Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The attack on Southern monuments

It has become VERY extensive. I think the time will come when resentful conservatives will begin to attack statuary and monuments beloved of the Left.  It would only be fair

Woodfin, the 37-year-old mayor of Birmingham, Ala., made an unlikely sales pitch the other day after glancing toward some black-and-white photos of his city’s segregated past.

A 52-foot-tall Confederate monument, a sandstone obelisk erected in 1905 and within sight of City Hall, is available, he said. For free.

“Any Confederate museum that wants this thing can have it,” Mr. Woodfin said in an interview at City Hall. “I’ll give it to them right now. Hell, I’m even willing to give them whatever they need to get it to them.”

But Mr. Woodfin, and the State of Alabama, know such a transfer would not be without political and legal consequences.

Almost 154 years after the end of the Civil War, the country is still quarreling — in state capitols and courtrooms, on college campuses and around town squares — over how, or whether, to commemorate the side that lost.

Those stubborn debates bubbled up again this month in Winston-Salem and Chapel Hill, N.C., and in Birmingham, among the most progressive parts of a region that has struggled to reconcile its history with its modern ambitions.

“This is one of America’s most important conversations. In many ways, we have only begun to talk critically about the landscape that has existed in this country for a very long time that romanticizes the era of the slavery and the role of the Confederacy,” said Bryan Stevenson, the leading force behind the newly built National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala.

Critics of Confederate monuments have won dramatic victories that were almost inconceivable a decade ago: the lowering of the battle flag outside the South Carolina State House, the removals of four towering statues in New Orleans, the renaming of city streets in Atlanta and in Hollywood, Fla.

But some states have rushed to shield Confederate tributes from removal.

More than 1,700 “publicly sponsored symbols” of the Confederacy remain, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. A new protection proposal, brought by Mike Hill, a Republican state representative in Florida, is pending in the Legislature there.

And even as dozens of Confederate statues have been unearthed and hauled away from parks and other public grounds, many others are being quietly discovered. The list of Confederate symbols newly identified or counted now outnumbers the ones that have been removed, a S.P.L.C. study shows.

In Florida, Mr. Hill among the leaders of a rally in Pensacola against the proposed removal of a cross on public grounds in June 2017 when he made the decision: if elected to the state House of Representatives, he would work to strengthen memorial protections.

Two months later, after the mayor called for the removal of a 50-foot Confederate monument on Lee Square, Mr. Hill said his mission grew more urgent. So in his first act after his 2018 election victory, Mr. Hill filed a bill making it illegal to remove “remembrances” on public property erected on or after 1822 except for repairs — or relocation to an equally prominent place.

Mr. Hill, a third-generation veteran, said the bill was designed to protect the monuments, memorials and flags that honor soldiers and veterans — including those who fought in the Civil War.

As an African-American, Mr. Hill knows he is at odds with the traditional argument for removing Confederate symbols from public spaces, personally rejecting the idea they are hurtful.

“Our history is what makes us up as a people,” said Mr. Hill, who founded one of Florida’s Tea Party chapters. “We can learn from the ugly parts so that it can never happen again. Tearing down a monument does not create unity; it actually creates more division.”

In North Carolina, yet another chapter of the Confederate monuments battle is exploding, in a booming city and on a picturesque college campus 75 miles apart.

Last week, the chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ordered the removal of the remains of the toppled “Silent Sam” Confederate monument off the college grounds for community safety — and, announced her resignation.

Chancellor Carol L. Folt, who just months ago officially apologized of behalf of the university for the “profound injustices of slavery,” planned to retire in the spring after graduation.

Shocked by the surprise announcement, the U.N.C. System Board of Governors, pushed her leave up to the end of January. Ms. Folt had requested the removal of the statue’s base, which included plaques memorializing university students who fought for the Confederacy.

The final resting place for “Silent Sam,” whose status has been complicated by state law, remains unsettled, but officials hope to announce a plan by March. The bronze soldier, unveiled in 1913, was toppled by protesters last summer.

