HR 1388… a “youth brigade”?

I don’t have enough background about this.  Something about this sounds wrong to me.

Perhaps some of you know more about it and won’t lapse into hysteria.

If this is for real, or if it is just one of those urban legends, let us know.

A reader sent this from The Voice.  My emphases and comments.

Obama Youth Brigade: Church Attendance Forbidden
By Jonas Clark

Is this the change you really voted for? President Obama has only been in office for two months. Now we have HR 1388. The Bill was sponsored by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) with 37 others. The Bill was introduced to the floor of the House of Representatives where both Republicans and Democrats voted 321-105 in favor. Next it goes to the Senate for a vote and then on to President Obama.

This bill’s title is called “Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education” (GIVE)[YES WE CAN!] It forms what some are calling “Obama’s Youth Brigade.” Obama’s plan is require anyone receiving school loans and others to serve at least three months as part of the brigade. [On the surface, it sounds okay.]  His goal is one million youth! This has serious Nazi Germany overtones to it.  [Is this Godwin’s Law kicking in?]

[However…] The Bill would forbid any student in the brigade to participate in “engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization.” That means no church attendance or witnessing.  [Umm… I don’t think that would prohibit church attendance… or am I missing something?]

Again, is this what America voted for? Here is part of the HR1388 Bill’s wording:

SEC. 1304. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES AND INELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS.
Section 125 (42 U.S.C. 12575) is amended to read as follows:
SEC. 125. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES AND INELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS.
(a) Prohibited Activities- A participant in an approved national service position under this subtitle may not engage in the following activities:
(1) Attempting to influence legislation[Huh?]
(2) Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes.  [Huh?  Is the 1st amendment suspended for these young people who chose to receive school loans?]

(7) Engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization.

And finally
(10) Such other activities as the Corporation may prohibit[Such as… what?]

I remember during the presidential campaign, then candidate Obama mentioned during a campaign stop something about a domestic national security force which would have the same budget as the military.

I dunno… is something not quite right here?

I’m just askin’

 

But what I am not asking for is a bunch of knuckle-heads to leap in with weird comments.  If you are going to say something, make it substantive.  Otherwise, I can use this entry to clear out some of the dead wood, if you get my drift.

In other words, I think this could be an important issue to discuss, but if you get strange and increase my work, I will cut your comments and ban you.
 

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70 Responses to HR 1388… a “youth brigade”?

  1. Helen says:

    Here is a charitable interpretation — what’s meant is that participants in this national service program may not pursue the activities mentioned *as part of their service*. So setting up a neighborhood literacy project is OK. A neighborhood literacy project that includes prosyletizing is not OK. Nor is labor agitation, political advocacy, civil disobedience, etc. Participants can still do any of this on their own time. But this can’t be the “service” they do in return for receiving a loan. That’s just a guess on my part, but it seems likely.

  2. This is about the clearest First Amendment violation I’ve seen. Surely, it wouldn’t stand up to judicial review.

  3. James says:

    Perhaps Obama and Co. believe that the soul of the nation is quite healthy and doesn’t need any rebuilding. The problem is the body…

  4. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    I haven’t read the entire bill (my first mistake), but perhaps the restrictions apply to these young people while they are engaged in activities connected to this organisation. In other words, they won’t be permitted to use their position to political advantage but their rights as private citizens, when otherwise not engaged in work of the organisation, whatever that will be, will remain unaffected.

    It has the potential to become something sinister, but, perhaps being a foreigner, I’m more likely to give government the benefit of the doubt. That could also be naivete.

  5. DocJim says:

    This bill may get clarified in committee, so that it is clear that the “prohibited activities” pertains to the “Service” rather than the person who is spending much of his or her day in this “Service”—but there have been several huge money bills that passed Congress with adequate votes and the members voting had never read the bill.

    So there are strong reasons to be worried.

  6. Kellen says:

    Re: Helen & Andrew

    I’m wondering if, while enlisted in this “brigade”, they would really be considered to have any activities outside of that enlistment? It seems to me that it’d be a full time affair.

    I don’t see how it could prohibit attending Mass, although I don’t think it is clear enough that someone couldn’t try to prohibit such attendance. From the way it sounds, it almost seems like it might be healthy to keep people in their early 20s from becoming religious leaders in that period.

    Still, the fact that it covers anyone with school loans! That’s a LOT of people.

  7. Bill says:

    I think generally, some of this is standard boilerplate for similar federal programs (I can’t imagine a single Republican or even many Democrats voting for this if it really was intended to restrict religious worship). I agree that it generally restricts activities that might ultimately be construed as using their service (and therefore federal dollars) for the promotion of religion. I.e., these provisions are to enforce, not deny the first amendment with respect to religion.

    As for some of the other legislation… well, yes, it might in fact curtail certain first amendment rights, however, as this program is not, strictly speaking, obligatory, I don’t see how it is a violation of the first amendment protection of freedom of speech. In other words, it doesn’t make it a crime to engage in those activities, it simply is a condition for participating in the program. Many federal employees are already under similar prohibitions (Don’t believe me, ask an NSA employee to tell you about their job and see what they say :)).

  8. LCB says:

    Sounds almost identical to the regulations of AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps*VISTA, and the affiliated senior organization (can’t recall the name).

