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March 25, 2009

Does He Think We’re That Stupid?

I caught part of Barack Obama's press conference last night--the part about how it's only fair to reduce the charitable gift tax deduction for well-heeled Americans. The reporter, bless his heart, followed up by asking if all those charities that are going ballistic over this proposal are wrong in thinking they'll be badly damaged by Obama's plans. Not at all, the messiah responded.

Maybe the people who run America's homeless shelters and AIDS clinics read a report by the Tax Policy Center, which found that Obama's proposal would reduce charitable giving by nine billion dollars a year.

Obama later told a reporter from Ebony magazine that his heart "breaks" over the thought of any American child being homeless. Well, if you feel that badly about it, Mr. President, it might be a good idea to listen to the people who RUN America's homeless shelters--shelters that survive only because "the rich" support them. Nine billion dollars will provide food and shelter for a lot of homeless kids.  But no--the government knows best how to spend that money....

What frustrates me most about listening to Obama speak is his assumption that we are too stupid to realize he's conning us (see above)--or flat out lying to us. Embryonic stem cell research will lead to cures for diabetes and Parkinsons? Please. This research has yet to yield a single cure, or even hope, for any disease. Obama knows this, of course. Anybody who pays attention to the debate knows this. But Obama lies about it anyway.

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Mark Triplett

Unfortunately, I believe it's worse than you think, It's not whether or not he believes were that stupid, it's that he doesn't care what we think.

He's "hoping" to "change" as much as he possibly can before all his help gets thrown out of the House and Senate next year. But by then it might be too late and the "change" will be permanent.


Those who voted for him are. And he himself might be. He's sealed his academic records.

BO is moving faster and with less finesse than Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela. We can only pray that he over-reaches himself and the junta is overthrown in 2010 at the polls.

Gina Dalfonzo

Go easy on the sweeping generalizations, please, labrialumn.


Hey, that Lab guy just called me stupid. Nice. That's OK, I forgive him. You know, us non-Christians do peek in now and then, just to check. Thanks for reigning your folks in, Gina.

Diane Singer

Before the election, I was hoping that Obama would not be as bad as I feared; now, I known he's worse. I'm beginning to think that he and his cronies are deliberately trying to sink our economy so he can rebuild America according to the socialist vision he's harbored all his life. We're getting "change" alright, and it's all on the "wrong kind" side of the equation.


How is it that Obama is being criticized because other people might not be willing to give a whole dollar to a charity unless someone else (“the government”) gives them thirty cents back? It seems to me that Obama is giving people of a charitable mindset (whether or not they are Christians) the benefit of the doubt - believing, or hoping, or at least recognizing that they can still give the whole dollar. If you want to give a charity a dollar, then give it. If you want the government to take less of your money, then work to change the tax laws. Money is fungible. It is a deception to suggest that Obama is taking away charity dollars; he is taking dollars, period.

Regarding Obama’s words about stem cell research, it seemed to me that he expressed willingness – perhaps even a veiled hope - that a little more research would confirm what Anne Morse declares already confirmed. I don’t suggest we debate the science; the question is whether or not Obama is lying. Remind me, what is the ultimate purpose of this grand deception?


'But by then it might be too late and the "change" will be permanent.'

That is one thing we don't have to worry about. The only thing that is permanent is change.

Ben W

I'm sorta torn on this one - while of course it's extremely important to fund philanthropic organizations, our government and country are going to be in deep doo-doo if we don't manage to get our finances in order. Seems that we're caught trying to pick the lesser of two evils.

It also seems silly to use this to snipe at stem cell research, which shows a lot of promise although it's a very new field. It has not only shown incredible promise, but been used in treating Lou Gehrig's disease, spinal cord injuries, and curing blindness. And like I said - it's also an incredibly young field. The most useful stem cells were only isolated in the last 10 years, but we're already learning the basics of how to use them.


Andy!! Welcome back, my friend, to the show that never ends; we're so glad you could attend - come inside, come inside.

I'm so delighted you're maintaining a presence here that I'm not even going to ask by what presumably universal moral authority you'd condemn labrialumn's characterization and expect other readers to agree. (I myself think lab should retract his slight, but it's on the basis of a moral authority the two of us share.)

And if you think we're in any sense Gina's "folks", well, you probably also think this is realistic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SmgLtg1Izw

But in all seriousness, please do come back. I miss you when you're gone.


LeeQuod, what a great characterization - the show that never ends! I, too, am glad that Andy shares some thoughts here. It is not healthy for Christians to only talk to Christians.