And in December, the city of Winston- Salem ordered the removal of a statue of a Confederate soldier in the city’s downtown to a nearby cemetery where 36 Confederate soldiers are buried. In a letter to the North Carolina Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the owners of the statue, the city attorney cast the move as in public safety issue based on recent vandalism and the potential for violent confrontations.

The city is considering legal action if the statue is not moved by Jan. 31. The United Daughters of the Confederacy has vowed to fight back, calling the city’s demand “heavy-handed” and “dishonorable” in a statement. The statue was erected in 1905 on the old courthouse grounds, property now privately owned.

The current landowner also wants the statue removed.

“I know there are strong issues on both sides of this issue, people who want it there because of history,’” Mayor Allen Joines said. “On the other hand, this monument represents oppression and the subjugation of a people and I know that’s hurtful.”

North Carolina’s struggle has not yet devolved into a legal battle, but Birmingham’s Confederate obelisk, shunned by the mayor, has. In 2017, Alabama enacted a law that forbade memorials to be “relocated, removed, altered, renamed or otherwise disturbed” if they had stood on public property for at least 40 years.

Then came the violence in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, and Mr. Woodfin’s predecessor as mayor, William A. Bell Sr., ordered that the base of the towering Confederate monument be shrouded in plywood.

The state promptly sued to protect it, and asked that Birmingham be fined $25,000 a day.

Last Monday night, Judge Michael G. Graffeo, of the Circuit Court in Jefferson County, struck down the statute. Under the law, Judge Graffeo wrote, “the people of Birmingham cannot win.” “No matter how much they lobby city officials, the state has placed a thumb on the scale for a pro-Confederacy message, and the people, acting through their city, will never be able to dissociate themselves from that message entirely,” the judge wrote.

The judge’s order, which the state is expected to appeal, sparked a refreshed furor in Alabama over what should come of monuments.

The sponsor of the embattled legislation, Senator Gerald Allen, a Republican from Tuscaloosa County, said in a statement that the law was “meant to thoughtfully preserve the entire story of Alabama’s history for future generations.”

And he harshly criticized Judge Graffeo.

“Judges are not kings, and judicial activism is no substitute for the democratic process,” said Mr. Allen, who, in a 2016 interview with The New York Times, argued that it was “important that we tell the story of what has happened in this country because that’s what shaped and molded us as a nation.”

A spokesman for Attorney General Steven T. Marshall, whose office brought the case against Birmingham in August 2017, did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Woodfin, who defeated Mr. Bell within months of the Charlottesville attack and the Alabama lawsuit, is weary of a broader fight that he argued should have been settled long ago. A deepening legal battle with the state, he suggested, was unhelpful and disappointing.

“In my mind, this is the opposite of moving forward,” he said. “The statue was erected well post-Civil War, in a city that was founded after the Civil War. To me, it seemed like it was intentionally sending a signal to the public about revisionist history, and a message to what did exist, even if it was wrong.”

The monument, which was originally dedicated by a Birmingham area chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, is hardly the only challenge.

On Monday, state offices will be closed throughout Alabama. The government will be marking the birthday of the Rev.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And Robert E. Lee.


Pelosi’s Equality Act Could Lead to More Parents Losing Custody of Kids Who Want ‘Gender Transition’

Americans have long understood that children are best cared for by their parents. The state should only intervene in the family when there is demonstrable evidence of abuse and neglect.

This has long been established in our laws. But now, transgender ideology is silencing doctors and challenging the way courts define parental abuse and neglect.

Last year in Ohio, a judge removed a biological girl from her parents’ custody after they declined to help her “transition” to male with testosterone supplements. The Cincinnati Children’s gender clinic recommended these treatments for gender dysphoria (the condition of being distressed with one’s biological sex).

When her parents wanted to treat her with counseling instead, Hamilton County Job and Family Services charged them with abuse and neglect, while transgender activists and pro-trans doctors compared their decision to denying treatment for asthma or even cancer patients.

That all happened without federal legislation.

But now, one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top legislative priorities, the Equality Act, could give the transgender community a vice grip over the medical profession. It could open the floodgates for lawsuits against doctors who don’t fall in line with transgender ideology.