    Those regulations are murky, in that you can’t do certain types of religious activities, but you can do others. A lot of it depends on what volunteer work you are engaging in and where you are engaging in that work.

    As for the non-political activity, well, AmeriCorps & *VISTA aren’t without controversy because of ACORN-like groups.

  9. Choirmaster says:

    Service as a mandatory condition for receiving federal student loans (and grants, I presume) is not a crazy or far-fetched consideration.

    Potential students and their parents should think hard about whether or not it is worth it to take money from the government for things that were heretofore paid for through traditional, private savings and/or loan schemes. I disagree with the premise of taking money from the Federal Government for anything unless it is in remittance for goods or service provided.

    I would like to draw a comparison between this issue of mandatory service as a condition for receiving government monies to the recent “bailout” of the auto companies. We should not be shocked that, because the Feds pay the bills, they expect to be the boss of the company!

    There are some things that the U.S. Government–and, indeed, any government–will inherently abhor: organized religion, Second Amendment (or similar) rights and philosophies, and so-called Freedom of Speech to name a few. When it’s time to “pay the piper” those things are the tender they will seek.

    Do whatever you have to do, just don’t take money from the government. You’ll owe them. Don’t give them the moral authority to make a claim to your labor or your money.

  10. Mitchell says:

    I looked up this resolution on OpenCongress.org and pasted it below. It seems pretty clear that this is in reference to the service itself, not a blanket ban on the activities of a participant (note the difference in wording below in (a)). Also interesting is the ban on abortion services/referrals (see (9)). If this bans religious services then the same logic can be equally applied to say it bans abortion as well…

    The following is the the relevant section taken from OpenCongress.org:

    ‘(a) Prohibited Activities- An approved national service position under this subtitle may not be used for the following activities:
    ‘(1) Attempting to influence legislation.
    ‘(2) Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes.
    ‘(3) Assisting, promoting, or deterring union organizing.
    ‘(4) Impairing existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements.
    ‘(5) Engaging in partisan political activities, or other activities designed to influence the outcome of an election to Federal office or the outcome of an election to a State or local public office.
    ‘(6) Participating in, or endorsing, events or activities that are likely to include advocacy for or against political parties, political platforms, political candidates, proposed legislation, or elected officials.
    ‘(7) Engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of proselytization, consistent with section 132.
    ‘(8) Consistent with section 132, providing a direct benefit to any–

    ‘(A) business organized for profit;
    ‘(B) labor union;
    ‘(C) partisan political organization;
    ‘(D) nonprofit organization that fails to comply with the restrictions contained in section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, except that nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to prevent participants from engaging in advocacy activities undertaken at their own initiative;
    ‘(E) organization engaged in the religious activities described in paragraph (7), unless the position is not used to support those religious activities.
    ‘(9) Providing abortion services or referrals for receipt of such services.
    ‘(10) Conducting a voter registration drive or using Corporation funds to conduct a voter registration drive.
    ‘(11) Carrying out such other activities as the Corporation may prohibit.
    ‘(b) Ineligibility- No assistance provided under this subtitle may be provided to any organization that has violated a Federal criminal statute.
    ‘(c) Nondisplacement of Employed Workers or Other Volunteers- A participant in an approved national service position under this subtitle may not be directed to perform any services or duties, or to engage in any activities, prohibited under the nonduplication, nondisplacement, or nonsupplantation requirements relating to employees and volunteers in section 177.’.

  11. Michael J says:

    The bill is real
    http://www.gop.gov/bill/111/1/hr1388 and http://www.rules.house.gov/111/LegText/111_hr1388_txt.pdf,

    but I can find no mention of “SEC. 1304. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES , etc. etc”

  12. Charivari Rob says:

    I think Helen has it right.

    It’s not saying what private activities or viewpoints they may have while part of this program. It’s saying what activities are eligible to fulfill one’s obligations to the program.

    It sounds like a program available to state employees here in Massachusetts.. That one is called, umm, S.E.R.V., I think. You get up to 8 hours paid leave a month (or maybe it’s per quarter) to volunteer (during business hours) in community-service-type projects. There are restrictions on it – religious activities are not eligible. It’s not that people can’t participate in such activities, it’s just that the state won’t pay for them.

    This Obama youth program sounds like something like that.

    One catch to watch out for – the detailed list of approved activities.

    I inquired about the Massachusetts program once (I’m an engineer and I work for the State). I wanted to see if I could sign up to tutor kids in math or science, say, algebra or physics. Something appropriate to my own education and trade, right? I found out that (at that point in time), while there were some options for tutoring at a public school under this program, there was no option to do the same at my own parish’s grade school. It didn’t matter that it was not a religion topic, it was a religious institution, and the state shall not do anything that might support such a beast.

    I tossed the registration form. When they sent around a survey e-mail last year to prep for the next fiscal cycle, I told them to come back and see me when they corrected that little point of discrimination.

  13. Ok. First off, this is plain evil if I ever saw it. What was the reason why 54% of Catholics voted for Obama again? Oh, that’s right, they were so concerned about the economy that they tossed all religious values aside. Satan hates the people of God and wants to destroy everything God created. It’s going to get worse before it goes better. These bills like HR 1388, are a sign that God is going to punish the world for it’s crimes against humanity. This reminds me of what 2 Chronicles 36:14-17, 19-23 say.

