Monday, August 18, 2008

The Reverend Obese Millionaire

God has truly blessed Rick Warren's ministry. He's plump as a fatted calf, he's a multi-millionaire from his book sales, and his congregation is one of the largest in the nation. Like the Dean Martin song says (more or less), if he were any more blessed, he'd be sick.

My only question is, why would God reward the faithfulness of his servants with treasures on earth? He told us not to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth. Y'know—moths, rust, thieves. So why would he himself reward his servants with what he told us not to accrue? It's okay if God gives us treasures on earth, but it's not okay for us to lay up for ourselves treasures on earth? Is that what that verse means? So, the treasures Rick Warren has been laying up for himself in Heaven, like he's supposed to, God is giving part of those treasures to him now as an advance, like an advance from a publisher? I'm confused. If life here on earth is supposed to be like a strait gate and a narrow way, why would God bestow so much treasure on his servants that their way becomes undeniably broad?

I hope Warren preaches a sermon soon about his various treasures on earth to clear this issue up for all of us. And while he's at it, he could also explain God's blessing McCain with so much treasure on earth too. I've just learned that he owns ten very pricey homes. Ten? Ain't that a kick in the cred.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A response from Congressman Schiff

Thank you for contacting me regarding your support for introducing articles of impeachment against President Bush and Vice President Cheney. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome your input.

I share your concern about the policies and actions of President Bush and Vice President Cheney and I am deeply troubled by the potentially precedent-setting expansion of executive power at the cost of our system of coequal branches and the civil liberties guaranteed to all Americans. The Executive Branch is an extraordinarily powerful one; in order for the checks and balances to function properly, both Congress and the Courts must resist an excessive assertion of executive power that is at odds with the interests of the American people or violates the Constitution. Despite the challenges that our nation faces, we must not cast aside the values and ideals that our people have defended for centuries.

The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution with the intention that no one branch of government should become too powerful. With the oppression of monarchical rule only recently behind them, they sought to prevent the rise of a too-powerful executive by crafting a calibrated system of checks and balances that allows for interplay between the three branches of government. Congress has an important legislative function, but it has an equally vital role in providing oversight and we must continue to aggressively exercise this prerogative.

On the specific remedy of impeachment, the Founding Fathers established a high standard requiring the determination of high crimes and misdemeanors. After witnessing the misguided, destructive and polarizing impeachment of President Clinton, I can well understand why they raised the bar so high. There is no question that the President and Vice President have done a great disservice to the country in many ways, and I am deeply troubled by their views of executive authority and performance in office. We must continue to do vigorous oversight and let the evidence lead us where it may; at the same time, we must not be deterred from the highest imperative of changing our Iraq policy, reversing the Administration's intrusive surveillance policy, meeting the challenge of global climate change, and turning around our ailing economy.

Recently, Rep. Kucinich introduced an article of impeachment against the President (H.Res.1345) on the House floor and requested a vote to refer the legislation to a committee with appropriate jurisdiction. I voted with Rep. Kucinich to refer this legislation to the Judiciary Committee. On July 25, 2008, the House Judiciary Committee, of which I am a member, held an important hearing to probe these matters. The hearing, entitled "Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations," included testimony from Rep. Dennis Kucinich who testified about the impeachment articles he has introduced.

At the hearing, I spoke of my deep concerns with the conduct of this Administration and its overreach of constitutional limitations—particularly related to the areas of surveillance, interrogations, and the intelligence used in leading up to the war in Iraq. I used this opportunity to call upon Congress to create a select committee—in the mold of the "Church Committee"—to conduct a comprehensive investigation of activities engaged in by the Executive Branch to determine their impact on the civil liberties of Americans.

The "Church Committee" was established in 1975 in response to abuses during the Nixon Administration. The Committee produced 50,000 pages of documents and published 14 reports—leading to a variety of crucial reforms including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I believe that Congress should initiate a similarly robust investigation of Executive Branch abuses to ensure continued Constitutional accountability and to implement necessary reforms.

Please be assured that I will continue to do my part in every other way to ensure that Congress provides a check on the Executive and ensures that the Administration is held accountable for its actions.

Adam B. Schiff
Member of Congress