President Barack Obama? No, but just as shockingly, First Lady Michelle Obama has encouraged defiance of the federal government (h/t Godfather Politics).
The First Lady may not be familiar with the intricacies of getting state legislatures to pass bills or even non-binding resolutions, mobilizing sheriffs or persuading juries, but remember the generally accepted definition of nullification among the Tenther movement is any action or group of actions that has the effect of rendering a federal law null, void and unenforceable. And it need not be one of the methods usually promoted by the Tenth Amendment Center.
Current IRS regulations on non-profit organizations such as religious denominations forbid houses of worship from being used to endorse or campaign for a particular candidate. Many also suggest it is against the tax code for houses of worship to be too active in the debate on specific issues. For example, the Catholic Church and many Evangelical groups in particular have been accused of violating tax codes by being vocally in support of California’s 2008 Proposition 8 or opposed to forcing Catholic employers to include abortion and contraception coverage in their health insurance plans.
Thankfully, our First Lady believes very strongly that religious groups should openly defy that government agency that Maine Governor Paul LePage has recently called “the new Gestapo” and say what they want when they want. If you don’t believe it, let’s take a look at Mrs. Obama’s own words to the African Methodist Episcopal Church Conference:
Our faith journey isn’t just about showing up on Sunday for a good sermon, good music and a good meal. It’s about what we do Monday through Saturday as well. It’s about those quiet moments, when the spotlight’s not on us, and we’re making those daily choices about how to live our lives.
And elsewhere in her speech:
And to anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these issues, you tell them there is no place better, no place better. Because ultimately these are not just political issues; they are moral issues. They’re issues that deal with human dignity and human potential, and the future we want for our kids and grandkids. And the work of inspiring and empowering folks, the work of lifting up families and communities, that has always been the work of the AME Church.
Well good heavens! One would think she was reading the work of some Jersey guy who began fusing the faith teachings he learned with the Tenther political philosophy and wanted to start up a series on Religious Nullification or some other crazy, radical idea.
Mrs. Obama, thank you for your courage in opposing many of the attempts your husband and others before him have made to silence religious voices in the debates on issues affecting us all. It must have been very difficult for you, but perhaps your words will have a humbling effect on the President, humility being the single most important virtue an elected official can have. One can pray that it will also have the effect of reminding Americans that our diversity includes people of many belief systems.
The Founders ranged from not religious at all to Doctors of Theology, and yet they were able to give us the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the united States, two of the greatest documents in history. They spoke, even without permission. Let the voices of today, yes even in their houses of worship, do the same! God Bless America, and God Bless First Lady Michelle Obama!