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Belmont Club

Live And Let Die

September 26th, 2011 - 3:37 pm

A Shi’ite shopkeeper selling these sandals in a Christian dominated area of Lebanon got into trouble when someone noticed the graveyard cross in the halloween motif and reported the store owner to the cops. The shop keeper was charged with inciting sectarian violence and is still under arrest and investigation.

Treading carefully

But the shopkeeper’s fate is unlikely to be as severe as this Pakistani woman’s, who was sentenced to death for giving offense to the Prophet Mohammed. She had apparently made a remark to her co-workers who refused a cup of water from her, saying they would not partake of anything sullied by the hands of an infidel. That drew a barbed response from the woman who was subsequently sentenced to die for her remarks. “Tears of joy poured from my eyes,” the local cleric said, when the woman was sentenced. [I had mistakenly reported her executed. That was erroneous and careless on my part]

In San Juan Capistrano, California, a couple have been fined — and will continue to be fined — for each violation, each time a group of friends gather to study the Bible at their house. ABC News reports, “they have already been fined $300 and have been told they will be fined an additional $500 per meeting if they continue to meet without a Conditional Use Permit.” The couple believe that someone in the neighborhood dislikes them for some reason known only to that person and is using the zoning authorities to put a stop to it.

The Fromms regularly host 40 to 50 friends and family members at their home from 10 a.m. to noon on Sundays for Bible studies. They don’t think noise or traffic issues are to blame for the citation. There is no music, and the meetings, they say, are largely “contemplative.”

Many who attend the Bible study drive to the house together, so there are many fewer cars than people, the Fromms say. They only have one next-door neighbor, and the space on the other side of their house is more than six acres of empty land.

In each of these cases the state was used to carry out the intent of a private ideology.  Amy Alkon says there can be such a thing as “too much law” when perfectly harmless behavior can be punished.  Too much law can be likened to “too many knives” –  razor-sharp things that can be capriciously employed to stab someone from idle curiosity as to its effects. But unlike knives, laws are rarely left just lying around.

Just ask the authors of this  leftist legal activist kit who believe that “oppressive ideologies and systems such as authoritarianism, patriarchy, sexism, homophobia, heterosexism, White supremacy, racism, capitalism, and imperialism are embedded in the U.S. criminal justice system.” In their view, justice isn’t blind. It’s on the lookout to get them.

Quite naturally when persons of that persuasion gain power they rewrite the laws to put the shoe on the other foot. They see no problem in turning the law into a weapons system for their own ‘progressive’ ideology since that is what law is for. “Institutional power,” they write, “i.e., the power over, and control of society’s institutions, and economic power, which enables control of those institutions requires the use of violence and the threat of violence. Institutional violence is sanctioned through the criminal justice system and the threat of the military-for quelling individual or group uprisings.”

Maybe this is the context in which the PJ Media series on the remolding of the Justice Department under Eric Holder should be read. The authors, formerly part of the DOJ themselves, allege that the Obama administration has from outset tried to turn the it into an enforcer of a private ideological agenda. They write:

the DOJ has employed an illegal political litmus test during the interview process … when the law is not equally applied, a citizen’s actions are no longer their own …

“Every Single One” presented key information from the resumes of each of the 113 career attorneys hired to serve within 10 of these 11 sections since the appointment of Eric Holder. The key information presented provided substantial evidence of the political leanings of each hire. In each case, enough evidence was available for a reasonable observer to determine that the hire was neither a conservative, moderate, nor apolitical

If so, by the time “every single one” of the attorneys is through, there will be many more of these legal knives lying around. And who knows, the next time you put on a pair of sandals or make a remark to someone at the water cooler, then you too might find yourself guilty of something. It’s been known to happen.

The individual mania for making other people do what the individual thinks they should do is no better exemplified than in the case of the Houston National cemetery, where a Veteran’s Administration bureaucrat where “grieving families and volunteer groups to not use the words “God” or “Jesus” at any funeral ceremony without [the funeral director's] prior approval.”

A local pastor got a restraining order against the cemetery after being told to edit “Jesus” from his prayer during the Memorial Day weekend. Other veteran groups complained after they too were told to refrain from using “God” or “Jesus” during funerals. They also allege Ocasio closed the chapel and turned it into a conference room. … The director claims she was only trying to make prayers more inclusive of other religions but a backlash now has state and federal politicians calling for her to be fired.

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The brouhaha reached a pitch when a Texas Congressman, incensed at the repeated VA denials donned a pair of sunglasses and “went undercover” to observe the proceedings for himself, passing himself off as one of the mourners at a military funeral. There after watching the sobbing widow being badgered, he has vowed to cut every nickel and dime from the funeral director’s budget until she is fired and shipped out of Texas.

Perhaps you could call this unfortunate situation the consequence of a clash of world views. For some, the law is a means of creating a neutral environment in which free individuals can live out their lives. For others it’s just another way to stay on top or to maintain themselves in some miserable self-imagined status of importance. Ian Fleming’s long-ago lines might have find some currency in Holder’s DOJ:

‘This case isn’t ripe yet. Until it is our policy with Mr Big is to “live and let live”.’ Bond looked quizzically at Captain Dexter. ‘In my job,’ he said, ‘when I come up against a man like this one, I have another motto. It’s “live and let die”.’

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