Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Refusal to Use Preferred Gender Pronouns Costs British Doctor His Job

The belief that gender is assigned at birth has cost one British doctor his job as a disability assessor for the Department of Work and Pensions in the United Kingdom.

Dr. David Mackereth, 55, the father of four, was dismissed from the department after only recently being hired because he told the instructor for a training course that he would not recognize a pronoun that didn’t correspond to a patient’s biological sex, the Telegraph reported Sunday.

Mackereth, who worked 26 years for the National Health Service, says sex is established at birth and is both genetic and biological. That’s something that “has been believed by mankind for centuries,” he said.

“I’m not attacking the transgender movement,” Mackereth said, “but I’m defending my right to freedom of speech, and freedom of belief.”

Mackereth, from Dudley, West Midlands, was hired by the Department of Work and Pensions for “interviewing and then writing independent reports about the health of those claiming disability benefits,” the Telegraph reported.

“I don’t believe I should be compelled to use a specific pronoun. I am not setting out to upset anyone. But if upsetting someone can lead to doctors being sacked, then, as a society we have to examine where we are going,” he told the London newspaper.

After informing the instructor of his objections, “Mackereth then received an email from Advanced Personnel Management, the agency that employed him and would have hired him out to the DWP,” the paper reported.

The email explained that he could “undergo training” regarding the Department of Work and Pensions’ policy, but if he did not address his clients by their preferred pronoun, such action could be “considered to be harassment as defined by the 2010 Equality Act.”

Mackereth now accuses the Department of Work and Pensions and Advanced Personnel Management of violating his right to freedom of speech. The Telegraph also reported that he has concerns that “many other” people of faith like him could be dismissed from jobs if they believe in birth-assigned gender. He is a Reformed Baptist.

A Department of Work and Pensions spokeswoman told the Telegraph: “Dr. Mackereth made it clear during his training that he would refuse to use pronouns which did not match his own view of a person’s biological gender,” and that he would be violating the Equality Act by discriminating against individuals with a “protected characteristic.”

But Mackereth maintains that he is being discriminated against for his beliefs and even went so far as to say that the UK government was policing thought.

“Firstly, we are not allowed to say what we believe. Secondly, as my case shows, we are not allowed to think what we believe,” he said. “Finally, we are not allowed to defend what we believe.”

“The best biology, psychology, and philosophy all support an understanding of sex as a bodily reality and of gender as a social manifestation of bodily sex. Biology isn’t bigotry,” said Ryan T. Anderson, senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation and author of “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.”

“Government shouldn’t coerce people to think, speak, or act in ways that violate these basic truths. Indeed, there are human costs to getting human nature wrong,” he said.


Preventing abortion

Comedians making jokes about getting your abortions now, before the Supreme Court abolishes Roe v. Wade. Emojis indicating a woman won’t have sex with a man who is anti-abortion. Headline declarations that “There’s A Special Place In Hell For Women Who Gut Abortion Rights.” Such has been the digital deluge after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court.

What is the future of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in all three trimesters of pregnancy? This issue has polarized much of the country. It’s an opportunity to ask: Who are we and who do we want to be? A people who let the court determine things we should be talking about on a more intimate level, or a people known for stepping up to the plate when life gets hard?

Friends of mine who just returned from the Holy Land mentioned a group that they encountered along their travels called Efrat. The name comes from Miriam, the sister of Moses. She was a brave prophet who was called Efrat, a name that has the same root as a word meaning “to populate the world.”

As the group’s website tells her story: “Pharaoh decreed that all male Jewish infants were to be drowned, and declared the death penalty to anyone evading his orders. Miriam personally intervened, endangering her own life to save Jewish children from certain death. In addition, she provided the children’s families with all their needs. As a result of her bravery, the Jews continued to multiply and the Jewish nation survived.”

The organization is dedicated to saving the lives of unborn Jewish children.

For Efrat, this is an existential movement, to ensure that Jews will have a home in the world, saving one baby at a time. But there’s a lesson for us all beyond only Jews or Israel.

The people who run Efrat put their resources toward making it possible for a woman to do what seems impossible and sparing her from a life of agony about wondering what could have been if she had let her child live.

Our abortion debates can bring out the worst in our politics. But the people who do the work of listening to and walking with women in their hours of need are some of the saints and saint-makers among us. The woman who trusts enough to believe that she will be able to raise an unexpected child or who gives her child to a loving couple for adoption is one of the most generous among us. The family that opens its home to a foster child for an uncertain amount of time is one of the most loving among us. They are the kind of people we should be giving more headlines and attention to, celebrating and emulating. And we should be asking them, always: What more do you need?

A privately funded project, Efrat’s Yad Chava Baby Fund, is determined that a woman should not have to terminate a pregnancy for economic reasons. Its workers have put together kits, delivered to homes, that will get things started and help along the way. The website explains that you can save a baby with a $1,200 donation. “True, money cannot always save lives. But, when generosity and wisdom combine, vision and vigor unite, and then miracles occur. Lives are saved, children are loved, and families are healed and made whole.”

We need more of that.

The chairman of Efrat has said: “We do not have a single case of a woman who was sorry in the end that she brought her child into the world.” Isn’t that the side we ought to be erring on? Not promising simple ways out — that aren’t simple at all — but helping women make choices for life and love? People are doing that in the world, and in ways that aren’t mired deep in miserable abortion debates. They somehow bypass them by addressing real-life needs rather than scaring people further in already trying situations. Instead of adding to the screaming, what if we all found a group and got more involved, financially or with our time? Or we could look around and fill some real needs of people around us. It’s harder work than pontificating about the president’s latest move. And it’s more fulfilling, too. It could even save a life.


