Constitution 101 (6)

Lesson 6: “Religion, Morality, and Property”

Study Guide

Overview:

The institutional separation of church and state—a revolutionary accomplishment of the American Founders—does not entail the separation of religion and politics. On the contrary, as the Northwest Ordinance states, “religion, morality and knowledge” are “necessary to good government.”

For America’s Founders, reason and revelation properly understood are complementary. “Almighty God hath created the mind free,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Human beings are fallible, yet despite this fact, they are capable of self-government.

With careful cultivation of one’s soul, attention to “the laws of nature and of nature’s God,” and the uplifting assistance of family, church, and the local community, an individual is able to tame base passions and live worthy of the blessings of liberty. Virtue is vital to good government.

Among the greatest of blessings—and the most important of rights—is religious liberty. Rejecting the low standard of mere “toleration” that existed elsewhere, the Founders enshrined liberty of conscience as a matter of right. It is immoral, they held, for any government to coerce religious belief. Yet they also argued that it is advisable for governments to recognize their reliance upon “Divine Providence,” and to provide for the support and encouragement of religion.

The government of the United States (or any of the fifty states) is not a church, and the church is not a governmental entity. This institutional separation, a clear statement of which is in the First Amendment, is a boon to both religion and politics, for instead of tying man’s religious fate to the future of the state, the establishment of religious liberty frees up religion so that it might flourish. This important point is missed by the Supreme Court’s misinterpretation, repeated numerous times since 1947, of Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation between church and state” metaphor.

Joke of the Day

A cocky State Highway inspector stopped at a farm and talked with an old farmer. He told the farmer, “I need to inspect your farm for a possible new road.”

The old farmer said, “OK, but don’t go in that field.” The arrogant Highway employee said, “I have the authority of the State Government to go where I want. See this card? I am allowed to go wherever I wish.”

So the old farmer went about his farm chores.

Later, he heard loud screams and saw the State Highway employee running for the fence and close behind was the farmer’s prize bull. The bull was madder than a nest full of hornets and the was gaining on the employee at every step!!

The Inspector, running at break-neck speed, shouted to the farmer, “Help, what do I do?”.
The old farmer shouted back, “Show him your card!!”

NFL Rules Updates

From Alex Marvez of Fox Sports

The NFL’s traditional “sudden death” overtime format died a sudden death Wednesday at the league’s annual owners meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.

NFL owners voted to adopt the same overtime rules for the regular season that are used for the postseason.

The team that loses the overtime coin toss is now guaranteed a possession provided the club that won the toss doesn’t score a touchdown on its opening drive.

The NFL instituted the postseason overtime rule during the 2010 offseason following the 2009 NFC Championship Game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints. The Saints won the overtime coin toss and drove for the game-winning field goal on their first possession.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and members of the NFL’s competition committee believed too many teams were enjoying an unfair competitive advantage by winning the overtime coin toss and proceeding to score without the coin-toss loser receiving at least one possession

The playoff overtime rule came into play for the first time in last season’s first-round game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos. Because the Broncos scored a touchdown on their opening possession, Pittsburgh’s offense never got to take the field in OT.

The NFL also voted to make review of turnovers by the instant replay booth automatic rather than requiring head coaches to use one of their two challenges. Reviewable plays include interceptions, fumbles, backward passes recovered by an opponent or those that travel out of bounds through an opponent’s end zone, and muffed scrimmage kicks recovered by the kicking team.

A rule proposal advocating that all challenged calls get reviewed by the replay booth rather than the on-field referee didn’t pass. Horse-collar tackles on quarterbacks in the pocket are also still permitted. NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay pointed to the fact such plays are rare and might not be preventable considering the unpredictable nature of tackling that happens during a pass rush.

“We just didn’t think this had an impact on player safety,” McKay said Wednesday morning after the vote was announced.

Other proposed rules changes that passed after receiving votes from at least 24 of 32 NFL owners:

• The banning of “crack-back” blocks on defensive players aligned more than two yards laterally outside an offensive tackle at the snap. This was aimed at improving player safety.

• Being caught with more than 11 players on the field before the snap becoming a dead-ball foul rather than a five-yard penalty that would be enforced after the play was run and time taken off the clock. This is to fill a rules loophole that was exposed during Super Bowl XLVI, when the New York Giants fielded 12 defensive players during a last-minute New England Patriots drive. There was a concern that coaches would begin illegally fielding extra defensive players to preserve a lead if there were no ramifications on the game clock.

