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Jonathan Lange

Jonathan Lange: In Today’s World, Do You Suppose That Pandora’s Box Unleashes War?

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By Jonathan Lange, columnist

Before there was “Crosby, Stills, and Nash,” Stephen Stills and Neil Young spent two years in a band called “Buffalo Springfield,” which released three albums and one smash hit. Exactly 55 years ago, “For What It’s Worth” was on its way to a No. 7 peak on Billboard’s hot 100 list.

“There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.” This iconic song became the anthem of Vietnam war-protests. But when it was first performed on Thanksgiving Day, 1966, Kent State was four years in the future. Stills was talking about the Sunset Strip Riots.

Pandora’s Box, a nightclub that catered to teenage partiers, was about to be bulldozed. On November 12, 1966, teens staged a sit-in that turned violent. Stills witnessed it on his way to a gig, and the song was born. Later, he mused, “Riot is a ridiculous name, it was a funeral for Pandora’s Box. But it looked like a revolution.”

That, I think, is why the song is so famous. It captured a feeling in the air. While revolutionary events are in process, few contemporaries notice. Stills did, and his words beckon us to do the same.

There is, indeed, something happening today. Pandora’s Box has been opened and has unleashed war upon us. In the fog of that war, it is difficult to know exactly “what it is.” But our moment screams for everybody to “look what’s going down.” If we don’t, we will fall under the same harsh judgment that we pronounce on others. 

Consider past cultures that failed to understand their own times and to stand against massive evils that we now see with 20/20 hindsight. How could the denizens of France not predict that a Reign of Terror would result from murdering priests and kings? Why didn’t more Russians stand against the murderous Bolsheviks who were gaining power? That mistake cost 100 million lives over the next 70 years. What devilry gripped the cultured, Bach-loving Germans? They allowed a madman to turn their industry and efficiency into a murder machine.

While Stills thought the Sunset Strip Riots were hardly riots at all, he couldn’t shake the sense that “something’s happening here.” They were more than another salvo in the Sexual Revolution. They crossed a new and significant line. On that night, the Sexual Revolution enveloped minor children.

The sit-in remained a peaceful protest until the stroke of 10 o’clock. At that time, the LAPD was tasked with enforcing the city’s curfew on minors. The people of Los Angeles had passed an ordinance to protect the innocence of children younger than 18. Push came to shove, and the Sunset Strip Riots were born.

The opening salvos of the Sexual Revolution were attacks on marriage. Its philosophical leaders, going back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) and Percy Shelley (1792-1822), were intent on destroying the sacred bond between husband and wife. Divorce, fornication, and adultery were means toward that end. 

But as the Revolution advanced, the crosshairs shifted to the children. “Free Love” was never the ultimate goal. It has always been a means toward an end. The goal is the breakdown of the family. Once the marriage vow is obliterated, the battle must shift to the natural bond between parent and child. While that remains, family bonds still have precedence.

Maybe Stills knew this consciously—maybe, only subconsciously. But children were the focus of his haunting refrain, “I think it’s time we stop, children. What’s that sound? Everybody, look what’s going down.” Whether Stills intended this, or not, Carl S. Trueman painstakingly documents the sexualization of children in his new book, “The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.”

This book is a must-read for parents and policy makers who are interested in the health and well-being of children. It helps to explain how the innocence of children came under attack through the militantly atheist philosophy of people like Shelly. It, further, documents how Sigmund Freud deliberately sexualized every aspect of childhood development—from breast-feeding to potty-training.

It is precisely at this point that school boards and library associations come into the picture. Statutes protecting minor children obligate state actors to respect parental rights. But these statutes hinder the agenda to dissolve the natural family and replace it with the state. 

Those who tell you that the arguments over objectionable books and curricula are about “free speech,” or about “access to information,” are either deceived, or deceiving. The fact remains that statutory age restrictions on sexual consent (statutory rape) and access to sexual content (e.g. Restricted films) are legal recognition of parental rights. Violation of these laws violate parental rights. Nobody has the right to interfere in the sacred relationship between parents and their own children.

Will we, as a lawful society, respect parents who guard the innocence of minors? Will we help them maintain their sole authority to educate their own children in family formation and emotional health?

Or, will we undermine parental rights and give ever more power to teachers’ unions and library associations to indoctrinate our children in the philosophical thought-stream that brought us the French Revolution, the Bolsheviks, and the Hitler Youth? 

According to legend, Pandora’s Box contains war. The nightclub that circumvented parental rights and brought the sexual revolution to minor children could not have been more appropriately named.

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Jonathan Lange: Now Here Is A Winning Idea, In 2022, Let’s Keep Our Oaths

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By Jonathan Lange, columnist

As Old Man 2021 finishes the race and a baby New Year comes out of the gate, let’s make some New Year’s resolutions that will count for generations. Rather than hollow promises to shed a few pounds, it is time that we make an oath to keep all previous oaths.

Like a resolution, an oath is a solemn declaration to fulfill a pledge. Unlike a resolution, oaths call on God as a witness. Oath makers recognize that even the highest human power—possessing overwhelming resources, sophisticated surveillance, and the most powerful weapons in the world—remains dwarfed by the almighty and all-seeing God who transcends all human judgment and power.

