Political Wilderness Free Fire Zone

The Republican National Convention has just ended, and the Democrat Convention starts tomorrow. The news seems to be almost entirely about that, and to make it worse, neither candidate seems to be a creationist, so that subject isn’t being mentioned.

Your Curmudgeon is more opposed to one candidate than the other, but we aren’t excited by either of them — at least for now — so we’re not going to post about politics. Maybe later. But if you want to talk about politics, that’s fine with us.

Therefore we hereby declare another Intellectual Free-Fire Zone. We’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, or even astrology, theology, mythology, and sociology — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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26 responses to “Political Wilderness Free Fire Zone

  1. The Department of Justice is due to file its response to the latest suit from the FFRF challenging the constitutionality of IRC 107 early next month.

    So, again that issue remains one that should be thrown up to all the candidates as to what they see as the future of IRC 107 regardless of what happens in the FFRF suit (win or lose the case will help publicize the issue).

    IRC 107 is the law that was written just for “ministers” and allows them income tax free housing benefits limited only by their ability to get their people to pay them, and oh how some of them get paid.

    Will it become an election issue this time around?

    Maybe.
    Maybe not.

    I think it should!

    I think IRC 107 should be repealed.

    A lawsuit should not be required to bring attention to the issue, but, to date, there has been no political will to do anything about IRC 107; perhaps for reasons that are obvious to most.

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  2. Eric Lipps

    You’ve mentioned before that you’re a Republican. Even if you hadn’t though, I could tell. Not from your political views, which you’ve pretty much kept to yourself, but from your use of the term “Democrat” where others would use “Democratic.”

    That’s a quirk I wish Republican conservatives would leave behind. Not only is it awkward, it also breaks the unwritten rule that any political party or movement has he right to name itself rather than be named by its opponents.

    Even–just to take an example–the Discovery Institute deserves to be called, at least most of the time (occasional insults are inevitable), by its own name, or at least its initials. Doing otherwise on a routine basis is mere name-calling, the target(s) of which can use to claim they’re being abused (as creationists, among others, love to do).

  3. I’ll also add a bit of diversity and self-promotion should the host here permit it.

    While Ken Ham has been getting almost all the attention related to his building of a model boat, his competition Kent Hovind has recently begun his own theme park in the outback of Alabama near Lenox, on Pearl Lane.

    In conjunction with that, Kent has again been bragging about having assembled a “legal dream team” that will continue working on his pledge to spend the rest of his life fighting his 2006 convictions and to garner millions in damages from the feds for false imprisonment. Kent’s approach appears to highlight sovereign citizen theology and he continues to keep most of the details secret.

    I have a page that deals with that and related matters at:

    http://kehvrlb.com/

    Up the road from Lenox is the real town of Monroeville which has been covering the Hovind story, somewhat, and Kent and I and Kent’s man Ernie have had stories/letters posted therein.

    Here are the links to clear copies (if you don’t subscribe the on-line views are too fuzzy to read very well).

    1. Preliminary Coverage – Hovind Begins Project – May 12, 2016

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/2awhy701ob437fs/Monroe1aP1.pdf?dl=0

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/k3po6gusfvicsn5/Monroe1aP8.pdf?dl=0

    2. The Hovind Interview – June 23, 2016

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ijcz7uhq9pjyk3l/Monroe1P1.pdf?dl=0

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/koz46czsqkrt71b/Monroe1P8.pdf?dl=0

    3. The Baty Response With Additions from Dunn & Reilly – June 30, 2016

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zhj9byjnkswpw7e/Monroe2P1.pdf?dl=0

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/2k3pa7ibukhtovd/Monroe2P8.pdf?dl=0

    4. The Ernie Land Letter-to-the-Editor – July 14, 2016

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/inolmomneygkh2q/MJp714JUL16.pdf?dl=0

    5. The Robert Baty Letter-to-the-Editor – July 21, 2016

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/73tqx5vyepwsmo9/MJp721JUL16.pdf?dl=0

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  4. Robert Baty, the only reason your comment was delayed was because it contained a lot of links, which is typical of spam, so those are automatically put on hold.

  5. I figured that was probably the case. I didn’t know if you would want to post it or not.

    Thanks for posting it.

  6. Robert B – you are perhaps aware that many members of the Churches of Christ take full advantage of the ministerial housing allowance. Being a ‘restoration church’, the church proclaims the ‘priesthood of believers’ – thus all certified congregational members with any kind of active roll in the church can and do take the tax deduction for housing. Other churches also accept the priesthood of believers, but as far as I know do not claim the deduction for members.

  7. Douglas,

    Yes, I am somewhat informed as to the extent to which members of the “Church of Christ” exploit the benefit.

    For instance, despite the fact that private schools like Oklahoma Christian, Abilene Christian, and Pepperdine have been designed theologically and legally to NOT be “integral agencies of the churches of Christ”, they have a sweetheart deal with the feds that allows them to be treated as “integral agencies of the churches of Christ” so that their employees can register as ministers and claim the tax free housing benefits just like those preachers in the pulpits on Sunday.

