Greens ‘Smuggle’ Climate Policy Into The Church, Aim To Tip Climate Politics

Based on a just-released report from New America, efforts to build a “broad coalition to pass major climate policies” are “doomed” without the evangelical community’s involvement.

“Spreading the Gospel of climate change: an evangelical battleground,” according to E & E News, offers “An autopsy of evangelicals’ influence on U.S. Climate law.” While the efforts “failed,” the authors posit: “there is an untapped potential for environmental activism in the world of evangelical Christianity.”

The report offers several reasons for failure, including: “donors who pushed for this ‘deliverable’ did not really understand the internal dynamic of the evangelical world,” and suggests future tactics such as “better messaging” and more “person-to-person connections.”

While I hope all readers find the report’s inside strategic analysis interesting, evangelicals should be particularly alarmed with the realization that we have been, and will continue to be, the target of an organized and well-funded effort, from outsiders who “lacked deep knowledge about evangelicalism,” to “recruit evangelicals into policy solutions to climate change.”

While admitting failure, there was some early success—including Saddleback Church’s Rick Warren and CBN’s Pat Robertson. The report states: “Movement leaders, funders, and the environmental movement were optimistic that this small victory could be the foundation for even more ambitious legislative goals.”

The report is a fascinating case study of the outside effort to “smuggle” climate policy campaign into churches.

When I read the 27-page document, the influence of “environmental funders” became obvious: “Since the mid-1990s, environmental funders recognized the need for a broader field of faith-based movements who could expand the influence of environmentalism to unlikely allies. They also realized that evangelicals had a special role to play in this religious portfolio because their religious community was closely associated with the Republican Party.” Evangelical Christians became the target of “constituency engagement development.” Financial grants were made to increase the role of climate change in churches. Environmentalists worked to reframe climate change as “Creation Care” and “hoped that evangelical Christians might publically embrace climate change as a moral issue and an authentically ‘conservative’ concern.”

The efforts at infiltration included “building faith-based environmental clubs in Christian colleges” and offering to help churches “reduce their energy bills.”

The report chronicles the work of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light—led by an Episcopal priest: Rev. Alexis Chase. She persuaded Southern Baptist churches to host HEAT classes to train lay leaders to save energy and money in their own homes.

In short, the evangelical Christian community has been used. National funders and environmental allies targeted us, thinking that we’d be ready to “influence legislation in Washington.” The strategy was to get “evangelical elites” to embrace “Creation Care” and “frame environmental concerns as moral issues”—thus “creating their own set of biblical and theological themes.”

While environmental funders who invested in building the Creation Care movement have admittedly failed, the report states: “Movement leaders have also deepened their commitment to more long-term, values-based organizing in local evangelical spaces.” Now, instead of targeting “evangelical elites,” they realize they need “rank-and-file evangelicals.”

I encourage my fellow evangelicals to put on the full armor of God. Use your intellect and prayer to discern the truth. Many Christians have come to realize that Creation Care has nothing to do with The Creator; instead, it is, like the serpent’s efforts with Eve, attractive messaging for a political agenda.

Be alert. You are the prize to those who lack knowledge about who you are and what you believe in. Without you, their efforts are “doomed.”


The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column. Follow her @EnergyRabbit.

The Good Ol’ Days: When Tax Rates Were 90 Percent

It’s quite interesting indeed when both progressives and conservatives seem to be nostalgic for those good ol’ days in the 1950s, for different reasons, of course. Conservatives want to go back to the nuclear Leave It to Beaver family and what not, while liberals like to talk about those 90-percent tax rates that we owe our prosperity to. Or something like that. We’ll focus on the latter for the time being.

Bernie Sanders noted that “When radical, socialist Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, I think the highest marginal tax rate was something like 90 percent.” Paul Krugman said the same thing, as did Michael Moore in his film Capitalism: A Love Story, and you’ll see this factoid repeated on countless memes floating around the Internet.