    2 Chronicles

    14 All the leading priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations; and they polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.
    15 The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place;
    16 but they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words, and scoffing at his prophets, till the wrath of the LORD rose against his people, till there was no remedy.
    17 Therefore he brought up against them the king of the Chalde’ans, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, old man or aged; he gave them all into his hand.
    19 And they burned the house of God, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem, and burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its precious vessels.
    20 He took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia,
    21 to fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept sabbath, to fulfil seventy years.
    22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:
    23 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, `The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him. Let him go up.'”

  14. Sarah L says:

    I had seen postings elsewhere concerned about the proposal of “Obama Youth.” At first glance it is rather eerie, but such restrictions could certainly be proven unconstitutional. Exactly which loan recipients would be required to participate? Pell Grants? Private loans? Does volunteering help you pay off the loans?

    I’m currently enrolled in Americorps through the Catholic Network of Volunteer Services – basically we are run by Catholic organizations but get the Americorps education grant when we are done. We have similar restrictions on lobbying or religious services, but only when we are acting in official Americorps capacity. Basically I can’t count joining a church choir or leading a parish youth group towards my service hours requirement.

    I agree with LCB that the restrictions are very, very murky, especially since our activities are monitored only by ourselves and our site supervisors. There is a lot of “wiggle room,” especially for my colleagues teaching in Nativity model Catholic schools.

  15. Clinton says:

    I think Helen, Andrew and Bill have sensible views on this. These are much like the regulations surrounding
    other government-sponsored organizations. I can see the wisdom in forbidding this GIVE group from having
    the ability to field busloads of “volunteers” to stage protests or conduct ACORN-like “organization” at the
    command of government HQ.

    However, if there is already confusion about the extent of the regulations and their effect on the free speech and
    religious liberty of program participants, then the language of this legislation needs to be clarified. This must not
    become yet another piece of legislation Congress passes without first reading.

  16. I agree with Helen and others in saying that the students may not proselytize. This is only reasonable.

    The language probably needs to be cleaned up so that the restrictions, etc. are clearer.

  17. Amy P. says:

    Here is a charitable interpretation—what’s meant is that participants in this national service program may not pursue the activities mentioned as part of their service.

    That was my first reaction too. However, I still don’t see how that can be Constitutional, when the 1st Amendment (and others) protect citizens at all times and not on occasion.

  18. Michael says:

    Why does everyone draw so much solace from the belief that, even if this is as bad as it appears, after years of expensive litigation the Supreme Court, however it may constituted in the future, might possibly find such restrictions unconstitutional? In what are we placing our faith?

  19. Joe M. says:

    As posted by the GPO, the current version of the bill as amended by the Senate has the following:

    SEC. 1304. CONFORMING REPEAL RELATING TO TRAINING AND TECHNICAL
    ASSISTANCE.
    Section 125 (42 U.S.C. 12575) is repealed.

    The bill’s historical data on Thomas.gov implies that section 125.a.1 & .2 may have been motivated by a desire to prevent expenditures effected by the proposed law from becoming an ACORN slush fund.

  20. Baron Korf says:

    I hate legalese. But if I had to guess it would be that the actions would not count as service nor could one appear to be representing the corp while participating.

    If this seriously gets passed, I fear for my future children.

    On the other hand, this is probably a good tip for finding catacomb real estate. I bet the prices are good at the moment.

  21. LCB says:

    I have been enjoying the series “The Tudors” recently (which could do with a bit less flesh).

    What astonishes me is how quickly and easily Catholicism in England surrendered.

  22. Subvet says:

    Pardon me for stating the obvious but this thing needs a whale of a lot more clarification before getting passed. Just on this site alone the speculation is all over the map because of the \”gray areas\”. Another good reason to contact our Senators and hold their feet to the fire.

  23. Bill in Texas says:

    I am not a lawyer. I am only expressing my opinion here, not attacking anyone, and I hope I don’t get banned for saying what I am about to say. Nonetheless …

    This just looks like a poorly drafted section of the Bill. It should get clarified as it goes through the legislative process.

    I think the language about religious activity means that the participants can’t be put to work building churches or, for that matter, mosques. Or employed to go knock on people’s doors and ask if they have been saved.

  24. Bill says:

    Amy P., No right is absolute. The government may not make the exercise of rights unconditionally illegal, but it can place reasonable restriction on the exercise of those rights if the purpose of those restrictions is (at least in part) the protection of the rights of others or the Constitution. In other words, the government can certainly restrict those from acting in the name of the government (as these volunteers would be doing) from doing religious work because doing so might rightly construed as a state endorsement of a particular religion or religion in general. Further, the while certain activities may not be illegal per say, there is nothing illegal in requiring someone to voluntarily refrain from the exercise of a right as a condition of receiving some service.

    One other thought about Choirmaster’s post… with respect, the federal government already has the moral authority to make a claim on both your time and your money. Its implicit in the Constitution and renewed every 2 years by the election of Congress and 4 years by the election of the President and Vice President. In any case, even if you never accept a dime from the government, every one of accepts and receives government services in the form of using public roads, national defense and technologies developed by the government and made available for public use (like the internet).


