Home » Off Topic » I am glad Eric Anderson is happy with his three thousand tyrants

I am glad Eric Anderson is happy with his three thousand tyrants

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O'Leary/Bencze

Here, Gil Dodgen points us to a story of a couple convicted of holding bible studies in their home. What’s interesting, to a foreign observer, is the astonishing comments in response:

Eric Anderson at 1. It seems this is a violation of a municipal code section. While it is possible someone is using the code section to unfairly single them out, it’s not clear from the article that anything nefarious is going on.

Oh, okay. Let me get this straight: In the United States of America, well known internationally for yakking up a storm about “freedom,” a government can come along and make anything it pleases illegal – and the only problem is if someone breaks the government’s rules? Yes, fine, we understand. Or not, as it happens.

Excuse me, I forgot. I only took two years of American history in school. I must have missed the part about the Americans breaking away from Britain so that they could found a society and culture where government polices every aspect of life. Stirring.

Canadians didn’t join the Revolution precisely because we feared “the law of three thousand tyrants.” Or as one of our notables put it: Better one tyrant three thousand miles away than three thousand tyrants one mile away.

Eric is happy with his three thousand tyrants, and who am I to spoil his fun? Just tell them not to come to Canada, Eric.

Yes, because here’s the bad news: There are bible studies – and other religious events – going on all over Toronto every night. No one would bat an eye at a procession of Buddhist monks around a nondescript house somewhere. Or a Catholic parade in the streets. Oddly, Canada is much more secular and has much less personal freedom in some respects than the United States (a subject of serious controversy just now). But no one would tolerate the kind of thing Eric Anderson thinks is just the way the heads break.

Better still, Paragwinn says,

2. Apparently, the bible-study couple felt that ‘section 9-3.301 of the Capistrano Municipal Code, which prohibits “religious, fraternal or non-profit” organizations in residential neighborhoods without a conditional-use permit’ [from the article], didnt pertain to them. How moral of them. And this has WHAT to do with ID? That ID is not religious nor require supernatural intervention?

WHAT that has to do with ID is this, and it’s embarrassing to have to spell it out: Governments that feel free to make and enforce such rules can easily be parasitised by Darwinists demanding the right to persecute anyone who examines their claims critically.

Oh wait, there’ve been a bunch of cases like that in the US recently …

Please, guys, tell me you’re not Americans. If you are, and you are representative, congratulations on proving that Canada was right, two centuries ago. Our current trainloads of useless adminbots know way better than to push it so you would have to get a permit to pray with your friends. That’s revolutionary thinking all right. But of what kind?

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15 Responses to I am glad Eric Anderson is happy with his three thousand tyrants

  1. The purpose of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was to prevent the government from establishing a state religion or interfering with the free exercise of religion and the right to peaceably assemble. Yet, we now have the official state Church of Darwin, which is promoted in public education and cannot be challenged even on scientific grounds, and we now have local government preventing the free exercise of religion in a private home.

    The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

    Originally, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress. However, starting with Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925), the Supreme Court has held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the First Amendment to each state, including any local government.

    It seems to me that the municipal code in question is clearly unconstitutional. Federal law supersedes state and local law.

  2. Someone had better challenge it in court then, Gil. A mayor worth re-electing in that city would appoint a constitutional lawyer to go through the by-laws one by one, and bring promptly to council’s attention any by-law that infringes on civil rights. Why pay for neo-fascist legislation AND the resulting lawsuits?

  3. The first link doesn’t go to the story described.

  4. Thanks, fixed. A moment of weirdness in the system. Sometimes it tries to be smarter than us. Fail.

  5. Denyse, thanks for the chance to add to my comments. I think I have a decent handle on constitutional issues, thank you. The article states the following:

    “The Fromms’ citations say they violated section 9-3.301 of the Capistrano Municipal Code, which prohibits “religious, fraternal or non-profit” organizations in residential neighborhoods without a conditional-use permit. The footnote on the section says it “Includes churches, temples, synagogues, monasteries, religious retreats, and other places of religious worship and other fraternal and community service organizations.”

    So is it your position that a local government doesn’t have the right to zone activities and issue permits for those activities? As near as we can tell from the (very limited) information in the article, if the Fromms get a conditional use permit through the normal channels, they are good to go. There is no evidence of discrimination against religious organizations vis-a-vis others who must also get a conditional use permit.

    Look, it is possible the code section will be found unconstitutional — presumably that will be one of the arguments in the case. I am only pointing out that the immediate reaction (Oh, look at those poor bible-study folks) is not necessarily warranted by the information we have at hand.

    Let’s suppose that the city regularly grants conditional use permits for all manner of activities but had turned down the Fromms for the Bible study class. Or let’s suppose that the city reguarly ignores the need for a conditional use permit, but in this case decided to strictly enforce the old code provision. In either of these instances I would think that the city might well be in trouble. Did those things occur? Perhaps, but we have no information to that effect from the article. Which is why I said: “While it is possible someone is using the code section to unfairly single them out, it’s not clear from the article that anything nefarious is going on.”

    If I want to start a daycare service in my home, or a tanning salon at my home, or a hair styling salon in my home I might well need a permit (depending on the particular municipality). It is not clear that religious activities are being singled out here.

    Some people have the incorrect idea that not making “any law respecting an establishment of religion” means there can’t be any laws with respect to religious organizations. That simply is not true. If I want my organization to be recognized as a legal entity, I need to go through the formalities of registering it with the state and paying the appropriate fees. If I want tax exempt status, I have to file the federal and state applications and pay the fees (and, yes, I have experience in this area). If I have a congregation hall, I have to follow municipal ordinances relating to fire safety, inspections, number of occupants, land use, etc. There are all kinds of laws that apply to religious organizations, and religion isn’t singled out unfairly in any of these instances.

