by V. Rev. James Rosselli
Our new Democrat legislative majority has given us an example of what’s in store for us over the next two years. Their very first act has been to introduce legislation that would require anyone attempting to influence an election in any way to register as a lobbyist. The legislation targets “Churches and nonprofit and other organizations.” The definition of “other organizations” is nonspecific, leaving the door open for the government to target anyone they want silenced.
It is the single most brazen attack on the freedom of speech and assembly, not to mention the free exercise of religion, ever in our history. And this is only their first month!
There are laws governing lobbyists: fees to be paid, income-reporting requirements to meet, background checks to be passed, records of activities to be kept, files to be maintained, definitions to be learned and adhered to, etc. There are enormous fines for failing to register as a lobbyist, even if one is not aware he or she has been “lobbying.”
Example: Moveon.org and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, both of them more dispensers of information to the public than winers-and-diners of legislators, were recently fined under present regulations for failing to register as lobbyists (the Swift Boat vets were fined much, much more, of course). The new regulations would literally expose everyone who expressed his opinion in any public place to the same treatment.
The result of the legislation would affect talk radio, voter guide publishers, public interest groups and church conventions. Eventually, it would affect everything and everyone—from people who make speeches before community groups to bloggers: in short, all the “alternative media” that release news and state opinions the “major media--” meaning the Democratic Party—want to keep from us.
Your kid’s conservative My Space blog would probably not be convicted in court of being an unregistered lobbying organization. The legislation would, however, leave the door open to force your family to choose between bankruptcy from either fines or legal fees, and simply shutting up.
The Senate version was defeated. There is a House version now coming to the floor. For details, go to http://www.aclj.org , and go to “A Momentary Reprieve.”
I can sympathize with people who were fed up with our useless “Republican majorities,” and wanted to send a message to the GOP by either staying home or voting for some third-party candidate—or maybe even the Democrat.
Whatever the circumstances, we are the ones who—actively or passively-- elected this new majority. We need to make it clear to them just what we elected them to do—and not to do.
The United States is the only country in the world—and in fact in the history of the world—where the sovereignty of the nation reposes in the people themselves. The government, under our Constitution, is answerable to us, and we are responsible for the direction it takes.
We, in other words, are who the Bible defines as “the king.”
We need to be aware of what our officials and employees—our elected representatives and their appointees—are doing. We need to make them aware of what we do and do not approve of in terms of their conduct of our government. Because, make no mistake about it: if we abdicate our responsibility to govern ourselves, there are plenty of people who will be happy to do it for us. This bill is ample demonstration of that.
That URL, again, is http://www.aclj.org .
Fr. Jim Rosselli is a Mitred Archpriest with the Community of the Holy Spirit, a mission eparchy in the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Father Jim writes his “political stuff” as a private citizen, and not as a representative of his Church.