Self-evident truth: All Men Are Created Equal

 

My good friend, John F. Harrison, has an excellent post available here. This is another reminder of one of the most cherished ideals symbolized by the flag of the United States of America:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

-Thomas Jefferson (Declaration of Independence)

Our U.S. flag (and thus by extension, our anthem to it) does not stand for, or symbolize, any certain crimes, brutalities,  shortcomings, failures, or aberrations that have happened or are happening. It symbolizes a set of ideals, our founding principles, to which we should strive to align our lives and conduct.

I support the right to peaceful protest—which is one of the rights protected by our founding principles. I simultaneously point out, that someone choosing to protest the U.S. flag (and/or the anthem to it), gives the impression of them opposing or protesting the very ideals “for which it stands”—a point that my friend, John, and others, have made well.

It’s an unwise course of action to say one is standing up for equality by protesting a symbol of equality, and to claim one is standing for peaceful protest via protesting a symbol of peaceful protest. The very likely result of such is that onlookers will naturally tend to misunderstand what you’re trying to communicate. It’s tough to imagine anything other than that such a protest is not so much against aberrations, but against the very institution of America and its noble ideals.

It’s not as though the Declaration espouses brutality or racism.

The people who make their living understanding this sort of thing would call it “bad optics”—a phrase likely coined because when you draw a big salary for saying so, no doubt you need to speak with fancier language than just to say, “it looks bad.”

This is not a matter of whether or not the Constitution affords someone a free speech right that includes protesting against the U.S. flag (the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that anti-flag protests can be protected speech). It may well be a matter of whether an employment rule or contract stipulates to not make certain speech while on the company’s dime (which can mean an employee needs to refrain on company time, unless an issue is further affected by religious protection statutes that impact employers). Beyond all that, I’m talking about whether it is a wise, effective, smart way to push toward a legitimate goal. It seems not, which calls into question whether the actual goal is something other, something less legitimate.

For many Americans who love and support the noble ideals of America, and therefore stand for the symbols that stand for those ideals, such a protest looks bad. It looks legal, but wrong. It looks allowable, but bad. It makes them want to vote with their pocketbook and their feet, by boycotting the sports events where the management, owners, employers, and administrators choose to allow it to happen on the company’s dime and time.

Just because you can do a thing, it does not necessarily follow that you should do that thing. Let me conclude with words from the Holy Bible:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.

— Paul the Apostle (I Corinthians 10:23, N.I.V.) 

The real story behind our national anthem!

Join us in DC for the CUFI Summit! (Special Group Rate)

The annual Summit of Christians United For Israel is always amazing, and this year looks to be better than ever. Your voice is needed! Join us in DC for the CUFI Summit!

Special Deal for CUFI’s DC Summit

Go with us to the HOLY LAND, ISRAEL!

Enjoy 5-star hotels, first-class touring! Limited seating. First come first served. Trips this nice usually cost $1,000 to $1,500 more. Register now!

Israel Trip – WV & western MD District – Jan 23-31, 2018

Four Good Reasons Why Every American Should Support Israel

Sincere Pro-Lifer to Sincere Abortion Supporter

A couple of years ago, a pro-life organization in which I serve as a volunteer, West Virginians For Life (the statewide affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee) distributed a mailer regarding a then-upcoming election. A seemingly sincere pro-abortion woman, Amanda, sent her response (regarding the mailer) by way of publicly commenting at one of our pro-life websites.

Here is her brief comment and my open reply follows it:

Dear Pro lifers of West Virginia,

I just got your advertisement in the mail today telling me not to vote for Natalie Tennat [sic]. Not only am I voting for Natalie for Senate, but she is the only reason I am going to vote. Your philosophies seem to govern much around religion and your love for the Constitution, but only in so far that they pertain to you. You do not care about the rights of others. The right to an abortion, freedom of and from religion. You do not care about women and how the right to abortion, sex education and birth control is a matter of Public Health.

I believe in your freedom of speech as much as believe in my own. I do not wish anything less, or any ill will. All I ask is you refrain from making laws that do not pertain to yourself. If you don’t want an abortion than [sic] don’t have one, but when you take the access away from women you are causing harm onto them. Also, please refrain from using laws from the Old Testament to define your purpose when you yourself do not follow all the laws. Thank you.

Note: for several points in my reply (below) scholarly support is available in the “40 Years of Roe” symposium video available here.

