Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Indiana blocks anti-Christian bullying

In a victory for religious freedom, earlier today Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., signed into law the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This is good policy that protects the fundamental freedom of Indiana citizens from unnecessary and unreasonable government coercion.

The Indiana law is based on the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act—a law that has served the American people well for more than 20 years. Passed with 97 votes in the Senate and by unanimous voice vote in the House, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. This federal law prohibits substantial government burdens on religious exercise unless the government can show a compelling interest in burdening religious liberty and does so through the least restrictive means.

No one has the right to have the government force a particular minister to marry them, or a certain photographer to capture the first kiss or a baker to bake the wedding cake.

These protections for religious freedom, like the one passed in Indiana, provide a commonsense way to balance the fundamental right to religious liberty with compelling government interests. The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects against federal government violations of religious liberty, and state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts protect against state violations.

By passing its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indiana joins the 19 other states that have implemented such laws. Eleven additional states have religious liberty protections that state courts have interpreted to provide a similar level of protection. These commonsense laws place the onus on the government to justify its actions in burdening the free exercise of religion.

Responding to critics of the bill, who wrongly characterized the religious freedom protections, Pence stated in a press release following the signing:

"For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana".

He added:

"Faith and religion are important values to millions of Hoosiers and with the passage of this legislation, we ensure that Indiana will continue to be a place where we respect freedom of religion and make certain that government action will always be subject to the highest level of scrutiny that respects the religious beliefs of every Hoosier of every faith."

The Indiana law, like all state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, prevents government discrimination against religious free exercise. Religious Freedom Restoration Acts simply provide a way to balance religious liberty with compelling government interests.

There are now numerous cases of photographers, florists, cake makers and farmers being forced to participate in celebrating same-sex weddings in violation of their belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. These are citizens who have no problem serving gays and lesbians but do object to celebrating same-sex weddings.

Religious liberty isn’t an absolute right. Religious liberty doesn’t always trump. Religious liberty is balanced with concerns for a compelling state interest that’s being pursued in the least-restrictive means possible.

But it isn’t clear that forcing every photographer and every baker and every florist to help celebrate same-sex weddings is advancing a compelling state interest in the least-restrictive way possible. Protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience doesn’t infringe on anyone’s sexual freedoms.

No one has the right to have the government force a particular minister to marry them, or a certain photographer to capture the first kiss or a baker to bake the wedding cake. Declining to perform these services doesn’t violate anyone’s sexual freedoms. Some citizens may conclude that they cannot in good conscience participate in a same-sex ceremony, from priests and pastors to bakers and florists. The government should not force them to choose between their religious beliefs and their livelihood.

Of course, religious liberty isn’t just about the marriage debate. Just last year, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act protected the Green family and the Hahn family—owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood—from government coercion at the federal level. Protecting this fundamental freedom has benefited many Americans during the last two decades, including those of minority faiths.

As Jasjit Singh, executive director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, explained:

"RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] means myself, my brothers, my sisters, my mom, my dad, we can all participate in American life in the way we had dreamed and really the way it is promised as written out in the Constitution. We have an opportunity to get jobs and to fully integrate within American society without having to sacrifice or compromise any part of our religious identity".

And earlier this year, in a 9-0 ruling the U.S. Supreme Court held that a similar federal religious liberty law protected a Muslim inmate’s right to grow a short beard.


34K Black and Latino Churches Cut Ties With Presbyterian USA After Same-Sex Marriage Approval

A coalition of 34,000 black churches has cut its ties with Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) in the wake of its recent vote to approve same-sex marriage.

In a statement at Charisma News, Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), wrote that PCUSA’s “arbitrary change of Holy Scripture is a flagrantly pretentious and illegitimate maneuver by a body that has no authority whatsoever to alter holy text.”

After endorsing same-sex marriage last June, PCUSA voted earlier this month to revise its constitutional language defining marriage to include a “commitment between two people.” The church became the largest Protestant group to formally recognize same-sex marriage as a Christian institution and to permit same-sex weddings in its congregations.

Writing on behalf of NBCI, which is comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African-Americans and Latinos, Evans continued:

    "NBCI and its membership base are simply standing on the Word of God within the mind of Christ. We urge our brothers and sisters of the PCUSA to repent and be restored to fellowship.

    PCUSA’s manipulation represents a universal sin against the entire church and its members. With this action, PCUSA can no longer base its teachings on 2,000 years of Christian scripture and tradition, and call itself a Christian entity in the body of Christ.  It has forsaken its right by this single wrong act.

    Apostle Paul warns us about this when he declared in Galatians 1:8 that there are those who will preach another gospel.

    For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. … For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

    No church has the right to change the Word of God. By voting to redefine marriage PCUSA automatically forfeits Christ’s saving grace. There is always redemption in the body of Christ through confession of faith and adhering to Holy Scripture.

    In this case, PCUSA deliberately voted to change the Word of God and the interpretation of holy marriage between one man and one woman. This is why we must break fellowship with them and urge the entire Christendom to do so as well".

In a statement to Breitbart News, Bishop Janice Hollis, Senior Pastor of Progressive Believers Ministries and Presiding Prelate of the Covenant International Fellowship, said:

    "As I read Rev. Evan’s position statement on the Presbyterian Church USA regarding Same-Sex Marriage, his strength to speak his convictions according to Scriptures is well noted. I highly respect anyone with courage to espouse what he or she believes, especially in leadership. Unfortunately, we live in a period where many pastors, bishops and Christians in general are too preoccupied with their public image before the world, and its secular values, and have become ineffective to reach the lost because very little know what they stand for.

    Simply being too afraid to take a public stand on any social issues as a representative of the Church, which within itself is a travesty and has created a vacuum. The ambiguity has led and is leading many astray as humanity is seeking to do the right thing and make the right decision amidst varying opinions and positions. However, as “Believers” the FINAL authority is always, and will always be the word of GOD. That didn’t change.

    The gray area for many Christians is how they will be perceived – it is our privilege and endowment given by God to adhere to his word without apology. And yes, we still love our brethren who believe otherwise but we are not ashamed of the Gospel that teaches us how to fulfill the word in the earth.

    It is easy to see the spin the media will craft regarding Rev. Evan’s position; however, there is no plot to divide the faithful – Christians too, must freely exercise our God-given right to “choose” God’s plan for the family, without legislative or decisive schemes from the religious community. I commend Rev. Evans, regardless who disagrees. God has the final say, but we all have to say something about what we believe and not live in hiding. We must share our faith and when we don’t, we lose ground to our spiritual enemy that comes to devour and destroy. Our responsibility is to the share the good news and the life changing power of the gospel to uplift and empower.

    WE, as Believers of marriage between “one man and one woman,” are not hostile or antiquated; we don’t hold grudges against those who have flip-flopped in their doctrine; we have simply made a conscious decision to adhere as best of our ability to the faith delivered unto us to uphold what GOD said about marriage. “Every man shall have his own wife and every wife shall have her own husband.” There isn’t any hidden code in this… why the conundrum exists surrounding this issue is a waste. “GOD cannot retract his principles,” otherwise they weren’t principles from the genesis if humanity can change the value or strength of what they represent. Principles are solid; God is unwavering just as much as he loves and is inclusive".

In 2012, the Philadelphia-based Hollis joined Rev. Bill Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), at a press conference to condemn President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage.

“I just think this is a travesty in terms of the position that our Commander-in-Chief has taken on a global scale and I’m really proud that Dr. Owens has started this particular mandate to call order to where we have disorder in the highest office in the land,” Hollis said.

“The president needs to know that he has demonstrated such a dereliction of duty simply because he touted himself as a great, broad thinker, a person who could have a conversation with anyone, but yet… selectively he has chosen to overlook this intellectual body of black leaders, and we take grave offense to that,” she continued. “And he needs to know that he does not have a pass, as Dr. Owens has earlier stated, and we will hold him to the fire because at some point you’ve got to make it known what you stand for… and we know that this particular position is a political one, and we are offended.”

Owens and his group have called for the impeachment of Attorney General Eric Holder on the basis that he violated his oath of office by “attempting to impose same-sex ‘marriage’ throughout the nation.”

CAAP was also highly critical of Obama’s comparison of the same-sex marriage movement to that for civil rights during the president’s remarks at the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma, Alabama.

“President Obama is a disgrace to the black community,” Owens said. “He is rewriting history. We didn’t suffer and die for gay marriage. We marched for opportunity, equality, justice, freedom from oppression. We are the true heirs of the civil rights movement. We have a new movement to reclaim the ‘real’ civil rights movement.”

“The LGBT community hijacked our movement, a movement they know nothing about,” Owens asserted. “President Obama is delusional to compare our struggle with the struggle for marriage equality. Gays have not had fire hoses or dogs unleashed at them. They have not been hung from trees or denied basic human rights.”

“President Obama didn’t march,” Owens continued. “He has benefited from those of us who did march, but for President Obama to say we marched so that gays would have the right to marry today, is a disgrace and a lie.”

Last week, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who recently instructed Alabama’s state probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses according to a federal court’s ruling, joined CAAP and other conservative leaders to defend the Texas constitutional ban against same-sex marriage. Moore and CAAP have also called for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan to recuse themselves from the same-sex marriage case that is currently before the high court, since both justices have officiated at same-sex weddings and, according to Owens, have demonstrated “lack of impartiality.”


Archbishops' anger as British supermarkets snub Easter eggs featuring Jesus in favour of Darth Vader

Supermarkets have been accused of pursuing an ‘anti- Christian agenda’ after refusing to sell Easter eggs with a religious message.

Some of Britain’s biggest stores are celebrating the most profound event in the Church calendar by offering treats featuring everything from Darth Vader to Postman Pat – but turned down products that mention Jesus.

One chain even asked ‘what has Easter got to do with the Church?’, according to the makers of The Real Easter Egg, which features Christian crosses on the box and contain a leaflet telling the story of the Resurrection.

Now Archbishop of York John Sentamu has stepped in – urging Sainsbury’s, Asda and the Co-op to stock the charity eggs – while former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey said he was ‘saddened’ by the three supermarket giants’ decision.

Lord Carey said: ‘The rest are rubbish. These Easter eggs that have nothing to do with Easter, all they are trying to do is get more money out of people. They have no meaning. I think it shows ignorance on the part of these supermarkets.

