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Archive for the ‘Tolerance of the Rainbow Swastikas’ Category

Unbelievable! When you don’t have a narrow mind I guess you don’t think that way! – an old friend on Facebook, in posting a link to an occupydemocrats.com piece titled “Watch the Coca-Cola Ad that is Driving Conservative Xenophobes Nuts.”

I know that I have stated it before, but one of the single most pernicious lies about Attorney General Holder’s “Nation of Cowards” accusation is the implied belief that Americans will permit an honest discussion about anything.  Deflection and dissembling have been elevated to an art form for those with responsibility who refuse to take any for their failures.  That’s the reason why we still don’t know what President Obama was doing when he wasn’t doing anything to help Ambassador Chris Stevens, and the security detail that was denied aid.  It’s the reason why we can follow the trail of the “non-story” of IRS abuses from the former IRS official who was so convinced that the scandal isn’t a scandal that she pleaded the Fifth before Congress, to the White House, where the person in charge can apparently hire people who can act completely on their own, without any responsibility being taken for those actions by those that did the hiring.  Well, that and racism…because no one would have the temerity to ask such questions of a white President.

I can’t help but to be both alarmed and exasperated in a climate where people can “rule”, but not be responsible for what happens on their watch, and where “tolerance” is repeatedly preached by those who have none for those who disagree with them, and believe that their offense at an opposing viewpoint permits them to discredit the offending opinion by denunciation.  And even that isn’t enough, if the opposing opinion is uttered by a public figure.  Punishment becomes the order of the day, with threats of boycotts and attempts to get the offender fired, like in the case of Phil Robertson.  (With an almost reckless disregard for the fact that Dan Savage is still considered an expert on bullying, not because of his deft prowess and considerable skill at practicing it, but because he is against it…for some people.)

As disappointing as this state of affairs is, it shouldn’t be too unexpected.  After all, we have United States Supreme Court Justices engaging in the same kind of behavior from the bench.
(Justice Kennedy in Windsor v. United States, at pg 20 “The Constitution’s guarantee of equality “must at the very least mean that a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot” justify disparate treatment of that group.”)

Justice Scalia rightly noted what had occurred with this statement, and made this clear in his dissent.

The majority concludes that the only motive for this Act was the “bare . . . desire to harm a politically unpopular group.” Ante, at 20. Bear in mind that the object of this condemnation is not the legislature of some once-Confederate Southern state (familiar objects of the Court’s scorn, see, e.g.Edwards v. Aguillard482 U. S. 578 (1987) ), but our respected coordinate branches, the Congress and Presidency of the United States. Laying such a charge against them should require the most extraordinary evidence, and I would have thought that every attempt would be made to indulge a more anodyne explanation for the statute. The majority does the opposite—affirmatively concealing from the reader the arguments that exist in justification. It makes only a passing mention of the “arguments put forward” by the Act’s defenders, and does not even trouble to paraphrase or describe them. See ante, at 21. I imagine that this is because it is harder to maintain the illusion of the Act’s supporters as unhinged members of a wild-eyed lynch mob when one first describes their views as they see them. [Emphasis Mine]


And so this is where we find ourselves.  Opposition to gay marriage is unquestionably the result of hatred or homophobia.  No other rational explanation exists.  Opposition to the President and his policies is because of racism.  No other rational explanation exists.

And when you disagree with a commercial that takes a lyrical celebration of America, and morphs it into a multi-cultural reinterpretation in the languages of other nations, it’s because you’re a xenophobe.  It can’t be that you see it as yet another assault on the ties that make e pluribus unum.  It can’t be that you understand that language shapes thoughts and perceptions, and become the lens through which understanding is formed.  It can’t be because you aren’t convinced pressing “1” for English has been an option that has helped immigrants think of themselves as Americans first, and hyphens a distant second.

No.  Instead, you’re either afraid of the “feriners”, or filled with hatred of them.  Or there is something wrong with your cognitive abilities.   No valid reason for objection exists.  Because those with opposite views just know this to be true.