Dear Amanda

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to the mailer.
Did you know that every time a woman has an abortion, she significantly increases her risk of breast cancer, and significantly increases her risk of future preterm delivery, and significantly increases her chance of a future baby being afflicted with cerebral palsy? Not only does a baby whose heartbeat and brainwaves are detectable lose its life in every abortion (practically all abortions happen after the baby has already reached such a stage of development), but the mother is a victim as well.

Many studies have demonstrated links to not only breast cancer, preterm births, and cerebral palsy, but also depression, suicide, and divorce, just to list a few. In almost all cases, the abortion is done merely for the sake of convenience. Quite often it is done because the mother or father don’t like the gender of the baby, or because they don’t want to raise a child that might have an imperfection or disability (and often the doctors are wrong in forecasting such things). Furthermore, not only do the aforementioned detriments occur, but there is a “dose effect” in that with each repeated abortion, her odds get exponentially worse for having these issues. To watch a free online, scholarly presentation of these issues, click here: http://harrison.wvforlife.com/2013/04/28/40-years-of-roe-recap/

Also, did you know that America’s infatuation with abortion is a result of the racism of the people who conjured this movement? Do you know the real history behind it? Did you know the abortion industry’s biggest player, Planned Parenthood, was once openly known by its earlier name as an American Eugenics organization? Do you know the history and motives of Eugenics? Check out maafa21.com – you can watch a startling documentary for free on youtube.com here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqLyyIsKyCU (or via the maafa21.com site, to watch there, via a free code).

Are you aware that the abortionists use (and have used) targeting of their placement of clinics, and targeting of ads, etc, to increase the abortion rate among ethnic minorities? Did you know that before they got American women to “want” to kill their own children, they took in hand to get policies in place to sterilize American women, and did so, by the many thousands, at times without the women’s consent and sometimes even without their knowledge? And that it was especially targeted against Blacks and native American Indians?

Did you know that abortions also have noted detrimental effects on the fathers of the aborted babies as well?

You seem VERY sincere. Please consider that your accusation that we (as pro-life people) don’t care about the rights of others is simply a mistaken mindset. We care about the right to life, and right to good health, of both the women, the men, and the babies affected by the terrible blight of abortion.

I hope you will take some time to learn more about this crucial topic.

Sincerely,
Pastor Doug Joseph
Christian Apostolic Church (UPCI)
Clarksburg, WV

IRS Form 990 is NOT for churches!

Sometimes an accountant — or even an IRS employee — will misinform a church employee or church member, falsely claiming that the church supposedly must file a troublesome document called IRS Form 990.

Such accountants are simply mistaken. Put simply, they are wrong. (We once even had an IRS employee tell us wrongly about this matter.)

How can we say so with such authority? Because official IRS statements back us up on the matter.

According to IRS documentation (here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i990.pdf) churches don’t ever need to file Form 990.

The question of whether to file can seem confusing, because at first the document sounds like the answer is based solely on how much revenue a non-profit entity gets in a year, and its overall holdings in a year, but those criteria don’t even apply whenever the entity is listed among those that are completely exempted from filing Form 990.

To verify what we’re saying here — to confirm that your church does not need to file Form 990, just click the above link to access the IRS documentation in PDF format. Then scroll to page 3, and look at Section B, which is quite unambiguously titled “B. Organizations Not Required To File Form 990 or 990-EZ.” There you will see that a church or church-related or religious type group does not have to file form 990.

Being that is the case, why is there all the earlier wording, explaining that a non-profit organization is exempted from filing only if certain conditions are met? It’s simple: that other wording applies to non-profit entities other than the exempted ones, such as a Food Pantry that has its own EIN (tax number).

Why would a Food Pantry operated under a church need or want its own EIN? Because of external donors potentially having their own privately-established rule that they won’t donate to an entity or ministry unless it has its own EIN, separate from a host church’s EIN—which is the case for our Food Pantry ministry. Each year, a private individual makes a sizable donation to our Food Pantry ministry, and their employer matches their charitable giving. However, that employer has its own policy in place requiring the ministry receiving the matching funds to have its own EIN and be listed in a federally maintained list of non-profits.

Our Food Pantry ministry (which has its own EIN) does not have to file Form 990 because it has less than $200,000 received in a year, and is not ever worth more than $500,000 at the end of the tax year. Instead of filing the tedious Form 990, our Food Pantry files a very short, very easy “e-postcard” version, which allows the ministry entity to keep its own EIN, even though it does not file the full Form 990.