Sadly, oath keepers have been lately tarred and feathered in a guilt-by-association campaign aided by an incurious press. Ray Epps, president of the Arizona chapter of the “Oath Keepers” has been caught on numerous video clips encouraging thousands of people to enter restricted zones on January 6. His boss, Stewart Rhodes, is likewise implicated through intercepted communications.

Despite this apparently illegal activity, neither of these men has been arrested or charged with crimes. Rather, the FBI has scandalously let their behavior skate even while treating association with their suspect organization as suspicious. While the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center has labelled the group “antigovernment,” the FBI is more cautious in its wording.

Most recently, an anonymous “whistleblower” has made unsubstantiated claims that over 200 Wyomingites including several high-profile conservatives were once involved with the organization. Whether the purported involvement was in recent history, or amounted to more than winding up on someone’s email list, it didn’t say. Regardless, such membership would be protected by the first amendment. There is no criminal activity here unless the “whistleblower” turns out to be a government employee.

Rather than smearing oath keepers, we should encourage them. We can begin by considering why people willingly take oaths in the first place. While cynics take oaths to lure people into their confidence, honest oath-makers take oaths because they want the transcendent God to help them keep their oaths. They do so to undertake public duties that require personal integrity.

Such public duties include marriage, parenthood, government (from the president to public school teachers), military and law-enforcement to name a few.  These people wield such power over others that there is a grave danger of abuse. Neither legislation, nor its enforcement can possibly ensure perfect integrity in public officials. Oaths require self-policing and humble submission to a power higher than law enforcement can reach.

Oath keepers recognize that duty will sometimes conflict with their personal desires for wealth, happiness, or even life. With sound mind and free will, they take oaths to bind themselves to self-sacrifice when the mind and will object to the call of duty.

Love leads couples to the altar. But the oaths taken there keep them together in rough times. Adventure and patriotism lead some to volunteer for military service, but the military oath binds them to act honorably when bullets are flying. Ambition may induce politicians to seek higher office, but their oath of office requires them to abandon ambition when it conflicts with the public trust.

We need more oath keepers, not fewer. Children need parents who keep marriage vows even when feelings flag. Townsfolk need peace officers who will protect and defend without abusing the awesome powers entrusted to them. A free republic requires elected officials who will “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” even when nobody is watching (U.S. Constitution Article II, Section 1, Clause 8).

On December 28, the Fourth Day of Christmas, Christians throughout the world solemnly remember the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. According to St. Matthew, King Herod sent out his soldiers with orders to kill all the baby boys in the region of Bethlehem (Mt. 2:16).

What kind of soldier would obey such an order? Were they, themselves, acting under threat of death? For the parents who helplessly watched sharp steel cut into tender flesh, the motivation of the soldiers offered no consolation. The manifest injustice screamed to heaven and to the One who sees all.

Having seen and considered the great evil that comes from officers bound to kings rather than to God, we have our officers breathe an oath to the heavens. They consciously call themselves to account before the judge of all.

Every mother and father, every teacher and board member, every councilman and congress member, has made a similar oath. Sadly, American jurisprudence has grown weak, fickle, and sometimes outrightly partisan in its failure to enforce these oaths. That should deepen the resolve of every oath maker to be an oath keeper.

Oaths don’t have an expiration date. They don’t have conditions attached. Thank God for every individual who lives up to an oath. And let us resolve to fulfill our own oaths to family, church, and country in 2022 and beyond.

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Jonathan Lange: Encourage Wyoming’s “Lesser Magistrates” To Stand Firm

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By Jonathan Lange

The genius of the United States Constitution is its separation of powers. This concept, in turn, derives from a centuries-old line of reasoning sometimes known as “the doctrine of the lesser magistrates,” later developed as “subsidiarity.” It is needed now, more than ever.

After October’s special session failed to pass legislation to protect Wyoming citizens from federal overreach, a November 10 Press Release from the governor announced a “three-pronged approach” to challenge “unconstitutional federal vaccine mandates.” Wyoming joined three separate lawsuits “against the Biden administration for imposing [] vaccine mandate[s]” on federal employees and contractors, on private businesses with more than 100 employees, and on all healthcare workers.

On December 7, 2021 a federal judge issued a nationwide injunction against the federal employee mandate. Combined with numerous injunctions issued in November the “three-pronged approach” has temporarily halted all three mandates and has a good chance of becoming permanent. 

Most recently, Governor Gordon, and four other governors, sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense asserting their rights as Commander in Chief of the state’s National Guard. He wrote, “Under Title 32 duty status, the Wyoming National Guard is under my command and control.” Thus, the vaccine mandates on Wyoming Guard members “are an overreach of the federal government’s authority.”

Beyond the immediate subject of vaccine mandates, these actions uphold the broader principle of the separation of powers. This, in turn, is built on the Bible. It is the practical outworking of the Bible’s teaching most concisely articulated in Romans 13:1, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

These words teach Christians that governments should be respected as divine authorities. But that is not all. They also teach that all government officials—from school board members to presidents—wield authority from God. They are not mere functionaries of the king but have duties and responsibilities in their own right. 

