Thursday, July 30, 2015

So That's How I Met Brad Dacus

 It was 1997.  I was newly employed as CEO and administrator for a non-profit Christian home for the elderly.  That’s when I received the first notification from the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County.  They were bringing civil actions against our organization for three counts of unlawful discrimination in housing.

There was, in fact, no actual discrimination.  There were no complaints from real people.  The only “evidence” they could produce to make their case was a single ad in the Yellow Pages of our local phone directory.  The directory ad had been in print for several years before I was employed and had run without objection.

But there were three politically incorrect phrases that were deemed illegal by some volunteer, left-wing lackey, who had never visited our home or known anyone else who had, whose only function was to search through newspapers, brochures, and telephone ads in search of implied discriminatory language or images.  Local Fair Housing Councils are self-appointed discrimination “watchdogs” who extort considerable revenues from businesses by imposing fines under threats of lawsuits.  Most businesses cave under the threats and just pay their demands.


In our case, they were not only demanding monetary penalties, but corrections and retractions, and an audit of all our advertising copy.  I knew that, had I responded, my short fuse, yoked together with my sharp tongue and my propensity for sarcasm, would irritate them and would not go well for us.  So I did the next best thing.  I did what every self-respecting, freedom-loving, conservative would have done – I tore up the certified notice and filed it #13.

A few weeks later I received several, more forceful certified letters.  The Fair Housing Council of Riverside County was suing me, our Board of Directors, and our non-profit ministry.  And, the State of California was “piggy-backing” on the suit.  I learned, some time later the federal government was also monitoring the outcome and, if the council prevailed, we would, no doubt face federal prosecution.  

So what were the three politically incorrect phrases that merited that kind of tyrannical bureaucratic strong-arming?
1.  “Christian environment.” 
2.  “Active living.” 
3.  “Family atmosphere.”

Here are the accusations (according to the council) and our brief, summary rebuttals:

A “Christian environment,” they argued, would tend to make non-Christian people feel unwelcome.  We rebutted that foolishness with the facts of our actual occupancy census and with our published mission and purpose statement.  We viewed our ministry as our service to God in declaring our hope to a lost world.  We welcomed non-Christians with the same attitude of the Savior who, with arms outstretched, invited "Whosoever will, may come."

“Active living,” they said, is a euphemism for nonhandicapped.  It implied that we would not accept people who were not ambulatory or who might require wheelchairs or other mobility devices.  Here again, our actual census proved otherwise.  The fact that we were a licensed assisted living facility that, by state law, was required to employ a full-time “activities director,” post a full, monthly calendar of state approved varied “activities,” and, ensure that every resident was monitored and encouraged to remain “active,” didn’t much matter to the self-appointed PC cops on the council.

The phrase, “family atmosphere,” they explained, might discourage widows from applying for residency.  And, once again, I argued, and the evidence proved, that 99% of our residents (average ages-85-95) were, (wait for it) WIDOWS.  Why?  Because at that age, most people are widowed and any similar organization that would not accept widows, would soon be out of business.  I mean, seriously, how long could an ice cream truck driver stay in business if he refused to sell ice cream to children?

The situation seemed bleak.  We were facing corporate and individual board member penalties that we couldn’t afford, loss of our State License, eviction of over one hundred residents, revocation of my administrator’s license, and the possibility of criminal charges all over some nonexistent political correctness nonsense.

Out of desperation, I began writing letters.  I wrote to our State and Federal representatives, conservative talk radio personalities, and I wrote to several legal organizations that specialized in defending First Amendment cases.  Out of all the letters I wrote, I only received one response by phone.  It was from a young attorney, in California, who was the west coast representative of the Rutherford Institute.  His name is Brad Dacus and he wanted to take our case – pro bono – that means “FOR FREE.”

That was the answer to our prayers.  We had several phone conferences over the next few weeks and I supplied multiple documents and statements at his request.  Then the communication suddenly ceased.  I learned that the Rutherford Institute was undergoing a change in its focus and decided to close down the West Coast operation.  Brad Dacus was unemployed.  We didn’t know what to do.

A few months passed when, one day, Brad called to tell me that he was starting his own law firm, on the West Coast, to defend the constitutional rights of Christians, churches, and parents of school children in First Amendment cases. And he assured me that he was still going to defend us.  Ours was the Pacific Justice Institute’s first case.  Today PJI has over 1500 affiliated attorneys on the west coast.

