Thursday, July 16, 2015
Australia: Does criticism of multiculturalists imply racism?
Concerning criticism that drew attention to the Greek background of controversial Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios:
I am not entirely in agreement with the thoughts below, though they do have some merit. I see Dawn Fraser's words as an acknowledgement of multiculturalism. The very idea of multiculturalism implies a recognition that cultures differ. And what is acceptible in one culture may be unacceptable in others. And Australia is unequivocally multicultural.
So if Fraser saw an Australian-born product of Greek culture as lazy and not making an effort, that could be an accurate recognition of a cultural difference. Given the parasitical tendencies of the Greek nation presently on worldwide dispay, how can we say she was wrong?
It's certainly politically incorrect to mention any negative features of multiculturalism but that is just prejudging the matter. It certainly says nothing about the truth of a matter. It forbids truths of some sorts from being uttered but it does not abolish them
Fraser was entitled to her views and she should have been tolerated when uttering them, not condemned. The Leftist myth that all minority cultures have nothing negative about them is absurd
Dawn Fraser's apology for her inappropriate 'go back to where you came from' comments about tennis player Nick Kyrgios needs to be kept in perspective regarding the extent of racism in Australia.
One interpretation is sure to be that Fraser's ill-judged remarks illustrate the 'dark underbelly of prejudice that persists in this country as a legacy of the White Australia policy'.
But what this incident really shows is how far we have come as a nation in refusing to tolerate intolerance.
Compare the current situation to when the White Australia legislation was passed by the federal parliament in 1901.
All of our first four Prime Ministers spoke during the debate. Three (Barton, Watson and Reid) advanced arguments that today would be condemned as racist and see them drummed out of public life.
The fourth (Deakin) was so embarrassed by his colleagues' racial prejudice that he argued it was actually the good qualities of 'alien' peoples such as the Japanese that explained why Australians were so determined to keep them out of the country.
The story of how we overcame our racist heritage and became one of the most successful multiracial nations in the world is a long and important one. I tell some of this tale in my article included in the free speech issue of the latest Policy magazine.
The takeaway is that we can rely on our culture of tolerance to curb bigoted speech and don't need laws like Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act that can be exploited to curtail legitimate free speech and debates about important public issues.
This is supported by the events of this week. The public outcry the comments provoked showed Fraser had crossed a line with regards to acceptable speech and forced her to issue an 'unreserved apology'.
This shows we can rely on the culture, and not the law, to protect people from racially insulting speech.
Can Court Clerks Decline to Do Gay Marriages? How It’s Playing Out in the States
In Travis County, Texas, Jacque Roberts and her partner, Carmelita Cabello, wait in line for a marriage license June 26, after the Supreme Court's ruling. (Photo: Bob Daemmrich/Polaris/Newscom)
A few cases of public employees who cite their faith in declining to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples have grabbed media attention, but similar concerns exist in scores of courthouses across America, a lawyer for a prominent Christian legal organization says.
“In most instances the government can accommodate the religious beliefs of the objecting person,”
A suit against a Kentucky court clerk was scheduled to be heard today by a federal judge, and county commissions were set to vote on the resignations of clerks in Tennessee and Texas.
The cases, the lawyer told The Daily Signal, are just three examples of difficult choices created by the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the nation.
“I think the bottom line is, in most instances the government can accommodate the religious beliefs of the objecting person,” said Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom.
An ultimatum of “comply or lose your job” by some LGBT activists and their supporters, he said, runs counter to “our rich history of religious freedom and religious accommodation.”
Civil disobedience to the ruling, and to instructions issued by governors and other state authorities, initially occurred among clerks and other court employees in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.
However, Tedesco said the offices of Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, have been “inundated” by calls and emails from courthouse employees and officials who aren’t sure what their office will do, want to understand their rights, or have asked for an accommodation for their faith but haven’t yet gotten one.
In some cases, clerks and other court employees have resigned rather than issue licenses for same-sex nuptials.
In others, LGBT rights groups and their supporters are demanding that employees with objections quit or be fired or impeached.
It doesn’t have to be this way, Tedesco says.
“It’s incumbent on those governments that don’t have a system in place to put it in place,” he said.
At this point, Alliance Defending Freedom is providing basic counsel in requests “from California to North Carolina and all states in between,” Tedesco said, but is not formally representing anyone. He added:
It’s troubling [to suggest] you can’t be a Christian and have any of these jobs—or be of any faith that believes marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s just a very disturbing reaction to Obergefell, especially when the court went out of its way to say the First Amendment provides protections for people who continue to disagree with this.
Michael Aldridge, executive director of the Kentucky chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, sees it differently.
“Government officials have a duty and a responsibility to impartially administer laws,” @ACLUofKY says.
“When our laws are updated or changed, government officials have a duty and a responsibility to impartially administer those laws,” Aldridge said in announcing legal action against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis.
