“Ye Are My Witnesses”: Arkansas Man Arrested For Firing Shots At Jehovah’s Witnesses Who Approached Him On His Lawn

johnbaldwinJehovah’s Witnesses in Arkansas will soon be called to be witnesses of a different kind for John Baldwin, 35. Baldwin is charged with aggravated assault after firing 13 times at the Jehovah’s Witnesses who approached him in his front yard. After Baldwin told Laura Goforth, 47, and Rachel Boshears, 55, to get off his lawn, the Jehovah’s Witnesses were leaving when one of them heard Baldwin tell his wife “Get me my 9.” (A referenced to his Springfield XDM-9). While Isaiah 43:10 may proclaim “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen,” these pious folk will soon be called by a more earthly authority to bear witness.

Baldwin only moved into the neighborhood a month ago. The victims were from Kingdom Hall Jehovah’s Witnesses Church in Bentonville. They noted that they have a no contact list but that Baldwin was not on it. He appears to find it easier to express such preferences more directly. They say that Baldwin told them to “Get your fucking ass off my property. I moved out here to get away from people like you.” He reportedly told police that the women did not immediately leave but instead were “Lolly Gaggin” around their car. So how Baldwin then concluded that the best way to stop the “Lolly Gaggin” was with a hail of 9 mm slugs.

The women could also sue for assault in torts. This would seem a pretty clear case of acting “to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other or a third person, or an imminent apprehension of such a contact.” Then they might end up owning not just the lawn but his house as well.

He could now face jail time after being released on a $50,000 bond. It is not clear if Jehovah’s Witnesses are allowed to visit prisoners in Arkansas, but one can always hope.


127 thoughts on ““Ye Are My Witnesses”: Arkansas Man Arrested For Firing Shots At Jehovah’s Witnesses Who Approached Him On His Lawn

  1. They are a nuisance, and they are persistent.
    Anybody can get an armful of comic books and go door-to-door, but who are they? How many have felony records? How many people are sex offenders?
    Any other person going door to door, must have an identification and have passed a police background check.
    Any other person, when told to leave, must do so. Not the Jehovah Witnesses! The door-to-door nonsense should be made unlawful for religious purposes. Why is it, that after Hurricane Sandy, there were Christian volunteers helping people. They worked removing debris and flood damaged furnishings from people’s homes. They brought cans of food for some people. Those Christians were told to leave by the municipality. None of those Christians ever went door-to-door to further religious memberships.
    If I were on the jury, the Defendant in this case, would have an automatic “Not Guilty”.

  2. He may just get his due process…. But then again you got to get the witnesses to court first…..

  3. Brittius, don’t get too hung up on Christians not proselytizing, since it occurs every day on the floor of Congress and on FOX News, and both of those organizations are pretty destructive in their own right.

    JWs can be a pest, but so can Mormons and other oddball religions for sale. Threatening peaceful people with a gun is unnecessarily extreme. Saying please leave me alone, I don’t want to hear about your silly religion would have sufficed. If they persisted, threaten to call the police or mayor or whatever.

    Sadly for too many Americans, thinking clearly is not the first option when a loaded gun is nearby and much easier to operate than your brain.

  4. I read this on another blog, actually, but I totally agree with the thought…… This guy fired 19 shots, and he missed? This guy must be banned from ever owning a gun again…. with his poor marksmanship!!!!

  5. I heard that Jehovias Witnesses would not swear under oath in court and refuse jury service. Is that true? If so, how could they take an oath to testify? And still get into heaven. When they come to my door I sick my brother Jack on them. They get horrified when he tells them his name. Then he gets into his rant about God creating Dog on the Eighth Day. Then he lets the dogs out.

  6. “Any other person going door to door, must have an identification and have passed a police background check.”

    lolwhut, Brittious?

  7. “get me my Nine” And she actually did? Both husband and wife are that far out of their skulls? And “any other person going door to door must have ID and a police background check”? How far out of the skull did that come from?

  8. I have worked on cases where Jehovah’s Witnesses were involved, both as litigants and witnesses. The oath was altered to “promise and affirm” rather than “swear” to tell the truth.

    One was a child custody case, where the father was petitioning for increased visitation with the kids, who were in their early to mid-teens. What he had managed to do, because of his militant religious views and practices, was to turn the kids into militant atheists as a reaction formation. The judge not only didn’t give him added visitation, but cut out visits on birthdays and holidays because he had forbidden them to celebrate or exchange gifts. Judge was careful to not mention religion in his ruling, but based it on the desires of the kids, who were now old enough to make some of their own choices. One of them told me she would be glad when she was free of the court orders, so she could cut ties with her father altogether.

  9. I guess Baldwin is another one of those “responsible guns owners” we have all been hearing about. The thought that this man could even think that firing shots at these women was appropriate and acceptable conduct makes my blood run cold. He should be put away for attempted murder and they should file a law suit and take his house. While justice in the next world may be the Lord’s Baldwin deserves a little earthly justice as soon as possible!

  10. **The judge not only didn’t give him added visitation, but cut out visits on birthdays and holidays because he had forbidden them to celebrate or exchange gifts. **

    **Judge was careful to not mention religion in his ruling, but based it on the desires of the kids, who were now old enough to make some of their own choices.**


    Some of us think it’s better to attempt to give gifts & do nice things all year long for people rather then some govt’s arbitrary or celestial event.

