Monday, April 03, 2017
What I think about homosexuals
I was tempted to begin this short essay with: "Some of my best friends are homosexuals", but I resisted the temptation. "Some of my best friends are Jews" is of course a famously antisemitic statement, though what genuinely philosemitic people are supposed to say, I have never figured out. Is it assumed that there are no philosemitic people? Jews must grimly think so at times. I think I could reasonably be described as philosemitic. I am, for instance, a passionate supporter of Israel and have been since before my teens. If one is allowed to be a gentile Zionist, I am one.
The first thing that should be said about homosexuals is also the last one that is usually said and I will henceforth be branded a "homophobe" for saying it. A phobia is an irrational fear but I certainly do not fear homosexuals. Those in my social circle are perfectly pleasant, in fact. And my late sister was a homosexual, if that counts. I also have a homosexual niece but she is very shy so I rarely see her.
So what is that evil thing that I should not say? It is that among normal people the very ideas of homosexual contact is disgusting. And that revulsion is why homosexuals were once heavily oppressed. The revulsion probably stems from the liking that people have for the opposite sex. If men and women were not heavily attracted to one-another, the human race would undoubtedly have died out long ago.
To quote a famous person with bad hair: "“I’ve gotta use some tic tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” he says.“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait."
So it is probably just the converse of what is seen as attractive that the opposite of that is seen as repelling.
So, the fact that there is a natural revulsion at the very thought of homosexuality helps explain why homosexuality is such a molten issue at the moment. In their usual way, Leftists have seized on an issue that they can cudgel others with. They revel in destroying anything characteristic of the existing system. And attacking a natural instinct is about as good as it gets for them. They can really oppress people about that. Valorizing something that most people dislike makes them feel good. It separates them from the common herd that they scorn.
And the fact that there is a natural revulsion against homosexuality probably explains why the Bible comes down so heavily against it. As Leviticus 20:13 says: "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads".
That is a very clear judgment and command. In Romans chapters 1 and 2, however, the Apostle Paul rescinded that command, saying that God alone will punish them. God alone is entitled to judge them. It is however clear that Paul heavily disapproved of homosexuality so respect for Bible teachings would cause true Christians to think similarly. So from a Christian point of view, any "Christian" denomination that has homosexual clergy is clearly of the Devil, not of God.
And there is a Devil. Whether you conceive of him as a man in a red suit with horns and a tail, or as a fallen angel or the destructive side of human nature, there is clearly much evil in human life. Freud called it "Thanatos", the death instinct.
So, to me the very idea of homosexuality is repelling but I take everyone as I find them so homosexuals who behave in socially pleasant ways will find no criticism from me. What they do in their bedrooms is of no concern to me. I would rather not think about it in fact. And as far as I can see, most Christians behave similarly. They accept the Apostle Paul's command not to judge individuals but cannot say or do anything that expresses approval of homosexuality. Only thought police could ask for more
After millions of our finest young men have died fighting the thought police of Communism and Nazism, it shows the power of the Devil that we still have thought police among us.
Bakers Accused of Hate Get Emotional Day in Court
The ongoing battle between gay rights and religious liberty escalated Thursday as husband-and-wife bakers in Oregon appealed their case after being ordered to pay $135,000 in damages for declining to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
“Everything up to this point has been administrative hearings,” Aaron Klein, co-owner with his wife Melissa of the since-closed bakery, told The Daily Signal afterward.
“Every time we tried to make a constitutional argument it was stomped on, because it was administrative law,” he said. “But now we’re finally in a courtroom where the Constitution and due process can be argued on a level we haven’t seen before. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome.”
In court, an attorney for the Kleins again argued that designing and baking a cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage would violate the bakers’ Christian faith.
Both the Kleins and the same-sex couple who filed the original complaint against them were present inside the courtroom.
Afterward, while speaking to reporters, Melissa Klein had an emotional response. “I loved my shop, and losing it has been so hard for me and my family,” Melissa Klein says.
In an exclusive telephone interview with The Daily Signal later, she added: “That was a part of our life, and it was something that we thought was going to be passed down to our kids. It’s something that I miss every day still. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get over it because it was our second home.”