Law Firm Faces Charges for Defending Christian Women's Homeless Shelter

An Alaska law firm has been accused of violating a city’s nondiscrimination ordinance after it provided legal representation to a Christian women’s shelter accused of violating the same ordinance.

The Anchorage Equal Rights Commission filed a formal complaint against Brena, Bell & Clarkson, charging the law firm with committing “unlawful discriminatory acts or practices” in violation of a city ordinance regarding sex and gender identity.

Its alleged crime is punishable by fines and possible jail time.

In early 2018, Kevin Clarkson was asked to represent the Downtown Hope Center, a faith-based nonprofit that provides free shelter for homeless women and abused women.

In February the shelter turned away a biological male who identifies as a female. Shelter leadership said the individual was intoxicated.

However, as a religious organization, it does not house biological men in its abused-women’s shelter because doing so would traumatize abused and battered women.

The transgender person filed a complaint against the shelter citing the policy over sexual orientation and gender identity.

It was in the context of that incident that Clarkson made comments to local news media regarding the case. And that’s why he’s now facing charges.

The law firm is being represented by First Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s top legal groups specializing in religious liberty cases.

“It’s the most outrageous case I’ve ever seen,” First Liberty’s Hiram Sasser told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show.” “Because he wrote a brief to the commission defending the shelter and portions of that brief were quoted in the media — he is accused of being in violation of their provision that prohibits you from talking about a policy.”

It raises serious questions about whether American citizens or organizations that are accused of violating sex and gender laws are eligible to receive legal assistance.

“You should be able to have legal counsel and that legal counsel should be able to represent you in court,” Sasser told me. “In Alaska they don’t see it that way.”

First Liberty said the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission is charging its client simply for representing its client.

“This has a tremendous chilling effect on any lawyer who would represent a homeless woman’s shelter,” Sasser said. “To go after the lawyer — that sends a message to all the other lawyers: Don’t take on these cases or we will come for you too. That’s extremely scary.”

Every American citizen should have their day in court. To deny someone legal representation because you don’t like his or her religious viewpoints is unthinkable.

Under the city’s ordinance it’s not out of the realm of possibility that even First Liberty Institute could face charges simply for representing the local attorney. “We are fully prepared if they charge us,” Sasser said.

Pamela Basler, the executive director of the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, did not return calls seeking comment.


Amazon is used to promote white supremacist merchandise, report says

The definition of white supremacist seems very elastic, as it usually is with the Left

Two nonprofits are criticizing Amazon for allowing its platforms to spread white supremacy and racism, identifying in a report how shoppers can buy onesies for babies stamped with alt-right images, Nazi-themed action figures, and anti-Semitic books and music.

The report, released Friday by the Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race and the Economy, said Amazon’s policies allow it to bar hateful or offensive merchandise and content, but the policies are “weak and inadequately enforced” and allow hate groups to “generate revenue, propagate their ideas and grow their movements.”

The report outlines a number of items available as of June, including a costume that makes it look as if wearers have marks around their neck from being hanged from a noose, and onesies for babies that include images of a burning cross emblazoned across the front and Pepe the Frog.

The report identified dozens of e-books being sold in Amazon Kindle formats that were published by groups labeled “hate organizations” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremist groups.

It also criticized Amazon’s CloudFront content delivery network for “facilitating the publication and distribution of digital media” associated with Islamophobia.

As of Sunday afternoon, Amazon appeared to have removed many of the items identified in the report but others, such as a sword with Nazi symbols, remained.

“Either Amazon does not find the materials outlined in this report offensive or otherwise contrary to its policies, or it does not consistently enforce its own policies,” the report said. “Amazon has been reactive, not proactive, in its response to use of its site by peddlers of hate.”

In the report, the organizations asked Amazon to develop better policies for policing its platforms, to destroy hateful merchandise in its warehouses, and to stop allowing such goods and content to be distributed through its services.

An Amazon spokesman said in a statement Sunday that third-party sellers that use its marketplace service “must follow our guidelines and those who don’t are subject to swift action including potential removal of their account.”

Amazon did not answer questions about what specific items it had removed or what measures it was taking to vet other merchandise. The Washington Post reported that the company was working to remove neo-Nazi bands from its music platform.

“They’re making money, they are doing business with the people who are selling these things,” said Mariah Montgomery, campaign director for the Partnership for Working Families and one of the report’s authors. “The company has tremendous resources, and some of them should be devoted to making sure they are not propping up racist organizations.”

Amazon reported net income of more than $1.6 billion in the first quarter of 2018, more than double the amount for the same period in 2017.

The debate over how emerging technologies are being harnessed by those looking to spread hateful or bigoted ideas has raged for decades. In 2000, Yahoo was sued because it allowed Internet users in France to visit its auction sites, which sold Nazi memorabilia.

But the debate has ramped up in recent years with an emboldening of white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups and pressure from countries in Europe to get US technology companies to crack down on hate speech, said Danielle Citron, a professor at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and author of the book “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace.”

Nationally, the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents surged 57 percent in 2017, up to 1,986 from 1,267 in the previous year, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which linked the increase to the divisive state of US politics, a rise of extremists, and the effects of social media.

“This isn’t happening in a vacuum, this report,” Citron said Sunday. “It’s happening when there’s a lot of pressure on companies to remove and filter and block hate speech.”

Citron said companies are not legally liable for distributing goods or merchandise that reflect hate, though such practices might violate a company’s policy. She said Amazon has faced less scrutiny compared with companies like Twitter and Facebook, which are rethinking their policies.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


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