Further, since all authority is from God, all authority is ultimately answerable to God. Kings that use their authority to do objective evil—like murder, theft and homewrecking—act illegitimately and outside their governing authority. 

When higher authorities usurp the power of other God-appointed authorities (i.e. “lesser magistrates,”) they are taking over what God has given to another. And when they do this in open defiance of justice, the “lesser magistrates” have a duty to protect their constituency from the unjust higher authority. 

Wyoming’s July 29th filing of an amicus brief with 23 other states to oppose the unjust and unconstitutional rulings of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey provides another example of this principle at work. 

Protecting Wyoming citizens from unlawful medical mandates and unjust hindrances in the protection of women and children is a welcome development. Both indicate that the governor’s office understands its duty to oppose federal authority when doing so is necessary for the protection of its citizens.

However, a new development, called Corporatism or Fascism, is harming Wyoming citizens in another way. Fascism, thus defined, is not a cartoonish word-weapon used meaninglessly to smear political opponents. It has a precise meaning. It is the collusion of government and business in the implementation of undemocratic policy. It deliberately breaks down the line between government and private enterprise and weaponizes corporations to enhance the power of the state. 

Here’s how it works. Governments threaten to enact rules that will hurt an industry’s bottom line. Then, they induce it to enact a policy that the government is constitutionally forbidden to enact. Businesses comply to receive favorable government treatment and, thus, become an arm of the state disguised as private enterprise. The circle is closed when the state fails to prosecute any laws that the business breaks in the process.

This alarming trend has seen financial institutions collude against the firearms industry as in “Operation Choke Point.” It has seen government collude with social media giants to encourage censorship. And it was used in the infamous “war on coal.”

Now, Wyoming is beginning to push back against such Fascism. After reports that the Biden administration is “pressuring U.S. banks and financial institutions to limit, encumber, or outright refuse financing for traditional energy production companies,” State Treasurer, Curt Meier, signed a letter from 15 energy-producing states. These states promised to yank $600 billion from financial institutions that kowtow to the administration’s pressure.

This is good news for Wyoming’s energy-producing families. Better still, it is a sign that Wyoming’s “lesser magistrates” are seeing the clear and present dangers of federal overreach combined with corporate collusion. It will take firm resolve and cooperation with other states to build walls of defense. But so doing will yield high dividends of peace and freedom.

Let us encourage all of Wyoming’s elected officials in this work. By grounding the constitutional separation of powers in the biblical foundation of Romans 13, we can provide both clarity and moral backbone to Wyoming’s government. Good government is not only judged by its practical results, but by its moral rectitude.

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Jonathan Lange: Wyoming Weighs In On Dobbs v. Jackson Abortion Before Supreme Court

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By Jonathan Lange

Monday, December 13, will mark the 50th anniversary of oral arguments in the case of Roe v. Wade. Thirteen months later the Supreme Court handed down arguably the most destructive decision in SCOTUS history. It has resulted in the legalized extermination of 63.7 million Americans.

In addition to the staggering human costs, Roe v. Wade, together with Planned Parenthood v. Casey, have inflicted additional injuries upon the body politic.

On Wednesday, December 1, 2021, council for the state of Mississippi stood before the Supreme Court and said, “Roe versus Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey haunt our country. They have no basis in the Constitution. They have no home in our history or traditions. They’ve damaged the democratic process. They’ve poisoned the law. They’ve choked off compromise. For 50 years, they’ve kept this Court at the center of a political battle that it can never resolve. And 50 years on, they stand alone. Nowhere else does this Court recognize a right to end a human life.”

These were the opening lines of oral argument in defense of Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act. They echoed Mississippi Attorney General, Lynn Fitch, who wrote, “Roe and Casey are unprincipled decisions that have damaged the democratic process, poisoned our national discourse, plagued the law—and, in doing so, harmed this Court.”

Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act was carefully crafted by an extensive legislative process to balance multiple interests. It allows abortions after the 15th week of gestation, but only under circumstances designed to protect women, the medical community, and babies according to the constitutional duties of the state. Nevertheless, lower courts have blocked its enforcement based on the arbitrary “viability test” imposed by Roe and Casey.

This case, Dobbs v. Jackson, has garnered national attention because it is the first case in nearly 30 years that directly calls for Roe to be overruled. More than 80 Amicus Briefs were filed in support of the state of Mississippi (30 more than those opposing the state’s rights).

Wyoming, along with 23 other states, filed a brief arguing that both “Roe and Casey should be overruled” because they have severely distorted the most foundational legal doctrines. By them, states are denied their Constitutional right to protect their own citizens by publicly debated and carefully balanced laws.

Another brief, signed by 396 state legislators from 41 different states included signatures from Senators Biteman, Hutchings, and Steinmetz of Wyoming, along with former Representative Winters. It argues that the “viability prerequisite to abortion regulations prevents state legislatures from” keeping their “oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of the particular state in which he or she serves.”

Wyoming’s entire Washington delegation (Barrasso, Lummis and Cheney) joined a brief filed by 228 Members of Congress saying: “It is long overdue for this Court to return lawmaking to legislators.”

All three of these amici highlight a constitutional problem at the heart of Roe and Casey. The Tenth Amendment guarantees: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Yet the Supreme Court has robbed the right of states to regulate the practice of medicine within their borders. This is nowhere granted by the Constitution.