    And I guess that father should sue/bill that judge for any trouble those kids may get into since he’s taken on the roll to act as their father.

    “E pluribus unum”

    Ya, I guess the state must pound everyone down & Homogenize us to be all the same.

    On the other hand I noticed some troubling tendencies with at least some JW’s of cultish type behavior.

    That didn’t seem to work out so well for the Heavengaters.

  11. I find that a stern look and “Get the (expletive of choice) out of my yard, you’re trespassing” usually works just fine and saves on ammo.

  12. Oky1,
    The judge did not cut out the guy’s visitation, he just did a workaround for holidays and birthdays. The father was against any kind of gift giving or celebrating any sort of achievement. The kids told me he never complimented or praised them for any of their school or extracurricular achievements because of his religious beliefs.

    These were good kids. Smart, accomplished and good candidates for full-ride scholarships. Their father was against them going to college, especially the girls.

  13. **Justice Holmes 1, October 2, 2013 at 10:50 am **

    Are all you Big city boyz & Easterners a bunch of Girl Men wizzy?

    Thinking like that & you’ll have all our enemies thing how easy it’d be to invade & take over.

    Jeeze! :)

    Back when my brothers/friends & I were younger, back in the Real USA, & we’d go fishing & hunting, we knew sometimes we were trespassing on other peoples land.

    I have no idea how many times we’ve had guns drawn on us or shots fired at or in our general direction.

    I can’t recall once ever even thinking about calling the laws or suing.

    Property owners have property/livestock to protect & liability issues.

    Check the other case out of Arkansas, Dogpatch USA & the 2 boys trespassing that ending getting killed all by themselves, trespassing, yet the owner was sued & Lost!!

    Last I heard Oklahoma law required you to have Written Permission to be on someone else’s land legally.

    So, ya, if you’re somewhere you don’t belong that citizen has some Rights Against you.

    Now it could be Joe6pack was just target practicing, or maybe he was exercising his free speech Right & the Jesus had told him to speak in a language the JW’s would understand, with a 9?

    Whatever the case the more you limmy Red Coat Brit types hate on the 2nd amd the more guns & pro 2nd congressmen/senators you are going to get!

    Nobody has ever been as good a gun salesman & Republican vote getter then Obama. Is that what you want?

    All that said, Joe6Pack Arky should have just helped them move along “Without the 9”.

  14. OS,

    It’s ironic this subject came up at this time.

    I’ve many friends that are JW’s, I am not.

    All the one’s I’ve meet over the last 40 years are nice people, they just have different beliefs then I & others.

    I been thinking the past week or so I needed to call one of them.

    One of the things I was going to address was they’re cult like behavior as I don’t believe it’s healthy for their group.

  15. Oops, typos mucked that up:

    **Justice Holmes 1, October 2, 2013 at 10:50 am **

    Are all you Big city boyz & Easterners a bunch of Girly Men wuzzies?

    Thinking like that & you’ll have all our enemies thinking how easy it’d be to invade & take over.:)

    Ya, I know, you’ve no humor on this subject & you feel strongly & that’s ok.

    I’m not trying to sell you anything just attempting to show you that line in the sand you’re up against everywhere else.

  16. Good for them.

    There are risk in everything when you think about it.

    This school district is taking a small risk to reduce a larger risk.

    Gun Free Zones are natural targets for lunatics & Govt False Flag Operations.

    That said I’m still recommending all that can to form small groups of neighbors & home school their kids or move them to another country until the commie/nazis are driven out of our govt.

    Even without the gun issue removed it is still to unsafe to trust one’s kids to this current govt school/healthcare systems.

    ** By Rick Couri

    The plan calls for one M4 Colt carbine rifle to be kept at each of three middle schools during school hours. **


  17. Anyone who has ever been awaken at 8am on a Saturday morning will find it very difficult not to sympathize with this guy. Yes. He was wrong. But I can certainly sympathize.

    Oky1, I have a question. I’m probably wrong about this, but aren’t JWs one of the groups that are not allowed to testify in Court or take an oath?

  18. **Dredd 1, October 2, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Another sicko bites the dust.

    “”Dredd, Get the H E double hockey sticks off my Lawn!””:)

    Blame it on Clint Eastwood/Grand Torino.

    I used a line like that once politically here.

    I can’t say it was the line or not, but they backed off you their tax scam & left.


  19. **Oky1, I have a question. I’m probably wrong about this, but aren’t JWs one of the groups that are not allowed to testify in Court or take an oath? **


    See OS’s comments above, he points out the work around.

  20. The man is an idiot. They were leaving. His home, his life, family, pets, etc. were not in jeopardy. (Ha! Well “physical” jeopardy. I’m sure the JDub’s, who were there to put him on the path to enlightenment, are now convinced that his soul is spiraling out of control heading straight for eternal damnation.) I also cannot help but feel, that somewhere in these United States, there is a neighborhood that had one hell of a block party when that man moved out.

  21. We ought not rush to judgment here. Perhaps Mr. Baldwin’s attorney intends to argue for the addition of a religious proselytization exception to the common law duty to retreat.

  22. I live in Florida and I was under the impression that we could stand our ground and shoot people in our yards who wont leave.