    So, for those who may Google the issue and run across discussions and references to “basketball ministers”, that will probably trace to my having brought up the issue.

    In my experience, the schoolmen and the preachers don’t really like to talk about that, from an informed position as to how Omar Burleson and George H.W. Bush were called up by Abilene Christian to help them out of tax bind and got that special, administrative, contrary to facts and law, deal made while Nixon was running, allegedly, the IRS.

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  8. As I understand it, the Mormons have what might be called a “lay ministry”. Would their missionaries, priests and bishops be eligible for a tax deduction for housing?

  9. Tom,

    I’m not informed enough as to how the “minister” category applies to various levels of Mormonism, but in my experience and observation I got the distinct impression that there are Mormons who do receive the tax free housing benefit.

    That may be limited to those further up the Mormon food chain, for I think it is commonly claimed that the lower level folks don’t get paid. Maybe that is a ruse; I just don’t know enough about what really goes with the Mormons and their money regarding such things.

  10. Free fire, eh? Live Science has done a very useful analysis of the science aspects of the Republican platform that you can find here.

  11. I think I posted before a link to the top dogs of religion. The top 25 start off at a measly $1,000,000 and go up, up and away from there. They live in palaces, have jets, everything they could want, as long as those donations keep coming in from their sheep.

  12. michaelfugate

    realthog It is a head-in-sand platform – if we don’t tell kids about sex, they will never have it. Same-sex marriage and sex outside of marriage are the only ways that kids won’t have both a mother and a father? Fact-free fire?

    But my favorite is:
    “We support the development of all forms of energy that are marketable in a free economy without subsidies, including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power and hydropower…”

    No subsidies for any of these energy sources, really? They said that?

  13. @MichaelFugate

    It is a head-in-sand platform

    That wasn’t exactly the location I’d imagined for the head.

  14. I will not attempt to analyse Trump’s positions on anything. However, Mike Pence, his chosen running mate, has made a number of statements worthy of Curmudgeonly critique. He

    Claims there is growing scientific scepticism about global warming, and said in 2001 that the Earth was cooler than it had been 50 years earlier

    Says that stem cell research has been made obsolete by technical developments

    Says that, “despite the hysteria… smoking doesn’t kill”

    Attacked Colin Powell for advocating condom use, on the grounds that “condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases”

    Compared with all this, the fact that when asked about evolution, he just repeats that “I believe with all my heart that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that’s in them. How he did that I’ll ask him about some day” is a mere detail. But I note in passing the blasphemous arrogance of his assumption that he is one of those who will see God

  15. Paul Braterman, I have no idea why your comment was delayed. Sometimes the software gets quirky.

  16. Who would say about reproduction in the world of life, “I believe that God created all living things. How he did that, I’ll ask him some day”?
    As if there was some theological issue about the scientific investigation, the natural explanation of how babies come to be born.
    Of course not. There is no problem posed by science about how I came to be, when it comes to “I am a creature of God. I have a personal, individual relationship with my Creator and Redeemer”. Why, then, are people so evasive when it is a matter of the abstract idea of mankind? Are they Universalists of some kind, thinking that salvation is not granted to the individual, but to the species?

  17. Eddie Janssen

    What was the purpose of (the christian) Gods’s existence before he created the universe and stuff (I know time is not supposed to have existed before creation so ‘before’ might not be the right word)?
    If that purpose was to create humans, God is less important than humans and may even hint at God as a pawn in a greater scheme; maybe God was created by the Intelligent Designer!).
    No purpose at all is hardly satisfactory and the lame excuse ‘we humans are bags of [excrement] unworthy of knowing God’s intensions’ is constantly rejected by theologians.

  18. Timothy LaHaye has run out of future and is already being eulogized as a creationist pioneer at the AiG site.

    At least we still have that sublime literary masterpiece, the “Left Behind” series, for our comfort in this dark hour. However, though he lived to be 90, its author remained distinctly unraptured until the end.

  19. H. K. Fauskanger, I’m working on that right now. Be patient.

  20. I expected nothing less of our esteemed Curmudgeon.

  21. Okay, it’s posted.

  22. Reverting to the free fire brief, has anyone heard from Prof Tertius in a while? The last I heard, some months ago, he was ill/better/ill again. Since then, nothing. Although I recall disagreeing with just about everything he had to say, he seemed a very nice guy with a lot of genuine scholarship to offer (amid the panglossian pedantry), and I’d be very sorry should anything bad have happened to him.

  23. Prof. Tertius was writing on the blog https://bibleandscienceforum.wordpress.com/
    On November 23, there was a note posted that he had had a series of strokes, that he was recovering, and that he “hopes to be fully operational by early 2016.”

  24. I’m surprised you haven’t taken a position on either candidate yet. After all, Trump’s running mate is a religious fanatic that will turn the US into a theocracy given half a chance.

    At a minimum you can expect extremely right wing Supreme Court nominees so just think about how long it will take for them to decide that Creationism does belong in the classroom.