Roe forced 46 states, including Wyoming, to rewrite laws, not based on science and the rational consensus of its citizens, but in order to satisfy seven unelected men in Black robes. In so doing, it froze in place outdated science and prevented America from keeping up with modern medical advances.

In 1971 ultrasounds were not yet invented, and “viability” translated to 28 weeks of gestation. Today ultrasounds can see beating hearts at eight weeks gestation, and fingers by the tenth week. As for “viability,” an Alabama boy born at 21 weeks recently celebrated his first birthday.

For nearly a half-century, America’s medical practice has been hobbled by Roe. While the rest of the world was modernizing its laws to protect mothers and children after the 20th week of gestation, Roe and Casey have weighed us down like a millstone. Embarrassingly, America is one of only seven nations on the planet allowing unrestricted abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

During Wednesday’s oral arguments, Justices Barrett and Kavanaugh, the critical swing votes on the Court, signaled their willingness to overturn Roe and Casey. If that happens, it will not change abortion law overnight. Rather, it will take a huge thumb off the scales of justice.

Five decades after the Supreme Court unconstitutionally demanded that Wyoming change her laws, legislative debates are still short-circuited by the non-scientific and non-democratic question: What will the Supreme Court say? It’s high time that the high court ask, instead: What do the people of Wyoming say?

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Jonathan Lange: Thankfulness In Hindsight Gives Hope In Foresight

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By Jonathan Lange, columnist

While Thanksgiving Day 2021 is in the books, this author is not done giving thanks. Days after the guests have gone home, gives us a reminder to look backward in thanksgiving. Let’s take this moment to be thankful for the blessings of the past.

I am thankful, first, that my parents had me. They didn’t have to. They were wed in the same year that the Pill was released on the world. After having two children, already, I was not needed to complete their perfect suburban family. By a mere daily dose of the new miracle drug, I would be a cipher.

It is impossible to imagine what non-existence would be like. Gone would be all the happy memories of childhood, achievements of adolescence, and satisfaction of raising a family under Wyoming skies. More than that, the kids and grandkids that laugh and fight around my table would be deleted from the universe, and the world would be less joyful, absent their love.

I am thankful that my grandfather attended youth group at St. John Lutheran Church in Ord, Nebraska. He might have frequented the bar, instead. As with most young men of his age, it is quite likely that he was Luke-warm to the meetings. Perhaps he had a few arguments with his parents over driving all the way into town for a mediocre Bible study and corny games. But despite any youthful resistance, he met my grandmother through it.

Over a century ago, there is no way on God’s green earth that a farm-boy from Ord, Nebraska should meet a girl who lived 70 miles away. But, facilitated by the Walther League, two Lutheran families intertwined. Rather than falling into the chaos of the roaring 20s, two kids built a nest of stability, warmth and value that still nurtures and protects generations of family scattered from Seattle to Sarasota.

I am grateful to God for the freedom that enabled my great great grandfather, John, to travel the streets of Chicago in horse-drawn wagon and distribute bottles of fresh milk. Decades before anybody had refrigerators, there were a thousand ways for milk to spoil and sicken his many customers. But the relationship of conscientiousness and trust built between John and his customers enabled them to receive safe and nutritious milk without stifling government regulation.

For John, this freedom provided a stable home to share with his wife, Anna, and their seven children. It enabled them both to teach their children ethics of hard work, trustworthiness, sexual virtues, and faithfulness to God. Generations later, these lessons would still echo in the hearts of their descendants.

Words fail to describe the multitude of blessings that have fallen to me from their self-denial and hard work. Yet they are merely random examples—cherry-picked from dozens of generations known, and hundreds of generations unknown—who lived lives of extraordinary ordinariness. I don’t deserve to have their gifts. But I do.

Not just me, but all of us are infinitely richer because of the heroic lives they led. Yet, they did not consider their own lives “heroic.” As they trudged the dusty streets and cultivated the sunbaked ground, they were incapable of seeing over the horizon of time to the particular ways that they were storing up treasures for me.

Daily, they rolled out of bed, put on their shoes, and put their hand to the plow. Daily, they encountered pain, disappointment, and loss. Daily, they fought temptation to choose the easy way over the right way. But with each triumph over temptation, they were storing up a cornucopia of fruit for today’s bounty.

We live in a culture of individualistic, immediate self-fulfillment. We are saturated by preachers who tell us to scratch every itch and gratify every lust. We know, intuitively, that these are false preachers. Yet, in the middle of the struggles their message is tantalizing.

That is why It is a light at one end of the tunnel. Looking back and seeing that light we are encouraged and assured that there is light at the other end, as well.

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Jonathan Lange: The Wyoming State Bar should be accountable to voters.

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By Jonathan Lange, guest columnist

The Wyoming Bar Association seems obsessed with overruling Cheyenne voters. Special Counsel, W. W. Reeves, not only filed highly disputable charges against the elected Laramie County DA, Leigh Anne Manlove, he and the Bar continue to hinder her from mounting a proper defense.