  23. Jack Mehoff,

    “I live in Florida and I was under the impression that we could stand our ground and shoot people in our yards who wont leave.”

    This explains so much.

  24. A felony conviction & he gets no more guns…legally…

    I have used the same line as him to get rid of unwanted visitors…of course it was 2am, and they were trying to come thru my bedroom window.

    But I only fired once, a 41 magnum, right at their feet, (makes a impressive display at night).

  25. What amazes me is that idiots like Baldwin even have a wife who will go and get their guns for them. Maybe she is afraid. I mean, what would he have done to her, had she not gotten the gun for him? Or, maybe she´d been waiting for just that moment, when he did something horrendously stupid that got him sent to jail, saving her from a messy divorce or worse.

  26. Jehova’s Witnesses are not welcome at my door either. The few times I actually opened the door I pointed at the mezuzah on the door post and asked them if they knew what it was and what it meant. None of them ever did but I made sure I gave my own little speech . I also complained about them standing at the entrance of a local gas station store. When I am in bad mood I wouldn’t mind giving them the finger or even tell them to bugger off. Shooting at them however doesn’t make any sense; none whatsoever. Oy veh!

  27. Only a putz could feel threatened by or shoot at Jehovah Witnesses. They are polite, well-dressed, concerned about your soul, and give out free magazines.

    Salesmen, however, that’s another matter . . .

  28. I am not a Jehovah Witness, but I do know a lot about them. They are one of the most educated people, yes more educated than college students at times. They are very respectable, polite and care about others. They do not go around like “catholic church” asking for people for money to forgive or robbing anyone. They do not change they view because of trend like every religion leaders do but yet always follow and live by the bible. they do not make up stuff everything is from the bible. why do you try reading and doing some research before jumping to conclusions. most of you here are probably angry people, who live a terrible life or sleep with everyone you see. I guess when people are different it means something is wrong with them. Like the saying we define ourselves by who we are not. “OH I DON’T DO THAT” ! It’s a sad and cruel world but sorry to say but many of you on this page probably contributes to this world being sad.

    go ahead, many of you probably have more important things to do, other than speaking to a Jehovah Witness to see what they are really about. Probably one of those important stuff includes sleeping with your friend/ sister/ or cousin husband or wife.

    good night:)

  29. Oro Lee –
    “Only a putz could feel threatened by or shoot at Jehovah Witnesses.”

    Maybe, but a trespasser is still a trespasser, especially when a homeowner has a sign out that says “NO RELIGION OR SOLICITORS” and the trespassers ignore it.

    Legally, one can only use the minimum force necessary to get rid of unwanted visitors, usually in proportion to the threat they pose. I see no problem using non-toxic self-defense dye sprays if people don’t leave when asked, or those who trespass when they already know they are not permitted on the property.


    True story from my life:

    I was out working in the front yard one Saturday (late 1990s) and saw two people coming down the street. They were knocking on doors, wearing white shirts, ties and dark pants, and carrying a briefcase. At nearly every house, I could near people saying “**** OFF!” and “*** YOU!” and a few others.

    When they got to me, I said, “You’ve been hearing that all day, haven’t you?” The nodded, rolling their eyes. I said, “Sorry, I’m already on the voters’ list.”

    I was the only one who saw on the briefcase that they were election volunteers, trying to get people to register. That sort of person is always welcome at my door.

  30. I can understand his feelings, I lost my wife some 7 months ago to what the Medical Examiner says was a suicide. This Suicide can be connected to both Jehovah’s Witness Doctrine and also how ones in there Church treat ones that find faith somewhere else. I can tell you that as I went throw the different stages of morning I thought about what I could do to them if they ever showed up on my door step. I can also tell you as a former Jehovah’s Witness that it isn’t as easy as the article says, there are books that Witnesses use to continue even after someone says no, I have been at peoples doors with someone that keep on pushing for a half an hour after the person said no and when they tried to close the door the person put there foot in the door. Most reports get one side of the story. I couldn’t say that I don’t understand what he felt because of what has happened in my life and with my family.

  31. Cite a source, tootie. It sounds like you’re talking out of your posterior. Is that where your head is?

    Not a single news source mentions Baldwin’s religious preference or church, or lack thereof. Just because the news doesn’t mention him being a christian doesn’t mean he isn’t a christian. Plenty of fundamentalist christians consider JWism to be a satanic cult and actively speak or act against them. Until he says his own beliefs or his membership in a group or church is confirmed, you’re only displaying your smug ignorance and arrogance.

    He could quite easily be a hardcore christian. The media deliberately avoids mentioning the religion of criminal perpetrators unless the person was a pastor, a priest or employed by a church. A Tulsa megachurch employee who raped a teenage girl INSIDE the church, and the media tried to call him an “ex-employee”. The nutbag who shot up a sikh temple in Wisconsin was a christian identity white supremacist. And during Jeffrey Dahmer’s trial it was never mentioned by the media that he and his parents were fundamentalist christians. That fact only became known after conviction (see also: BTK serial killer Dennis Rader, top layman in his protestant church).

    Speaking from ignorance doesn’t make for a winning argument. It only displays the fact that you’re ignorant.

  32. Psmith

    Oh I’m just yanking the chain of the fundamentalist atheist goons who frequent this blog. They are such royal bigots.