    Bill

  25. Braadwijk says:

    It is a travesty to think that Americans would even allow their government to consider action such as this. Even ten or twenty years ago there would be public outage. I do not agree with the people who are more charitable in this interpretation. If they would even dare propose something so contrary to the ideals of America, why do you have good faith they would clarify it or that a court would strike it down? If they are allowed to bend the rules once, the precedent is already there to bend them again as they see the need to do it. What will happen to this program if it passes and then a Republican gets hold of it? What will happen if at the next series of Congressional elections the Democrats gain more seats and decide to take it to the next level? Often the bill itself is not the problem. The real problem comes later when these little violations of basic principle pave the way for something else. These are serious questions I don’t think are being asked enough. The Progress of Socialism creeps slowly forward, until one day you wake up and realize the kind of world they have created. Let’s call this group what it will eventually become, Obama’s Young Pioneers. I’m leaving the United States again in September. Hopefully I’m leaving for good.

  26. Papabile says:

    Ok…. as a staffer, I closely tracked this very bill. Here is what happened.

    Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) (and a good pro-life Catholic to boot) offered a Motion to Recommit the bill forthwith and add the language certain people are now complaining about.

    The language was primarily added to forbid the use of the dollars under the act to allow volunteering with left-wing social action groups and Churches…. like ACORN and the Friends Committee.

    It has nothing to do with prohibiting a person’s speech. It restricts the ability of groups to participate in the program and receive federal funds.

    Now, some lunatics out there, who have no idea what the intent or impact of this language actually was or would be have decided to spread falsehoods against it.

    In any case, when the bill went to the Senate, they STRIPPED that language out, and sent it back to the House with their Senate version as an Amendment between the Houses
    (hence no Conference Committee ever occurred).

    When this went through the House the first time, it passed 321-105 (primarilly because of the protective language in the Foxx Motion to Recommit)

    When it went through the House the seconds time it only passed 275-149… a loss of 44 votes.

    Now, I won’t claim to like this bill. In fact, I think the whole concept of paying people to “volunteer” is ridiculous.

    But the above are the actual facts….. not some contrived story.

  27. Latter-day Guy says:

    Thanks for posting this, Fr. Z. This could be very interesting and potentially troubling.

  28. r7blue1pink says:

    Choirmaster:

    how are parents of many to provide College education for their children if it were not for student loans, pell grants and small scholarship awards?

    Surely I know that OUR family can not afford to pay out of pocket- we barely have a savings account!

    While I am NOT an advocate of taking anything from the government, those programs do help to send our kids to college so that they in turn can provide for their families. And Im sure they will have more than the 1.2 kids the rest of society has.

    I however, do NOT agree with mandatory Government service in order to get those loans or grants. Especially if my kids cant serve within the church.. soup kitchens, homeless shelters, Crisis pregnancy centers and so on..

    I think another poster was right, its not going to pass the judicial muster– exept maybe in the 9th circuit..

  29. Papabile says:

    The Foxx Recommit language was standard boilerplate language that will easily pass muster with any Court.

  30. Aaron says:

    Just from the article, it looks like the author is confusing the conditions upon the institution/organization with which one fulfills one’s mandatory service and the individual who is serving. In other words, I can’t count my volunteer work with a church camp or political campaign/NGO as my service requirement, but that does not mean that while engaged in my service with a qualifying organization I am prohibited from trying personally to spread my faith or influence political policy. In other words, individuals don’t have their rights curtailed while serving, but the bill looks to ensure that the government is not subsidizing partisan or sectarian activities – general social benefit only.

    I’m not saying that’s what the bill does in reality, I’m just saying that it looks like this particular commentator is reading too much into the evidence presented.

  31. Papabile says:

    Here are a couple of links that give you the full legislative background on HR 1388.

    The complaints people have actually deal with a Republican Motion to Recommit the bill that they fundamentally misunderstand.

    Here is a summary of the Motion to Recommit: http://rsc.tomprice.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=115104

    Basic background on the bill is here: http://rsc.tomprice.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=116076

    One of the biggest fears was that people would use the funds under the original bill to fund Planned Parenthood, ACORN et allii.

    The Foxx Motion to Recommit took care of that. The Senate threw that language out when they considered it.

  32. This is about the clearest First Amendment violation I’ve seen. Surely, it wouldn’t stand up to judicial review.

    Campaign finance reform is nothing less than a full frontal assault on the First Amendment…yet it’s still with us!

    I’m afraid I don’t have much confidence in the courts’ inclination to protect our constitutional guarantees. It is the courts, after all, which have foisted some of our great evils upon American society: depriving blacks of legal personhood (Dred Scott); “separate but equal” (Plessey v. Fergusen); lezalizing contraceptives (Griswold v. Connecticut and its progeny); striking down anti-sodomy laws (Lawrence v. Texas); abortion (Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton); and look at all the state courts that are suddenly discovering rights to gay “marriage,” thitherto undetected in 200-year-old state constitutions. Name any policy that wouldn’t pass in an election, and the courts will probably elevate it to the status of a God-given, constitutionally guaranteed right.

    If this bit of nonsense passes, I don’t think we can count on the courts to fix it.