I could ask “What is the value of freedom of expression when those that tout the “correct” viewpoints won’t defend them and instead shout down those who oppose them?”, but it might mean more when those touting today’s “correct” viewpoints find they have reason to ask the same question tomorrow, or next week, or next month…

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A friend of mine posted a link to an article this morning he prefaced with the question “Is sacrificing your religious liberty the price of market participation?”  The article, by Benjamin Wiker, entitled “The Religious-Liberty Quagmire to Come” discusses a recent Slate article sympathetic with the current HHS mandate overreach in which government attempts to abrogate the rights of people to exercise their religious liberty with their property, specifically duly chartered legal business entities.

The article’s author opposes the viewpoints expressed in the Slate article, by author Dalia Lithwick.  I oppose them also, but on grounds originating not just in my studies, but also by practical experience and logic.

The first point raised is this:

Lithwick argues, first of all, that corporations are distinct entities from individuals.

This is true in a literal sense.  Corporations have a legal identity that are separate from their owners in the same way that I have a legal identity that is separate from my oldest son.  You’ll note that I did not use my wife in that example.  It was not an accident.  While she is indeed an entity that is distinct from myself, we happen to live in a community property state, so we “enjoy” the dual status of having distinct legal identities, while legally being considered as having the same legal identity for legal, and more to the point, commercial, purposes.  This reality is imposed upon us by the state, which applies this status based upon an action we took based on a shared religious conviction, and retain based upon that same shared religious conviction.  We are each “owners” of that resultant fictional legal entity known as a “marital community”, which, at least in our case, exists and acts in both personal and commercial transactions in ways that express or are the result of our individual religious beliefs.

While individuals can have religious beliefs, corporations can’t. Once you establish a corporation, it is automatically a secular corporation.

This is what we called in law school a “false starting premise”.  The reason is simple.  The state’s blessing to act as a corporate entity does not automatically confer a “secular” (like the author of the piece, I also object to the common use of the word “secular”, and for the same reasons, however, for the purpose of this essay, I will use it in the context of the incorrectly presumed “neutrality” in which it is often used) status on the resulting entity.  The reason for this is simple.  State enabling statutes almost always permit corporations and limited liability companies to be established “for any lawful purpose”, which by its nature would include the conducting of any lawful business in a manner consistent with the religious faith of the owners of the entity in question.  In fact, thanks to the First Amendment, and its extension to the individual states, the states would be legally prohibited from restricting individuals from forming entities for such purposes.

The other obvious weakness in this rather remarkable assertion from Ms. Lithwick would be the fact that churches often incorporate as non-profit corporations in order to apply for Section 501(c)(3) status so that donations, gifts, and tithes maybe tax deductible to the donor. (Contrary to popular opinion, churches do not have to apply for this status to be tax-free.  They are already tax-free, as they should be, as a result of the First Amendment.)

Wiker states that Lithwick’s assertion is rooted in the decision in the Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. decision.  The corporation is owned by a Mennonite Family which employs 950 people.  The family opposes the HHS mandates regarding abortion on religious grounds.  The Federal Judge hearing the case concluded:

“We simply cannot understand how a for-profit, secular corporation — apart from its owners — can exercise religion,” circuit Judge Robert Cowen wrote. “A holding to the contrary … would eviscerate the fundamental principle that a corporation is a legally distinct entity from its owners.”

Aside from the naked and unsupported (and unsupportable) conclusion that a corporation is secular, there are a few other weaknesses.  State law would rightfully permit me to draft and file for a client Articles of Incorporation or a Certificate of Formation establishing that the entity is “being formed for the express purpose of selling ice cream, and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, and any other lawful purpose,”, and there is nothing that the state or the Federal government could Constitutionally do to prevent me from doing so. Being a distinct legal entity doesn’t mean that a corporation cannot express or conduct itself based upon a specific political or religious viewpoint.  And while there are instances in which government may lawfully restrict what an owner does with its private property in certain balancing of the equities situations, at this time, I can think of none which directly conflict with the right of conscience.