A three-judge panel of the Oregon Court of Appeals heard oral arguments from both sides, with questions focused on issues such as:
Does Oregon have a “compelling reason” to grant the Kleins a religious exemption from the state’s antidiscrimination law?
Does a cake count as artistic expression protected by the First Amendment, and how do you differentiate between what constitutes art and what doesn’t?
What was the particular message involved in designing and making a cake for a same-sex wedding, and how is it understood by an observer?
To what extent may an artist be compelled to do something?
The Kleins used to run Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a family bakery they owned and operated in Gresham, Oregon. But after the Kleins declined in 2013 to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding, citing their religious beliefs, they faced protests that eventually led them to shut down their bakery.
In July 2015, an administrative judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries ruled that the Kleins had discriminated against a lesbian couple, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, on the basis of their sexual orientation. The judge ordered the Kleins to pay the $135,000 for physical, emotional, and mental damages.
Under Oregon law, it is illegal for businesses to refuse service based on a customer’s sexual orientation, as well as race, gender, and other characteristics.
The Kleins maintained that they did not discriminate, but only declined to make the cake because of their religious beliefs about marriage. Designing and baking a custom cake for a same-sex wedding, they said, would violate their Christian faith.
The Kleins appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals on the basis of their constitutional rights to religious freedom, free speech, and due process.
The three appeals judges also pursued these lines of questioning:
Was the award of damages—the $135,000 the Kleins were ordered to pay—out of line with other cases before the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries?
Was it reasonable for that state agency to extend the damages through more than two years after the alleged discrimination actually occurred?
Did Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian prejudge the case and in doing so strip the Kleins of their right to due process?
How is sexual orientation different from race as a personal characteristic?
Each side had equal time to make their case and the Kleins, as plaintiffs, got an additional five minutes for a rebuttal. The oral arguments were live-streamed, and may be watched in full here.
“The government should never force someone to violate their conscience or their beliefs,” Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty Institute, a religious freedom group that represents the Kleins, said in a press statement, adding:
“In a diverse and pluralistic society, people of good will should be able to peacefully coexist with different beliefs. We hope the court will uphold the Kleins’ rights to free speech and religious liberty.”
But Charlie Burr, a spokesman for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, whose lawyers represent the Bowman-Cryers, said: “The facts of this case clearly demonstrate that the Kleins unlawfully discriminated against a same-sex couple when they refused service based on sexual orientation.”
Since the case began in 2013, the Kleins have argued the cards were stacked against them.
Lawyers for the Bureau of Labor and Industries pursued the charges against the Kleins on behalf of the lesbian couple, who went on to marry.
Avakian, the agency official, made multiple public comments criticizing them before any rulings, the Kleins said.
The administrative judge who issued the final ruling also is employed by the state agency.
Besides ordering the Kleins to pay $135,000, Avakian ordered the former bakery owners to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.
Both parties have said the case has taken a heavy toll on their families. Aaron and Melissa Klein, who have five children, say they continue to face hurtful attacks from liberal activists.
According to an article the Bowman-Cryers wrote for The Advocate, a publication focused on LGBT issues, they are foster parents for two “high-needs” girls. “Part of the reason we decided to get married in the first place was to provide stability for our daughters,” they wrote, adding:
Before we became engaged, we became foster parents for two very high-needs girls after their mother, a close friend of ours, died suddenly. Lizzy, now 9, has cerebral palsy, autism, and a chromosomal disorder that causes developmental delays. Anastasia, now 7, has Asperger’s and stopped speaking when her mother died.
While the case wound its way through the courts, we won full adoptive custody of Lizzy and Anastasia, and they are the light of our lives.
The appeals judges are not expected to rule for several months. If they rule against the Kleins, the couple’s next step would be appealing to the Oregon Supreme Court.
‘Political correctness’ in modern America
The phrase “politically correct” is about as combustible as any. Bring up those words and you know you’re treading into ideological war territory.
So, gulp. Here I go.
