On My Political Soapbox

While driving the van home today, I saw something that got me real disturbed: lots of “Yes on 8” yard signs, and only one “No on 8” sign. I just wonder what part of “Separation of Church and State” they don’t understand. I can understand if your church teaches you that a marriage is only between a man and a woman. I have no problem if you don’t want to permit such marriages in your church. I do have a problem if you want to legislate it, and impose your religious will upon others who do not hold those beliefs.

I guess it is a further example of how our populace, including the courts, misunderstand the separation of church and state. The Supreme Court has refused to hear two cases that are clearly separation of church and state issues, according to CNN. In the first, an anti-abortion group has won its long legal fight to force Arizona to issue “choose life” license plates, after the Supreme Court declined to take the case as it opened its new term. The justices, without comment Monday, left in place an appeals court ruling in favor of the Arizona Life Coalition, which has sought the special plates for six years. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, said the state commission on license plates violated the group’s constitutional right to free speech by turning down its application. My opinion: putting “Choose Life” on a plate issued by the state creates the appearance of the state endorsing that particular religious view, which I feel is inappropriate. Folks are welcome to choose it as their personalization, but it shouldn’t be on the frame. In another case, the court refused to consider a murder case in which a jury foreman read passages of the Bible to hold-out jurors who subsequently voted to impose the death penalty. Since when did the Bible become the law of the land — I was always taught that only the law as instructed by the judge applies when you are a juror.


In other political news, the McCain campaign has started to attack Barack Obama’s character, with Sarah Palin going so far as to attack Obama for his association with Ayers (which the NYT and CNN stated to be nothing), and the Jeremiah Wright fiasco (thus going against John McCain who didn’t want to use that issue, and the fact that Obama has condemned what Rev. Wright said).

Of course, all this may be happening to disguise some real character flaws. Palin (whose taxes were done by H&R Block) seems to have some tax problems. It appears she didn’t report as income the $43,490 that the state gave the family to cover travel expenses for Mr. Palin and the Palin children. That’s taxable income, unless they were employees of the state. The Palin’s also deducted $9,000 in business losses from snowmobiling. This tax-loss would not be allowed if the activity is a hobby. The I.R.S. rule is that if an activity produces a profit in three of the past five years, is a businesses and not a hobby. But the Palins released tax returns for only two years, so it is impossible to tell. One year showed a $9,000 loss, the other year a slight profit. Another I.R.S. test is whether making a profit — and not just having fun in the snow — was the “predominate, primary or principal objective” of Mr. Palin’s snowmobiling. As for McCain, the LA Times has an interesting article about McCain’s experience as a naval aviator. He had lots of problems with judgement and being impulsive (a similar comment on poor judgement was the result of the Keating 5 investigations). Nothing was prosecuted in either case, although the record did reveal a pilot who early in his career was cocky, occasionally cavalier and prone to testing limits. There was also an interesting article in the Washington Post about John McCain and his first wife, Carol, including how he started become engaged to Carol before he had even divorced… or moved out… on his first wife.

Now, I know some of my readers support both Prop. 8 and McCain/Palin. I respect your right to draw your own conclusions and your positions. I’ve drawn mine.