The assertion of an automatic secular nature of corporations based on a theory of complete segregation between a legal entity and those that own them faces other philosophical and logical difficulties aside from being an assumption of a fact not in evidence.  First among them is the fact that one of the pillars the good Judge rests his opinion on is the notion that that an individual can exercise religious freedom, but a corporation cannot.  This point ignores the fact that corporations ARE allowed to exercise other First Amendment rights, such as freedom of speech, and Freedom of Association, which is the main principle underlying the freedom to enter into contracts with people of your choosing, or the freedom to hire people who you think make a good fit with your corporation, and will make a good employee.  Recognizing this, there is no logical or legal basis to presume that these freedoms can be exercised by a corporation or an LLC, but that those same entities can or should be barred from exercising religious freedom to act in a manner consistent with the religious beliefs of its owner.

The second weakness with this assertion is the fact that the income from many of these “separate, distinct legal entities” is reported not on a separate tax form for that entity, but on the personal tax forms for those who own those entities, which would hardly make sense if these were indeed separate and distinct from their owners.

The third weakness of this viewpoint is that our economy would be in much worse shape without corporations and LLCs because they make it possible for more people to provide goods and services at prices and in quantities that the risk that they would necessarily have to bear individually would either make prohibitively expensive, or practically impossible to provide.  While the very word “corporation” often evokes the image of boardrooms filled with grey suits making decisions that impact the livelihood of hundreds or thousands, or more, the fact is that the majority of corporations are closely-held businesses, where the ownership consists of a individuals, or small numbers of people, often members of the same family, or of one or two families. And in some instances, this is also true of those large corporations that I previously spoke of.  Ford is one example that comes to mind.  However, even if it wasn’t for the fact that a majority of these entities are small, closely held corporations or LLCs that permit individuals to offer products or services because of the risk management that the law permits through the use of these entities, there is also the fact that the law DOES allow certain individuals who offer goods and services through corporations and LLCs to refuse to offer those goods and services based on the individual owner’s right of conscience and/or religious beliefs, among other factors.  Doctors, who can refuse to perform abortions, and attorneys, who can refuse representation based on any factor at all, are two that come to mind.  While competence or having the requisite skill are among the reasons for these rights of refusal, they are not the ONLY ones.  And while it might be tempting to say that the personal nature of services rendered by these professions support such an exemption, the fact is that for nearly all closely-held business entities, the nature of what those individuals do is personal.  For such individuals, their business is at the forefront of their thinking.  It is the first thing they think of in the morning, it is what they contemplate as they drift off to sleep at night.  Their businesses ARE an expression of who they are, and  that “separate legal entity” invariably becomes associated with the individuals who own them.  The manner in which they conduct their business often expresses an opinion or a philosophy held dear to the owner of that business.  It is not reasonable or logical to suggest or expect that these individuals segregate their religious and spiritual identity and activity from the profession or career that they otherwise breathe and eat; to do so would be a denial of the very essence of the person that the law and society would find morally objectionable and repugnant if any other belief or activity was being discussed instead of the free exercise of religion. This is no less true for a baker of wedding cakes, or a photographer than it is for a doctor or a lawyer who has incorporated so they can ply their trade without risking the loss of everything they own and have worked for to one lawsuit.

Another logical weakness in this assertion is that many of these entities often are operated day-to-day in accordance with various codes of ethics voluntarily committed to by the owners and employees of the corporations and LLCs.  For an entity to be, even indirectly, conducted according to such a code of ethics, but presumably not capable of exercising a religious point of view is facially absurd.

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I’d like to think that things will get better, but the current prevailing prejudice against religion in some of the most litigious groups in our society leads me to believe that we’re in for a lengthy fight to preserve our first liberties.  Especially if examples such as the New Mexico photographer, and the pink swastika philosophy that seeks to punish those who do not wish to participate in their activities, regardless of whether not it makes any logical sense to compel those who object with their beliefs to provide a personal service or product is any indication.  But then, with a federal government that is engaging in similar unconstitutional behavior as a guide, there really is no reason to be surprised at the bold entitlement demonstrated in this strategy, which is why legal interest groups such as the ADF are going to become increasingly important and need our help in the coming years.

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What a great week.