• Illegally kicking a loose football becoming a loss-of-down penalty.

Proposed rules changes tabled for further discussion until the NFL’s spring meeting in May in Buckhead, Ga.:

• The addition of a game-by-game roster exemption for one player who has suffered a concussion and is not cleared to play. This would allow greater flexibility for clubs to sign short-term replacements without adversely affecting the roster. It also may lessen pressure on concussed players to return to the field prematurely.

• The ability to bring one designated player off injured reserve during the season after a minimum eight-week recovery period. All players currently placed on injured reserve are prevented from returning for that team during the season.

• The rescheduling of the NFL trade deadline from six to eight weeks into the regular season. The extension was designed to give teams greater flexibility to swing deals, especially those in playoff contention seeking to replace injured players or upgrade their rosters. Clubs that are out of the playoff race also might be more likely to begin early housecleaning before the offseason begins.

• The expansion of training-camp rosters from 80 to 90 players. Although the regular-season roster will remain at 53 players, one of the rule’s intents is to allow teams to better scout reserve talent that could serve as in-season injury replacements. Starters and key backups also would potentially receive less preseason wear-and-tear if more substitutes were available during practice

No March, No Protest, No Trademark

Where’s Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, et al? Why are there no marches, no protests, no ‘T’ shirts printed with the victims faces printed on them? Why no public outrage? Why hasn’t the President called? Gee, I don’t know?

Why have we not heard of this shooting?

During his trial, a Florida teenager, accused of killing two British tourists in 2011, told a friend how he gunned them down as they pleaded for their lives.

Shawn Tyson, 17, is accused of killing James Kouzaris and James Cooper in April of 2011. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and could face life in prison if convicted.

Yesterday, 18-year-old Latrece Washington testified that Tyson told her he saw the two tourists walking through a housing project in Sarasota, drunk.

Washington testified that Tyson said he intended to rob the two men, but the men said they had no money.

 ‘He said “Well since you ain’t got no money I got something for your ass,”’ Washington recalled Tyson saying on the day after the killings.

Tyson told Washington that the men begged for their lives and one said, ‘please let me go home, I’m lost.’

Recounted Washington: ‘He shot one of them in the side and one of them fell instantly and the other one was crying for his life. He shot him.’

Judge Rick De Furia ruled that TV cameras should not broadcast Washington’s face because of fears for her safety.

As testimony continued Monday in the second week of the trial, a portrait of Tyson began to emerge. He was 16 at the time of the shooting, was behind in school and had the word ‘Savage’ tattooed on his chest.

He and friends – many of whom had criminal histories – repeatedly watched Shootas, a 2002 movie about gangsters in Jamaica and Miami.

The two Brits, Kouzaris and Cooper, were in Sarasota on a three-week vacation. On April 15, 2011, they went to dinner and then had drinks in downtown Sarasota.

Mr Kouzaris was from Northampton and Mr Cooper was from Hampton Lucy, Warwick.

The pair went to two bars and left on foot early in the morning of April 16, and somehow strayed into a neighborhood known for its high crime rates.

Witnesses say they saw Cooper and Kouzaris walking shirtless and stumbling through the neighbourhood followed by two men, one with a red bandanna around part of his face.

Prosecutors are trying to link Tyson to the shootings by showing he had a friend bury .22-caliber bullets in a yard. That was the same caliber of ammunition used to kill Cooper, 25, and Kouzaris, 24.

Defense lawyers contend there is no evidence linking Tyson to the bullets and that witnesses tying him to the scene are not credible.

On Monday, another witness, Jermaine Bane, said Tyson accidentally called him the night of the slayings, and Bane heard Tyson say to someone ‘Who are those crackers walking past the park?’ Shortly after that, Bane testified he heard gunshots. He described a cracker as a white person.

His friend, Mr Bane told the court he received several phone calls from Tyson both before and after he heard gunshots in the early hours of April 16.

He also told the court when police arrived to search Tyson’s house later that day, he saw the teenager – then 16 – throw something into a friend’s car.

Mr Bane said he had been friends with Tyson for about three years. They lived less than two minutes from each other and would often spend around 10 hours a day together.

Bane said he often saw Tyson carrying a 0.22 caliber revolver, usually in his pocket, and had seen him fire it into the air in the ‘the projects’, about four or five times.

