Sunday, November 16, 2008

Leftist bigotry observed. No tolerance among those who preach it

As the media keeps gushing on about how America has finally adopted tolerance as the great virtue, and that we're all united now, let's consider the Brave Catherine Vogt Experiment. Catherine Vogt, 14, is an Illinois 8th grader, the daughter of a liberal mom and a conservative dad. She wanted to conduct an experiment in political tolerance and diversity of opinion at her school in the liberal suburb of Oak Park.

She noticed that fellow students at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama for president. His campaign kept preaching "inclusion," and she decided to see how included she could be. So just before the election, Catherine consulted with her history teacher, then bravely wore a unique T-shirt to school and recorded the comments of teachers and students in her journal. The T-shirt bore the simple yet quite subversive words drawn with a red marker: "McCain Girl."

"I was just really curious how they'd react to something that different, because a lot of people at my school wore Obama shirts and they are big Obama supporters," Catherine told us. "I just really wanted to see what their reaction would be."

Immediately, Catherine learned she was stupid for wearing a shirt with Republican John McCain's name. Not merely stupid. Very stupid. "People were upset. But they started saying things, calling me very stupid, telling me my shirt was stupid and I shouldn't be wearing it," Catherine said. Then it got worse. "One person told me to go die. It was a lot of dying. A lot of comments about how I should be killed," Catherine said, of the tolerance in Oak Park.

But students weren't the only ones surprised that she wore a shirt supporting McCain. "In one class, I had one teacher say she will not judge me for my choice, but that she was surprised that I supported McCain," Catherine said. If Catherine was shocked by such passive-aggressive threats from instructors, just wait until she goes to college. "Later, that teacher found out about the experiment and said she was embarrassed because she knew I was writing down what she said," Catherine said.

One student suggested that she be put up on a cross for her political beliefs. "He said, 'You should be crucifixed.' It was kind of funny because, I was like, don't you mean 'crucified?' " Catherine said.

Other entries in her notebook involved suggestions by classmates that she be "burned with her shirt on" for "being a filthy-rich Republican." Some said that because she supported McCain, by extension she supported a plan by deranged skinheads to kill Obama before the election. And I thought such politicized logic was confined to American newsrooms. Yet Catherine refused to argue with her peers. She didn't want to jeopardize her experiment. "I couldn't show people really what it was for. I really kind of wanted to laugh because they had no idea what I was doing," she said.

Only a few times did anyone say anything remotely positive about her McCain shirt. One girl pulled her aside in a corner, out of earshot of other students, and whispered, "I really like your shirt." That's when you know America is truly supportive of diversity of opinion, when children must whisper for fear of being ostracized, heckled and crucifixed.

The next day, in part 2 of The Brave Catherine Vogt Experiment, she wore another T-shirt, this one with "Obama Girl" written in blue. And an amazing thing happened. Catherine wasn't very stupid anymore. She grew brains. "People liked my shirt. They said things like my brain had come back, and I had put the right shirt on today," Catherine said.

Some students accused her of playing both sides. "A lot of people liked it. But some people told me I was a flip-flopper," she said. "They said, 'You can't make up your mind. You can't wear a McCain shirt one day and an Obama shirt the next day.' " But she sure did, and she turned her journal into a report for her history teacher, earning Catherine extra credit. We asked the teacher, Norma Cassin-Pountney, whether it was ironic that Catherine would be subject to such intolerance from pro-Obama supporters in a community that prides itself on its liberal outlook.

"That's what we discussed," Cassin-Pountney said about the debate in the classroom when the experiment was revealed. "I said, here you are, promoting this person [Obama] that believes we are all equal and included, and look what you've done? The students were kind of like, 'Oh, yeah.' I think they got it."

Catherine never told us which candidate she would have voted for if she weren't an 8th grader. But she said she learned what it was like to be in the minority. "Just being on the outside, how it felt, it was not fun at all," she said. Don't ever feel as if you must conform, Catherine. Being on the outside isn't so bad. Trust me.


Finally, a Religious Leader with Guts

I want you to meet a priest from Greenville, South Carolina named Rev. Jay Scott Newman. He is the pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in downtown Greenville. And he has become my personal hero. In a nutshell, Fr. Newman told his parishioners that if they voted for Barack Obama, they embraced "intrinsic evil" since Obama's opponent was a "plausible pro-life alternative." And as a result, those Obama voters need to seek forgiveness from God before they receive Holy Communion again.

Does this guy have guts, or what? Finally, a religious leader comes along and deals with the 800-pound elephant in the room: how do supposedly religious people reject the sanctity of life and support someone who voted against a "Born Alive Infant Protection" law which would protect babies accidentally born alive after a botched abortion? Frankly, if that's not evil, I'm not sure what is.

And it takes a priest in Greenville, South Carolina to rise up against all the moral relativism we face in the world and speak the truth. In a letter posted on the church website, Rev. Newman said that Catholics who voted for a pro-abortion candidate should seek penance for their sin before receiving the Holy Sacrament of Communion, "lest they eat and drink their own condemnation."

Of course, he's not just making this up. He cites the Bible as the basis for his message, quoting from I Corinthians that forbids partaking of the body of Christ "without recognizing the body of the Lord."

