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David Ripley: Obama Slams Religious Liberty to the Mat

June 12th, 2013 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

This August, Obama and his courtiers intend to impose the full weight of his imperial will upon Christian employers, churches and religious organizations. They will be forced to provide “free” abortifacients and sterilizations to employees or face horrendous penalties and police action from the IRS.

A detailed review of this scandalous attack on the First Amendment was recently published by Ashley McGuire at the Weekly Standard. (“This Won’t Turn Out Well: The IRS prepares to Enforce ObamaCare’s Contraception Mandate”).

Ms. McGuire reports that employees who fail to submit to Obama will face fines of $100 per employee – per day. In the case of a company like Hobby Lobby, those fines will mean something like $1.3 million each business day (!) for non-compliance.

But it is not simply private employers who face brutal treatment. Religious organizations must also comply – unless they certified as excused by the IRS. And in order to receive that dispensation, religious organizations must already be excused from filing IRS Form 990. That means virtually all non-profits will have to provide abortifacients regardless of whether the entity is affiliated with a church or religious community.

Given the recent revelations about the religious persecution driving IRS officials, this is reason for grave concern over the future of religious liberty in America.

The situation has drawn public commentary from many church leaders, including the Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput. He recently published a column which included this chilling call to action:

“The day when Americans could take the Founders’ understanding of religious freedom as a given is over. We need to wake up.”

Unfortunately, we are not presently blessed by courageous leadership from the Idaho Legislature.

During last session’s debate over Gov. Otter’s plan to partner with the Obama Administration in imposing ObamaCare upon the families and employers of Idaho, we begged the Legislature to at least take a stand in defense of the First Amendment and our rights under the Constitution to religious liberty. We offered an amendment stating that Idaho’s Insurance Exchange would not force any employer or religious organization to provide free abortion-causing drugs to employees. Idaho Chooses Life did not even insist that the amendment prohibit such benefits – only that Idaho would not cooperate with Obama in violating the religious convictions of employers.

Tragically, we were rebuffed.

We reprint below the vote of your legislator on that amendment. Given the monstrous developments of the past month or so, this vote takes on increasing importance.

Here is the Senate vote on our Religious Liberty Amendment (Nuxoll/Fulcher):

Voting to Amend the bill: (the pro-Life position): Sens. Cliff Bayer (R-Boise), Branden Durst (D-Boise), Russ Fulcher (R-Meridian), Dan Johnson (R-Lewiston), Curt McKenzie (R-Nampa), Dean Mortimer (R-Idaho Falls), Bob Nonini (R-Coeur d’Alene), Sheryl Nuxoll (R-Cottonwood), Monty Pearce (R-New Plymouth), Steven Thayn (R-Emmett), Steve Vick (R-Dalton Gardens).

Voting Against the Religious Liberty Amendment: Sens. Steve Bair (R-Blackfoot), Les Bock (D-Boise), Dean Cameron (R-Rupert), Bart Davis (R-Idaho Falls), John Goedde (R-Coeur d’Alene), Jim Guthrie (R-McCammon), Marv Hagedorn (R-Meridian), Lee Heider (R-Twin Falls), Brent Hill (R-Rexburg), Shawn Keough (R-Sandpoint), Roy Lacey (D-Pocatello), Todd Lakey (R-Nampa), Patti Anne Lodge (R-Nampa), Fred Martin (R-Boise), Jim Patrick (R-Twin Falls), Jim Rice (R-Caldwell), Dan Schmidt (D-Moscow), Jeff Siddoway (R-Terreton), Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum), John Tippets (R-Montpelier), Elliot Werk (D-Boise), Chuck Winder (R-Boise).

Here is how the House voted on our Religious Liberty Amendment (Barbieri/ Boyle), which failed on a 32-38 vote:

Voting Yes (the pro-Life position): Reps. Agidius, Andrus, Barbieri, Barrett, Bateman, Batt, Boyle, Collins, Crane, Dayley, DeMordaunt, Denney, Gestrin, Harris, Hartgen, Holtzclaw, Loertscher, Luker, McMillan, Mendive, Monks, Moyle, Nielsen, Palmer, Patterson, Shepherd, Sims, Stevenson, Thompson, Trujillo, Vander Woude, andWood(35).