However, what a tax rate is and what is actually paid are two very different things. Indeed, in 1955, the only people paying 90 percent (actually 91 percent) were those making over $3,425,766 when adjusted for inflation. And these are marginal rates, so they only paid that on any earnings above that threshold.

Tax law has changed a lot over the years. As you can see by looking at the top marginal rate versus the inflation-adjusted top income bracket for those filing jointly from 1950 until 2013:

Top marginal rate versus the inflation-adjusted top income bracket
Source: Tax Foundation.

Today, there are seven tax brackets. In 1989, there were only two. In 1955, there were an utterly ridiculous twenty-four different tax brackets.

Regardless, one should ask how much the rich were actually paying. It should be noteworthy that back in the 1950s, the government wasn’t actually collecting any more in tax revenue as a percentage of GDP. There’s something called Hauser’s Law, which basically states there is a maximum threshold on how much the government can tax out of its population. I think this “law” is no such thing. If the government really wanted to expropriate more, it could do so. But Hauser’s Law is based on the fact that in pretty much every year since 1950, the government has collected between 17 to 20 percent of GDP in taxes. Here are the government tax receipts compared to the top marginal tax rate:

Total Tax Receipts vs Top Marginal Tax Rate
Sources: Tax Foundation and Tax Policy Center.

As you can see, no matter what the rate has been, the tax receipts have pretty much been the same. Whether or not you can raise the amount collected is really immaterial here; the only thing that matters is what has happened (particularly when tax rates were over 90 percent), and it’s pretty much always been the same.

Of course, there are a lot of other taxes than personal income taxes. Still, tax receipts from personal income taxes have consistently been between 7 and 9 percent. In 2014, they were 8.1 percent. Furthermore, as you can see, the chart looks pretty much the same when looking at personal income tax receipts and the top marginal tax rate.

Income Tax Receipts vs Top Marginal Tax Rate
Source: Tax Foundation.

But who is paying these taxes, a liberal might retort? Has the burden fallen more on the middle and lower classes? Well, no. In fact, the percentage of taxes paid by the highest quintile of income earners has steadily gone up since 1980. In 1980, the top 20 percent paid about 55 percent of all income taxes. Today, it’s just shy of 70 percent. The same goes for the top 1 percent, which went from about 15 percent in 1980 to just shy of 30 percent today.

The first of many reasons that this was the case is that we need to look at the effective tax rate, not the top marginal tax rate. So for example, if I make $20,000, I owe 10 percent under today’s tax code, but only on any income over $18,450 (filing jointly). So I only owe 10 percent of $1550, or $155. Yes, my marginal tax rate may be 10 percent, but my effective tax rate is 0.78 percent.

A study from the Congressional Research Service concludes that the effective tax rate for the top 0.01 percent of income earners during the period of 91-percent income taxes was actually 45 percent. Given that the top bracket is so much lower today ($3,425,766 in 1955 vs. $413,200 in 2015), the 39.6 percent top marginal rate probably yields something pretty close.

Some of this was because corporate rates have always been lower than 50 percent. And as Alan Reynolds noted, when the personal income tax rates were reduced, it “… induced thousands of businesses to switch from filing under the corporate tax system to filing under the individual tax system.” In other words, many rich people kept their money in corporate entities when personal tax rates were higher.

Another major factor was the myriad of deductions and loop holes that used to be available. Many of these were eliminated by the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which by no coincidence coincided with the biggest rate deductions. For one, interest had previously been deductible on all loans. After the act, it has only been deductible on home mortgages.

But what was probably the biggest lost deduction for wealthy individuals was the elimination of deductions on passive investment losses on real estate. Before 1986, wealthy individuals would often buy real estate with no hopes at all of it cash flowing. That wasn’t the point. The point was that real estate is depreciated every year in the eyes of the IRS. Even though in the long run, properties usually go up in value, the IRS assumes that every twenty-seven-and-a-half years, a property’s value will depreciate to zero.

