Monday, March 31, 2014
A Sinophile looks back
When I set out for China [from Australia] in 1978 I was aware that I may well spend the rest of my life here. The necessity of finding a mate suitable to that prospect was uppermost in my mind. However my fellow students in the Beijing Language Institute made it clear they lacked both traditional Chinese and modern Education due to the Cultural Revolution. As a result I avoided them.
When I moved into the Beijing Hotel in 1980 there was a large number of Hong Kong Chinese living and working there with both a traditional upbringing and a modern education. Within six months I had made my choice. I now look back on more than thirty years of contented marriage and two wonderful loving sons.
I must say have never regretted it. We have watched China modernize and at the same time grope for what aspects of traditional culture can be quietly restored. It has been a great experience for both of us watching our chosen homeland regain its former status in the world as a great nation, and the people discover their cultural roots while participating in the wider, global culture. I truly believe I could not have gained the insights, the compassion, and commitment to China without a traditionally raised wife.
Traditional Chinese wives have a total dedication to the welfare of their husbands. Each meal contains medicinal herbs designed to overcome the perceived malaise of the day. For Chinese wives their husband is a resource which needs to be sent out each day ready to earn at the maximum level each day.
World Vision rediscovers the Bible
I abandoned WV years ago when I asked to donate to help a poor Jewish child in Israel. They refused my money
Poor stupid World Vision. Having offered incense at the shrine of the Spirit of the Age, giving the tick to homosexual “marriage” amongst its employees (while, inexplicably, still rejecting cohabiting heterosexual couples) it now bows to pressure from the Mammon of market forces and reverses its decision.
When the AOG churches and others threaten to withdraw support, WV has a sudden fit of orthodoxy. I was on the verge of cancelling twenty years of support for the great work of WV – my tolerance already pushed to the brink by CEO Tim Costello’s embrace of every leftist fashion from climate salvation to Gonski redemption – but will now reconsider.
We don’t expect parachurch organisations to be sinless, but it is unforgivable where they are spineless.
This was yesterday’s letter from the WV international leaders – and they are genuinely contrite about their stupidity and faithlessness. The second-last paragraph states the obvious, but it is stated well:
Today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our national employment conduct policy. The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.
We are writing to you our trusted partners and Christian leaders who have come to us in the spirit of Matthew 18 to express your concern in love and conviction. You share our desire to come together in the Body of Christ around our mission to serve the poorest of the poor. We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness.
In our board’s effort to unite around the church’s shared mission to serve the poor in the name of Christ, we failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.’s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, ” We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. ” And we also failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners. As a result, we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage.
We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority. We ask that you understand that this was never the board’s intent. We are asking for your continued support. We commit to you that we will continue to listen to the wise counsel of Christian brothers and sisters, and we will reach out to key partners in the weeks ahead.
While World Vision U.S. stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect.
Please know that World Vision continues to serve all people in our ministry around the world. We pray that you will continue to join with us in our mission to be ” an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God .”
Free Exercise Clause Does Not Protect Kosher Meat Companies
U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)—which Congress enacted to guide the Executive Branch and courts in defending that right—would not directly protect kosher or halal meat-processing corporations from a hypothetical federal rule that by generally banning certain meat-processing practices effectively banned kosher and halal meat processing by incorporated businesses.
Verrilli told the court that the customers of a kosher or halal meat-processing company--not the company itself--would have cause to sue in such a situation.
But he did not directly say whether the Obama Administration believed that the customers of a kosher meat-processing corporation should prevail in such a case.
At the end of an exchange that takes up three pages in the transcript of the court’s oral arguments in the case of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, Justice Stephen Breyer pinned Verrilli down on a question first brought up by Justice Sam Alito.
“Take five Jewish or Muslim butchers and what you’re saying to them is if they choose to work under the corporate form, which is viewed universally, you have to give up on that form the Freedom of Exercise Clause that you’d otherwise have,” Breyer said to Verrilli.