I wonder how you found condemnation in Andy's few words? Is it that he dared to forgive lab for calling him stupid? Is he not permitted to forgive unless he first acknowledges the source of the law that is evidently "written on his heart"?


David, I was quotng a line from the rock supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Brain Salad Surgery" album. My youth was partially misspent; I suppose that I see much of myself in people like Andy, allowing me to easily call him "friend".

Because he's my friend, I recognize in his writing the pattern of sarcasm ("Nice.") and other elements ("forgive", "reigning in") that indicate he's been offended.

As his friend I feel some freedom to tweak him a bit in his state of high dudgeon. (I once took my at-the-time hippie-length hair into a redneck diner in a redneck part of the country. I wasn't surprised by the chilly reception or the slow, diffident service. Andy knows full well where he's posting. I'm grateful he keeps us honest, but I don't think his behavior is consistent with his beliefs.)

But this has little to do with the President's policies. I have no desire to irritate Anne more than I suspect I usually do, so I'll stop. (Might get driven across a creek and end up with wet fur.)


OK, enough about Andy; back to Obama. Obama is not the messiah, as AM (sarcastically) calls him, but he is, in effect, Caesar. And the real Messiah said to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and unto God what is God's. So I say again, pay the tax as we must, and give to God (charity) as we ought. Obama has a role in determining what the government will take, but he no power whatsoever to determine what you or I will give away.


Gina, talk about sweeping overgeneralizations! My post had none. You sweepingly overgeneralize that it did, without any specifics.

Andy, it was stupid to vote for a would-be tyrant, and to engage in material cooperating with intrinsic evil (abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, homosexual abominations, etc.). Ultimately, that will be shown as very stupid.

Diane, indeed, George Soros is reported yesterday as saying that this economic collapse is the "culmination of his life's work"

David, consider again Jesus' answer to those who questioned Him, and His answer about giving to Caesar to what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God. The tithe belongs to God. when the government taxes it, it is committing blasphemy.

Further, David, if a person only has so much money, that person cannot give the money which the government has taken.

Ben W. Murdering babies in order to find cures when all the scientific data to date suggests that none will be found, only horrors such as have already happened, and when the apostle John wrote that "no murderer has eternal life in him" is not an option for an evangelical, or any other type of Christian. To support it knowingly would be to not be a Christian.

Sue W

Ben, it's not stem cell research in general, it's specifically the use and destruction of human embryos that Anne is objecting to. Embryo stem cell research has had no cures or gains, whereas adult or pluripotent stem cells have shown great promise, without the destruction of a human life. And they are in greater supply.

I also agree with David in that if someone wants to give, they should give without worrying about the benefit back to them, whether it is a tax benefit, or a special gift given in return for the donation. However, human nature being what it is, lowering the tax benefit will remove some incentive to give.

Gina Dalfonzo

Labrialumn, I'm merely enforcing the rules of the blog, which require no bashing of your fellow commenters. Given the fact that some readers/commenters here are Obama voters, calling every Obama voter stupid is bashing your fellow commenters.

If you don't like it, I'm sorry. It's still the rule.


Gina, you rock.


"When Teddy Bears Attack!"


(Obscure reference to a labrialumn quote in another thread.)

And Andy, yes, one topic on which Left and Right can heartily agree - Gina rocks.

Ben W

Sue - Anne says nothing about the use and destruction of embryos, only that embryonic stem cell research is pointless and futile. She also accuses a fellow believer of lying about the benefits of ESC research, but doesn't provide any links to back up her accusations. I know many people feel very strongly about abortion and ESC research, but that's all the more reason to make sure you're getting your facts straight.

Here's a few links:
Embryonic stem cells being used in spinal cord injury treatment research
ESCs being used in rebuilding damaged rat hearts
ESCs extracted from embryos without destroying the embryos

I'm all for talking about the morality of ESC research, but let's not confuse that with discussions about the benefits. Seriously, if you guys think that ESCs don't have any potential benefits, you might want to double-check that you're getting a fair and balanced version of the facts and not just engaging in blog groupthink.


Gina, am I to take from your interpretation of the rules that it is OK to bash people with different perspectives, as long as they don't post here?

Labrialumn, your remarks regarding taxing the tithe points to that question that lurks in the minds of most Christians: is the tithe applied to net or gross? Evidently, the answer is - net.

Benjamen R. Meyer

labrialumn wrote: "consider again Jesus' answer to those who questioned Him, and His answer about giving to Caesar to what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God. The tithe belongs to God. when the government taxes it, it is committing blasphemy."