    And only a nitwit thinks Christianity advocates murder.

    The source of that citation? The New Testament

  33. I find that non-violent communication works best. Example: I’m so glad you have something that you believe. So do I and I’m really not interested in another point of view. Besides, I’m really busy right now. Good-bye. [door closes]

  34. Tootie sez: “And only a nitwit thinks Christianity advocates murder.
    The source of that citation? The New Testament”

    Tootie, sometimes there is a difference between Christianity and Christians. I say that as a descendant of people who came to these shores from France, Scotland and Ireland to get away from “Christians” of the day. In fact, my first known ancestor to these shores was a Huguenot who got out of France in 1629 one jump ahead of Cardinal Richelieu’s hangmen. The first thing he did was change his name from the French to an English-sounding name.

    I am not impressed by claims of people being “good Christians.”

  35. Otter ..1:15pm…October 3

    I’m glad you agree with me that people who claim to be Christians may not be. Clinton, bush, and Herr Obama, all claimants guilty of slaughtering the innocent and lawlessness.

    All of them, except the current president are either pagans or atheists in deed.

    Obama appears to be, in my opinion, a Muslim. His schemes which have resulted in the slaughter of ancient Christian communities in the Middle East speaks more to his true belief than his lie that he is a follower of Christ. Not to mention his membership the Democratic Party, which when compared with the precepts of Christ is mutually exclusive.

    My line of Christianity, fundamentalist, independent Baptist is traced to the Huguenots as well with my relatives on my fathers side also coming from France to Canada.

    I take it all the way back through the Waldensians to John the Baptist. I don’t ally myself with the Protestant branches. I’m a Baptist, from the line of John and we touch the Protestants only tangentially.

    A person familiar with the teachings of Christ knows that “in me dwelleth no good thing”. They would stand opposed to Christ if they presumed otherwise. I guess outsiders develop that theme more than Christians.

    That said, a Christian is not to believe HE or SHE is good, but he or she is nevertheless to pursue goodness as God defines it in scripture. And the evidence of our faith to those around us, including those within the Christian community, is our ACTIONS or conduct. A person claiming to be Christian but rapes, murders, steals, etc., is by default a non-believer as well as a liar. Simpletons and/or malicious persons do not make this distinction.

  36. If this guy doesnt go to jail we know one thing for sure: shooting at people who spread the word of the Lord (regardless of from where they spread it or under whatever name they choose) is not an offense that lands you in prison. He should A) go to prison, and B) lose all rights to own a firearm (I know he will still be able to get one in our crazy country. But he should NOT be allowed to own one legally and if he does get another gun, he should be sent straight back to jail for owning one. If there is a god, his wife will be leaving him any day.

  37. Tootie must have some compromising photos of Guest Bloggers. He/she comes in her throwing haymakers against Obama and atheists and gets a pass. I am impressed.

  38. Tootie,
    Be careful when you try to attribute things to me that I never said. When people do that, it never turns out well.

    First of all, Obama may be a lot of things, but he is not a Muslim, and even if he were, so what. Battered as it may be, the First Amendment is still supposed to be in force.

    As for your claim of tracing stuff back to John the Baptist. I know quite a bit about genealogical and historical research. There is no way in hell (pun intended) that you can find an unbroken line leading back two thousand years to a man who was himself murdered. And who possibly was, in today’s terminology, schizophrenic.

    Have a nice day. I need to do some chores and get back to work.

  39. Tootie operates under the mistaken impression this is a “Christian Nation”. Tootie is a well known factor here – a voice from the past – and if you find theocracy impressive, I suppose she is.

  40. Gene

    This a Christian nation. It is not a Christian government. Otter said don’t ascribe to others that which they never said. I don’t believe I ascribed to Otter something he/she did not say.

    Surely you did.

    I wonder why? Bigoted? Hater? Bully? Fink? Creep? Imbecile? What are you Gene and why do you spread falsehoods here about me and a supposed support for a “theocracy”?


  41. Not at all, nick. Tootie is perfectly capable of drawing her own fire. Despite what you like to think, not everything is about you.

  42. Because of your past statements trying to enforce your religious morals on others via force of law for one, Tootie.

    That by definition makes you a theocrat.

    Or have you changed your stance on abortion and other topics since your last visit?

  43. No, Tooite. It was never a Christian Nation. Religious pluralism and the freedom from state sanctioned religions or religious favoritism is in the 1st Amendment for a reason.

  44. Nick

    I’m a veteran of these disquisitions at this blog and beyond in the hinterlands of the Internet. I’m not afraid of these pip-squeaks.

  45. Gene, it is irrelevant where my values come from–religious or not. I stand equal with you in the quest to see that my viewpoint is represented in the public square and ,when possible, in the laws of my local,state, and federal governments.

    To deny me a seat at the table is to discriminate against me and deny equal protection. It is also bigotry, ignorance, and intolerance.

    That it is or is not a Christian nation is an opinion. It is silly of you to act like we are discussing a scientific or mathematical fact.

  46. Tootie, I love tough women! I’m not a churchgoer but I do have a strong faith in God. I believe in freedom of religion but do not abide freedom from religion. I live in Madison which is the Mecca of Secularism. Their Sabbath is Wednesday.