On the evening of April 15, 2011, Mr Bane, Tyson, and two friends spent the evening together ‘smoking and chilling’, and visited a Jamaican Club nearby.

The four split up just after midnight, with Mr Bane and one friend going to Bane’s house, while Tyson headed in a different direction, the court heard.

Mr Bane told the court he received a phone call from Tyson asking if he got home.

He said he heard Tyson say: ‘Who are those crackers walking past the park?’

Mr Bane said: ‘I kept saying ‘hello’, to see if he knew I was still on the phone.’

But Tyson did not answer and Bane hung up the phone.

Shortly afterwards, he heard gunshots.

Bane said after that his brother Jarius started ‘beating down the door’, adding: ‘He was very loud like he was scared, like he was about to knock the door down.’

His brother was saying ‘they’re dead, they’re dead’, he told the court.

Mr Bane said Tyson then called him asking if he had heard gunshots and did he know what happened, and if ‘anybody got hit’.

‘I told him, ‘I don’t know ‘cus I’m not out there’,’ he said.

‘I wouldn’t go out there because I didn’t want to step into crossfire or anything.’

He said Tyson called him again, and asked him ‘repeatedly’ to go out and see if the people were dead, but he refused.

Later that day, when police arrived to search Tyson’s house, Mr Bane said he saw Tyson throw something into a friend’s car.

‘He went over to the car. He opened the door and threw something in.

‘He leaned towards under the seat, the driver’s seat.’

Mr Bane originally told police he did not know anything about what had happened because he did not want ‘the image of being a snitch’, he said.

The court heard he was arrested in May and charged with carrying a concealed weapon, but the charge was reduced in seriousness in exchange for giving evidence in the Tyson trial.

Last week the court heard that phone records showed a series of calls were made to and from mobile phones registered to Tyson and Mr Bane just before 3am – around the time of the killing.

The court also heard Mr Bane make a comment that it was the phone calls that had ‘f****d him up’.

Today he said: ‘If it wasn’t for the phone calls I wouldn’t have been getting questioned.

‘I didn’t want to be put in the situation where I had to snitch or anything like that.’

Bane and his brother, Joshua Bane, both testified that they saw Tyson with a .22 calibre revolver before the April 16 shootings. Jermaine Bane also said he was testifying in exchange for authorities reducing a felony weapon charge against him to a misdemeanor.

Another friend, Treshaun Simmons, said he had been with Tyson and Mr Bane that night, and when the group split up, he went to Bane’s house with him, and shortly after, they both heard gunshots.

Mr Simmons also told the court he had gone to Tyson’s house on April 15 to get some bullets.

He said: ‘I needed bullets for my gun. I walked into Shawn’s room….I got a pack of bullets that weren’t open.’

On Friday, Tyson’s sister was arrested and charged with retaliating against a witness in connection with comments she made on Facebook to a woman who testified earlier in the week.

Attribution: Daily Mail

Feeling the Heat

As promised, here’s the follow-up to “None of the Above”.

Current theories of the causes and impact of global warming have been thrown into question by a new study which shows that during medieval times the whole of the planet heated up.

It then cooled down naturally and there was even a ‘mini ice age’.

A team of scientists led by geochemist Zunli Lu from Syracuse University in New York, has found that contrary to the ‘consensus’, the ‘Medieval Warm Period’ approximately 500 to 1,000 years ago wasn’t just confined to Europe.

In fact, it extended all the way down to Antarctica – which means that the Earth has already experience global warming without the aid of human CO2 emissions.

At present the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) argues that the Medieval Warm Period was confined to Europe – therefore that the warming we’re experiencing now is a man-made phenomenon.

However, Professor Lu has shown that this isn’t true – and the evidence lies with a rare mineral called ikaite, which forms in cold waters.

‘Ikaite is an icy version of limestone,’ said Lu. ‘The crystals are only stable under cold conditions and actually melt at room temperature.’

It turns out the water that holds the crystal structure together – called the hydration water – traps information about temperatures present when the crystals formed.

This finding by Lu’s research team establishes, for the first time, ikaite as a reliable way to study past climate conditions.

The scientists studied ikaite crystals from sediment cores drilled off the coast of Antarctica. The sediment layers were deposited over 2,000 years.

The scientists were particularly interested in crystals found in layers deposited during the ‘Little Ice Age,’ approximately 300 to 500 years ago, and during the prior Medieval Warm Period.

