25 thoughts on “News/Politics 2-13-17

  1. Two pieces for your consideration this morning.

    First, in your opinion, what should the churches’ stance be here? Should it defy “Caesar” or follow the law because the church sanctuary policy was never instituted in the US?

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/the-looming-conflict-between-trump%E2%80%99s-immigration-sweeps-and-religious-freedom/ar-AAmQOTt?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=U452DHP

    “When Guadalupe García de Rayos was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Mesa, Ariz., after the most recent of her mandated check-ins with the agency, her lawyer Ray Ybarra Maldonado was furious. On a conference call, Maldonado said that ICE had lied to him and that he would advise anyone in Rayos’ shoes to seek sanctuary in a church instead of turning themselves in.

    Rayos herself considered that option. Understanding that the check-in might pose a new risk during the administration of Donald Trump, allies suggested her that do so. She declined, opting instead for going to Mass and praying before she went to the ICE office.

    She was deported to Mexico, leaving her two children behind.

    Seeking sanctuary at a church would not have offered as much shelter as you might assume. Many of us are familiar — thanks to “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” — with the concept of taking refuge in a place of worship as a way to avoid civil authorities. While this was a doctrine that existed in some places in the past, it was never instituted by American colonists and it is not the case now that someone hoping to avoid arrest can be assured of protection in a house of worship. (Nor is it the case that so-called “sanctuary cities” offer protection from detention by federal immigration authorities, as recent raids have made clear.)

    There is, however, a reason that Rayos’ attorney recommended seeking refuge in a church. David Leopold, an immigration attorney from Cleveland and former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, pointed to a 2011 memorandum from then-ICE director John Morton. It established that ICE would not conduct enforcement actions in several enumerated “sensitive locations”: hospitals, schools, the site of a wedding or funeral, during a demonstration or at a place of worship.”
    ——————

    But that memorandum was from the prior administration, and can be rescinded with the stroke of another pen.

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  2. And the second….

    I don’t know anyone, or very few, who would agree. Do you?

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/02/how-russia-became-a-leader-of-the-worldwide-christian-right-214755

    “In early April 2014, as the post-Cold War order roiled in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula—the first forced annexation in Europe since the Second World War—Pat Buchanan asked a question. Taking to the column-inches at Townhall, Buchanan wondered aloud: “Whose side is God on now?”

    As Moscow swamped Ukraine’s peninsula, holding a ballot-by-bayonet referendum while local Crimean Tatars began disappearing, Buchanan clarified his query. The former speechwriter for Richard Nixon and intellectual flag-bearer of paleoconservatism—that authoritarian strain of thought linking both white nationalists and US President Donald Trump—wrote that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “entering a claim that Moscow is the Godly City of today[.]” Despite Putin’s rank kleptocracy, and the threat Moscow suddenly posed to stability throughout Europe, Buchanan blushed with praise for Putin’s policies, writing, “In the culture war for the future of mankind, Putin is planting Russia’s flag firmly on the side of traditional Christianity.”

    Three years on, it’s easy to skip past Buchanan’s piece in discussing Russian-American relations, drenched as they are in mutual sanctions and the reality that Moscow attempted to tip the scales in Trump’s favor during the election. But Buchanan’s article crystallized a paradigm shift in religious relations between Moscow and Washington, and in Moscow’s role within the global Christian right. Before 2014 Russia was largely seen as an importer for Christian fundamentalists, most especially from the U.S. But as the Kremlin dissolved diplomatic norms in 2014, Moscow began forging a new role for itself at the helm of the global Christian right.

    And Moscow’s grip at the tiller of a globally resurgent right has only tightened since. Not only have Russian banks funded groups like France’s National Front, but Moscow has hosted international conferences on everything from neo-Nazi networking to domestic secessionists attempting to rupture the U.S. Meanwhile, American fundamentalists bent on unwinding minority protections in the U.S. have increasingly leaned on Russia for support—and for a model they’d bring to bear back home, from targeting LGBT communities to undoing abortion rights throughout the country.

    “In the same sense that Russia’s [anti-LGBT] laws came about in 2013, we’ve seen similar sorts of laws proposed in Tennessee, for example,” Cole Parke, an LGBT researcher with Political Research Associates, told me. “It’s difficult to say in a chicken-and-egg sort of way who’s inspiring whom, but there’s definitely a correlation between the two movements.””

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  3. There are a lot of things about Putin I don’t like. He is corrupt; he is an authoritarian, and he doesn’t understand free enterprise or free trade. I do like his support for the Russian Orthodox Church, his growing opposition to abortion, and most of all, his courageous efforts to protect Russian children from organized perversion.