We get a Supreme Court ruling on DOMA that WILL be used to attack the exercise of the First Amendment in a “historic” and “unprecedented” way, thanks to a remarkably intemperate ruling written by Justice Kennedy, who decided in his ruling in the DOMA case (United States v. Windsor) that the only purpose in opposing same-sex marriage MUST be malicious, which will be used against churches and religious organizations by a cabal of Christian Derangement Syndrome sufferers and the pink swastika wearing rainbow warriors of “tolerance”. Not content with this decision, the court also issued a ruling on the Prop 8 case (Hollingsworth v. Perry), in which the court came to the rather curious conclusion that you can have standing to be sued, but not have standing to defend against a suit. Such legal alchemy is no longer shocking to me, but the bigger implication of this suit is far more stunning. The net effect of this ruling is that the people of a state can use the initiative process to make laws that their elected officials WON’T, and if their governor and their attorney general refuse to defend against legal challenges, then the proponents of the initiative don’t have standing to defend against those same legal challenges. The silence from the usual defenders of “democracy” is disappointing, but predictable.

After the ruling was released, I was sure I heard the sound of hands rubbing together in Olympia, as the Governor and the Democrats in Olympia are making plans for the next session when the Senate can’t stop them, and they can tax to their grubby little hearts’ content, and then fail to defend a trumped-up lawsuit against an initiative telling them “No.” It will be even less trouble than having the courts do them a solid on overturning our $30.00 license tabs…again, and again, and again.

Then we have the “Tale of Two Apologies”. The first is Paula Deen, a southern cook, with a show on the Food Network and various franchises and a pending cookbook, who admitted in a deposition to having used a racist slur 30 years ago, driving the grievance pimp and race hustling industry into overdrive. Within a week, she lost her show, every business relationship she had, and her publisher dumped her on the cusp of publishing her latest cookbook, despite having given an unnecessary apology for the sin of saying a word frequently used and glorified by members of the supposedly aggrieved class. Incidents like this, and the now infamous Imus incident are proof that Eric Holder was right about us being unable to have an honest conversation about race in this country. When words are only off-limits to one class of persons, and the ones who aren’t restricted are allowed to destroy the careers of those restricted class if they admit to uttering “Voldemort” in the distant past, no honest conversation about race is possible. But at least Jesse Jackson got a few extra moments in the limelight when he offered to help Deen with her “rehabilitation”, so at least his lucrative franchise preserving this perverse status quo will be maintained.

On the other hand, we have Noted Thoughtless Pig, Alec Baldwin, once again launching himself on a gay-slur (I refuse to say “homophobic”, as it would indicate fear, and given what he said, I don’t think he fears gays, I think he holds them in contempt) laden Twitter tirade against a Guardian reporter who made some unflattering allegations about Baldwin’s wife’s behavior at James Gandolfini’s funeral. This isn’t the first time that Baldwin’s Tweeting thumbs have caused him trouble, as he’s tweeted racist slurs before. However, unlike Deen, who said “Voldemort” 30 years ago, when I last checked, Baldwin still had a cushy gig with Capital One, and hasn’t been fired by any of his other employers. While Anderson Cooper and Andrew Sullivan noted the apparent lack of outrage for Baldwin’s rhetorical diarrhea, he seems largely to have gotten a pass, despite the apology which makes claims that are incongruous with his tweets.

I’m not in favor of people having their lives and careers ruined over things they say. That doesn’t mean I’m adverse to speaking out when I think what they say is wrong, dangerous, stupid, etc. I do think that DEMANDING that people being cut off from their means of making a living because they said something that offended someone smacks just a little too much of thought policing for me to be comfortable with. It’s one thing to have no truck with people who offend you (or those who employ them), but it’s quite another to have the expectation that others must share your outrage, and participate in a particularly brutal (and arbitrary) form of collective punishment, which is to be arbitrarily and selectively applied by those who set themselves up as the judge and jury of such socially criminal acts. My contempt is reserved for the deciders who pretend to be guided by such principles as “civility” and a cockeyed notion of “fairness” that only they can mystically discern, according to a subjective standard that we mere mortals are terminally incapable of recognizing, let alone grokking. This contempt is also reserved for the mindless numbers who surrender their own discernment with nary a taxed brain cell to these morally bankrupt clods who have usurped an authority that they prove themselves too hypocritical to objectively wield when they allow such a disparity of outcome in two such similar public faux pas. I could be crass, and suggest that the lesson here is the same one more artfully demonstrated by George Orwell so many years ago in the classic “Animal Farm”, when he observed that “Some animals are more equal than others.”, a concept that seems to have escaped (I hate myself for even using this terminology) “the gay community”, which has struggled so long to enact a dubious and dishonest notion of “equality”, and was given a major victory in this campaign this week by the courts. Instead, I will say that an apology IS owed to someone, and in the great progressive tradition of claiming authority not conferred upon me, I will speak for America when I say:

“I am sorry, Paula Deen. I’m sorry that you believed in the notion of a “post-racial America”, uttered by a President that you voted for, when what he, and many in his party meant was a “Reverse-racial America”, where only white people can be racist, and any excuse to render such a verdict and execute sentence will be pursued by our “betters” in the media, and where your celebrity won’t be enough to protect you, since you failed to write checks to the “right” interest groups. Welcome to Bizzaro World.”

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TO THE OFFICERS OF THE FIRST BRIGADE OF THE THIRD
DIVISION OF THE MILITIA OF MASSACHUSETTS
11 October, 1798

      GENTLEMEN
   I have received from Major-General Hull and Brigadier-General Walker your unanimous address from Lexington, animated with a martial spirit, and expressed with a military dignity becoming your character and the memorable plains on which it was adopted.
   While our country remains untainted with the principles and manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world; while she continues sincere, and incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence. But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candor, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world; because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
   An address from the officers commanding two thousand eight hundred men, consisting of such substantial citizens as are able and willing at their own expense completely to arm and clothe themselves in handsome uniforms, does honor to that division of the militia which has done so much honor to its country.
   Oaths in this country are as yet universally considered as sacred obligations. That which you have taken and so solemnly repeated on that venerable spot, is an ample pledge of your sincerity and devotion to your country and its government.

JOHN ADAMS.      

 

John Adams, Charles Francis Adams. The works of John Adams, second president of the United States: with a life of the author, notes and illustrations, Volume 9. Little, Brown and Company. 1854.
 
 

I have given this correspondence much thought in recent times, and again this week. Largely because of the largely inane wishcastings of people such as Professor Louis Michael Seidman, who made the weakest legal and logical pitch for ending what he laughably called “our Constitutional addiction”, at the same time there is much talk from Representatives, Senators, and even the President and Vice President, all of whom have sworn unqualified oaths to protect and defend the Constitution, about imposing new gun controls that would do nothing to prevent the recent events that have allowed these tyrants-in-training to publicly pontificate about their extra Constitutional wank fantasies to regulate an activity that they are plainly and specifically prohibited from infringing upon. While the most malevolent among them will simply refuse to be honest about their reasons for first believing that there is an asterisk and a footnote to the Second Amendment that provides an excuse to disregard the words “…shall not be infringed.”, others will at least admit that it is because they believe that since some clearly cannot be trusted with such liberty, that nearly all should be deprived of it. They don’t phrase it that way, but whether they say things like “You don’t need a gun that shoots 10 bullets to kill a deer.” or they say “No one needs a magazine that holds 30 rounds!”, or “Why does anyone need 7000 rounds of ammunition?”, it is all based on the same implication: If John and Jane Q. Citizen are allowed to be so armed, then they simply won’t be able to control themselves. This ignores the fact that thousands of Americans are armed in precisely this manner every day, and commit no crime, nor go on any shooting spree. Nevertheless, recent massacres committed by people who suffer either from a lack of impulse control, or mental defect have provided all the justification necessary in the little minds that presume that no one but themselves should be trusted with such instrumentalities, and have so fixed themselves to the task of using tragedy to assume authority that was never theirs to wield, which brings me to the reason I have been pondering this letter for quite a while now.