  33. Joseph Mary says:

    Lots of things coming so fast, and often so quietly that we cannot keep up. This is not a simple rumor or paranoia to the evils that are escalating. They are happening as we rather feared they would. Such rapidity! The attacks on marriage state by state and on the family and for the minds of our children. This is like 1930s Germany on steroids.
    ——

    http://www.traditionalvalues.org/modules.php?sid=3606

    Pastors Targeted For Prosecution By New Legislation

    April 3, 2009 – The Traditional Values Coalition calls the re-introduction in Congress of the so-called hate crimes bill a thinly veiled attempt at silencing Christians. TVC warned that it is yet another attack on Christians by this Congress and the next step toward the prosecution of pastors and others by seeking to criminalize speech and thought.

    Yesterday, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) quietly introduced HR 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Crimes Prevention Act (LLECPA). TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty issued the following statement on the LLECPA:
    This so-called hate crime bill will be used to lay the legal foundation and framework to investigate, prosecute and persecute pastors, business owners, and anyone else whose actions are based upon and reflect the truths found in the Bible.

    Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has pointed out that this legislation will be used to intimidate and prosecute pastors who may preach Biblical sermons concerning the homosexual agenda and lifestyle.

    The legislation broadly defines “intimidation. A pastor’s sermon could be considered “hate speech” under this legislation if heard by an individual who then acts aggressively against persons based on any “sexual orientation.” The pastor could be prosecuted for “conspiracy to commit a hate crime.” Rep. Gohmert explains this danger in a YouTube video.

  34. Brandon says:

    Father, the ACTUAL text reads:

    SEC. 132A. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES AND INELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS.

    ‘(a) Prohibited Activities- An approved national service position under this subtitle may not be used for the following activities:”

    Which means that the person may participate in any of these various things, simply not ex officially.

    And there is no provision for mandatory service (as of yet).

    As a young American male, receiving a good deal of government funding, I’ve been keeping up with this. It’s certainly a socialized programme, but not entirely unlike Israel’s compulsive service. Though, as I said, yet, this is not compulsive.

  35. Bill in Texas says:

    Looks like the Bill passed the Senate, the House agreed to the Senate’s version, and it has gone to the President to sign. I don’t know what the final wording was.

    How your representatives voted: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/issues/votes/?votenum=169&chamber=H&congress=1111

  36. SinSevern says:

    Reverend Father, I don’t know much more than anyone else posting. I have my congressional representatives about it – no answer thus far.

    It some ways the prohibition on religious instruction is made into a “caution” to Christians, but since I am familiar with the California State Public Schools “indoctrination” of Islam to middle school students as part of a state mandated curriculum, as long as the prohibition is to non-Christian, as well as Christian religions “while on the job.” I’m at threat level yellow, not red alert.

  37. momoften says:

    Father,
    I was just looking at the bill it appears that the part of the Bill you have posted is repealed?
    Am I reading it wrong?

  38. magdalene says:

    The mentions of ‘that is unconstitutional’ may one day be moot when the new constitution is drawn up…

  39. Brian Thompson says:

    I think that it is okay to prohibit direct proselytizing for people on volunteer programs, but I would drop the stuff prohibiting other connections to religious groups since so many charities are religious and do such a better job than many secular ones. The government has no problem contracting charitable works out to religious charities, i see no conflict in allowing students to fufill a volunteer requirement in that same context (surely with government activities, money is a closer legal tie than a bunch of college kids making sandwiches).

    On the other hand, I am not to fond of the whole idea to begin with.

  40. RC says:

    As Brandon posted, it looks like the language got cleaned up in the final version to make clear that the restriction applies to program activities and not to what people do in their off-hours.

    Here’s the final version (PDF):
    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h1388enr.txt.pdf
    (see p. 49 for the restrictions)

    I’m glad to see that the bill excludes abortion (including referrals) and voter registration drives (think ACORN).

  41. Joe says:

    This legislative initiative has been rumored ever since Rahm Emanuel and Barak Obama said the following things:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtDSwyCPEsQ&feature=related

    and it’s apparently been kicking around the House and Senate for several weeks now. What the final version will be is anyone’s guess, but FOCA was splintered into several hard to pin down addenda to OTHER bills after it got sledgehammered by the pro-life movement. Thus, what appears to be happening is highly controversial legislative initiatives and actual laws are passing through Congress in a way that makes them hard to identify. Hmm… let me see… there’s over 200 US lawmakers right now who are likely to vote for or sponsor something repressive simply because their party’s presidential candidate won.

    I’d say we should be concerned. Are crypto-Nazis running things behind the scenes? Implausible culturally contextually…

  42. Matt says:

    This is very easy to understand. Government takes YOUR money thru taxes then gives it back to you with strings attached. The founders of this country EXPLICITLY warned us AGAINST this.

    This is one of three piecese of a backdoor draft. This bill is the first. It will rope in all of the people who can not afford to pay for college or other federal “assistance” programs. Would you really need assistance if your money was not taken from you in the first place?

    “Section 120 of the bill also discusses the “Youth Engagement Zone Program” and states that “service learning” will be “a mandatory part of the curriculum in all of the secondary schools served by the local educational agency.” ”

    This is forced coercion of our children by the state using our tax dollars all under the guise of service to our nation. These types of bills will directly attack Catholic and private moral and social beliefs that we instill in our children as faithful servents of Christ. This bill along with others is designed to indoctrinate our children and turn them against their parents and their faith. It will establish the state as the sole teacher and supporter in the eyes of the young. Why should I turn to the church when the state offers everything.