    However, what is left of the Christian Right doesn’t take its cues from Russia. Clearly, Putin liked and supported Trump over Hillary for many logical reasons. However, the Christian Right in America had its own reason for supporting Trump, and it can be summed up in one word: Hillary.

    The Americans mentioned in the article are fringe characters and the American Christian Right will shrink following this last election. Most intelligent Christian young people will simply not support a pastor who actively supports Trump. In their eyes such a pastor is a hypocrite and has forfeited the right to take strong public stands on moral issues.

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  4. Ricky linked to another good site this weekend (thanks). And it seems we all have been thinking in the same direction this morning. I’ve been considering this topic quite a bit lately: the self-sacrifice involved in being a demonstration of the Gospel for the world in politicized times. A few excerpts below:

    “Taking Stock of American Christianity: Time to Refocus on Our Mission”

    Christianity’s greatest challenge is no longer to show the world that faith is true. Our greatest challenge now is to show that it is good. It’s always been our job.
    The early Christians were often accused of undermining what’s “good” for society. Christians in the first century were a seditious “secret society” that refused to bow to pagan gods, thus seriously undermining civil society.

    ………………..
    But demonstration isn’t all it takes. The world needs a clear explanation. This, too, has been the way of the Church from the beginning. Many of the earliest Christian writings were produced to explain the good truth behind pagans’ distorted views of Christianity.
    Self-sacrificial love will prime people to listen to us, but on its own it won’t change their beliefs. They need reasons. They need explanations…….

    ……………….
    Someone at church asked me once, “Why do we have to know and understand these things? Does God really expect us to do this kind of study?” I did some research and found that words related to know, study, teach and learn appear almost three times per chapter in the New Testament. Not all these occurrences are relevant to what I’m talking about here, but enough of them are. It’s an absolutely dominant theme within the New Testament. It’s going to require some work. Some homework, even. Homework is another act of self-sacrificial love. This has always been our mission: to demonstrate and to explain the goodness and truth of the way of Jesus Christ. Now is the time to focus in on it again.

    https://stream.org/taking-stock-american-christianity-time-refocus-mission/

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  5. this from Drudge.

    “More than a decade ago, federal and state officials and some of California’s largest water agencies rejected concerns that the massive earthen spillway at Oroville Dam — at risk of collapse Sunday night and prompting the evacuation of 185,000 people — could erode during heavy winter rains and cause a catastrophe”

    Makes sense. Ten years ago, they were presented with a potential problem that was going to cost lots of money to fix. When will this happen? They ask. In about ten years, they said.
    Then let them fix it, they say.
    It won’t happen on my watch.

    That’s the problem when things are run by a bureaucracy. It’s more than “kicking the can down the road.” It’s not dealing with something that is unpopular, will get no votes and won’t affect you.

    “But what about GLBAL ARMING? You say.
    I say it’s a hoax to gain power and distribute money to their friends for political or other reasons.

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  6. http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20170212_Commentary__The_problem_of_two_unreliable_narrators__Trump_and_the_media.html

    “When both the person in power and his critics on the outside are both perceived as lacking credibility, the person in power is likely to come out on top. The media need to stop asking, “Can he do that?” at every turn, and start asking, “Should he do that?” If the media earnestly seek honest answers, they can recover some credibility and the balance of power to sway public opinion in their favor. If Trump ultimately proves to be a dangerous demagogue, simply reporting the facts is the only way to put him in his place and hold him accountable.”

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  7. Re: the first article AJ linked to above – Maybe this makes me somewhat of a bleeding heart liberal to some, but I really wish we would not deport parents without their children. That is just cruel to the children (to the parents, too).

    I knew a lady whose mother was deported when she & her baby brother were wee ones. She & her brother were split up (their father couldn’t care for them for some reason), & went into foster care. She ended up with a wonderful foster family who loved her & kept her throughout the rest of her childhood. (We all know that is not often the case with foster children.)

    It wasn’t until she was in her 50s that she reconnected with her brother, who was blind since childhood (maybe birth), & was living in a special home with some other disabled men. (The members of our church bought a bunch of Dunkin Donut gift cards for all of them one Christmas.)

    Sadly, she only saw her mother once more, as an adult, & felt animosity towards her for “abandoning” her.

    Btw, the deported mother was from Canada, not Mexico.

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  8. There are examples in the OT of someone going into the temple for sanctuary, but at least one case in which the person was killed anyway. I don’t know of any biblical warrant for churches providing a “safe place” for someone. Individual Christians hiding someone, yes (e.g., the Jews in the time of Hitler), but the church doesn’t have the authority to “shield” someone from the state. Criminal cases are outside our calling. For individual Christians to shield someone from unjust persecution, knowing that they themselves take on risk, absolutely, but pushing ourselves into political situations by deciding who may or may not be deported, and hiding those for whom we say “no” within the church, is to turn the church into a political entity, and it is not.

