Sunday, July 10, 2016

Seek Ye First the Protection of Property Rights....

When Screwtape, depicted by C.S. Lewis as a mid-level administrator in hell’s Lowerarchy, gloated that “Prosperity knits a man to this world,” he might well have been thinking of tax-exempt religious corporations. 

The “Utah Compromise” on religious liberty, which was enacted with the conspicuous support of the LDS Church, offers a splendid case study of the depths of cravenness to which a corporate church will descend in order to preserve its tax exemption. The headline selected by the LDS Church-owned Deseret News captures the import of that ignoble legislation: “LDS Church’s chief lawyer says not all religious freedoms should be defended the same.” 

When “rights” become the subject of triage, they cease to be rights, and mutate into conditional, revocable privileges. All legitimate rights are property rights, and all property rights are absolute. They can, and must, be exercised simultaneously by believers, agnostics, and atheists alike, and are reconciled through commerce and contract.

Believers and non-believers of all sexes and gender identities should seek first the protection of property rights, and all other individual liberties will be added unto them.  Arguably the defining liberty is the right to say "no" -- to eschew commerce, as well as engage in it, to accept or decline an invitation to associate with others.
A vulgar expression of a sound principle: The Right to refuse.

In a free society, the officially licensed larceny called “taxation” would not exist, and productive people of all descriptions would keep everything they have earned, saved, or inherited. In an unfree but relatively civilized society, religious institutions (and non-religious charities) would be tax-immune, rather than tax-exempt. The Regime dispenses exemptions in the service of the true purpose of the income tax system, which is social engineering. This was pointed out seventy years ago by Beardsley Ruml, who at the time was Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

For corporate churches, tax exemption defines the length of their leash. 

Digested to its essence, the Utah Compromise – which is being presented as a model for other states – treats the public expression of “religious liberty” in the “Love Wins” age in purely institutional terms. Religious individuals are free to believe in traditional views of marriage, sexuality, and “gender” – but only to the extent that those beliefs have no tangible impact on their public conduct, beyond the occasional Facebook post or letter to the editor. Those “core” liberties, furthermore, are highly contingent and subject to further restriction without notice.

The “non-negotiable” core rights supposedly protected by the “Compromise” legislation, explained Elder Lance B. Wickman, General Counsel for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, consist of the right of religious people to worship privately, in their homes and congregations. They are also “entitled to the same rights of free speech and expression in the public square as nonbelievers,” and should be protected against official discrimination on the basis of belief.

Sermon on submission: Wickman.

Near the “core” can be found “freedoms that pertain to religiously important nonprofit functions carried on by religious organizations,” Wickman continues. This includes the right to make hiring and personnel decisions “based on religious criteria” and to carry out charitable outreach “without substantial interference by government and without being forced to engage in activities that are fundamentally contrary to their beliefs.”

In matters of commerce, however, “our expectations of unfettered religious freedom must be tempered,” Wickman advised. Religious believers are free – at least for now – to practice their faith at home and within the shelter of a government-recognized corporate church, but once they leave the reservation they “must be willing to make prudential compromises.”

“Preserving the ability of business owners to conduct every aspect of their businesses according to their religious beliefs will be impossible,” according to Wickman. “And the Church itself” – in this case, the LDS Church, but the principle can apply to any government-licensed denomination – “is not in a position to fight that fight if doing so comes at the expense of more core religious freedoms. Protecting those freedoms must remain the priority, or we risk losing even them.” (Emphasis added.)

The essence of Wickman’s message to religious believers is this: Be content to pray and worship at home, and within a corporate edifice devoted to that purpose, but also understand that the corporate church will not be an ally if you assert your property rights by declining business opportunities that conflict with your moral values. Yes, the state can force a Christian baker, or florist, or wedding photographer, to offer services for a same-sex-wedding ceremony, because this would be among what Wickman calls “appropriate compromises in the interest of fairness to others and peace.”

“Some might be shocked to hear this,” he continues, “but not all religious freedoms are equally important.” Government-dictated violations of property rights in the name of combating discrimination are “sustainable compromises,” Wickman asserts. But “barring someone from praying in his own home would be an intolerable act of tyranny,” he insists.

To anyone who actually understands and genuinely cherishes individual liberty – not only freedom of conscience, but freedom of association and property rights in principle – both of the impositions to which Wickman refers are intolerable. For Wickman and the corporation he serves, the prime directive is to protect the institutional interests of the church – not the individual liberties of its members. This will require that people who are serious about living according to their convictions, rather than simply discussing them, embrace “sustainable compromises,” which are merely temporizing measures intended to preserve corporate tax exemptions for religious institutions.