    This bill was preceeded by DOD (Department of Defense) directive 1404.10. This directive that Obama authorised in late January directs the DOD to make plans for voluntary and involuntary use of civilian workers and “volunteers” associated with or employeed by the DOD for any deployment in a combat or non-combat role. Just google “DOD 1401.10″ and you will find it. Search for involuntary in the PDF document. You will find several references. The document is only 20 pages long, but is very clear that civilians are to be used in combat and combat support roles as needed.

    All of this is happening during the “financial crisis” and we are hearing NOTHING about it in the main stream media.

    The government is also pushing hard for HR645 the “National Emergency Centers Establishment Act’.” This bill authorises the Department of Homeland Security to setup “detainment facilities” for “national disasters” on “closed or minmal use military bases”.

    Just who do you think will be going to these “facilities” for what purpose and for how long.

    People, you really need to wake up and smell the coffee. If you are not onboard with the new administration you WILL eventually come under the spotlight of those who want you in a place like this.

    How far fetched would it be for the government to declare speaking out against the government as “citing and insurrection” and cart your proverbial butt off to the detention center as a national security precaution. Don’t delude yourself into thinking the 1940’s can’t repeat themselves.

  43. If you get a loan, you are expected to pay it back.

    Now, not only are you expected to pay the loan back w/ interest, but you are now expected to serve.

    Sounds like you are paying twice for the loan.

    Talk about double dipping.

  44. chironomo says:

    Whatever the restrictions are or aren’t, this whole concept sounds like a bad idea. Without trying to sound provocative, it has the feel of a “Youth Corps”, in the bad sense of that term. I would imagine that “political activity” will be prohibited, unless of course that activity is of the “right kind”. (recall that ACORN was considered a non-partisan group…).

  45. JML says:

    Be afraid — be very afraid…. For once the camel’s nose gets under the tent flap, you can rest assured that the rest of the camel will follow.

    The next bit will be that the “Audacity of Hope” and “Dreams from My Father” will be required reading in our Nation’s schools.

    And once a Federal Program gets started, it is almost impossible to kill, so this program will be around for a long while.

  46. JC says:

    Papabile and others have summarized well what happened:
    1. The language originally sounded like it forbade participants from engaging in religious activities at all.
    2. Then it was edited to specify religious activities being counted towards service. For example, when I was in college, I had mandatory public service. I was able to count lectoring for that program. A student today, if this program is passed, would not be able to count lectoring as volunteerism for the program.
    3. Then, apparently, it was removed altogether.

    Many people here and on other sites have said that this rule is what AmeriCorps has to follow, but every Americorps program I’ve encountered has been run by a protestant minister.

  47. Peggy says:

    I’m even opposed to the Catholic schools requiring some volunteer/service work to graduate or to receive a sacrament.

  48. Matt Q says:

    We’re all hoping this Bill is not what it seems to be–and it does seem rather nefarious–but until an actual rendering of the bill is introduced for debate in the House and Senate, we really won’t know what the intent of the law is. IF the reading of the law is this open to interpretation, its ambiguity already renders it unconstitutional–on that premise. The wording of the law, however, is quite clear on what is not allowed. The conditions are spelled out, and does not leave any room for “perhaps this,” or “perhaps that.”

    If the Bill becomes law, it would then have to depend on how this law is applied. If it really comes to be that religious affiliation and participation is prohibited under this Bill, then the Constitutional challenges can begin.

  49. MargaretMN says:

    LCB: Look up Tyburn gallows, or English martrys. St. Thomas More was just one of the more famous ones. Don’t expect Showtime to present a fair or accurate portrait of this period. I sure hope this is not what awaits us here.

  50. Chris HL says:

    Someone must have known they would get into serious trouble for trying to slip this in so it has all been repealed. Here is the link directly to the legislation in question.
    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-1388

  51. Sharon says:

    LCB, you might like to read The Stripping of the Altars and The Voices of Morebath by Eamon Duffy to get a more accurate of the extinction of Catholicism in England.

  52. LCB says:

    Margaret,

    I am aware of the glorious martyrdoms so lovingly endured by our English brothers and sisters in the Church Triumphant.

    But, many in England still willingly took the oath. Especially the Bishops. Especially the Bishops.

    It’s so sad, the people were presented with the opportunity to enter into the highest glory of the Kingdom, and signed away the greatest of eternal rewards for mere physical comfort.

  53. isabella says:

    I only had time to skim the bill, but it isn’t purely a “youth corps”. There is also a section near the end of how to effectively use “post career” people over 55. Um – does this mean our parents will have to scrub floors to get their social security? I found the language confusing and wonder if he might just be trying to balance the budget and bring the young and old together. Still, I plan to print it out and perhaps ask my state rep about it tomorrow – like somebody else here is doing.

    My business law professor told me an honest contract is easy to read and write. It’s when you start trying to build in loopholes that you get something you have to read half a dozen times to understand.

    isabella

  54. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:

    Assuming the most generous interpretations are correct, and that there is no agenda here more sinister than the usual social engineering exercise aimed at the youth, there is still a very serious pastoral challenge here. Herewith a few thoughts.