This “loss” can be written off. So, for example, say a man earning $100,000 a year buys a property worth $275,000. He rents out the property and breaks even on it. The tax code allows that person to write off $10,000 as a loss which he can count against his income for that year. So now he only has to pay taxes on $90,000. If he owned ten such properties, his income would be zero, at least according to the IRS.

That deduction is now gone for everyone but “active” real estate investors, or those who invest in real estate as a career.

Indeed, one former tax accountant even made the case that there were so many deductions, loop holes and the like in the pre-1986 tax code that “… there was a massive amount of tax fraud at all income levels under the old code. It was so bad and so common that most people took pride in telling others how they cheated on their taxes.”

I’ll leave how true that statement is to the reader; but from what I’ve heard, it sounds about right.

Regardless, the simple fact is that the rich never paid 90 percent of their income in taxes or anything even remotely close to that. Unfortunately though, some memes die hard.

This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license

Mocking Jesus Christ With Abortion Is The Real ‘Scandal’

Some important stories drew the public’s attention last week, including the heated debate over national security; open borders, ISIS, welcoming refugees to America, and teachers promoting Islam in public schools.

Overlooked, however, were television ads featuring two gay dads, the news about the Target Corporation fully backing radical LGBT legislation (the so-called “Equality Act”) that would criminalize Christianity, and, not surprisingly, the promotion of abortion on prime time television.

Losing public support due to its many scandals, what’s an abortion giant to do? Have Hollywood promote your godless cause!

Writing for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Marissa Poulson asked:

It can’t get any worse than abortionists advertising fresh baby parts to the highest bidder and pulling dead babies out of the freezer, right? We already told you about Katie Couric’s problematic PR visit to Planned Parenthood, but last night’s winter finale of Scandal was one big, hour-long Planned Parenthood advertisement.

I’ve never seen the show and had no idea it’s been on television since 2012; but in this episode, the character Olivia (Kerry Washington) gets an abortion for convenience.

One of the big lies the industry of death promotes is that abortion liberates women, but the end result of this controversial practice is not that women get a free pass to avoid the responsibility of motherhood; it is the fact human lives are considered expendable.

Not many shows have tackled the abortion issue in such detail, but to state the obvious, Scandal and most prime time series have no problem openly glorifying adultery and, of course, homosexuality. The show’s pilot episode involved a conservative Christian Republican being told by Olivia that he should embrace his same-sex attraction and put those “bigoted Christian values and voices” behind him.

But if you think you’ve heard the worst part of this offensive story, think again.

During the scene in which Olivia prepares to have her baby ripped out and its life destroyed, surgical instruments are shown; and as the abortionist begins the horrific procedure, the background music they chose for this event was, wait for it – the Christmas song, Silent Night.

You know the lyrics, don’t you?

…Round yon Virgin, mother and child; Holy infant, so tender and mild; Sleep in heavenly peace.

Hollywood uses one of the most brutal acts imaginable–the Bible refers to it as child sacrifice–to mock the Savior of the world who in reality was “born that man no more may die,” to quote another Christmas song.

The show is simply another display of Hollywood’s moral depravity, and the envelope of decency will continue being pushed further.

During the abortion, we hear the voice of Olivia’s dad, Eiljah Pope, saying:

A pressure point, soft tissue, an illness, an antidote to greatness. You think you’re better off with people who rely on you, depend on you, but you’re wrong, because you will inevitably end up needing them, which makes you weak, pliable. Family doesn’t complete you. It destroys you.

Aren’t the words they chose interesting? Newsbuster’s Alexa Coombs points out that many on the pro-abortion side think a pre-born baby is a “pressure point, soft tissue, an illness, an antidote to greatness.” Moreover, the show trashes the concept of family during Christmas, a time to celebrate love, giving, and family.