  47. No one has ever denied you a voice here, Tootie.

    That we are not a Christian Nation is simply a legal and historical fact.

  48. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

    “Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that it would read ‘A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion,” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Muslim, the Hindu and Infidel of every denomination.” -Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography

  49. “Missed my point. However, I think I owe Tootie an apology. She is now drawing my fire. Sorry, woman.”


    I think you two are natural allies, but perhaps you can learn from her because besides some of her outrageous views, Tootie goes out of her way not to attack people gratuitously.

  50. Otter
    My apologies. I was thanking you for recognizing the differences between saying that one is a Christian and actually being one. I should have said it that way.

    It is a serious matter that Obama once gave the Muslim call to prayer. Only a Muslim may do that. It is possible he did it ignorantly (because he is a pretty stupid guy).

    But I never harped on that issue. Only after Obama’s stupid support of the Arab spring which has done more to harm the cause of freedom in the Middle East and has led to the slaughter of many ancient Christian communities have I revisited the issue of his possible Muslim faith.

    Nearly 2 million Syrian Christians are being terrorized in Syria or are on the run for their lives at this moment to other countries because of the jerk in the White House. That too is suspicious. Truly it is likely not Islam but the hatred of Christianity on the order of a Hitler, Mao or Stalin that motivates him.

  51. Nick
    Hello and thank you for your comments. I hail originally from Michigan. It too has been plagued by heathens for a very long time. I understand there is a nice conservative trend afoot in the state. I moved away long ago.

    Bob Dylan sang that everyone will have to serve someone. In my opinion that someone is a god. The real one or the many frauds including self.

  52. Did I mention Art. VI?

    “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” [emphasis added]


    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”
    ― Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Danbury Baptists

    That this has never been a Christian nation but rather a secular state is not opinion.

    It’s a fact.

  53. Tootie, The pip squeeks are now congregating. They do stalk me and howl @ the moon when I merely point it out. They may be sweet on me. NTAWWT.

  54. Oops. And some James Madison . . .

    “In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects. The degree of security in both cases will depend on the number of interests and sects; and this may be presumed to depend on the extent of country and number of people comprehended under the same government. This view of the subject must particularly recommend a proper federal system to all the sincere and considerate friends of republican government, since it shows that in exact proportion as the territory of the Union may be formed into more circumscribed Confederacies, or States oppressive combinations of a majority will be facilitated: the best security, under the republican forms, for the rights of every class of citizens, will be diminished: and consequently the stability and independence of some member of the government, the only other security, must be proportionately increased. Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit. In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature, where the weaker individual is not secured against the violence of the stronger; and as, in the latter state, even the stronger individuals are prompted, by the uncertainty of their condition, to submit to a government which may protect the weak as well as themselves; so, in the former state, will the more powerful factions or parties be gradually induced, by a like motive, to wish for a government which will protect all parties, the weaker as well as the more powerful. It can be little doubted that if the State of Rhode Island was separated from the Confederacy and left to itself, the insecurity of rights under the popular form of government within such narrow limits would be displayed by such reiterated oppressions of factious majorities that some power altogether independent of the people would soon be called for by the voice of the very factions whose misrule had proved the necessity of it. In the extended republic of the United States, and among the great variety of interests, parties, and sects which it embraces, a coalition of a majority of the whole society could seldom take place on any other principles than those of justice and the general good; whilst there being thus less danger to a minor from the will of a major party, there must be less pretext, also, to provide for the security of the former, by introducing into the government a will not dependent on the latter, or, in other words, a will independent of the society itself. It is no less certain than it is important, notwithstanding the contrary opinions which have been entertained, that the larger the society, provided it lie within a practical sphere, the more duly capable it will be of self-government. And happily for the republican cause, the practicable sphere may be carried to a very great extent, by a judicious modification and mixture of the federal principle.” – The Federalist, No. 51.

  55. Gene
    Regarding the first amendment. It was to prevent government from forcing religious beliefs on me and even making me pay for state run religious institutions. I don’t believe that is the way you view it. I believe you think that laws cannot be enacted if they originate in religious precepts. The first amendment is not to prevent religious persons from having political rights, even ones expressed through law.

    For example, Christians believe that murderers and thieves should be punished. Oh my, that is what the law now recognizes! Shall we jettison these law because many of them were established by individuals actuated by their religious precepts? No? Well then there is no issue nor threat when Christians (or other faith groups) exercise their political rights based on their beliefs as long as the federal congress doesn’t establish a government church, force us to worship in it, and fund it.

    By no stretch of the imagination can one reasonably say the vast majority of Christians have this in mind. To the contrary, this is a far thing from their minds. It is likely hysteria, paranoia, ignorance, or bigotry by those who detest Christians who promote this fallacy.

    I believe there were two colonial states that would never have ratified the federal Constitution if their state established churches would be in peril. They were told that the federal compact would allow no such power.

    And that is why I’m sure the issue of establishment at the federal level is an issue about state run religion (and not about religious people influencing the laws of the land as you seem to suggest).

  56. Will someone please tell that poor soul Gene that here are no religious tests to office and no major Christian group advocates them. I think he is hysterical.

    Poor fella. Too much fluorinated water?

  57. Oh, and that letter to the Baptists? It was to assure the protection of citizens from government churches, not the other way around. It was not to shield the state from the influences of all its citizens, religious or not.

    The unwise individual always twists that around.

  58. Actually, Tootie, that same 1st Amendment serves to protect others from your religion being imposed upon them as well.

    As for religious influence? If you have an ethical reason for a law (ethics are based on objective standards and logic and reasoning) that happens to coincide with a moral reason for a law (morals are subjective and need not be rational), then that’s just happy coincidence, but if your morality is religiously dogmatic and there is no ethical justification for it or an ethical justification against it – say you are imposing your morality on someone who may not share it or otherwise infringing upon their rights, you’re simply out of luck.

    Sorry, but that’s how that really works.

    Any law that doesn’t have a secular legislative purpose, has the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion or results in an “excessive government entanglement” with religion is a violation of the Establishment Clause. (Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971))

  59. @1790 –
    “The notion of a Christian commonwealth should be exploded forever. … Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians.” John Leland, “A Chronicle of His Time in Virginia,” The Writings of the Later Elder John Leland, published in 1845.

    Who was John Leland?

  60. Tootie,
    I believe we have gone over this before. Otter is an animal. Otteray is a Cherokee place name.

    And it is not “flourinated” water. It is fluoridated.

    Flourination is a method for treating and chemical-proofing polyethylene plastic, in which flourine atoms bond to the outer surface of the plastic.

  61. Otter

    Fluorinated was a typo. No need to get your dental floss in a wad. Otter is short for Otteray just like Ben is short for Benjamin. You might wish to get over yourself and focus on important things? Or better yet, quit posting to me if you don’t like the results?

  62. Gene
    Where shall you find your precious ethics, indeed your objective standards, AND logic, AND reason if there is no God to assure you you have the ability to do so?

    You wish to stand, by faith, on the notion that you can with certainty apprehend for yourself what is real and what is just. Why should I believe you know what is objective? Who the heck are you to determine it? Some self-appointed god?

    It all appears to be an illusion. It looks like the sun does set each day. And then it looks like it rises. But, in fact, it does not.

    It does look like a ship at the edge of the horizon is as small as the fly on ones hand. But it is not. All of it is an illusion. But you might, like many civilizations before us claim scientific or legal certitude that these illusions are indeed facts.

    Two clocks in working order set at the same time and placed several thousand feet apart in altitude will begin to register different times because of gravity. Is that why the universe looks so old? Is it too an illusion?

    It was considered law to sacrifice a virgin to the gods in some cultures. Who are we to say there was no logic in it? Who are you? Maybe It made complete sense. I should think the Democrats agree with that sort of thing anyway-debauchery, the sexual revolution, abortion, and all.

    And that is where you stand if you do not believe in God: you have no logical or factual basis for trusting that logic can be ascertained unless someone assures you that it can. I have taken Gods word for it, you have taken your own.

    And I don’t believe IN you.

  63. Tootie,

    Always a distinct pleasure to see the spoon in the pot being served….. Nick has issues with being informed it’s not appropriate to attack folks personally…. But then again…. It’s fun to watch you…. In action…..

  64. Gene wrote:

    Any law that doesn’t have a secular legislative purpose, has the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion or results in an “excessive government entanglement” with religion is a violation of the Establishment Clause. (Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971))

    (Sheesh what a goof. That is ALL I ever say.)

    Gene, why don’t you argue with me some more and tell me I’m wrong, then kindly provide the evidence that you and I actually agree with each other in the main (but you cannot seem to figure it out). It’s very funny.

    Thanks for making my point!


  65. Tootie,

    Have you ever heard of the adoption theory…. I think it was about the 5th or 6th century…..

  66. Tootie,
    I am a bit late, but to suggest that Obama is a Muslim denigrates everything else you say. Religion should be kept out of politics and governing. The founders were right on that one.

  67. Tootie,

    So you are saying that your views on abortion have changed.

    Because if they haven’t, you’re still invested in forcing your morality on others via force of law.

  68. Otter, no need to clear up anything with me as it appears that it is you who is confused. Since, if you don’t see your name (Otteray) in any of my posts, you should merely assume I’m not posting to you and don’t post to me.

    Honestly…I am rolling my eyes at this point. Even God the Father permits us to call him Daddy.

    But Otter is sooooo important…….lol

  69. Gene

    So you can be opposed to murder and see it reflected in legislation and I cannot have it reflected because I am Christian?

    That’s freaky thinking you got there Gene.

  70. Rafflaw: operative letters, “flaw”. In so much of your thinking. Sorry for focusing on your name (ask Otter about it).

    There is to be no federal prohibition on speech including religious speech. NO FREAKING EXCEPTIONS.

  71. Gene, everyone forces their morality on each other when we establish laws. It is ridiculous to believe otherwise. You don’t think robbers feel you are forcing your morality in them? You most certainly are.

    What offends bigots and intolerant folks is when their ways are disapproved of. Then they make others out to be evil for having forced something on them while the offended folks believe they smell like roses for forcing their morals on others.

    I don’t like having leftist morality forced on me but I don’t deny their right to attempt it for whatever reason, religious or not. As long as they don’t establish a state run religion based on their beliefs and force me to worship it there is no ham, no foul.

    Let ideas compete, religious or not.