Politicizing the medical treatment of gender dysphoria could lead to more prosecutions against parents who refuse to aid in the sterilization of their children. As more doctors recommend that children take puberty blockers at age 11, cross-sex hormones at 16, and undergo “sex-reassignment” surgeries at 18, parents who resist could face charges of child abuse and lose custody of their children.

The tragedy in Ohio could be repeated in families across America.

Turning the Law Into a Sword Against Doctors

The transgender movement wants to dominate the field of medicine, and to do so it is threatening doctors and hospitals with penalties.

Some states have already passed laws similar to Pelosi’s Equality Act. In New Jersey and California, transgender activists have sued Catholic hospitals for “discrimination” on the basis of gender identity because they wouldn’t perform sex-change surgeries for patients with gender dysphoria.

These lawsuits may seem preposterous, but they were enabled by state anti-discrimination laws that treat sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes and health care facilities as public accommodations. The text of the Equality Act that was introduced in the 115th Congress does the same.

Pelosi’s bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, making hospitals and doctors across America vulnerable to costly litigation if they don’t follow the medical recommendations of the transgender movement. It would turn anti-discrimination law—which was meant to protect disenfranchised minority groups—into a coercive sword to threaten doctors into submission to transgender ideology.

Does Transgender Ideology Make for Good Medicine?

Part of the reason some doctors resist transgender ideology is that it is incompatible with good medicine and would harm rather than help their patients.

The American Psychological Association’s manual of mental disorders classifies gender dysphoria as a mental illness. Research shows that 75 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria who go through puberty without any transgender treatments actually become comfortable with their bodies.

But the transgender movement ignores these statistics, aggressively pushing for gender-dysphoric children to be treated with non-FDA-approved uses of drugs, even though side effects can include loss of bone density, decline of cognitive ability, and infertility.

Dr. Michelle Cretella, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, describes it as “institutionalized child abuse.”

Transgender activists have already tried to silence doctors who warned patients about these dangers. The Human Rights Campaign—a leading LGBT group—devotes an entire website to trying to discredit Dr. Paul McHugh, the former lead psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University Hospital who put a stop to the hospital’s sex-reassignment surgeries. McHugh says the surgeries were “fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness.”

Trans Activists Are Putting Children and Doctors in the Driver’s Seat

Transgender activists and pro-trans physicians often seek to exclude parents from the process of medical decision-making. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s Transgender Health Clinic says parents may be excluded from interviews because they might make their children feel uncomfortable asking questions.

Remarkably, this clinic has deemed 100 percent of the patients seeking care to be “appropriate candidates for continued gender treatment.” Even the Ohio judge who terminated one couple’s parental rights expressed “concern” at this astoundingly high approval rate.

Transgender advocates dismiss these concerns by sounding an alarm that gender-dysphoric children will be at higher risk of suicide if they don’t receive hormone treatment.

But the evidence suggests transgender treatments can actually increase the likelihood of suicide. A study in Sweden on adults who underwent sex-reassignment surgeries showed they were 19 times more likely than the general population to commit suicide after undergoing operations. This is particularly noteworthy because in Sweden, cultural support for those who identify as transgender is very strong, so social stigma is less likely to account for the suicides.

We should be particularly cautious with experimental treatments on children because the long-term effects of transgender treatments have yet to be seen. Even the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid under the Obama administration pointed out that “mortality from this patient population did not become apparent until after 10 years.”

Endocrinologist Dr. Michael Laidlaw also warns that the long-term harms to kids may not show up until years later when as young adults, they start asking: “’How come I can’t have children at this point?’ Well, it’s because their fertility was destroyed by some combination of puberty blockers, wrong sex hormones, and surgery.”

And Dr. Stephen B. Levine, professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, asks the pertinent question: Are children really capable of comprehending the way that hormone treatments will alter their lives and render them unable to have their own children? There’s a reason we have informed consent laws—to protect people, like children, from being taken advantage of.

Expediting a Bad Trend

In this cultural and political climate, doctors and courts are more and more likely to seek to exclude parents from life-changing decisions about their children.