“Now, looked at that way, I don’t think it matters whether they call themselves a corporation or whether they call themselves individuals,” said Breyer. “I mean, I think that’s the question you’re being asked, and I need to know what your response is to it.”
Verrilli’s answer to Breyer was to repeat the Obama Administration’s opinion that the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion does not apply when people are doing business through a corporation.
“Well,” said Verrilli, “I think our response is what the Court said in Part 3 of the Lee opinion, which is that once you make a choice to go into the commercial sphere, which you certainly do when you incorporate as a for-profit corporation, you are making a choice to live by the rules that govern you and your competitors in the commercial sphere.”
In Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, the administration is trying to force the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, to comply with a regulation issued under the Affordable Care Act. This regulation, promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services, says that health-insurance plans must cover, without copay, all Food and Drug Administration-approved methods of contraception.
These methods include two types of IUDs and the Plan B and Ella “emergency contraceptives" which can act as abortifacients, terminating a human life after conception.
The Greens, who are required under the Affordable Care Act to insure their employees or face at least $26 million in annual penalties, argued that by forcing them to provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs the government is forcing them to violate their Christian faith, which tells them to protect, not destroy, innocent life.
The administration has conceded in court that the regulation does force the Greens to act against their Christian faith. However, the administration argues that because the Greens operate their business through a corporation, they have no First Amendment right to practice their Christianity while doing business.
The National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court on the side of the Green family and Hobby Lobby. This brief--written by attorney Nathan Lewin—presented an actual scenario played out in New York State that more closely mirrors the Green family’s situation than the case of an incorporated kosher slaughterhouse.
The situation in New York involved a medical and dental clinic owned and operated by Orthodox Jews. The question: Could the state force this clinic to open on the Sabbath—thus forcing its Jewish owners to directly violate the teachings of their faith?
“An observant Jew may not direct his or her employee—be the employee Jewish or gentile—to labor on the Sabbath,” says the brief for the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs.
“A federal government directive to a Jewish employer—be he the owner of a business operated for profit or the manager of a non-profit charitable entity—requiring the employer to have employees work on the Sabbath would substantially burden the Jewish employer’s religious exercise,” says the brief.
“Under the Jewish Law the same religious prohibition that bars certain proscribed activity on the Sabbath in a for-profit business applies to a non-profit activity,” says the brief. “The religious sanction for violating the Sabbath is not reduced if the actor has a non-profit motive.
“A graphic illustration of the arbitrary impact on Orthodox Jewish observance that could result from the Government’s construction of RFRA is a complaint filed in 2006 before the New York State Division of Human Rights,” says the brief, citing Trotman v. The Ben Gilman Spring Valley Medical and Dental Clinic. “The complainant alleged that the operators of the clinic, which provided medical and dental help, discriminated unlawfully by closing the clinic’s Spring Valley and Monsey offices on Saturdays because of ‘the extremity of their own religious beliefs.’
“The Orthodox Jewish owners and operators of the clinics filed a verified answer based on rabbinic instruction that the clinics could not open on the Sabbath,” says the brief. “The religious freedom rights of the owner and operators of the clinics resulted in dismissal of the complaint.
“Could such clinics, operated by Sabbath-observing Orthodox Jews, be compelled to stay open on Saturdays if they were for-profit medical centers?” asked the brief. “Such a result is surely a blow to religious freedom but it would be possible under the Government’s interpretation of RFRA."
The National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs’ example of forcing a clinic owned by Orthodox Jews to stay open on the Sabbath—thus forcing the owners to act directly against the teachings of their faith—was not brought up during the oral arguments in the Hobby Lobby case.
Toward the end of the arguments, however, Justice Alito did bring up the example of a Danish law that prohibited kosher and halal meat-processing methods.
“Let me give you this example,” said Alito. “According to the media, Denmark recently prohibited kosher and halal slaughter methods because they believe that they are inhumane. Now, suppose Congress enacted something like that here. What would a corporation that is a kosher or halal slaughterhouse do? They would simply…have no recourse whatsoever. They couldn’t even get a day in court. They couldn’t raise a RFRA claim. They couldn’t raise a First Amendment claim.”