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  9. Canada does not have the right of sanctuary written into law, yet it is still used here: http://news.nationalpost.com/holy-post/refugee-claimants-still-hiding-out-in-churches-despite-lack-of-sanctuary-laws. Resources for a church considering granting sanctuary: http://sanctuarycanada.ca/?resources:guidelines_for_church_groups_and_congregations_considering_sanctuary
    Sometimes, refugees claimants gain a little time for their case to be heard again when they use sanctuary. That was especially true in the early 2000s, under a former Liberal government, when Algerian refugees, were, by a change in government policy, in danger of being deported back to Algeria.

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  10. I think that Americans who admire Russia’s policies in the area of religion are forgetting why their own country began with the idea of separation of church and state. The long wars of Europe over which church should predominate made the Founding Fathers realize that having a state church would mean that some part of the population would be oppressed, since it was not possible that everyone would share the same faith. Historically, freedom of religion was campaigned for by the early Baptists in London, who refused to conform to the Anglican church – it was for preaching as a Baptist minister that John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, was imprisoned. It wasn’t until the early 1800s, that England removed the last restrictions on Catholics’ freedom of religion. Since the U.S. Constitution stated that all men had inalienable rights, and it was impossible to be at liberty if your faith was coerced, the U.S. government was forbidden from making laws which set up any one religious organization as the state religion. Russia has no such qualms. Putin learned from his years imbedded into the Soviet political machine, he learned that religion is a more powerful political force than atheism. So, instead of making Communist party membership the test of state loyalty, it is membership in the Russian Orthodox Church – notice in the article I linked, that it is other denominations which are being targeted. The Western ideal of freedom of religion was a deliberate desertion of the political cohesiveness that comes from one state religion – having differing religions within a state may make the state weaker, but the West considered that instability worth the risk.

    Now, as the West swings inward to protect itself from perceived threats, freedom of religion is being questioned, namely for Muslims, which is why Russia made the anti-evangelism law in the first place. But, as Russell Moore has warned, if the government can shut down a mosque, it can shut down a church, which is what is already happening in Russia. The early Baptists, and later the Founding Fathers, mentioned that even Turks or Mohametans should have freedom of worship – both references to Muslims. At the time Jefferson argued for the Turks having freedom of religion in the U.S., the Barbary pirates of North Africa, who were Muslim, were causing havoc on the coastlines of Europe – the U.S. would go to war with them under Jefferson; yet he still argued that if Muslims lived in America, they should have freedom of religion: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/12/11/how-thomas-jefferson-and-other-founding-fathers-defended-muslim-rights/?utm_term=.64703eebb941. As Justin Martyr argued to the Roman emperor of his day that Christians should be tried as individuals based on their actions, not their religion, so individual Muslims, Hindus, etc. must be tried on their actions, not condemned as a group for their religion. The Muslims who commits mass murder must be tried as a murderer, not as a Muslim. One of the worst air disasters in Canada was due to a bomb planted by a Sikh organization, yet most of the Sikhs in Canada are peaceful and law abiding. The individuals who planted the bomb were the problem, not the religion. That individuals, not religions, are held responsible for their actions is a key point in maintaining freedom of religion, yet it is a point that is being forgotten by the Western world.

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  11. Michelle,

    The children’s father was not deported. He and the mother lived together and raised the children. I believe they’re married. However he is also an illegal, who may eventually face deportation as well. But for now, the mother decided that the children would reside with him. I would think she’d need to apply first in Mexico to bring them in, as they’re US citizens. Is it a difficult situation? Yes, but a self-inflicted one.

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  12. I lost a post in the ether… :–\

    With all the talk about sanctuaries, don’t forget that any official policy would be religion-neutral. Meaning, should we go down this road, expect Muslims to make fair use of the mechanism too. It may not be significant now, but could be in the future. Just saying, it should be applied fairly….

    I’m inclined to think it’s an individual decision or group decision rather than a potential policy decision.

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  13. Sad news, but not surprising.

    http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/02/jerry_sanduskys_son_jeffrey_ch.html#incart_2box_lvl-homepage-featured

    “One of Jerry Sandusky’s adult sons faces multiple charges of sexual offenses involving children, more than five years after the former Penn State assistant coach was himself first arrested.

    Court records filed Monday say 41-year-old Jeffrey S. Sandusky was charged with 14 counts, including criminal solicitation and corruption of minors.

    The online court docket says Jeffrey Sandusky was arraigned Monday and bail was set at $200,000. He’s currently in the Centre County Correctional Facility.”