‘By not offering an alternative to secular Easter eggs they are really undermining the real message of Easter. It saddens me because we are living in a land that is completely losing contact with its religious roots and is out of touch with the Christian message.’

David Marshall, the head of the Meaningful Chocolate Company, said the supermarkets appeared biased against its ‘proven seller’. He said: ‘We do wonder at times if there is an anti-Christian agenda from some of our supermarkets who just keep turning it down. It is as if some feel Christianity is politically incorrect or the Easter story, which mentions Jesus, might put people off.

‘One buyer asked us what Easter had got to do with the Church, while another simply said, “I don’t think this is a credible product” and asked us to leave.’

The Warrington-based firm has spent five years trying to persuade stores to sell its £4 Christian-themed eggs, which were launched in 2010 with the backing of Archbishop Sentamu.

At first the supermarkets refused, but two years ago, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and the Co-Op bowed to pressure and agreed.

But this year Sainsbury’s and the Co-op have dropped the eggs, blaming poor sales, while Asda has never stocked them. However, the Meaningful Chocolate Company say a million eggs have been sold over the past five years.

Archbishop Sentamu, who has lamented ignorance about Easter after learning that a third of children thought it marked the birthday of the Easter bunny, said yesterday: ‘With a million Real Easter Eggs sold I am delighted that Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose have met the challenge. I call on Sainsbury’s, Asda, and the Co-operative to give their customers the same choice.’

Sainsbury’s said their decision was based on ‘the popularity of ranges in previous years’, with the Co-op also citing ‘poor sales of the Real Easter Egg in previous years’. Asda said it had not been approached this year, a claim disputed by the Meaningful Chocolate Company.


Rev. Graham: ‘Don’t Shut Up!’ – ‘Homosexuality is Wrong’ & Abortion is ‘A Sin Against God, It’s Murder’

While many Christian pastors are afraid to preach against homosexuality and abortion because some people in the pews complain, claiming their child is gay or abortion is a choice, the pastors must not shut up, said Rev. Franklin Graham, emphasizing that the sole guide is the Bible, which teaches that homosexual behavior “is wrong” and that abortion is “murder.”

Rev. Graham, 62, also stressed that pastors and the church must not shrink from teaching young people moral truth because most of the schools and colleges teach that immorality, such as homosexuality and abortion, is “okay.”

“Don’t you shut up!” Rev. Graham told attendees at The Awakening 2015: Rebuilding the Wall in Orlando, Fla.  “It [abortion] is a sin against God, it’s murder,” he said.  “And today, young people in the church don’t know that homosexuality is wrong. Because pastors aren’t speaking about it.”

“And they [young people] go to school and the teachers in the school tell them that it’s okay,” he said. “That it’s all right. That God made them that way. That’s the way they are. And it’s a choice. That’s what they’re teaching. So young people today, in the church, don’t get it in the church – they believe this is okay. ‘What’s wrong with you guys being against this stuff? It’s all right.’”

“And they believe it because they hear it at school,” said Rev. Graham.  “But they don’t really hear it in the church. I’m just saying, in the church we have a voice. And people want to know, how do we navigate? See this right here? (He holds up a Bible.) This is the way we navigate. It’s the Word of God, and we preach the Word of God cover to cover.”

Commenting further on homosexuality, Rev. Graham said, “A lot of pastors have quit preaching against homosexuality.  You know why?  Because they are afraid that there may be some man or some woman in the congregation whose son or daughter is gay.”

“And so you speak against homosexuality and all of a sudden that person in the church is saying, ‘Wait a second, my son or my daughter, and listen, God made him that way and God loves him and for you to preach against them,’” said the reverend.

“Then, all of a sudden, that couple or that individual they begin to go to other people and all of a sudden you’ve got this yack, yack, yack going,” he said.  “Then all of a sudden there’s a whole group of people coming to the pastor going yack, yack, yack, yack.”

He continued, “Then the pastor is saying to himself, ‘You know what, I’m just up here by myself swinging and now I’ve got the church turning against me, I’ll just shut up.’  Don’t shut up! You don’t shut up!”

“And if the people are coming up to you going yack, yack, yack and they want to run you out of the church, let them run you out of the church,” said Rev. Graham.  “Go to another church – let them have that [first] church. God will bless you and He’ll honor you, if you speak up and tell the truth.”

“Abortion. The same thing,” said Rev. Graham.  “Pastors are, ‘I don’t want to talk about that because there might be some lady out there and, you know, if I talk about abortion she’s going to get upset.’ Next thing you know, here she comes yack, yack, yack.  Then also here comes another person and another person. Now I’ve got a little committee of these yack, yack, yacks coming. And life is just short and I just don’t need this headache, so I’m just going to shut up.”

“Don’t you shut up!” he said.  “It [abortion] is a sin against God, it’s murder.”

Franklin Graham is the son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, who is now 96 and retired at his family home in Montreat, N.C. Over the last 55 years, it is estimated that Billy Graham’s preaching reached 2.2 billion people worldwide through radio, television, and public rallies.



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


Monday, March 30, 2015

Shockingly, military pushing back on lifting transgender ban for active duty

The case of convicted traitor Chelsea Manning continues to create ripples of discontent in the American military as the discussion of transgender individuals serving on active duty is batted around in Washington. New Defense Secretary Ash Carter raised some eyebrows recently when he suggested that the current ban on such persons serving might need to be lifted. While they’re not going public with their complaints at this time, the AP reports that some senior commanders are none too pleased with the idea.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has gotten pushback from senior military leaders on whether the Pentagon should lift its ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces, according to U.S. officials familiar with the discussions.

Carter initially told troops in Afghanistan that he was open-minded when asked if the Defense Department was planning to remove one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service. But defense officials said members of his top brass told Carter that they had serious reservations.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Things get complicated enough when you’re talking about a man dressed as a woman using the female locker room at the local gym. But in the military – particularly for units deployed in a combat zone or in the cramped confines of a surface ship or submarine – there are a host of other considerations which turn this into a nightmare for the leadership. And we’re not just talking about which bathroom they will use or which showers they head to. There are questions about appropriate medical care. Will the military have to provide hormone therapy or even surgery for everyone “in transition” while they serve? And how might they impact their ability to carry out the mission?

And while they are busy assuring the “rights” of the transgender service member, what about the concerns of the rest of the troops? Women in particular face enough unique challenges in their military service as it is. What if they don’t feel comfortable sharing the shower with somebody with, shall we say, the opposite plumbing even if his name is Martha? Maintaining unit cohesion is a challenge under the best of times, so it’s not terribly surprising that some of the commanders are already pushing back against tossing yet another fly in the ointment.

This is not a question of discrimination, and those attempting to create some sort of parallel to racially integrating the military are being disingenuous. This is just an added hassle that the military doesn’t need and it’s not going to end well if they continue down this path


Can Family Breakdown in Low-Education America Be Reversed? Maybe

Our kids, at least many of them, are not doing very well. The reason, writes Harvard professor Robert Putnam in his just-published “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” is the “two-tier pattern of family structure” that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s and continues to prevail today.

Starting in the late 1960s, rates of divorce, unmarried births and single parenthood rose sharply among all segments of society. About a decade later, they fell and leveled off among the college-educated, who almost entirely raise their kids in Ozzie-and-Harriet style families today (except that Mom usually works outside the home).

Among the bottom third of Americans in education and income, however, the negative trend accelerated. In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was alarmed that 26 percent of black births were to unmarried children. The rate is about twice that for the least educated third of Americans of all races today.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Charles Murray’s 2012 book “Coming Apart” describes the same phenomenon among white Americans. Curiously, Putnam refers only glancingly to Murray’s work. But Putnam agrees with Murray (perhaps grudgingly) that this is bad for the kids involved.

They’re careful to concede that single parents have a hard job and that some do well at it. But the data says those are the exception rather than the rule. On average and by a wide margin, children raised in such households do worse in school, have more trouble with the law and make less money and gain less satisfaction in life than those from the stable families of the upper third.

Putnam is troubled by the resulting inequality and lack of upward mobility. He begins “Our Kids” in Port Clinton, Ohio, where he grew up in the 1950s in a community unequal in income, but egalitarian in manners and mores. Since then, Port Clinton’s factory jobs have mostly disappeared and the town seems riven between the gleaming condominiums on the now-clean waters of Lake Erie and gritty neighborhoods where many kids grow up in disorderly homes.

With a corps of researchers, Putnam fanned out across the country and found similar trends from fast-growing Bend, Oregon, to the down-at-the-heels Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. He tells the stories and quotes the words – often heart-wrenching, sometimes heart-warming – of specific kids identified by first names.

“America’s poor kids do belong to us and we to them,” he concludes. “They are our kids.” The nation as a whole has to do something to help them. But what?

Send them money is one answer. But as the Manhattan Institute’s Scott Winship points out, low-level wages and incomes, taking into account proper inflation measures and fringe benefits, have not fallen over the last 40 years. Food and clothing has become less expensive (thanks, Wal-Mart) and most households classified as poor have smartphones, microwaves and big-screen TVs that did not exist in the 1960s.

Like Sen. Mike Lee and other reform conservatives, Putnam would increase the Earned Income Tax Credit and expand the child tax credit. Marginal help. He hails the bipartisan support for reducing incarceration for minor offenses and helping ex-convicts. And let’s, he says, eliminate pay-for-play fees for extracurricular activities.

Other proposals sound unavailing, like moving low-education households to more upscale suburbs; Section 8 housing subsidies already do that. And Putnam’s faith that child care centers and mandatory pre-school can make a difference haven’t been supported by research, except for two experiments more than 40 years ago whose results haven’t been replicated.

Putnam doubts the chances of “a reversal of long-established trends in private norms,” though they’re common in history: The gin-soaked mobs of 18th-century London became the orderly Victorian masses. Like most high-education Americans, he doesn’t want to denounce people for breaking old moral rules even when that hurts their kids.

The libertarian Murray doubts that government can do much. But he thinks that high-education elites, with their strong family structures, can. They need to “preach what they practice.” Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle, agreeing, nominates Hollywood for a lead role. Midcentury America’s universal media – radio, movies, television – celebrated the old rules.