America has seen an explosion of “gender clinics” and diagnoses of “gender dysphoria” in just the past few years. In 2013, America had only three gender clinics. Today, there are more than 41. These clinics report 400 percent increases in children and teens identifying as trans.

The Equality Act would expedite this trend by giving the transgender movement a powerful legal weapon to drive medical consensus that could undermine the rights of parents.

As more parents wrestle with finding the most loving and helpful solutions for their children struggling with gender dysphoria, the government must support them—not undermine them. Parents must remain central to the decision-making process when it comes to the medical care of children suffering from gender dysphoria.


Woman refused bar job because she’s gay, told to ‘dress more gender appropriate’

It is normal for businesses to have dress codes.  Why should homosexuals be exempt?

A fast food employee says she was left with no other choice but to walk out on her job after her employer told her to dress more gender appropriately.

Meagan Hunter, 35, said she loved her job at Chili’s Bar and Grill in Phoenix, Arizona, before she was told at a training program to become a manager she wasn’t able to wear the seemingly gender-neutral uniform.

She wore what male managers at Chili’s wear — a button-up shirt, fitted slacks and boat shoes — but she was told the district manager had seen her at the seminar and said she was “inappropriately dressed”.

The Chili’s store manager said he didn’t want Ms Hunter working behind the bar because she’s gay.
The Chili’s store manager said he didn’t want Ms Hunter working behind the bar because she’s gay.Source:Getty Images

Ms Hunter told the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) she initially ignored the comment until the general manger of the restaurant pushed the issue further in her interview for the promotion.

She said she was told: “We really want to hire you. However, we need you to dress more gender appropriate.”

“I said, ‘Does that mean I should have my breasts hanging out to succeed in your company?’” Ms Hunter said. “And he backtracked and said, ‘No, not in those words.’”

When Ms Hunter asked why she couldn’t wear a chef-style coat like the one her general manager wore he apparently told her, “It’s for boys.”

She said she had no other option but to quit her job because she didn’t fit her employer’s idea of what a woman should look like.

Ms Hunter was later told by co-workers that the same general manager had said he passed her over for a bartender position because he “didn’t want a gay girl behind the bar”.

He said he didn’t think she would attract the “right kind” of clientele.

The ACLU argues laws introduced nearly 30 years ago banning sex discrimination should have ended this kind of stereotyping in the workplace.

In 1989, the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of business manager Ann Hopkins in a landmark case. She was told her workplace problems would be solved if she would “walk more femininely, talk more femininely, wear make-up, have her hair styled, and wear jewellery”.

“That decision established that employers can’t punish employees because they don’t match stereotypical notions about how women or men should look and act,” the ACLU wrote.

“A growing number of lower courts have also recognised that federal law protects workers like Meagan who experience discrimination because of their sexual orientation.”

The ACLU has reportedly filed the discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, citing federal laws that ban discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.

“When employers punish workers for who they are and what they look like, they lose valuable people like Meagan,” the ACLU said. “That’s not only wrong and bad for business, it’s also against the law.”

A Chili’s spokesperson told The Hill, a US news site, the restaurant was “alarmed” by the allegations and it doesn’t tolerate “any discriminatory behaviour in our restaurants.”

The company said Ms Hunter was not denied a promotion, but was “offered the opportunity to be promoted into our certified shift leader program to take the next step on her career journey.”

Chili’s admitted Ms Hunter was given “feedback” about the restaurant’s dress code for managers, but it said “absolutely no mention was made of any need to conform to gender-specific clothing.”

“To all of our guests, fans, former and current team members — we love you just as you are, and we intend to show that every single day,” the spokesperson said.


These 2 Democrats Are Finally Standing Up to Anti-Christian Bigotry in Their Party

Democrats pride themselves on “diversity.”

With the new Congress, they’ve hailed two new Muslim House members, made accomodations for religious headwear on the House floor, and celebrated record numbers of minorities in their freshman class.

This penchant for diversity makes their growing blind spot all the more glaring. That blind spot is anti-Christian bigotry, seen in the hostile questions that Democratic senators have aimed at Trump nominees that inch dangerously close to a religious test for public office.

