Churches should not be allowed to advocate for or against candidates

I agree with The Des Moines Register editorial that the law that bans churches from endorsing specific candidates, (the Johnson Amendment), should not be repealed.  (See link below.)

Once again though, you did not make clear the difference between all tax-exempt organizations and special 501c3 organizations.  Virtually all political parties, candidate campaign committees, and special interest organizations are tax exempt – they don’t pay income taxes.  But, people who donate money to these various political organizations do not get to deduct their contributions as a “charitable” deduction on their income taxes.
On the other hand, charities, churches and educational organizations are tax exempt under a special tax code section: 501c3.  People who donate money to 501c3 organizations get a charitable tax deduction for the amount of their contribution when computing their income taxes .
Churches, and church officials can advocate all they want about issues without violating the rules for 501c3 organizations.  What they cannot do is advocate for or against any specific candidate.  If they do advocate for or against specific candidates then they should be treated just like any other political organization: their donors should not get a charitable tax deduction for their contributions.  That is what the Johnson Amendment is all about, and it should not be repealed.

Link: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/editorials/2017/02/10/editorial-dont-eliminate-ban-politically-active-churches/97750512/

 

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Russian “tampering” of election needs to be disclosed.

If the Russians did tamper with the election, the citizens of the U.S. need to know what happened.

If the tampering was limited to hacking into the Democratic National Committee computers, and releasing what they found to the public, the the outcome of the election should not be called into question.  There are many news related factors that affect the election, and false statements were made by the candidates and others.  What was released about the DNC was true.

On the other hand, if the Russians did anything to affect the counting of the votes, that would and should cause us to call the results into question.

Consider Gary Johnson, Libertarian for President

Many of us feel very dissatisfied about having to choose between the lesser f two evils for president.  Many think that Hillary Clinton is dishonest and has been bought and paid for by large special interests, and many think that Trump is unqualified in international affairs and a braggart bully with no substance on the issues.  We shouldn’t have to make the least bad choice.

Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and the Libertarian Party candidate for President, is a good choice.  Johnson is a down-to-earth, common sense person who believes in fiscal responsibility, social tolerance, strong defense international good will, and individual liberty.   Socially, he has a live-and-let-live philosophy – you should be able to do pretty much whatever you want as long as you don’t initiate force or fraud against others, and don’t put others in danger.  Fiscally, he believes the federal government should play a much smaller role in our lives.  He does believe there is a proper role for government – to help protect our lives, our liberty, and our justly acquired property.  He is against crony capitalism.  He knows that  a welfare state creates dependency.  He believes that we should work together, cooperatively and voluntarily, to solve our common problems.

If you are polled about who you would support or vote for President, tell them that you are for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president.  At least that might get him into the national debates and give us a chance to learn about an alternative to the the lesser of two evils.

Corporations are people, money is speech.

After witnessing the deluge of outside political advertising that inundated Iowa during this latest election cycle, it’s easy to conclude that our government should place limits on political contributions and political advertising.  But our Supreme Court correctly decided in the Citizens United case that governments should not be allowed to limit the independent political expenditures of groups of people, even if they are organized as corporations.
 
Most of the corporations that make independent expenditures for or against candidates or ballot issues are simply groups of like minded people who have come together to promote their common beliefs.  They are not profit-making corporations that run businesses and sell stock on Wall Street.  Citizens United is a group of people who are organized as a corporation explicitly for the purpose of promoting a political agenda.
 
If contributions are given directly to a candidate, there is good reason for concern about bribery and corruption.  But as long as people or groups are independent of candidates and their campaigns, they should be free to spend as much of their own money as they want, and they should not have to disclose the names of contributors.  Our founding fathers published pamphlets and other communications anonymously when they advocated against their rulers and called for a revolution.  They were very much thinking about political speech when they wrote in the 1st Amendment of the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”

 

David Young – right on immigration

David Young has the right position on immigration.  What penalty should be paid by illegal immigrants, some of whom have lived and worked here for many years?  Just as the penalty for most crimes is not death or prison, the penalty for illegal immigration should not be limited to deportation.  Those who illegally immigrated as adults should be subject to some type of penalty, such as a fine, but still be allowed a path to legal status.  That legal status does not necessarily have to include a path to citizenship.  That penalty might also limit access to our welfare safety net for a specified number of years. Young suggests that we provide a path to a guest worker status or a “green card” status.  He recognizes that we need to secure our borders, but he also understands that we need to, “put a face” on these fellow human beings.”  Most immigrants, including illegal immigrants, are just looking for a better life for themselves and their families, just like most of our own ancestors.  By taking this position on immigration, Young has shown that he is an independent thinker and does not blindly follow the Republican party line.  Although I disagree with him on other issues, I believe he is clearly the best candidate to represent Iowa in Congress.

Let election monitors in polling places.

What do we have to hide?  Why would we object to letting international election observers watch our voting process?  It doesn’t matter whether they are trying to learn what they can to take home to help in their own elections, or watching for fraud.  We support sending these kinds of groups to other countries.  We should freely allow them in the U.S. and in Iowa.  I understand that there must be limits on the number of observers and where they are allowed to be in the polling places so that voters are not hindered or intimidated by the observers.  It is possible that “observers” might have actually intend to disrupt the voting process, so there is a need for laws to stop any such disruptions if they occur.  Iowa law does allow for specified observers, but does not allow for general observers.  It should.  We need to change Iowa law to allow at least a few general observers in our polling places.

Vote YES to retain Wiggins!

Vote YES to retain Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins.  His retention is being opposed by people who don’t like that he voted to overturn the Iowa law which had prohibited gay couples from getting married.  He voted to overturn the law because it violated Iowan’s Constitutional right to be treated equally under the law.  He correctly judged the case based on Iowa law.  Those who oppose his retention don’t like the result, and they want to “shoot the messenger.”  
 
The Iowa Constitution, in Article 1, Section 6 states: “All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation; the general assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens.”
 
Individuals and private organizations, such as churches, should be free to decide who they recognize as married and who they will associate with.  But government, which by its nature uses force to make all people comply with the law, should treat people equally unless there is a rational and overwhelming public purpose to treat some people differently. It should not be easy for a majority to prevent the equal treatment of minorities by government.    If there are enough Iowans who Iowa want to prohibit gay marriage, then they should work to amend our Constitution, not vote to oust a judge who properly followed our Iowa Constitution.