Both climate events have been documented in Northern Europe, but studies have been inconclusive as to whether the conditions in Northern Europe extended to Antarctica.

Lu’s team found that in fact, they did.

They were able to deduce this by studying the amount of heavy oxygen isotopes found in the crystals.

During cool periods they are plentiful. During warm periods there aren’t.

‘We showed that the Northern European climate events influenced climate conditions in Antarctica,’ Lu says. ‘More importantly, we are extremely happy to figure out how to get a climate signal out of this peculiar mineral. A new proxy is always welcome when studying past climate changes.’

The research was recently published online in the journal Earth And Planetary Science Letters and will appear in print on April 1.

As evidence mounts that neither CO2 nor man is the cause of planetary warming, the question becomes; how long will the alarmists and false prophets continue to push this fallacy?

Attribution: Daily Mail

Joke of the Day

A Blonde’s Year in Review

January – Took new scarf back to store because it was too tight.

February – Fired from pharmacy job for failing to print labels……Helllloooo!!!…..bottles won’t fit in printer!

March – Got really excited…..finished jigsaw puzzle in 6 months…..box said “2-4 years!”

April – Trapped on escalator for hours ? power went out!!!

May – Tried to make Kool-Aid…..wrong instructions….8 cups of water won’t fit into those little packets!!!

June – Tried to go water skiing…..couldn’t find a lake with a slope.

July – Lost breast stroke swimming competition…..learned later, the other swimmers cheated, they used their arms!!!

August – Got locked out of my car in rain storm….car swamped….convertible top left open.

September – The capital of California is “C”….isn’t it?

October – Hate M & M’s…..they are so hard to peel.

November – Baked turkey for 4 1/2 days. Instructions said 1 hour per pound – I weigh 108!!

December – Couldn’t call 911…. “duh”….there’s no “eleven” button on the stupid phone!

None of the Above

By: The Common Constitutionalist

 

Remember this from 2008?

Obama told us what he intended. Did we not hear him when he said he was ideologically opposed to coal? If we heard him, did we not believe him? Did we not believe he would actually find a way to shut down the coal industry? If we believed him, did we think we could stop him?

Well, it’s taken a few years but it is evident that he and his EPA are well on their way to fulfilling that 2008 promise. If unchecked, the EPA will successfully shut down many coal plants across this country, and yes, your electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket.

He was also quite clear about his intentions for “clean energy” generation. How has that worked out? Was no one listening to his words, knowing one at all?

Obama has stated on many occasions, he is in favor of the “all of the above” energy policy. This obviously is a crock. It is clear, at least to me, that he and his entire administration are anti-hydrocarbon.

The Washington Post reports that “the new proposed EPA rules will require any new power plant to emit no more than 1000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. The average US natural gas plant which emits 800 to 850 pounds of CO2 per megawatt, meets the current standard; coal plants however emit an average of 1768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.”

So, you say, at least we have the natural gas option. We’ve all heard there is more than enough natural gas in this country to power us for decades, if not centuries to come. Unfortunately the EPA has also begun blocking the use of hydraulic fracturing or fracking to get to the natural gas. And how long will it be before the EPA adjusts its standards to disallow natural gas plants?

So we have an administration that has begun to shut down the coal plants, won’t allow new ones to be built, won’t allow drilling for oil anywhere, and will not allow fracturing for production of natural gas. And please don’t buy the line of bull Obama is trying to sell, that domestic oil production is up. He is right that production is up from recent levels, but not due to any of his or his administration’s efforts. The oil production that has increased has all been on private land and has nothing to do with him. At present he has no authority to halt that drilling but his EPA has begun trying to slow the production of oil on these private lands. Congratulations! 

I guess we all should stock up on walking shoes and candles.

But hey, at least we’ll have a clean planet, because as we all know, the science of global warming is settled. It’s been proven, apparently, that man-caused CO2 emissions are causing global warming.

Wouldn’t it be weird, if some team of scientists discovered that man-made CO2 emissions don’t cause global warming?

Stay tuned.

Talk About being Swept Away

I have to stop saving this stuff. Anyway, here ya go.

A Japanese boat swept away a year ago by deadly tsunami spotted 4,703 miles away floating near Canada

A large fishing vessel swept away by the tsunami that devastated Japan last year has been spotted bobbing in the seas near British Columbia in western Canada.

