Thursday, December 08, 2011

Army Allows Bearded Rabbi to Serve as Chaplain After Yearlong Legal Battle‏

I am not even sure that a beard ban makes sense for frontline troops. The British navy has always allowed beards. Do men in the field stop fighting the Taliban to have a shave?

And a chaplain will normally be back at base somewhere. So in the absence of any operational reason, it was a blockheaded move to deny this guy his First Amendment rights from the beginning.

He is doing no harm to anyone or costing anyone anything by being bearded.

My biggest surprise is that there are Jews in the U.S. armed forces. I would have thought that Jews of a military bent would be lending their assistance to Israel

A historic event is about to unfold this coming Friday, as a bearded rabbi will be sworn into the U.S. Army as a Chaplain, First Lieutenant.

The U.S. Armed Forces has always held a strict policy regarding the uniform and personal appearance of those serving, forbidding beards to be worn by servicemen except in certain operational instances. Now, however, Orthodox Rabbi Menachem M. Stern will be the first bearded chaplain in 30 years to serve in the U.S. military since Rabbi Jacob Goldstein, who continues to serve with distinction in the Army Reserve as a chaplain in the rank of colonel. According to Haaretz:
Stern has wanted to be an army chaplain since August 2008, but said the U.S. Army initially refused to accept him unless he shaved his beard in accordance with official military codes for dress and appearance. In keeping with Jewish teachings regarding preserving a man’s facial hair, the Chabad-Lubavich rabbi refused to comply.

“A soldier, whether they’re Jewish or not, will see someone who is serious and standing by his faith without compromise,” said Stern. “They’ll respect that person and come to trust him.”

Haaretz goes on to explain the long road, including legal action, Rabbi Stern took to be able to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and still maintain his customary beard:
In 2009, Stern received preliminary approval for a reserve commission, but was told his swearing-in would be delayed as a result of unresolved issues regarding his facial hair.

He sought the assistance of U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer, Kristen Gillibrand and Joseph Lieberman, as well as that of the Aleph Institute, a Chabad-Lubavich organization that assists Jewish military personnel, Jewish inmates and their families. But despite their efforts, they were not able to secure Stern an exemption.

Failing that, Stern filed a federal lawsuit last December, accusing the army of violating his Constitutional rights to religious freedom and equal protection under the law.

In the end the Army settled with Rabbi Stern out of court, agreeing to grant him a waiver for his beard.

The Aleph Institute, based in Florida, is reportedly recognized by the Department of Defense as a military chaplain Ecclesiastical Endorsing Agency, giving it authority to vet and recruit rabbis for the military chaplaincy.

According to Rabbi Stern, there is currently a shortage of rabbis serving in the Armed Forces due to the military’s policy on beards. Proud of his breakthrough, he hopes other Orthodox rabbis will follow in his footsteps and be granted a place in the military chaplaincy without having to compromise their religious customs and priciples.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

One law for whites and much more lenient laws for minorities in Britain

In defiance of what the law actually says, judges repeatedly find minorities incapable of racism

Someone holding governmental authority badly needs to tell the British public why there appears to be one rule for them, and one rule for us, when it comes to racially aggravated crime and murder.

Rhea Page is a case in point. Kicked unconscious by a girl gang of drunken Somali Muslims, screaming ‘kill the white slag’: one would have thought this would be labelled a racist incident. Ms Page stated: ‘I honestly think they attacked me just because I was white. I can’t think of any other reason.’

But no, in the eyes of the perverse British judiciary this is not a racial incident, of course. Even worse: Judge Robert Brown allowed them to walk free because he accepted that as Muslims they were unused to drinking… Judge Brown also thought the women may have felt they were the victims of unreasonable force from Ms Page’s partner Lewis Moore, 23, who tried to defend her from the attack.

In the wake of the terrible Stephen Lawrence murder, the Macpherson Report defined a racial incident very clearly: “A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.” Is it not a little odd that such a straightforward statement, eagerly embraced by the British police, is open to question only when the victim is white? Ms Page clearly believes this was a racial incident, so why don’t the police or the judiciary?

And this is not a solitary case. Only last week 19-year-old Danny O’Shea had his throat slashed by a gang of black youths outside his mother’s front door in Newham, east London. The police are not treating this as racist murder. Why not?

