Chalcedon Foundation Back-Pedals On Defending Doug Phillips

Chalcedon Foundation Lifetime Supporters Maligned by Chris Ortiz

Like one who takes a dog by the ears
Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him. Prov. 26:17

On May 7, 2007, the Chalcedon Foundation posted a lengthy article on their blog entitled In Defense Of Doug Phillips. However, the article stayed up just a matter of several hours and was hastily replaced by a much briefer two-paragraph article, entitled Beware Agents Of Defamation.

I consider both articles to be misleading and misrepresentative of the facts. However, I also have to wonder what the full story is behind Chalcedon yanking the first lengthy article and replacing it with the second very brief article? It would seem that the article’s author, Chris Ortiz, went off half-cocked and, recognizing his blunder, quickly decided to back up and regroup.

The first Chalcedon article would have been a major coup for Doug Phillips. However, it didn’t stay up nearly long enough for him to have been able to use it to his advantage. Had he tried to use it, and then found that it had suddenly been yanked, that could have been very embarrassing. The fact that it was taken down so hastily raises all kinds of questions. I don’t know if the removal and replacement of the original In Defense Of Doug Phillips article posed an embarrassment to Doug Phillips, but its appearance certainly didn’t pose any embarrassment to me. Therefore, I’ve reposted it below.

I do know that more than one person has contacted Chalcedon Foundation to express their displeasure over Chris Ortiz’ original article. Was Chalcedon responding to the pressure of these complaints from some of their own donors? It would appear so.

In his original article, Chris Ortiz acknowledges the long standing friendship between Chalcedon Foundation and the Phillips family. This friendship is obviously far more important to them than the facts in my case, but still not so important that Chris Ortiz isn’t concerned about how his original article, and even his current article, might adversely affect donor support for Chalcedon. It would seem that this friendship with the Phillips family isn’t of so strong a bond that it’s invulnerable to the pressure exercised by Chalcedon’s own financial supporters.

Here is Chris Ortiz’ hastily posted back-up-and-regroup article:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Beware Agents Of Defamation

A letter has been circulating to various homeschool oriented groups and individuals that calls for organizations to disassociate themselves from Doug Phillips and Vision Forum. You may have received or read such a correspondence. As an organization that is friendly to the Phillips family and Vision Forum, we recommend that you disregard this correspondence and any and all web sites espousing such defamation and strife. The husband and wife team that sent this letter are currently under church discipline, and the accuracy of their personal complaints are contradicted by reputable ministries.

Please pray for Doug Phillips and Vision Forum that the Lord will dissuade these fellow Christians from this needless campaign. Since the letter calls for organizations to disassociate with Doug, I want to make clear that the Chalcedon Foundation continues joyfully in it’s friendship with the Phillips family and Vision Forum. I suggest you do the same.

I can’t imagine that Doug Phillips was at all pleased to see the above article hastily replace the original article of May 7. Nevertheless, the article has a far more inflammatory and misleading title than the original article had. I don’t consider it a minor thing to be accused of “defamation.” Chris Ortiz needs a dictionary:

Defamation: To damage the reputation, character, or good name of by slander or libel.

You can’t defame someone with the truth. You can only defame them by slander or libel. Mr. Ortiz fails to specify how I’m guilty of slander and/or libel. At no time has Chris Ortiz ever contacted me. However, I’m aware that he has been in contact with Vision Forum and even dialogued extensively with Matt Chancey. Apparently, Chris has been very eager to get Doug Phillips’ side of the story, and only Doug Phillips’ side of the story.

Here is Chalcedon’s original article:

Monday, May 07, 2007

In Defense of Doug Phillips
A letter is circulating within the isolated halls of the Christian homeschooling blogosphere that represents an appeal to the homeschooling community of both individuals and organizations to disassociate themselves from the “ecclesiastical tyranny,” and other assorted evils, of Doug Phillips, founder and president of Vision Forum.

I am responding to this letter only because the appeal is made to associated organizations that might “give him a platform from which he can promote his views.” The writer seeks to “protect the Christian homeschool movement” by isolating and relegating Doug Phillips “to the outer fringes where he properly belongs, and where he can do little harm.”

For a good many years, the Chalcedon Foundation, and the Rushdoony family, have enjoyed a mutually edifying friendship with Doug, his personal family, his father (Howard), and many of the fine staff at Vision Forum. Doug Phillips was a featured speaker in 2005 at our 40th anniversary conference and is a vocal endorser of the ministry of R. J. Rushdoony. Granted, I’ve rarely met Christian leaders that agree on every point, but the calling for Doug’s isolation is an unjust and immoral appeal. It lacks a Biblical basis, and despite the author’s denial, reeks of a personal vendetta.

The author of the letter is a woman by the name of Jennifer Epstein. Her and her husband Mark have both hosted and participated in a number of web sites focusing on Doug Phillips and Vision Forum (See Jen’s Gems, Ministry Watchman, and Ultimate Truth). The word count dedicated to “exposing” Doug Phillips is enormous.

Mrs. Epstein extensively details the problematic relationship with Doug Phillips at her blog, “Jen’s Gems: Exposing Doug Phillips’ Ecclesiastical Tyranny” — a rather odd title for a blog. I’m not sure how the “Jen’s Gems” part fits with “exposing ecclesiastical tyranny.” How is public exposure of a Christian leader a gem?

The account of the Epsteins and Doug Phillips is too detailed to cover here. Although that history is needed to understand the full context of any events, only Jennifer Epstein has taken the time to type it out. Doug has not. Therefore, the story is one-sided, and for that reason, no responsible Christian should respectfully adhere to her admonishment to dissolve a working relationship with Doug Phillips and Vision Forum.

The local church in which the Epsteins encountered Doug, and where Doug serves as an elder, did release a few official statements regarding the Epstein controversy. You can read them here. This is a disappointing and obviously painful history for all parties involved, but the efforts being made by the Epsteins to discredit Doug Phillips are irresponsible, in my opinion.

Let me say at the outset that I have no doubt that the Epsteins have experienced great personal pain brought on by themselves and possibly by the actions and treatment of others. Because we are not privy to both sides, we cannot make a judgment as to the nature of their case. We also shouldn’t need to. This is a private ecclesiastical matter that should not be burning up the blogosphere. That’s where I have a problem.

The Epsteins struggled severely for a good many years due to an act of adultery on the part of Jennifer Epstein that led to the birth of a child that they put up for adoption. This transgression occurred prior to the Epsteins becoming Christians, and Jennifer regularly insists that her sin is off limits for consideration by her husband, Mark, or anyone else that might criticize her. Christ has forgiven her, and so should everyone else. Fair enough.

However, years of anger had built up in Mark Epstein, and their marriage deteriorated to the threshold of divorce. Jennifer viewed the problem as primarily Mark’s anger over her past adultery. This is not surprising. Such a thing is no cakewalk for a man, as the Scriptures declare:

For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, thou that givest many gifts. ~ Proverbs 6:34-35

I have a very close Christian friend whose marriage finally ended in divorce for the very same reasons. His wife committed adultery with the worship leader of their local church. She repented of it, but he could never forget about it. This affected him emotionally, and soon others would accuse him of being bi-polar and in need of medication for his seasons of anger toward his wife.

Anger, like pain, is the indication that something is terribly wrong. Anger doesn’t linger, or increase, if there’s nothing to be angry about. It’s likely, with the Epsteins, that Mark was experiencing the lack of justice or restitution for the sins committed against him. Like my friend, asking him to forgive and forget was a tall order.

This is why God permits divorce for adultery. The “excommunication” is part of the restoration process for the offended spouse. Mark was not able to experience this. He continued to live with the woman that caused his personal pain. This only encouraged his imagination to replay his wife’s adultery. Giving birth to the child must have significantly compounded Mark’s heartache. But Jennifer decries anyone that mentions the “sin” which she committed before she became a Christian. Practically, this is an unreasonable request when it becomes the source of later tension that itself becomes the source of a local church conflict. You reap what you sow.

The season of their greatest struggle was spent at Boerne Christian Assembly (BCA), the home church of Doug and Beall Phillips. Jennifer provides a detailed account of her version of the transpiring events that prompted her campaign to “expose” Doug Phillips. The leaders at BCA emphatically deny these allegations, and two other churches provide their confirmations that seriously question the Epsteins’ allegations. Despite this, the Epsteins continue to defame the names of Doug and Beall Phillips as well as the ministries of Vision Forum and the associated National Center for Family-Integrated Churches.

Much of the accusation — as the title of Jennifer’s web site implies — is focused upon what Epstein describes as “ecclesiastical (and patriarchal) tyranny,” i.e. the oppression of women within the Christian home, and the suppression of Mrs. Epstein within the church. In one sense, Doug is absorbing the general criticism of all patriarchy adherents. This is hardly justified. The theological discussion of patriarchy should be engaged in a different forum by someone other than Jennifer Epstein.

As to the personal allegations, the evidence is circumstantial. Phillips denies these accusations, but he has not sought to publicly defame the Epsteins. He’s also not written a response to every detail of Jennifer’s account. I think this is wise. Since Doug is the face of Vision Forum, and the Epsteins intend to tarnish both, Doug must respond to this as any sizable organization would — with official statements. The more the Epsteins drone on about Doug on their respective blogs, the more this appears to be a personal vendetta. I cannot see what good they hope to obtain by this method.

Again, I am only responding for the sake of those few readers of this blog that are also familiar with Doug Phillips and Vision Forum. You are probably aware of the extended friendship between Chalcedon and Vision Forum. They have done much to introduce a great many to the work of R. J. Rushdoony. We know Doug. We don’t know the Epsteins. So, when I became aware of the intent of the Epstein’s letter, I felt it necessary to say something in response.

I’m sure the testimony of Mrs. Epstein regarding the painful path of her marriage is valid and her feelings real. I hope that she understands that regardless of Christ’s forgiveness, there is often a harvest for seed we’ve sown. I admire their attempts at making their marriage work, and I genuinely hope they can find the peace they’re looking for. I would caution them from redirecting their pain and bitterness from themselves to Doug Phillips. You cannot blame him for your history. Remember, none of this would have developed had the initial transgression not been committed. To lay their present burden at the doorstep of Doug Phillips is an unjust balance — something the Lord hates (Prov. 11:1).

The damage is done. She has sent out her letter and posted all the details on her web site. She has admonished Christian organizations like Chalcedon to disassociate themselves from Doug Phillips because of her personal encounter with him. This is faulty reasoning. The two things are not connected. She knows this. Therefore, to make it sound less personal, she has expanded the tarnishing of Doug Phillips by introducing other accusations.

She accuses Doug of being “insensitive and callous” regarding an article he wrote after the Virginia Tech shooting in which he suggested that students should be permitted to carry guns. She brings up an internal dispute about the veracity of a documentary entitled “Raising the Allosaur.” She accuses Phillips of being a closet racist because of his endorsement of the writings of R. L. Dabney. (Well, that would put a great many of us in the same light. I love Dabney).

Do you see the problem here? These are important issues, but they are also disputes over doctrine or debates over social positions such as slavery or the second amendment. They hardly warrant the sort of defamation campaign the Epsteins are presently pushing.

Therefore, there is no other conclusion than that the Epsteins are doing this for personal reasons. To say this has to do with protecting the reputation of homeschooling in general is beyond disingenuous. At one point in her letter she mentions the indelible issue of her adultery; that subject we’re all supposed to forget about:

Without any due process whatsoever, Doug Phillips unjustly excommunicated us for sins that we’d already repented of, as well as sins for which there wasn’t a shred of evidence to support. In fact, one of Doug’s charges against Jen was over a sin that she had committed years before she had even become a Christian, and years after she had repented of that sin! The Lord Jesus forgave her of that sin over seventeen years ago, but apparently Doug Phillips’ standards of forgiveness are far higher than the Lord’s.

This one was hard to swallow. The prose makes it sound as if Mark is making this statement, but if you read Jennifer’s whole account regarding her own marital strife, Mark was the one who struggled most with “forgiving” her:

“Mark continued to grow increasingly angry, threatening divorce almost daily, until one day it seemed as if it would become a reality. Retiring from 20 years in the Army, he had a job offer in another state and decided to leave us for good.”

“Things were becoming so bad at home, however, as the emotional abuse escalated to new heights and we began fearing for our physical safety, that I decided to formally approach Mark in March 2004 in the spirit of Matthew 18 as well, pleading with him to repent from his anger and to turn his heart toward his family again.”

For years his deep resentment resulted in constant anger, threats of divorce, and finally endangerment. However, this letter makes it sound as if Mark is bewildered at how Doug can’t seem to find forgiveness for Jennifer’s 17 year-old act of adultery: “The Lord Jesus forgave her of that sin over seventeen years ago, but apparently Doug Phillips’ standards of forgiveness are far higher than the Lord’s.” Are they kidding?

Folks, this is a private conflict that one party has decided to make public. And, if the principle of forgiveness is supposed to reign here, then why doesn’t Jennifer follow her own standard? If she can criticize her own husband for not forgiving her past sin, and she can criticize Doug for the same, then why can’t she simply release Doug as well and move on with her life?

She doesn’t want to. She wants justice! That’s what her husband sought all those many years. He was sinned against, and there seemed to be no penalty. Jennifer simply let her adultery and illegitimate child be washed away in the blood of Jesus and the adoption agency. Mark would have to forgive as Christ forgave. He struggled with that. There was no justice for him.

Yet, she will have her day of justice against Doug Phillips — even if she has to ruin his life’s work to do it. She claims she has sought reconciliation through proper channels on two different occasions. That’s well and good. In both instances, she says, Doug refused their offers of reconciliation. That’s also well and good. Then she says, “We’re not motivated by vengeance. We’re motivated by a genuine concern for the well being of the Christian home school movement.”

This logic does not follow. How does one go from failure to personally reconcile over a serious ecclesiastical matter to warning the public about a man’s beliefs about patriarchy, the second amendment, and reading an old Southern theologian that endorsed slavery? How does one make such a leap? Her personal conflict with Doug Phillips does not warrant a public defamation of his ministry.

The Epsteins want justice — plain and simple. They claim they’re following the Scriptures in approaching Doug Phillips. Now, Doug has left them with no recourse. They are going to a higher authority, i.e. the public! They should be going to God. It’s not their responsibility to extract this justice by their own hand. They are seeking penalties by defaming the Phillips’ name and hindering the work of Vision Forum. If you read their personal account, you’ll see the motivation is highly personal. Jennifer Epstein states the purpose for her letter to homeschoolers regarding Doug Phillips by writing:

“It’s vital that the most prominent of our home school leadership be men and women of impeccable reputation and strong moral character. We’re* very concerned that one of the most prominent of our home education leaders runs the risk of causing the entire home school movement great damage.”

I would agree. Impeccable reputation and strong moral character are vital. However, does this not assume that she is both an example of such an impeccable reputation and a clear judge of that same quality in others? She herself states that she is a part of the “home school leadership”:

“I’ve* been a Christian home educator for twelve years now and have been president of a local home school group for seven years. I’ve* been active in the home school community for quite some time and have helped to coordinate numerous home school functions and co-ops in the San Antonio, Texas area and have worked at many homeschool conventions.”

*Notice the change from second to first person in this last paragraph. Although the letter is signed by “Mark and Jennifer Epstein,” it’s obviously her letter.

I don’t think a woman suffering years from a crumbling marriage brought on by her own immorality, and facing church discipline, is an example of impeccable reputation and strong moral character. Therefore, she is on very weak ground to be spreading her side of the BCA controversy all over the internet. After all, I found out about this letter on a secular web site that regularly condemns Christian conservatives. These are sites that already war against homeschooling and regularly have men like Doug Phillips in their crosshairs. Mrs. Epstein has made a bold step in making these matters public. She better hope she’s right. The heavenly reciprocity may not be to her liking.

posted by Chris Ortiz at 5:02 PM

There is much that I can say about Chris Ortiz’ own personal interpretation of the events, aided of course by the input of his friend, Doug Phillips. However, instead of offering my own analysis of Chris’ articles, I’d like to open things up for discussion and comment. Readers are also welcome to ask me questions (as Chris himself should have done) about these two Chalcedon articles. Feel free to contact Chris Ortiz directly at theonomy@mac.com What I will say at this point is that I simply don’t understand why Chris Ortiz would want to drag The Chalcedon Foundation into this. It wasn’t his fight.

A Personal Note To Chris Ortiz: Chris, your donor relations skills are atrocious. Before you start attacking people and accusing them of “defamation,” etc., it would be smart to first look up their names in your own database just to make sure they’re not Chalcedon donors. Did you know that the Epsteins are Lifetime Members of Chalcedon? You do now. Because Doug Phillips spoke so highly of Chalcedon, we became supporters while we were members of Boerne Christian Assembly. I’m sure you also now understand why we will never again financially support Chalcedon. It’s not because of Doug Phillips. It’s because of you. Chalcedon has you to thank for that, Chris. Chalcedon also has you to thank for losing Cynthia Kunsman as a financial supporter. Chris, how many more donors will you cost Chalcedon?

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222 Responses to “Chalcedon Foundation Back-Pedals On Defending Doug Phillips”

  1. Mike Says:

    “To paraphrase a line from the old movie, ‘The Court Jester'”

    The funniest movie ever made.

    “I’m Jiacomo — king of jester, and jester of kings.
    I live for a sigh; I die for a kiss,
    I lust for a laugh — HAHA!
    I never walk when I can leap;
    I never run when I can fight.
    I swoon at the beauty of a rose….”

    I’ve seen it at least twice a year for 35 years! The first time I saw it I literally fell on the floor and cried in pain from the laughter, and so did everyone else. My all-time favorite movie.

  2. Lynn Says:

    Corrie: “Who’s spatter spews both ways?”

    Mike: “Please stop baiting me. That’s not nice. Grammarians are people, too, ya know.”

    Well, Mike, she said she had big plans, and I’ve just been watching them unfold for the past few weeks and chuckling to myself. Haven’t you noticed she has gone out of her way to put grammar mistakes into each of her comments?

    Well, I don’t think she has done so recently; it’s getting much more spaced out. But for a time there . . . 😉

  3. CynthiaGee Says:

    Mike, I knew I liked you. Let’s rent that movie and we’ll all watch it tonight in the mule barn…..

  4. Mike Says:

    “Well, I don’t think she has done so recently; it’s getting much more spaced out.”

    As is she. BWAAAAA-HAAAAAA-HAAAAAA!!

    Just getting back at Corrie for calling me a “grammar troll.” I am SOOOOOOOO offended. I think I’ll get my wife to call her a name.

  5. Corrie Says:

    Rebecca,

    Are you talking about the article written by Steve Schlissel concerning body piercing and how it is okay for women to be pierced because from creation she has been made a “piercee”. Piercing symbolized subjection and therefore that is the reason that men should never get an ear piercing. So, men are not bond slaves of the Lord, just women?

    When male prisoners are raped, they are “pierced” (I call it rape) and it is ALWAYS demeaning to a man. Piercing is a token of a person being under the dominion under another. Hence, that is why being “pierced” is not always demeaning to women nor does piercing necessarily bring down a woman but it always brings down a man. Hmmm. Rape ALWAYS brings down a woman as it ALWAYS brings down a man. Rape is rape. A rape is about control. A rapist rapes because he can. It is no more traumatizing for a man to be raped than a woman.

    Wow! What a picture every woman should have in her mind when it comes to intimacy with her husband! Sheesh!

    Yes, I remember that article, too, and I remember the revoltion I had after reading it. Does every single thing boil down to having dominion over another person? Even the sex act? It is a picture of a man “piercing” his wife as a sign of her subjection and his dominion over him because the one getting “pierced” is the one in subjection and the one who is “piercing” is the one taking dominion?

    Wow! How come I read Song of Solomon and get a whole other picture? How come 1 Cor. 7 tells us that there is no subjection in the sexual act but each one has authority over each other’s body?

    I agree, Rebecca, that this article leaves a lot open as far as practice. I guess I am a little confused as to what constitutes what when it comes to “humbling” women.

    Here is the quote from that article concerning piercing:

    “Put plainly, piercing is normally an act appropriate only for women and, in some cases, male slaves.

    Delicacy is difficult here—and I want to avoid a charge of misogyny—but the fact is that woman, by her from-the-creation role in the marriage act, is a “piercee.” Within marriage, of course, no stigma at all attaches to this, but outside of marriage, Scripture often refers to it as a “humbling” (Dt. 21:14; 22:24; 22:29). (In this regard, too, childbirth is woman’s triumphant vindication—consider this when exegeting 1 Tim. 2:15.)

    Obviously, piercing for a woman need not involve sodomy or “lowering.” She was made a woman, for man, a fact to which her body itself testifies.

    Man, however, was not made a woman nor was he made to abide piercing. It is still a universal that he is not expected to. The recent attack on a Brooklyn prisoner provides a tragic case in point. The Associated Press reported: One of the police officers charged with torturing a man by sodomizing him with a stick bragged about the attack, saying he had to “break a man” who took a swing at him. Officer Justin Volpe also told fellow officers “I had to bring a man down tonight.”

    Piercing may or may not bring a woman down, depending on many factors. But piercing always brings a man down. That piercing bespeaks a relational subordination is implicitly recognized even in our American culture, yet often below the surface. To the astute it appears dramatically when considering the vocabulary of popular “curses” (as in humiliating phrases, not maledictions). The most common two-word curse in English, the one we want our children never to use, is simply a wish for someone to be humiliated through being pierced. To be pierced, for a man, is necessarily to be lowered.

    For in the view of Scripture, piercing is a token of being under the dominion of another. (Even the unique piercing of Christ was a testimony of his total submission to the Father: Isaiah 53:5,10; Philippians 2:8; see also Psalm 40:6-8.) Since woman was created to be under the loving headship of her husband, piercing can be seen as consistent with that calling. Hebrew men, however, were called to be directly under the authority of God (see 1 Cor. 11:3).

    Consequently, limitations of Hebrew servitude were codified in the law. But if a Hebrew servant, at the time of his manumission, desired to be permanently under the dominion of his master, this was to be indicated in a rite in which his ear was bored with an awl (Ex. 21:6; Dt. 15:17). The fact that a pierced ear served as a sign of permanent subordination suggests that it was not practiced by males in general, else it would hardly serve as a distinguishing mark.

    Some have called attention to the fact that Israelite males took off their golden earrings and contributed them to Aaron for the making of the golden calf. This seems to be the case (Ex. 32:1-4). But out of what estate had they just escaped? That’s right: slavery. So this proves nothing other than that slaves had earrings. Similarly, those who cite the Ishmaelite practice of wearing gold earrings (Judges 8:24) must not miss the point: the Ishmaelites had this custom, not the Israelites. Newly-delivered Hebrew slaves and Ishmaelites don’t constitute a powerful precedent for free males to engage in piercing themselves!

    It is interesting that as men in our culture began to pierce their ears, women began piercing multiple holes in their ears. But it didn’t stop there. Piercing parlors now routinely pierce ears, lips, eyebrows, tongues, noses, nipples, and male and female genitals. For those who cringe, not only at the ghastliness of the piercings, but at the thought of the pain involved, you need to understand that the pain is central to the experience. This is freely admitted, even boasted of, in this new “subculture.”

    I cut off the other info about piercing because it is pretty graphic.

  6. Corrie Says:

    Mike,

    Your wife called. She agrees with me.

    At least I didn’t call you a “grammar donkey”. 😉

    Lynn,

    That was a purposely placed grammar error for the silly woman.

    If you go to Cynthia’s blog you will see that she was immediately fluffed off because she spelled something wrong. She was called a “silly woman” and it was obvious that a person who spell’s a person’s name wrong can’t possibly understand what that person is talking about.

    I guess that makes Dan Quayle wrong. And, I guess grammar errors mean that you don’t understand the English language, too.

  7. scott Says:

    Mr. Ortiz, your organization operates under 501c3.

    Are you aware that 501c3 status my be revoked by The Internal Revenue Service for public disclosure of donors and their gift amount ?

    You posts were printed out and will be in the emailed to IRS commissioner Nolan by this evening. That was in very poor taste and illegal. You theonomist sure have a hard time obeying the law.

  8. Corrie Says:

    “God has created men to be covenant heads. The rejection of patriarchy requires the rejection of the Bible and the Bible’s God. Acceptance of the Bible’s God requires an acceptance of patriarchy; it cannot be interpreted away.”

    I hope you don’t all mind going back to the “gospel-centered doctrine” discussion for a second.

    I totally agree that Red Ink and Mike are correct on the grammar. No matter how annoying that might be for me on a personal level. 🙂

    But, read the above quote. Now, do you agree with that quote. Would that quote mean that patriarchy is at the center of the gospel? If you reject patriarchy (or, perhaps, the all ball of wax that patriarchalists say the Bible teaches but it really doesn’t), then you reject the God of the Bible? T

  9. CynthiaGee Says:

    Well… we do know where their minds are, don’t we? Somebody ought to send this over to that fellow at Ministry Watchman, the one who said that all “liberals” are fixated on sex. Schlissel makes Gothard look sane.

    BTW… wasn’t it Schlissel’s daughter who wrote that article about fathers “owning” their daughters until marriage?

  10. Corrie Says:

    ““Well, I don’t think she has done so recently; it’s getting much more spaced out.”

    As is she. BWAAAAA-HAAAAAA-HAAAAAA!!”

    Hey!!! I missed that insult intended for me! And I resemble that comment! 😉

    ROFLOL!! It gets funnier every time I read it.

    (don’t let that one bother you too much….breathe….relax…it is okay!)

  11. Corrie Says:

    Cynthia,

    Exactly. The liberals are the ones who see sex in everything? Yeah, that is what they say!

    Seriously, how romantic is that notion? I hope my daughters NEVER marry a man that remotely thinks about the sex act in those terms. I read that article years ago and I had saved it. I haven’t read it for a long time but when Rebecca mentioned it, the memories came flooding back.

    Yes, it was his daughter that wrote that article concerning God takes the backseat to the father when it comes to the daughter.

  12. Jen Says:

    Thanks for getting us back on topic, Scott. Let’s try to remember the purpose of this article and this blog, please. I have NO idea how the piercing stuff came up, and as fascinating a topic as it is, I just don’t see the relevance. I’ve certainly never heard Doug say anything like that.

    Anyone have any questions for Chris or me? I have asserted that Chris’ article is based on false assumptions. Maybe we should talk about those.

  13. Justice prima Says:

    “It’s not all that bad Jen. After all, people have said worse things about you, and after all, I even was a bit sympathetic to your husband.”
    Chris, I do not know if you are still reading. I can understand why you might not be. But if you are, I do have a couple of questions.
    Regarding the quote above- I can see two possible ‘interpretations’ of it. I can see that you might have intended to inject a bit of levity into the discussion and this was an attempt at some wry humor.
    Or you were serious, and you are justifying what you said based on a relative standard rather than the higher standard we are all called to follow. I have no quarrel with the first, I am disappointed if you meant the second.

    I would also like some explanation or answer to Spunky’s points- especially an explanation of how an excommunication can possibly be a private and merely local matter. I genuinely would like to hear how this is possible. If it is truly a local and private ecclesiastical matter, then how can Doug demand that other churches honor it?

    Also, Doug links favorably to Matt Chancey’s Mrs. Binocular’s site as an ‘independent’ investigation, which it obviously is not. It is not civil, it is unbecoming to a Christian, and it is foolishly illogical, that site. I find the information on that site and Doug’s favorable reference to it as troubling as anything i have heard- Do you defend it? can you see why it speaks ill of Doug and makes him not above reproach?

    Doug refers to BCA’s Session. It has no session. Do you see why this small deceit speaks ill of Doug’s character?

    Have you investigated Doug’s treatment of a teenaged girl who won an essay contest and then had her reward revoked and the website about it revised and edited to expunge history? Is that not troubling?

    Who is Doug accountable to? Do you know?

    Your second post at Ch. is an improvement over the first, and i appreciate your acknowledgment that the first was ill advised. I also deeply appreciate your measured tone and civil responses here. But Is the second post still quite wise, seeing as how you have yet to examine both sides of the story?

    I apologize for the typos, this is an unfamiliar keyboard to me.

  14. Corrie Says:

    Jen,

    It came up because Rebecca cancelled her subscription to Chalcedon because of that and another article. 🙂

    And, I highly doubt you will hear this stuff preached in a sermon but I think the lack of objections to such extreme teachings in the patriarchal movement may give one the impression that people agree.

    I know you want to keep it on topic but how many of these teachings influence the way you were viewed and treated? How can one so glibly say that they were nice to you in comparison after what was said in Chris’s blog about you?

    Back to the article. I think Chris’ article was filled with gossip, speculation and false accusations. He is obviously not getting the story from you. I also, like PFR, see a pattern much like the pattern found at BCA.

    I would REALLY like to know what their doctrine on sin and forgiveness and salvation is? It seems that adultery might be the one unforgiveable sin for women, Jen.

    I have read a LOT of articles about how women need to forgive their husbands and welcome them with open arms and with a loving heart even after repeated serial infidelities. Chris seems to miss that a counselor worth their salt would have approached this situation MUCH differently.

    I also don’t understand what your pre-conversion sins have to do with any of this?

    If this is the case, we all would be excommunicated.

  15. Mike Says:

    “Are you aware that 501c3 status my be revoked by The Internal Revenue Service for public disclosure of donors and their gift amount ?”

    DOH! Ix-nay on axes-tay, Scott! “He” might hear you — and off we go.

  16. Jen Says:

    Corrie, my deepest apologies. THAT article was in Chalcedon? Then thank you for posting it here! I missed the connection, I guess.

    Corrie: “how many of these teachings influence the way you were viewed and treated?”

    Well, Corrie, thanks to you I keep seeing new things every day. Almost everything you bring up is something new for me to deal with. Thanks for helping put my sanctification on the fast track.

    I don’t like guilt by association, but if Doug proudly associates himself with any group or person, without qualifiers, I guess we should discuss those views. Have at it, Corrie, but let me know WHY you are equating certain things with Doug. I keep missing that point!

  17. Jen Says:

    Mike, sometimes taxes are on topic. 🙂 Besides, I’m interested in knowing if what Scott said is accurate.

    I’m not personally offended that people know how much we donated to Chalcedon, since I was the one who brought it up in the first place, but apparently some commenters don’t want all their financial contributions disclosed publicly. That’s understandable. But since I did accidentally give out Chris’ personal email address rather than his ministry one, I don’t mind his sharing a little personal info either. I sincerely doubt he broke the law on the purpose, though.

  18. Lynn Says:

    “DOH! Ix-nay on axes-tay, Scott! “He” might hear you — and off we go.”

    Well, I hope he weighs in here again on on-topic issues!

  19. Lynn Says:

    Justice Prima:
    “I would also like some explanation or answer to Spunky’s points- especially an explanation of how an excommunication can possibly be a private and merely local matter. . . . If it is truly a local and private ecclesiastical matter, then how can Doug demand that other churches honor it?

    Also, Doug links favorably to Matt Chancey’s Mrs. Binocular’s site as an ‘independent’ investigation, which it obviously is not. It is not civil, it is unbecoming to a Christian, and it is foolishly illogical, that site. I find the information on that site and Doug’s favorable reference to it as troubling as anything i have heard- Do you defend it? can you see why it speaks ill of Doug and makes him not above reproach?”

    JP, these questions, and the questions about the BCA session and Natasha’s award, which Chris has not addressed, are excellent. If he insists on supporting Vision Forum just because they have been associates of Chalcedon for years, without addressing the concerns you stated, AND more (counseling confidence breaches, Mark and Jen not being present at their trial for starters), and continues be so supportive, then I can only assume he thinks these sorts of issues you raised, and to which I added, are of little consequence, or worse, tha he AGREES with them.

  20. Lawdog Says:

    “Mr. Ortiz, your organization operates under 501c3.

    “Are you aware that 501c3 status my be revoked by The Internal Revenue Service for public disclosure of donors and their gift amount?”

    Scott, I would agree that what Mr. Ortiz has just done is a serious legal breach of donor confidentiality. A donor is free to disclose the generalities or specifics of their charitable contributions, but a charitable organization is legally required to maintain the confidentiality of its donor records. Jen disclosed only that the Epsteins were “Lifetime Members,” not the dollar amounts of their contributions. Chris Ortiz could confirm or deny what Jen had already disclosed. However, he was not free to disclose dollar amounts or dates.

    For a 501(c)(3) to engage in such practices as we have just witnessed from Chris Ortiz is extremely problematic. There is no question but that it could result in serious legal consequences to Chalcedon.

    If Mr. Ortiz were an officer or director of Chalcedon Foundation, then it might be appropriate, Scott, for you to contact the IRS directly about the matter. However, Mr. Ortiz is a mere employee. As such, I would urge you to not seek to punish the entire organization for the foolish and reckless conduct of just one of its employees, especially where there is no pattern of any such similar abuses, and no indications of other internal corruption. Foolish and reckless employees can be easily punished or even terminated, and internal policies established to prevent recurrences. However, seeking to punish the entire organization, in a case like this one, seems excessive.

    Please allow me to suggest that rather than contacting the IRS that you contact, in writing, one of the officers, such as Mark Rushdoony, and file a formal complaint with him. Give an officer of Chalcedon the first opportunity to address the matter. If he’s responsive then you should leave it at that. Insist that he respond to you with a detailed explanation of what steps he has taken to remedy the legal violation, and to prevent recurrences.

    Needless to say, formal apologies to Mark and Jen are in order, and those apologies should be public apologies, since the violations occurred publicly.

  21. Lawdog Says:

    Jen said: “But since I did accidentally give out Chris’ personal email address rather than his ministry one, I don’t mind his sharing a little personal info either. I sincerely doubt he broke the law on the purpose, though.”

    Jen, for the sake of Chalcedon’s other donors who probably would mind, you should mind.

    Legally speaking there is absolutely no comparison between your public disclosure of Chris’ personal email address, and Chris’ public disclosure of the dollar amounts of your charitable contributions to the 501(c)(3) organization that employs him. The one is perfectly legal, the other is illegal. Few people ever intend to break the tax laws. However, it does happen quite often. Non-profit charitable organizations like Chalcedon are legally classified as a “public trust.” The word “trust” is not to be taken lightly.

    I don’t doubt that Chris Ortiz was ignorant of the fact that he was breaking tax law by making public disclosures of the dollar amounts of your contributions. Nevertheless, it was reckless and foolish. This seems to fit a pattern with him.

  22. Corrie Says:

    Jen,

    No need to apologize. I frequently go off topic and I need nudges to get back on the tracks. 🙂 I tend to see connectedness because of the big picture but I forget to preface it.

    I used to read Chalcedon a lot and I remember when that article came through. I was SHOCKED. I had no idea that ear piercing had anything to do with the intimate act and I certainly hope that most men don’t approach that with this in their minds. Couple this with the teaching on birth control and the euphemism used by Tim Bayly that a man will have to account to God for sheathing his “sword”, I need to go get a loofah for m brain. The images left behind are NOT the images I want associated. And most women don’t like to think in terms of swords and piercings because it really doesn’t leave them with warm fuzzy feelings about the whole thing. (See what I mean by the interconnectedness of my thoughts??? It is a curse, Jen!)

    All of these guys write for each other (Tim has written for Chalecedon) and they are on the hyper-patriarchal side of things with very little tolerance for anyone who sees the scriptures differently.

    Do they all agree on these things? I don’t know. Will they preach on these things from the pulpit? Most likely NOT. But, I have yet to run into one patriarch rebuking another patriarch for such teachings.

    So, getting back to the them…errr…..uhhhh……the “T” word….

    You must have used that term “lifetime members” for a reason? Why was that, Jen? I am sure you just didn’t pull it out of a hat? I know sometimes ministries run special promotions and maybe that is what happened? Chris said there was no such animal as “lifetime members”. Could you explain to him and us what you meant by using that term?

    I think Cindy made a good point. Your one or two gifts could equal more than what someone gives monthly for years. And it isn’t for the left hand to let the right hand know what it is doing. I also think Lawdog made a very good point. He could have just pointed to the evidence that there is no such thing as “lifetime members” instead of revealing dollar amounts.

    I know some churches publish on their bulletin boards how much the members give in a given year. I was always appalled by that. It is a form of coercion and pressure. It also causes bias which the book of James tells us is not just. We should not give preference to those who have more because they can do more but it happens all the time. Not saying that is what Chalcedon does at all, I am just saying I am against all publishing of what individuals give to ministries.

  23. Lynn Says:

    Chris Ortiz (his current comments):
    “As an organization that is friendly to the Phillips family and Vision Forum, we recommend that you disregard this correspondence and any and all web sites espousing such defamation and strife. The husband and wife team that sent this letter are currently under church discipline, and the accuracy of their personal complaints are contradicted by reputable ministries.”

    Chris, as I read through your writing, do you understand just how dismissive this is? Do you understand the ad-hominem attack, and the argumentum ad populum that you engaged in? Are you aware that any student of logic, or anyone with any sense can see through this kind of writing?

    Paraphrasing Chris:
    “Don’t read them — they are currently under church discipline.”

    Ad hominem abusive. You have to assume that all church discipline is just. From Diotrephes, who put good people out of the church to this day, we know that not all instances of “church discipline” are, in truth, what the Lord would approve of.

    Chris, can you list, and be specific, just what the Epsteins were excommunicated for? Can you explain why their excommunication was a biblical, just excommunication?

    Why did Reba Short shove away a little handicapped girl who came up to give her a hug? Is treating little children (whom Jesus would take into his arms) like trash when their parents are the ones who were excommunicated what some theonomists mean by “covenant families” and treating the family as a unit? I am actually very curious about that point. Natasha losing her award is also a case in point here for you to ponder.

    Chris:
    ”[T]he accuracy of their personal complaints are contradicted by reputable ministries.”

    Since you don’t go on to list what inaccuracies you think exist are, this is nothing more than argumentum ad populum. “Lots of well-respected people disagree with them.” Wow, Chris, I’m underwhelmed. This is the same kind of smoke-screen you see when you read some creation and evolution discussions on-line, and they never cut to the chase of just WHAT the disagreements are, and get around to providing a good answer to them.

    Chris, unless you can deal in specifics here, this is nothing more than joining a bandwagon of so-called “reputable” persons who give the appearance of disagreeing with the Epsteins, but never say why.

  24. Jen Says:

    Corrie, in answer to your question about being lifetime members, this is what I said to Chris: “As far as being a “Lifetime Member,” Chris, to the best of my recollection, there was a time period when Chalcedon was soliciting “lifetime” membership donations for $200. We gladly gave that at that time. I did not mean to imply that we were regular donors.”

    And this is his response: “Thanks for clearing up the donor issue.”

    At one point, Chalcedon seemed to be in great need of funds and they were asking for a one-time lifetime donation of a certain amount. That is why I used that term. I actually looked on my magazines to see if it stated anything, but it doesn’t, so I had to rely on my memory. It appears that Chris didn’t remember that time period, but he accused Cindy of the same thing when she first wrote to him and said she was a donor.

  25. Jen Says:

    Lawdog, thanks for the explanation. I agree that it is not worth it to punish the whole organization. You gave very sound advice there.

    And for the sake of others, I shall be concerned about this breach of confidentiality.

  26. Justice prima Says:

    I would also like to add that while I do appreciate Chris’ second thoughts about his ill advised first post, and I do give him credit for taking it down, surely if he would put himself in the Epstein’s shoes, he can see that it isn’t enough just to realize he overstepped his bounds and removed that post?
    No matter how short of a time that post was up, he must realize how many people besides Jen already saw it.
    I think he ought at least to have an explanation on his own website saying that he had not spoken to the Epstein’s and acknowledged that his first response was irresponsible.

  27. TheIronHare Says:

    When it comes to adultery and God graciously bringing about forgiveness and reconciliation, well, the Book of Hosea seems lost on Chris Ortiz. Go back to Genesis even. God chose not to wipe out Adam and Eve for their spiritual adultery with Satan. And that sin had rather severe consequences for us all, didn’t it?

    And it seems to me there are quite a few people more intent on defending turf than truth. If one deeply cares about Christian homeschooling one would be willing to look beyond bias and past associations and wish to put distance between a good thing (which CH-ing is) and a bad man who brings it into disrepute (which DP surely is).

    Dennis

  28. David M Zuniga Says:

    This may never happen again, but RE their previous posts on this thread, I agree with the blogger who operates under the false name “Lawdog”, and with Kevin Jenkins. Will wonders never cease!?

    As Kevin said, I think Chris Ortiz did a very bad thing, then compounded it, and then compounded it yet again. The Chalcedon board should sanction him, and probably will. As to losing its 501c3 check-skimming co-scammer position alongside IRS, I doubt Chalcedon could face such a penalty for a minor infraction by an employee.

  29. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    My husband was so furious over this matter that he thought about posting here but decided to refrain so as to not sound so, well, furious.

    Many statements have been made about contacting Mark Rushdooney, but I don’t know that anyone has, other than the woman who my husband spoke to when he cancelled our contributions. She said that she would tell Mark Rushdooney. My husband decided that in light of my correspondence with Chris Ortiz (really not any more well reasoned or less emotional than what you’ve read here), he was going to try to get Mark Rushdooney on the phone. I talked to him at about 3pm EST.

    I would encourage you to either call or write via snail mail to Mark Rushdooney and mark your envelopes as “PERSONAL” if you have concerns about these matters. I wouldn’t trust email, although I could be wrong in my doubts, of course. Chris Ortiz, in addition to serving as editor-in-chief is also listed as the director of communications per the emails that I received from him. Fielding correpondence it then probably his among his job responsibilities. That way, at least Mark Rushdooney will be fully aware of what has been transpiring, if he is not already.

    As for the dissociating from Doug, I made my personal appeal and provided arguments for my reasoning, and basically, this was all rejected by Mr. Ortiz. In an email from Andrew Sandlin, he stated that he had no idea why Chris had responded in the way that he had (at least regarding patriarchy). RJR had a close personal relationship with both Doug and Howard Phillips in the past, but RJR did not ever support things like mandatory legalism. Andrew knew Rush’s thoughts about things like birth control and all these mysogynous sounding things, and he believes that Rush would not have been remotely in favor of them as the only standard.

    Lawdog is right. Chalcedon can do whatever they want. It however remains to be seen if Chris truly does speak for the whole of the board and how far the board will go to defend Chris in his actions as mouthpiece for the whole organization. It is an entirely seperate matter if Chalcedon’s supporters want to keep underwriting them. As it is with Doug, money seems to be one of the only language that “Doug and company” will HEED. (We know they HEAR this forum to some extent via all the damage control from their side of our Christian camp.)

  30. Lawdog Says:

    Cynthia Kunsman said: “It however remains to be seen if Chris truly does speak for the whole of the board and how far the board will go to defend Chris in his actions as mouthpiece for the whole organization. It is an entirely seperate matter if Chalcedon’s supporters want to keep underwriting them.”

    Agreed. My sense is that we will probably never see anything further from Chalcedon on this matter. Chris will probably be spoken to by Mark Rushdoony, or someone else, and that will be the end of it. It will be business as usual, but at least Chris will have learned something from it. I doubt he’ll ever pull a blunder like this again.

    If that’s all that comes of it then I know that I will not be able to continue supporting Chalcedon (yes, I’ve been a supporter too).

    Let me amend this earlier statement: “No one should attempt to compel them to sever relations with Doug Phillips.”

    For those who, like myself, now view Doug Phillips as a serious liability to some of the things that they hold dear, and in my case that would primarily be Christian education (notice that I didn’t say just home schooling), and who are starting to recognize that Phillips’ teachings are extra-biblical, unbiblical, or even heretical, then it would be perfectly appropriate to contact Chalcedon and admonish them regarding their concerns of Chalcedon’s continuing support for Phillips. Given that R.J. Rushdoony was such a strong advocate of Sola Scriptura, and given how much is now being publicly exposed in the way of Doug Phillips’ extra-biblical and unbiblical teachings, I don’t frankly see how Chalcedon logically can in good conscience continue supporting Phillips.

    For my part I’m still waiting to see how Chalcedon responds. However, I won’t be waiting for long. If they fail to respond soon I’ll take that as their answer to all this.

    Should Chalcedon be unresponsive, or unwilling to take into consideration your own concerns, whatever they may be, then it would be entirely appropriate to consider dropping your financial support.

    However, I truly hope it doesn’t come down to that. Chalcedon is, in my estimation, a ministry worthy of financial support. It would be a pity, and it would be foolish, for them to place themselves in a position where they handicap themselves and undermine their credibility based upon a “friendship” that is so obviously proving to be far more of a liability than an asset.

  31. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    This may never happen again, but RE their previous posts on this thread, I agree with the blogger who operates under the false name “Lawdog”, and with Kevin Jenkins. Will wonders never cease!?

    Woah…

    …am I in the twilight zone?

  32. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    BTW, you guys all need to back off Chris.

  33. Corriejo Says:

    “Corrie, in answer to your question about being lifetime members, this is what I said to Chris: “As far as being a “Lifetime Member,” Chris, to the best of my recollection, there was a time period when Chalcedon was soliciting “lifetime” membership donations for $200. We gladly gave that at that time. I did not mean to imply that we were regular donors.””

    Jen,

    Thanks for the info.

    You never gave the implication that you were regular donors. I and probably everyone else understood what “lifetime membership” is. We have all heard of those types of offers before.

    It is like Weight Watchers. You pay once, reach your goal and you are a lifetime member. 🙂

  34. Lin Says:

    “BTW, you guys all need to back off Chris”

    Mr. Jenkins, Publishing donor giving information is a very serious breach not to mention an indirect violation of Matthew 6 as our giving is a private matter. And it was insulting as it was portrayed in a way to say that her donation was not that big of a deal to them.

    So, all donors out there…whether giving 100.00 once or every month, now have to wonder if their donor information is floating around the internet on e-mail or the blogosphere by unwise employees. Remember, these donors are paying Mr. Ovitz’s salary.

    That fact that there seemed to be no compunction quoting those numbers so freely on the internet really concerns me. He did not know better BEFORE publishing them?

    I believe the comments here will actually help this organization in the long run so as to tighten up on such policies.

  35. scott Says:

    I agree with that, lets back off Chris and let the bureaucrats at the IRS deal with his organization. Imagine the shock when some government employee looks at their site and learns the objectives of the Theonomist. This will be their favorite assignment of the year. Chris will have a bit of explaining to do with his top level Rushgoonies when they get interrogatories about their policies. This is going to be fun. The patriarch & theonomist crowd have much in common, they want to make wide sweeping rules/ laws for everyone else as they ignore the rights of others (and often the law). They can publicly trash a whole family, but how dare anyone question their BOGUS false teaching.

  36. Alisa Says:

    Frankly, I agree with Jen, that the posting of the Epstein’s donations doesn’t exactly warrant sending the IRS after them. It may be in violation of their status, but I doubt he would have done so knowingly, given his generally gracious, understanding, and humble spirit that comes through in his correspondence (despite his position on the matter). While I personally am not a big fan of Chalcedon, I think the fact that this has been brought to their attention should be sufficient enough to prevent a repeat offense.

  37. Kriegerwulff Says:

    Yeah…I cannot believe this…you people need to leave Chris alone, he is a good guy, and I’m sure he had the best intentions. As Jennifer said, she brought up the donations to begin with.

    Every time I come back to this blog I find a new reason to be disgusted with the “expose Doug Phillips” crowd…now Chris Ortiz and the Chalcedon Foundation are in the sights of you people.

    Only a real scum bag would sic the IRS on anybody…anybody.

  38. Mark Epstein Says:

    Lawdog wrote: “For those who, like myself, now…recognize that Phillips’ teachings are extra-biblical, unbiblical, or even heretical, then it would be perfectly appropriate to contact Chalcedon and admonish them regarding their concerns of Chalcedon’s continuing support for Phillips.”

    You make an excellent point Lawdog, but should this “appropriate…contact” be limited to Chalcedon?

  39. Mark Epstein Says:

    Kriegerwulff,

    I do not know anyone who is too enamored with the IRS. 😦

    However, I know my wife’s blog serves an important function. Even Jen’s detractors have to admit her behavior is far different than Phillips and his cronies and that they have a lot more than a bit of explaining to do.

    At the end of the day, this situation is simple. Phillips needs to repent of his monstrous behavior. Once he publicly takes responsibility for his unbiblical behavior and that of his lackeys, then reconciliation can occur.

    Christendom waits on Phillips to do the Christian thing.

  40. CynthiaGee Says:

    As for Chalcedon, what makes you think they’re not already being investigated?

  41. Jen Says:

    Scott, since this situation involves my privacy being violated, I would like to ask you not to contact the IRS, please. It is easy to make a mistake like that and it is not necessary for Christians to be gleeful when we catch one another doing something unethical, even if it is unlawful. I really don’t think Chris meant any harm by it.

    I am in contact with Chris offline and I would like to be able to maintain open communication with him. An action like that, Scott, would probably shut things down. As Christians, we should always be quick to reconcile. So, for my sake, please don’t do it.

  42. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    My apologies to everyone for going postal on Scott. That was out of line.

    Still, I agree with Kriegerwulff -wrecking the ministry of R. J. Rushdoony and his legacy, as well as the career of a good man like Chris Ortiz, over this….by turning them into the IRS….it takes a special person to do something like that. Very, very special.

    Nevertheless, uncalled for on my part.

  43. CynthiaGee Says:

    Jenkins…. I agree in part, and I disagree in part. Much as I would love to see dominionism and the “ministry” of Rushdoony fade into the ignominious sunset (that’s the nicest metaphor I could think of), I do think that turning Chalcedon in to the IRS would be dirty pool, and probably redundant to boot. The IRS generally keeps tabs on groups like Chalcedon anyway.

  44. scott Says:

    JEN, I have not written the IRS. Although I understand why you would see it as a personal offense, it is really a bit more than that. IRS regulations clearly spell out what a 501c3 can and can’t do. I find it hilarious that a organization with Chalcedon’s mission clearly ignores laws we currently have. I good friend of mine is a special agent with the Criminal investigations unit of the IRS and has been following your blog here since all the tax evasion discussion started, mostly out of pure amusement/entertainment ( she is a “good ” reformed farm girl turned gun toting G-woman, and my partime IT PRO). Chalcedon has a real problem, but Mr. Ortiz is the causation and not a “innocent victim” of the anti-theonomist crowd.

    Despite what our resident tax evader would have us all believe, the CI division of the IRS has had a consistent 90% conviction rate since it’s formation in 1919. That is unmatched in Federal Law enforcement and probably in most State taxation units as well. In my world we dream of a 60% conviction rate.

    Chalcedon dreams of stoning those without their beliefs, why should they be shown GRACE ?

  45. K. Theodore Jenkins Says:

    Even Cythia Gee doesn’t want to do that Scott. C’mon.

  46. Rebecca Says:

    As for contacting the IRS regarding Chalcedon….I don’t think this whole situation is as harmless as some as suggested, and that Chris Ortiz simply acted out as innocent ignorance, with Chalcedon completely unaware of his actions in revealing what donors have given.

    To me, Chalcedon has already shown, at best, a lack of integrity and disregard for the law in allowing Mr. Ortiz access to confidential donor records without informing him that said records were in fact confidential. Even at the age of 16, when I worked as a summer church secretary, the importance of strict confidentiality was made abundantly clear to me. I’m shocked to believe that Chalcedon would be so careless as not to properly train their employees to obey the law.

    Frankly, my theory is that Mr. Ortiz knew full well what he was doing OR that he acted with full knowledge of his superiors at Chalcedon. I find it interesting that he has not posted here since his illegal actions were brought to light. Has he apologized to you for his misconduct, Jen? Has he in any way assured any of the other donors or possible donors here that he will not disclose their confidential records as well?

    Apparently the law has been violated. If so, it has been violated publicly. There has been no public apology, no attempt at restitution. To me, there is no question that this matter should be treated as seriously as it is. In order to protect all of the others who have donated now and in the past, and in order to uphold our laws, I think the best course of action — and the course of action any consistent theonomist would support — would be to inform the IRS and the elders of Mr. Ortiz’ church.

  47. Rebecca Says:

    Jen, I understand the desire to be quick to reconcile. However, if the law has been broken, that often puts things in a different light. Sometimes we need to look beyond our own situation and to the good of others.

    My husband and I were the victims of theft. After much back and forth, and even the filing of a police report, we decided not to press charges against this person, even though our loss was substantial and had a significant negative impact on our entire family for some years. Frankly, I went soft. I simply couldn’t bring myself to send this person to jail, especially since young children would have been left without a parent.

    I argued that we were the only ones harmed, that it was a personal offense. I supposed I could have also argued that the police were already “keeping tabs” on this person (which was true) and that it would be “dirty pool” for us to press charges.

    At any rate, we let the matter drop.

    The thief, emboldened by our lack of action, continued to victimize others. Those who knew about the crimes viewed us as being more concerned about ourselves and our “feelings” than we were about the law or about other potential victims.

    This situation with Chalcedon isn’t as dramatic. However, it seems to me that the law has been disregarded in a very public manner. It’s not like a call to the IRS will bring down the gestapo on the heads of Chalcedon. If they are in complete compliance with the law except for one lapse in forgetting to lock up their donor records and accidentally allowing an untrained employee access to them, I’m sure this whole situation will be remedied quite quickly, without any further problems. Chalcedon will learn a much-needed lesson, as will Mr. Ortiz. In fact, this may be the wake-up call that Chalcedon needs — and may even welcome, after the fact — in order to prevent worse problems down the road with either this employee or others.

    At any rate, it will protect the rest of the donors from any further attempts by Mr. Ortiz to use their confidential information for his own purposes. And that, IMO, is the reason to notify the IRS.

    Since Chalcedon has already learned that a possible call to the IRS may be in the works, they have plenty of time to deal with this situation and attempt to make it right in advance of any contact. Their official response to this blog and to their donors will be very telling.

  48. Rebecca Says:

    At the very least, it would seem that Mr. Ortiz has violated Chalcedon’s one privacy policy as outlined at http://www.chalcedon.edu/privacy.php

  49. CynthiaGee Says:

    “Even Cythia Gee doesn’t want to do that Scott. C’mon.”

    Jenkins, you’re much too kind — of course I want to. But I’m not going to do it. Besides, after all the hullabaloo here, they already know. 😉

    “Chalcedon dreams of stoning those without their beliefs, why should they be shown GRACE ?”

    Because we’re Christians here, and behave as such (regardless of how THEY behave)? After all, we’ve been pointing out the flaws of dominionism, etc, for a while now. How would it be if we started acting just like them?

  50. Rebecca Says:

    Oops…I’m just full of typos today. I meant to write “Chalcedon’s OWN privacy policy”! How the “one” got in there is probably Mike’s fault!

  51. Mrs. Browne Says:

    Scott Says:
    June 22nd, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    Chris will have a bit of explaining to do with his top level Rushgoonies when they get interrogatories about their policies. This is going to be fun.

    scott Says:
    June 23rd, 2007 at 4:10 am
    Chalcedon dreams of stoning those without their beliefs, why should they be shown GRACE ?

    Scott, shame on you!

    Can I understand anger and hurt? Yes

    Can I understand having a zeal for justice? Yes

    What I cannot understand is the glee you are exhibiting. I can only guess you must have been devastated by either Phillips and/or someone at Chalcedon.

    I find it interesting that Phillips and others have opted to act out after RJR’s death.

    Rush has taught many what Christian liberty is and urged them to seek it, hold it, and not be manipulated by those that professed it but actually were miniature tyrants (like DP). There are numerous examples. Chalcedon had a private Christian school for many years and RJR’s daughter homeschooled her children. Rush did NOT say one had to only homeschool. He wanted to see folks truly educate their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

    Another example: You could get ahold of Rush any time day or night. One did NOT have to go through a series of individuals. This is not true with DP. DP presents himself and behaves like a Washington DC mafia mobster. I am glad to read that if one marks an envelope “personal” Mark Rushdoony will personally open that mail. This was a policy set by RJR.

    Rush attracted bright individuals (male and female) to him. He was a true genius. Yet, RJR was neither puffed up, proud, arrogant, vengeful, or one that wanted to control others. While he was alive, he was able to keep a handle on those individuals that liked to use the Bible as a cudgel over the heads of others. He even parted ways with his son-in-law, Gary North, over scripture twisting. After his death, however, it would seem that Chalcedon has fallen on hard times intellectually as evidenced by that despicable, shocking so-called article in the Chalcedon Report.

    I have heard consistently that DP’s maniacal need to tyranically control others has split up churches in VA and NC. In fact, I heard the church split in NC had something to do with DP promoting stoning.

    How many more individuals and ministries must be damaged because of Phillips?

    My exposure to RJR is that he would roll over in his grave if he knew how the Epsteins have been treated! He would also be terribly upset knowing that D. James Kennedy is in a Michigan rehab trying to overcome the effects of heart troubles that may possibly have been the result of the craziness of Sproul Jr.

    I applaud Mark & Jen Epstein in standing up for justice. I think RJR would stand up and applaud too. Those like Phillips need to be recognized for what they are — power hungry, manipulative, self-promoting tyrants.

    I pray those running Chalcedon will wake up and take appropriate action soon. If they truly think they cannot publically stand and demand justice for the Epsteins from DP, then to not allow any of its employees to back the wickedness and evil machinations of Phillips.

  52. David M Zuniga Says:

    This conversation is hilarious! Some things never change in life, and I see a serendipitous segue in this discussion, to the original issues that gave life to this blog.

    In Matthew 18:17, Christ instructs us to treat the unrepentant sinner as “a heathen and a tax gatherer”. Most tax-protestor types have always used that statement by our Lord to suggest that Christ hated tax gatherers. Baloney; as Matt. 9:11, 11:19, and 21:32 suggest — Christ BEFRIENDED the tax gatherers. He simply knew how people treated tax gatherers (they despise them, in all ages).

    I think it is wrong for Christians to despise the tax-gatherer; from all my interaction with them, they are usually patriotic, by-the-book government employees just doing as they are commanded to do. I don’t think anyone should use the IRS employee as an “attack dog” on Chris Ortiz or anyone else. Of course, I think no Christian should use IRS write-offs as a “donation” magnet, either…that is the larger ethical lapse, in my view.

    The IRS employee is just like anyone else on this earth: a person created in God’s image, and worthy of being shown kindness and Christian witness. The real criminals in our government, who create this atmosphere of terror and intimidation, are the corrupt members of Congress.

    The IRS upline management is just their tool, and the poor line-worker and field agent at IRS is the tool of those upline managers. Don’t speak of such government employees as though they are dogs; Christ would not do so.

    As to Scott’s friend, the IRS agent with the pistol

  53. David M Zuniga Says:

    …she really should not be carrying a pistol, as a field agent for an ADMINISTRATIVE branch function. But it is the unmitigated hatret for the “IRS dogs” that makes such people have to “pack heat”.

    Anyone reading my blog knows that I am no scofflaw, and certainly do not call for the elimination of the Tax Code or the IRS. I also believe that Christian organisations with any socially redeeming value to their ministries, have no need to operate under section 501c3 of the Tax Code. In fact, such designation is only an enticement to “donating” for all the wrong reasons.

    Brethren, this should not be so.

    “In a government of laws… Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that…the end justifies the means… would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely set its face.”

    Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 485 (1928)

  54. David M Zuniga Says:

    Obviously, “hatret” should have been “hatred”.

  55. CynthiaGee Says:

    “I have heard consistently that DP’s maniacal need to tyranically control others has split up churches in VA and NC. In fact, I heard the church split in NC had something to do with DP promoting stoning.”

    Goodness, this is nothing new. Rushdoony and North preach the same thing.

  56. scott Says:

    David I can assure you all agents of the criminal investigations unit can legally carry 24/7 and do.

    So do I, and so should you and EVERY FREEDOM LOVING AMERICAN ( where their State allows) .

  57. Corrie Says:

    ““In a government of laws… Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that…the end justifies the means… would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely set its face.”

    Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 485 (1928)”

    David,

    This describes the situation in a lot of churches and homes, too.

    When every man does what is right in his own eyes and he is accountable to no one unless there is “severe” abuse and he is able to justify the reasons why he does not submit to his elders and the very scriptures then they are teaching those under their “authority” by example. It breeds contempt for authority, it invites anarchy and it invites every man to become a law unto himself.

    Everyone who claims to be in authority and does not submit to authority and claims they are under no authority unless they are severely abusing their position invites these very things.

    And we still can’t understand why we have rebellion and all this “isms” in our world today? Just look back in history. When does rebellion start? It is after long periods of enslavement and harsh, unjust despotic rule.

  58. Corrie Says:

    “I think it is wrong for Christians to despise the tax-gatherer; from all my interaction with them, they are usually patriotic, by-the-book government employees just doing as they are commanded to do. I don’t think anyone should use the IRS employee as an “attack dog” on Chris Ortiz or anyone else. Of course, I think no Christian should use IRS write-offs as a “donation” magnet, either…that is the larger ethical lapse, in my view.”

    My husband’s best friend is a lawyer for the IRS and pretty high up in that organization. He is a good guy and he strives to be fair.

    I think calling the IRS is an over-reaction and should be the very last thing someone should do after all avenues are exhausted.

    I hardly think those at Chalcedon will now be making all donations public per individual donor.

    So give your IRS agent a hug. They are people too! 😉

  59. Corrie Says:

    “Rush has taught many what Christian liberty is and urged them to seek it, hold it, and not be manipulated by those that professed it but actually were miniature tyrants (like DP).”

    You know, if we would all understand the liberty we had in Christ to live out our calling within the parameters set by His word, this patriocentricity would not even be a problem. It would be a non-issue. If we understood the liberty Christ bought for us with His own blood we would not make up silly rules for those under our authority to follow just for the heck of it. Christ allows us liberty, we should follow His example. Who are we to dictate every jot and tittle to those under us, especially to those who are our very own flesh?

    We are to stand firm in the liberty we have in Christ and that is exactly why I have a problem with the patriarchal movement. They are cherry-picking scripture for the cherries that are juciest in their own eyes and eschewing the cherries that don’t catch their eye or don’t fit into their system or simply don’t trip their trigger.

    They go beyond God and they try and fill in the “gaps” that God left in His scriptures. I think that is a dangerous attitude to have. “Here, God, let me help you out. You obviously left this a little vague, so I am going to fill in the blanks for you and then constrain others by my “authoritative” teaching that this is really what You meant.”

    I really people would stop troubling their brothers and sisters in the Lord with all this extra-biblical gobbley-gook and allow us to get on with serving the Lord as He has called us to do.

    So stand fast and refuse to be entangled by a yoke of bondage for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

    Gal 5

    1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,[a] and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
    Love Fulfills the Law

    7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
    11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

    13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

  60. Lin Says:

    “So give your IRS agent a hug. They are people too!”

    Are you sure? Have you ever been through an audit? :o)

  61. David M Zuniga Says:

    Lin,

    Many years ago when I was still an ignorant Taxpayer, I survived an audit (yay!) conducted by a much-despised local IRS agent who had become known in my town for his “meanness”.

    Baloney. I found the fellow to be a nice guy, even though he played by the book given to him by his IRS superiors. I also became friends with his two sons. That’s why when it comes to the “black hat IRS” belief, I always try to show people where the black hats belong: on the corrupt members of Congress, who have the IRS doing some very immoral, illegal things in the name of “law enforcement”.

    I think it was wrong of Chris Ortiz (it’s not Ovitz; it’s ORTIZ) to do what he did, but it’s also wrong for citizens to transform IRS employees into junkyard dogs! As long as you obey laws and tell the truth, no American has anything to fear, and no Christian ministry has any reason to use “tax write-offs” as enticement for donations that are actually just tax avoidance.

  62. David M Zuniga Says:

    Corrie,

    Consider the antithesis in your two statements:

    First you said, “My husband’s best friend is a lawyer for the IRS and pretty high up in that organization. He is a good guy and he strives to be fair.”

    In your next sentence, you said, “I think calling the IRS is an over-reaction and should be the very last thing someone should do after all avenues are exhausted.”

    But if the IRS is so good and fair, why is it an “overreaction” to call in the IRS? Why is it the “very last thing someone should do”?!

    See what I mean? Deep in your heart you have a fear for what should not be feared! As long as a citizen is obeying the law (including the Tax Code) and a public employee is obeying the law (including the Tax Code and the Code of Federal Regulations), then neither the people nor the public employees have anything to fear!

    “Will you then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid… For, for this cause pay you tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor…” (Rom 13:3-7 excerpted)

    This is why I try to teach both Taxpayers and IRS employees how ignorant they have been; they have been used by evil, corrupt politicians who turn government to their own ends, and turn people against their government! When we embrace justice and truth in Christ, we will begin to perform our due diligence as citizens — first of the kingdom of God (our primary allegiance) and then of the American republic.

    It really takes a great deal of re-thinking, to disabuse ourselves of a lifetime of conditioning. I daresay that Christian ministries are among the WORST offenders, playing the tax-scam game.

    Shame on them.

  63. Mark Epstein Says:

    Corrie said: “When does rebellion start? It is after long periods of enslavement and harsh, unjust despotic rule.”

    This is often true. However, in Phillips’ case, he would argue that the Epsteins are just rebellious by nature and that is wasn’t his unjust despotic rule that created the problem.

    Of course, I would counter that anyone who (1) controls what is said about any member leaving the church, (2) immediately moves to “disciplining” a couple having marital problems by taking away communion with the Lord (providing no counseling after the discipline), (3) calls an emergency meeting of the congregation because the couple, after the SECOND act of church discipline in which pre-conversion sins were read to the congregation, follows the advice of the pastor’s wife, and (4) excommunicates the couple sans trial is a despot and, therefore, his “rule” over the church is despotic.

    Doug Phillips, as the subtitle of this blog indicates, is an ecclesiastical tyrant. He aligns himself with similar thinking despots and this group of men poses a real threat to the non-Bereans within Christendom. It’s time Phillips et. al were stopped in their tyrannical, despotic, and oft times unbiblical and heretical tracks for the sake of Christ’s bride – the church.

  64. Corrie Says:

    David,

    “In your next sentence, you said, “I think calling the IRS is an over-reaction and should be the very last thing someone should do after all avenues are exhausted.”

    But if the IRS is so good and fair, why is it an “overreaction” to call in the IRS? Why is it the “very last thing someone should do”?!”

    Well, that is not what I meant.

    I meant that as Christians we should seek to rectify these sorts of situations with one another before we pursue other avenues.

    I am not afraid of the IRS nor do I think that calling them would mean doom and gloom for anyone!

    I just meant that I think what Chris did could have been handled and things could have been learned without calling in the authorities.

    But, then again, now that I am thinking of it, I am very much for a person go to the law when a crime is committed. My family suffered these past 2 years because we didn’t go to the law and tried to rectify it through the church after a crime was committed against one of our children.

    So, because I am being a bit inconsistent here, I need to rethink this whole thing.

    Was a law broken? I don’t know. If a definite law was broken and it endangered the safety of another person, then definitely go to the authorities, don’t pass go.

    But, in this case? People slip up like this all the time. I guess I was calling for a little mercy.

    I know there are horror stories with the IRS. I am not denying that.

  65. Jen Says:

    Rebecca, I sincerely hope that Chris did not did disclose our donor information with any malicious intent. No, he has not apologized yet. I understand your concern about letting someone get away with something because they might be emboldened to go out and hurt others again. That is exactly the purpose of this blog. Doug Phillips, for years, was able to keep each person quiet, one by one, and since everyone thought they were the only ones hurt, they thought they were the exception to the rule, so no one said anything. But once I found out there were others, I knew then that it was necessary to warn others publicly. But my blog exists only to expose Doug Phillips, no one else. When someone else sticks their nose in, then they are fair game on my blog, but I am not here to expose Chris Ortiz or Matt Chancey or anyone else. I may call them to account on their specific actions, but I really have nothing against Chris Ortiz at this point.

    Scott, if your friend has been following this, then I recommend you leave it up to her to see if she thinks it’s worth pursuing or not. We show grace to our brothers in Christ because they are just that. For the record, folks from the IRS have been following my blog for a long time, ever since I wrote about Kent Hovind.

    I thank everyone for their opinions and advice regarding this “crime” that Chris Ortiz committed. While I realize this is now a public matter, I have decided to appeal privately to Chris regarding this matter. I hope to report back with good news soon. I would really hate to see Chris smear Chalcedon’s otherwise good reputation.

    I have also appealed to Chris regarding the specifics of his article against me. I addressed the issues and his totally false conclusions. Let us pray that he makes this right publicly. I know it is hard to see these kinds of things being said about a friend, but Chris should realize that the truth is more important than the money the Phillips’ family brings in. It’s not worth it to lose other supporters over this, Chris.

  66. Corrie Says:

    Mark,

    “This is often true. However, in Phillips’ case, he would argue that the Epsteins are just rebellious by nature and that is wasn’t his unjust despotic rule that created the problem.

    Of course, I would counter that anyone who (1) controls what is said about any member leaving the church, (2) immediately moves to “disciplining” a couple having marital problems by taking away communion with the Lord (providing no counseling after the discipline), (3) calls an emergency meeting of the congregation because the couple, after the SECOND act of church discipline in which pre-conversion sins were read to the congregation, follows the advice of the pastor’s wife, and (4) excommunicates the couple sans trial is a despot and, therefore, his “rule” over the church is despotic.”

    Yep, harsh, despotic rule causes rebellion. Just like I said. 😉 I am glad you laid this out so succinctly.

    The evidence far outways any justification for his actions.

  67. Corrie Says:

    BTW, we are all rebellious by nature. It is only because of the Holy Spirit that we can be submissive to one another and to our authorities.

    Also, if authorities want their underlings to be submissive to them then they had better be submissive to their authorities. If people endow themselves with the power to just up and leave and start a new thing so they can be their own authority because they don’t like being under authority, those under them are learning how to rebel.

    And then when these same authoritarians who refuse to submit to authority teach that people under authority have to bear up even under harsh and unjust rule, you will eventually have anarchy because of the sheer hypocrisy.

    This is a system designed to serve one’s self and their motto is “do what I say and not what I do”.

  68. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Corrie says: “You know, if we would all understand the liberty we had in Christ to live out our calling within the parameters set by His word, this patriocentricity would not even be a problem. It would be a non-issue. If we understood the liberty Christ bought for us with His own blood we would not make up silly rules for those under our authority to follow just for the heck of it. Christ allows us liberty, we should follow His example. Who are we to dictate every jot and tittle to those under us, especially to those who are our very own flesh?”

    Selah! Hallelujah!

  69. Kate Says:

    I just wanted to point out that his disclosure of the charitable donations of the Epsteins could have been avoided by Jen or her moderator by not allowing the comment through. Privately, Jen could have interacting with Chris to point out this concern to him. If it was his mistake, because he was focused on addressing the concern of “lifetime supporter” status with the Epsteins, this conversation about reporting him to the IRS could have been avoided.

  70. sarah Says:

    “So give your IRS agent a hug. They are people too!”

    This actually happened to my parents. They were audited the other year – turned out the IRS owed them more money (not a shock when you have as many dependents as my dad). They left with a check. The agent gave my dad a hug when he left. True story.

  71. David M Zuniga Says:

    Heh… they left the audit with a check, but the Congress had already taken a great many times MORE than that check, because your folks have had their checks skimmed by IRS all their lives.

    So you and I will just have to agree to disagree about Tax Honesty, Sarah. But I sure agree with you that people should NOT hold hatred in their hearts for the average IRS employee. They don’t know the law, they just do what they’re told. Regardless what “Lawdog” may suggest about ‘double agents’, some of the best spokesmen for Tax Honesty were former IRS employees.

    Everyone deserves to be treated humanly, especially by those of us who call ourselves Christians.

  72. Rebecca Says:

    I remember some years back when there were a number of complaints about IRS agents, and the IRS took pains to train them to be more…well, friendly. I made jokes about the “kinder, gentler IRS”. (I had dealt with the IRS in the corporate world, and it was almost comical how threatening some of their employees enjoyed being.)

    Anyway, we had a big mess-up with the IRS owing us money for one year and us owing for another. I spoke to a really nice gentleman from the IRS who straightened out the whole mess for me, when our accountant had pretty much thrown up his hands and suggested we pay what we owe and then wait for them to refund what they owed us. The IRS agent thought this idea was as ludicrous as I did. At the end of our phone conversation, I told him, “It really is true that the IRS is now kinder and gentler.” He quipped, “Tell that to the last person I talked to, who screamed at me the whole time.”

  73. Corrie Says:

    Kate,

    Not everyone is moderated.

  74. Jen Says:

    Kate: “I just wanted to point out that his disclosure of the charitable donations of the Epsteins could have been avoided by Jen or her moderator by not allowing the comment through.”

    Kate, while hindsight is always 20/20, even this wouldn’t have worked in this situation because tax law is not my specialty. The reason it didn’t bother me in the first place was because I didn’t realize he’d broken the law until Scott pointed it out. But I thank you for a good suggestion, Kate.

  75. Lin Says:

    “As long as you obey laws and tell the truth, no American has anything to fear, .”

    What truth? Seems they do not even know the code! I finally hired an ex-IRS agent to represent me. (BTW: This was a business audit. Not personal)

    You know why he quit the IRS? Because his boss insisted he go forward with the eviction of a forclosure on the home of a childless widow dying of cancer. The ex-IRS guy wanted to wait the mere 2 months she was expected to live. No go. So he quit…he could not do it. He was one of the good guys who gave up his pension to get out of there.


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