The Bible teaches that sin separates us from God, and we all need forgiveness. It is God’s will that people be saved and come to know the truth, but how can they have an opportunity to receive a ‘second birth’ if they are not allowed a first one?

Liberals promote Planned Parenthood as a savior for women; are they really “pro-choice”? One statistic that refutes their argument is the massive amount of abortions done compared to the extremely low number of adoption referrals. Selling abortion is big federally-funded business, and we all know it.

Most post-abortive women understand the anguish that comes afterward, including symptoms such as anger, guilt, regret, depression, nightmares, self-hatred, promiscuity, or even attempted suicide. It is bondage, not liberation; and Hollywood along with the liberal media refuse to tell the whole truth about the devastating consequences of this “choice.”

On that silent, holy night a few thousand years ago in history, a loving God who values every life sent His only Son so that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will have everlasting life.

Doesn’t this sound more like real hope that can truly set a person free?

David Fiorazo is the author of The Cost of Our Silence

Who Should Pay For The Syrian Refugees?

Last week, Congress dealt a blow to President Obama’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrians fleeing their war-torn homeland. On a vote of 289-137, including 47 Democrats, the House voted to require the FBI to closely vet any applicant from Syria and to guarantee that none of them pose a threat to the US. Effectively, this will shut down the program.

The House legislation was brought to the Floor after last week’s attacks in Paris that left more than 120 people dead, and for which ISIS claimed responsibility. With the year-long U.S. bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, there is a good deal of concern that among those 10,000 to be settled here, there might be some who wish to do us harm. Even though it looks as though the Paris attackers were all EU citizens, polling in the U.S. shows record opposition to allowing Syrian refugees entry.

I agree that we must be very careful about who is permitted to enter the United States, but I object to the president’s plan for a very different reason. I think it is a sign of Washington’s moral and intellectual bankruptcy that U.S. citizens are being forced to pay for those fleeing Washington’s foreign policy.

For the past ten years, the U.S. government has been planning and executing a regime change operation against the Syrian government. It is this policy that has produced the chaos in Syria, including the rise of ISIS and al-Qaeda in the country. After a decade of U.S. destabilization efforts, we are now told that Syria is totally destabilized, and we therefore must take in thousands of Syrians fleeing the destabilization that Washington caused.

Has there ever been a more foolish and wrong-headed foreign policy than this?

The American people have been forced to pay untold millions for a ten-year CIA and Pentagon program to undermine and overthrow the Syrian government, and now we are supposed to pay millions more to provide welfare for the refugees Obama created.

Who should pay for the millions fleeing the chaos that Washington helped create? How about the military-industrial complex, which makes a killing promoting killing? How about the Beltway neocon think-tanks that continue to churn out pro-war propaganda while receiving huge grants from defense contractors? How about President Obama’s national security advisors, who push him into one regime change disaster after another? How about Hillary Clinton, who came up with the bright idea that “Assad must go”? How about President Obama himself, a president elected to end wars, but who has ended up starting more wars than his predecessor?

It’s time those who start the wars start paying for the disasters they create. Then perhaps we might have some relief from an interventionist foreign policy that is destroying our financial and national security.

If Obama wants to take in refugees from the chaos in Syria, there are probably plenty of vacant rooms in the White House.

© Copyright 2015 Ron Paul

Presidents And Thanksgiving

Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared at

Responding to a request from Congress, President George Washington issued our nation’s first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789. Only in the midst of the crucible of civil war, however, did presidential proclamations of Thanksgiving become customary. Every year since 1863 our chief executives have urged Americans to recognize God’s bounty and blessings on the fourth Thursday in November.

Several themes loom large in presidential Thanksgiving proclamations: the historical foundation of the event; God’s sovereignty and goodness; the many blessings God has bestowed on America; the importance of national and individual repentance; a challenge to share our copious blessings with other nations and the less fortunate at home; a call to honor the sacrifices of those, especially members of the Armed Forces, who have helped make America prosperous and powerful; and an exhortation to express our gratitude to God individually and collectively.