I know that I’m not the only person to wonder why it is we have become an entitlement society. While I do not use the term in direct reference to the expansive, illegal, and immoral expansion of the welfare state to the point where it eclipses many freedoms that should still be taken for granted rather than being endangered as government has grown to envelop spheres of influence that it was never meant to occupy, these entitlements are a symptom of the attitude that has brought us here, and one of the tools that have made it possible. I also know that it is not a coincidence that when the single greatest implement of self-control, which is the best governance of all, has been systematically denigrated, demoted, and pushed from the public square until any public practice of it at all is reduced hollow shell of something that no longer has any significance for a people taught to eschew it. The problem is that when Jefferson’s correspondence was disingenuously cherry-picked into the Constitution, the only possible end result was a bigger government, because there was no longer any large-scale inculcation of the difference between liberty and license, and no incentive for those leading society to continue to instruct people in the distinction between the two. As a result, more and more people became “entitled”. Entitled to freedom without responsibility. Entitled to lead without accountability. Entitled to have government take from others on your behalf. Entitled to have things government permitted promoted to the status of “rights”. Entitled to satisfy every desire and perversion without having others to name these excesses as such. Entitled to the basest contempt for those who refused to surrender their integrity to these practices. Entitled to condemn virtue and rewrite history. Entitled to pervert or ignore the protections conferred upon the rights of the individual by the only true “social contract” that this nation has ever had.

And I’m convinced that it wasn’t an accident. If man will not govern himself, than governments will do it for them, placing the highest priority on maintaining peace, even if the lack of public discord is an illusion. At this point, barring an act of divine providence, I see it as a race. Either government steps up its efforts to consolidate power and rid itself of the concept of consent of the governed, or the excesses and perversions accelerate to the point where society breaks down under the weight of contradiction, and a mass of the people decide they prefer meek servitude to the chaos of chance and the burden of their own safety and commanding their own destinies. Neither picture is a happy one, and frankly, does little to acquit us as a society for what we have done with what better men gave their treasure, their blood, and even their lives to give to us.

Increasingly, all I have left is prayer, and freedom of Christian liberty, because what exists in the physical is an impending nasty, brutish, and shortness that we had in our power to avoid.

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I tried very hard to refrain from public comment on this matter. I really did. I figure when we taxpayers STILL own GM, whose bankruptcy did little to actually address the combination of stupid union tricks and stupid management tricks that cratered what was once a triumph of industry, and our chief executive who hasn’t managed to nudge even the phony unemployment numbers under 8% in three years, while failing to even pass a budget, and unleashing regulatory behemoths onto American businesses and individuals, we’d have more important things to talk about. And yet, the hand-wringing, crass opportunism, and contempt for the exercise of freedom on this matter has reached a sickening crescendo.  The enormity of this storm of stupid has been blotting out the sun, and distracting from issues that really do affect everyone, and not just the perpetually offended and their camp-followers.

When Dan Cathy, the President of Chick-fil-A,  a professed Christian running a company that still closes on Sunday, made a clear and unequivocal statement about the company supporting traditional marriage, the mechanism of OUTRAGE!!11!!! swept into motion, and immediately, condemnation resounded from the predictable quarters.  Certainly, the militant homosexuals were angry, and were soon joined by mayors of large cities and city aldermen eager to prove their committment to tolerance by announcing that they would use every machination at their disposal to make sure that this business could not and would not pollute their fair cities with their chicken sandwiches and unfashionable opinions.   These unwavering statements of support later wavered when they could no longer avoid the fact that doing so would be a gross abuse of power, and would, in time, lead to inevitable correction by both voters, who aren’t so stupid as to not be able to realize that such a trick is capable of repetition, and by the courts, who jealously reserve the power tyranny for themselves.  But, as with any cause celebre, those who are famous, some only for being famous, could not resist the opportunity to chime in for their own 15 seconds of almost-relevance.  The casual famous, the has-beens, and the never-weres all tweeted their tolerance-supporting hate for the man whose company sells chicken and supports the kind of families that served to build a nation for over 200 years.

Its been interesting to watch.  If by “interesting”, you mean “horrifying”.  I expect the chatterati and the famous to stand up on their hind legs and start offering vacuous opinions for the outraged and the easily led, like trained seals performing for fish.  When these mental giants start showing off their “deep thoughts”, you quickly realize that if you put galoshes on before wading through their publically-stated pontifications, you would be horribly overdressed.  But with the politicians casting their lots in with this same crowd, it starts to feel like a trip back to high school, complete with all the pressure to conform.

If there is a silver lining, it is that the Pink Swastikas and their conscripts are starting to overplay their hand.  It really became noticeable with the recent gay marriage ballot measure in North Carolina.  The opposition both before and after the election wasn’t just shrill, it was Mariah Carey shrill.  And the repeated theme that if you weren’t for gay marriage, then you were just an inbred, ignorant embarrassment to humanity started to make up people’s minds.  Of course, those were the people who generally didn’t care one way or the other, but who weren’t enamored of the characterization, and the general “thought police” nature of the condemnations, especially in light of the fact that with the vote, North Carolina joined more than 35 other states, who when were actually asked, rather than told by the their politicians (YES, I’m looking at YOU, Olympia), rejected the idea of gay marriage.  When more than half of the 57 states don’t support your heart’s desire, maybe calling them inbred and ignorant really isn’t a winning strategy.

But, despite the dubious nature of this particular approach, it has remained consistent.  A friend of mine recently had an encounter illustrating the failure of this approach when she went to order some Chick-fil-A for lunch at a food truck in our nation’s capital.  After being accosted by a “crazy man” for buying food from a company that “supports hate groups”, several bystanders expressed the opinion that they were no longer on the fence on this issue, and they would be joining her for lunch that day.  It’s a story I hear repeated over, and over again from friends and acquaintances who actually have Chick-fil-As near them, and their longer than normal waits for food because of the increased foot traffic. 

And yet the Forces of Outrage™ persist…and if they can’t have success, then they will at least pretend at it in their best peer pressure style, as exemplified with this story which proclaims that “Chick-Fil-A Experiences Massive Fallout Among Consumers After Anti-Gay Controversy“.  Except that this conclusion was reached through a “branding survey”, and not on actual sales data, which means that anyone who has ever taken a statistics course can ask some pointed questions about the sampling methods used that would cast this dubious assertion even further in doubt.

What has been revealing about this latest episode in the culture wars is just how little regard the “progressive” mindset has for anyone who doesn’t share their views, and just how much they are willing to abrogate the protection of law for those who subscribe to traditional values.  It is another schism in a field of cultural chasms that are slowly and surely separating society.  It gives me no pleasure to watch, but when one side makes it clear that they are willing to condemn thought, and no longer willing to tolerate formerly legitimate religious expression, while holding in contempt values that I share, I know which side I stand on.  And I suppose I should thank the usual suspects for no longer pretending that unity is a goal that they have any real interest in achieving.

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Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church has a problem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2n7vSPwhSU&feature=player_embedded

As the nation grapples with this topic made newsworthy by the President’s desire to not have to run on his record, people on all sides of this issue seem to be stepping up the rancor and rhetoric.  Whether it is Expert Bully Dan Savage’s appeals for tolerance disguised as anti-Christian rants against school kids who dare to believe what their religion teaches about homosexuality, or pastors like this new subscriber to the Westboro Baptist Newsletter, there is an appearance of a desire to push both civility and understanding out of the discussion that we seem to be trying to have and not have simultaneously as a country on this subject.

In the case of Mr. Savage, I can at least understand and rationalize his anger.  People sometimes get angry when they are being told they shouldn’t do something that they enjoy doing.  Anyone who knows an alcoholic who doesn’t want to get cleaned up, and has been on the receiving end of the anger and resentment that comes from suggesting it knows exactly what I am talking about.  Under that circumstance, I wouldn’t expect Mr. Savage to be a rational actor. 

Pastor Worley doesn’t have that excuse.