Until recently, only Republicans had cried foul.

Senators like James Lankford, R-Okla., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, came to the defense of Amy Coney Barrett in 2017, whose qualifications to sit on a U.S. appeals court were questioned on account of her “dogma.” One senator had the gall to ask her directly whether she considered herself “an orthodox Catholic.”

So it comes as genuine relief this week that a Democrat, finally, is saying enough is enough.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii published a searing op-ed on Tuesday chiding her Democratic colleagues in the Senate for questioning Brian C. Buescher, a Trump judicial nominee, over his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic civic organization.

Back in December, Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, used their questioning time to scrutinize the Knights’ “extreme positions” on same-sex marriage and abortion. (Shock: The Knights of Columbus oppose both, in accordance with the Catholic Church.)

Hirono asked, “If confirmed, do you intend to end your membership with this organization to avoid any appearance of bias?”

Harris pried: “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?”

Buescher answered: “I do not recall if I was aware whether the Knights of Columbus had taken a position on the abortion issue when I joined at the age of 18.”

In her editorial for The Hill, Gabbard pulled no punches toward her colleagues for using a man’s Catholic faith and affiliations against him. She wrote:

While I oppose the nomination of Brian Buescher to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, I stand strongly against those who are fomenting religious bigotry, citing as disqualifiers Buescher’s Catholicism and his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus. If Buescher is ‘unqualified’ because of his Catholicism and affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, then President John F. Kennedy, and the ‘liberal lion of the Senate’ Ted Kennedy would have been ‘unqualified’ for the same reasons.

Gabbard was almost completely alone among progressives. Her side reacted furiously.

But she wasn’t completely alone. Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the only pro-life Democrats left in the House, voiced his concern on the matter:

I would never, ever have expected that membership in the Knights of Columbus would be something that would be viewed with suspicion and maybe even worse. It’s terrible to see membership in the Knights of Columbus questioned like that, but at the core this gets back to the question of religious freedom, and it’s something that we have to continue to speak out about because we, our country, can’t afford to lose that freedom that we’re guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Senators who dismiss the Knights of Columbus as “extreme” show just how little they know about the organization. The Knights mostly focus on charity work for the poor, disabled, and orphaned, while raising money to educate underprivileged students who come from all religious affiliations.

They have also been working to aid persecuted Christians in the Middle East and all over the world.

The Knights of Columbus are, essentially, a Catholic version of the Rotary Club. And the depth of their giving is impressive to say the least.

The Federalist’s Helen Raleigh put it best: “The only thing extreme about [the Knights of Columbus] is their generosity.”

As we have noted before at The Daily Signal, religious tests for public office are clearly forbidden by the Constitution. Senate Democrats’ increasing hostility to nominees who hold deep Christian beliefs is a regression back to a sectarian sensibility we thought we had left behind.

In the 1920s, there was heightened tension between Catholic and Protestant Christians in America. Some, like the Ku Klux Klan, openly questioned whether Catholics could even be Americans—especially in light of the sharp increase of immigrants from Catholic countries.

The Klan painted the Knights of Columbus as a Catholic conspiracy to overthrow the Constitution and install the pope in its place. It also waged a campaign to abolish increasingly popular Columbus Day celebrations, which it considered another dastardly Catholic attempt to normalize their religious beliefs.

Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd was the last ex-klansman to serve in the Senate. But it appears some modern progressives have amnesia and are picking up the anti-Catholic torch yet again.

Certainly, a judicial nominee’s views and legal positions are relevant as to whether they are fit to serve, but attempting to disqualify them for the simple fact that they are affiliated with a specific religious group is corrosive.

The charge against the Knights of Columbus, and Buescher, seems to be that their true religion is Catholicism and not progressivism. That is a religious test in disguise—but they cannot be allowed to get by with it.

The Heritage Foundation’s Joel Griffith recently pointed out that anti-Semitism has gained a new foothold in the 116th Congress. So has anti-Catholicism. But it’s encouraging to see two brave members of the Democratic Party finally pushing back. Let their tribe increase.



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


No comments: