Monday, December 29, 2008

Home for retired British missionaries loses grant - because it won't ask residents if they are lesbians

Apparently, respecting the privacy of elderly ladies is not included in socialist "caring"

A care home where elderly Christian residents refused to answer ‘intrusive’ questions about their sexuality is at the centre of a bitter legal battle after its council grant was axed. Brighton & Hove Council told the home to ask pensioners four times a year about their sexual orientation under its ‘fair access and diversity’ policies, which stem from New Labour equality laws. Council chiefs also accused the charity that runs the home of ‘institutional discrimination’, before cutting a 13,000 pound grant towards warden services.

Pilgrim Homes, which operates ten schemes for elderly Christians across the UK, says it has never breached the law and is now suing the council, accusing it of religious discrimination. Andrew Jessop, the charity’s chief executive, said: ‘The council has taken overzealousness to the extreme. People in their 90s are very vulnerable and shouldn’t be treated in this way.’

Tensions began last year when the council imposed stricter criteria on organisations it supported to ‘comply’ with the Equality Act 2006 and the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007. It circulated a questionnaire to the Pilgrim Home in Egremont Place, Brighton, which houses 39 single Christians aged over 80, including former missionaries and a minister. Phil Wainwright, director of human resources for Pilgrim Homes, said he was told by the council the home had to ask residents if they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual or ‘unsure’, even if they objected. Many of the elderly rebelled, however, and the home wrote to the council saying residents did not want to participate. Mr Wainwright said: ‘There was a strong feeling among people in the home that the questions were inappropriate and intrusive. They felt they had come to Pilgrim Homes because of its Christian ethos and were upset they were not protected from such intrusions.’

But Brighton & Hove Council complained about the home’s ‘negative response’ and argued that because the home had a Christian ethos, gay people might be deterred from applying. It cited the ‘resistance’ to using images of elderly gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in the home’s leaflets, saying this meant gays and lesbians ‘would not feel comfortable’ applying for a place. The council then announced it was axeing the grant because there had been ‘limited progress’ in making the home accessible to the homosexual community.

Mr Wainwright said the charity was open to anyone with orthodox beliefs. He said: ‘We have every reason to believe that we have given places to gay Christians, and no questions were ever asked. The council hasn’t demonstrated any discrimination on our part. We believe it is Brighton Council that is institutionally discriminatory.’

MPs last night backed the charity, which fears other councils that provide it with grants totalling more than 100,000, could follow Brighton’s lead. Ann Widdecombe, former Tory Home Office Minister, said: ‘The equality law does not oblige anyone to ask intrusive questions. This sort of thing needs to be nipped in the bud.’ David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, said: ‘It is absolutely disgraceful that the council has tried to get 90-year-olds, from a generation that wasn’t obsessed with sex, to put intimate information on to one of its forms.’

But Brighton & Hove Council said: ‘We have never expected any residents to answer questions about their sexuality if they preferred not to do so. ‘The Government specifically states the home must be open to the gay and lesbian community and that it must demonstrate this to qualify for funding. In the absence of any willingness to do this, funding has been withdrawn.’


British dogs must not chase sticks

And balls are suspect too. The British safety mania never lets up

Fetch, doggy – but not before listening to some vital safety information. One of Britain’s most eminent vets has warned that dogs suffer as many injuries chasing and catching sticks as they do on Britain’s roads. Owners are being advised that to protect their pets from accidental stabbing or choking, they should never throw sticks. Instead they should use rubber throwing toys or a suitably sized ball.

Dan Brockman, professor of small animal surgery at the Royal Veterinary College, has catalogued dozens of serious injuries and infections, almost all the result of animals being stabbed as they rushed after a sharp stick. “When I see people throwing sticks for their dogs in the park I just get so frustrated,” said Brockman. “I want to go and tell them to stop.” His new study, co-authored with Zoe Halfacree, a fellow small-animal expert at the college, will detail some of the injuries suffered by pets when a game of fetch goes wrong. They include:

— Dogs left paralysed after being stabbed in the back of the throat by a stick that then enters the spinal cord.

— Animals left with serious internal injuries when a spinning stick jams between the foreleg and chest as they try to catch it on the move.

— Dogs who suffer a slow death as infection spreads from tiny fragments of wood left lodged in a wound.

His advice will surprise many of the nation’s 7m dog owners. Even the Kennel Club includes pictures of dogs carrying sticks on its website. Many veterinary practices say they have become familiar with the risks because of the number of dogs they treat.

Brockman said that for owners there is another problem with throwing sticks for dogs – the huge cost of treating injuries. “I have seen injuries that have cost up to 5,000 pounds in treatment fees – but where the dog has still died in the end,” he said. Brockman added that people who get their pets to chase after balls may also be behaving irresponsibly. “You must make sure the size of ball is right for the dog,” said Brockman. “I have had to operate on dogs that have swallowed tennis balls too.”


Dismantling Diversity Dogma

Half a century ago, America was embroiled in a legal and moral struggle to end government-sanctioned racial discrimination. Under a system known as Jim Crow, our government treated citizens differently based on race. Today, America still treats citizens differently based on race under a policy euphemistically known as "affirmative action."

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued an executive order directing the federal government to take "affirmative action" to ensure that no person was denied employment based on skin color, but this policy evolved into racial bean-counting. "It was a young president's unambiguous directive that race be removed rather than added as a factor in government employment," writes Larry Purdy, author of "Getting Under the Skin of "Diversity": Searching for the Color-Blind Ideal". "Yet today, nearly 50 years after President Kennedy issued his order, affirmative action has been politically redefined by those who practice raw racial politics, a group which in 2003 included five justices sitting on our nation's highest court. The policies spawned in the name of affirmative action now mock the phrase's original meaning."

Purdy, who served as trial counsel for plaintiffs Barbara Grutter and Jennifer Gratz in race preference cases that reached the Supreme Court, offers a rebuttal to The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions, a pro-race preferences book written by former Ivy League presidents William Bowen and Derek Bok. Purdy also critiques Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's majority opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, which was influenced by the book.

Bowen and Bok studied 28 highly selective schools to test their hypothesis that race made a difference in the admissions decisions for black graduates who went on to successful post-graduate and professional careers. However, as Purdy points out, nowhere do Bowen and Bok offer proof that all 28 schools actually considered race in their admissions decisions, much less the degree to which "race mattered" in admissions, if at all. In Getting Under the Skin of "Diversity," Purdy not only contends that Bowen's and Bok's data are insufficient to support that preferences are a net benefit to society, but goes further to argue that preferences, however well intended, are a net detriment to the very students they were designed to help.

Purdy highlights flaws in The Shape of the River. For example, Bowen and Bok claim that 700 "retrospectively rejected" black students went on to become doctors and lawyers in extraordinary numbers. But for the race preferences given to these "retrospectively rejected" students, they claim, none would have been admitted to their elite schools. Yet, nowhere do Bowen and Bok prove that any of the black graduates who eventually became successful doctors or lawyers were among those black matriculants for whom race made a difference in their respective admission. Indeed, the so-called 700 "retrospectively rejected" students were not real students at all. They were simply a statistical projection.

Although Bowen and Bok refused to release the study's underlying data for independent review, even without it Purdy managed to calculate and conclude that their findings were implausible. For example, again with regard to the 700 "retrospectively rejected" black matriculants: "[T]he authors' data suggest that those black matriculants with the highest entering qualifications obtained postgraduate and professional degrees at a rate significantly lower than those black matriculants who entered college with the lowest academic qualifications. This is a conclusion which defies all logic." Purdy lays bare Bowen's and Bok's deceptions, analyzes the consequences of race preferences, and debunks the so-called educational benefits of diversity.

Isolated acts of discrimination cannot and should not be used to label an entire country racist. Colorblind principles, particularly colorblind government policy, provide the best way to eradicate racism. "Getting Under the Skin of "Diversity," is a robust and informative guidebook for reaching that goal.


