By Nathan Barton
Restating a campaign promise, the new Massa recently announced – at a PRAYER BREAKFAST, of all things – that he intends to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment.
USA Today “reports” on this in a commentary-laced “news story” which carries (to me, at least) the undertone that the demise of democracy is now assured (if Trump gets his way) and that theocracy (or theonomy or something similar and equally sinister) is going to swallow America and the world.
The Johnson Amendment is the legacy of the late and unlamented Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, along with the current state of affairs in Southeast Asia and the South China Sea, and many other examples of really bad government and the nanny state: the Great Society (Medicare and Medicaid), and much else. The Amendment states that the IRS will take away the tax-exempt status of any religious group which dares to say something against (or in favor) of any political candidate, whether from the pulpit or in the church bulletin or anything else. It is seldom invoked by the IRS, but is a sword hanging over the head of most churches, synagogues, and even mosque’s congregations.
And Trump wants to get rid of it – indeed, made a campaign promise to do so, which he repeated in this horrible church-and-state assembly.
This is, of course, even worse than Trump making fun of Arnold Schwarzenegger (by among other things asking for prayers for him) in the same speech. (It is an interesting speech, by the way. A correspondent sent me the transcript in an e-mail, and you can find it here. Definitely not your “standard” early 21st century presidential speech!)
This and other “signs and portents” seen by the Tranzi and progressives and anti-Trump everyone else (GOP, RINO, and faux-libertarian), all emulating that popular folk-hero Chicken Little, are just certain that these are ushering in the era of the Far-Right-Religious-Moral-Majority-Uber-Alles-Nasty-Old-Man-In-The-Sky-In-Control. (Am I missing anything?)
Before you know it, we’ll be burning witches at the stake at the local waste-to-energy plant, putting adulterers in stocks at highway interchanges, hiding the porn magazines under the C-store counter, banning burkas (like France and Switzerland, both well-known theocratic states) and forcing everyone to worship something or another on Friday or Saturday or Sunday – other than football and baseball teams. We’ll all be forced to sing Christmas Carols and attend Easter services at sunrise.
See! Trump is even MORE evil than we thought, right? As are his Bible-thumping, gun-loving, homo-phobic supporters and followers.
It is particularly galling to see some “libertarians” panic about this – as emotionally as any Tranzi, in fact. As if Trump needed more ways to tyrannize the nation – or more ways to denigrate the left and libertarians – or whatever other horrible motives are attributed to him.
When, in reality, this is a matter of liberty. Even though (I’m told) most libertarians utterly despise and reject religion, it is a basic tenet of libertarianism that people have a right (whether God-given or not) to speak what they will. Without being punished for it.
And secondly, another fundamental concept of libertarianism (as I was taught) is that being exempt from taxes is NOT a special privilege but instead a step in the right direction towards getting rid of the legalized theft of money from people and their voluntary associations.
The Johnson Amendment violates both of these principles. Getting rid of it is NOT a step towards a theocracy (or theonomy), a religious dictatorship, or anything like them. Rather, it is a very, VERY tiny step towards liberty in the form of freedom of expression and freedom from theft by government.
Mama’s Note: The most fearful religion on the planet is the worship of the state itself, of course, not that this is anything new. All of the other demons such as “global warming” – or whatever it’s being called this week, are also dangerous religions in everything but name. A great many of the more traditional religions have always been part of that worship and their members are the greatest followers of these other religions. And, if some of them had their way, the witch burning would commence immediately.