BLOGThe Weekly Digest: 2-22-17

By James Arnold Posted on: | February 22, 2017
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On to the news.

 

Government Overreach: First the IRS and now the USDA?

 

You're already familiar with government overreach, especially from the IRS. The Johnson Amendment alone gives the IRS the ability to censor the speech of pastors, churches, and other nonprofit entities on issues related to candidates and elections.

And while there are efforts to fix the Johnson Amendment, the IRS is not the only example of government overreach.

Who else is seeking to censor speech?

You probably wouldn't have guessed the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Just listen to this story of a family-owned meatpacking business that was told they could not include religious literature concerning marriage on a breakroom table:




Here's what the USDA is supposed to do, straight from its website:

"We provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management.

"We have a vision to provide economic opportunity through innovation, helping rural America to thrive; to promote agriculture production that better nourishes Americans while also helping feed others throughout the world; and to preserve our Nation's natural resources through conservation, restored forests, improved watersheds, and healthy private working lands."

We're trying to figure out what in that list includes threatening to remove USDA inspectors (and, as a result, the family's ability to function as a business) for placing religious literature supporting marriage in the breakroom.

The USDA won't even answer inquiries about the current status of the facility, further confusing the owner.

This is much like the IRS, which has refused to disclose its procedures for investigating churches.

Both issues are clear examples of government overreach. The government should not be shutting down speech and expression, whether that happens within church walls, at a family-owned meatpacking facility, or in a floral shop.

 
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James Arnold

News and Research Manager

James Arnold manages and edits the Alliance Alert, a daily repository of news in all forms—written, spoken, or in video format.

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