  72. Actually, I can be opposed to you categorically calling other people’s decisions about their healthcare murder just because you think it is because your religious dogma tells you it is, Tootie. Scientifically and factually, it’s only a potential human being until it can survive outside the womb. Until then, it’s just differentiated cell tissue that depends entirely upon the mother as host. That has been the way of things since the dawn of time. The law has a duty to the living, not some fairy tale that tells you life begins at conception. There is no secular purpose served in banning abortion. Some theoretical belief based in religious ideology does not create a vested interest at law for a potential life that trumps the very real rights of the already living, both to privacy and to make their own choices of conscience regarding their healthcare. Do I personally think using abortion simply as a form of birth control is moral? No. I don’t. I think it’s grossly irresponsible considering contraception technologies. But that’s my personal subjective judgement. Do I think women, who have to carry that child and once born have a duty to care for it, should be denied that choice in their healthcare or in their matters of conscience simply because I don’t approve personally? No. That would be unjustly depriving them of their rights as an objective ethical standard of law. By that same token, those rights are subject to reasonable restriction like all rights. And they are. I’m fully supportive of the ban on late term abortions. Why? Medical technology now permits a once infeasible life to survive outside the womb and it is not unreasonable to put a time frame on the decision. It is, however, unreasonable to disallow the decision.

    It is simply not mine, nor is it yours, to make.

    It’s the mother’s.

    And she ultimately lives with the consequences of her actions, good or bad. And if she believes in a Maker, then the right or wrong of that action is between her and her god of choice. We may (or may not) have reason to approve of that decision.

    Our approval is not required.

  73. No, Tootie. Laws in a country like ours are based in ethics, not morals.

    There is a difference.

    Morals and ethics are related subjects, but they are not the same thing.

  74. Gene. Why does a woman have an abortion (except in cases where the life of the mother is at stake–which is exceedingly rare)?


  75. Women have abortions for lots of reasons. And not a single one of them is any of your, or my, business.

  76. You’ll have to ask them, but there are certainly good reasons to not want a child. High risk of birth defects or congenital illness. A bad father. Otherwise unable to support and/or care for a child. Rape. That’s all irrelevant though. Ultimately, the reason is theirs, and it isn’t yours or mine to approve of or disapprove of beyond saying “Well I wouldn’t have made that choice.” I’ve known the full spectrum of choices though; women who chose abortion and women who chose adoption and what struck me (and admittedly this is anecdotal evidence) was that it was a mixed bag of happiness and regret all the way around no matter what choice was made. It’s a matter of individual conscience. Their individual conscience. And it’s not ethical to deprive them of that choice.

  77. Gene, birth defects of the woman? Illness of he woman? If she waits nine months won’t she be just fine?

    You mentioned rape. I specifically left that out. But now that you brought it up, why does the victim need an abortion?

  78. Oh, and they are based on values, customs, and traditions as well even if we don’t know the underlying philosophy, ethics, or moral reasonings thereto.

  79. No, Tootie. Laws are based on ethics in this country. In Saudi Arabia and Iran, they’re based on morals. We don’t have a theocracy as much as you’d enjoy that.

    The rest of what you say is nonsensical evasion and you know it.

    Except for rape.

    Do you think it’s just that a woman be forced to carry to term a child that was inflicted upon her (yes, inflicted) by a crime of violence? Just set aside whether or not she should be forced to care for it. Should she be forced to term a child that was completely not her choice? To propagate the genes of the violent thug who attacked her?

    The only ethical answer is no.

    Moral answers may vary.

  80. OS, A Philly jury had A LOT TO SAY on a murderer abortion doc and those women’s abortions. Inconvenient truth. I don’t like abortion, but I’ll never have one. I am opposed to the death penalty, but I’ll never have to sentence someone to that cruel and unusual punishment. And, how did we get to “Our precious bodily fluids.” Is Mandrake here??

  81. “Where shall you find your precious ethics, indeed your objective standards, AND logic, AND reason if there is no God to assure you you have the ability to do so?”

    Cogito ergo sum, quod erat demonstratum.

    I don’t rely on magic to explain the universe, Tootie.

  82. I heard the great illusionist, The Amazing Randi one afternoon on NPR. He was responding to calls, and several callers claimed he could not have morals or ethics unless he was religious, preferably Christian. I give the man credit. He was patient, explaining that neither ethics or morals depended on some outside force or higher power. Randi reminded me of the radio hosts taking the call from a lady who thought deer crossing signs ought not be put on heavily traveled roads. You want to laugh, but realize the person on the phone is most sincere. That is moral behavior.

    What people have trouble wrapping their heads around is that morals are more or less constant, but ethics are typically situational. Business ethics, professional ethics, ethical play in sporting events, and so on.

    How about the judge who cannot and will not let a defendant’s past history be brought into evidence so the jury can hear it. Yet, the same judge would not think of letting a friend go out with someone without informing the friend of the potential date’s history as a bad actor.

  83. Well this sure is a sad thing that happened. I feel sorry for the home owner he seems like an unhappy man. As far as the witnesses well, what ‘s new for centuries christians have been beaten, imprisoned, and killed for doing what Jesus commisioned them to do. Paul for example commited his life to witnessing about God every chance he had.
    He even went house to house. He endured alot of persecution ..

