Monday, February 26, 2018

Church, State and Trump


The Constitution says Congress has no power to legislate restrictively about religion.  By linking religion with speech, communication ("the press"), assembly and redress, the First Amendment creates what the Supreme Court has come to refer to as "Expressive Association."

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Religious organizations have come to rely on the powerful language of the First Amendment to assure their independence from political authority in America. 

The prohibition against Congress making any law prohibiting "free exercise" combined with our first Supreme Court's admonition that "the power to tax is the power to destroy" is the basis for the tax exemptions of churches. I wrote about this in 1998:

“Yeshua the Nazarite taught his followers to "render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's". He was adroitly avoiding, as the incident in the Bible makes clear, expressing an opinion regarding the Roman Empire's taxes. Jesus continued, "...and render unto God the things which are God's". Ever since, the question of the State's authority and Religion's right has been of central concern in Western religious and legal philosophy. We have seen how this conflict has been resolved, at present, in America. The tax (and other laws) we have discussed are part of that resolution, for, as our first Supreme Court said, "the power to tax is the power to destroy," and Congress has made it the law that the government may never use this power to destroy the independence and capacity to act of American churches. This is the Law of the Land and should be defended by all freedom-loving and religiously oriented people.” [1]

There have been few attempts to restrict religious speech in US history and all but one, the infamous 1954 Johnson Amendment, have fallen away.  That clause, imposed by LBJ while still a member of Congress, attempts to prevent churches from engaging in political speech. That is old law unlikely to be fully enforceable.

Congress adopted the RFRA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-141). In this enactment Congress determined that "governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification..." and that "laws 'neutral' toward religion may burden religious exercise..." Therefore Congress determined to protect the free exercise of religion as follows:

"Sect. 3. Free Exercise of Religion Protected. (a) In General. -- Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b). (b) Exception. -- Government may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person -- (1) is in the furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. (c) Judicial Relief. -- A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government..."

Under that law the courts have allowed churches great leeway. Examples include sponsoring peyote rituals and even asserting exemptions from certain Obamacare insurance requirements.

Recently people have been more strongly asserting their right to have their religious beliefs accommodated in reference to government and employer vaccine mandates. I’ve written about that and helped develop a form Demand for Religious Accommodation. [2]   

This trend has been further strengthened by actions taken by the Attorney General and President Trump. [Let it be understood that I am not a particular fan of either, and consider their old-fashioned views regarding the health benefits of Hemp to be particularly egregious.]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had this to say on October 6, 2017: [3]

“Religious liberty is not merely a right to personal religious beliefs or even to worship in a sacred place. It also encompasses religious observance and practice. Except in the narrowest circumstances, no one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with the law.”

The Attorney General Continues, in Point 2 of his Opinion

“2. The free exercise of religion includes the right to act or abstain from action in accordance with one’s religious beliefs.

“The Free Exercise Clause protects not just the right to believe or the right to worship; it protects the right to perform or abstain from performing certain physical acts in accordance with one’s belief. Federal statues, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (“RFRA”), supports that protection, broadly defining the exercise of religion to encompass all aspects of observance and practice, whether or not central to, or required by, by a particular religious faith.”  [4]

Last May President Trump signed an Executive Order essentially nullifying the Johnson Amendment, except for actually endorsing political candidates.

"The order, which Trump inked during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, directs the IRS not to take "adverse action" against churches and other tax-exempt religious organizations participating in political activity that stops short of an endorsement of a candidate for office. But pastors are already free to deliver political speeches, and regularly do. Churches and other tax-exempt organizations are restricted from endorsing or explicitly opposing political candidates under the 1954 Johnson Amendment, but the executive order Trump signed Thursday makes clear that those activities would still not be permitted." [5]

The wording of the Order states:

"Section 1. Policy. It shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law's robust protections for religious freedom. The Founders envisioned a Nation in which religious voices and views were integral to a vibrant public square, and in which religious people and institutions were free to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation by the Federal Government. For that reason, the United States Constitution enshrines and protects the fundamental right to religious liberty as Americans' first freedom. Federal law protects the freedom of Americans and their organizations to exercise religion and participate fully in civic life without undue interference by the Federal Government. The executive branch will honor and enforce those protections." [6]

Subsequently, in January 2018, the President created a "Conscience and Religious Freedom Division" in HHS:

"Social conservatives and religious liberty leaders have anticipated conscience and religious freedom protections to come out of HHS, and the work of the new division, which will fall under the purview of the Office of Civil Rights, will likely pave the way for health care workers to refuse specific types of care, like birth control or abortion, based on their religious or conscience objections." [7]

Bottom Line:  restrictions on religious involvement in public affairs, which IMHO always violated the absolutist language of the First Amendment (or as Justice Hugo Black was accused of saying, "No law means no law."), are becoming unenforceable.  Similarly, the right to assert conscientious objections to acting contrary to one's religious beliefs is becoming more respected by the civil authorities.

This may apply not only to conscientious objection to decorating wedding cakes, but also to submitting to vaccination or other demands of an ever more intrusive bureaucracy. These are highly significant developments.

Rev. Ralph Fucetola JD

Friday, February 23, 2018

Stop FDA Attack on Homeopathy

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The UK's National Health "Service" used to run special homeopathic hospitals and herbal dispensaries. Not any more, now the "single payer" will no longer pay for either and they are now being closed. [1]

Unsurprisingly, the FDA is following suit, despite the fact that Homeopathy and the US Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia (USHP) are protected by specific statutes in the US.

Did Health Freedom end when 2017 made its exit? Yes, if the FDA has its way!

Bottom Line: If you are ready to take action to protect natural remedies, read on...

We have until March 20th to file formal comments with FDA.  Docket FDA-2017-D-6580 – scroll down to find the Comment Link.

This past year the DEA and the FDA came out publicly saying, for example, that Cannabidiol, CBD, a neurotransmitter produced by mammalian (including human) bodies, was not a lawful nutrient, although the agencies have stopped short of raiding health food stores [as FDA used to do in the 1990s, before the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA)] to enforce their dictate. [2] 

Right now, although there is a century of laws protecting homeopathy, FDA is attacking homeopathy to “protect” you. They are the government and they are here to "help" — Big Pharma.

On December 18th of this past year FDA issued new regulations that attack homeopathic oral and injectable remedies despite the fact that they are protected by long-standing law. This blatant attack on your health freedom choices is part of a long-term, well-financed conspiracy and, sadly, comes as no surprise. [3]
On your behalf we told FDA, when they started their “regulatory review” of homeopathy to let our natural remedies alone! The attack began “innocently enough” during the previous presidential administration.  

FDA asked for comments on how it should “modernize” homeopathy regulations. That’s the government’s first step toward ratcheting-up control.

That’s the step to which we had previously replied, telling them, among other things:

"FDA does not have authority from Congress to interfere with traditional homeopathy, nor does Congress have authority to permit such interference. Individuals have the right, under international humanitarian law binding on the United States, of Informed Consent to exercise their Freedom of Choice in health care without government burdening that fundamental right." [4]

These new regulations followed similar recent action in the UK by its “one payer” nationalized health care system. The UK National Health “Service” has ended its long-standing history of support for safe, gentle and effective homeopathy and herbalism (the UK even has special homeopathic hospitals and homeopathic/herbal dispensaries) in favor of dangerous, deadly and ineffective pharmaceuticals. This trend for medical tyranny has “crossed the pond” as the FDA has attacked legally protected homeopathy in the USA.

This was done in three steps that I have documented.

First in 2015, when the FDA asked for public comments about regulating homeopathy. That's when we submitted the comments referenced above. By the way, by submitting comments telling FDA they were acting illegally, we preserved the legal right to complain to the courts; we preserved "standing to sue."

Second, as noted in a blog entry I posted January 2017, FDA was toying with the idea of requiring "disclaimers" on homeopathic products, disclaimers not required by the statute that protects homeopathy in the USA [5].

Third, the most recent action, which illegally attempts to treat HPUS standard homeopathic remedies as unapproved pharmaceutical drugs, requiring a "risk/benefit analysis" which will effectively ban many, if not most, homeopathic remedies. This pseudo-scientific analysis starts with the false claim that homeopathic remedies have no benefit and alleges a "risk" that people using such remedies will fail to use Big Pharma's government approved, dangerous "side-effect" drugs.

What risk? Since government approved pharmaceutical drugs are the main cause of preventable death in the USA, what risk? [6]

The natural product industry has two choices: let Big Pharma and the globalists have their way or force them back, step by step.  I am sure that large producers of homeopathic remedies will realize they have no choice but to challenge the regulation. Strong public support for natural remedy freedom will encourage resistance to agency overkill.

Since we have preserved the right to object to this latest FDA action, cooperation between the industry and the health freedom movement during 2018 may be the only way to preserve our access to homeopathy, and, while dodging the FDA's left punch, we'll need to watch it's right arm for the next attack on herbs and other nutrients, like CBDs.

The new President, failing to keep his promise to "drain the swamp" seems to be appointing swamp-creatures to run the FDA and empower it to further attacks!

We must choose to force them back. I know you will want to do so, too.

FIRST -- Subscribe here: to be linked directly to the web page for comments. This is where you can tell the FDA “NO!”
Share this link on social media!

SECOND -- Contact me directly if you or your company want to be part of the advocacy and litigation that will likely be needed to stop this latest FDA outrage. Our half century of health freedom advocacy positions us to coordinate this urgent action.  We need your support -- email me here:
File your comments prior to March 20, 2018

When you Subscribe you will be sent to a link that you can click to file your comment to the FDA.

It is simply bad science to apply the "risk/benefit" analysis that may be appropriate for the dangerous drugs and interventions of modern medicine to traditional nutritional, herbal and homeopathic approaches to achieving and maintaining health.  

Biological individuality suggests that the "risk/benefit" analysis will miss the benefits of these natural modalities, giving the governing authorities an excuse to ban the natural competition to treatments that are known to cause harm. Let us remember that a large portion of the FDA's budget comes from large pharmaceutical companies. [7]  The risk of systemic corruption is so high that the agency should refrain from interfering with freedom of choice in health care. [8]

Ralph Fucetola JD
Institute for Health Research

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Meme Wars

With Memes the Medium is the Message

We know from 20th Century media guru Marshall McLuhan that "the medium is the message..." [1] The medium that carries the information is its own message. That seems especially true of our 21st Century hyper-connected Internet virtual reality.

I recently read Josh Weltman's book Seducing Strangers, which I highly recommend. [2] In it he makes a fascinating observation, one of many, starting with a term from Aristotle's Rhetoric, "Enthymeme." [3]

He connects the term to Internet "memes" - a word that was originally a play on the term "gene." [4]  A meme is an idea (embodied as a catchphrase, image or the like) which spreads throughout a society in a fashion not unlike the way genes spread through a population.

The point he makes, and the reason for this blog entry, is that there is a certain pattern to the use of Internet Memes that makes them powerful persuasive tools.  "If the first part... confuses, the second part must explain. And if the first part explains, the second part should confuse." [5]

Aristotle's Enthymeme is a logical construct where the "first term" of the syllogism is assumed to be understood by the listener.  The the second and third terms of the argument are more persuasive since the first is already in the minds of the listener.

For Internet image memes this can be generalized to: If the image confuses (or shocks, or astounds or amuses = surprises) then the words should explain; if the image explains, the words should surprise.

To a degree the image above is an example of the process. The retro-image is typical '60s California and carries with it the whole meme complex of California Living.  The words pull it into the present, starting with the current year date and become a warning to those doing business in California that the changing rules will impact them and require attention.

The average attention span of the average Internet user is very short. Just seconds. [6] Notice mainstream TV, for example. The editing cuts (especially for ads) are often the length of a heartbeat, sometimes two or three. Hardly ever more.

Thus the Internet Meme, with its rhetorical tension between image and word, is an ideal tool to get the message through the medium and into the minds of your audience.

Internet communication is becoming a battleground of memes.  My Millennial Connections tell me they call it The Meme Wars. Some of the most popular Facebook groups are built around what are called "Dank Memes" [7] The more dissonance between the image and the words, the better. And so it goes.

If the image astounds, the words explain. If the image explains, the words astound...


[1] - "The medium is the message is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in any message it would transmit or convey, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived."

[2] Workman Publishing, 2015 - ISBN 978-0-7611-8495-9 (Co-producer of the TV series, Mad Men)

[3] - "An enthymeme (Greek: ἐνθύμημα, enthumēma) is a rhetorical syllogism ... used in oratorical practice."

[4] - "In 2013 Dawkins characterized an Internet meme as being a meme deliberately altered by human creativity—distinguished from biological genes and Dawkins' pre-Internet concept of a meme which involved mutation by random change and spreading through accurate replication as in Darwinian selection."

[5] Weltman, - see page 25.

[6] - You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish

[7] - Gary Johnson's Dank Meme Stash