Several months later, Brad called me to present a settlement offer from the Fair Housing Council.  Among a list of other things, they wanted to review and approve, quarterly, all of our advertising copy.  And they insisted that I attend their political correctness, anti-discrimination, sensitivity training program. 


HA!  That was never going to happen.  I admit that I am NOT sensitive, but I refuse sensitivity instruction.  It would be far easier for Nancy Pelosi to teach six dozen liberals some common sense than to teach me sensitivity.  I rejected their settlement offer.  Eventually the council gave up, dropped the case against us, and went on to harass and extort other, easier targets.  Shortly after that, we changed the name of our home from Casa de Verdugo to Valley Christian Home.


So that’s how I met Brad Dacus.  We became friends and our non-profit Christian ministry provided budgeted monthly support for PJI for several years.

  

Monday, July 27, 2015

There Are Two Cultures. Laws Apply To Only One.


This story is approximately 10 years old but, for political reasons, I could not write it then.  However, now I am retired, our non-profit corporation is dissolved, and no one can be damaged by irritated bureaucrats, so here it is.


Our organization was a Christian home for the elderly; we provided low-cost semi-independent and assisted living facilities for up to 145 residents.

For several years, we benefitted from the kindness of an organized group of retired Christians who donated about one month of labor each year.  They are called RVICS which is an acronym for Retired Volunteers In Christ’s Service (There are other similar national organizations).   Here’s how it works:  These retired people usually work in teams of 6-8 couples.  They travel in recreational vehicles to churches, Christian camps, and other non-profit Christian ministries where they set up temporary camp accommodations that are pre-arranged by the hosts.  The men work about 30 hours per week and the women work about 20.  They paint, clean, build, remodel, landscape, type, file, or do whatever projects need to be done FOR FREE because it is their MINISTRY.  They will not accept any pay, gifts, or food because they are determined to have no fiscal impact on the ministries they serve.  All we were required was to provide the parking spaces for their RVs, power and water hookups, and pumping or waste disposal as needed. 

We had a great relationship with these groups and they provided about 300 hours of free, skilled labor every year until it was abruptly ended by CODE ENFORCEMENT.

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED – Because we did not have sufficient space, our teams parked in a large, undeveloped parcel adjacent to our property.   They were neatly lined up, side by side, outside our fence and out of view of the street.  We had the permission of the property owner, who was friendly to our ministry (in fact he was a resident for a while and one of his son’s served on our board of directors).  This, we did for about 5 years.

The last year, code enforcement showed up and ordered them off the property for violating a city ordinance.  The violation was camping on a vacant lot in the city limits (remember this because this story gets really good).  We tried, in vain, to make a defensive argument but, in the end, we complied with the order and dismissed our guests.

Two weeks after they broke camp and left the property, we found a breach in our fence near the back of our property.  Outside the fence, we discovered a new homeless camp under the shade of one of our trees.  The weeds on the property were high so the camp was not visible from the streets or neighboring parking lots.  There were a couple mattresses, several bags of clothing and blankets, a stolen shopping cart and some other items.  The reason the missing fence boards was that the campers, who were sleeping approximately ten feet from the private doors of our elderly residents) were coming onto our property to use our water spigots for washing themselves.

I called the police department.  I called code enforcement.  I got no satisfaction about the public nuisance.  They said there was nothing they could do about it.  I reminded them that, only two weeks prior, they ordered my team of volunteers off the same property.  That didn’t matter.  I eventually took matters into my own hands.  We removed the rubbish to our dumpster, returned the cart to the grocery store, and we repaired the breached fence.

The point of the story is this:  There are two distinct cultures in most communities.  Laws and codes apply to only one of them. 

There are responsible, law-abiding working people who own property and pay taxes.  Those are the ones who pay fines and penalties for code infractions (which are part of the city’s revenue stream) so they are the ones who are targeted by code enforcement.  If violators don’t pay, the city has the ability to seize their assets with interest.  And that is the incentive for good citizenship.

Then there is the sub-culture, the street people, and the homeless.  Almost everything they do is a code violation, a quality of life crime, or a property crime and they know it.  But they also know that code enforcement and law enforcement will generally do nothing.  They won’t or can’t pay fines or penalties and they know there are no real consequences.  Therefore, there is no incentive for the city to write citations and there is no incentive for violators to be respectful of private property or laws.  


This particular incident may be old news but the violations of the subculture are, rapidly escalating, current events that are a blight on our once clean, quiet, and pleasant community.    

I say this all in love,

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Tyranny of Political Correctness

I made a decision, several years ago, to NOT succumb to PC speech.  I deliberately use politically incorrect words because political correctness is stealing or revising our language.  Perfectly good words have been redefined and in some cases (like the word “Niggardly”) have been banned.  And what the PC police say is correct today, is certain to be changed tomorrow.

For example, just look at the evolution of PC terms for a dark-skinned person. 

The word, Nigger, is a noun in the English language.  It originated as a neutral term referring to black people.  The word derived as a variation of the Spanish /Portuguese noun, negro, a descendant of the Latin adjective niger which referred to the color black.   

Throughout most of the world, it was not considered to be disparaging until the middle of the 20th century.   Then its usage had become unambiguously pejorative and directed at black people, particularly in the United States. 

Instead, the term colored became the mainstream American English alternative to negro (and all its variant terms).   The opprobrious character of the word “nigger,” was chosen in the South precisely because it was more offensive than "colored."  The term, colored, served us well until it, too, was deemed to be offensive.

That was all before institutional political correctness affected our speech.  Nevertheless, we changed and it was for the good.  I was around when the change occurred; most people, I knew, were uncomfortable with the old pejoratives and were sympathetic to the feelings of black people.  I remember how they sensitively and cautiously uttered the new noun, “negro” (which was, really, the same old word before it became slang).  And everyone was happy -- until they weren’t.  

Negro was derived from negroid just as caucasian was derived from Caucasoid.  But negroes didn't like that so we were forced to change to "black" (in Spanish the word for black is negro).  Okay, I get it – White people are called “white” people so it follows that black people should want to be called “black” people.  That lasted just long enough to get everyone retrained and then, BAM! --black was out.   What was wrong with black?   I don't know; I don't get offended when someone calls me white.

Now it's African-American.  I refuse to use hyphenated designators.  Not all dark-skinned people originated from Africa and not all of them are Americans.  And a lot of Africans are white but, when they emigrate to the U.S., we don’t call them African-Americans.  

Most recently, the African-Americans’ newest descriptor of choice is "people of color." Tell me, why is that acceptable and "colored people" is racist?   A "wealthy person" and a "person of wealth" is the same thing.  A "notorious person" means the same thing as a "person of notoriety" so the distinction is nonsense.  And besides, white is a color.  Why are we not all “people of color?”

Fiddling with the language can be frustrating but forced political correctness can be tyrannical.

For example, now, the whole black community has suddenly decided that they own the word, "thug." They say that when a white person uses the word, we are racist because we, they say, only use the word, thug, in reference to  black people.    


White colored Americans whose families originated in Africa are not allowed to say, “thugs" but black colored African-Americans can?  Go figure.


So I still call thugs, thugs. If dark, colored people act like thugs, I call them thugs. If light-skinned people act like thugs, I call them thugs. I am indiscriminate in my use of the word and I refuse to let only dark-skinned thugs (whether clad in dark hoodies or cloaked in the garb of jack-booted  PC Nazis) deprive me of a perfectly good word.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

An Open Letter To Homosexual Supporters of Same-sex Marriage and the Unlawful Actions Of The SCOTUS

Whether LGBTQWXYZ or whatever color of the rainbow you are, now that you got your way, I want to get one thing straight right at the outset; THE LEGALIZATION OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE WAS NEVER ABOUT YOUR EQUAL RIGHTS TO THE BENEFITS OF A MARRIAGE CONTRACT.

You wanted the right to intimate expressions of love with your partner just like the rights that straight people enjoy.  Well, guess what!  Sodomy laws (as well as laws against adultery and all kinds of other sexual activities) have been largely ignored, unenforced, or even decriminalized for years so you can be equally as perverse as can a lot of perverse straight people.  Nobody is policing your bedroom.

You wanted hospital visitation rights, you said.  But restrictions on hospital visitation ended decades ago.  You can go into any hospital and sign in to visit anyone. 