In his initial response to Alito, Verrilli incorrectly assumed the law Alito was suggesting was specifically and narrowly targeted at kosher and halal slaughterhouses.
“Well, I’m not sure they couldn’t raise a First Amendment claim, Justice Alito,” said Verrilli. “I think if you had a targeted law like that, that targeted a specific religious practice, that—I don’t think it is our position that they couldn’t make a free exercise claim in that circumstance and so—.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy interjected: “Well, but you’re getting away from the hypothetical. Justice Alito’s hypothetical was that the impetus for this was humane treatment of animals. There was no animus to religion at all, which in the Church of Lukumi, there was an animus to the religion. So, we’re taking that out of the hypothetical.”
“Exactly,” said Alito.
“Right,” said Solicitor General Verrilli. “Well, I think if it were targeted only at the practice of the kosher and halal practices, then I think you would have an issue of whether it’s a targeted law or not. But even if it is-- .”
Now Alito interjected: “Well, they say no animal may be slaughtered unless it’s stunned first, unless the animal is rendered unconscious before it is slaughtered.”
“Well, I think in that circumstance,” said Verrilli, “you would have, I think, an ability for the customer to bring suit. I think you might recognize third party standing on behalf of the corporation—on the corporations, on behalf of customers. So a suit like that could be brought.
“But even if you disagree with me at the threshold,” said Verrilli, “even if you disagree with us with respect to the kinds of risks that we think you will be inviting if you hold that for-profit corporations can bring these claims, when you get to the compelling interest analysis, the rights of the third party employees are at center stage here.”
Verrilli then made clear he was thinking about the “rights” of third-party employees who want their employer to give them insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients—not the rights of employees who are thankful their employer is protecting them from having to violate their own religious faith by buying coverage for these things.
It was then that Breyer forced Verrilli to clarify if it was indeed the administration’s position that if “five Jewish or Muslim butchers” formed a corporation to do business they would have to “give up on that form the Freedom of Exercise Clause that you’d otherwise have.”
In reaction to Verrilli’s statement to the Court, Nathan Lewin, author of the brief for The National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs, pointed to the Supreme Court’s 1961 cases of Braunfeld v. Brown and Gallagher v. Crown Kosher Super Market. These cases examined whether state laws could force Jewish-owned businesses to close on Sunday, even though they were also closed on Saturdays for the Jewish Sabbath.
None of the justices in those cases, Lewin said, took the position that a for-profit corporation could not make a religious freedom claim on behalf of its owner.
“In response to Justice Alito’s question regarding kosher slaughter the Solicitor General gratifyingly indicated that kosher consumers would be able to challenge restrictions on kosher slaughter under the Constitution and federal law even if corporate merchants could not,” Lewin told CNSNews.com.
“It was discouraging, however, that, when answering Justice Breyer, he said that kosher butchers who have gone ‘into the commercial sphere’ must live by the same rules that govern their ‘competitors,’” said Lewin. “Justices William Brennan and Potter Stewart did not agree with that proposition when, more than 50 years ago, they voted to uphold the constitutional right of Orthodox Jewish store-owners to keep their stores open on Sunday because their faith forced them to be closed on Saturdays.
“And the other Justices in 1961 only denied the Sabbath observers’ claims because if they were open on Sundays the Sabbath observers would have a competitive advantage over stores that complied with Sunday Laws,” said Lewin. “No one took the position that a corporate for-profit business could assert no claim to religious freedom on behalf of its religious owner.”
Rabbi Aryeh Spero, author of Push Back: Reclaiming Our American Judeo-Christian Spirit, was also critical of the argument that the Obama administration made to the court in the Hobby Lobby case.
“If in order to maintain religious freedom, religious people can not incorporate, then religious people are being denied a fundamental economic right,” said Spero. “One cannot safely be in the market place if he is told by the government that he can not incorporate. That is what Obama is basically enacting. He penalizes people for being religious. If they can't incorporate, many are not able to go into business, and it's certainly impossible to really expand your business beyond a mom-and-pop store.
“Obama is saying he and his administration have the right to tell religion how that religion can be practiced,” said Spero.
“Obama and colleagues believe, as they phrase it, only in 'freedom of worship' not freedom of religion,” said Spero. “They confine religious freedom to the four walls of a building for worship. They do not believe that outside these walls, one is free to practice beyond what Obama decides.
“Obamacare is unconstitutional precisely because it removes freedom of religion,” the rabbi said.
CAIR Gets Muslim TV Show Killed Over Ethnic, Religious Stereotyping
The terrorist front organization Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has repeatedly proven that it wields tremendous power in the Obama administration and now the group is flexing its bulging muscles in Hollywood, successfully killing a new show on a major television network over negative stereotypes of Muslims.
This is the same nonprofit that got the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to purge anti-terrorism training material determined to be "offensive" to Muslims. Judicial Watch uncovered that scandal last summer and obtained hundreds of pages of FBI documents revealing that a group of "Subject Matter Experts" determined certain anti-terrorism training curricula contained material that was offensive to Muslims. The excised files included references linking the Muslim Brotherhood to terrorism, tying al Qaeda to the 1993 World Trade Center and Khobar Towers bombings, and suggesting that "young male immigrants of Middle Eastern appearance ... may fit the terrorist profile best."
CAIR also got several police departments in President Obama's home state of Illinois to cancel essential counterterrorism courses over accusations that the instructor was anti-Muslim. The course was called "Islamic Awareness as a Counter-Terrorist Strategy" and departments in Lombard, Elmhurst and Highland Park caved into CAIR's demands. The group responded with a statement commending officials for their "swift action in addressing the Muslim community's concerns."
Founded in 1994 by three Middle Eastern extremists (Omar Ahmad, Nihad Awad and Rafeeq Jaber) who ran the American propaganda wing of Hamas, CAIR has also wielded power in a number of other cases during the Obama administration. It has impeded an FBI probe involving the radicalization of young Somali men in the U.S., pressured the U.S. government to file discrimination lawsuits against employers who don't accommodate Muslims and forced American taxpayers to fund "Islamically permissible" meals for Muslim prison inmates.
Last fall an Obama-appointed federal judge ruled that a Muslim woman's civil rights were violated by an American clothing retailer that didn't allow her to wear a head scarf as required by her religion. CAIR represented the woman, 19-year-old Umme-Hani Khan, who got fired for wearing a hijab at the store which has a policy against head covers of any kind for its employees. The federal agency that enforces the nation's workplace discrimination law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), used CAIR's language in its lawsuit, alleging religious discrimination, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Clearly, the Muslim "civil rights" group is on a major power trip so why not hit the entertainment industry, which undeniably influences public opinion. CAIR got ABC Family to cancel a teen drama called "Alice in Arabia" by playing the race card, according to a Hollywood trade newspaper. The script was written by a former U.S. Army translator named Brooke Eikmeier and the storyline focuses on an American teenaged girl kidnapped by her royal Saudi Arabian family. The series may lead to stereotyping that can result in bullying of Muslim students, according to the director of CAIR's southern California headquarters, Hussam Ayloush.
"As the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, we are concerned about the negative impact this program could have on the lives of ordinary Arab-American and American Muslims," Ayloush writes in a letter to the TV network's president. Ayloush goes on to "urge" the network to meet with representatives of the Muslim and Arab-American communities to "discuss this important issue." In other words, get rid of the show.
Though it may seem inconsequential, it's a telling cultural battle fought and won by CAIR. President Obama is the group's lapdog in the name of political correctness and diplomacy, but a private entertainment conglomerate has no reason to cave into its demands. Here is the explanation offered by ABC: "The current conversation surrounding our pilot was not what we had envisioned and is certainly not conducive to the creative process, so we've decided not to move forward with this project." CAIR pounded its chest after coercing a major TV network to cancel a "program that had the potential to promote ethnic and religious stereotyping."
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.