    “Jeffrey Sandusky was a stalwart supporter of his father and accompanied his mother, Dottie, to many of his court proceedings. On Monday, Dottie accompanied Jeffrey Sandusky to his.”

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  14. AJ – I understand that the problem was self-inflicted, but the children are the ones suffering.

    In the case mentioned, though, was she really illegal? She was going to her mandated check-ins, the article said. Is there such a thing for illegals?

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  15. Yes, she was illegal, from the day she entered, until the day she was deported. While she was given a brief period where she may have thought she’d be covered by Obama’s DACA, her own prior criminal acts excluded her from such protections. Even under Obama, ID theft was a deportable offense. That’s why these proceedings started while Obama was still in charge. That’s also why it’s ridiculous to blame Trump’s EO for this. This was already gonna happen, no matter who was president. But the media needed a sob story, so they picked this one.

    The check ins were mandated because she was already in deportation proceedings due to her stealing someone else’s ID and SS#. A crime she was convicted of, and deportation was part of the sentence, which led to her being ordered to check in while her appeals of the deportation order continued. She was even assigned a lawyer who had to of warned her of the possible consequences. This was the most likely outcome for her, yet she ignored it and didn’t make preparations for the inevitable. This may have been because of Obama’s illegally promised amnesty, but she needed to have a plan B. Those children are suffering for her actions and those of her also illegal father.

    I’ve said all along that illegal immigration is not a victim-less crime. The person she sole the ID of is a victim of her criminal acts. Her children now are as well.

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  16. Apparently our friend Kevin D Williamson was spying on us last month as we discussed why the poor don’t move.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444841/help-poor-relocate-find-better-jobs-opportunity

    Meanwhile, I have been refining my plan to give work visas to the brightest Indians, but only make them US citizens once they have employed 5 Democrats and 5 Trumpkins. I thought the Indians might:

    1. Follow Williamson’s suggestion and pay the targeted employees to move; or
    2. Use their giant brains to figure out ways to create jobs in Detroit and Appalachia.

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  17. AJ – None of that was in the article you linked, so I did not have that information when I commented. I didn’t know she was a criminal.

    In that case, & if the father is deported, too, they should be allowed to take their children with them.

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  18. Here are some more of the facts in the case, although the WaPo just can’t help itself and wants to blame Trump.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/02/09/for-decades-immigration-authorities-gave-this-mother-a-pass-wednesday-when-she-checked-in-with-them-they-seized-her/?utm_term=.4f6249c49d73

    “About eight years ago, there was a knock on Guadalupe García de Rayos’s door. Authorities had come to arrest the undocumented mother of two U.S.-born children, a Mexican native who had lived north of the border since she was 14.

    The Phoenix mother was detained for months and eventually ordered to be sent back to Mexico. But for the subsequent years, after she appealed her voluntary deportation, García de Rayos was allowed to remain in the United States, as long as she checked in once a year, and then every six months.”
    ———

    “In an earlier statement, ICE officials said García de Rayos was detained based on a removal order issued by the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, which became final in May 2013, and was spurred by a prior felony conviction dating from March 2009 for criminal impersonation.

    The conviction stems from one of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s worksite raids targeting the Golfland Entertainment Centers, which operated several water and mini-golf parks. Sheriff’s deputies seized hundreds of employment records and later arrested García de Rayos at her house, the Arizona Republic reported. She pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal impersonation, a Class 6 felony, the lowest level.

    After being arrested and turned over to ICE, García de Rayos spent six months at the Eloy Detention Center. She has been fighting recently to have her felony conviction thrown out on grounds that Arpaio’s worksite raids were unconstitutional. Puente Arizona filed a lawsuit in 2015 to end Arpaio’s raids, an often-touted law-enforcement tactic that has led to the arrests of hundreds of immigrant workers since 2008.”
    ————-

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  19. As I said, the media has decided she needs to be their poster child, but like the others arrested in recent raids, she was a criminal, illegal, and was facing an order of deportation. None of those rounded up thus far are innocents.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/over-680-arrested-u-immigration-raids-homeland-security-195519716.html

    “U.S. immigration officers have arrested more than 680 people in recent operations, 75 percent of whom have criminal records, the homeland security chief said on Monday of actions that have alarmed immigrant rights groups.

    U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the operations were routine and consistent with regular operations carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

    Immigration rights advocates say agents are deporting migrants indiscriminately and that the operations, which they describe as raids, do not take into account an immigrant’s threat level or family ties to the United States.

    Kelly said in a statement that crimes committed by the illegal immigrants ranged from homicide to driving under the influence of alcohol.

    Some of the immigrants arrested had ignored final orders of deportation, according to ICE, the agency responsible for immigrant arrests and deportations. The agency did not specify its reasoning for a handful of immigrants other than that they were in the country illegally.”

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