A Resignation in Texas
The Associated Press is one of the media organizations tracking local court offices where some public servants declined to provide marriage licenses to gays or lesbians. Initial resistance for religious reasons appears to have dwindled to cases in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas, AP reports.
In Texas, commissioners in Rusk County were slated to vote Monday on the resignation Thursday of County Clerk Joyce Lewis-Kugle, who said her faith did not allow her to comply.
Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, wrote fellow Texas officials that federal and state statutes known as religious freedom restoration acts, as well as rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, “may allow accommodation of religious objections [by county clerks and employees] to issuing same-sex marriage licenses.”
The legal test of a burden placed on religious liberty by the government is whether that burden is the “least restrictive means” to carry out a “compelling state interest,” Paxton wrote.
If other authorized individuals may issue marriage licenses, he argued, the government should not compel an employee to act against his conscience.
Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director of the ACLU of Texas, disagreed.
“Religious liberty is the birthright of every American,” Robertson said in a letter to clerks of two Texas counties where the ACLU said “recalcitrance” had been reported by residents. “But the first duty of public officials is to uphold the law, even if doing so conflicts with their personal religious convictions.”
Clerks who follow the Texas attorney general’s July 5 guidance, the state ACLU said, would engage in “official misconduct” that “could lead to their removal from office and expose them to damages in civil litigation.”
In Tennessee, commissioners in Decatur County were to act on a permanent successor to replace Gwen Pope, who resigned July 5 as county clerk, and to fill related openings.
“I honestly believe God will take care of us,” Pope told The Jackson Sun after she and two co-workers quit.
Decatur Mayor Mike Creasy said he disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling but intended to enforce the law.
A Federal Case in Kentucky
In Ashland, Ky., U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning was to hear arguments at noon Monday in the case of Rowan County’s Kim Davis. The ACLU sued Davis on behalf of four couples—two gay and two straight—after the county clerk stopped issuing any marriage licenses.
Davis told the Louisville Courier-Journal that “deep religious convictions” prevent her from complying with the Supreme Court’s decision.
“It’s a deep-rooted conviction,” Davis said. “My conscience won’t allow me to do that. It goes against everything I hold dear, everything sacred in my life.”
For days, protesters outside her office have demanded she step down.
Bunning, the federal judge hearing the case, is an appointee of President George W. Bush and the son of former major league pitcher and U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, has instructed courthouse employees to carry out the Supreme Court’s ruling.
In a meeting last week, Beshear told Casey County Clerk Casey Davis—who is not related to Kim Davis—that he should resign if he cannot do so. Davis had suggested the government allow residents to purchase marriage licenses online so that clerks would not be personally involved.
Also in Kentucky, Billy Joe Lowe, clerk of Green County, told WFPL-FM on Thursday that his office would not accept license applications from same-sex couples.
Protections for Religious Convictions
Employees shouldn’t have to resign or be fired, Tedesco said.
Governors, mayors and other high officials are off base in ordering clerks and other employees to comply, the Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer says, as are those who threaten civil liability or even criminal prosecution.
Federal and state laws already require employers—both public and private—to accommodate the religious beliefs of their employees.
Most local offices and agencies that issue marriage license or officiate at weddings, Tedesco argues, already have enough employees sharing duties that it is not difficult to arrange for someone without religious objections to serve same-sex couples.
The purpose of the federal statute known as Title VII is to protect the religious beliefs of employees in the workplace. Typically, state law provides similar protections.
The law isn’t just about accommodating an employee’s faith but about the duty of the employer to do so, as long as it doesn’t impose an undue burden on the workplace.
That landscape, as well as rights secured in the Constitution, will form the backdrop for determining how licenses for same-sex marriages will be issued in courthouses across the nation in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Although each local workplace may have its own challenges, many courthouses already have implemented systems to accommodate the religious beliefs of some employees, while others are figuring one out.
‘Not the Way a Free Society Works’
The Constitution and existing state and federal law do not require Americans to have to choose between their job or their religious convictions “after the world was made new by the Supreme Court,” Tedesco said:
This is not the way a free society works. This is a massive sea change in our culture and our law that the Supreme Court has mandated. And the answer simply can’t be—and of course this is the answer of the other side—‘You can’t hold these positions if you hold those beliefs any longer, especially if you want to act consistently with them.’
By the same token, Tedesco said, a supervisor who wants to make a political point can’t simply say he or she can’t make an accommodation for an employee who believes marriage is between a man and a woman—and that the employee can’t work there any longer.
“You can’t just shirk your duty and fire people. Or tell them, ‘Make a choice. Do this or leave.’ ”
Before the Supreme Court decision, the definition of marriage already had been changed in 30 states—in most cases by court rulings rather than legislation or voter initiatives.
The repercussions of the high court’s action will play out over many years and is sure to involve litigation.
Tedesco said the climate reminds him of procedures and statutes of the 1950s and 1960s under which job applicants or employees were asked to sign a document saying they had no affiliation and agreement, current or past, with the Communist Party. The Supreme Court, after upholding such measures for several years, eventually struck them down.
Similarly, “this is like an ideological litmus test on marriage,” Tedesco argued:
Do you believe—or have you ever been affiliated with a faith organization that believes—that marriage is between a man and a woman? If so, you can’t have this job, or you’re fired from this job. I think the analogy is spot on. … Should you be able to exclude people of faith from government jobs? There’s got to be a way that those two can be simultaneously pursued.
Australia: Curbs on free speech becoming onerous
From the newsletter of conservative Senator Sean Edwards
If we consider what most fundamentally distinguishes Western Civilisation from the cultural cavemen of the global islamist movement, it’s the free and forceful exchange of ideas and the way those ideas influence the evolution of our society. The recent Federal Council raised once again the issue of Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act and its impact on reasonable debate in Australia.
It’s the public debate of ideas and values that leads to social change and it’s their debate in Parliament that enshrines those changes into law.
But while the latter is protected by Parliamentary Privilege, public debate in Australia is threatened by an overbearing Racial Discrimination Act and its hypersensitive Section 18c. If free speech is muzzled, we can’t be sure our society evolves in the direction the community wants it to.
The freedom of speech debate has never been an argument about limitless speech. Freedom of speech is not absolute and nor should it ever be, as no reasonable person could possibly support, for instance, the expression of views that induce unjust violence or that intentionally mislead for commercial gain or legal advantage. This is really a debate about where we draw the line.
Section 18c draws the line at the point where a statement relating to race is interpreted as being insulting and it offers special redress when it is. Taking this principle to its full logical conclusion, if legal protection should be afforded to hurt feelings on one basis, why shouldn’t it extend equally to a range of other sensitivities such as speech that is insulting on the basis of religion or gender? Why exclude speech that insults someone on the basis of their politics or their class?
After all, it wasn’t racial but religious rhetoric with which pro-islamist rioters intimidated and insulted non-believers in Hyde Park, Sydney.
It wasn’t racial but class rhetoric with which anti-capitalist protestors humiliated and insulted mainstream Australians during the Occupy protests.
It wasn’t racial but political rhetoric with which dock workers intimidated and insulted their colleagues during the waterfront dispute.
Historical examples are plenty but Section 18c also threatens the most important of debates here and now.
The Government plans to specifically recognise Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders in the Constitution but discussion of who is and is not an Aboriginal person for the purpose of this amendment may well fall foul of the law. So Section 18c may literally prevent Australians from commenting freely on changes to their own Constitution.
Section 18d was envisaged to provide a number of exceptions to the sanctions of Section 18c for scenarios like journalism, art and academic debate. However in doing so it invites a judge to decide whether you hold your view “in good faith” and whether or not it is “reasonable” of you to do so before he or she decides whether they’ll let you off.
Australia did not become the civilised, culturally advanced society that it is by chance or by having our thoughts vetted by the judiciary. We got here through an evolution of ideas, values and beliefs and having them validated or otherwise by the best test there is: public debate.
That Federal Council passed a motion calling for removal of the words “offend” and “insult” from the Racial Discrimination Act will, I hope, inspire further attention to the matter from in the Parliamentary Liberal Party.
Mentally castrated man gives his kid emasculated last name
The latest fad in so-called "gender equality"? Giving kids feminist-approved last names!
Zelda Violet Frissberg, born to Mr Bloomberg's eldest daughter Emma Bloomberg and her husband Chris Frissora in March, has been given a surname that represents both her mother and father.
A combination of 'Frissora' and 'Bloomberg', the infant's hybrid name reflects the word used by her parents' friends to describe them as a couple, a family spokesman told the New York Times.
Why would any father agree to this? For untold hundreds of years, children have had the names of their fathers. It's a very longstanding tradition that's associated with male leadership of families. Even in this age of "equality," it is still the custom. So when a man gives up this right, something looks very odd.
The article doesn't really explain why the father agreed to this. I tried to research Chris Frissora online, to see if perhaps he had had an accident. If, for example, he had lost his genitals in a motorcycle accident, or if he had crushed his genitals while bouncing up and down on a wild horseback riding adventure, I could understand his attitude.
I remember when "gender equality" meant that women had to keep their own last name. That itself was ironic, because the names they were preserving were their fathers'; in their feminist wisdom, they were keeping one man's name rather than giving it up for another. But then many women worried that by keeping their last names, they could not show off that they were married, so many women started hyphenating their names, putting their names in the middle and their emasculated husbands' at the end.
But I guess that that wasn't enough, and now the children have to have confusing names, too. I guess the next step is for men, upon marrying, to take their wives' last names. After all, women have been giving up their names for centuries, so isn't it fair play that men do the same for a few centuries?
1) For men, if your wife asked your kids to have a mishmash last name out of "fairness," what would you say?
2) What kind of man do you think would agree to this?
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.