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“Fearfully and Wonderfully Made”

Wednesday, July 8, 2015  |  posted by John Schroeder

Last week when George Takei said some very, very ugly things, for which he has since apologized, about Clarence Thomas and his Obergefell dissent I decided not to comment.  Seriously, A) Who cares what the Yoko Ono of the original Star Trek cast thinks about a Supreme Court decision and, B) Why publicize, even to refute, such self-damning comments?  But then yesterday Rich Lowry pointed out that Takei was not the only one that took Thomas to task and did a marvelous job of pointing out how out of touch all the criticism was with the writings of the founders.  Lowry concluded his piece:

Thomas is the one firmly grounded in the best of the American tradition, even if his clueless attackers don’t get it. Some of them acted as if he is somehow ignorant of the nature of slavery, even though his forebears were slaves and he grew up in abject poverty in the Jim Crow South. Justice Thomas doesn’t just understand more about the reality of racial discrimination than his critics, but more about America and its ideals.

They should keep reading his opinions. Maybe they will learn something.

Amen to that.  So what is all the hubbub about? Continue Reading

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New York Times’ Columnist Mark Oppenheimer On Stripping Churches Of Their Tax Exempt Status

Monday, July 6, 2015  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

New York Times’ religion columnist recently argued in Time Magazine that churches should lose their tax-exempt statusPatheos columnist and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Owen Strachan was among those who responded forcefully to Oppenheimer.  I had Oppenheimer on Monday’s show to discuss his radical proposition which would in fact result in the deaths of at least tens of thousands simply by the crippling of one agency’s work –World Vision– and untold suffering at home and abroad:

Audio:

07-06hhs-oppenheimer

Transcript:

HH: Joined now by Mark Oppenheimer, who writes the bi-weekly Beliefs column for the New York Times. He is also the editor-at-large at Tablet, and he writes for the Atlantic, the Nation, This American Life, elsewhere. Last week, he wrote for Time Magazine a column that is titled Now’s The Time To End Tax Exemption For Religious Institutions. He includes in that the statement rather than try to rescue tax-exempt status for organizations that dissent from settled public policy, on matters of race or sexuality, we need to take the more radical step. It’s time to abolish or greatly diminish their tax-exempt status. Mark, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.

MO: It’s great to be back. That was an epic conversation we had a couple of years ago about sports and Christianity, and I’ve been waiting to come back ever since.

HH: Well, this is, you wrote quite the throw down on taking away tax-exempt status for churches. Have you rethought your position since you wrote this?

MO: Well, first, I want to back up and say that as you know, because you read the piece, unlike lots of people in the so-called blogosphere who seem to read only the headline, I don’t say take away tax-exempt status for religious, for conservative or traditionalist religious institutions. I don’t even say take away the tax exempt status of churches and religious institutions. I say non-profit institutions. So we should be clear that mine is an argument on principle that this is a tax loophole that you can drive many, many trucks through – left wing trucks, right wing trucks, and that it doesn’t make sense in the logic of our economy. So to answer your question, which I always want to do, certainly all the feedback I’ve gotten has caused me to refine my position and nuance it, and I’ve thought about other exceptions I would made, and I’ve thought about exceptions I wouldn’t make. It’s been a thrilling ride, because apparently, this touched a nerve. But the important thing to note is this isn’t actually a piece about churches and synagogues. It’s a piece about non-profits. Continue Reading

Senator John McCain On The President’s “Delusional” ISIS Strategy, 2016, And The Filibuster

Monday, July 6, 2015  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Senator John McCain joined me on today’s show:

Audio:

07-06hhs-mccain

Transcript:

HH: So pleased to welcome to the second hour of the Hugh Hewitt Show United States Senator John McCain. Senator, it’s always good to have you, welcome back. I hope you had a great 4th of July.

JM: Well, I did, Hugh, thank you. I was over in Afghanistan. I go over just every 4th of July and spend it with the troops. And I can tell you that at least at that level, you are always inspired by the quality and dedication and the tough life that these men and women who are serving over there have. And I just watched the President in his press conference, and my deep sorrow is that they are not well led.

HH: I’m going to bring up some of the clips from that. I want to first of all thank you for doing that. One of the reasons I’ve endorsed John McCain in his reelection in Arizona is he hasn’t forgotten the troops, and he hasn’t forgotten what they need. And Senator McCain, you are running for reelection. I’m wondering, have you endorsed your buddy, Lindsey Graham’s presidential bid, yet?

JM: Yes, I have. I’m going all out for him. And by the way, he served 33 years in the Air Force. That’s the great news. The bad news is he was a lawyer, but we get over that. Continue Reading

The Filibuster Question And Politico’s Lousy Job Of Reporting

Monday, July 6, 2015  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Politico has a piece up on the filibuster which unfortunately distorts my view on the subject despite my having spent 30 minutes with one of the authors, Daniel Strauss, on the phone discussing it last week.

I don’t have a position on whether the “Reid Rule” should be invoked to repeal Obamacare “root and branch,” or pass an end to the  sequester on the Defense department, and the article I wrote cited by the authors as evidence that I was one of the “loudest voices” calling for the invocation of the “Reid Rule” earlier this year doesn’t support that description because it instead fact outlines the very choice the Senate with a GOP president would face.  (I wonder if they read it, or why Strauss didn’t mention it to me or call me back for a comment.) I spent a lot of time with Strauss explaining how the filibuster serves important ends and supports the constitutional design of the Senate but that folks like former Senator Jim Talent and others are raising the issue of the urgency of quick action, and urging him to call other experts like Dr. Larry Arnn of Hillsdale College for an understanding of the complicated issue involved, and pointed to Senator Tom Cotton who had discussed both sides of the argument without declaring one way or the other, which is what I have been at pains to do.

The Strauss/Everett piece again confirms the wisdom of my usual rule of only doing interviews with Beltway journalists over the air.  This is especially true of the new gang at Politico which is dragging the site left, left, left.  I don’t know why Strauss would write up our interview this way –I went to great lengths to emphasize that I hadn’t decided one way or the other, but saw the issue as an interesting one as he correctly noted because it exposes a seam in the GOP filed– but I suspect the category of “interested but impartial conservative journalist” didn’t interest him, his co-author or his editor.  Unfortunate, that inability to correctly record an interviewee’s opinions.  It follows a reporter, impacting their reputation.

My Washington Examiner column this AM notes the rapid decline of seriousness in D.C.  Part of that is the fault of a press corps that cares more about clicks than getting a story right, even if the story is complicated and important.  The grey heads at Politico need to sit the youngsters down and talk to them about this or they will continue to bleed credibility and talent.  I spent quite a lot of time with Dylan Byers earlier this month and was happy to do so, and Mike Allen is always welcome on the show, as was James Hohmann when he hung his hat there.  But botching a story this badly makes you wonder about a brand, it really does.  It wouldn’t have been hard to get it right. It would merely have been inconvenient.

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