    1. What \’preparatory\’ sessions will the members be required to attend? Surely there has to be at least the kind of diversity toleration stuff inflicted on state employees?

    2. Residency and accommodation – mixed? An opportunity to undo eighteen years of careful Catholic/Christian parenting? Condoms for free, of course!

    3. The bishops MUST be ready with a chaplaincy/support system to preserve the Catholic identity of those who have one. And I know we are already stretched. So does the State.

    4. Is there going to be a conscience clause for community work in institutions which engage in activiities opposed to the faith of members?

    5. I beg your indulgence for a brief moment of paranoia. Isn\’t this a wonderful opportunity for the State to reel in all the home-schooled children and attendees of religious schools who have missed years of state school programmes in \’civic\’ formation?

    If it happens, the Church has to be there in force and numbers to support our youth.

  55. This sounds like a first step towards youth brown shirts when considering everything going on under Obama. The intense atheistic secularization all throughout the new government is obvious based on policies forwarded and appointees installed. When the economy collapses then people will be more “amenable” to such things. God will have to take down the ‘g’od of money. It feels like we are at the time of the prophet Jeremiah right before the Babylonians come, with one exception this time – it’s an inside job.

  56. I forgot to mention – one of Obama’s brick by brick.

  57. Tomas says:

    Fr. Marie-Paul, I agree with you. It’s a “revolution within the state,” and it has been going on since 1913 with the passage of the Federal Reserve Act.

  58. Boniface says:

    As one who had gotten through college on student loans, I find the prospect of having to work for Obama in return for loans to be horrifying. I don’t disagree in principle with people having to do some kind of service in return for the loan, but I know that if we are forced to do it through this bureaucracy he creates then it will be very unpleasant because it will probably be ful of left wing crackpots. College is too expensive to pay for without loans now…my parents can\’t really help me, and there’s no way I can save up the $5,000 a semester it costs just to go part time and work and be the single-income provider for my family.

  59. Boniface says:

    As one who had gotten through college on student loans, I find the prospect of having to work for Obama in return for loans to be horrifying. I don\’t disagree in principle with people having to do some kind of service in return for the loan, but I know that if we are forced to do it through this bureaucracy he creates then it will be very unpleasant because it will probably be ful of left wing crackpots. College is too expensive to pay for without loans now…my parents can\’t really help me, and there\’s no way I can save up the $5,000 a semester it costs just to go part time and work and be the single-income provider for my family.

  60. Bill says:

    You know, through this discussion, I have noticed that a number of people here seem to feel that all of this is part of some vast left wing conspiracy to bring down religion and traditional values. While I certainly believe that there are some members of the left who do in fact have that agenda, I think programs such as this are simply not part of that agenda.

    In any case, I think we forget that what makes all this possible is the absolutely ridiculous increase in the cost of a college education in the last 20 years. Tutition, room and board at private universities have increased far more quickly than inflation over the past 20 years. This includes Catholic colleges. In 1988, the tuition I paid at a Jesuit College, including room and board was I think approximate $11,500… today, the same school, once room and board are included is approaching $50,000 — Even allowing for inflation, I can’t see why the annual cost should be more than $25,000. The worst part is, that much of the money is being spent on purchasing land, building luxury facilities for the students, etc. We are reaching a point where college tuition leaves families little option but student loans and in many parts of the country, college graduates will have owe more on student loans than many will end up spending on their first homes.

    If the Catholic Church is serious about making sure that Catholics are educated in Catholic institutions (And I believe they should be), then they need to get serious about making their schools affordable for everyone from kindergarten through graduate school (Though I will grant that many Catholic Universities are only Catholic in name).

  61. Tomas says:

    Bill – how about to pay those multi-million dollar contracts to college basketball and football coaches?

  62. Brian says:

    Bill- It’s a problem, that is for sure. It seems the obvious answer is to fill the schools with religious to keep costs down. However, then what do we do with the (in many cases) fine, lay Catholics who teach currently? They must be able to support their families and so their pay can’t be cut that much.

  63. Bill says:

    Brian,
    I understand that in many cases, mostly the high schools and the parochial schools, tuition really does reflect the cost of maintaining the school and paying the salaries of the faculty and staff. But when we get to the College and University level? The numbers of religious in Colleges and Universities has not changed much in the last 20 years (most of the change was in the 20 years before that). Most of the difference in tuition at the University level is accounted for by many different costs other than paying for classroom instruction. Figure most private schools boast at having faculty student ratios of somewhere between 11 and 15 to 1… figure an equal number of support staff, so figure that for every 6 students there is one paid college employee (not counting work study students) so at $35,000 per year we are looking at $210,000 per year brought in for each and every member of the faculty and staff.

    The long and the short of it is, the more you look at the numbers, the more you see that at the college and University level, the income far exceeds the basic needs of educating the students. The money gets used for a variety of vanity projects, sports teams and a host of other things that seem to drift more and more every year from the core mission of colleges and universities (which BTW, are suppose to be non-profit entities). This is bad enough at secular schools, but when you consider the fact that most Catholic Colleges are no better, it makes the amount that colleges charge not just unbearable for the student, but I believe verges on sinful.

  64. Michael J says:

    Hmmm, $50,000 for a College education.