Free Download: Daddy Sang Bass. Now, Little Brother Just Listens to iTunes

Free Download: Daddy Sang Bass. Now, Little Brother Just Listens to iTunes

Numerous presidents have described America’s first Thanksgiving. Most have identified it as the feast the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians shared in Plymouth in 1621. Barack Obama, for example, declared in 2014 that “the friendship and kindness of the Wampanoag people” helped the Pilgrims learn “to harvest the rich bounty of a new world.” Some presidents, including John F. Kennedy, pointed to early 17th century events in both Massachusetts and Virginia as providing the foundation for Thanksgiving. In 1984, Ronald Reagan, by contrast, highlighted Iroquois thanksgiving festivals that predated those of Euro-Americans as the basis of the holiday.

Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and most other presidents have accentuated God’s power, providence, and generosity in their proclamations. Washington praised “the great Lord and Ruler of Nations,” acknowledged “the providence of Almighty God,” and thanked God for “His kind care and protection.” Lincoln emphasized “the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.” Woodrow Wilson rejoiced in 1918 that “God, the ruler of nations,” had brought an end to World War I.

In their Thanksgiving statements, presidents have also consistently expressed gratitude to God for His countless blessings. Washington established the pattern by thanking “the beneficent author of all … good” for the successful conclusion of the Revolutionary War and the new nation’s “tranquility, union, and plenty,” peaceful relations with other countries, recently adopted Constitution, and religious and civil liberty. In 1865 Andrew Johnson rejoiced that God had removed “the fearful scourge of civil war” and permitted Americans to enjoy “the blessings of peace, unity, and harmony.” Harry Truman urged citizens in 1945 to thank “Almighty Providence” for America’s “abundance, strength, and achievement” evident in its defeat of “German fascism and Japanese militarism.” In 2003, George W. Bush praised God for America’s “abundance, prosperity, and hope” and its “firm foundation of freedom, justice, and equality” and “belief in democracy and the rule of law.”

In addition, presidents have called for corporate and individual repentance. Washington beseeched God “to pardon our national and other transgressions.” Lincoln urged Americans to bow before God in “humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.” Andrew Johnson urged citizens to confess their “national sins” against God’s “infinite goodness.” Wilson exhorted Americans to seek “divine mercy and forgiveness for all [our] errors of act or purpose.”

Read: Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving … but not to God

Read: Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving … but not to God

Presidents have also used their proclamations to ask God to bless other countries and to prod citizens to generously aid others. Washington beseeched God to “protect and guide” all nations and “to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord.” Kennedy implored Americans to share their blessings and ideals with people around the world. Reagan exhorted citizens to model God’s “compassion for those in need” by sharing “our bounty with those less fortunate.” George H. W. Bush urged Americans to aid the unemployed, homeless, hungry, sick, and lonely. Obama challenged citizens to fulfill their role as their “brother’s and … sister’s keepers” by working at homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

In their proclamations, our chief executives have accentuated the sacrifices many American have made to protect and strengthen our nation. Let us “rededicate ourselves to those high principles of citizenship,” Truman declared in 1945, “for which so many splendid Americans have recently given all.” “Throughout history,” George W. Bush asserted, “many have sacrificed to preserve our freedoms and to defend peace around the world.” Obama paid tribute to “all those who defend our Union as members of our Armed Forces.”

Finally, presidents have exhorted Americans to individually and collectively give thanks to God. Wilson counseled citizens “to render thanks to God” in their homes and places of worship on Thanksgiving Day. George W. Bush encouraged “Americans to gather in their homes, places of worship, and community centers” to pray and “reinforce ties of family and community.”

As our presidents remind us, America has been abundantly blessed. Jesus declared that “to whom much is given, of him much shall be required” (Luke 12:48). May remembering this make us truly thankful and prompt us to aid the needy and vulnerable.