Bigotry of the Left

We have a long way to go to overcoming bigotry - liberal bigotry, that is

It should not be lost on any observer that, as this election drew nearer, many liberals began discarding the term "progressives" and reverted back to calling themselves "liberals." We give liberals credit of sorts for re-acknowledging their long-ago discredited brand name. Big government is big government. You can't change stripes on a skunk, as the old saying goes. Big-Government Republicans learned that the hard way. Republicans destroyed their brand by calling themselves Ronald Reagan conservatives, but governing more like Democrats.

The truer nature of liberalism was on display this last election, after years when liberals chose to cloak their views with more moderate-to-conservative speak. Liberals continued to campaign more to the right of their true agenda, but when caught off-guard, liberals were heard speaking of their spread-the-wealth socialism, their desire to bankrupt industries, and their genuine contempt for rural Americans, especially those of faith.

Many liberal bloggers, less guarded about their agenda, demonstrated the bigotry of liberalism. In this election, we witnessed the nasty bigotry of sexist liberal feminists, directed personally at Sarah Palin and indirectly at working conservative Christian mothers, with extra objection to mothers who don't abort children with special needs. That probably came as no surprise to conservative African-Americans, such as Clarence Thomas, Michael Steele and Ward Connerly, who have been subjected to the vitriol of liberal bigotry. A 1993 article titled "Black Conservatives" by one liberal says, "For most African Americans the notion of a Black conservative is an oxymoron." She writes that both conservative policies and conservatives themselves are racist. This, sadly, is the bigoted worldview of too many liberals: You are defined by your race or ethnicity and aren't allowed to think for yourself.

Liberalism's underlying premise is the superiority of government power over individual freedom. The worst regimes in history - communist, Nazi, fascist - were the combination of bigotry with government power. No such regime comes to power without using deceptive promises that government will take care of people better than freedom will. Their leaders manipulate people to support them often by accusing their opponents of the same form of treachery they seek to impose.

The worst liberal politicians employ deception both to gain votes and to intimidate critics. Race-baiting is a favorite bigoted tactic of many liberals. For example, when Barney Frank was confronted about his support for Fannie Mae contributing to the financial market meltdown, he resorted to calling those who questioned his positions "racist." How desperate and pitiful. But worse, it was the policy of bigotry in the first place that forced banks to make bad loans to uncreditworthy people.

Conservatives were called racist for opposing immigration policies pushed by the Bush administration, other Big-Government Republicans and Democrats. The wrong immigration policy, under which people here unlawfully would receive benefits at taxpayer expense, would also allow them to steal jobs from low-income Americans, and would be a slap in the face to immigrants who came to America legally through a long and sometimes expensive process.

Conservatism is a threat to liberalism because bigotry is counterproductive to conservatives, but is a cornerstone of liberalism. Economic conservatism values the productivity, work, intelligence, integrity, motivation and other virtues of the individual. Religious conservatism is based in the fundamental premise that we are all born of equal value in the eyes of God. Liberals who evade the merits of policy arguments by resorting to calling white conservatives "racists" or African-American conservatives "Uncle Toms" don't merely demonstrate their own ignorance, they cheapen the cause against real racism.

America is a center-right country not because of any particular ethnicity but because we are a unique assimilation of individuals from different walks of life, cultures and perspectives. Our greatness does not depend on any one group succeeding or holding anyone back, but precisely is due to allowing individuals to rise above the circumstances into which they were born. Americans still by and large understand our country is the land of opportunity, not the land of guarantees. America has far more Joe the Plumbers than Peggy the Moochers.

As with most things in life, those who struggle to obtain something often understand better the value of those things than those who have been given them. Perhaps that is why conservative African-American thinkers and leaders - Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, J.C. Watts, Star Parker, Armstrong Williams, Herman Cain, Jay Parker, Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., Alan Keyes, Larry Elder, etc., are among the most articulate proponents of free markets, faith and other tenets of conservatism. They were proud of their country long before Barack Obama was elected president. We're sure they understand that liberal bigotry remains a great barrier to overcome so all individuals have a greater opportunity to achieve their hopes, dreams, desires, ambitions and aspirations, no matter how simple or how grand.



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, 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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