E-mail continues to foster rumors about the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (PPACA). The problem is facts are weaved with pure fiction to stir emotion, then spread among people who base their opinions on what they hear as opposed to seeking out factual answers to base their opinions. One in particular initiated by Ann Barnhardt, in her article "Islam to Take Over USA" back in April 2010 is an example how twisted print turns a factually based Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and twist it with fiction that Islam is taking over the United States. It is an examply of how ordinary people can get concepts so wrong and how easy it is for ordinary people like me...to get to the truth.
These E-mails are easily refuted on fact checking websites like Snopes.com or Factcheck.org. Or, for the fun of it all, you can go and conduct your own research and develop parallel arguments for comparison and contrast. Assuming Ann Barnhardt and a woman Bank Vice President who forwarded Ann Barnhardts claim to many people are both women, I took the liberty to compare the facts about the PPACA, with Ann Barnhardt’s claim about Muslim religions exemptions, dhimmitude, and jihad and contrast her arguments with women’s rights, US Code, Social Security, and war. First, lets look at how the exemptions are allowed to Social Security. The PPACA does mention exemptions could be applied using the basis already formed is the Social Security Code.
Religious Exemptions to Social Security
In the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), certain religions have established conscientious exemptions. For example “groups such as the Anababtist (i.e. Amish , Mennonites, Hutterites) would likely qualify for an exemption from the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 (PPACA). Anababtist have a history of declining Social Security benefits making their own provisions for dependent members.” (Snopes.com Medical Exemptions. April 13, 2010)
You see, Anababtist (Amish, Mennonites, and Huttites) refuse Social Security Benefits. But they also take care of their dependent members. Snopes.com says some Muslim sects also refuse insurance because insurance involves a measure of uncertainty, gambling, and charging of interest which is forbidden in the Koran. But Snopes.com also says that “no Muslim group has ever qualified for an exemption under the guidelines which define which religious groups would be exempt from the health care law” (Snopes.com Medical Exemptions. April 13, 2010). Furthermore, Factcheck.org provides a complete list of the organization that are exempt. Factcheck.org receive this list directly from the Social Security through a Freedom of Information Act. The path to the complete Excel File is http://www.factcheck.org/UploadedFiles/SSAGroups.xls. Factcheck.org having reviewed the list backs up Snopes.com with stronger language "Having gone through the list, we can say with certainty that no Muslim group, and indeed no non-Christian group, has ever qualified for an exemption under the statute used to define exempt religious groups in the health care law" (Factcheck.org, Retrieved October, 7 2010).
Facts and exempting religions – especially a “jihad” and Muslims….the article on Snopes.com has so much comprehensive information to dispel Ann Barnhardt's rumor and the Bank Vice President's fear that the PPACA will only tax Christians and Jews. For example, look at this discussion in Snoops.com about religions that have established conscientious objections to social care programs. The "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama does not include language which specifically exempts members of any particular religion from health insurance requirements. Nor does it contain the word dhimmitude as Ann Barnhardt asserts on page 107 of the PPACA. The PPACA does include a general "religious conscience" provision which establishes guidelines under which religious groups which have established conscientious objections to certain forms of insurance may seek exemption from health insurance requirements:
RELIGIOUS CONSCIENCE EXEMPTION - Such term shall not include any individual for any month if such individual has in effect any exemption under section 1311(d)(4)(H) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which certifies that such individual is a member of a recognized religious sect or division thereof “described in section 1402(g)(1)” of the Internal Revenue Code which governs exemptions from payment and an adherent of established tenets or teachings of such sect or division as described in such section.”
Resources and Dispelling Rumors
Snopes.com and Factcheck.org are great sites to dispel rumors just as Wikipedia.org is a great site to get a flavor of information and possible pointers for further research. However, serious research requires peer reviewed and creditable resources. It is hard to find a good translator for the Arabic root word “dhimmi”. Snopes.com and Wikipedia.org provide the same information. Dhimmitude, the word is really immaterial to the larger discussion that a Muslim Jihad will require the United States to exempt Muslims from purchasing health care insurance as legislated in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is humorous to consider this Bank Vice President does not know enough about our laws to know that any attempt to forcefully or violently overthrow our government or any subdivision of our government to include states, territories, counties, cities, townships etc will be punishable with fines and imprisonment (U. S. Code). It is conceivable a movement could organize to change our government through our current process, however given the nature and acrid debate over the course of health care; it seems highly improbable we could engage in a civil debate to re-write our constitution and laws.
Finding answers requires an open mind to consider opposing viewpoints, recognize bias, and resolve questions based on unbiased principles. Having a point of view that is based on conjecture and rumor weakens the view to mindless rabble of uninformed people. This is truly sad for an educated population that has the capability to get reliable answers. One of the tenets of education is the ability to overcome fear by seeking answers - answers from reputable sources without bias.
- Women are inferior to men.
- Muslim Jihadist will be exempt from Health Care Insurance.