No, that is not blasphemy. It rightly falls under "render to Caesar what is Caesar's". That is not to say it is unjust, or anything else - but blasphemy it is not. What is God's still belongs to God. It would only become anything near blasphemy if Caesar took what is God's also. But that is not the case.

The gov't has chosen to tax based on earnings. Therefore, it is perfectly right and just of it to do so. It is at the gov't's discretion to adjust that the amount taxed based on other rules. So the gov't says "since you gave X to Y, then instead of taxing all of Z we'll only tax (Z-X*A)". We see that as fair and just - that doesn't change just because the gov't changes the value of 'A'. As far as quoting Jesus - at that time the value of 'A' would have been zero - so consider yourself fortunate.

Now if Obama was really concerned about the charities and making things fair, then he would have tried to fight for everyone to be increased to qualify for the 36% instead of reducing it to 28% for the rich. Obviously concerned about charities and making things fair he is not. (Sorry - it just comes out better in Yoda speak.)

Robert Johnson

This is my first comment on this blog and frankly, I am distressed to see this type of rhetoric on what is ostensibly a Christian website. I am a Christian, an independent who voted for Obama, and one whose charitable giving will not be influenced by tax policy but by my faith and belief in what God wants me to do with the blessings He has provided to me. Shame on those of you who have turned this blog into a right wing political dumping ground. Take your political ignorance elsewhere. Don't trivialize this blog where the teachings of the Lord should guide discussions.


Tax policies are in place to encourage (and discourage) behaviors. That is not to say it will create or eliminate those behaviors, just that it puts pressure on them in particular directions.

The fact of the matter is that by reducing the amount of tax benefits available to those giving, the government is reducing the incentive to give to those charities.

I am with those who say that the changes will not affect their giving. I am a standard middle-class family. Actually, I'm not standard. I don't own a house and I have a large number of children (currently five). I give away much more than the "tithe" of my income.

While I am not currently impacted by the giving changes, I expect that one day I will be, as I see this move as the first step on the "slippery slope." When the time comes for the government to change the tax laws that impact my tier of income, the reality is that my net-able income will go down. At that point I will have to evaluate between the proverbial food-on-the-table and donating to my "favorite charities."

It is in this way that the government is able to encourage or discourage certain types of behavior. It's not that I _dont' want_ to give, it will be that I am _unable_ to give because the government will have effectively reduced the income that I give with.


I'm new to this blog too.
BRM, "turned this blog into a right wing political dumping ground"...one's world view will eventually cross over into one's political, cultural, etc views. It's going to happen. It's not political ignorance, it's political opinion.

Gina Dalfonzo

Welcome, newbies!

David -- my "interpretation" of the rules? Who do you think wrote 'em? :-)

At any rate, consider a few facts. We have nearly thirty bloggers here, and more commenters than I could begin to count. And to borrow Cathy's word, every single one of those people comes with a full set of opinions. In the midst of all those opinions running rampant, which sometimes gets emotions running high, I'm simply trying to keep things as civil as I possibly can, and keep a reasonable balance between too severe a tone and too weak a tone.

All that to say -- I try my best to keep criticism from escalating into bashing, whoever's involved. Sometimes that involves drawing very fine lines (how far can sarcasm and satire go, how harsh is too harsh, etc.). If we sometimes draw the line in the wrong place, well, I hope you can extend a little grace. We're only human.

Ben W

/cheer and thanks to Gina for all her hard work. Someone needs to be there to crack the whip when we get out of line ;).


Gina, you're good with me. My comment was really intended for those who do the bashing more than for you.

salt.racer, I believe you as you describe your situation, and I suspect you are in a very small minority. Very few people are near the threshold where the next dollar either goes to a charity or buys food. Remember, the issue arose relative to "the rich". You named the real problem: tax policies designed to shape behavior. We would have a better world if taxes were levied to fund the legitimate/original purposes of government, and the church went back to shaping behavior according to God's purposes. (Welcome Robert, and thank you for your honest and fair observation.)


Who made these rules, and by what authority? Is saying a true thing 'bashing' if it might meet PC standards of 'offensive'? If so, then a Christian blog is impossible.

You still haven't obeyed the Biblical requirement that you specify what I allegedly did wrong. "If you don't like it, I'm sorry, it's still the rule." from a greater authority.

David, it does seem that Deut 14 establishes the tithe as being on the net. However, specifically taxing the tithe, which is as I understand it, Obama's intent, would be taxing the tithe. Is that not the nature of the legislation in question?

Gina Dalfonzo

Labrialumn, I'm sorry, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to keep arguing about this. You've been here long enough to know the rules, and in this case, they boil down to this: Do not call your fellow readers and commenters stupid. Period. The end.

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