ConservativeBlog.org

Featuring the Work and Ideas of the National
Center for Public Policy Research & Project 21

CONSERVATIVEBLOG.ORG

Featuring the Work and Ideas of the National Center for Public Policy Research & Project 21

MLK Also Dreamed of Religious Freedom

MLK Also Dreamed of Religious Freedom
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The leading civil rights issue of the modern era? Challenges to the guarantee of equal access to opportunity for people of faith.

Donna Jackson

In a commentary published on the website of The Hill newspaper on the day America commemorates civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Project 21 member Donna Jackson writes:

Today’s civil rights struggle is mainly over freedom of religion. Liberals have stirred up anger and distrust of faith through fear and intimidation tactics. For example, they have branded evangelicals as “white evangelicals” – trying to make them synonymous with white supremacy.

And the disrespect for and mistreatment of faith-based individuals and institutions extends beyond just the evangelical community. Donna also notes that “targets include groups that support Israel, Jewish and Christian organizations such as the Salvation Army and Chick-fil-A.”

Donna explains that Dr. King’s dream for America sought racial and religious tolerance, and both are vital for overall success:

From King’s perspective, the civil rights movement wasn’t just about bringing races together. It was also about respecting religion. He recognized, like so many of us Christians do, that freedom on the outside begins with freedom on the inside.

In addition to the economic and social advances experienced by black Americans during the Trump presidency, Donna notes that the White House is now working to free communities of faith from being unfairly targeted for their beliefs. In particular, she notes how IRS investigations of religious institutions during the Obama era kept them from engaging in political speech in violation of their First Amendment rights. On the other hand, the Trump Administration has sought to relieve them from this fear of government intervention.

Donna reminds readers:

Dr. King saw his faith as the solution to hatred. He would strongly disagree with those trying to brand it as the cause.

To read all of Donna’s commentary – “Today’s Civil Rights Struggle: Religious Tolerance” – go to The Hill website by clicking here.

Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black AmericaBy the way…

Repeal of the “Johnson Amendment” – the federal language designed to keep churches from being involved in politics that was used by the Obama Administration – is a policy recommendation of Project 21’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America.” The Blueprint is designed to create more opportunities for black Americans and to promote their social and economic advancement.

Boardroom Biases Create “Costly Realities” for Investors

Boardroom Biases Create “Costly Realities” for Investors
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CNN’s recent settlement with Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann for the channel’s biased reporting of the student’s encounter with left-wing agitators at the Lincoln Memorial a year ago is a result of “partisan blindness.” This bias not only affects the network and its parent company – AT&T – but other corporations as well.

In a commentary published on the website of The Federalist, Free Enterprise Project Program Coordinator Scott Shepard explains that the “dangers of closed viewpoints and political partisanship are becoming costly realities for American corporations.” And it’s also a clear and present danger to their investors.

That’s because, despite these “costly realities” such as the Sandmann settlement, corporate America is largely unwilling to work to try to shield themselves from being afflicted by the risk of groupthink.

Using the example of FEP’s attempts to constructively interact with AT&T, Scott describes “the aggressive resistance we at FEP encounter when asking these corporations to protect their employees from workplace discrimination on the basis of their civic viewpoints or participation.”

Scott notes that AT&T is resisting FEP’s shareholder proposal to go before other investors for true board diversity – a diversity of thought, rather than superficialities such as race and gender – to help generate more productive discussion and strategic decision-making in company c-suites:

This fall, we at the Free Enterprise Project (FEP) of the National Center for Public Policy Research asked AT&T to allow its shareholders to vote about whether they would like AT&T to provide them reasonable information about the ideological perspectives (which we further defined as the political/policy positions) of its board of director candidates, on which shareholders vote each year. In response, AT&T went to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to try to block our proposal from going to shareholders.

AT&T told the SEC that it just couldn’t figure out what we were talking about, or how to report on it. Noting that political positions can be divvied up more finely than just liberal versus conservative, it complained that providing meaningful information, while allowing for nuance, would tax their information-conveying powers past the breaking point. This from a telecommunications company that owns a purported news station.