There are signs this is happening. Teenage birth and violent crime rates have been falling. Younger millennials may be learning delayed gratification and self-restraint. Maybe, as they grow older, divorce and single parenthood will become less common, too. Few kids in broken homes will read “Our Kids or Coming Apart.” But they already know the story.


Today’s new racialists are still judging people on the colour of their skin

Today marks 50 years since the 1965 civil-rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, were completed. The marchers did not let beatings and tear gas from state troopers, murders of their fellow activists, and opposition from the Alabama governor stop them. Their defiant efforts led, in August that year, to the passing of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark achievement for the movement.

On 25 March, on the steps of the state capitol in Montgomery, Martin Luther King gave a speech that has become known as his ‘How long, not long’ speech. In this powerful and moving address, King presented his hope for the future: ‘We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man.’

Fifty years on, we all pay homage to King and the civil-rights activists of Selma and Montgomery. But many who invoke King’s name promote ideas that are diametrically opposed to the universalist philosophy that informed King’s work, and for which he and others gave their lives. We are witnessing today a renewed emphasis on racial thinking and social distinctions – the racialisation of society – which is exactly what the civil rights movement sought to transcend. In the name of being ‘race sensitive’, ‘protecting people of colour’ or raising awareness of ‘white privilege’, the new politically correct racialists are actually destroying King’s dream.

The motivating beliefs of the civil rights movement of the 1960s are far more positive and humanistic than what is being advocated today. Consider the following contrasts between then and now.

1) From overcoming race to promoting racial thinking and division

‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.’ This is perhaps Martin Luther King’s most famous line, from his ‘I have a dream’ speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. And it was not just a view held by King himself; his words summed up the movement’s aim to surmount racial differences. A common sign held up at civil-rights protests read ‘I am a man’ – a straightforward demand to be treated the same as others in society.

Fast forward to today, and we are all encouraged to think about race, all the time. Coinciding with the Selma anniversary, Starbucks launched its initiative to have its baristas write ‘Race Together’ on coffee cups and encourage conversations about race with customers. It was widely mocked (one tweeted that he’ll have a Malcolm Xpresso). Few, however, noted the irony of a ‘let’s all talk about race’ campaign at the very moment we were meant to be commemorating a movement that was opposed to dividing us up into races. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz believes we need to have a ‘conversation’ about race, but where has he been? The US has spent the past year discussing race constantly, from Ferguson to Oklahoma frat boys singing an n-word song.

And it is not just that more people are viewing society, and talking about it, in racial terms; new race activists are actively promoting separation on the basis of race. In December, white students at the University of Missouri were told they were not welcome at a Ferguson ‘die-in’ protest. A protest leader read out a ‘white privilege’ checklist, citing whites’ putative advantages. Similarly, Ferguson-related protest organisers told ‘white folks’ at the University of Massachusetts that they should not make the ‘hands up’ gesture, to avoid ‘centering’ themselves in a narrative that was not theirs to tell. This compares unfavorably with the civil rights movement, where white people were generally welcomed and played a leading role.

In late February, the principal of a high school in a Chicago suburb held an assembly for black students only, to discuss ‘black lives matter’. Half a century after the civil rights movement tore down segregation in the South, we’re seeing conscious segregation being gradually re-constructed.

2) From the denial of civil rights to ‘microaggressions’

The civil-rights activists were up against state-sanctioned discrimination, as well as widespread prejudice in society. Discrimination was backed by laws (for example, laws that permitted segregation in schooling, such as those struck down by the Supreme Court in Brown vs Board of Education 1954), and enforced by the authorities. Black people were denied equal voting, housing rights and other rights. In response to their campaigns, they faced violence from both the state and racist citizens.

Today, racism is more likely to be discussed in terms of an individual’s thoughts, as a state of mind, rather than as an issue of social and economic structures. It is less a top-down denial of rights by the state or other institutions, than it is a failure by people to speak and behave in a prescribed manner. Racism, it is argued, has moved from overt hatred to ‘microaggressions’ – unintended, insensitive remarks. Claims of microaggressions are especially rampant on campus. In a 2013 case at the University of California at Los Angeles, post-graduate students accused a professor of racial microaggressions for correcting grammar in their term papers, among other slights; the professor was fired. In this world, any distinction between a true act of racism and a faux pas is lost. While yesterday’s civil-rights campaigners confronted police and were denied the vote (real macroaggressions), today’s activists are wounded by offending words or glances.

3) From struggling for equality to therapy and etiquette

In her perceptive book Race Experts, Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn identified the trend of positioning race as an issue of therapy and etiquette, rather than justice or equality. She noted that diversity training in business, multicultural education in schools, and other therapeutic interventions were pushing society towards new codes of conduct. This was a far cry from the marches and mobilisations of the 1960s; indeed, Lasch-Quinn says the new experts ‘hijacked’ the civil-rights revolution.

Lasch-Quinn’s book was published in 2001, and this trend since then has only become more ingrained. Many of New York’s elite private schools now engage in ‘white privilege’ training sessions. Wealthy white students are taught that their freedom from worrying about microaggressions is a privilege in and of itself. An often-used textbook cites flesh-coloured band-aids that match their skin tone as one of the many perks of whiteness. Students are discouraged from discussing their expensive vacations around poorer students of colour. In ‘white privilege’ training, whites who do not confess their racism are deemed ‘in denial’.

These ‘white privilege’ training sessions have more in common with therapy than education. They encourage students to see the world in racial terms, force students into identity boxes and create heightened sensitivities around race. In New York’s private schools, white students learn that they are richer and better off than the average black student across the city – which must come as a shock. As John McWhorter says, students are meant to learn that ‘Living While White constitutes a form of racism in itself’. But, as he points out, it is hard to see what liberal guilt does to improve the lives of black people.

It is safe to say that the civil-rights leaders of the past would have found all of this foreign. King and the other National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leaders were known to oppose any emphasis on racial identity, which they believed threatened the focus on social and economic goals. But, as Lasch-Quinn notes, you could say the new racial etiquette is actually reminiscent of old South. ‘The unspoken, invisible list of sensitivities that all enlightened whites are expected to master’, she writes, ‘evokes the same kind of racially differentiated codes that suffused the segregation era, even while it turns them on its head’.

4) From targeting the authorities to blaming the masses

In its struggle to change laws and policies, the civil rights movement challenged politicians and others in authority. Despite attacks from the Ku Klux Klan and other white citizens, the movement did not drift from its focus on challenging the powers-that-be. This emphasis on the top-down leadership contrasts with today’s prevalent view that the real problem lies with the entrenched bigotry of middle America.

The day after the death of Michael Brown, department of justice (DOJ) officials arrived in Ferguson. The DOJ then organised meetings on ‘white privilege’ among residents. Federal officials talked about underlying prejudice that whites may not perceive, and broke the attendees into small groups to discuss topics like ‘How does white privilege impact race relations in our community?’. Imagine that: there is a police shooting, and the federal government’s first reaction is that the local white people must be made aware of their racism. It is not surprising that the meetings, which were ‘designed to ease tension’, led to people becoming ‘angry and screaming’.

The nationwide protests following the Ferguson incident also betrayed a tendency on the part of anti-racist campaigners to aim their sharpest criticisms at everyday white people. So-called #blackbrunch demonstrators have disrupted brunch meals, which they consider ‘white spaces’, and harangue diners with tales of police brutality. In November, protesters shut down a freeway in San Diego during morning rush hour, which pissed-off commuters trying to get to work. Shouting ‘hands up, don’t shop’, protesters in Minneapolis and elsewhere went to Wal-Mart on ‘Black Friday’ to condemn workers for both racism and buying goods.

5) From the optimism of America’s promise to the pessimism of ‘white supremacy’

Finally, the civil-rights movement was optimistic about the possibility of progress. This optimism is lacking from today’s race advocates. Despite the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow in the years since independence, King and the movement looked to the promise of universal rights held out by American democracy, as established by its Enlightenment-inspired founders. ‘When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence’, said King at the Lincoln Memorial, ‘they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.’

In contrast, today’s promoters of racial difference view America as inherently and irredeemably racist. To them, American history is one long, neverending story of ‘white supremacy’, and the only thing worth knowing about the founders is that they owned slaves. In their eyes, the anniversary of Selma is an occasion to highlight how little things have since changed. But, in doing so, the race advocates minimise the tremendous accomplishments of the civil-rights movement in knocking down legal and social barriers, and express a deep pessimism about the future. Indeed, their whole message is about assigning people to rigid racial categories, which has the effect of increasing divisions in society and making things worse.

The new racialists might claim to be the inheritors of the civil-rights tradition, but the truth is they are imposters. They will denounce anyone who dares to espouse King’s vision of a colour-blind world of real equality, and anyone who believes that people should be judged by the ‘content of their character’. It is they who are ‘in denial’ – in denial that they represent everything the civil-rights movement fought against, in denial that they are its gravediggers.

Those who wish to live up to the ideals of the civil rights movement, and honour the courage of its heroes, can start by challenging the new racialism and revitalising the case for universalism and freedom for all.


‘Racist’ cupcakes banned from French pastry shop: Court orders removal of dark chocolate figures with pink lips

A bakery in the French Riviera has been banned from displaying cupcakes of a naked man and woman made out of dark chocolate - because they were inciting 'racial hatred'.

The 'God' and Goddess' cakes, which topped with the chocolate figures of a naked, plump man and woman with pink lips and protruding genitalia, were deemed offensive by a French court after a complaint by a shocked resident.

A judge concluded that treats - sold in a 'boulangerie' in the town of Grasse, NIce - showed 'two people of colour in grotesque and obscene attitudes', adding they violate 'human dignity, especially that of the African people or people of African descent.'

The administrative court in Nice ruled while the patisserie can still bake and sell the cakes - which have been made to order for the last 15 years - it said the town's mayor must ensure that the offending pastries were removed from the shop window.  For every day they were still on show, the town faced a fine of €500 (£360).

The court said it found no 'malicious will' on the part of the baker, but also ordered the town to pay a fine of €1,000 (£730) to the Representative Council of Black Association  (CRAN), which joined the calls for the cupcakes to be banned.

President of CRAN Louis George-Tin said he was 'delighted' with the ruling, made on Thursday, adding it was a warning to the rest of France.

Before the court hearing he told The Local the cakes were 'pure and simple racism; and denounced it as a 'obscene slave trade caricatures that tap into the tradition of colonial racism'.

'We are in a country where the word equality is part of the constitution, which means it doesn’t allow for racism. Does he think these treats adhere to the values of the French Republic?' he said.

“We must fight this kind of racism. I cannot imagine what would be said (rightly) if an African baker decided to represent Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary in a similar way.'



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


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Junk food available in British hospitals: Critics say presence of Burger King, Costa Coffee and Greggs amounts to 'negligence'

Fast food places are usually the only place in a hospital environment where people can feel normal -- something that is greatly appreciated and which is certainly a psychological boon.  But the obesity warriors don't really care about people

More than 100 NHS hospitals in Britain contain fast food outlets, shocking new figures have revealed.

Critics argue the presence of Burger King, Costa Coffee and Greggs around sick patients goes as far as being negligent - and is simply adding to the soaring obesity crisis.

There are 128 outlets in British hospitals selling junk food, plus a further 32 branches of WHSmith, which sells confectionery - often at a discounted price.

The fast food branches include two Burger Kings, six Subways and one Greggs, an investigation by The Sun revealed.  There are also dozens of coffee shops selling calorie-laden food and drink - with 27 Starbucks and 92 Costas.

This is in addition to all the smaller, independent retailers in hospitals selling junk food. 

The news comes as figures from Public Health England show that in Britain, 64 per cent of adults are either overweight or obese.  

And experts estimate treating obesity and the associated health problems costs the NHS around £6 billion every year - or five per cent of the entire NHS budget. It spends a further £10billion on diabetes.

To make matters worse, some of the UK's major hospitals have more than one outlet selling junk food.

Addenbrooke's in Cambridge operates a food court with a Burger King, Costa Coffee, Starbucks and pizzeria, while and University Hospital Southampton Foundation trust also hosts a Burger King and a Costa Coffee shop.

Earlier this month it was reported that the Greggs bakery based in an NHS hospital is the fast-food chain's second busiest outlet in Britain.

The counter at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton is often so busy selling steak bakes, bacon rolls and pizzas that ropes have to be used to separate queues of hungry customers which can reach 20 people deep.

The Sun investigation found customers could buy four sausage rolls for £2.40, each which contained 25g fat. The total recommended daily amount of fat is 75g for women and 90g for men.  Those with a sweet tooth could buy three sugar and fat laiden doughnuts for £1.

The hospital trust has joined forces with Wolverhampton Council to tackle the obesity crisis locally.

But Mr Loughton said banning the chain from the site would not solve anything.

He said: 'People say "ban the fast-food places" but I don't think that will ever work. We have to change people's mentality regarding the food they eat.'

In Devon, hospital chiefs have told staff not to allow deliveries from a new Pizza Hut - despite it being built in their own multi-storey car park.

The move was revealed a month after the chain opened just 100 yards from the walls of Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

Staff were instructed to tell patients they could not order from the fast food restaurant, with bosses steering them towards 'healthier' sandwiches in the hospital's smoothie bar instead.

And a hospital in Surrey has came under fire when it emerged it had paid £24,000 to close a Burger King branch inside its own walls.

Croydon University Hospital had hosted the fast food chain in its entrance for 14 years, sparking the ire of health campaigners.

It finally managed to close the outlet - which was next to posters promoting healthy eating - in 2011 and replace it with a Costa Coffee branch.

But in order to terminate the contract it had to pay £24,000 to Compass UK, the company operating the fast food franchise.

Croydon Health Service admitted the 'world had changed' since it signed the original deal in 1997.


Why a wise man would never marry

If it ends in divorce, the courts have no regard for the man at all

A millionaire building tycoon says he has been left 'homeless' by a divorce ruling he says handed 80% of the family property to his ex-wife.

Construction magnate David Stocker, 61, was used to living the high life during his marriage to former wife Avril, 62.

They had a five-bedroom home in West London valued at £1million, a £100,000 yacht and a £500,000 villa in Spain.

But he told an Appeal Court hearing that his life of luxury is over and he is now unable to get back on the London property ladder because of the couple's divorce.

After the hearing she denied feeling like a winner, saying: 'When you get divorced, you become poor.'

He said a divorce court ruling left his ex-wife with property worth £1.8million - more than seven times his own £250,000 share.

Mr Stocker argued that the division of assets was 'unfair', especially as his former wife has no children to care for.

Despite his pleas, senior judge Mr Justice Blake told him he must accept his new lot, finding there was nothing legally wrong with the original ruling.

The court heard a family judge had handed four-fifths of the £2million-plus family assets to his ex-wife after their 15-year marriage ended in 2011. The divorce ruling came in 2013.

Mr Stocker said he had been obliged to sell his boat - which he valued at £100,000 - and to hand over the keys to the former matrimonial home in Ruislip, north-west London.

The building boss, whose business is based in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, was also told to split the Spanish villa - which he valued at more than £500,000 - with his ex-wife.

Mr Stocker, representing himself in court, told Mr Justice Blake he was baffled by the decision, saying: 'We have got no kids - why is it not 50/50?'

He told the judge: 'My wife got a £1m house in Ruislip, half a villa that's worth hundreds of thousands more. My wife got £1.8m in property and I'm left with £250,000.

'I'm entitled to a home under human rights. I told the judge throughout the case that all I wanted was a home out of it,' he went on.

He said he was no longer fielding a barrister in the divorce battle, which has been running for four years, because 'I ran out of money'.

'The assets have 80% gone her way. All I'm asking for is a home,' he added.

Mr Justice Blake however told Mr Stocker that he had no hope of overturning the divorce ruling and would have to accept his reduced circumstances.

'Unfortunately, as happens so often in this type of litigation, everything here has the appearance of an applicant who refuses to have a sense of finality', he said.

'This court doesn't sit as a re-hearing court. You don't just come here and say, "Can we start all over again please?".

The judge concluded: 'The husband argues that the division of the marital assets was unfair and disproportionate.

'This was a case in which there were no children to be taken into account, the husband contends that a 50/50 split would have been appropriate.

'But none of the matters he raises constitutes a basis for appeal which has any prospect of success.'

Mr Stocker vowed to fight on as he left court.

Mrs Stocker, who attended the hearing and sat at the back of the court throughout, said later that she didn't feel like she had come out of the marriage a winner.

'When you get divorced, you become poor... the only people who have won out of all this are the lawyers,' she said.

She added that she and her ex-husband had known each other since the early 1980s, having met at a squash club, and married in 1994.

Defending her payout, she said she had worked hard during the marriage to make the family construction company a success.

'I'm an intelligent person and I've got a masters degree from a good business school,' she added.

Of her high-flying former life whilst married to Mr Stocker, she said: 'We had a very good lifestyle. People used to say to me 'You've got everything.''

'It's very sad. We had a long relationship, but all relationships are fraught. I'm very philosophical now, but it was a very hurtful time.'


Christian baker accused of making customer 'feel like a lesser person' because he refused to make pro-gay marriage cake

A Christian baker who refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan has begun a court battle over equality laws.

Belfast-based Ashers Bakery refused to make a cake featuring an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto 'Support Gay Marriage'.

Northern Ireland's Equality Commission is now supporting a legal action against the family-run bakery on behalf of gay rights activist Gareth Lee, whose order was declined.

Mr Lee told a court today he was left 'shocked' and in 'disbelief' when one of the owners of the bakery, Karen McArthur, rang him and told him she would not be processing the order he had already paid for.

'It made me feel I'm not worthy, a lesser person and to me that was wrong,' he said.

Opening the case, Robin Allen QC, representing Mr Lee, said the baker's objection on religious grounds was not lawful.

He said baking a cake did not mean the bakers supported any message the cake might carry and compared the baking of a cake to a postman delivering a letter or a printer printing a poster.

'A postman taking a letter to the door or a printer carrying out a printing job - nobody would say that involved promoting or support,' he said. 'It's simply a functional relationship, a working relationship.'

The lawyer also noted the publicity around the case and highlighted that politicians, church figures, bloggers and others had expressed opinions on the matter.

But the barrister insisted the case must be judged on the facts alone, saying: 'Law must not be determined by those who shout loudest.'

Mr Allen QC said he was not in court to challenge the McArthur family's faith and highlighted that the proposed design would not have had an Ashers logo on it.

The case is being heard at Belfast County Court by district judge Isobel Brownlie.

The case has sharply divided public opinion in Northern Ireland and beyond.

In the wake of the bakery's refusal to provide the service last May, the commission, a state-funded watchdog body, took on the case on behalf of Mr Lee.

Initially, the commission asked the bakery to acknowledge that it had breached legislation and offer 'modest' damages to the customer.  When Ashers, which is owned by the McArthur family, refused, the commission proceeded with the legal action.

Outlining his view of the facts, Mr Allen said Mr Lee had used the bakery in Royal Avenue in Belfast city centre 'regularly' before the incident.

He said his client had seen a leaflet in the shop advertising a service whereby images could be printed in edible icing on a cake.  He said there was nothing on the leaflet which suggested a limitation on the service due to 'religious scruples'.

The barrister told the court that the order was accepted by Ashers director Karen McArthur and Mr Lee paid for it in full.  'A contract was therefore concluded,' he said.

Mr Allen said that, over the next few days, Mrs McArthur expressed concern about the requested cake design with her daughter-in-law, Amy, and the matter was then discussed with her son, Daniel.

After that Mr Lee was informed that his order would not be processed due to the family's religious views, said the lawyer.

Mr Allen said if companies were allowed to break contracts with individuals then 'the law is worth nothing'.  He added: 'The rule of law says there shall be no discrimination in the commercial sphere.'

The barrister insisted that Ashers was not an 'explicitly religious' business and referred to an interview Daniel McArthur gave to a newspaper in which he claimed the majority of his 60-plus workforce were unaware of his family's faith.

Mr Allen stressed the importance of anti-discrimination legislation in Northern Ireland, given its history of sectarian strife.

Daniel and Amy McArthur sat on one side of an almost packed courtroom, with Mr Lee watching from the other side.

The Ashers case has prompted the Democratic Unionist Party to propose a law change at Stormont that would provide an 'equality clause' which would essentially enable businesses to refuse to provide certain services on religious grounds.

