Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The GIVE Act

This is a letter I sent to my elected officials today.

I am writing to ask that you oppose the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, or the GIVE Act. I think it is unnecessary to encourage volunteerism in a the country with the highest rate of volunteerism in the world. I also believe the act is unconstututional, poorly crafted and ill-considered in and of itself.

I think the information collection bit of the act is a violation of people's privacy.Specifically the information collection referred to in Subtitle G Sec 1710 and SEC. 190A. REPORT ON PARTICIPANT INFORMATIONPart of which states:

"‘(a) In General- The Corporation shall annually collect and report to the appropriate committees of Congress any demographic and socioeconomic information on the participants of all programs or projects receiving assistance under the national service laws.

‘(b) Information Collected and Reported-

‘(1) PARTICIPANTS AGES 18 AND OLDER- The information collected and reported under this section for participants ages 18 and older shall include age, gender, race, ethnicity, annual income, employment status, disability status, veteran status, marital status, educational attainment, and household size, type, and income.

‘(2) PARTICIPANTS UNDER AGE 18- The information collected and reported under this section for participants under age 18 shall only include age, gender, race, ethnicity, and eligibility for free or reduced price lunch under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.).

‘(c) Public Availability- The information collected and reported under this section shall be available to the public.

‘(d) Confidentiality- The information collected and reported under this section shall not contain any personally identifiable information of any participant.’."

You will forgive me if I am not confident of the government's willingness or ability to collect this information-which may be publicly accessed-without assigning personally identifiable information to it. If there is no way to verify the collected information, then it is merely a propaganda tool for those who may wish to influence the program for personal or political gain. If there is a way to have personally identifiable information connected to the publicly released information, then it is a violation of the 4th amendment regarding privacy.

I think that the restriction on participation in religious activities while participating in programs funded by this act is in violation of our 1st amendment rights by placing restrictions on both a participant's religious activities as well as their political speech.


‘(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.

‘(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 any 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 religious proselytization.

‘(8) Providing a direct benefit to--

‘(A) a business organized for profit;

‘(B) a labor organization;

‘(C) a partisan political organization;

‘(D) a nonprofit organization that fails to comply with the restrictions contained in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 except that nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent participants from engaging in advocacy activities undertaken at their own initiative; and

‘(E) an organization engaged in the religious activities described in paragraph (7), unless Corporation assistance "

I believe the prohibition on participating in or conducting a religious service while a participant in this program would be detrimental to the character of our citizens as well as causing many of the fine leadership and volunteer programs that are currently in existence such as the Boy Scouts of America and the 4-H to be stripped of participants as both those programs have a strong religious although non-denominational component.

This requirement would also prevent parents from sending their child to religious instruction such as catechism classes or AWANA programs or even attending church as a family or asking their child to say grace at the table while they are a participant in this program. Clearly it is restricting the freedom of the people to worship freely.

Section 8E may be an attempt to address this objection, but it is not specifically spelled out in what way it is addressing that concern and may be completely ignored by an overzealous enforcer of the program's requirements. The semi-colon in section 8D may be an indicator that participation in a religious organization on one's own initiative is not included in the reference of 8E and the words "one's own initiative" would restrict a parent's authority to require their child to participate in a church program if the child did not want to. Section 8D is questionable on the grounds that any enforcement activities must be based on law enforcement's ability to determine at whose initiative those otherwise proscibed activities took place.

I further believe that the rumors I have heard of the intent to make participation in this program mandatory violate the 13th amendment which states :"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

This legislation is unnecessary and wasteful of our tax money at a time of financial crisis. It is unconstitutional and absolutely brimming with the potential for abuse as well. This is a thoroughly reprehensible bill and it should not pass.

"Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave? why is he spoiled?"~Jer 2:14


Dr.D said...

The GIVE Act is a total abomination! Only the Obama administration (abetted by Reid/Pelosi/Frank/etc.) would come up with such a grossly unAmerican leap towards tyranny. May they all get the reward that they so richly deserve!

Call Me Mom said...

Most folks seem to think that it is aimed only towards young folks from middle school to high school or from 18-25, but I don't think so. From my (rather cursory) reading, it seems like it is to be a program for everyone. There's even a bit about seniors in there.

I find the citizenship verification system testing quite chilling. But then perhaps I've read one too many books on genocide. One of the common factors of a genocidal government is the implementation of a national id system that contains more info than just one's citizenship status.