I'm pleased to report that the response from his congregation has been overwhelmingly positive. According to the priest, church members have approved of his message by a margin of 9 to 1, which leaves me to wonder why those in the minority would see fit to question their pastor. When discussing this gutsy priest on my radio show this week, a few liberals called in and complained about him "mixing politics with religion." It seems to me that life and death issues aren't very political in nature. At least they shouldn't be. And the fact that the left has managed to turn the issue of abortion into "politics" is simply a deceitful way to try and make the taking of an unborn baby's life something as mundane and ordinary as taxes or fixing potholes.

The Catholic Church has certainly had its hands full in dealing with controversies and ugliness. There is no question that many wish the church would have better handled the terrible scandal of sexually abusive priests over the years. As a result of that scandal, many Christian- and Catholic-bashers saw fit to condemn the entire Roman Catholic Church with hateful and vicious attacks, despite the fact that millions of loyal, faithful Catholic churchgoers were as appalled by the abusers as anyone else.

But one thing that can be said with clarity and consistency: the Catholic Church has been a beacon in leading the fight against the destruction of the unborn. Say what you will, but few religious faiths and organizations have had the rock-solid conviction to fight for unborn babies like the Catholic Church has had. And judging by the actions of this one priest in South Carolina, they're just getting started. I pray that more priests, ministers, and rabbis follow suit.

How can a spiritual leader stand at the pulpit every week and ignore the slaughter of millions of innocents? Why would a pastor be inclined to defend an individual, politician or otherwise, who could support partial-birth abortion or the destruction of the life of an unborn baby at any stage? May a hero like Rev. Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville, South Carolina serve as a wake-up call to sleepy, lazy church leaders who don't want to address this issue, one of the most important issues of our lifetime. If our church leaders don't fight for the unborn, who will?


British bureaucratic rigidity kills a man

Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead after photographs of the real terror suspect reached police too late, as officers were only able to order them "during office hours", an inquest has heard.

Det Insp Kevin Southworth claimed officers were unable to order copies of a driving licence belonging to Hussain Osman, one of the failed bombers, out of hours. As a result the images did not arrive at New Scotland Yard until noon, almost two hours after innocent Mr de Menezes was killed on July 22 2005. When asked why the pictures were not obtained quicker, Mr Southworth, a member of the SO13 anti-terror branch, said officers did not have out-of-hours contact with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). He said: "You could not just contact the DVLA directly. We had a dedicated point of contact which opened during office hours. "We went to those people and they obtained the images as soon as possible."

Pictures of Osman were also available from immigration authorities, the inquest heard. However, as only hard copies existed, there was no way of obtaining them in time either. Police shot the 27-year-old Brazilian seven times in the head on a train carriage at Stockwell Tube station, south London. He had been mistaken for Osman, one of the terrorists behind the previous day's failed attacks on the capital....


Offensive censorship proposal in Australia

The Leftist Australian goverment seems to be modelling itself on Communist China: The proposal is a bigger obscenity than the obscenity it is allegedly trying to control

Why is some faceless bureaucrat to be given the same powers to censor our internet access as a prison screw has over the perversions of an uncontrollable pedophile? The mechanics are different but that is the ultimate result of the Federal Government's ill-considered and illiberal plan to filter the internet. We learnt this week that the Government has a blacklist of 10,000 sites which will be added to 1300 already identified by the Australian Communications and Media Authority to be filtered out of our consciousness.

Just what might we be protected against? The ACMA list is said to be mainly of child pornography sites but Broadband and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy cannot even define the grounds for restricting the 10,000, although they are supposed to contain "illegal and unwanted content". "Will the minister provide a definition of unwanted content and where we might find a definition of unwanted?" asked Greens Senator Scott Ludlum. The answer was: "No."

Call me suspicious but I find it sinister and arrogantly offensive that the Federal Government has a blacklist of banned sites even before it has established any definable criteria for censorship. We are supposed to presume they are all violent or child-porn nasties but can we be sure?

The Vatican got away for two millennia with a library of forbidden books - the Index Librorum Prohibitorum - but I don't know that a government in a modern society is entitled to such presumptions of literary, artistic and political infallibility. The Catholic Church had the good manners to suppress its list in 1966 but at least its list had some definable purpose - the prevention of the contamination of the faith or the corruption of morals through the reading of theologically erroneous or immoral books. "Erroneous and immoral" doesn't sound a world away from "illegal and unwanted".

Without a workable (and legally disputable) definition of what is "unwanted", the scope for government intrusion seems unlimited. Given Australia's sorry history of censorship, petty misuse of power, presumption of moral authority and political exploitation of secrecy in war and peace, is the alleged protection of children (and the deprivation of deviant sexual material) really worth the dangers to a society that should be travelling down a road towards transparency and honesty?

Somebody wise (me, in fact) once wrote: "The web is one of the greatest innovations of the late 20th century, probably the ultimate expression of the communications revolution that began with movable type." The Rudd Government, stampeded by moral crusaders, seems to have embarked on a counter-revolution to turn back the clock. It not only wants to make a massive withdrawal on a bank of freedoms we have built up since the Magna Carta, it seeks the biggest blank cheque since the Howard government asked us to trust it on national security.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, OBAMA WATCH (2), EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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