This is made clear by Wickman’s admission that “it is now virtually certain that theories once used to deny tax-exempt status to racist organizations eventually will be invoked to challenge the tax-exempt status of churches that as a matter of doctrine reject same-sex marriage or have sexual worthiness standards.”

What Wickman didn’t acknowledge was that the corporate Church he represents has already accepted limitations on its ability to defend its views in the political arena. Robin Fretwell Wilson, the University of Illinois law professor who drafted the “Utah Compromise,” has candidly admitted that the so-called “Grand Compromise bill” involved “the trading of LGBT rights for some modest political speech protections.”

Summarizing the “Grand Compromise” legislation, the New York Times observed that “The bill … [did] not address what has become one of the most divisive questions on gay rights nationwide: whether individual business owners, based on their religious beliefs, can refuse service to gay people or gay couples — for example, a baker who refuses to make a cake for a gay wedding.”

Wickman’s address made it clear that the property rights of private business owners are expendable in the sacred cause of protecting the corporate privileges of tax-exempt religious institutions. That calculation is based upon the assumption that it is possible to placate a movement that has proven to be implacable, as we are reminded by the disposition of a recent civil action in California.

Facing the threat of a spurious class action suit, Spark Network, Inc, which owns and operates a large number of dating websites, agreed to make its ChristianMingle site accessible to homosexual customers. Three years ago, Aaron Werner of Los Angeles and Richard Wright of San Francisco, filed separate complaints claiming that the Christian-oriented dating site violated state anti-discrimination law by offering “men seeking women” and “women seeking men” options.

Those suits, which sought “compensatory, treble and punitive damages,” eventually yielded a joint settlement under which the website would remove the heterosexual language from that dating site – and several others, including dating sites focusing on Catholic, Mormon, and Adventist markets. The company was required to pay each plaintiff $9,000 as a “service award for the efforts on behalf of the Settlement Class,” and nearly a half-million dollars to the attorneys who brokered this act of state-facilitated extortion.
The wolves aren't satisfied with one victim.
Significantly, the same order demanded that Spark, Inc. “will continue to operate Crosspaths which facilitates faith-based same sex matching and that Spark will continue to operate Crosspaths and provide same or similar same sex matching until at least December 21, 2016.”

In other words, Spark did not discriminate against gay people interested in pursuing “faith-based” relationships. The purpose of the suit was not to require an accommodation for gay customers, but to compel the company to discard sites of exclusive interest to heterosexual Christians, because the very existence of such voluntary associations is considered impermissible.

Under the formula described by Wickman, this is an entirely acceptable outcome, because it doesn’t implicate “core” issues, such as the right of a religious individual to pray at home, or the security of a corporate church’s tax exemption. He and others of his persuasion have badly miscalculated if they believe that the cultural totalitarians who promoted that lawsuit will relent until they have broken all non-conforming institutions on the wheel of their malicious ambition.

 This week's Freedom Zealot Podcast examines the hideous Dallas sniper attack and the so-called "War on Police":


Dum spiro, pugno!


kirk said...

wickman seems to think that giving a few bones to hungry dogs will placate the dogs.

in essence, his position is 'we've got what we wanted so to hell with the rest'. seems mighty selfish for one who claims to be a christian.

perhaps he does not understand that throwing a few bones to hungry dogs only raises their blood lust and drives them to further actions.
in the end, i find lack of understanding on wickman's part not likely. what is likely is that he wanted the pews full...and contributions, as well...even if selling out his 'core' was indicated to get what he wanted.

how long before his 'new friends', the ones he sold out to, come for him and what he purportedly 'represents'?

Josh Daniels said...

What Wickmans speech fails to recognize is that the perceived assault on religious liberty is merely a byproduct of the more significant assault on the fundamental liberties of free association and property. The secular LGBT thing is merely an iteration of cultural marxism aimed at promoting control over society by popular democracy-a lie Wickman buys into. He missed a great opportunity to remind of us our republican form of government and the liberty it aims to protect. So sad. This is what you get from social elites educated at Berkley and Stanford.

David Jankowski said...

Accused individuals need to be reminded continually to decline efforts to question them being posed by incipient prosecutorial agents. Admit nothing to revenue dogs being sicced on them by corporate malefactors. Read the Miranda monition and understand you are being warned that you don't have to and should not give information to them. This includes the "social justice" stalkers who seek to persecute us for our beliefs and to make examples of religious practitioners.

Ted R. Weiland said...

"Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)

Among a number of other abominable consequences, property taxes (the most egregious of Constitutional Republic's taxes)are the result of the 18th-century founders NOT seeking Yahweh's kingdom and righteousness. This formally occurred in 1787 when the constitutional framers replaced the 17th-century Colonial governments of, by, and for God established upon His moral law (including His taxing system) with their own humanistic government of, by, and for the people based upon Enlightenment and Masonic traditions.

For more regarding these two polar opposite forms of government, see online Chapter 3 "The Preamble: WE THE PEOPLE vs. YAHWEH" of "Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective" at

Then, find out how much you REALLY know about the Constitution as compared to the Bible. Take our 10-question Constitution Survey in the right-hand sidebar and receive a complimentary copy of a book that EXAMINES the Constitution by the Bible.

watchman said...

There are artificial entities in the legal/lawful realm that are not under statutory control. Those in Romans 10:9 faith should be seeking these constructs for doing business through. These same should not use attorners (attorneys) to "help" (hurt) with this effort.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this one Will..........I think?

Graveyard Point Cowboy

Michael said...

Hi Will!

I'm an active (well, mostly) Latter-day Saint and could not agree with you more. The LDS Church has been "compromising" with the gay/lesbian folks for several years now and every time I hear about some new adjustment they're making, I cringe.

Unfortunately, the LDS Church has and is packing its leadership with lawyers and businessmen who are well versed in the politics of so-called "compromise".

And, to your point, the Church is all about the Church and ONLY the Church. It's pretty much guaranteed that the LDS Church won't come to the defense of any member who strays beyond the boundaries given by the brethren.

Always appreciate the insights you provide.

Anonymous said...

“The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern.”—C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Anonymous said...

Socialism is the total opposite of capitalism/imperialism. It is the rejection of empire and white supremacy. Socialism is the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the eradication of the social system based on profit.
Socialism means control of the productive for the good of the whole community instead of the few who live on hilltops and in mansions.
Socialism means priorities based on human need instead of corporate greed.
Socialism creates the conditions for a decent and creative life for all.

William Ayers of The Weather Underground, "Prairie Fire" (1974), Page 41.

Anonymous said...

We are a guerrilla organization. We are communist women and men, underground in the United States for more than four years. We are deeply affected by the historic events of our time in the struggle against U.S. imperialism.
Our intention is to disrupt the empire, to incapacitate it, to put pressure on the cracks, to make it hard to carry out its bloody functioning against the people of the world, to join the world struggle, to attack from the inside.
The only path to the final defeat of imperialism and the building of socialism is revolutionary war. Revolutionary war will be complicated and protracted. It includes mass struggle, peaceful and violent, political and economic, cultural and military, where all forms are developed in harmony with armed struggle.
Without mass struggle there can be no revolution. Without armed struggle there can be no victory.

William Ayers of the Weather Underground, "Prairie Fire" (1974), Page 10.

Anonymous said...

From, Christ not being brought to this world from a virgin birth, to marriage in Heaven, and many become like a Christ or a God with their own planet to name 3 insults to mock God, the LDS church takes the cake. Fact of the matter, when one looks closely at the Mormon church it seems that church is becoming a union. Mormons seem to be flocking to government employment and that church gets the 10 percent cut for the life of that government employee. Throughout the years of employment to the taxpayer paid retirement. Mormons have said for years the church is run like a business, which is a fair statement being it is by no means a Christian based church. History is clear, when Islam was forced out of Europe by the French General, The Hammer. That stopped the book burning where Islam wanted to leave mankind with one book, the Karan. See, "The Irish Saved Literacy", a clear picture of that point in time. Satin lost that battle to destroy God's scripture but didn't give up. It took a few centuries but he landed on adding on to the Holy Bible being he couldn't destroy it altogether. So destroying the Bible by adding to it, brought forth the Mormons. Far too much of that faith mocks God and is light years in another direction than Christianity. That church is not run in the open as closed societies seem to operate. At one time it was reported that west of the Mississippi, the Mormon church and BofA were said to be the richest corporate entities. Look at the Salt River Project that has it's own congressional exemption from the antitrust laws and the money that flows into that church from the SRP.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like another casualty in the left's march through all institutions.
After the second bolshevik revolution is complete and the glorious fundamental transformation is over then what?
The reds have no capacity to build or create and they certainly don't have any new ideas so it will probably be just more of the same old stale Marxist tripe that always leaves a mountain of dead bodies in the vain quest for a statist utopia.
I'll have to pass on sold out corporate churches and worship of the state is not an option either.

Anonymous said...