Recently (11/3/21), the Cowboy State Daily reported that the Bar’s “Board of Professional Responsibility” (BPR) imposed an October 22 deadline for her to complete the discovery portion of her defense. But that same Bar has stalled and limited her ability to interview the seven judges who sent a letter to the Bar last December.

Stephen Melchior, Manlove’s attorney, explained that the deadline “is prejudicial to (Manlove) and does not provide her the time necessary to complete discovery in this case, and is further prejudicial in limiting her to the taking of 10 depositions, especially since 7 of the depositions are of the judges who waged the initial complaint in this matter, and since it is apparent on its face that both present and former employees of the DA’s office, and others, have information that is relevant to the allegations made in the formal charge.”

Reeves retorted that Manlove should have been preparing her defense since she “saw the seven judges’ letter in December of 2020.” This is a revealing claim. There is nothing on the December 21, 2020, letter to indicate that Manlove even got a copy. Why should she be expected to retain counsel and prepare a defense to a letter?

This mystery is partially solved in that, on the very next day, Wyoming Bar Counsel, Mark Gifford, filed a 48-page “Petition for immediate suspension” of Manlove’s license to practice law. You read that right. Seven judges conspired to submit an “unprecedented” letter against her on Monday, and immediately the Bar filed an apparently pre-written petition to disbar her.

While this explains how Manlove learned of the letter, it also raises many questions about how the seven judges and the Wyoming Bar were colluding behind the scenes. Who drafted the letter? Who reviewed, edited, promoted it, and solicited the signatures? Who, at the Wyoming Bar, was communicatingwith the judges, and what private information was being exchanged? These and many other questions should be answered under oath.

Even so, the Wyoming Supreme Court resoundingly rejected the Wyoming Bar’s attempt to suspend Manlove’s license. On January 26, 2021, less than a week after receiving her response to the Bar’s vacuous charges, the Court vindicated her. It wasn’t even close.

The strange circumstances of the letter from seven judges remained a curiosity but only that. The matter was closed. Who would have guessed that ten days after being trounced at the Supreme Court the Bar would appoint a Special Counsel to reopen the matter in a secret star-chamber of the BPR. That sure sounds like double jeopardy to me.

Now the collusion between the seven judges and the Wyoming State Bar has become more relevant than ever. Reeves himself seems to admit this by asserting that Manlove should have been investigating it since December. So, why is he and the Bar doing everything in their power to limit Manlove’s ability to discover the truth?

Since the Bar filed its Formal Charge on June 11, 2021, it has filed motions to “forbid depositions of the seven Laramie County judges,” or “to limit the scope and duration of any depositions.” It has also gone on record to oppose the discovery of written communications pertinent to the case. And these motions do not go before any state court. The Bar is making these motions before its own BPR “Hearing Panel.”

You might wonder how the Wyoming Bar has the power to restrict witnesses in a case where it is, itself, the plaintiff. Those are the rules of the Wyoming State Bar. They do not have to follow the same rules as state courts. They are a private club that does its work behind closed doors.

Private clubs are entitled to do as they please. The Bar can make itself the judge, jury and executioner of its own private organization. But it violates the separation of powers when it tries to use these rules to overturn a public election.

On November 6, 2018, 21,083 voters in Laramie County elected Manlove to be their District Attorney. And yet, within months of beginning her tenure, the Bar began working behind the scenes to take her out. Next, it tried to suspend her law license. Now, it is re-trying her case “in-house.” Manlove’s thorough response, filed on July 20, speaks for itself. It is available at LA4DA.com.

Last Thursday, November 11, the Hearing Panel issued its latest edicts on the matter. While it extended the deadline for discovery, it continues to hobble Manlove’s ability to cross-examine the main actors involved in the matter. All of its circling of the wagons is justified by the internal rules of the Bar. But that’s just the problem.

Wyoming citizens did not elect the BPR, the Special Counsel, the Bar Counsel, or anybody at the Wyoming State Bar. Nor did they have any input on the rules governing its inner workings. Yet all this private power threatens to strip 67.1 percent of Cheyenne’s voters from electing their own District Attorney.

If the good people of the Bar want to control what happens in the DA’s office, let them win an election. The people of Laramie County are fully capable of deciding Manlove’s competence to serve. They do not need an unelected star-chamber to nullify their vote.

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Jonathan Lange: School Boards Should Listen To Concerned Parents, Not Attack Them

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By Jonathan Lange, columnist

Exactly one month ago, the National School Board Association sent a formal letter to the White House claiming that “America’s public schools and its education leaders are under immediate threat.” It claims to speak for “state associations and 90,000 school board members.”

The letter asked the “U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service, and its National Threat Assessment Center” to “investigate, intercept, and prevent the current threats and acts of violence against our public school officials through existing statutes, executive authority, interagency and intergovernmental task forces, and other extraordinary measures.”

In addition, it wanted “the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to intervene against threatening letters and cyberbullying attacks.” This calls not only for tracking personal letters, but also using the secretive “Internet Covert Operations Program” (iCOP) to monitor the social media posts of parents! This is the stuff of dystopian nightmares.

Six days later, the Department of Justice pounced. It directed “the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum.” The stunning swiftness of this response is alarming.