Yet a simple perusal of the biographies of the AT&T board indicates an inherent political bias that could skew important conversations about the management of the company:

AT&T’s claim is absurd on its face, and the reason for it is clear. From the biographical information that AT&T does provide about its current board members (who are also the corporation’s slate of board candidates for next year), we have concluded that every member of the board who reveals his or her political activities has served only in Democratic administrations and for Democrats.

And this is hardly a lone example of one viewpoint dominating a company’s leadership. A similar, broader look at the problem reveals that corporate leadership these days often skews to the left:

AT&T is hardly alone in this arguably self-destructive high-level partisanship. As Baron Political Affairs, LLC revealed in 2019, every single director of a Fortune 1-10 company who has been elected or has worked for an administration has been (or worked for) a Democrat. The ratio shifts to two Democrats for every Republican in the Fortune 100 generally, and to 5:1 for financial or tech firms within that group.

To read all of Scott’s commentary – “Covington Settlement  Warns Corporations that Bias Can Cost Big Bucks” – at The Federalist, click here.

Black Leaders Credit Low Taxes, Less Regulation for Surging Economy

Black Leaders Credit Low Taxes, Less Regulation for Surging Economy
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Unemployment numbers held steady at record levels as 2019 came to a close, according to Labor Department data released today. This is cheered by members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network, who credit an economic policy of low taxes and regulatory rollback for fueling the nation’s economic recovery.

Marie Fischer

Marie Fischer

“Month after month, the financial numbers have shown a booming economy due to not only cuts in taxes but cuts in regulation by the Trump Administration,” said Project 21 member Marie Fischer. “This not only helps to reduce unemployment in the black community, but it helps increase black entrepreneurship that increases overall wealth. For critics to say otherwise means they really would rather see a dependent underclass than a boom for all.”

Donna Jackson

Donna Jackson

“The critics keep saying that the U.S. is overdue for a recession, but the Trump economy keeps humming along with continued low unemployment – including low black unemployment. Black Americans are prospering in a way that we never have before,” added Project 21 member Donna Jackson. “The administration’s strategy of lower taxes and less regulation has worked for the last three years and shows no sign of losing steam.”

The monthly employment report, compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reported that the overall unemployment rate held steady at 3.5%. This is a record low first achieved in September and then again in November.  A record number of Americans – over 158.8 million – are employed. The workforce participation rate also held steady at a high rate of 63.2%.

In other economic news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average also hit 29,000 – the first time it has ever hit that mark.

Martin Baker

Martin Baker

“While we see robust employment numbers, the naysayers still want to cry foul during what appears to be a new era of prosperity and opportunity for the often-forgotten sectors of our great nation,” said Project 21 member Martin Baker. “At one point, unemployment for black males over the age of 18 where I live in the Metro St Louis area reached a staggering 24%. Today, it is around nine percent. To what do we attribute this? Could it be the government getting out of the way of private sector growth? Could it be policies that inspire growth and opportunity? Is it a revitalization of the American Dream? Whatever the case, we must fully embrace this upswing and magnify it. We cannot allow the gloom and doom crowd to downplay this miraculous change that is spreading across our country. The time is now to encourage growth. Build upon our gains and continue to foster an attitude of limitless opportunity not just in black America, but the United States of America.”

Covington Coverage Showed How Media Picks Its Targets

Covington Coverage Showed How Media Picks Its Targets
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In addition to his comments in today’s Project 21 press release about a settlement in the lawsuit that Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann filed against CNN, Project 21 member Derryck Green has a longer statement about the resolution.

While there are currently no known details about the terms of the settlement, some are critical that CNN has not yet apologized to Sandmann publicly or retracted the articles upon which the lawsuit was filed. Based on what is known, Derryck calls it a “partial vindication.”

Derryck Green

While Sandmann apparently approved of the settlement, there is still concern that the media will continue to be a tool of the left. This presents a problem both regarding continued demonization of certain segments of the population because of their politics and regarding ignorance of others at society’s peril. Derryck says:

The CNN settlement is partial vindication for Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann.

CNN – along with NBC and the Washington Post – deliberately slandered Sandmann by airing deceptive video that made it appear that he and fellow students were berating a Native American activist. For the establishment media and the intersectional left, Sandmann checked all the politicized boxes that made him deserving of their wrath: he’s white, male, presumably heterosexual and a Catholic school student (which means he has “privilege”) who was wearing a red MAGA hat at a pro-life rally.

Sandmann was the casualty. Had the media done its job, it would have researched and reported the actual story as opposed to creating one. Part of that would have been to explain that Sandmann decided to maintain his silence while the “activist” Nathan Phillips tried to instigate an altercation.

And part of that obligation would have also been to call attention to Sandmann being berated by members of a racist fringe cult known as the Black Hebrew Israelites. The teachings of this group, by the way, also may have fueled the rage of the man arrested in the Hanukkah stabbings in New York and may have inspired the suspects responsible for the shootings at a kosher deli in New Jersey this past December. People would’ve gotten the right idea about this anti-Semitic group much earlier on.

But CNN couldn’t resist the chance to attack President Trump by assassinating the character of one of his supporters. And that cost CNN money and credibility.

I applaud Nick Sandmann and his family for doing what far too many conservatives are unwilling to do: stand up to leftist bullies and fight back. Hopefully NBC and the Washington Post are also found responsible.

Project 21, which was quick to point out and commend Sandmann’s exemplary behavior under pressure as well as the media’s political agenda, was also early to discuss the radicalism of the Black Hebrew Israelites. In a commentary published on the Politichicks website, Project 21 member Marie Fischer wrote:

After viewing the full video and after my own experience with Black Hebrews, I strongly commend the students of Covington for responding to the men’s taunting by just shouting school chants and cheers. I feel these students, mere teenagers, took the higher and more mature road. They did not respond to these men in anger, but instead responded with joy…

The Black Hebrews at the Lincoln Memorial acted with hateful intent. While it’s unfortunate that the media’s backtracking is giving them the spotlight they so desperately want, it’s also a shame the media doesn’t credit the Covington kids for showing the proper response. Instead, the media remains focused on finding the next provocation.

For this and other content, Politichicks Co-Founder Ann-Marie Murrell recently praised Marie’s and Project 21’s “Important POV” in her “Best of the Best” awards for the website in 2019.

Civil Rights Threat From Impeachment “Clarification”

Civil Rights Threat From Impeachment “Clarification”
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Before the holidays, impeachment was the issue dominating Washington. As the new year begins… notsomuch. Yet the threat of impeachment and related criticism of the White House and its supporters present a real danger to our society.

It’s this danger that Project 21 member Donna Jackson warns about in a new commentary published in Washington’s influential The Hill newspaper.  She warns that “liberal disregard for common decency and the rule of law could usher in a new era of Jim Crow laws.”

Even though it’s the critics of President Donald Trump who claim he and his administration are a threat to civil rights, Donna writes that “[t]he real threat to civil rights comes from the environment his opponents have created.”

In particular, it was U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries who made such a claim against the President during the impeachment debate. Trying to minimize the fact that the impeachment process itself is “divid[ing] a fractured nation,” he suggested there was a “difference between division and clarification.” Jeffries then grouped impeachment with the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements as examples of appropriate and needed “clarifications” in society.

Donna notes:

In his mind — and the minds of many liberals — emancipating the slaves, ending Jim Crow segregation and supporting women’s suffrage are akin to impeaching the president in that they all apparently provide “clarity.”

But the impeachment drums that began before President Trump was even inaugurated, and the angry election campaign that preceded them, already have divided our nation. The ensuing three years of sensationalized demands for investigations and hearings have kept much of the real work of government from getting done and continue to pit supporters and detractors against each other.

She also remarks that this alleged clarification has thus far led to the President being “railroaded in a way that parallels how many falsely-accused blacks once were treated. And if it can happen to Trump, it can happen to anyone whose views are opposed by those on the left.”

To make her point, Donna presents several examples of how the liberal definition of clarification is being used more to separate people and ideas than to remove confusion:

In the Jim Crow era, blacks could find themselves facing false charges, being demonized by the media and being tried by mob or court with no regard for fairness. Today’s persecution and segregation are no longer based on the color of one’s skin, but on one’s beliefs.

This is seen in the long national slog through the false accusations of the Steele dossier, the unproved claims of collusion dispelled by the Mueller investigation and the lack of substantial charges during the impeachment process.

In the Jim Crow era, blacks and whites were treated differently. Depending on where a black person resided, he or she might not be able to find a job, a place to live or a restaurant in which to eat. Now consider what happens to President Trump’s supporters today.

Just ask Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kristjen Nielsen about not even being able to dine out without being discriminated against for their White House affiliations.

Big tech firms are accused of bias against conservative employees, and social media “jail” seems overpopulated with those on the right. Conservative speakers on college and university campuses find free speech a rare commodity when violent leftist students, professors and administrators protest them.

‘Nuff said.

“The signs are clear that leftists are divisive,” Donna concludes. Clearly, this “clarification” is not helpful in calming public discourse or bringing people together. “What’s even clearer,” she notes, “is that their efforts to dehumanize their opponents are the real threat to civil rights.”

To read Donna’s commentary in The Hill – “The Real Threat to Civil Rights? Trump Haters” – in its entirety, click here.

 

2020 to Bring America Back Toward Political Neutrality?

2020 to Bring America Back Toward Political Neutrality?
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Political correctness, RIP?

Like a bad horror movie monster, PC will probably never totally die.  But, in a new commentary distributed by InsideSources, I predict it will get its comeuppance over the course of 2020.

Acknowledging the political upheaval since the 2016 elections, I note that “[l]iberal members of Generation Z, who experienced the inconceivable situation of not getting everything they wanted for the first time in their lives, led the angry revolution to radicalize our culture.”

This revolution, like most revolutions, is going through a well-recognized cycle. We’re currently in the backlash and counter-revolutionary period. This is aided greatly by the leftism of the social justice warriors, their Antifa muscle, and spineless or calculating politicians who are along for the ride.

I explain that this extremism isn’t sitting well with many people, thus hastening a bitter backlash:

But the pendulum swung too far. Drawing upon historian Crane Brinton’s stages of revolution — and my own long-ago studies of revolutions, which I am finally putting to use — it appears we’ve passed through the crisis stage in which moderates are rejected, radicals take over and mob justice reins.

The 2016 election began the recovery stage in which radicals are overthrown and the status quo, national pride and faith are restored. I see this trend maturing in 2020.

Youngsters sniping back with “OK, Boomer” can’t stop it.

Here are a couple of the specific predictions I make for the new year:

  • “While it’s nice to see Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her comrades suddenly respecting our flag and the Constitution, expect them to forget all that soon enough.”
  • “The criminal investigation about the origins of the collusion accusations may result in John Brennan, James Clapper and other former Obama intelligence officials facing their own charges of corruption.”
  • “CEOs are learning that getting woke can lead to going broke.”

It may seem that the left has the advantage as we begin the year. After all, there may be an impeachment trial in the Senate, and recent elections have favored liberal candidates. “But there is a silent majority that exercised their vote in 2016,” I note. “They have also exercised their power as former Dick’s consumers and former NFL viewers. And they’re not going away.”

I believe they will make their presence known in 2020 – swinging the political pendulum back toward neutral.

To read all of my predictions and the rest of the commentary – “The Revolution Ends for the Left in 2020” – in the Lima News, click here.

And to stick something back in that got edited out: Thank you, Professor Jack Goldstone, for two great courses in revolutionary sociology.

Popular Light Bulbs Get “New Lease on Life”

Popular Light Bulbs Get “New Lease on Life”
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By stopping an increase in the regulatory standards for incandescent light bulbs, the Trump Administration gave the commonly used bulbs “a new lease on life,” reports the Washington Post.

And the newspaper cites the National Center’s praise of this decision.

Increased energy efficiency standards set to go into effect on January 1 would have essentially banned traditional incandescent and halogen bulbs by raising the cost of their manufacture by approximately 300%. After an analysis of the economic impact of the enhanced rules – and public comment from organizations including the National Center and its Project 21 black leadership network – the U.S. Department of Energy announced a halt to the increased regulation on December 20.

This saved popular bulbs such as those used in recessed and track lighting, bathrooms and chandeliers, as well as three-way bulbs found throughout American homes.

In announcing the decision, Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette said:

Today the Trump Administration chose to protect consumer choice by ensuring that the American people do not pay the price for unnecessary overregulation from the federal government. Innovation and technology are already driving progress, increasing the efficiency and affordability of lightbulbs, without federal government intervention. The American people will continue to have a choice on how they light their homes.

The government will continue to fund the research and development of light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that are more energy efficient but still lack some of the features and conveniences that make incandescent bulbs popular.

Mentioning the National Center, the Post reports:

The conservative National Center for Public Policy Research praised the administration’s decision, lauding it for “preserving the simple Edison lightbulb” first invented 140 years ago.

To read all of the National Center’s statement on the decision, click here.

To read the public comment submitted on behalf of the National Center, Project 21 and other free-market organizations, click here.

To read the entire Washington Post article – that was syndicated to papers including the Keene (NH) Sentinel and St. Augustine (FL) Record, click here.

Black Leaders Need to Root Out Anti-Semitism in Their Ranks

Black Leaders Need to Root Out Anti-Semitism in Their Ranks
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Investigators trying to get to the bottom of the Hanukkah attack in Monsey, New York have discovered evidence of the assailant’s anti-Semitic leanings – adding this to the unfortunate string of hate-fueled attacks on the Jewish community in the New York City area. Federal hate crime charges have been filed against the suspect.

In particular, recovered journals show the assailant expressed support for the radical Black Hebrew Israelite movement.

Project 21 member Nadra Enzi asks black leaders to speak out against these acts of hate. A community organizer and public safety advocate in New Orleans, Nadra is very vocal in his support for the Jewish community. In his appeal to black leaders to share his stance, he says:

Black assailants involved in the recent shocking attacks on Jews in New York sadly prove that black anti-Semites have earned the ignominious title of being on the cutting edge of hatred against our Jewish sisters and brothers.

My concern is whether the same black voices who demand their peers call out neo-Nazis and white nationalists in their ranks will raise these same voices to call out violent black anti-Semites.

A violent black anti-Semite is no upgrade over violent white ones.

Nadra’s comments are important in light of the appearance of political grandstanding by some black leaders during this time of crisis.

In the wake of the Monsey attack, Reverend Al Sharpton held a press conference in which he said: “You can’t fight hate against you if you aren’t willing to fight hate against everybody else.”

Yet a high-ranking member of Sharpton’s own National Action Network (NAN) recently defended a Jersey City, New Jersey official who made hateful comments against Jews in the wake of a deadly attack on the Jewish community there just a few weeks ago.

Joan Terrell-Paige, a trustee for the Jersey City Board of Education, was asked to resign after she posted a comment on Facebook about the “brutes of the Jewish community” who “waved bags of money” at black residents and threatened to “bring drug dealers and prostitutes to live next door to you” to gain control of parts of the city. When the mayor and governor called for her resignation, Carolyn Oliver Fair, executive director of NAN’s New Jersey chapter, said they “need to shut their mouths.” She added: “She said nothing wrong. Everything she said is the truth. So where is this anti-Semitism coming in? I am not getting it.”

In the Jersey City attack, people who also held Black Hebrew Israelite sentiments murdered three people at a kosher deli before being killed by police.

Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib also sought to blame “white supremacy” for the Jersey City attack. After her tweet earned much criticism, she deleted it.

In addition to Nadra, Project 21 member Marie Fischer is challenging people to overcome biases by getting out of their comfort zones and reaching out to people of different races and religions as a means of bringing Americans closer together.

Fighting Hate by Helping Strangers: A Project 21 Member’s Challenge

Fighting Hate by Helping Strangers: A Project 21 Member’s Challenge
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In the wake of the attack on a Hassidic Jewish celebration of Hanukkah by a machete-wielding assailant, Project 21 member Marie Fischer is issuing a challenge to help end religious and racial hatred in 2020 by asking people to get out from behind their keyboards, venture outside their comfort zones and help people.

Fischer, who is black and Jewish, posted a video tendering her challenge the day after the attack on the home of a rabbi and the neighboring synagogue in Monsey, New York. Jews in the New York City area have endured a significant increase in anti-Semitic attacks lately.