Donna in North Dakota

In the 1970's, a friend attending church in a wealthy area of Omaha, NE, was witness to a 'searching' LDS Bible discussion regarding the three year mortal ministry of The Lord Jesus Christ - the conclusion being...He could NOT possibly have been a mere carpenter. He had to have been a highly successful General Contractor...otherwise, how could He have afforded to leave His everyday responsibilties in order to fulfill a three-year Mission call?

Worldly success may blind spiritual eyes to the reality of miracles.

There are explicit warnings throughout The Book of Mormon to the latter day reader - no less to the lawyers or pastors than to the 'humble followers of Christ'.

I've marveled over the lack of outrage from Christian pulpits regarding the glib use of torture and massacre by drones of those we are told are our enemies.

PNW_DPer said...


Regarding the last statement in your post;

It sure didn't take long for a government to impose restrictions on the LDS Church and its missionary program, and this in what may be the most Christian and Family Values oriented country left in the world (the one whose government most vigorously supports the principles of the LDS Proclamation on the Family of 1995).

Come to think of it, with these latest compromises by the LDS corporate bureaucracy the Russian government probably supports the Proclamation better than the current LDS church.

Anonymous said...

Donna from ND

In response to the linked Huffington article above, current foreign policy has tweaked a hostile reaction from Russia. Little wonder there might be a concern about 'Mormon' missionaries who very frequently are recruited into 'intelligence' when they return, in part because of real place language skills.

Naive patriotism combined with religious zeal can be useful to the plans of those not so naive.

William N. Grigg said...

Both the CIA and the FBI recruit heavily among returned LDS missionaries, especially at BYU. One of the reasons the NSA built its omnivorous data-collection facility in Bluffdale, Utah is the ready availability of very capable foreign language translators in the area -- people who are exceptionally fluent in their given languages, familiar with the local cultures, and acculturated into obedience to constituted authority.

As an LDS missionary in Guatemala back in the early 1980s, I was occasionally accused of being a CIA operative, in part because of my inescapable Gringo accent, which was incongruous for someone who looked like a native. I was there during the 1983 coup in which the CIA-backed dictator Efrain Rios Montt was removed and replaced by a CIA-supported military junta, and being accused of working for the Company was no trivial matter.

(Complete disclosure: I left the LDS Church in 2003.)

Anonymous said...

I think the Church left you William??

Grave yard point cowboy

Anonymous said...

Well, there you are; A religious cult created by a convicted fraud, illiterate who could barley write his own name and mysteriously discovers a golden bible which only he can read with the aid of mystical spectacles brought to him by angels.
Rubbish! Talk about a true con job, Smith was at his best with this one. Of course L. Ron Hubbard, though not nearly as good as Smith, came up with what can only be described as a copy cat religion.
Both of these cults have made out like bandits.
Smith should be proud of his creation and that's exactly what it is a creation of a twisted and deceitful mind.
The time has come to remove all tax exemptions from all churches. Make them pay for the vast holdings of property, private jets, private yachts, mansions expensive foreign cars. They get it all free of taxes while the rest of us are forced at gunpoint to support these con artists. And yes we are supporting them by being forced to make up for the loss of revenue because of their tax exemption status.
So we need to do away with either the tax code or tax exempt status for religious groups.
One or the other. You can't have it both ways and expect any semblance of equity.

Anonymous said...

Donna - north dakota

Anonymous above has a decided opinion on the LDS Church and its origin.

Some are just as decided regarding other sects and religions. So long as I remain free to continue my personal study of what I consider sacred writ and to act upon my conviction while never imposing restraint or harm on anyone else in pursuit of their belief system, I'm willing to respect our differences.

You make the point that Joseph Smith could barely write his own name, but was able to cut-&-paste an epic manuscript purporting to be the combined and edited histories of nations and peoples over the course of several thousand years, making use of many different literary 'voices' and styles, weaving these various accounts into a perfectly coherent timeline - including warnings and prophecy specific to 21st Century events and behaviors in the latter-day church - all of which concludes that The Lord Christ is the Author and Finisher of this mortal Creation as well as the Father of our Souls.

Emma Smith may have had the greatest trials of faith throughout her lifetime, and the most reason to blow the whistle. After Joseph's murder, she did leave the Church and remarried outside the institution. Nevertheless, she remained steadfast in her witness of the sacred record and the divine nature of the transcription process, to which she served as scribe to her 22-23 year old illiterate husband.

What matters is what we DO with what we Believe.

Unknown said...

The LDS Church is not a religious institution. It is nothing more than a vile corporation that is willing to change its stance for the purpose of garnering greater support (insert the word "financial") from its sycophants. The leaders are corporate hacks and NOT theologians who have followed Joe's Myth. Glad you left in 2003-- I left 6 years ago and would rather be dead than a part of Mormonism again.