You parroted the lame argument that you should have the same rights, that married couples have, to access medical information and consult with your “partner’s” doctor.  Well, that’s a non-existent argument.  Under current HIPAA laws, I cannot discuss my own wife’s medical condition with her physician without her written consent and, by the way, my wife can give consent for her physician to discuss her medical conditions with anyone she chooses and so can you so that’s a bogus argument too.

Was it the right to adopt children?  Is that what you wanted?  Nope.  Not that either.  Unmarried people have been able to legally adopt children for years so pitch that one into the bogus file also. 

So what else is there?  Oh yeah, the old, “we want the right to enjoy the contractual benefits of marriage just like straight couples have” argument.  That’s the worst argument ever.  Without legal same-sex fake marriages, you already have the right to enter into any contractual agreement with anyone you choose.  You can own property jointly; you can borrow money; you can adopt children, and you can do all of that with legally binding civil contracts. In fact, the only conceivable benefit of a marriage contract is that it is the easiest of all contracts to break.  You don’t even need the permission of the other party to divorce.  Divorces are cheap and simple; you can be irresponsible and literally break all your promises without consequences.

Unless you are looking for an easy way to end your relationship, skirt your responsibilities, and break your promises without consequences, a real marriage contract is unnecessary.  Admit it.  We both know that the argument was never about the contract.

So now that we have eliminated all your fake arguments, what is it that you REALLY wanted?  Well I’ll tell you what is but before I do, if you are reading this post, I know that you are going to dislike me; in fact, you might even hate me.  If you are homosexual, you are going to hate me because I am a Christian.  You hate my God so, naturally, you will hate me.  And you probably think I hate you.  I really don’t, but frankly, that doesn’t matter.  My personal feelings about you are irrelevant.

And if there are any biblically illiterate Christian sympathizers reading this, I already know that they are going to criticize me but that's okay; I’m used to it.  They (and you) will call me unsympathetic, unkind, untactful, unfair, intolerant, unloving, unaccepting, or any other of a myriad of “un” or “in” prefixed adjectives. But I really don’t care. Their feelings about me are also irrelevant.


But let's get back on point; the plain and simple fact of the matter is that you want me, and everyone else who thinks like me, to shut up.  You don’t want my tolerance; you want my approval.  You want to force my engagement and participation in a lifestyle which God calls sin.  You want me to act contrary to the dictates of my conscience, violate the convictions of my faith, and denounce my God.  You will never be satisfied to live in a world where others disagree with you.  You not only want to criminalize all speech and actions, but also, ideas, thoughts, and doctrines of homosexual marriage that are contrary to yours. In short, you want to destroy the very principles of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights that guarantees every citizen's basic, God-given freedoms. 

And I get that but if you have been reveling and rejoicing recently over the ridiculous and irrational reasonings of five robed, self-righteous, unelected reprobate judges who, without any legalauthority, unilaterally changed language, culture, theology, and law, you are grossly misinformed.  But more importantly, your perceived victory is a myth and you are in serious danger.  You should be very afraid.

Do you not realize that when you vilified the conservative Christians in this country, you declared war against the only real true friends you have?  It’s not that we approve of your lifestyle; we don't.  But we really do love you and whether we agree about same-sex marriage or not, we want to protect your real constitutional rights and your freedoms. 

On the other hand, do you understand that there is a real threat from the left to destroy our entire political and legal systems and then subject us all to Sharia Law?  Do you have any idea what that might mean to you?  Under Sharia Law, your chosen lifestyle will come with a huge price tag.  Muslims are intolerant; they really do hate queers.  And if you have already altered your Facebook picture with the colors of the rainbow, you have identified yourself to them.  At least, Christians aren’t fixated on separating you from your head.

What the Supreme Court did last week (June, 2015) was unconstitutional; that means it was illegal.  In our constitutional republic, our laws are written by our representatives in Congress and enforced by the President.  By magically creating new law, the court has recklessly plunged this country into chaos.  The nation is in critical condition.  Stop and think about what that means to you.  An out-of-control, criminal government that can suddenly take away my rights to speak and to believe and to exercise my faith can also, by one simple executive order or illegal decree, take away yours. That’s why I say you should be afraid.  That's why you should be troubled by the action of the Supreme Court.  That’s why I believe that you and I should be allies; not enemies.