These two outlandish arguments are juxtaposed with each other considering both Ann Barnhardt and the Bank Vice President are women and they are spreading the dhimmitude rumor about the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. At what point do people who demand equal rights when considering their own course allow that others have intelligence, character, experience, education, leadership, and…yes needs too. Imagine if Susan B. Anthony and Myra Bradwell had not engaged in a jihad for women’s rights.
Where does a progressive liberal socialist program like health care reform, financial reform, civil rights, equal rights, equal pay end for age, race, gender, ethnic, religious, and sexual orientation. Do the freedoms expressed in the Bill of Rights apply to only the mainstream white Jewish and Christian men? Do women and minorities have the same rights? Was the Bill of Rights applicable only to men and not women? Christians and not Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist? Does the Bill of Rights or Constitution expressively exempt race, sex, or religions?
Women are inferior to men We needed the 19th Amendment to clarify Women’s Rights – ironically passed in the South where “Southern states were adamantly opposed to the amendment” but Harry Burns from Tennessee cast the deciding vote in the Tennessee House of Representatives to ratify the 19th Amendment. In Myra Bradwell’s challenge to be admitted to the Illinois State Bar in 1872, U. S. Supreme Court Justice Bradley upheld the law banning women from taking responsible positions outside of marriage. Ironically, Justice Bradely cited a “higher authority” to continue a practice that subjugated women to men. Justice Bradley said in his concurring opinion:
"It is true that many women are unmarried and not affected by any of the duties, complications, and incapacities arising out of the married state, but these are exceptions to the general rule. The paramount destiny
and mission of woman are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator. And the rules of civil society must be adapted to the general constitution of things, and cannot be based upon exceptional cases" (Women’s Fight for the Vote).
That ruling was only 137 years ago in the United States of America. Yet women are still fighting for equal rights, relief from sexual harassment, and equal pay much like gays and lesbians are fighting for rights to serve in the military openly and be recognized as a legal marriage. Ann Barnhardt and the Bank Vice President should consider why former President Jimmy Carter left the Southern Baptist Church. In Losing My Religion for Equality Carter states the
“…view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. “ he based his decision to sever his ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after 60 years because “the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.” (Carter, 2009).
Carter gets this point correct “It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy” (Carter, 2009). Prior to the fourth century Carter notes in the early Christian church, women served as priest, decons, bishops, apostles, teachers, and phrophets. Yet after the fourth century, billions of Christians have been educated around the world and taught the “Garden of Eden” and that women are subservient to men as expressed in the Supreme Court Ruling from Justice Bradely in 1872. The distorted teaching of the Holy Scriptures affected our thinking then and continue to affect our thinking today.
Too many underqualitied teachers? R. C. Sproul clarifies the importance “that teachers have proper education.” In Sproul’s book “Knowing Scripture” he points out the difficulty between people assuming the role of teaching as opposed what Christ
“ordered his church to endow some with the gift of teaching…More often we face the problem of people calling themselves to the role of teacher who are simply not qualified to teach. A good teacher must have sound knowledge and the necessary skills to unravel difficult portions of Scripture.” (Sproul, 1977, p. 41)
The United States is filled with Christian beliefs carefully sculpted from the Holy Scriptures yet not totally embracing the ideals Christ taught. Instead Catholic and Protestant religions use lay teachers not endowed with the mastery of language, history and theology to teach church doctrine under the guidance of church leadership and literature asserting moral authority to the church instead of God. Imagine the distortion Texas presents to all of the United States when the State Board of Education
“approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light (McKinley, J., March 12, 2010).
It seems logical to me that if Christians and Texans in the United States can craft religious studies from the Holy Scriptures to support organized church doctrine, administrative; and social studies to support political beliefs; then these same Christians or politically motivated people who have no understanding of the Quran would easily misinterpret the Quran and jihad as a violent holy war instead of the Muslim’s three types of struggles: an internal struggle to maintain faith, the struggle to improve the Muslim society, or the struggle in a holy war (BBC, 2009). More depressing is that these people would not even take the time to look it up. It also seems very clear the methods we are using to teach are not promoting critical thinking, reasoning, and analysis.
Jihad and War. It is interesting to note in the BBC article on Islam beliefs that jihad - struggle - takes on many meanings yet it is hard to ignore that jihad is used in the violent context like war is even though Muslim authors insist jihad is meant in non-militant terms. It is equally hard to ignore that war is used in the violent context even though the Holy Bible uses the term in both violent and non-violent examples. The Prophet Mohammad was cited returning from a battle that “we have completed the lesser jihad, now we must turn toward the greater jihad.” The BBC explains this to mean fighting against an outer enemy is the lesser jihad and fighting against one's self is the greater jihad (BBC, 2009). This is much like we use war in western Jewish and Christian societies. For example, in the United States we use the word war to define a struggle for greater understanding of ourselves, our religion, our politics, creation or evolution, abortion and pro-choice, our country, our world, and our universe. We are at war in Afghanistan, yet we have a war on poverty, cancer, obesity, drugs, and crime to name a few. In The Open Bible, Expanded Version (1985) Joshua tells Moses “There is a noise of war in the camp” when Moses descended from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 32:17). It was “not the noise of victory, or the sound of those crying out in defeat, but those singing” that Moses heard (Exodus 32:18). Moses saw his people dancing around the molded golden calf Aaron crafted while Moses was on the mountain. Peter “begs you as sojourners and pilgrams, abstain from fleshly lust which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:17). Yet militant versions of the word war are also found in in Isaiah concerning Judah and Jerusalem that “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4) Our word…war has both militant and non-militant use. Yet when spoken by people who understand the context of how the word is used, there is little misunderstanding about the militant or non-militant use of the word. The biggest irony though … is to be fighting a war for lasting peace.