America First Legal Foundation, wrote a formal letter asking DOJ Inspector General Horowitz to investigate. It forwarded evidence of behind-the-scenes collusion among the White House, the DOJ, and the NSBA. Already, FOIA requests have unearthed internal NSBA emails that admit to “talks over the last several weeks [prior to September 29] with White House staff.”

Meanwhile, it was revealed that only two days after NSBA President, Viola M. Garcia and CEO, Chip Slaven sent the letter, the Biden administration awarded Garcia a plum appointment to the National Assessment Governing Board.

By October 22, the NSBA Board of Directors apologized for the letter but the President and CEO did not retract it. They seem to want it both ways. Thus the characterization of some parental dissent as “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism” still stands, and Attorney General, Merrick Garland, refuses to rescind his threatening memo.

The letter specifically names Wyoming as a state in which “school boards have been confronted by angry mobs and forced to end meetings abruptly.” The letter footnotes an article by Margaret Austin in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle which reports on an August 2, 2021 meeting of the Laramie County School District #1 (LCSD1).

The article, however, tells of one man, acting alone, who objected to the three-minute limitation on comments and refused to stop speaking after his allotted time. Vice Chair, Marguerite Herman, responded by recessing the entire meeting. Thus, she silenced everyone who was patiently waiting to speak. Was it fair to silence dozens of concerned parents rather than simply call security to usher out the rulebreaker?

Further, is it right to characterize the speech of a single man as “an angry mob”? When Wyoming is used as a reason to unleash federal law enforcement on parents, it is the duty of the LCSD1 board to answer these questions. Their monthlong silence sounds like agreement.

The Wyoming School Board Association added more fuel to the fire when Parents Defending Education asked whether it approved of the NSBA letter. Executive Director, Brian Farmer, replied, that the WSBA “had no role in drafting or disseminating the letter from the National School Boards Association to President Biden.” Like 21 other states, they were not consulted.

Farmer went on to say: “Any criminal behavior, including but not limited to violence, threats, harassment, or intimidation, should not be tolerated.” So far, so good. But he immediately followed this with a troubling claim: “We have seen instances of some of these things in Wyoming.” Really? What, exactly, is he talking about?

Does the WSBA believe the actions in Cheyenne were “criminal . . . violence, threats, harassment, or intimidation”? Does it know of other Wyoming school board meetings where criminal actions took place? Where? When? Wyoming parents and students deserve answers. When asked for clarification more than two weeks ago, Mr. Farmer gave no reply.

Parents are the primary educators of their own children. When they become upset enough to address a school board, educators should drop everything and listen. They should be eager to hear from parents who can provide direct input about the effects of the policies that they adopt.

School boards and their associations that sic the overwhelming force of the federal government on upset parents have become a large part of the problem.

By silence in the face of national allegations, the LCSD1 board, and the Wyoming School Board Association are sending the wrong message to the DOJ and to Wyoming parents. Every school board should defend parents unequivocally.

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Jonathan Lange: The Marriage Penalty Unjustly Penalizes The Children

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By Jonathan Lange, columnist

Wyoming’s senatorial delegation has joined 31 other senators in sending a letter delivered to Senate Majority Leader, Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Wyden (D-OR). It protested inequitable tax hikes designed to punish married people.

The marriage penalty is buried in the $3.5 trillion budget bill that was recently rammed through the House and is now the subject of feverish backroom negotiations with senators Manchin (D-VA) and Sinema (D-AZ).

“As you know,” the letter details, “current marriage penalties occur when a household’s overall tax bill increases due to a couple marrying and filing taxes jointly. A number of other federal programs, such as Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Section 8 housing assistance, also create marriage penalties by eliminating or reducing benefits for couples who marry.”

Astoundingly, these marriage penalties are already written into current law. That’s bad enough. What is worse, the current budget that was rolled out under the so-called American Families Plan “takes an existing marriage penalty in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and makes it significantly worse.”

How much worse? The new plan could increase the marriage penalty by 72 percent. In 2019, a couple with a combined income of $42,000 and two children would save $1,578 per year by divorcing and filing taxes separately. Under the new plan, that same couple’s marriage penalty would rise to $2,713. For this family, earning only $300 per week above the federal poverty level, over $52 per week is taken by federal income tax.

Is this what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez means by “Tax the Rich?” This is more than an inequity. It is a crime against children. When couples with children decide against marriage, the children suffer in concrete ways.

In 1990, the United Nations published the work of its Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Preamble states, “Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community . . .  the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”

Based on this foundation, Article 7 simply states, “The child shall [have] the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.” All children have this right because all children have this need.

According to ThemBeforeUs.com, an international movement for the rights of the child, “Children are wired for daily, ongoing connectivity with their mother and father and they are most likely to receive it when their parents are married.  Marriage offers the most stability in a child’s home and the best chance that both parents will be permanently involved in their lives.”

Sarah McClanahan and Isabel Sawhill published research titled, “Marriage and Child Wellbeing Revisited.” They concluded that children who experience parental breakup are affected in their “cognitive and social emotional development in ways that constrain their life chances.”

This is why the International Convention on the Rights of the Child pressed state actors to shape every policy—from direct marriage laws, to divorce laws, to tax policy—toward the singular purpose of encouraging the biological parents of every child to create a stable and loving home for that child through marriage.