As a Pastor of a Christian denomination, he should fully understand that there is an Old Testament and a New Testament.  As a Pastor of a Christian denomination, he should fully understand that the New Testament gospel doesn’t preach hatred for the sinner.  The measure of undeserved grace that we ALL enjoy should be sufficient to remind any believer that we are all sinners.  This does not excuse sin, but is meant to motivate each of us to make the daily attempt to NOT do so.  Despite the clear and specific admonitions against homosexuality that are contained in the New Testament, that does not excuse any believer from the commandment to love one another…a commandment that I find myself struggling with in increasing frequency.  To do otherwise does not comport with this commandment.  To do otherwise does not comport with the book of Jude, which states:

17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. [Emphasis Added.]

The Pastor does violence to the Word and the Spirit when he speaks like this.  Shouting with anger and malice doesn’t make the sin he condemns any more a sin than calmly saying so.  But it does make people defensive, and when they get defensive, they stop listening and start shouting.  And when he attacks the sinners for their sins, in hate and anger, he embraces hypocrisy, and becomes a poor ambassador for the one whom he claims to serve. 

I confess that my gut reaction was “If Dan Savage can take time out from bullying school kids for being Christians, then maybe he and the Pastor can have a cage match.  But the sad fact is that the Pastor’s rant only makes people like Savage feel justified in their own hatreds, and makes it that much harder for those who want to speak the truth to a world that sorely needs it.  I am ashamed of my Brother, and I apologize for him,  but I am glad that we have the same hope of redemption, forgiveness, and grace that are the hallmark of the Christian belief, and are what sets it apart from so many other faiths.

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…it’s the teachers who are in need of correction.

Those of you who are familiar with my writing know that I’m not a big fan of unions, especially the unions that are in public schools, largely because they make no bones about their primary goal being making a better life for their members, and the students be damned.

But one of my major bones to pick with teachers unions is that they do not promote excellence, and often end up protecting bad teachers, who either have problems with fact, or who bully students rather than teach them.  Today’s Union Approved Mark of Excellence Teacher is the brilliant Constitutional scholar, Tonya Dixon-Neely, who after a contentious discussion with a student who dared to point out that if her “Fact of the Day” on the alleged Romney bullying story was a big deal, then so would the President’s story about he bullied a female classmate would also be a story, shouted that the student was “disrespecting the President” and that doing so was “illegal”.

http://youtu.be/vjpWaESn_9g

And what was the school district’s response to this display of belligerent ignorance on the part of its employee?  She is suspended with pay. 

No doubt she is thrilled.  Now she won’t have that pesky job thing getting in the way of her daytime television.

Our next contestant is Jay McDowell, an economics teacher at Howell High School in Howell, Michigan, who decided that it was appropriate to take a page out of Dan Savage’s book, and fight against perceived bullying by…bullying.

“I rasied my hand and I asked him what the difference was between him wearing a purple shirt and explaining that to us, but Danielle couldn’t wear her rebel flag belt buckle,” Daniel told the National Organization for Marriage’s Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance. “He asked me if I was really against the homosexual lifestyle and I told him that the homosexual lifestyle was against my Catholic religion.”

An altercation ensued, and Daniel says he quietly left the classroom after McDowell told him “we lost our right to free speech once we stepped inside his classroom.”

“As I was walking out into the hallway he came running out after me, calling me a racist and a bigot, telling me he’s going to get me suspended for bullying and harassment against gays,” said the teen. “When he started yelling at me, I was just kind of in shock, I didn’t know how to react to it.”

Got that?  How dare you have religious views contrary to the flavor of the month of the activistas!  You must be a hater and bigot and homophobe, and, and and…

I could be sarcastic about the incredible improvement that the teachers have made in getting the kids so well taught in what they are supposed to learn that we shout them down for not buying into the Obama worship, or setting aside their religious beliefs for the “acceptance” of a lifestyle that the pink swastikas have deemed our highest societal aspiration.  I could, but instead, I’d rather give the kids an “attaboy” for not backing down from bullies who want to strip them of their freedom of conscience, and the right to state the obvious without regard to how it fractures or wounds the worldviews of the very small ideologues who prefer reflexive rote conformity to actually teaching, and the thinking that occurs when viewpoints are discussed and actually defended.

If shame was still recognized as such, I would prescribe large doses of it for both, along with unemployment and a record indicating the complete unfitness for the job that they have thus far demonstrated.

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