  84. “Where shall you find your precious ethics, indeed your objective standards, AND logic, AND reason if there is no God to assure you you have the ability to do so?”

    Dunno, where did the Chinese get theirs? Oh yeah, Confucianism. No gods there. Kant’s moral imperative? The list goes on.

    The question asked involves a priori reasoning — if that much. Since God is a prerequisite for yada yada, and since yada yada exists [the veracity of both assumptions being highly questionable], God therefore exists.

    Overweening thinking. Hubris of the intentionally ignorant.

    Since God cannot and has not been scientifically proven [for a Christian’s edification, that’s the way God supposedly wants it– see Habakkuk 2:4; Hebrews 11:6], no one can be certain that there is a God. There are no facts, no proof; just faith, just belief instead of knowledge. I know of no finer conditions necessitating humility.

    Mark Twain wrote that it was the schoolboy that first noted faith is believing in something you know ain’t true. I wouldn’t go that far — I think faith is believing in that for which there is no scientific proof. The opposite of faith, therefore, is not doubt — without doubt wherefore faith? — but certitude.

    Micah 6:8 summarizes the lifestyle of the believer: act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. Galatians 5:22-23 identifies the behavioral characteristics of a Christian: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    This is my litmus test — one I often fail — is this person humble or overweening. If the latter, the question is immediately begged, “Do they really believe?”

  85. Of course I supposedly have opened myself to the charge of scientism, a secular religion [an idea that is itself a paradox]. Science is a tool box. Scientists no more “believe” in scientific tools than in a hammer. I have an automotive toolbox – I use the tools to work on vehicles.

    Scientists use their tools to work on those things which can be measured and tested in four dimensional space to prove “facts” – units of information which can be trusted as accurately describing physical phenomena and thus acted upon. Of course there are limitations – insufficient information, experience, and ability to accurately measure; however, when a scientific “fact” is debunked it is usually by a scientist.

    The ability to debunk previous scientific concepts makes our knowledge a little squishy – which is expected and why facts are continually tested. It lacks the security of the belief system – an inerrant book of scripture, a literal translation, immutable moral precepts.

    Every year science reduces the God of the gaps to a more plebian status. But equating science to a religion and thereby somehow equating belief in the proven with belief in the unproven does nothing more than open science to the same criticisms as religion. Scientism doesn’t establish that religion can be trusted, only that neither can. Maybe it’s just me, but an argument that science could be just as wrong as religion doesn’t instill much confidence in religion.

    Science is the work of discovery; religion, that of escapism. Science is full of doubt, its stock in trade. Religion traffics blessed assurance. The voice of the Christian will join with those of the angels’ choir in heaven. The heart of the scientist, being made of star-stuff, already rings in harmony with the music of the spheres. Which of these, really, is the world of wonder?

  86. BTW, two taxi drivers in Bejing were in a collision. How do we know they Confucians?

    They kept apologizing to each other.

  87. You know, Oro, one of the things I really like about science is also one of the things I really like about Buddhism: the non-mystical method of dealing with uncertainty. It’s a mystery and an adventure rolled into one. To me, to fear uncertainty is an understandable human reflex, but to let that fear drive you to bad decisions and bad behavior by using a made up subjective measure instead of an objective rational measure seems a sad thing to me and a way to only increase suffering in the world (both intentionally and incidentally). The world is a much less scary place when you accept that uncertainty is simply built into the very fabric of reality. It is a terrible thing to live in fear but practically Shakespeare tragic when that fear is self-imposed.

  88. I stole the joke from Huston Smith — I may be of low morals, but I know quailty

    Thanks your post at 7:47 — it is very helpful.

  89. Oro,

    You are most welcome.

    I’ve found over the years there is commonly a great deal confusion about the critical distinction between ethics and morals. I too was pleased to find that table as it now will save me time explaining that distinction. I’m glad you find it useful as well and hope it continues to provide utility to you on your spiritual quest.

    And FWIW, “low morals” is not a term that readily leaps to mind when I think about you either. In my book, you are certainly listed in the “good guys” column. Plus, if one gives credit on a joke or does not claim originality and authorship, then it isn’t really stealing a joke. It’s borrowing.😀

  90. Thanks, Gene.

    Hey, Pete, concerning Braco, the guy who “found a way to convince people to give him tons of money for absolutely nothing,” isn’t he the older brother who L. Ron Hubbard looks up to?

  91. This John Baldwin admitted what he done to the Centerton Cops, not to smart. I mean damn he shot at UNARMED people, common he needs to do prison time. He owns TWO MEN AND A TRUCK IN BENTONVILLE. I guess he thinks that lets him do what ever he wants to do. I’m just glad no one was hurt or killed. Oh and he shot 19 rounds and didn’t hit nothing. Bad shot, he don’t need no fire arms lol. (John I hope you get what you deserve in court, prison time)

  92. And to think, if they’d been a black teenage boy he could have followed him up the street and shot him dead and the US Courts would have happily let him off. But shoot at a white, God-bothering cretin on your own property? – that must be a crime. The rampant hypocrisy of you Americans disgusts those of us that live in the civilised world. In my country the police don’t even need guns, let along citizens. And knocking on doors for any cold-calling purpose when the home-owner has a sign up will get you arrested. Even if you were only knocking because your invisible friend in the sky told you to.

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