This is why 33 senators wrote, “We believe marriage is a vital social good. It is misguided and unfair for the government to build bigger barriers for couples to marry.” Rather, they admonished, “Federal policy should be designed to foster strong marriages, which are the foundation of strong families and strong communities.”

Marriage is the greatest social program ever devised. For the entirety of human history, societies that successfully upheld the institution of marriage, prospered; and those that did not collapsed. For too long, we have seen debates about marriage and sexuality that focused on the desires of adults. Children were not allowed to have a say. It is time that we reversed this trend.

Wyoming should be proud that our senatorial delegation is both unified and far-sighted to speak boldly in support of marriage. In doing so, senators Barrasso and Lummis are standing for the rights of children everywhere.

As the 2022 legislative season approaches, let us hope that our state senators and representatives will follow suit. Whether discussing budgets, schools, taxation or social welfare, the rights and needs of children, not the desires of adults, should drive every law and policy. It is time to put children’s rights above adult desires.

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Jonathan Lange: Defend The Conscience Rights Of Those On The Front Lines

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By Jonathan Lange, guest columnist

Desmond Doss believed that it was against God’s law to kill another human being. He applied as a conscientious objector in World War II. Exempted from carrying a rifle, he was made an army medic, and became the first man in American History to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. The movie, Hacksaw Ridge, tells his story.

He is not the only one. Thomas Bennett served as an army medic in Vietnam. Killed in action, he became the second conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor. That same year (1969) Joseph LaPointe Jr. also posthumously became the third such hero.

These three held doctrinal positions that are not representative of all Christians. But, when recognizing the right of conscientious objectors, civilized societies do not evaluate the rightness or wrongness of the belief. Rather, they uphold the right of every man to be guided by his own conscience and not another’s. 

Logic alone teaches that we, who have minds persuadable by words, must be so governed. Coercion to harm others knowingly violates human nature. This principle is also taught in the Christian Scriptures. St. Paul makes clear that, even if an activity is permissible in the eyes of God, no one should be made to participate in action that he believes to be sin. You can read his reasoning in 1 Corinthians 8:4-13.

As Doss, Bennett, LaPointe and thousands of other examples show, those who follow the dictates of their own conscience are superior citizens and braver soldiers than those who violate their own principles. This is why generals should resign their commissions rather than execute orders that violate their sense of justice. It is why just societies accommodate conscientious objectors. It is why healthcare workers must never be forced to fill prescriptions, perform procedures, or participate in treatments that they believe to be harmful to the patient. And it is why patients should never be forced to submit to a procedure without informed consent.

The principle behind conscientious-objector status has also produced laws like the Hyde Amendment and the Mexico City policy that protect taxpayers from supporting the abortion industry. One of the most important conscience laws is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed almost unanimously in 1993. It requires that any American who has a sincerely held religious belief be protected from government coercion. 

If a citizen has religious qualms about following any governmental law, policy, or regulation, RFRA gives him his day in court. There the government—not the citizen—has the burden of proof. 

According to the Department of Justice, it must prove, first, that the policy at issue addresses a “compelling government interest.” If it can demonstrate this, it must further show that the policy accomplishes this interest in the way that is least burdensome to those whose conscience is violated. This usually involves some sort of accommodation for those who have religious objections to the “one-size-fits-all” policy of the government.

All these strong conscience protections are currently under assault. Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3755. This bill, together with H.R. 5, passed by the House in February, would force doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other entities to participate in harmful medical procedures without recourse to the courts. Specific language strips RFRA protections from anyone who might object to the destruction of healthy babies, the amputation of healthy organs and the prescribing of harmful drugs.

Also last week, whistleblowers leaked a memo from the Department of Defense that instructs chaplains to participate in the persecution of anyone who might seek a religious exemption from military “vaccine mandates.” This violates the First Amendment in two ways. 

First, this memo violates the free-exercise clause by requiring the applicant to be grilled by a chaplain and a doctor with theological and medical argumentation. If a soldier even mentions some non-religious consideration in the process of explaining his sincerely held religious belief, the chaplain is required to document the slip and use it against him. Similarly, if a soldier ever once sinned against any sincerely held religious belief, the sincerity of all of his beliefs are to be treated as suspect. These false moral equivalencies make the theological orientation of the interrogator more important than the conscience of the soldier.

Second, the memo violates the First Amendment’s establishment clause by threatening chaplains with discipline and dishonorable discharge if they help conscientious objectors navigate this draconian process. Thus, they are required to be the preachers of a particular version of religion established by the government. Chaplains who follow the dictates of the memo are no longer ministers of the Word of God, but only of the word of the DOD.

These cascading attacks on religious freedom are, of course, harmful for conscientious soldiers, chaplains, and medical professionals. But it is not only they who are harmed by such policies. All of American society is weakened by these attacks. Conscientious service, whether in the military, medicine or in society is a force multiplier. It turns the eyes of soldiers and citizens to see their service as service to God Himself. The mundane becomes divine. And ordinary people become extraordinary heroes.

That is why we should welcome and encourage those who are standing up against the onslaught of attacks on conscience provisions. All Wyomingites should applaud the board of the Campbell County Health that publicly vowed to stand against the “gross federal overreach” of vaccine mandates that the U.S. Department of Labor is threatening against its 1,100 employees. Other hospitals should do the same.