In her YouTube appeal, Marie says:

People need to stop making blanket statements, because all they’re doing is adding fuel to the fire… causing more baseless hatred.

Her challenge begins with: “What are we all gonna do?”

Marie was one of the people who joined activist Scott Pressler in helping to clean up a blighted Baltimore neighborhood after President Donald Trump and city officials faced off over crime and trash problems there. Marie suggests that people need to be more proactive, rather than “making general statements” on the Internet and elsewhere — statements that she says are only compounding problems:

Unless you’re someone… who’s going out there and doing things and helping people that they know nothing about, and know nothing of, but they just go out there and help them, then we’re not doing anything.

Pleading for people to get involved in the new year, Marie asks:

What are you going to do to stop all this? Not only the anti-Semitism. The hatred. The disgust we all seem to have for each other.

Her suggestion as to how to rise to the challenge? Marie advises:

Help someone. Help someone you don’t know anything about. Help someone who looks completely different from you. Help someone that might have a different religion from you. Help someone of a different race from you.

Go out there and help somebody. Don’t just sit there on the Internet and point fingers and block everybody else.

Marie closes her challenge to America in 2020 by saying: “Let’s change the world.”

 

Project 21 Leader Packing in Pulpit Praises Response in Texas Church Shooting

Project 21 Leader Packing in Pulpit Praises Response in Texas Church Shooting
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There were two horrific, violent assaults on people exercising their faith this past weekend. One would likely have been much worse if not for the fast action of armed members of the congregation.

Council Nedd

Allowing armed security – including citizens packing a pistol – in the pulpit and pews has been a long-standing position advocated by Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd II, an Anglican bishop and a Pennsylvania state constable.

Speaking about the recent attacks on Hassidic Jews in New York and on Christians in Texas, Council says:

An increase in violent attacks on religious activities shows police can’t protect everyone all the time.

The Texas church shooting proved that private armed security, armed staff and armed parishioners can keep a bad situation from becoming much worse.

It’s another example of our Second Amendment constitutional rights protecting our First Amendment rights.

At the West Freeway Church of Christ near Ft. Worth, Texas, two parishioners and the gunman died after the gunman pulled a shotgun out during a service. The gunman was subdued within six seconds after six members of the congregation pulled handguns and rushed the gunman – at least one of them firing. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick called the heroism of the parishioners “unparalleled.” Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn added that “evil walked boldly among us,” but that “good people raised up and stopped it before it got worse.”

In New York, a man was arrested after attacking a group of Hassidic Jews celebrating Hannukkah at a rabbi’s home in the Jewish community of Monsey. The assailant used a knife in an attack that injured five people – one seriously. After being repelled from the home and blocked from entering the neighboring synagogue, the assailant fled and was later apprehended in New York City.

After the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last year, Council wrote in a Daily Caller commentary that he considered himself “truly a shepherd for my own flock” at his central Pennsylvania parish because he decided to “have a gun at [his] side during services with no regrets.”

What he wrote then is just as relevant a year later:

It’s bad enough that the assaults on faith from the glitterati, government and now gunmen endanger the principles of religious freedom upon which our nation was founded. We don’t need to fight the last and worst part of it by trampling our Second Amendment freedoms trying to decide who should be denied the right to keep and bear arms.

He added:

[I]t’s a bishop’s duty to act as a shepherd for his flock. That’s why I have an ornate staff called a crozier. Like a shepherd, it’s my duty to steer my congregation away from figurative wolves who would corrupt them spiritually. And now I am also physically protecting them from literal threats to their security because the crozier is no longer enough…

Awareness and swift response are much more appropriate.

In his duties as a member of the law enforcement community, Council’s constable duties often have him stationed outside of local synagogues for added protection during Friday services.

In making a case for added security in places of faith, Council wrote in the Daily Caller over two years ago about the growing intolerance toward organized religion:

From the founding of my parish, St. Alban’s, in the mid-1970s, we usually left our doors unlocked. That changed about five years ago. The sad fact is that people are more willing to ignore, defile and deface sacred space these days. The lines that no one would dare cross before now largely go unacknowledged.

Maybe the crozier is no longer enough.

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