For many, I think the term “politically correct” represents a type of stifling of honesty. People feel hemmed in by a societal pressure to conform to a belief system that they don’t accept — an “elitist” message, which restricts language and actions. I feel that’s why there’s such a fierce rejection of “political correctness.” It’s received as a type of pat of the head, a sort of “let me tell you how to think, cause you’re an idiot and not intellectually or morally on my level.”
Does anyone ever respond well to that sort of feeling? I’ve always felt bitter when I’ve thought someone is looking down on me. I think our partisan politics have been reduced to this disrespect battle. One side is bitter at the perception of intense disrespect. The other side feels exactly the same thing. And because we all feel so angry and disrespected, we’re ready to lash out with a hostile dismissal of strangers’ humanity, which is a circular problem, a tornado gathering velocity.
I think Donald Trump has so much power because he is the big societal voice of a common individual rage against a perceived collective pat on the head. He is absolutely a finger in the eye of that idea of liberal condescension. Because of this, his questionable behavior and statements seem to pale in comparison — for many, at least — to his aggressive fight against liberal condescension, which he rails against without apology. I think that’s why he gets a pass on things that would surely doom other politicians and why there is such huge passion at his back. Let me add, I don’t claim to know what you think. This is just my perception of bigger political trends. And I may be wrong.
Of course, when we talk of “political correctness,” we inevitably turn to college campuses. And I think colleges have erred in a really big way — acting out of fear, not bravery when it come to ideas. What I mean is, I don’t think colleges should have “safe spaces” or “trigger warnings” regarding ideas. A college should be a place where ideas aren’t muzzled but are expressed with passion, whether they’re left or right, nice or mean. Then, such speech should be opposed with whatever passion and eloquence another speaker can muster. College is not a place to restrict thought but to realize that the world is big and that your own worldview is contradicted, no matter how right you think you are. And how are you going to deal with that? Well, that inner conflict is actually critical to education and critical thinking. Hateful speech calls for forceful rejection, but it doesn’t call for a muzzle. It calls for more speech, delivered, hopefully, without mirrored hate.
But I also think “political correctness” is used in lazy ways these days. Any action, any language that angers someone can be dismissed as “politically correct.” But I think actual “political correctness” can apply to left and right. I see it simply as the pressure of a societal norm on an individual, which can be good or bad, depending on the pressure. For instance, it’s good for someone to feel pressure not to call someone the “N” word in public, right? That form of political correctness was once not there. But, for the good of civilized society, it needs to be. However, shutting down conservative dissent on a college campus would be an example of such political correctness gone too far. So, there’s a sort of balance worth seeking.
We should recognize that there is always societal pressure on you to be a certain way depending on where you are. And what is that pressure anyway? Well, it’s the battle over common decency. We feel there’s a type of common sense that we understand and that others should see too. And we’re horribly frustrated — furious, actually — when they can’t see things the way we do. If they can’t agree with my decency, well, then they’re indecent, right? Who hasn’t felt this? And sometimes, maybe we’re right. But it’s worth being skeptical of our own passionate judgment about strangers, because people are usually more complicated than we understand.
Many people don’t seem to have any hesitation to judge strangers with extreme passion based on very little information. I don’t find this admirable in a Democrat or a Republican or in myself — which I certainly do at times. Who doesn’t? But I can at least recognize that what is admirable is the effort to learn more about others and to resist simple judgments in my head.
Leftist racism is now acceptable in Australia
IF you don’t think that multiculturalism and the politics of identity have become instruments of division in Australia, then you need to hear Tara Coverdale’s story.
Like most mothers with young children, Coverdale enjoys opportunities to socialise with other mothers of children the same age while on maternity leave, especially in her neighbourhood in inner-city Sydney.
So when a Russian-born friend mentioned a playgroup on Thursdays, at the Alexandria Park Community Centre, she was enthusiastic.
Two weeks ago, on a humid Thursday morning, she bundled her eight-month-old baby in the pram and walked with her four-year-old son the short distance to the community centre.
When she arrived, her red-haired son raced off to play while she looked around for her friend.
