue could be resolved based upon the final test -- no, the government was not using the least restrictive means of advancing its interest vis-a-vis the beliefs of Hobby Lobby's owners. It rendered answering the fourth question irrelevant -- though I wonder if we might not see that question answered in one of the coming cases from religious non-profits such as the Little Sisters of the Poor or Wheaton College.
But some have asked, what if an employer claims a belief that they must perform human sacrifice or discriminate against people because of race. Presuming they could make their case for the first three parts, it is beyond question that preventing the taking of human life is a compelling government goal -- and past precedent makes the same argument on racial discrimination. Presumably any statute or regulation challenged in such cases would be seen as a least restrictive means of accomplishing that end, and the RFRA challenge would fail. Indeed, more RFRA challenges fail than succeed for that very reason.
The owners of Hobby Lobby believe that four of the required methods of "birth control" are abortifacients because they have the potential (acknowledged by the manufacturers and the federal government) to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg in the lining of the uterus -- which many Christians hold to be the destruction of a human life. The government argued that the drug was not an abortifacient because the government, and science generally, does not view pregnancy as beginning until after implantation. Some have therefore argued that the decision is anti-science because the religious belief in question contradicts the current scientific consensus.
Of course, this argument is nonsense. As Jonathan Adler notes over at the Volokh Conspiracy, the issue of the scientific validity of the religious belief is not relevant at all to the case -- as was acknowledged even by the dissenters in the case.
Let’s start with the law. When a religious individual or institution claims that a government policy impermissibly burdens the exercise of religion, the essential truth of the religious objector’s claim is not at issue. As Eugene helpfully explained in this post, “under RFRA, the question whether there is such a substantial burden should be based on the Hobby Lobby owners’ sincere judgment about what constitutes culpable complicity with sin, and not on the courts’ judgment.” This principle was accepted by all of the justices in Hobby Lobby. As Justice Ginsburg conceded in her dissent, courts must “accept as true” a RFRA plaintiff’s sincerely held religious beliefs and are not to question “the plausibility of a religious claim.” Rather, at issue in a RFRA case is whether the government policy at issue imposes a “substantial burden” on the plaintiff and, if so, whether the government can show a compelling interest in subjecting the plaintiff to the policy and that there is no less-restrictive alternative to meet the government’s interest.
I'd like to instead present a different example for consideration, one which even the most unreasonable opponent of the Hobby Lobby decision would have to acknowledge shows why the "it contradicts the science" standard is wrong.
Catholics hold to the doctrine of transubstantiation -- defined in Paragraph 1376 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as follows:
1376 The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation."
But while the "substance" (used in the philosophical sense of the reality of a thing") is changed, the "accidents" (or appearance) of the bread and wine remain unchanged. Were a scientist to test the Eucharist after the consecration, they would find the same bread and wine as before. Thus the Catholic belief in transubstantiation is "anti-science".
Which leads us to these laws here in Texas.
Underage Drinking Laws
Minors who purchase, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages, as well as minors who are intoxicated in public or misrepresent their age to obtain alcoholic beverages, face the following consequences:
- Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500
- Alcohol awareness class
- 8 to 40 hours community service
- 30 to 180 days loss or denial of driver's license
If a minor is seventeen years of age or older and the violation is the third offense, the offense is punishable by a fine of $250 to $2,000, confinement in jail for up to 180 days or both, as well as automatic driver's license suspension.
A minor with previous alcohol-related convictions will have his or her driver's license suspended for one year if the minor does not attend alcohol awareness training that has been required by the judge.
Penalties for Providing Alcohol to a Minor
Adults and minors who give alcohol to a minor also face a stiff penalty. The punishment for making alcoholic beverages available to a minor is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $4,000, confinement in jail for up to a year, or both. Additionally, the violator will have his or her driver´s license automatically suspended for 180 days upon conviction.
Persons 21 or older (other than the parent or guardian) can be held liable for damages caused by intoxication of a minor under 18 if the adult knowingly provided alcoholic beverages to a minor or knowingly allowed the minor to be served or provided alcoholic beverages on the premises owned or leased by the adult.
Sale to a minor is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $4,000, confinement up to a year in jail, or both.
Zero Tolerance Law
In Texas it is illegal for a person under 21 to operate a motor vehicle in a public place while having ANY detectable amount of alcohol in their system. On September 1, 2009, this law was expanded to include watercraft in addition to motor vehicles.
- The consequences for the minor on the first offense of driving under the influence of alcohol:
- Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500
- Attendance at an alcohol awareness class
- 20 to 40 hours of mandatory community service
- 60 days driver's license suspension. The minor would not be eligible for an occupational license for the first 30 days.
- A second offense increases the consequences to:
- Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500
- Attendance at an alcohol awareness class at the judge's discretion
- 40 to 60 hours of mandatory community service
- 120 days driver's license suspension. The minor would not be eligible for an occupational license for the first 90 days.
- A third offense is not eligible for deferred adjudication. The minor's driver's license is suspended for 180 days and an occupational license may not be obtained for the entire suspension period. If the minor is 17 years of age or older, the fine increases to $500 to $2,000, confinement in jail for up to 180 days, or both.
Clearly we have a conflict here between science and belief. Would those who argue that the law must always side with the science therefore suggest that any individual under the age of 21 who received communion under both species ought to be subject to the penalties for underage consumption of an alcoholic beverage? Ought a priest, deacon, or Eucharistic minister who allows such an individual to partake from the chalice be prosecuted for supplying alcohol to a minor? Would it be a violation of religious liberty for the police to set up a checkpoint down the block from a Catholic church and flag down cars driven by those who appear under the age of 21 in order to check to make sure they are not blowing any detectable level of alcohol? After all, this would be the enforcement of laws of general application regarding an area of important public policy.
I suspect that most Americans -- even those who in the Hobby Lobby case argue that "belief should not trump science in free exercise cases" -- would find such practices repulsive and not the least restrictive means of accomplishing the compelling government interest of preventing underage consumption of alcohol. The burden on free exercise of religion is in such a case much too great to be viewed as anything other than a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act -- and likely of the First Amendment itself (although perhaps not the latter, given Employment Division v. Smith).
So look at the situation that existed prior to Hobby Lobby. Regardless of whether or not science views the actions of the four medications in question as abortifacient, it is not unreasonable (nor even outside of the mainstream of Christianity) for the Green family to believe that it is in fact an abortifacient because of a different, theologically based, view of when human life begins. The question then becomes if the government's imposition of the mandate to provide those medications is the least restrictive means of ensuring access to them. Given the existence of the alternate method for providing them created for religious non-profit corporations, it is impossible to argue that the mandate is the least restrictive means of accomplishing the government's goal. It was therefore essential that the Supreme Court rule as it did in this case -- just as it would be for it to rule that enforcing the three provisions of Texas law cited above to prosecute individuals distributing or receiving Holly Communion would fall short of the least restrictive means of accomplishing the goals of the law.