Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Out With 'Redskins' — and Everything Else!

Autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, also is the time for The Washington Post and other sensitivity auditors to get back on — if they will pardon the expression — the warpath against the name of the Washington Redskins. The niceness police at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have won court approval of their decision that the team’s name “may disparage” Native Americans. We have a new national passion for moral and historical hygiene, a determination to scrub away remembrances of unpleasant things, such as the name Oklahoma, which is a compound of two Choctaw words meaning “red” and “people.”

Connecticut’s state Democratic Party has leapt into the vanguard of this movement, vowing to sin no more: Never again will it have a Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner. Connecticut Democrats shall still dine to celebrate their party’s pedigree but shall not sully the occasions by mentioning the names of two slave owners. Because Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners have long been liturgical events for Democrats nationwide, now begins an entertaining scramble by states' parties — Georgia’s, Missouri’s, Iowa’s, New Hampshire’s, and Maine’s already have taken penitential actions — to escape guilt by association with the third and seventh presidents.

The Post should join this campaign for sanitized names, thus purging the present of disquieting references to the past. The newspaper bears the name of the nation’s capital, which is named for a slave owner who also was — trigger warning — a tobacco farmer. Washington, D.C., needs a new name. Perhaps Eleanor Roosevelt, D.C. She had nothing to do with her husband’s World War II internment of 117,000 persons of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were native-born American citizens.

Hundreds of towns, counties, parks, schools, etc., are named for Washington. The name of Washington and Lee University is no mere micro-aggression, it is compounded hate speech: Robert E. Lee probably saluted the Confederate flag. Speaking of which: During the Senate debate on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, when Virginia’s Willis Robertson waved a small Confederate flag on the Senate floor, Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey, liberal hero and architect of the legislation, called this flag a symbol of “bravery and courage and conviction.” So, the University of Minnesota should seek a less tainted name for its Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Princeton University can make amends for its Woodrow Wilson School, named after the native Virginian who aggressively resegregated the federal workforce.

Jacksonville, Florida — a state where Andrew Jackson honed his skill at tormenting Native Americans — Jefferson City, Missouri, Madison, Wisconsin, and other places must be renamed for people more saintly. And speaking of saints:

Even secularists have feelings. And the Supreme Court says the First Amendment’s proscription of the “establishment of religion” forbids nondenominational prayers at high school graduations. What, then, of the names of St. Louis, San Diego, San Antonio and numerous other places named for religious figures. Including San Francisco, the Vatican, so to speak, of American liberalism. Let the renaming begin, perhaps for liberal saints: Gore City, Sharpton City. Tony Bennett can sing, “I left my heart in Pelosi City.”

Conservatives do not have feelings, but they are truculent, so perhaps a better idea comes from Joseph Knippenberg, who is an American rarity — a professor with good sense and a sense of humor. He suggests that, in order to spare everyone discomfort, cities, buildings and other things should be given names that are inoffensive because they have no meaning whatsoever. Give things perfectly vacuous names like those given to car models — Acura, Elantra and Sentra.

Unfortunately, Knippenberg teaches at Atlanta’s Oglethorpe University, which is named for James Oglethorpe, who founded the colony that became the slave state of Georgia. So, let us move on.

To Massachusetts and Minnesota, which should furl their flags. Massachusetts' flag shows a Native American holding a bow and arrow, a weapon that reinforces a hurtful stereotype of Native Americans as less than perfectly peaceful. A gimlet-eyed professor in Wisconsin has noticed that Minnesota’s flag includes the state seal, which depicts two figures, a pioneer tilling a field, and a Native American riding away — and carrying a spear. A weapon. Yikes. The farmer is white and industrious; the Native America is nomadic. So, Minnesota’s seal communicates a subliminal slander, a coded message of white superiority. Who knew that Minnesotans, who have voted Democratic in 10 consecutive presidential elections since 1972, are so insensitive?

This is liberalism’s dilemma: There are so many things to be offended by, and so little time to agonize about each.


Navy Exonerates Chaplain Accused of Being Anti-Gay

A Navy chaplain accused of failing to show “tolerance and respect” toward gay sailors has been cleared of all wrongdoing and will not be removed from the military.  “I am relieved the Navy sided with me,” Lt. Cmdr. Wes Modder told me.

Modder, a highly decorated veteran who once ministered to an elite Navy SEAL unit, had been given a “detachment for cause” letter in February.

He was removed from his job after his commander accused him of being intolerant and unable to “function in the diverse and pluralistic environment” of the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek, S.C.  “On multiple occasions he discriminated against students who were of different faiths and backgrounds,” wrote Capt. Jon R. Fahs, the chaplain’s commanding officer, in a memorandum obtained by Fox News.

Navy Personnel Command rejected the commander’s recommendation to fire Modder, Military Times reported.  “There is no documentation of poor performance in his personnel record,” one unnamed officer told the newspaper.

Instead, the chaplain, who is endorsed by the Assemblies of God, was cleared of all wrongdoing and will be allowed to retire — marking the end of nearly 20 years of military service.

“This is not only a great day for Chaplain Modder, but for every American who supports religious freedom in our military,” said Michael Berry, the chaplain’s attorney.

Berry is an attorney with Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s largest law firms specializing in religious liberty cases. They partnered with the law firm of WilmerHale to defend Modder.

“Although Captain Fahs' actions against Chaplain Modder violated the Constitution, federal law and military regulations, we are grateful that Navy officials categorically rejected those actions,” Berry said.  “We believed this would be the outcome from day one."Berry said the popular Navy chaplain was the victim of a setup.

Earlier this year, a gay married officer was assigned to be Modder’s assistant. The assistant initiated the complaint against the chaplain because of his views on homosexuality and same-sex relationships.

"I believe some of what the lieutenant has alleged could constitute a military crime — false statements, taking what the chaplain said and twisting or misconstruing it in an attempt to get the chaplain punished,” Berry told me.

Modder had also been accused of telling a woman that she was “shaming herself in the eyes of God” for having premarital sex and for berating an unmarried student for becoming pregnant.

Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford commended the Navy for exonerating their client and called it a victory for religious liberty.  “We always knew that when the facts came to light, the Navy would exonerate Chaplain Modder,” Shackelford said. “Religious liberty is our first freedom and essential for our men and women in uniform.

"It’s unfortunate that a good man like Chaplain Wes Modder has been subjected to public scorn and ridicule because of a young officer’s witch hunt. However, truth won the day and Chaplain Modder should be commended for his courage under fire and his long years of service to the United States Armed Forces.”

And let this be a warning to those officers who might try to target other military chaplains. Your misdeeds will be exposed.

“We hope this sends a strong signal to military commanders — violating religious liberty will not be tolerated,” Shackelford told me.


Judge upholds Arizona's 'show your papers' immigration law

A federal judge has upheld part of Arizona's contentious immigration law, rejecting claims that the so-called "show your papers" section of the law discriminated against Hispanics.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on Friday was on the last of seven challenges to the 2010 law. The section being upheld allows police in Arizona to check the immigration status of anyone they stop.

Bolton ruled that immigration rights activists failed to show that police would enforce the law differently for Hispanics than other people. The section is sometimes called the "show your papers" provision.

The judge also upheld a section that let police check to see if a detainee is in the United States illegally. Bolton voided any laws targeting day laborers.

Karen Tumlin, the legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, one of the parties to the suit, said the group was evaluating its options.

"We will continue working on behalf of our courageous plaintiffs to show that Arizona can do better than this disgraceful law," she said in a statement.

Bolton's ruling came two days after a federal judge approved a deal between the U.S. Department of Justice and Arizona's Maricopa County to resolve accusations of civil rights abuses and dismissed the department's lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies.


Oregon Judge refuses to do same-sex marriages

A Marion County judge has refused to perform same-sex marriages and has asked his clerks to refer couples seeking same-sex marriages to other county judges.

Judge Vance Day, a circuit court judge and former chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, is now facing an ethics investigation over that decision, according to the judge’s spokesman.

Spokesman Patrick Korten said Day instructed his staff to tell couples that the judge will not perform same-sex marriages. The staffers were instructed to refer same-sex couples to other Marion County judges willing to issue them a marriage license.

Korten said Day took the action based on his “deeply-held religious beliefs.”  “It’s an exercise of his religious freedom rights under the First Amendment,” Korten said.

Day hasn’t performed any same-sex marriages since he joined the bench in 2011, but only stopped doing marriages of any kind this past spring. Judges in Marion County are not required to perform marriages, and Marion County’s website lists five active judges and one retired judge who are available for marriage ceremonies.

That decision led to an ethics investigation by the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness, Korten said.

Korten said he couldn’t discuss specifics of the complaint against Day until the commission released it to the public.

It’s not clear when that complaint will be made public. Until that happens we won’t know the exact details of what Day is accused of doing, aside from what he publicly discusses.

According to Phil Lemon with the Oregon Judicial Department, the commission isn’t required to publicize complaints until they schedule a public hearing.

Day’s decision came to light on Thursday when the Oregon Government Ethics Commission gave Day permission to create a legal fund for himself.

(The Oregon Government Ethics Commission is a separate board from the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness.)

Day told the commission that he needed to fund to help cover legal expenses he expects to incur defending himself during the judicial ethics investigation.



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


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