Muslim Jihadist will NOT be exempt from Health Care Insurance. It is common for humans to fear people, languages, and cultures that are different from our personal environment. Yet we are one of the most diverse nations in the world where differences are more normal than exceptional. We have a public education system that provides the means educate our youth to solve problems and get answers as adults. And just as important, we have a legal system that is designed to perpetuate our government and prevent the violent or forceful overthrow of our government and any subdivisions therein, for example states, territories, possession, counties, cities, townships, etc (18 US Code, Chapter 115, Section 2348). So with violent overthrow punishable by fines and imprisonment, it is highly improbable violent Muslim Jihadist will overthrow the United States government and be exempt from paying for health care insurance. If you saw it on the internet…then it must be true…this time Snopes.com using Internal Revenue Code seems to have reached a logical conclusion making the statement that “no Muslim group has ever qualified for an exemption under the guidelines which define which religious groups would be exempt from the health care law” (Snopes.com, April 13, 2010).
Leadership, Personal Responsibility, Ethics
Would Ann Barnhardt and/or Bank Vice President prefer their own mothers refuse her Social Security and Medicare Benefits – or like most financial planners – include those benefits in a financial plan to provide a more secure financial future for their mothers. Would they be willing to personally take care of their mothers physically and financially without the benefits their mothers have through Social Security, Medicare and Medicade? There are perfectly legal means to shelter estates from taxation by moving estates to children five years prior to dying. But that requires knowledge when the estate holder is going to die. There are some financial planners who try to preserve estates and exploit Medicaid benefits and preserve estates for beneficiaries. Would parents suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s know that their health care decisions are being made by children seeking to preserve an estate for themselves instead of taking the best care of the suffering parent? It is an ethical fiduciary responsibility decision.
It seems odd that a woman who achieved career advancement to become a bank vice president would succumb to outlandish rumors like she is promulgating. A small review of women’s rights, equal opportunity, and equal pay would surely demonstrate the slow ponderous movement of the United States grappling with the ideals expressed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights while considering the equal rights of the people affected by legislation. I think it is notable how former President Jimmy Carter pointed out the fallacy of the Southern Baptist contention that women are inferior to men. I think it is notable because this nation founded on religious freedoms continues to ostracize minority religions and attach outlandish rumors to incite fear and hatred. Our Constitution was conceived in 1776, yet it was President Obama who championed and signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to ensure women and other victims of pay discrimination can effectively challenge unequal pay in 2009. We are still on the journey to protect the freedom and rights for all United States citizens. The implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be equally ponderous and slow. But as already mentioned by Snoops.com, if current guidance is any indication of future implementation, Muslims are currently not exempted from paying Social Security as defined by the Internal Revenue Code and they will probably not be exempted to purchase health care insurance using the same source in the Internal Revenue Code.
Barnhardt, Ann (April 25, 2010). Islam to Take Over the USA. Retrieved October 5, 2010 from http://bayareabaptistchurch.info/dpw/?p=630
BBC (2009, August 8) Religions, Jihad. Retrieved October 5, 2010 from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/beliefs/jihad_1.shtml
Carter, James E. (2009, July 15). Losing My Religion for Equality. Retrieved October 5, 2010 from http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/losing-my-religion-for-equality-20090714-dk0v.html?page=-1
Factcheck.org (May 10, 2010). Dhimmitude and the Muslim Exemption. Retrieved October 5, 2010 from http://www.factcheck.org/tag/dhimmitude/
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. (2009, January 25). Retrieved October 5, 2010 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/now-comes-lilly-ledbetter/
McKinley, James C. (2010, March 12). Texas Conservatives Win Curriculum Change. The New York Times. March 13, 2010. Retrieved October 5, 2010 from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13texas.html?_r=1
Snopes.com (April 13, 2010) Medical Exemptions. Retrieved October 5, 2010 from http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/exemptions.asp
Sproul, J. C. (1977). Knowing Scripture. Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois. ISBN 0-87784-733-9
The Open Bible, Expanded Edition (1985). Thomas Nelson, Inc. New York. ISBN 0-8407-2850-6
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (March 25, 2010). Retrieved October 5, 2010 from http://democrats.senate.gov/reform/patient-protection-affordable-care-act-as-passed.pdf.
The United States Constitution. (1776, Ratified 1778) Retrieved as Amended October 5, 2010 from http://www.house.gov/house/Constitution/Constitution.html
Women’s Fight for the Vote. Retrie ved October 5, 2010 from The University of Missouri Kansas City http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/nineteentham.htm
18 United States Code Chapter 115, Section 2348. Retrieved October 5, 2010 from http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/18C115.txt