Wyomingites should flood Senators Lummis and Barrasso with calls, letters and emails thanking them for standing against H.R. 5 and H.R. 3755, now under consideration in the U.S. Senate. Ask them, not only to vote against these draconian bills, but also to use whatever influence they have with fellow senators to oppose any bill that would undermine long-standing conscience protections.Finally, while the Department of Defense can only be reined in by the federal government, the Wyoming National Guard remains in the complete control of its Commander and Chief, Governor Gordon. Contacting him and Adjutant General, Greg Porter, can encourge them shield Wyoming’s soldiers and chaplains against many blatant violations of federal law. Together, we can defend the Republic that Doss, Bennett and LaPointe defended with the resolve and ferocity that earned them the Medal of Honor.

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Jonathan Lange: When It Comes To Ivermectim, ‘Seriously, Y’all. Stop It.’

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By Jonathan Lange, columnist

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now officially joined the ranks of federal agencies that have scuttled their own credibility with media-enabled nonsense.

At 5:57AM on a Saturday morning, August 21, it issued the folksy tweet: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all, stop it… Using the drug Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 can be dangerous and even lethal. The FDA has not approved the drug for that purpose.”

By Monday morning, as if on cue, every compliant media outlet from Seattle to Miami published articles as if this were a serious problem. Rod Miller was the first out of the gate in the Cowboy State. He profanely opined, “I sure as h— wouldn’t ingest it [Ivermectin].” He failed to notice that over a billion doses have been given to human beings since 1988. In all that time, and in 125 countries, zero deaths have been tied to its use.

What is more, the FDA approved Ivermectin for human ingestion in 1996 and it made the World Health Organization’s “Model List of Essential Medicines” in 2019. Nevertheless, the FDA deliberately created a narrative that Ivermectin is horse medicine. The condescending, “y’all” was calculated to paint anyone who might imagine otherwise as uneducated yokels.

Soon Cowboy State Daily reporter Ellen Fike parroted the narrative by calling Ivermectin an “anti-parasitic medication most often used to treat livestock.” While admitting that the FDA had approved it for human use, the unmistakable point was that Ivermectin is not FDA-approved for treating COVID-19.

In the pharmaceutical industry, this is called “off-label” use. Doctors do it all the time some for good, and some for ill. As this column discussed several weeks ago, Testosterone is regularly prescribed off-label to minor girls! For more examples, Wikipedia has an entire page on the subject.

What good could come of prescribing Ivermectin for COVID-19 off-label?

Here is where it gets interesting. Barely a month after COVID-19 hit America, researchers submitted a paper to Antiviral Research that found Ivermectin to be effective against COVID-19 in the lab. It turns out that the same properties that make it effective against parasites also make it promising against viruses.

Before the paper was even published, the FDA issued a “Letter to Stakeholders” that threatened “FDA investigation and potential enforcement action” against any doctor with the temerity to try it against COVID-19. The letter stated: “Additional testing is needed to determine whether ivermectin might be safe or effective to prevent or treat coronavirus or COVID-19.” It then went on, bizarrely, to warn against people taking Ivermectin packaged for animal use.

Okay. That’s a weird caution. But at least we could expect the FDA to do the additional testing that would either prove or disprove the effectiveness of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19. After all, thousands were dying daily, and millions of cases were available for Randomized Controlled Trials that could provide a definitive answer.

One might think that while granting “emergency use authorization” to Remdesivir, two mRNA injections (Moderna and Pfizer), and one vaccine (J&J) against COVID-19, the FDA could have included a study of one of the safest drugs known to man.

But, alas, 17 months later and we still have no such study. Nor has the FDA updated its guidance based on multiple external studies. Rather, on August 21, 2121 we got a snarky tweet bringing up the same unlikely scenario that it had imagined on April 10, 2020.

The intellectually curious soon asked: Where are all these people slurping down ointments intended for cows? Dr. Jason McElyea went on the Rachel Maddow show to say that they lived in Oklahoma. In the very heart of hick-dom, supposedly, so many people were ill from taking “horse de-wormer” that gunshot victims were turned away from emergency rooms. Rolling Stone even put his claims into print. But he was lying.

The hospital issued a statement saying that Dr. McElyea didn’t currently work there, and that it had treated no cases of Ivermectin abuse—not a single one. We are still waiting to meet the knuckle-draggers that the FDA is so worried about.

Why am I taking up this subject? I am no doctor—not even a veterinarian.

But two things kept me from passing over this ridiculous tale. First, a newspaperman, whom I respect, asked me to address it. Second, people are tired of lies. They just want to know what is real and go about their daily lives. If Ivermectin is proven ineffective, just show the receipts. But don’t peddle silly narratives that make even Rolling Stone print a correction.

Truth begins with accountability for lies told. People need and deserve reporters and columnists who will publicly apologize for public falsehoods. Where that doesn’t happen, they will look elsewhere for reliable information, and they should.

Second, those at the CDC and FDA, who have spent a year and a half failing to study Ivermectin, should be put out of a job. The Centers for Disease Control was created to control diseases, not to control the narrative. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.

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