Mr McArthur has previously said: Mr McArthur has previously insisting that Christians should be able to apply their beliefs to the day-to-day running of their businesses.

He said: 'I would like the outcome of this to be that any Christians running a business could be allowed to follow their Christian beliefs and principles in the day-to-day running of the business and that they are allowed to make decisions based on that.'


Father who believed he had the right to smack his two children has them taken into care by social workers

Probably a Muslim

A father who believed he had the right to smack his young children has had them taken into care by social workers.

The parent, from Rotherham, told officials that he thought his children benefited from being smacked.

He said that he hit his children on the bottom, legs and arms, using his hand, but that the red marks 'did not last long'.

But a judge has now ruled that his 'entrenched' views were harmful to their children.

The man has now had his third child, a six-month-old girl, taken into care by Rotherham Council officials.

It comes after his middle child, now aged three, was also taken into care. It is not clear whether the man's eldest child is in care, although there have also been care proceedings issued in relation to that child.

Handing down the judgement at the High Court, Judge Sarah Wright said she made the decision because there was no prospect of the father ever changing his 'domineering behaviour'.

She added that the children's mother could not protect the youngsters from her partner's need to have 'total control' over his family.

She said: 'It was clear to me that she cannot separate herself from the father and from his entrenched views.  'Sadly, she has put him before her children. She refused to accept any view or opinion that is not his.  'She singularly fails to appreciate the risk that he poses to any child in his care'.

During the hearing, it emerged that the man's son, now aged three, had been removed from the family home when he was just a few months old.   Since then, he has been cared for by his 'quiet, considered and thoughtful' maternal uncle.

The judgement also revealed that care proceedings had taken place for another child, during which a family judge criticised the man's 'rigid and inflexible thinking'.

The court said the man was not prepared to 'settle for a shade of grey', but saw everything in black and white.

He also insisted on his right to smack his children, believing he had done 'nothing wrong', the judgement said.

It added that both parents had been 'uncooperative and obstructive' with professionals.

During the latest hearing, it emerged that, when the mother fell pregnant again, she tried to conceal her pregnancy so they would not flag up on social services' radar.

Despite the mother arranging to give birth at a hospital in a different area, their attempt to conceal the birth failed. The little girl - known as E - was then taken from them under a police protection order. 

Explaining her reasons for concealing her pregnancy with E, the mother said she feared she would be put under pressure to have an abortion.

She also insisted there was no basis for social workers' concerns, saying: 'There is no reason why we are here'.

Whilst agreeing he could be 'slightly dogmatic', she said he had never been violent or aggressive, the judgement said.

But the court ruled that the mother had 'aligned herself' with the father and said she was 'totally convinced' that he posed no risk to the children.

It added that the father 'must feel in control' and was capable of rude, uncompromising and hostile behaviour in his determination to get his own way.  'There is also very little prospect of the father accepting the need to change', said the judge.

Despite the parents' objections, Judge Wright ruled that E's welfare demanded that she also be looked after by her uncle and his partner, alongside her older brother. 



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


Friday, March 27, 2015

Multiculturalist accused of raping ten year old girl and making her pregnant

Darrick Guider, of Milwaukee, the largest city in the State of Wisconsin, is charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 12. If convicted of raping the girl, he faces a maximum of 60 years in jail.

According to Milwaukee Police Department’s criminal statement about the first-degree sexual assault of the 10-year-old, the child moved into a relative’s home where Guider lived in June 2014, Fox6Now reported.

The 10-year-old girl told police that “one night, shortly after she moved into this home, she was watching television upstairs in a room. She was lying on the bed when the defendant came in. The defendant told her that ‘this is how [you] make money.’”
Milwaukee Police allege that the girl “tried to get her (relative’s) attention by screaming, but the defendant put his hand over her mouth.”

Guider then allegedly assaulted the girl.

The complaint says the victim “recalls various instances” where Guider attempted to have sex with her. The complaint also says the victim told her relative in December that Guider had been “messing with her.” The relative did not believe the victim.

In January, Milwaukee Police state that the relative took the girl to a paediatrician who said she should immediately take the girl to Milwaukee Children’s Hospital.

The relative did not act on the advice.

This month, another relative noticed the girl “appeared pregnant.” and the 10-year-old was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital where it was confirmed the girl was indeed pregnant.

Her baby was expected “at the end of May or the beginning of June.”


Navy Becomes Career Destroyer

The Navy wouldn’t think of using outdated equipment – but it sure doesn’t mind using outdated policies. Lt. Commander Wes Modder is living proof of that. The long-time chaplain could very well lose his career because his commanding officer is resorting to “obsolete” regulations to punish him. That bombshell came courtesy of Liberty Institute, which was stunned to find that Captain J.R. Fahs was refusing to apply the Defense Department’s new religious liberty laws to Chaplain Modder’s case. “Navy officials appear to be rebelling against the new DOD regulations and thumbing their nose at Congress and the Secretary of Defense. That is totally unacceptable.”

When Chaplain Modder was hauled before representatives of the military’s Equal Opportunity board for holding biblical views on marriage and sexuality, the meeting shouldn’t have ended with Modder cleaning out his office. Under the DOD’s new law, chaplains are “never required to compromise the standards of their religious organization.” Yet that is exactly what the Navy is demanding of the Chaplain, whose own assistant secretly combed through paperwork, “privileged conversations,” and counseling files to report him.

“I didn’t know he was unhappy,” Chaplain Modder told me on Friday’s “Washington Watch.” “I did not know that he was 'married’ (to his gay partner) and trying to adopt a child. I didn’t know any of that… he never indicated that he was unhappy. On December 6, he came in with some command Equal Opportunity representatives and decided to file charges against me. And that was shocking. I felt betrayed, I felt dishonored and disrespected.”

Explaining that he and the young Naval Officer had several genuine and heartfelt conversations about marriage, Modder said he was totally blindsided. “My entire ministry is based on care…I will work with anybody in my office. It’s not based on lifestyle.” The culture has changed, he pointed out, “Navy culture has changed, and Navy policy has changed… but God’s word has not changed. The government wants me to change… But in private counseling sessions, when people are looking for a biblical response, as I am a Christian minister, ordained in the Assemblies of God Church… that’s not going to change.”

Michael Berry, Modder’s attorney, shared my astonishment that the Navy would intentionally assign a homosexual man to work in the office of a Bible-believing chaplain. If the military will investigate Modder, why not this young man, who may have very well violated confidentiality or privacy rules in his religious witch hunt? Clearly, he had an agenda, and somehow that it has superseded this chaplain’s constitutional rights. Today, we learned that the U.S. Navy has taken its punishment of Chaplain Modder a step further by banning him from even attending a sailor’s memorial service.


How the Left Wins the War of Ideas

Imagine that you were in a long war only to discover that the enemy had secretly destroyed your most potent weapons. Sad to say, this is what has happened to those now defending America's values, the values that have made the US a world power and an economic colossus. It is not as if our adversaries have stolen anything physical. Rather, they have rendered the defense of our core beliefs publicly unspeakable, a short step from making them unthinkable. And worse, like death by carbon monoxide, we barely notice the carnage.

The key is how the Left has made expressing these time-honored values tantamount to insensitivity, and in today's Politically Correct world, "offensiveness" is the most egregious sin. To exaggerate only slightly, a public figure confessing to pedophilia is safer than if he were apprehended using the N-word in his private e-mails. Recall the Sony executives caught opining that President Obama prefers films about blacks-the CEO immediately resigned and made a pilgrimage to the Reverend Al Sharpton for absolution. "The Founding Fathers" once brought to mind great patriots who created the Constitution; today, thanks to the Left's relentless propaganda, "Founding Fathers" probably conjures up images of rich white male slave-holders conniving to exploit women and minorities.  
This transformation is often subtle. Just attend a political rally and watch the audience if the speaker begins insisting that the US, like any sovereign nation, has the right to use immigration policy to shape its demography. Guaranteed, even if everyone agrees with this sensible, long-standing policy, listeners grow nervous, fidgety and uncomfortable. Some will worry that such "controversial" ideas should not be voiced in public or, if expressed, cloaked in mushiness to lest some MSNBC commentators or Hispanic activist shout racism. No doubt, the speaker's advisors would have beforehand counseled avoiding the topic altogether-who needs the mass media outrage? The Left has strangled the once Motherhood and Apple Pie argument in the cradle.

Examples of such preemptive destruction abound so defenders of traditional virtues must solder on with fewer and fewer ideas to make their case. When did you last hear a candidate invoke the following once time-honored terms:

Merit, as in the sentence "In today's hyper-competitive world, admission to top universities should only be on merit, not skin color or gender."

Yes, perfectly sensible but rest assured, the speaker will be accused of sabotaging social justice, turning back the clock to the pre-Civil Rights era and advancing white privilege. Upholders of merit thus embrace self-induced paralysis and easily fall back to mindlessly celebrating diversity. 

Work ethic. What could possibly make "work ethic" an insensitive term? According to Political Correctness, calling for a stronger work ethic suggests that some Americans may be deficient in this virtue and "being lazy" is just a code word for public welfare recipients, particularly African Americans. Those praising a "strong work ethic" will immediately be condemned for blaming the victim and ignoring the evils of capitalism and rampant racial discrimination. Never doubt that millions of the unemployed and those on the dole are daily dying to find work. Recall the outrage when Mitt Romney noted that 47% of Americans were happily dependent on government?   

Personal Responsibility. Imagine the uproar if a presidential candidate announced that parents, not government, had a personal responsibility for raising their children and should avoid state-funded daycare, government-supplied meals and similar policies inimical to parenting? To the contemporary Left this former truism is a war on poor children since "everybody knows" that it impossible to successfully raise a child without billions from a nurturing Uncle Sam.

Obey the law. Expressing this virtue seems absolutely safe, but you would be wrong. Even the slightest allusion to crime is "controversial" since, according to the PC faith, "everybody knows" that crime is a racially-tinged code word and to suggest that youngsters should admire crime- fighters, e.g., Batman, not thugs killed by the police, disrespects a culture. Everybody should be free to choose his own "heroes" and anything else is cultural imperialism.   