That was when a staff member approached and asked if it was her first day. Coverdale thought how nice that she was so attentive.
“I’m sorry you can’t come here. It’s a multicultural playgroup.” But then the woman said: “Can I ask what your cultural background is?” Taken aback, Coverdale, who has blonde hair and freckles, said: “I’m Australian”.
Immediately, the woman said: “I’m sorry, you can’t come here. It’s for multicultural families and people who speak languages other than English at home.”
Coverdale stood her ground: “I said ‘I’m not leaving’. My kids were playing. My older son was having such a good time with his buddy, and I thought, ‘Why should I leave?’”
But then the centre “facilitator”, aka manager, Jo Fletcher, confronted her: “Can I just ask what your cultural background is.” When Coverdale said she was fourth-generation Australian, Fletcher said: “I’m sorry you can’t come here. It’s a multicultural playgroup.”
This conversation is an account from Coverdale’s recollection. Fletcher did not respond to phone calls and a text message last week, but she confirmed to the NSW Department of Education, which funds the centre, that such a conversation had taken place.
Coverdale said she tried charm in a bid to be allowed to attend the playgroup, but Fletcher insisted it was exclusively for “multicultural” mothers who “might be lonely and might want to build a network of people who speak the same language”.
Coverdale asked wouldn’t it be better for those mothers to meet someone like her, who knows a lot of people in the community.
“What if I was really lonely and I get sent away from a play group?”
Then she asked what playgroup would she be allowed to join. “We don’t have one here for you,” said Fletcher. “You’ll have to go up to Erskineville or Newtown.”
Erskineville’s playgroup is for “Rainbow babies and kids”, and Newtown is a 30-minute walk.
The only other playgroup offered at Alexandria Park is on Wednesdays but it is reserved for “Swedish-speaking families”, according to a timetable Fletcher provided.
“We’re in a pretty progressive area,” says Coverdale. “It’s very accepting of all people. But I feel like I’m excluded.”
And she asks: “How does that help Australia help people to integrate speak English and build a life…
“I pay a lot of tax. I pay my rates. To think I’m actually not welcome is unfair.”
The other mums thought her treatment was “terrible… They think it’s a great facility and appreciate it but they don’t want to exclude people”.
While she was at the centre she saw other mothers walk in and, “they were made to feel very welcome. Because they didn’t look ‘Australian’ they didn’t even get asked about their background.”
So Coverdale and her red-haired sons were ejected from the playgroup.
Ironically enough, it was just a few days before Harmony Day, a big event at Alexandria Park, “to celebrate our country’s cultural diversity”, with a free halal beef and chicken sausage sizzle. To twist the knife a little deeper, this year’s theme was “We all belong”.
Just not if you are of “Anglo-Celtic” heritage.
Anti-Discrimination Board Acting President Elizabeth Wing confirmed on Friday that “on the face of it”, exclusion from a playgroup “on the basis of race or ethnic background... would appear to be a breach of the [anti-discrimination] act”.
After being alerted to the problem on Friday, Education Minister Rob Stokes and his department, to their credit, instructed Fletcher to allow all families to attend the playgroup.
“I was disappointed to hear that a mum and her young child felt they were not welcome... This is not acceptable. Everyone, regardless of their background, should feel included in these wonderful community activities.”
The Education Department also has “counselled the program facilitator [Fletcher] regarding the requirement of the program to be inclusive”, said a spokesman late Friday.
A good result, but Fletcher is a creature of her milieu. It is politically incorrect to say so, but anti-white racism is now acceptable in Australia, in the name of diversity and “celebrating difference”.
In the ADF, for instance, there are attempts to erase the “Anglo-Saxon” warrior culture, and a recent lamb advertisement stated there are “too many white people” on TV, and lined up caucasians sneeringly labelled “white-whites, translucent whites, beige whites, red whites, and dark whites”.
Bigotry is condoned as a corrective to so-called “white privilege”.
But reinforcing separate cultural identities inevitably leads to the balkanization of Australia and the disowning of our national identity.
Thankfully, Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, last month reset national policy, with an approach which emphasises unity and shared values. It’s about time.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.