Voting No: Reps. Anderson(01), Anderson(31), Anderst, Bedke, Bell, Bolz, Burgoyne, Chew, Clow, Erpelding, Eskridge, Gannon, Gibbs, Hancey, Henderson, Hixon, Horman, Kauffman, King, Kloc, Malek, Meline, Miller, Morse, Packer, Pence, Perry, Raybould, Ringo, Romrell, Rusche, Smith, VanOrden, Ward-Engelking, Wills, Wood(27), Woodings, and Youngblood
(13 Democrats + 25 Republicans)

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: It’s NOT Just the IRS That’s Targeting, and It’s Clearly Coordinated

June 5th, 2013 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

To anyone with any sense of political propriety, the growing story of IRS abuses targeting conservative groups is unsettling. Even they who are supportive of the administration at the Main Street level of American politics must realize that with a change of administration, groups and individuals of their political orientation could be the next targets. But the IRS isn’t the only agency involved in this targeting, which even more clearly validates the thesis that it’s all coordinated from the White House, and not just some “rogue agents.”

We now know the IRS was targeting applications for non-profit status by conservative groups. We also know, from recent revelations, that the Department of Justice (which seems increasingly to be an oxymoron) has been targeting media organizations and reporters that are seen to pose a threat to the administration. But that’s just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

The IRS is further implicated in this web of corruption by their audit division. Idaho resident Frank VanderSloot served as a national co-chair to the Mitt Romney campaign, and was a major donor. In April, 2012, the Obama Campaign published a scurrilous piece on their website, attacking the character of eight conservatives who were backing Romney, including VanderSloot.

Shortly after that posting, VanderSloot was subjected to three federal government audits. Two of those were by the IRS, one for his personal income and one for his businesses. The other was a Labor Department audit of one of his businesses. Is this a coincidence? Not according to VanderSloot, who said he “wasn’t the only one” on that list that received the royal Obama treatment.

In 2009 and 2011, Gibson Guitar Corporation was raided by armed federal agents from the FBI and the Justice Department, for allegedly using “endangered” wood in the construction of their acoustic guitars. The agents seized raw materials, electronic files and finished guitars. The raid cost the company over $3 million, not including a $300,000 settlement with the government. None of Gibson’s competitors received this kind of treatment, even though Martin & Co. is known to use exactly the same “endangered” wood. The difference? Gibson CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, actively supports Republican candidates, while Martin’s CEO, Chris Martin IV is a Democrat supporter.

Catherine Engelbrecht, saw a need to educate citizens to prevent voter fraud. She founded a non-profit organization, True the Vote, for that express purpose. Her organization’s non-profit filing was one of those held up for years by the IRS’s “Advocacy Group,” which has admitted to targeting conservative groups.

After filing for tax-exempt status, she has gone through four IRS audits; two of their personal finances, and two of their family business. Her business was also inspected several times by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), where only minor issues were found, but they were fined $25,000. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) made an unannounced audit of her business. And not to be outdone, the FBI started contacting them, probing for improprieties. Neither the ATF nor the FBI could find anything to charge them with. It was all harassment.

To believe all of this is coincidental is tantamount to suspension of all cognitive functionality. It is targeted, coordinated, and implemented with the precision that would make Stalin, Mao, or Hitler envious.

Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal revealed a year ago that the president maintained an “enemies list.” Not enemies of the state, but people who oppose his agenda and are outspoken in their opposition. As she said, “Any president who targets a private citizen for his politics is de facto engaged in government intimidation and threats. This is why presidents since Nixon have carefully avoided the practice. Save Mr. Obama, who acknowledges no rules.”

Peter Wehner in Commentary Magazine said recently, “We have seen from this White House Nixonian tendencies and, it would appear, a burning anger and resentment toward its critics. Whether it’s Fox News, the Chamber of Commerce, or companies that sponsor reports that take issue with the administration’s assessments, there seems to be a cast of mind that views critics as enemies, as individuals and institutions that need to be ridiculed, delegitimized, or ruined… there are lines that ought not to be crossed, temptations that need to be resisted, and people in the White House who need to say ‘no’ to tactics that begin to drag an administration, and a country, down.”

Obama and his cronies have painted targets on groups and individuals who don’t buy into their statist ideology, and his henchmen in the federal government take the shots. And the proof that it’s coming from the very top is in the pervasive use of government agencies to stifle dissent and intimidate critics. It’s not just the IRS, but includes the Labor Department, the Department of Justice, FBI, ATF, and OSHA.

These are the consequences of sending a Machiavellian to lead a government that has such expansive control of our lives. Obama and his gaggle of “Csars” and government henchmen are only curtailed in their insidious intimidation and attacks on his political adversaries by bringing the administration’s atrocities to light. These are the tactics of tyrants, and have no place in America!

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Pocatello Issues, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

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