Thrift How can calling for thrift possibly be offensive? Surely saving money and shunning needless consumerism is a proven pathway out of poverty and what could be wrong with that? Again, this is offensiveness by implication given that thrift is more prevalent among certain groups than others and in today's non-judgmental world, what gives anybody the right to condemn so-called frivolous consumption? After all, economic freedom permits the poor to buy expensive cell phone plans they can ill afford, so a savvy candidate will just avoid linking being a spendthrift to poverty, no matter how solid the advice.

Thick skinned. Picture an office-seeker who explained that society inherently entails daily minor misunderstandings, small criticisms, inadvertent insults, harassments and other trivial hurtfulness and making a big deal out of these frictions subverts civil society. Moreover, trying to eliminate every possible hurtfulness with speech codes and legal fatwas only invites totalitarianism .In other words, America must move beyond the victimhood mentality. Unfortunately, this message disrespects those who define their very being as an eternal victim and implies that their victimhood in a ruse.

And the list of "offensive" words grows by the day. In an interview an African American reporter for the New York Times informed me that the word "colorblind" when said by a white expressed hostility toward blacks. Woe to candidates who even mention "the traditional two-parent family." That would clearly be exclusionary and even hateful.

In today's PC world, only a kamikaze presidential contender would say, "America must return to personal responsibility not government dependency, be a nation of savers not debt-ridden manic shoppers, a self-reliant people who refuse to turn every imagined insult into a federal case who teach their children that criminals are not heroes. And, absent these virtues, America will slide into a struggling Third World Nanny state." 
This speech once would have once brought thunderous applause. Today, by contrast, it would be deemed a collection of insulting gaffs, an invitation to ridicule and a political suicide note.  The PC chorus would be deafening: hateful, insensitive, offensive, extremist, out-of-touch, a war on the poor, an affront to the victims of capitalism and racism. And, regardless of who gave the speech, it would be condemned as a throwback to the bad old days when a bunch of those rich white slaveholders wrote the Constitution.

Obviously, winning the war must begin with taking back our vocabulary. Any volunteers?


Thief who has burgled 200 homes walks free from court after British judge sends him on a victim empathy course instead of prison

A serial thief who admitted committing more than 200 burglaries in just two years has avoided jail and been ordered to attend a ‘victim empathy course’, it was revealed today.

Tomas Drungelas, 33, of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, was spared a prison sentence - despite victims telling the judge that they would ‘be angry’ if he was treated leniently.

The Lithuanian criminal broke into and burgled 202 homes in the Hertfordshire area between 2013 and 2014 to fund his addiction to alcohol and gambling, St Albans Crown Court was told.

But Judge Andrew Bright QC said that he would spare Drungelas jail and send him on a locally-run rehabilitation course called Choices and Consequences, or the ‘C2 Programme’.

He also said Drungelas would be tagged for 36 months, under curfew between 9pm and 6am and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Drungelas was also ordered to go on the victim empathy course as well as attend alcohol and gambling ‘intervention programmes’.

The judge said: ‘The victims of some of the burglaries you have committed have contacted me and expressed their anger if you were to be treated leniently.

‘Under normal circumstances you would face five or six years in prison for the offences you have committed, and many people will say that this is not the way to deal with a prolific burglar.

He added: ‘Some may say that this is a let off, but it is not, because if you break any of the conditions or reoffend you will find yourself back in this court and you will serve the full sentence for the crimes you have admitted to, which could be five or six years in prison.’

The C2 Programme is run by Hertfordshire Constabulary in partnership with the probation service, ‘under the direction’ of Judge Bright.

It aims to turn around the lives of ‘prolific offenders’ to offer them a ‘realistic opportunity to break free from the cycle of crime’. In its first year 31 criminals took part, confessing to 1,800 crimes.



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


Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Privilege Isn’t White

“White privilege” is all the rage . . . on college campuses. But is there anything substantive to the notion?

As long as some folks view individuals as nothing more than their race, I suppose one can accrue a few advantages simply by being part of the largest racial group.

Moreover, as I explained at length in my Sunday column at Townhall.com, numerous government policies do indeed hit minorities harder.

The War on Drugs has ravaged the black community much more than the white community, for example. This may result more from the higher poverty rates for minorities than to race alone: Police and prosecutors are more likely to arrest and harshly prosecute the poor for no better reason than that the poor are less able to defend themselves, legally or politically.

That’s wrong. We very much need major reforms of unaccountable police power and abusive prosecutors as well as end the drug war.

But getting back to that trendy “white privilege” — it misses a big source of “unfair” advantage.

I’m white, but my privilege mostly isn’t. Of my many advantages, my skin pigmentation nowhere near tops the list.

Whatever success I’ve enjoyed derives mostly from this: I was reared by two parents who supported me, nurtured me, corrected me and cared about me every day from before I was born to now.

No government program, no amount of money, can best that gift.

The most critical element in the success of black and brown and yellow and peach and white kids is not a politician who cares, but a parent — or, better yet, two — providing a nurturing environment, including tough love.

We could all use more of the “unfair” advantage that parents provide.


Overweight Leftist bully blames BRITAIN for terrorism

Ed Miliband was tonight facing growing calls to condemn the Labour peer John Prescott of claims Britain is to blame for radicalising young Muslims into joining ISIS.

The former deputy prime minister said the country should 'face up to the fact' that it had somehow pushed already devout youngsters into the throngs of extremism.

He added if he was a young Muslim in Britain today, he too 'could be radicalised' because of 'injustice' in Gaza and US drone strikes in Syria.

His comments were met with fury by MPs today.

Home Affairs Select Committee member Michael Ellis said the Labour leadership needed to criticise the remarks immediately.

Former minister Tim Loughton said Mr Prescott was playing into the hands of ISIS and ‘acting as an apologist for terror’.

Fellow Conservative MP Conor Burns said Mr Prescott's view was 'half-baked, ill thought-out and sensationalist'.

In his weekly column for the Sunday Mirror, Lord Prescott, who last week said Tony Blair's 'bloody crusades' in Iraq had contributed to terrorism, said: 'Isn't it time we faced up to the fact we've played a huge part in making them want to leave Britain and take up arms in a foreign land?'

He was referring to a handful of youngsters to have fled the country to join ISIS extremists abroad. Last week three teenage boys were stopped trying to enter the country at the Turkish border.  A High Court judge banned another group of youngsters from travelling overseas amid fears they were planning to wage jihad.

Rather than blame 'Trojan horse schools', at which he claimed there was 'no proof' of radicalisation, Lord Prescott said of the impressionable teens: 'It wasn't just JIhadi John who radicalised them.'

'If I was a young Muslim watching the social injustice in Gaza where 2,000 people died in a matter of weeks from Israeli bombings, the displacement of millions of people in Syria and the U.S. using drone missiles.... I'm sure I could be radicalised too.'

 John Prescott now appears to be acting as an apologist for terror
Home Affairs Select Committee member Tim Loughton
Mr Ellis, a long-standing member of the respected Home Affairs Select Committee, told MailOnline:

‘We must stand up for our values and defeat extremism – not by apologising but by challenging ideologies which seek to destroy peace and co-operation.

‘John Prescott should focus on that an Ed Miliband should immediately condone these remarks and be clear that these views cannot be justified.’

Mr Loughton said the remarks as ‘extremely dangerous’, adding: ‘John Prescott now appears to be acting as an apologist for terror.

‘I hope Ed Miliband will distance himself from this comments at a time when we need to do everything possible to dissuade young Muslims listening to the poisoned voices of those who try to glamourise a case which characterises itself by murderous barbarism.

‘John Prescott only helps to play into the hands of those who wish to destroy our society and everything that we hold dear.’

Follow Conservative backbencher Mr Burns claimed it was 'one last attempt to make himself relevant'.

‘It is deeply irresponsible for anyone in public life to be suggesting that those who wish to go abroad to make common cause with people who are slaughtering Christians, murdering gay people and whose vowed intent is the elimination of western Liberal democracy.

'To put any of that at the door of the policy of Her Majesty’s government is despicable.

‘People like Prescott would probably want nothing more than for it to blow up between the Jews and the Palestinians. It’s very damaging.’

His comments were also slammed by members of the Muslim community.

'John Prescott an apologist for terrorism, you could have mistakened (sic) him for Asim Qureshi for I'm Cage,' wrote one user calling himself Shaykh Zahir Mahmood.


Dangerous daffodils etc. The top 10 health and safety myths revealed

Among the most ridiculous situations to be prohibited under the guise of health and safety were council parks staff ordering the small wooden canes that protect daffodil bulbs to be removed from the flower bed.

This was because a member of the public complained someone could be hurt should they fall over onto the flowers.

The Health and Safety Executive's Myth Busters Challenge Panel refuted it was a health and safety issue, stating in its decision that 'the request from the park's department to remove the canes is completely disproportionate to the minor hazards presented by them'.

In another equally absurd scenario, a chippie refused to allow a customer to use his salt and vinegar shakers to apply their preferred amount to their meal, as the chippie couldn't be sure the individual's hands were clean.

The panel ruled this problem could be easily solved by providing a separate shakers for customers, or salt and vinegar sachets.

And a third case involved the first nightclub in Britain to ban selfie sticks.

Although the panel said the ban was entirely reasonable - it was unfortunate the club's management used the smokescreen of health and safety to do so.

More than 600 people approached the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Myth Busters Challenge Panel in its first three years after being told ‘health and safety’ stopped them from doing something.

Work and Pensions Minister, Lord Freud said: 'People have had enough of bizarre health and safety excuses.

'The HSE’s myth busters panel is quashing these ridiculous excuses and making sure people know it isn’t the law standing in their way.

'For too long businesses have been consumed by red tape and confusion, often feeling they needed to go beyond the requirements of the law, but it’s never been easier to understand the rules and make the right choice, without diluting protection for workers.'


Pork Crackling not on the menu at a restaurant because it might splash the chef

Prams banned from a children’s centre for health and safety reasons

Dangerous daffodils removed from a village green

Custard pie fight at a local event cancelled because of health and safety

Chippy not allowing customers to put salt and vinegar on their fish and chips

Ban on playing with conkers and yo-yos, using skipping ropes, and climbing trees

Selfie sticks banned in a nightclub

Sheep and cow droppings in a field stopping a scout group camping

School production cancelled because lighting operator had not attended ladder training course

Office ban on paperclips


Yes, we should abolish workplace race laws

Anti-discrimination laws heighten racial sensitivity and destroy meritocracy

What did UKIP leader Nigel Farage say to prompt the following responses: ‘pretty appalling’ (prime minister David Cameron); ‘irresponsible’ (deputy prime minister Nick Clegg); ‘wrong, divisive and dangerous’ (Labour Party leader Ed Miliband); ‘one of the most shocking things I have ever heard’ (Labour’s justice spokesman Sadiq Khan); and something ‘that Goebbels [the Nazi minister of propaganda] would be proud of’ (Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi)?

Had Farage taken leave of his senses and suddenly declared his support for the Islamic State? No, not quite. He had merely claimed it was time to scrap the UK’s race-discrimination laws. And what should have been the cue for a serious debate about workplace race-discrimination laws was snuffed out within hours, with even the usually robust Farage appearing to backtrack.

The irony, no doubt lost on the political establishment that sought to silence any debate about race-discrimination laws, is that Farage made the comments in a documentary, to be shown on Channel 4 this Thursday, called Things We Won’t Say About Race (That Are True). So, the first point from the documentary’s title has already been established before the programme is even aired: there are some things that we won’t (or can’t) say about race, such as race-discrimination laws should be scrapped.

As for things we won’t say about race that are true, it’s often the case that truth is the first casualty of unthinking censure. And when that censure is expressed by the likes of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband, then it is just possible that Farage’s argument to scrap race-discrimination laws hit upon an important truth.

In the interests of developing the debate that Farage tried to start, here’s my three-point argument for scrapping race-discrimination laws: (1) anti-racism is about promoting equality of opportunity (for all races); (2) today’s race-discrimination laws promote equality of outcome; and (3), equality of outcome is the enemy of a meritocratic workplace



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


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Top violator of women's rights around the world? It's Israel says UN

The U.N. sends itself up again.  Why is the USA still a member of this ratbag outfit?

Guess who is the number one violator of women’s rights in the world today?  Israel.  Violating the rights of Palestinian women.

At least that is the view of the UN’s top women’s rights body, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).  CSW ends its annual meeting on Friday, March 20 by condemning only one of the 193 UN member states for violating women’s rights – Israel.

Not Syria. Where government forces routinely employ rape and other sexual violence and torture against women as a tactic of war. Where in 2014 the Assad regime starved, tortured and killed at least 24,000 civilians, and three million people – mostly women and children – are refugees.

In fact, not only is there no possibility that the UN Commission on the Status of Women will criticize Iran, Iran is an elected member of CSW.  Sudan – whose president has been indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity – is currently a CSW Vice-Chair.

Not Saudi Arabia. Where women are physically punished if not wearing compulsory clothing, are almost entirely excluded from political life, cannot drive, cannot travel without a male relative, receive half the inheritance of their brothers, and where their testimony counts for half that of a man’s.

Not Sudan.  Where domestic violence is not prohibited.  There is no minimum age for “consensual” sex.  The legal age of marriage for girls is ten. 88% of women under 50 have undergone female genital mutilation. And women are denied equal rights in marriage, inheritance and divorce.

Not Iran. Where every woman who registered as a presidential candidate in the last election was disqualified.  “Adultery” is punishable by death by stoning.  Women who fight back against rapists and kill their attackers are executed. The constitution bars female judges. And women must obtain the consent of their husbands to work outside the home.

In fact, not only is there no possibility that the UN Commission on the Status of Women will criticize Iran, Iran is an elected member of CSW.  Sudan – whose president has been indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity – is currently a CSW Vice-Chair.

The 2015 CSW resolution on Israel will repeat, as it does every year, that “the Israeli occupation remains the major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society…”

Not Palestinian men.  Not religious edicts and traditions. Not a culture of violence. Not an educational system steeped in rejection of peaceful coexistence and of tolerance.

Instead, the fault for a UN statistic like this one – an average of 17% of Palestinian women are in the labor force as compared to 70% of Palestinian men – lies with the Jewish scapegoat.

That fact comes from one of only nine official documents produced by the UN for the 2015 annual CSW meeting.  Eight were procedural or general in nature, and one was entitled:  “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women.”

By comparison, there was no report on Chinese women and girls, half a billion people without elementary civil and political rights, who still face the prospect of forced abortion and sterilization.

There was no report on women in Somalia, where female genital mutilation is ubiquitous, sexual violence is rampant, and women are systematically subordinate to men.

There was no report on women in Yemen, where the penal code goes easy on the killers of women for “immodest” or “defiant” behavior, there is no minimum age for “marriage,” and women have no equal rights to property, employment, credit, pay, education, or housing.

And the women’s rights scene is not the only liberal sham at the UN.

The UN’s top human rights body, the Human Rights Council (HRC), will wrap up a major session next week by adopting a minimum of four times as many resolutions slamming Israel than any other country on earth.

Condemnations of Israel will include a resolution demanding Israel immediately give back the Golan Heights to Syria – the place where Syrians run from their own government for life-saving Israeli medical care.

Tallying all the resolutions and decisions condemning a specific state over the history of the Human Rights Council, one-third has been directed at Israel alone.

Remember Ukraine? In the past year, there have been at least 5,500 confirmed killed – with recent reports from Germany suggesting the total may be as high as 50,000 dead – in addition to a million people displaced.  But the score is 67 Council resolutions and decisions attacking Israel and zero on Russia. 

So who is calling the shots at the Council? A closer look at its members reveals human rights luminaries like Qatar – that bankrolls the terrorist organization Hamas – along with China, Pakistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

It is impossible to add this all up and conclude that the UN’s treatment of Israel is anything but wildly discriminatory. In the twisted language of UN rights, the means is the verbiage of equality, while the end game is prejudice.

The Obama administration has an answer to this dilemma. Vote against the resolutions, while paying the fees to run the bodies that adopt them. Join and legitimize the institution, while consoling the delegitimized that it feels their pain.

As Secretary Kerry told the Council on March 2, 2015: “President Obama and I support the HRC…” and “the HRC’s obsession with Israel actually risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization.”  “Risks undermining” – as opposed to “has grossly undermined already.”

This attitude towards the UN’s demonization of Israel foreshadows the administration’s Israel policy in the days ahead – a policy unaffected by Israeli election results.

The Palestinians will continue to use the UN and the International Criminal Court to attempt to accomplish with lethal politics what they have never been able to do with lethal force.  And President Obama will hold open the door.


Courts remind EEOC again: Background checks don’t equal racism

The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices displays dozens of “amazingly useless gadgets,” including such oddities as the Battle Creek Vibratory Chair, which shook patients violently to increase oxygen flow, and the Cosmos Bag, a radioactive cloth sack designed to cure arthritic joints with radium-laced water.

Modern medicine would easily identify these devices as absurd and unworkable. A clever pitch man claiming professional credentials can make something up and sell it to a gullible audience, willing to try anything to get the desired result.  

Trying anything to get the desired result, however, is not a good strategy for engineering social change through litigation, as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was recently reminded (again) by a federal Court of Appeals.  

In EEOC v Freeman, the commission once again relied on the statistical analysis of an industrial psychologist to try to prove that an event planning company discriminated against black male job applicants when it ran credit and criminal background checks.

On Feb. 20, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the statistical case presented by the EEOC was “rife with analytical errors,” “completely unreliable,” and contained a “mind-boggling number of errors and unexplained discrepancies.”  The Fourth Circuit judges tossed the EEOC’s case, just as the Sixth Circuit did in 2014, when the EEOC relied on the same expert whose report was rejected for containing the same types of fatal flaws.

For years, the EEOC has doggedly pursued litigation against companies whose background check procedures it deemed too expansive and discriminatory. The EEOC’s strategy relies on the observation that, under certain circumstances, the use of criminal background and credit checks as a pre-hiring screen tends to eliminate minority applicants in disproportionate numbers.  The EEOC claims that this violates Title VII.

But wait a minute.  Just because your arthritis got better doesn’t mean it was because of the Cosmos Bag.  Correlation and causation are not the same thing.  

Statistical data show that a higher proportion of minorities have criminal records than non-minorities.  The NAACP reports that African Americans and Hispanics makeup 58 percent of prisoners, despite making up only a quarter of the general population.  There are undoubtedly a variety of factors that influence those numbers, but employers who perform routine background checks on prospective hires have no control over whom police arrest, governments prosecute, or juries convict.  If there is injustice in the justice system, employers performing background checks are not the ones to blame.

The reason that criminal background checks reveal more convictions for minorities is because more minorities have been convicted, not because employers who run pre-hire background checks are engaging in unlawful discrimination. 

The EEOC’s insurmountable hurdle, therefore, is proving race discrimination, which the agency must do through statistics.  If a criminal background check were racist, it would have to screen out minorities in a higher proportion than the rate at which minorities have been convicted of crimes.  

To date, the EEOC’s efforts to prove disparate impact through statistics have had roughly the same level of success as the Battle Creek Vibratory Chair. 

Last year, the Sixth Circuit called the EEOC’s statistical case against an employer “a homemade methodology, crafted by a witness with no particular expertise to craft it, administered by persons with no particular expertise to administer it, tested by no one, and accepted only by the witness himself.”  The commission then used the same expert again – with the same result.

If the EEOC’s theory were statistically supportable, it would not be so hard for the EEOC to find statistical support.  Yet, as Judge Roger Titus wrote when dismissing the EEOC’s case at the trial court level, the commission’s race discrimination argument is a “theory in search of facts to support it.”  Court after court has panned the EEOC’s approach.

The goal of promoting employment for qualified, rehabilitated individuals with criminal records is a worthwhile one.  The EEOC, however, has no statutory mandate allowing it to pursue that goal.  Strong-arming companies by filing unprovable disparate impact lawsuits is not the best model for engineering social change.

Fortunately, there is a better way.  States like Georgia have enacted laws that allow reformed ex-offenders to obtain a certificate of rehabilitation.  Employers who hire these ex-offenders receive immunity against negligent hire claims.

The Georgia program addresses head-on the worthwhile goal of promoting employment for rehabilitated ex-offenders and does so in a way that provides critical legal safeguards for employers. This carrot-based approach provides ex-offenders a path for re-entry into mainstream society, while giving employers the legal protection they need so they can reasonably take a chance on giving someone a second chance.

That is a much more common sense approach than the EEOC’s discredited statistical gadgetry.

In 2002, the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices closed, and its collection was donated to the Science Museum of Minnesota, where curiosity seekers can still hook themselves up to a phrenology machine that measures intelligence and morality based on the size of bumps on the head.

It remains to be seen whether the Fourth Circuit’s recent decision will prompt the EEOC to change its much-maligned approach to background checks.  If the EEOC is finally ready to retire its repeatedly discredited expert statistical papers, the museum is accepting donations.


When state trumps church

By Anthony Furey

“Ignorant” has got to be one of the most misused words today. An ignorant person is someone who is uninformed, missing some key information.  Not someone who holds an opinion that you don’t share.

Are the people who support banning the niqab during citizenship oaths ignorant? For some, sure. It could be a knee-jerk position they’ve latched onto without much reflection. But – memo to the politically correct! – it’s also possible to oppose the niqab from an informed and educated position.

I’ve read the Qur’an multiple times. I’ve done the crash course in Islamic history and jurisprudence. I routinely chat with Muslims, both supremacists and liberal. Heck, I even watched Lawrence of Arabia as a kid.

So when I argue that wearing the niqab is a pretty bad choice to make and that the government is completely right to insist women remove it during citizenship oaths, I’m not saying that out of ignorance.

It’s actually the sad faux-feminists out there aligning themselves with a religion that has misogyny bred in the bone who are the ignorant ones.

The more I study religion, the more I don’t like it. This goes particularly for Islam, the religion that demands absolute submission (hey, that’s more or less what the name means).

We heathens can’t tell you how the universe was created or what the meaning of life is. But that doesn’t in turn mean the many dodgy claims made by religions are automatically correct.

I highly doubt a god actually told ancestors of my Jewish friends to take a knife to their genitals. I don’t believe Jesus’ mom never had sex nor do I believe it’s possible to turn water into wine. (Although if that last one does turn out to be true, I’ll return to the Roman Catholic Church in a heartbeat, jaw open, head tilted back.)

And I most certainly don’t believe that Muhammad was visited by an angel – while alone in the desert without any witnesses! How convenient! – and received the final revelation of god.

That over a billion people disagree is immaterial. Truth is not determined by mob rule.

The above is simply to illustrate that it’s permissible to view religion with knitted eyebrows. It’s okay to have disdain for one or all of them.

If we can passionately bicker over which hockey team sucks more, we certainly can and should do it for something of greater geopolitical consequence as religion.

Yet too many politically correct posers in the West think this shouldn’t be the case. In a speech last week, Justin Trudeau put the vice grip on free thought by accusing critics of Islam of “stoking anxiety and fomenting fear.”

Western society routinely makes degrading jokes about Christians. Anti-Semitism abounds (with friends like these…). Nobody gets too freaked out about this.

But somehow Islam – the one lacking a critical culture, the least self-reflecting, least humorous and therefore most troublesome monotheism – is treated like a victim when exposed to legitimate criticism.

It’s pathetic to see the social media misfits hash-tagging away their #dresscodePM antics – facetiously acting like the prime minister wants to approve all public female clothing choices because he doesn’t want the niqab worn during citizenship oaths.

Okay, we get it. You don’t like Harper. But do you have to embarrass yourself by deliberately misunderstanding the issue and, in turn, siding with the theocrats?

This is not about how women dress at all. It’s about how some people destructively believe random religious edicts should be able to dictate civic procedure in a non-theocracy.

The niqab conversation is a sectarian issue. It’s a religious choice – a choice one should be free to make when out and about in a free society. It’s dictatorial to tell people how to dress in public and outright burqa bans are wrong.

But the rules change when you go from walking about on the street to interacting with the state in an important civic matter. Your primary identity in these interactions is not, for example, as a Muslim woman. It’s as a citizen.

It would be lovely if religious and civic responsibility never came into conflict. But evidently they sometimes do. And in the civic sphere, civic duties come first.

It’s deeply troubling that an aspiring citizen would attempt to assert the superiority of her religion over the state while fulfilling her first civic responsibility.

Why is Harper the one being called intolerant? It’s these new Canadians who are being intolerant of a country gracious enough to extend them citizenship.

Any serious country must assert that a citizen’s religious duties come second to their civic responsibilities. If not, it’s not a country anymore. It’s just a land of appeasement begging to be walked all over.

And what happens when two groups with equally earnest but contradictory claims to special treatment come into conflict? That’s when we realize what a joke accommodation has become.

It’s not ignorant to argue this. It’s not sexist. It’s about understanding the sanctity of civic life.


Stop Smearing Critics of Islam as Islamophobes

Branding everything a "phobia" stifles meaningful debate

The UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission has disgusted everyone who owns a moral compass by giving its international “Islamophobe of the Year Award” to Charlie Hebdo.

Yep, that’s right—not content that the editors and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo have already been summarily executed for the “crime” of Islamophobia, the IHRC now wants to posthumously insult them, metaphorically branding their corpses with the i-word so that everyone remembers what scumbags they were.

The IHRC, a charity founded in 1997 to research, study, and bleat about anyone who is less than fawning about Islam, initiated the Annual Islamophobia Awards in 2003. The winners are, of course, not actually anti-Muslim bigots, but simply people who have had the temerity to criticize some aspect of Islamic faith or culture.

So Ayaan Hirsi Ali has won one for failing to show sufficient respect to the religion that ruined her childhood. How dare she! Tony Blair was awarded one as well, proving that even painfully PC politicians who go around quoting the Koran and saying what a wonderful religion Islam is can still find themselves labelled haters.

And now, eclipsing even those previous undeserving winners, Charlie Hebdo has been dishonored with an award. On March 7, exactly two months after the massacre—nice—the IHRC christened that mag the worst of the international Islamophobes. No one from the magazine was available to pick up the award, of course, since many of its writers are now dead.

The IHRC’s labelling of freshly-killed satirists is like a post-mortem justification for the massacre itself, a reminder of the “crimes” these people committed prior to being shot at their desks. In fact, it’s merely a less bloody version of the Islamic State’s habit of hanging a placard around the neck of some poor bloke about to be crucified or pushed off a building: a reminder of the wickedness done by these individuals who are being, or have been, executed.

It isn’t surprising that the IHRC’s giggling at the dead of Charlie Hebdo has been met with outrage. But now we need to go further. We need to reject, not only the grisly handing of an Islamophobia award to dead cartoonists, but also the very idea of Islamophobia—the word itself, the notion that to criticize or mock Islam is to be disordered and therefore in need of reprimanding or a cure.

We live in an era of phobias. They are apparently spreading like a ravenous blob, turning more and more human minds black with prejudice. Today, it isn’t only fear of spiders, clowns, or open spaces that is branded a phobia—so are certain ways of thinking, certain beliefs, moral viewpoints that fall outside the mainstream.

Islam is protected from ridicule not only by the slur of Islamophobia, but also through accusations of “hijabphobia” against anyone who criticizes the veil, and “shariaphobia,” which is used to brand as sickly those who think Western democratic nations should have one, universal law applicable to everyone rather than different courts for different folks.

One Muslim writer describes hijabphobia as an “irrational fear" that has “crept into the subconscious of the unsuspecting all over the world.” So you might think your dislike of the veil is motored by secular, liberal concern for the treatment of women as frail sexual creatures who must always be hidden, but actually you're sick; you've been infected by a fear of the Other.

Shariaphobia is, according to one dictionary, “fear or hatred of sharia law.” The heated debate about the introduction of a sharia tribunal in Texas has led to accusations of shariaphobia. A writer for the Texan paper the Star-Telegram said commentators’ criticisms of the tribunal show that “shariaphobia is back.” So even the suggestion that we should have one law for all—a pretty standard Enlightenment idea—is now rebranded a weird, dark fear.

The purpose of all these utterly invented phobias is to delegitimize moral criticism of Islam by depicting it as irrational, fuelled by fearful thoughts that the mass media probably implanted in your unwitting brain. It’s like an informal, non-legal enforcement of strictures against blasphemy. Whereas the Inquisition branded disbelievers as morally disordered “deniers,” today’s intolerant protectors of Islam brand critics of that religion as morally disordered “phobes.” In Europe, a hotbed of phobia-policing, people have actually been arrested, convicted, and fined for the crime of “Islamophobia”—a direct echo of the Inquisition’s trial and punishment of those who, in retrospect, we should probably call Bibliophobes.

It isn’t only Islam and its sympathizers who use the phobe label to chill legitimate moral debate. Everyone’s at it.

Gay-rights activists have become way too fond of using the word “homophobe,” not only to attack actual anti-gay bigots but also to slam people who simply oppose gay marriage, for religious reasons, or who aren’t in love with every aspect of the gay lifestyle. Here, too, legit moral viewpoints are reimagined as irrational fears and in the process demonized. Homosexuality was once treated as a mental illness; now criticism of homosexuality is described, in the words of psychiatrist and writer Martin Kantor, as an “emotional disorder.”

Heaven help anyone who criticizes any aspect of transgender politics. Question the idea that boys who identify as girls should be allowed to use the girls’ toilets at school and you’re a transphobe. Wonder out loud if gender is at least partly biological and you're a transphobe. Accidentally call Chelsea Manning Bradley Manning and you’re the most foul, irrational, phobic creature in Christendom.

There’s also biphobia, lesbophobia, whorephobia (used against feminists who, wrongly in my view, want to outlaw prostitution), fatphobia, ecophobia (for people who aren’t eco-friendly and, what’s more, think green politics is a crock), and on it goes.

What we’re witnessing is the pathologizing of dissent, the treatment of edgy or just eccentric ideas as illnesses requiring silencing or even treatment. It’s a cynical attempt by certain groups and their media cheerleaders to opt-out of the battle of ideas by branding their opponents as irrational, and therefore not worthy of engagement.

Pathologizing moral thought has long been the favored tactic of the most authoritarian regimes. Think of the Soviet Union dumping dissenters in lunatic asylums. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, O’Brien, the torturer in Room 101, offers to cure Winston Smith of his anti-authority outlook: “You are mentally deranged," he tells him. “Shall I tell you why we have brought you here? To cure you! To make you sane!”

The 21st-century West is rife with O’Briens, keen to cure us of our phobias. We should respond by challenging the phobia-accusers to ditch the name-calling and instead take part in real, honest, moral debate.



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