    It occurs to me, after factoring inflation, that $50,000 is roughly equivalent to 30 pieces of silver about 2000 years ago.

  65. Bill says:

    Actually, for many private schools, including Catholic Colleges, that is the per year cost… so figure $200,000…. and actually 30 pieces of silver probably was not that much money back then. Remember, its not like we have had 3% inflation for the last 2000 years; there was significant deflation from the fall of the Western Empire and the early part of the of the middle ages (say 5 or 6 hundred years) as well as other periods of deflation, currency replacements, etc. Further, at the time the value of money was strongly related to the actual amount of precious metal used in the coin. Thus, if we take the last generation of silver dollars in the United States as having as much silver (probably a good deal more silver) as any of the silver coins extant in the ancient world, we are probably looking at somewhat less than $1000 in modern money.

    In any case, we are getting seriously off point here.

  66. Matt Q says:

    Folks, let’s stop trying to re-interpret this Bill. The anti-religious affiliations were clearly spelled out and there were no definitions as to its application. It is what it is.

    I think everyone misses the point that such a clause was put into a piece of legislation in the first place. Whether it has since been withdrawn is not point and doesn’t end there. This shows us the mentality of those in power, what their intentions are and the social re-engineering they strive to accomplish. What is yet to come?

    In matters such as these, one has to think the worse first so as to take precautions. If it turns out it isn’t that bad at all, then pretty good. If the worse does come to pass then one is fully informed ( gee, where have we heard that before ) and so is prepared.

    =====

    Fr Ó Buaidhe wrote:

    Assuming the most generous interpretations are correct, and that there is no agenda here more sinister than the usual social engineering exercise aimed at the youth, there is still a very serious pastoral challenge here. Herewith a few thoughts.

    1. What ‘preparatory’ sessions will the members be required to attend? Surely there has to be at least the kind of diversity toleration stuff inflicted on state employees?

    2. Residency and accommodation – mixed? An opportunity to undo eighteen years of careful Catholic/Christian parenting? Condoms for free, of course!

    3. The bishops MUST be ready with a chaplaincy/support system to preserve the Catholic identity of those who have one. And I know we are already stretched. So does the State.

    4. Is there going to be a conscience clause for community work in institutions which engage in activities opposed to the faith of members?

    5. I beg your indulgence for a brief moment of paranoia. Isn’t this a wonderful opportunity for the State to reel in all the home-schooled children and attendees of religious schools who have missed years of state school programs in ‘civic’ formation?

    If it happens, the Church has to be there in force and numbers to support our youth.

    )(

    Father Ó Buaidhe, you made some very good points and points which really need to be considered for Clergy and Lay. Point #4 though gave me immediate pause. No, I don’t believe for a minute there will be any “conscience clause” if this “servitude” bill becomes law. For example, the FOCA bill, “Freedom of Choice Act,” virtually mandating abortion does not allow any doctor, health provider or facility to retain any conscience clause. Any refusal to perform infanticide once approached for such a “procedure,” subjects all involved to lawsuit, prosecution and/or forfeiture. A reading of the FOCA bill also shows that it strips almost all legal recourse to avoid or defer the obligatory murder outlined in FOCA, or the opportunity to challenge the Act in court. A secondary evil of FOCA.

    With something as heinous this, no, Father, we can hardly expect a conscience clause to be granted in the servitude bill.

    This is scary already. If the Govt can do this because one takes out a loan from them, can this eventually extend to the banks? Can they require one to…??

  67. Matt Q says:

    Fr. Marie-Paul:

    “This sounds like a first step towards youth brown shirts when considering everything going on under Obama. The intense atheistic secularization all throughout the new government is obvious based on policies forwarded and appointees installed. When the economy collapses then people will be more “amenable” to such things. God will have to take down the ‘g’od of money. It feels like we are at the time of the prophet Jeremiah right before the Babylonians come, with one exception this time – it’s an inside job.”

    )(

    Yes, Father, this is true. I’ve said the same thing before regarding the Church. Throughout history the attacks have been from without, now it is from within! The solid, Faithful Catholics are caught in the middle, in the end, faced with the same agenda.

  68. Michael J says:

    Thanks Bill. Truth be told, the “fact” I presented was entirely my own invention. The point being that this particular legislation appears to be trying to get individuals to betray Christ in return for money.

  69. Athanasius says:

    What strikes me is that the Nazis, the Bolsheviks, the Camier Rouge and the various socialist movements in Africa all make use of children to act as little brain washed soldiers for revolution and establishing the tyranny of the state.

    Now Obama wants “O Jungen”? It seems to me a consistent thing since younger children who have not been formed well, or in our day young adults in college (generally the same thing) are easily brainwashed especially in environments with their peers where the older authorities tell you what to believe. It makes it easy to stick a gun in their hand and make them enforce draconian laws. It worked for the French Revolutionaries as well. The artificial teen culture and the proliferation of pornography and glorification of drunkenness in the media and movies leads up to this, turning the youth into mindless creatures of the state. That is what porn and the abuse of alcohol lead to, a thoughtless creature that does what he’s told as long as he can act like an animal after hours.

    You already have the most members of the military and national guard of the opinion that they can confiscate guns if the president tells them to, in spite of the second amendment. The next step is not so far up: putting guns in kids hands and forcing them to kill dissenters to the state religion.