In 2009, Christopher Folkes died from severe head injuries after he was brutally attacked by three “Asian” males in Queen’s Park, Blackburn. This was not treated as a racist murder. Why not?

In 2004 Christopher Yates was beaten to death by a gang of Muslim males in Barking, east London. One of the attackers, Sajid Zulfiqar, boasted: “We have killed the white man. That will teach an Englishman to interfere in Paki business.” The Crown Prosecution Service makes it perfectly clear that this was a racially aggravated murder, but again the racial element was overlooked. Why?

Perhaps the most savage murder was that of Mary-Ann Leneghan in 2005. Tortured, gang raped and stabbed to death by a gang made up of Muslims and blacks, this yet again was not a racist incident. The eagerness with which the British police pounce upon white racial transgressors is matched only by their reluctance to label non-white perpetrators as racists.

This simply has to stop. It is bad enough that we are to become a minority in our own land within the next fifty years, but to become an ethnic minority whilst being subjected to grossly unequal state-sponsored racial prejudice is both shocking and horrifying.

Police chiefs often describe the tensions in multicultural areas as “nerve jangling.” Hardly surprising, really. The anger is steadily growing amongst the native Britons, caused partly by the obviously unfair discrimination from which they suffer simply because they are white. If the government and police continue to stoke this anger by their appalling racist attitude toward the indigenous whites, then they must accept and understand that they will be held accountable for the unavoidable multicultural violence of the future.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Macy’s Allegedly Fires Employee for Refusing Cross-Dressing Male Access to Women’s Fitting Room

According to a recent post by Liberty Counsel, a former department store employee was allegedly terminated from her job at a San Antonio Macy’s after refusing to allow a cross-dressing male to change in the women’s fitting room.

While Macy’s does have an LGBT-friendly policy that allows transgender customers to use either the men‘s or women’s fitting rooms as the individual deems most appropriate, the former employee, Natalie Johnson, argued that Macy’s also has a policy in place that protects her religious rights — and that those rights would have been violated had she been forced to admit that the cross-dresser was a female.

Liberty Counsel explains in further detail:
Natalie Johnson claims she saw the young man walk out of the women’s fitting room and politely told him that he could not go back in because it was for women only. The cross-dressing young man claimed that he is a “female.” Johnson said that he was wearing make-up and girl’s clothing, but clearly he was a male. The cross-dresser was accompanied by five other individuals. The group argued with expletives that Macy’s is LGBT-friendly, to which Johnson replied that Macy’s is also non-discriminatory toward religion, and that it would go against her religious beliefs to lie that he was a woman or compromise with homosexuality. The group then demanded to speak with a manager.

When Johnson was confronted by her employer, she explained that she could not allow a male to change in a female’s fitting room. Johnson’s boss referred her to Macy’s LGBT policy which allows “transgender” people to change in any dressing room they want. However, Johnson pointed out that the same policy also protects against religious discrimination and, in this case, it protects her right to her beliefs that were being violated. The manager demanded that she comply with the LGBT policies or lose her job. Johnson refused to go against her sincerely held religious beliefs and was terminated from her job.

Perhaps a way around the problem would have been for Johnson to ask a coworker to fill in for her in this instance. Another employee could have taken over her fitting room duties for the duration of time that the transgender or cross-dressing customer was present. By doing so, Johnson would not have been placed in a position where she felt her beliefs were being compromised, while still upholding the company’s policy as it concerns transgender customers.

On the other hand, Macy’s is operating two distinct policies — one regarding religious rights, the other regarding gay and lesbian rights — that will often prove incompatible with one another. The company faces serious challenges ahead as it runs the risk of creating both disgruntled employees and customers alike, leaving the department store chain open to public relations issues and worse still, potential legal action.


UPDATE: An email received:

I represented Bonwit Teller's in the mid 60's, an upscale department store in the style of Bloomingdales. Its Chicago General Manager, a man named Jack Kelly, told me the following: one afternoon an upset associate called to say there was a man who wanted to try on one of the dresses being offered for sale, to which he vigorously responded with a firm “No,” as the dresses were for women. The associate further explained it was a $3000.00 dollar designer dress the customer was going to buy if it fit him, to which Kelly replied, “Hold on, I'll be down to fit the S.O.B. myself!” (The sale was completed by Kelly.)

Same Sex "Marriage" and the Australian Constitution

Below are some excerpts from a long article which quotes extensive legal precedents for arguing that the meaning of marriage in Australia is constitutionally fixed and therefore homosexual "marriage" would be unconstitutional

Section 51(xxi) of the Australian Constitution gives the Federal Government jurisdiction over marriage. Unlike the situation in the U.S., in Australia there cannot be as many marriage laws as there are states. State and Federal Governments can choose to give married and unmarried couples the same rights and services in any area under their respective jurisdictions, but only the Federal Government can tell us who are married. But this does not mean that it can take control of any grouping by calling it "marriage".

As Justice Brennan put it, in the case of Fisher v Fisher (1986):
[C]onstitutional interpretation of the marriage power would be an exercise of hopeless circularity if the Parliament could itself define the nature and incidents of marriage by laws enacted in purported pursuance of the power. ... [T]hose words do not empower the Parliament to legislate upon the customary incidents of marriage so as to affect the nature of the marriage relationship.

Marriage had a specific meaning under the common law at the date of the Constitution - and it goes back not simply to 1362, but as far as human memory runs.

And what is that meaning? I shall merely cite the relevant case law prior to 1900.....

Two years later, the matter arose again, this time in the case of a marriage contracted in Japan. Again, Justice Hannen ruled, in Brinkley v A-G (1890) 15 P. D. 76 at 79:

A marriage which is not that of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others, though it may pass by the name of marriage, is not the status which the English law contemplates when dealing with the subject of marriage.

His Honour then went on to determine that, since Japanese marriages do indeed follow this pattern, they are automatically valid under the common law. He also pointed out that, although it is often called "Christian marriage" as a shorthand phrase, Christianity need have nothing to do with it.....

What else needs to be added? If polygamous and potentially polygamous unions, which have a long and venerable history, and have been practised by a majority of the world's population, are not recognised by the common law, or section 51(xxi), what chance same sex unions, which have never been treated as marriages except in a few small societies in aberrant times?

Not only that, but the parliamentarians know it - or should know it. In 2002 they sought legal opinion on the subject. The conclusion was that, although there was not complete unanimity in the High Court, the majority opinions suggest that such a law would have a very hard time passing muster. Furthermore, there would be many people who would have standing to contest it: a state government, an heir or next of kin sidelined by such a "marriage", a public servant who objects to registering it, or a celebrant who may be forced to celebrate it.

The social deformers are pretending that marriage is the product of the law, and is merely whatever grouping of people the law wants to consecrate. But it isn't. As Sir William Scott pointed out as far back as 1795, it is the fundamental basis of society, which pre-dates the law (and probably the human race), which the law recognises and regulates for the benefit of society, but which it does not create.

That is why I have consistently put "marriage" in quotation marks when referring to same sex unions. It is all a game of "let's pretend". But, as Abraham Lincoln is alleged to have said: "How many legs has a dog? Only four. Calling the tail a fifth leg doesn't make it one."


Australian hate speech law not well reasoned

By James Allan, Garrick professor of law at the University of Queensland.

I AM delighted to live in a country in which someone is perfectly free to voice his opinion on why Australia's racial vilification or hate speech laws, used to take Andrew Bolt to court, and indeed to force his employer to print a judge-authored pseudo apology, are jolly good laws.

Of course, the author of this defence of these hate speech laws enacted by a former Labor government, Ron Merkel, is hardly a disinterested or impartial observer. He was the main lawyer for the plaintiffs who used these hate speech laws successfully to sue Bolt. He is the lawyer who, in running that case, made reference to eugenics, Nazis, anti-Semitism and more.

Yet Merkel is an honourable man. Still, consider what he said in that opinion piece of his (The Australian, November 21). First off, Merkel claimed that the problem was that Bolt got his facts wrong. That, asserted Merkel, is why he lost.

The judge in the Bolt case, Mordecai Bromberg, had a slightly different take on things, however. In paragraph 461 he said: "It is important that nothing in the orders I make should suggest that it is unlawful (under these hate speech laws) for a publication to deal with racial identification including challenging the genuineness of the identification of a group of people. I have not found Mr Bolt and HWT to have contravened s18C simply because the newspaper articles dealt with subject matter of that kind. I have found a contravention because of the manner in which that subject matter was dealt with."

Put differently, the judge didn't like Bolt's tone. So Merkel's talk of this all being solely about getting the facts wrong should be made of sterner stuff. (And I leave aside here Justice Bromberg's bizarre decision to assess the "reasonably likely to offend" test in these hate speech laws by reference to some objective member of the group claiming victimhood, not by reference to a reasonable member of the community at large -- a game winner for Merkel's side right off the bat.)

Merkel, who writes not to praise Bolt, though possibly to bury him, goes on to characterise what is at stake as a "freedom to vilify". But that's plain bizarre for anyone such as me who cares strongly about free speech and ensuring as much scope as possible for people in a vibrant democracy to speak their minds.

My point is that one honourable man's vilification, someone such as Merkel, is another honourable person's fair and reasonable comment, someone such as Bolt. So the Merkel characterisation stacks the cards in his favour right off the bat. We are talking about the need for free speech here, not some subsection of it that Merkel (no doubt because of the hate speech laws) gets to denominate in advance as vilification.

Put differently, it's a tad circular to say "we need this legislation because we don't want the sort of vilification that is only counted as vilification because of that same legislation".

Merkel goes on to equate these hate speech laws with defamation laws and the limits on speech such defamation laws impose. Now Merkel says that, and certainly he is an honourable man. But one can't help noticing that, as the lawyer for these plaintiffs, Merkel chose not to sue in defamation, and try for the sometimes significant monetary damages a victory in that realm can bring.

Instead he went after Bolt using only these hate speech laws, ones where the remedy was an Orwellian judge-drafted pseudo apology and the banning of publishing the "offending" pieces. Was that because Merkel wanted to avoid the jury that usually comes with a defamation case? Was it because he reckoned he couldn't win a defamation case (my view)?

Certainly on this score and in his choice of how to pursue Bolt, our honourable Merkel did not seem ambitious.

Then we get to Merkel's nod in the direction of the judicially created implied freedom of political communication. Now, though I am a very big free-speech proponent and like the general outcomes of these cases,

I think they are simply awful judicial decisions as far as honest interpretation of our Constitution goes.

So the fact these cases now build in an abridging inquiry, or reasonable limits test as Merkel alludes to, is neither here nor there. In a strong democracy the people, the voters, do not rely on seven unelected judges to fix their awful legislation. They vote for people who will repeal it using the democratic process.

Next, Merkel asserts that those, such as me, who want these hate speech laws repealed are inconsistent because they don't support free speech when it comes to Holocaust deniers. But as it happens, though in the Canadian context, I have said precisely that -- that using hate speech laws against moronic Holocaust deniers is counter-productive. Get these views into the daylight and show how idiotic they are. And I know that Brendan O'Neill, another Bolt defender, has said the same. Perhaps Merkel could get his facts correct?

The countries where Holocaust denial is most alive, as it happens, are in the Arab world where free speech is most curtailed.

Oh, and last, Merkel points to other countries that also have hate speech laws. Of course, that is no justification for a bad law. But anyway, what Merkel omits to mention is that Canada, a country one assumes he would be happy to compare us with, is now looking as though it will repeal its notorious s13 hate speech law equivalent.

Now, I speak not to disprove what Merkel spoke. As a keen proponent of much scope for all of us to speak our minds, I'm all in favour of hearing a defence of our egregious hate speech laws that is self-serving (coming from one who was the lawyer who used them successfully); that mischaracterises them (it's about a judge's view of tone, not just facts); that gets the facts wrong itself (about what's happening overseas, about the supposed inconsistency of Bolt defenders); and that wants it both ways (by pretending this is like defamation when that legal option was shunned by the writer as the plaintiffs' lawyer).

As I said, I'm always in favour of reading the self-serving, mischaracterising, factually wrong, two-faced defence of our hate speech laws. Alas, I'm not sure that sort of opinion piece will bring all that many new converts to the Merkel point of view.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or 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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