Recently, one of our churches that operated a TNT fireworks tent as a fundraiser last year, was misinformed by their accountant, who said that because their overall revenue (note: not proceeds after paying for fireworks product, but all incoming revenue) put them over an arbitrary line, they supposedly had to file Form 990. The accountant is wrong. Because the entity in focus is a church, it does not matter how much revenue is received in a year’s time, the church still is not required by the IRS to file a Form 990.

Note: This article is not intended to serve as a replacement for tax advice by a professional, nor as legal advice. It is written by a pastor and presbyter, citing a clearly stated policy of the IRS. The weight of the statements here is simply the strength and clarity of the IRS statements in the service’s own documentation, linked above.

Obituary: In Memory of Jeannette Corbitt Joseph

Jeannette Corbitt Joseph
March 18, 1936 – March 31, 2017

SHREVEPORT, LA — Jeannette Corbitt Joseph, 81, of Shreveport, Louisiana, was promoted to Glory on March 31, 2017, while surrounded by family, after a final, third appearance of lymphoma. The homegoing celebration will take place Monday, April 3, 2017, with a visitation at 12:00 Noon, followed by the funeral at 2:00 pm. Both the viewing and funeral are to be held at The Pentecostals of Bossier, 2833 Viking Dr, Bossier City, Louisiana 71111.

Jeannette was born in Gillett, Arkansas on March 18, 1936 to John Allen Corbitt and Ethel (Bitely) Corbitt. She was one of nine children. Her family experienced a sweeping baptism of God’s Spirit as they searched for a church that practiced the fullness of biblical truth, which they found in the Apostolic doctrine and Pentecostal experience of the Holy Ghost with fire and water baptism in Jesus name.

Sam A Joseph
Oct 27, 1932 – Apr 19, 1986

Jeannette graduated from Little Rock Central High School in 1955. She began working in the Post Office. At this job, she met the man she would marry. She married Sam A. Joseph in November of 1965. Their union bore five children, twelve grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Jeannette worked as a legal secretary at several law firms, as well as the Caddo Parrish District Attorney’s Office, from which she retired after 29 years. She was a precious saint of God, whose faithfulness in service included years of attendance at King’s Temple United Pentecostal Church, followed by years of attendance at The Shreveport Pentecostals, followed by years of attendance at The Pentecostals of Bossier, where she was a member at the time of her passing.

Sam A Joseph
Oct 27, 1932 – Apr 19, 1986

She was preceded in death by both her parents, loving husband Sam A. Joseph, sisters Ina Hampton, Laverne Williams and husband Bob, Mildred Corbitt, brothers Roger Corbitt and Orville Corbitt, and nephew Timothy Corbitt. She is survived by her sons Jason Joseph and wife Shari, Douglas Joseph and wife LaDonna, Warren Joseph, daughters Janet Joseph Woods, and Laura Joseph Newman and husband Drew, her sister Velma Brown (widow of her late husband Buddy), her brothers, Reggie and wife Mary, Jeff and wife Renée. Furthermore, she is survived by her grandchildren, Dixie Marie Woods, Reno Alexander Woods, Samuel Alexander Joseph, Brent Avery Woods, Amber Nechelle (Joseph) Jennings, Hannah Jeannette Joseph, Joshua Aaron Joseph, Elliana Megan Joseph, Kieran Judah Joseph, Benjamin Corbitt Joseph, Adena Faith Joseph, and Gavin Isaac Joseph, as well as her great-grandchildren, Miguel Lewis Romero Joseph, Brantley Cade Jennings, Elias Cruz Romero Joseph, Cristián Alexander Joseph, and Ariel Grace Jennings, and a multitude of nieces and nephews and a host of church family and friends.

The family extends special thanks to Christus Highland Hospital, Christus Grace Home, and Sister Verita Rone, for their assistance in care, and to The Pentecostals of Bossier and many other friends for their kindness in hospitality, and to all the donors to the Jeannette Joseph Memorial Fund. Online donations are facilitated at http://cac.wvupci.com/give/memorial/

She loved gardening, was very active, and enjoyed travel worldwide.

Please visit www.hillcrestmemorialfh.com to leave online condolences for the family.


Click below to view the multimedia presentation shown at her viewing / visitation.

Jeannette Corbitt Joseph – Homegoing Slideshow

Mama’s Pastor prayed for peace in her journey, and instantly….

Dear friends:

She was hanging on by a thread, but knew she wanted to get that Last Will and Testament finalized, so she rallied yesterday, and God gave her the strength to last long enough to scrawl a weakly signature a bunch of times before an attorney and witnesses, and to love on her family and kiss her kids, grands and greats.

Yesterday evening the nurse asked if she wanted any medicine to “calm” her slightly elevated breathing, which was labored.

She said, “No, I’d like to try to avoid that if I can.”

“Ok.”

(Throughout the whole process, whenever she was asked if she had pain, she always said, “No, I’m OK.” Regarding pain medicine, she was this way the whole while as a massive lymphoma onset escorted her from this life to the next.)

During the night she weakened. This morning when she was called upon, she opened her eyes, yet was too weak to respond. As the day wore on, she could not manage to open her eyes.

A social worker came in this morning and announced that her status has officially been changed from “respite care” to “hospice care.”

Today at about 2:30 pm (central time), her dear under-shepherd, Pastor Jerry Dean, walked into the room. He was given a brief update, stepped to her side, and prayed, “Lord, give her peace in her journey.” Instantly her mortal frame stopped breathing, and our dear Mama started dancing on streets of gold. God is good — all the time.

Her estate is quite modest. The family is asking for memorial gifts in lieu of flowers. Any surplus beyond funeral costs will go to missions through her local church…

Jeannette C. Joseph Memorial Fund

With mixed tears of sorrow and joy,
Pastor Doug Joseph

Never again!

My oldest daughter, Elliana, and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Israel (February, 2017). While there we learned some amazingly beneficial bits of context for the Holy Scriptures, and we experienced many meaningful moments.

In one of those meaningful moments, we were atop Masada, where, in ancient times, Jewish families in a besieged mountain fortress chose to end their lives rather than suffer rape/abuse/slavery/murder at the hands of Roman soldiers. Josephus, a Jewish historian, described the incident (see chapter 8, here).

I was moved to tears all over again (I had heard him say so before) as I listened to our Jewish guide, Ralph Lewinsohn, explain how the Masada incident has become part of the Jewish national ethos, and how that, in light of the determined efforts of the Nazis in WWII to wipe out every Jew in existence, now the Jewish people are determined that, “Never again will we allow ourselves to be put in a position where our only choice is death or slavery. Never again.”

“Never again” is not just a heart-cry of Jewish people everywhere. It’s actually a prophecy about them, made by God Himself:

{14}  and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.

“They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. {15} I will plant Israel in their own land,
never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,”

says the Lord your God.

Amos 9:14-15 (NIV)

Some Christian believers have succumbed to a false doctrine known as Replacement Theology, which claims that collectively, adherents to Christianity have supposedly completely replaced natural Israel in the mind of God. Those who hold to that notion may think that earlier ancient Jewish returns from exile would qualify as concluded fulfillment of various prophecies that God would bring the Jewish people back to the Land He promised them. However, take note:

  • God foretold a return of the Jews to their land that would be completely permanent (see Amos 9:14-15, shown above). Regarding the Jewish ethnicity of those prophesied to be returned, see also Ezekiel 34:13 (note “their own land”).
     
    God Himself indicated that the same nationality of people that was exiled would be brought back by God’s own hand to the same Land from which they were exiled, and that from thence forward, they would never again be uprooted!
     
  • God foretold a return of the Jews to their land that would be come from every direction, north, south, east, and west, i.e. “from the ends of the earth” (see Isaiah 43:5-6).
     
    Earlier ancient returns from exile that were localized (such as from Babylon) cannot qualify as fulfillment of such a prophecy. By contrast, the astounding, ongoing return of Jews from all around the world to the State of Israel reestablished in 1948, certainly could qualify.
     
  • God foretold a return of the Jews to their land that would be accomplished by God’s own hand (see Ezekiel 20:34, and other verses already cited).
     
    For anyone to resist such a “return migration,” and/or the accompanying necessary right of Jewish people to dwell securely in their own ancestral homeland is to resist God Himself.

As Christian I support and defend the Jewish national declaration that never again will any situation be permitted in which Jewish people are denied their right to exist securely within their ancestral homeland. As a Bible believer, it is the only logical choice.

God. Family. Church. World. Doug Joseph is an ordained Christian pastor & presbyter, author of fiction & nonfiction.

%d bloggers like this: