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Indiana’s Religion Problem

29.03.2015 (1:13 pm) – Filed under: Political Correctness,Politics ::

I was going to let this issue pass, as I let so many irritants go these days, but the dogged persistence of Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s opponents is such that they simply must be countered.  And not countered just by me, but by every person in the free world with the brains and courage to think for themselves.

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Liberal feel-gooders hate Indiana’s new law both because it wasn’t their idea – which is a prime concern of a certain type of self-important activist – and because it correctly paints the federal government’s drastic overreach in the Hobby Lobby case for what it was: a bare-knuckles attempt by big-government liberals to beat down a company that stood on principle and spoke the truth rather than knuckle under to the anti-freedom demagogues in power in Washington.

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is a direct repudiation of that bully tactic. Liberals and special interest groups hate the new law, but how many of the outraged leftists who are stamping their little feet have actually read the text of the bill as passed? A more innocuous set of paragraphs I have rarely come across.

Nevertheless, the current crop of liberals reject the law’s inherent fairness simply because it acknowledges the sovereignty of the 1st Amendment and protects religion from government interference over their revisionist agendas.  Other unforgivable problems with the law are that it acknowledges the possibility that there might be a God who created this world – including liberals and their anti-God mantras – and it rejects the heavy-handed government thuggery that was used to mug Hobby Lobby when the company dared to have a conscience that dictated different principles than today’s neo-liberals.

To be sure, freedom means nothing to these people, despite the fact that it is freedom that gives them the right to be wrong – and to be vocal about it.

To these neo-libs, freedom is the freedom to agree with them, period. Disagree and your right to unrestricted speech will ignored or worse. You will be shouted down, branded as scum in the press, or publicly humiliated or threatened. It’s worse still if you are a business owner: We’ve seen time and again those liberal activist thugs who show up inside places of business and proceed to terrorize owners, employees, and customers of those who dare to oppose their agenda, publicly or privately, or worse still, donate money to a politician whose platform doesn’t support their misanthropic ideas.

Given this backdrop, it’s quite an historic achievement for Indiana to pass this law at this time. Imagine the courage lawmakers had to possess to enact the legislation knowing full-well what would happen afterward. They persevered for one reason: because the voters of Indiana wanted them to.  Perhaps liberals could learn something by simply understanding how deeply the average American holds his/her right to simply be left alone.

This is what Indiana’s new law is all about: the ability for citizens and corporations to conduct their affairs as they see fit, without interference from D.C. know-it-alls and the radical activists who control the social agenda on Capitol Hill. We simply want to live our lives in peace, without special interests interfering in our affairs and if it takes legislation such as Indiana’s to restore order to American governance then so be it.

Unfortunately, that is the real problem with Indiana’s RFRA: It will not make government work again.  In fact, it will only make things worse.

Understand that by making things worse I don’t mean the infantile whining and temper tantrums that liberals are throwing in the here-and-now. This is merely the wailing of the defeated and crying over spilled milk rarely gets it back in the glass.  They are of no consequence.

The true problem is, that by legally constraining government in the name of protecting religious freedom, Indiana has opened itself up to a vast expansion of the definition of religion itself.  With RFRA as law, how can the state require that Muslim women unveil themselves for official ID photos or during encounters with law enforcement or transportation authorities?  How can the state discriminate against perverse cults who commit polygamy, abuse children, or commit animal sacrifice in the name of their fantastical religion?  How can a school board even enforce a simple dress code if misguided parents simply declare their child’s ripped jeans and torn shirt a symbol of their deeply-held faith in the power of slovenliness?

As Pandora found, some boxes are better left unopened. I’m afraid that RFRA is one of them. Not because there is any value in liberals’ arguments against it – because of big government’s intrusiveness, in principle there is ample need for the new law. It’s simply that in practice, RFRA is likely to create more problems than it solves.

What politicians and activists, particularly those of the liberal left but also those on the right, never seem to understand is that every law is inherently discriminatory. By definition, the sole purpose of law is to discriminate in favor of Behavior A at the expense of Behavior B.  Every new law creates a set of winners and a set of losers, which is why major new legislation is rarely implemented without discord.

In this case, liberals and the high-strung special interest groups who so vocally control them are terrified that their so-called “progressive” agenda may be stalled by Indiana’s new law. That or they’re pretending to be in order to gain face time in the press.  19 other states already have similar laws on the books and guess what? The liberal agenda is alive and well. So why the uproar now? It’s not about real anti-gay, anti-Muslin, anti-purple people discrimination.  It’s about a legislative defeat and a potential loss of momentum in the arena of social engineering, a venue in which liberals have been winning the war for America’s soul, one special interest case at a time.

Now Mike Pence has had the temerity to sign a bill already passed by the state legislature.  The bill’s passage demonstrates the will of the people of Indiana.  Pence’s small act of ratifying the bill was akin to throwing a bucket of cold water in the faces of the neo-liberal leadership, who are accustomed to getting their way at every turn.  How dare Governor Pence enact the will of his state’s citizens!  Now he is paying the price in full view of the public eye.

In the midst of this media kerfuffle it’s imperative to bear in mind that liberals’ rancor is not about actual discrimination against anyone.  It is about a political loss that they fear might keep them from keeping hold of the power to bully the next Hobby Lobby, the next Chik-fil-A, the next John Q. Public, who fails to follow their one-way, our-way view of freedom in this country.

This is why Mike Pence needs and deserves the support of freedom-loving Americans everywhere.  Regardless of the problems inherent in the RFRA law, regardless of how much pressure is applied by liberal activists and the media, and regardless of how high the political stakes get, Governor Pence must not back down.  The will of the people must not be ignored.  That is what Democracy is all about.

 

Of Men and Prejudices

20.04.2011 (4:40 pm) – Filed under: Philosophy,Political Correctness,Society ::

The idea that prejudices can and should be eliminated is a fallacy. So long as a man can observe and judge, he will use information to generalize about groups of people, some favorably and others not. Ultimately the question comes down to whether an individual should be allowed to form his own opinion, whether right or wrong, or be forced to accept and espouse the common wisdom. The answer should be obvious.

Jeff Goldstein on the Paradox of Academia and Intellectual Freedom

27.03.2010 (9:44 am) – Filed under: Political Correctness ::

On his Protein Wisdom blog, Jeff writes about an argument he’s had with a former instructor:

I don’t pretend to champion creative expression and individuality of thought, then turn around and agitate for the silencing of speech I don’t like.

I’d rather make my living, such as it as, as an indigent jerk than as a tenured hypocrite growing fat off platitudes about free speech that I don’t actually believe.

Jeff’s right, of course. What passes for intellectualism on-campus is too often the me-too political correctness demanded by university peers. Agree and you’re part of the club; disagree and you’re a pariah.

Aunt Murders Toddler; Islam Insulted by Booking Photo

11.04.2009 (11:49 am) – Filed under: Crime,Islam,Political Correctness ::

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In Chicago, Nour Hadid was arrested for beating her 2-year-old niece to death over a period of 4 days using “a wooden spoon, a stick and shoes” in retaliation after her husband accused Nour of stealing from him. 

Hadid has confessed to the crime but the little girl’s death doesn’t seem to be what’s important to her husband, Alaeddin Hadid:

Alaeddin Hadid – who insists his wife is innocent – said Orland Park police are “really going to be in big trouble” for releasing the woman’s booking photo to the news media after she was charged with first-degree murder.

The Hadids are Muslims and Nour “never leaves the home without covering up,” said Alaeddin, who’s vowed to sue.

By custom, some practicing Muslim women wear the hijab, or headscarf, and cover their arms and legs when in public.

In the mug shot, a bare-headed and obviously emotional Nour appears to be protecting her modesty with her hands.

“It is against our religion; we do not do this in our culture,” Alaeddin said.

Sue, by all means.  With a little luck the Hadids will run into a jury with the courage to remind him that that he’s not living in his culture any longer and murderers are in fact booked and photographed according to standard police procedures in this country – regardless of where the killer hailed from.

If the photo is an “insult against our religion” as Hadid claims then he would do well to remember that some insults are deserved, never more so than in the case of a cold-blooded child killer.

As this case comes on the heels of Washoe County School District settling $400K on a Muslim student as a result of an alleged bullying incident involving her religion, it is an ideal opportunity for Chicago law enforcement officials to stick to standard operating procedure and demonstrate that the law and its consequences apply equally to every person in the land, regardless of class, creed, or religion.

To be fair, it would have been ideal for police to have given Mrs. Nour a t-shirt or whatnot for the photo.  Then again, it would have been better still for the woman not to have beaten a defenseless child to death.

Arizona State Right to Diss Obama

11.04.2009 (8:49 am) – Filed under: Political Correctness,Politics ::

Updated.

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Arizona State University is not planning to award Barack Obama an honorary doctorate degree in exchange for giving the commencement address at the school – and rightly so. 

According to the ASU State Press, ASU President Michael Crow told the committee that “significant contributions to education and society over the course of a person’s career merit consideration for an honorary degree.”

Becoming president of the United States is a great personal achievement, no doubt about it.  But in and of itself that achievement means very little for the country. 

Perhaps Mr. Obama’s policies, which I consider ill-advised on the whole, will rescue the country from its current economic troubles.  If so, he will have accomplished something worthy of such honor.  Or perhaps fate will provide him with other opportunities to prove himself in the coming years.  At this point Mr. Obama’s resume is paper-thin, too much so for the office he already holds.

Dawn Teo disagrees, saying that Mr. Obama’s accomplishments to-date are worthy enough of recognition.

If being a U.S. Senator and President of the United States — the so-called leader of the free world — is not enough to be deemed as having made significant contributions to society, Obama also has a long list of contributions to education. The first bill Obama sponsored in Congress was the HOPE Act. He developed comprehensive plans for students to receive education benefits in exchange for public service. Not to mention that he was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review, taught Constitutional law at an ivy league university, and, among many other accomplishments, served as a community organizer where established an adult education program and a college preparatory program in inner-city Chicago.

Good work, all of it.  But hardly unique or even noteworthy when one considers the background and experience of most of his former compatriots in the U.S. senator, most of whom possess much more experience at home and abroad.

Tenley, one of Dawn’s first commenters, had to pull the race card, naturally:

If becoming the first Black president of the United States isn’t groundbreaking enough social change for ASU’s little title I’m not sure what is (and I don’t know why on earth ASU would advertise that it’s not good enough in their book)

I’m sure Tenley isn’t sure, the idea of an objective standard being applied without need or race-based skewing obviously being a foreign one.

Barack Obama may have a great career as president.  A few years down the road such an honor may well be a no-brainer for schools like ASU.  But at this point he’s only been in office about 11 weeks.  It’s a little early for the throwing of laurels and wreaths, wouldn’t you say?

Update

Arizona State University now appears poised to reverse its policy of not granting honorary degrees to sitting politicians:

Michael M. Crow, president of Arizona State University, tells POLITICO that the school is reconsidering its widely mocked plans not to give President Barack Obama an honorary degree when he speaks at commencement on May 13 and will “honor him in every way possible.”

“There was no intended slight,” Crow said by telephone from his office in Tempe. “We had not yet talked about what honors we might give him as our commencement speaker, and we still have a month to work all that out. We don’t want anyone to think we do not recognize what he has achieved and what he means in America.”

A formal decision has not been made, but it was clear from Crow’s comments that the university is headed in that direction. ASU risked becoming a national punch line if it did not quickly retreat from its policy against conferring honorary degrees on a sitting politician.

“Typically, the university’s policy relative to honorary degrees has been that people who are sitting politicians, we don’t given an honorary degree,” he explained. “It’s kind of a local thing. We’ve gotten a huge reaction from a lot of folks as if some decision was made not to give him one. Far from it.”

Mistake.  There’s no reason for ASU to change its policy.  Moreover, the honor conferred by an honorary degree is lost if that degree is granted as a result of public pressure, even more so when the whining is accusatory and insulting, as it is at HuffPo.

PC Librarians Ban Christmas at UNC

05.12.2008 (11:58 pm) – Filed under: Education,Political Correctness,Stupidity ::

What could be more American than a Christmas tree in December?  Apple pie in July, perhaps.  But politically correct librarians and at least one mid-level bureaucrat in administration at the University of North Carolina don’t seem to think that Christmas is something to celebrate and have banned the university’s decades-old tradition of displaying Christmas trees in the school’s libraries.  Can the Grinch have infiltrated UNC’s upper management?  Seems no one there has a heart, be it ever so tiny.

The Charlotte Observer:

The trees, which have stood in the lobby areas of Wilson and Davis libraries each December, were kept in storage this year at the behest of Sarah Michalak, the associate provost for university libraries.

Aside from the fact that a UNC Chapel Hill library is a public facility, Michalak said, libraries are places where information from all corners of the world and all belief systems is offered without judgment. Displaying one particular religion’s symbols is antithetical to that philosophy, she said.

“We strive in our collection to have a wide variety of ideas,” she said. “It doesn’t seem right to celebrate one particular set of customs.”

It doesn’t?  What if those customs are what built the country that your school resides in?  What if those customs form the core of what is quite frankly one of only a handful of nations in the world worth living in?  And what if those quaint, discardable customs created the Constitution that grants you the freedom to denigrate the beliefs of the overwhelming majority of your countrymen and deny them the right to affirm their faith as their forefathers – and yours – did?

A few years ago I worked at a company where the president personally gave me a little white towel emblazoned with an image that epitomized the organization’s philosophy. 

“If you ever hear someone in this company spouting a line of bullshit I expect you to throw down this towel and call them out on it immediately,” he said in his cool Australian twang and gave me a wink and a slap on the back so that I would know he meant it.

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It’s unfortunate he’s not in leadership at UNC, because someone with a little courage and a little authority there needs to call bullshit on the overly politically correct, mean-spirited, anti-Christian, anti-American librarians, tell them to shush, and pull the Christmas decorations out of storage ASAP.

What an embarrassment to the university, its students, and to the state of North Carolina.  If I were the president of UNC – and I wish to God I was – I’d have Ms. Michalak’s letter of resignation on my desk by Monday morning.

In the proper frame of reference, Michalak’s ideas about accommodating a wide variety of ideas on campus are wonderful.  But not at the expense of compromising American traditions and American’s freedom to worship as we always have.

Does anyone in authority at UNC have the guts to say, “Enough of this nonsense.  We do things a certain way in America and that includes celebrating Christmas in our homes, on our streets, and in our businesses and schools.  I will personally make sure that we will continue to do so as long as my watch continues.”

Anyone?

Anyone at all?

(Crickets chirping…)

The Observer’s poll of nearly 8000 readers shows that 96% of North Carolinians say that public libraries should host Christmas displays during the season.  96%.  That’s a pretty convincing indication of what local citizens want, don’t you think?

If you’re in the 4%, I’m sorry to have to be the one tell you this.  But like I said a while back, common sense and common courtesy both dictate that you should put your right to use legal force on ice and look the other way for a couple of weeks while 96% of your fellow Americans celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. 

God knows we have to put up with enough of your B.S. the other 11 months of the year that you ought to leave our right to celebrate as this country has always celebrated alone.

Hallmark Store Demonstrates Decency

25.08.2008 (9:28 pm) – Filed under: Gay Rights,Law,Medicine,Political Correctness ::

This little ditty says that some Hallmark stores owned by a small-time franchisee are refusing to sell the company’s new greeting cards that celebrate homosexual themes.

Good for them.  Franchise owner or not, a business person should be able to determine what merchandise is on the shelves of his/her store.  Here’s hoping they have the courage to hold out against the backlash that is undoubtedly heading their way.

At least the force that will be applied against these store owners is primarily economic.  In California, doctors offering reproductive services face legal penalties if they dare to follow their consciences when deciding whether to perform in vitro fertilization for homosexual couples or not.

The LA Times:

…the justices were clear on one point: Doctors, in the course of operating a business, cannot refuse a patient because of his or her sexual orientation, just as they would not be allowed to reject patients based on their race.

Physicians can refuse to perform any procedure, such as abortion or in vitro fertilization, that they find morally objectionable. But if they do perform such procedures, they cannot provide them to some groups of patients and not to others. It is true that artificial insemination is an elective procedure, not a matter of saving life or limb, but that’s not the issue here.

No?  Pray tell then, what exactly is the issue?

The arrogance of the California Supreme Court is simply staggering.  How dare these so-called guardians of the law presume to compel doctors – the best and brightest among us, perhaps the only professionals whose services are utterly irreplaceable – to perform acts that they find morally reprehensible? 

By what right do the judges lay claim to this legal power?

A clothing store may choose not to sell polo shirts. But once it sells polo shirts, it cannot withhold them from customers based on their race, religion, sexual orientation and so forth.

It’s preposterous to equate a highly trained medical professional to a common retailer, just as it’s ridiculous to compare the ultimate in human responsibility – the creation and nurturing of life – to t-shirt sales.  It’s nonsensical, this new leftist logic. 

Bear in mind that we’re not talking about whether lesbians can have the in vitro procedure – they can.  The issue is whether a doctor can be compelled under force of law to perform that procedure.  The answer, at least in California, is a crystal-clear, “Yes!”

If this is what law is in the 21st century, perhaps it is time to do away with this century’s perverse legalism and begin again.  Using this twisted logic, how long before it’s outright illegal for the mom-and-pop-owned Hallmark store to decline to sell gay greeting cards? 

Another question comes to mind as well.  Given a medical system in which doctors can be forced to perform procedures that are anathema to their beliefs, how long until physicians begin to quit the field and the quality of care declines as the best potential medical students pursue other fields?

Olympic Effort

20.08.2008 (4:06 pm) – Filed under: Political Correctness,Sports ::

I love the Olympics! I can’t wait for it to come again – summer or winter, I love em both. To me, the Olympic games epitomize what’s great about the American ideal: sacrifice, competition, commitment, reward. These athletes put more time in training that we do in our 9-5’s, living on a dream to become the best. They don’t give up, they work through injuries, setbacks, whatever, just to be able to compete against other athletes to see who’s best.

There is no other arena that I can think of that can at the same time show the agony of disappointment and the joy of victory. Take the 100m hurdles, for example. The pre-race favorite, Lolo Jones, hit the 2nd to last hurdle and lost the race. Watching her reaction as she crossed the finish line, one could feel the agony of what she was going through: she knew she had the race in her hand, she knew the gold was hers, and wham, she came up 2 inches short on a hurdle and it was gone. Poof! But then, Dawn Harper, who was the third USA qualifier during the Olympic trials, had a break out personal best run and finished golden. She was amazed, stunned, and just couldn’t believe it. All the work she put it, the commitment, the sacrifice, the competition, and then the reward. I love it!

How long will this last, I wonder?

More and more, competition is frowned upon as having no compassion for those that can’t compete at the same level.  In the guise of being tolerant of everyone’s feelings, we’re allowing people to strike down that which makes us all better: the desire to succeed!

Competition makes us better, it forces us to do things we otherwise would not have done in order to improve. It teaches us how to sacrifice; how to commit. If we’re all told that no one is to be better than someone else, what happens to the those ideals? They do transcend athletics, after all.

And then there’s the great evil: reward. Great effort should results in reward. Yet more and more we see less emphasis on being rewarded. We have little league teams now where everyone gets a trophy, just for participating. There are no awards for those that went the extra mile. When I was in 9th grade, I was on the freshman football team. At the end of the season, the coaches handed out letters to everyone (letters, for those of you that don’t know, go on letter jackets, and one is supposed to earn these by playing). I remember it like it was yesterday, everyone got them – even the jerk offs who didn’t try and didn’t give a damn. To me, the letter was worthless, and I never acknowledged it, even to this day.

Am I alone in this feeling? I think not, but the voices are growing more and more subdued.

Simply put, if there is no reward, there will be no effort, there will be no commitment. Without reward, one can not have competition, and there will be no success. Of course, I think that is exactly what a certain group of people want: all of us at the same level, none better than anyone else, none higher in stature. My insides just scream at this prospect, but I can’t deny the fear that it’s coming.

In the mean time, I have the Olympics to watch, and I can marvel at someone’s ability to do something so much better than I could ever hope to do.

Proper Crime Reporting

10.07.2008 (12:22 pm) – Filed under: Crime,Media,Political Correctness ::

The city of College Station, Texas knows how to properly report a crime – with a full description of the event and the suspect:

On July 09, 2008 at approximately 1654 hours, Officers from the College Station Police Department were dispatched to the intersection of the Highway 6 and William D Fitch for an aggravated robbery that just occurred.

The victim told police dispatchers that he was in his vehicle near the intersection of Highway 6 and William D. Fitch, when he was approached by a black male who threatened him with a handgun. The victim later stated that the male was standing in the middle of the roadway, pointing the weapon at him as he drove toward him. The male attempted to get into the victim’s vehicle by pulling on the driver’s door handle as the victim slowed down. The door was locked and the victim was able to drive off and call police.

College Station Police arrived and quickly located a black male matching the description given by the victim near the crime scene. He was taken into custody by an officer without incident. The male was armed with a weapon that was identified as a BB gun.

Excellent work – city officials deserve to be congratulated on having served the public good.

Big-city newspapers like the Houston Chronicle, among others, that refuse to provide a complete description of the suspect that includes race and ethnicity, fail in their responsibility to do likewise.

Thanks to J. H. for the tip.

Independence Day Lesson

05.07.2008 (1:03 am) – Filed under: Democracy,Islam,Political Correctness,World ::

Today’s lesson in why it is imperative for Americans to remember and fight for our way of life comes from England where two school boys were given detention after a teacher tried to force them to pray to Allah during a school exercise.

Parents were outraged that the two boys from year seven (11 to 12-year-olds) were punished for not wanting to take part in the practical demonstration of how Allah is worshipped.

They said forcing their children to take part in the exercise at Alsager High School, near Stoke-on-Trent – which included wearing Muslim headgear – was a breach of their human rights.

One parent, Sharon Luinen, said: "This isn’t right, it’s taking things too far.

"I understand that they have to learn about other religions. I can live with that but it is taking it a step too far to be punished because they wouldn’t join in Muslim prayer.

"Making them pray to Allah, who isn’t who they worship, is wrong…

Luinen is correct, of course, and the parents’ outrage entirely justified, in particular because of the inherently alien nature of Islam with regard to British society.

And the most salient point of all:

"…if Muslims were asked to go to church on Sunday and take Holy Communion there would be war."

England, along with the rest of Europe, is floundering, societally speaking, because of an inability to confront Islam directly.  Pointing out that Islam does not belong in Western Europe would be an epic breach of political correctness.  As such it cannot be done, regardless of the need.

Meanwhile, European school children are being subjected to inane exercises in multiculturalism like the one described above.  The result, whether intended or not, is the appeasement of those who spread Islam through the west and the punishment those who recognize the danger that spread brings with it.

Worse still, religious and civil authorities who ought to be the ones standing firmly behind English and western democratic norms are leading the appeasement agenda.  Witness Lord Phillips’ incredible statement in which he said:

"There is no reason why sharia principles, or any other religious code, should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution…"

On the contrary, there is every reason why Sharia should be denied a foothold in the English legal system.  Islamic law is incompatible with the most fundamental conventions of western democracies, including the rights of women to live as equals with men and the recognition of civil authorities as the supreme ruling body of the land, among others.

Think it can’t happen here?  Think again.  Multiculturalism and the political correctness it requires are both well established in this country as well.  When the systemic conflicts begin to take place here, will Americans have the fortitude to reject the relativism that such political correctness demands and stand up for the American way in the court rooms and legislatures of this country?

I hope so.  Damn few other countries are.

Happy Independence Day!