Ted Cruz’s Sunday sermon

There is a provision in the tax code, inserted into the law without debate in 1954 by then senator Lyndon Johnson, that requires nonprofit institutions, if they want to preserve their tax-exempt status, to not engage in political campaigns or try to influence legislation. (I went into this in some detail back in 2012.) Some churches have chafed under this restriction and beginning in 2008 decided to challenge it and for the past few years they have engaged in what they call Pulpit Freedom Sunday, usually timed a month before the November elections, giving explicitly political sermons, telling people how to vote, and even following it up by sending tapes of their sermons to the IRS, daring them to revoke their tax-exempt status. So far, the IRS has declined to do so.
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The new language of racism and bigotry

As candidates strive to make headlines and gain attention, the Republican assault on undocumented immigrants is reaching ever-new lows with Chris Christie suggesting that if elected he would get the head of the package delivery service FedEx to figure out how to track the movements of all immigrants, both undocumented and documented, all the time, spurring mockery as to whether people would be barcoded and scanned as they went from place to place.
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Kentucky county clerk legal follies update

So here’s an update on the seemingly never-ending saga in Kentucky where three of the 120 county clerks are refusing to issue licenses for people to get married because they oppose same-sex marriage. One of them, Kim Davis of Rowan County, was sued by four couples (opposite sex and same sex) who had been denied licenses and lost her case on August 12 in the federal District Court. But on August 19, the judge David Bunning temporarily stayed his order, saying “IT IS ORDERED that the Court’s temporary stay of its August 17, 2015 Order shall expire on August 31, 2015, absent an Order to the contrary by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.” [Boldface in original but my italics-MS]
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The Ben Carson puzzle

The thing that really puzzles me about the Republican primary race is not that Donald Trump is leading but that Ben Carson is in second place. He has no discernible charisma. He has not proposed any significant policies. What exactly is his appeal, other than the fact that he paints an alarming portrait of the imminent collapse of the US and makes the most hyperbolic statements in support of his premise?
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The revolt of the (few) Kentucky county clerks

Christian hero Kim Davis, the Kentucky country clerk who, despite losing her case in court, continues to refuse to issue all marriage licenses so that she does not have to issue them to same-sex couples (because Jesus would not approve) is taking her fight to the streets. A rally was held in front of the state capitol that supposedly drew thousands of people to hear her speak for about a minute. It sounded more like a revival meeting than a political rally designed to kick off a mass revolution.
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Trump and the Bible

One of Donald Trump’s strengths in the eyes of his supporters is that they think that he is genuine and is willing to say what he believes even if it offends the elites. In fact, he has tapped into the fact that his willingness to be ‘politically incorrect’ is a large part of his attraction. But when it comes to religion, he seems to want to be ‘politically correct’ in paying lip-service to the Bible.
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Jorge Ramos’s side of the story

Jorge Ramos is the well-known news anchor on the Spanish language channels Univision and Fusion who was thrown out of a press conference with Donald Trump for asking questions about his immigration plans. Some commentators have criticized Ramos for not waiting his turn to be asked and said that he was being rude by ‘jumping the queue’, so to speak. Others have gone even further and cheered Trump’s action, seeing it as demonstrating Trump’s toughness and symbolic of how Trump would throw people out of the country.
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