The trawler is part of the 5 million tons of debris that were swept into the ocean in March 2011 when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.

The 23ft wall of water struck the east coast of the island nation following a 9.0 earthquake, sweeping everything from cars to houses into the ocean leaving a wake of devastation.

More than a year later a Canadian military air patrol spotted the vessel – 4,703 miles away from where it was originally moored – floating towards the shore.

It has been determined that the boat has been adrift without anybody at the helm since March 11 last year.

The 50-foot-long (15-meter-long) vessel was recently about 160 miles (260 kilometers) west of Haida Gwaii, islands off the north-coast of British Columbia, slowly drifting toward shore.

A maritime warning has been issued because the vessel could pose a navigational hazard.

The Japan Coast Guard identified the owner of the fishing trawler after being contacted by Canadian officials, who were able to provide the identification number on the hull of the ship.

The vessel, which was used for squid fishing, was moored at Hachinohe in the Aomori prefecture when the tsunami hit, said Toshiro Yoshinaga, a Coast Guard official.

Canadian agencies are monitoring the ship for possible marine pollution, though there are no reports of leaks from the vessel, the defense department said.

The earthquake, which struck about 230 miles northeast of Tokyo, was the largest in the country’s history.

Thousands of people were killed when the earthquake triggered the tsunami and other giant waves that devastated cities and rural areas.

According to the official toll, the disasters left 15,839 dead, 5,950 injured, and 3,642 missing

Attribution: Daily Mail

Best Seller?

From  of The Blaze:

A bookstore in Canada has sold out of an Islamic marriage guide that instructs Muslim men on how to beat their wives, according to the Toronto Sun.

Among the advice dispensed in “A Gift for the Muslim Couple” is to “beat by hand or stick” and “pull [her] by the ears.” The husband may also withhold money to exert control, though should “refrain from beating her excessively.”

The 160-page book’s description says it “deals with the subject of marriage and after marriage relationship, as well as the various pitfalls of marriage, causes of breakdown and their causes.” It was being sold at Islamic Books and Souvenirs in Toronto. The store’s manager told the Toronto Sun it had been sold out for some time. The owner refused to comment to the newspaper.

“[I]t might be necessary to restrain her with strength or even to threaten her,” writes author Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, described as a “prolific writer on almost every topic of Islamic learning.”

The book lists the husband’s supposed rights, which say the wife is unable to leave “his house without his permission,” and that she must “fulfill his desires” and “not allow herself to be untidy…but should beautify herself for him.”

Thanvi also writes that “the husband should treat the wife with kindness and love, even if she tends to be stupid and slow sometimes.”

Wasim Vania, president of the Islamic Society of Toronto, condemned the book, telling the Sun it “should never have entered Canada.”

“We were the first religion to give power to women. It is sad that someone would write this. We don’t have hatred in our hearts and we don’t teach this,” Vania said.

In January, a Canadian jury convicted a Muslim husband, wife and son of murdering three teenage daughters and a co-wife in what was termed an honor killing. The trial transfixed the country and prompted a debate about assimilating immigrants.

Joke du Jour

A couple is in bed sleeping when there’s a rat-a-tat-tat on the door.

The husband rolls over and looks at the clock, and it’s half past 3 in the morning.” I’m not getting out of bed at this time,” he thinks, and rolls over. Then, a louder knock follows. So he drags himself out of bed, goes downstairs, opens the door, and there’s a man standing there. It didn’t take the homeowner long to realize the man was drunk.

“Hi there,” slurs the stranger, “Can you give me a push?” “No, get lost. It’s half past three and I was in bed,” says the man as he slams the door. He goes back up to bed and tell his wife what happened and she says, “That wasn’t very nice of you. Remember that night we broke down in the pouring rain on the way to pick the kids up from the baby-sitter and you had to knock on that man’s house to get us started again? What would have happened if he’d told us to get lost?”

“But the guy was drunk,” says the husband.

“It doesn’t matter,” says the wife.” He needs our help and it would be the Christian thing to help him.” So the husband gets out of bed again, gets dressed, and goes downstairs.

He opens the door, and not being able to see the stranger anywhere,

He shouts, “Hey, do you still want a push?”

And he hears a voice cry out, “Yeah, please.”

So, still being unable to see the stranger he shouts, “Where are you?”

The drunk replies, “Over here, on the swing.”