    As to the indignant references to my supposed lack of American history, my nationality, and fleeing to Canada, I’ll just smile and shake those off. After all, I’ve been guilty of strong language on this blog before myself. :) We’re on the same side here. If it turns out Fromms have been unfairly targeted in any way to limit their religious freedom, I will gladly be the first to stand up and express outrage. But for now, let’s bring down the rhetoric a bit until we know more details.

  6. I wonder if the city would have reacted as it did if it had been a Muslim Koran-study gathering.

  7. “Look, it is possible the code section will be found unconstitutional — presumably that will be one of the arguments in the case. I am only pointing out that the immediate reaction (Oh, look at those poor bible-study folks) is not necessarily warranted by the information we have at hand.”

    Oh yes it is. Did you notice the fire on the northern hills? Aw not to worry. No one looks north, except when they are trying to find a stable bank or ethical oil or something.

    “Let’s suppose that the city regularly grants conditional use permits for all manner of activities but had turned down the Fromms for the Bible study class. Or let’s suppose that the city reguarly ignores the need for a conditional use permit, but in this case decided to strictly enforce the old code provision. In either of these instances I would think that the city might well be in trouble. Did those things occur? Perhaps, but we have no information to that effect from the article. Which is why I said: “While it is possible someone is using the code section to unfairly single them out, it’s not clear from the article that anything nefarious is going on.”

    How did that city get to be in charge of who can hold a meeting with friends in their own home? Or require permits?

    Toronto is one of the bigger cities in North America and one of the safest and nicest places to live – and has never heard of any such thing. The permit thingo is restricted to such matters as serving alcohol or providing a public fireworks display.

    For heaven’s sakes, Eric, quit drinking the Kool-Aid! Some laws are just an abomination.

  8. Please. You have gone a bridge too far, based on the amount of information we have (unless you have some additional information that wasn’t in the article, of which I am unaware).

    Here is the simple fact: there are lots of laws that apply to religious organizations. Yes, some laws are an abomination. And the law will be reviewed in this case. People who have more facts at hand than you and I will battle it out, and we’ll see where it goes. In the meantime, this isn’t the apocalypse.

  9. This is the bridge many people – in a country you do not know or care about – have stood on, fought at great cost, and are winning: The government has no business in these matters. None whatsoever. People can hold a meeting in their own homes about whatever they like, if it is not about committing a crime.

  10. These kinds of laws violate the First Amendment by forcing a pattern of establishment upon religion that disallows a basic pattern established in New Testament times, namely of churches in the home (see Acts 8:3, Romans 16:5, I Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 2).

    More recently, Christianity has managed to grow in China, in the face of some of the worst oppression known to history, in large measure due to the house church movement:

    They are called “house churches” because as they are not officially registered organizations, they cannot independently own property and hence they meet in private houses, often in secret for fear of arrest or imprisonment, as in the Early Church under pagan Roman persecution.

    The Chinese house church movement developed after 1949 as a result of the Communist government policy which requires the registration of all religious organizations. This registration policy requires churches to become part of the TSPM/CCC set-up, which may involve interference in the church’s internal affairs either by government officials or by TSPM/CCC officials, who are approved by the Communist Party of China’s United Front Work Department. During the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976 all Christian worship was forced underground, even the official churches were closed, and the house church movement was solidified as an ongoing phenomenon.

    The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” by which local governments are also bound.

    So where a government might have a right to regulate where the commerce conducted by a day care service, a tanning or hair-styling salon, or an auto repair shop can take place, it has no similar right to regulate where the exercise of religion must take place.

    By the First Amendment governments are, quite specifically, constitutionally disallowed from making any such decision regarding whatever establishments any particular religion may decide upon for its exercise.

  11. Governments local or otherwise don’t have rights to do anything.

  12. Eric,

    The trouble with the ordinance is its discriminatory nature. If those same people were gathered to discuss poetry then it’s fine. And maybe if they’re discussing the Bible, that’s fine too. But as soon as they are affiliated with a religion they are in violation.

    That means that gathering, perhaps parking on the street, and a reasonable degree of noise are all acceptable. It’s just the religious affiliation that is unacceptable. In fact, the gathering could be much smaller, practically unnoticeable, but still be a code violation while some huge boisterous party would not.

    The problem is easy to solve. If too many people gathering at a home is a problem, restrict it. But to restrict them based on why they are gathering is close to thought police. What’s next, an ordinance containing lists of organizations and/or topics for discussion that are permitted or restricted?

  13. “The problem is easy to solve. If too many people gathering at a home is a problem, restrict it. But to restrict them based on why they are gathering is close to thought police.”

    Agreed. And based on the article, we don’t know why they were restricting them. The ordinance doesn’t just apply to religious organizations. Unless anyone has more information beyond what was in the article, I don’t think we have enough information to get worked up about this yet.

  14. Eric Anderson: There is an entire nation, the true north strong and free, that opposes it on principle now. No, really. There is a way to live that is not about government. Where almost all sanctions are personal, local, informal … the way things should be. It’s amazing what jackboot removal does for a community.

  15. News: “WHAT that has to do with ID is this, and it’s embarrassing to have to spell it out: Governments that feel free to make and enforce such rules can easily be parasitised by Darwinists demanding the right to persecute anyone who examines their claims critically.”

    I agree that there is a distinct possibility of denial of rights here.

    But in this particular incident, is there any real tangible evidence that “Darwinists” have parasitised the city of Capistrano in creating these particular municipal codes? Is the Darwin “lobby” even involved? Or is just bureaucrats running amok and it has nothing to do with Darwinism at all?

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