Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mike Adams addresses his criminology class about "Legislating morality"

Dear Students:

First of all, I would like to thank each of you for signing up for my class this semester at UNC-Wilmington. Part of my job as your professor is to dispel certain myths you learn in your other classes, especially sociology. If you decide to question these myths in Sociology 101, your professor is likely to assign you to sensitivity training sessions.

Because our university faculty is so overwhelmingly liberal, many of these myths constitute arrogant dismissals of conservative ideas - ideas that your professors would take more seriously if they had a little more experience interacting with conservatives. Some of your professors have never met a conservative and could only spot one from a distance based largely on the conservative's physical appearance and grooming habits.

Needless to say, I can't take on all of the myths you will encounter every semester at UNC-Wilmington. In fact, each semester I design a project that focuses on just one of those myths. This semester I will focus on the myth that society "can't legislate morality."

But before I deliver my first lecture on the topic, I have decided to give you a little homework assignment. Please take the time to a) read all of the following questions, and b) write a short paragraph in response to each. I'll collect your answers before the next lecture on Monday:

During the 1990s, liberals stated that legislation designed to cut food stamps was "immoral." But most liberals also adhere to the belief that you "can't legislate morality." How can a bill be "immoral" if it can't be "moral"?

There are a number of reasons why the colonists declared independence from England. Is it fair to say that the primary reason was that the King was not legislating morally?

The First Amendment clearly prevents the federal government from establishing a national religion. Does it also forbid the federal government from establishing a national morality?

Was the 13th Amendment ban of slavery an example of Congress trying to "legislate morality"? If your answer is "yes," is that sufficient grounds to reinstate slavery?

Those who say there is no objective standard of morality base their opinion on the inability of people to act in accordance with that standard consistently. But isn't the absolute moral law more likely to be seen in people reactions, rather than their actions? Think about yourself for a moment. Sometimes you tell the truth, sometimes you don't. But, do you not react with consistent moral outrage when people lie to you?

Those who say that "you can't legislate morality" often talk about various "moral panics" and "witch hunts" over the years. This is done to suggest that morality changes over time. But, is it correct to say that the witch hunts were a product of a primitive morality? Isn't it more accurate to say that the only thing that has changed is our belief about the existence of witches and their ability to commit murder? We've always been opposed to murder, haven't we?

In the famous 1925 Scopes "monkey" trial, Clarence Darrow stated: "For God's sake, let the children have their minds kept open - close no doors to their knowledge; shut no door from them. Make a distinction between theology and science. Let them have both. Let them be taught. Let them both live." Have you ever met a 21st Century liberal who believes that both evolution and creation should be taught in schools? Or do they say "Let them have only one"?

Can you name the 1981 Arkansas case in which the ACLU (the ones who brought us the Scopes case) argued that teaching both evolution and creation is actually in violation of the First Amendment?

How many of our Founding Fathers attended seminary? (Hint: It is more than 26 and less than 28).

In 1796, an act was passed by Congress under President Washington regulating the land given to the Society of United Brethren for "propagating the gospel among the heathen." The act was later extended by President Jefferson. Do you suppose that conflicts with his supposed insistence upon a "wall of separation between church and state"?

Have you ever read the 1802 letter from which the phrase "wall of separation of church and state" was taken? Is there any truth to the assertion that the letter was written to a group of Baptists in Connecticut ensuring that their church would be protected from the government by a one way wall of protection? How did that letter produce the justification for keeping a high school girl from mentioning Jesus at her high school graduation?

Is it true that Thomas Jefferson set up the University of Virginia - using state funds - with rules including a ban on swearing and an expectation that students would "attend religious services"?

Given that Thomas Jefferson did not attend the constitutional convention, why is it that people often quote him when insisting that the "separation of church and state" is a "constitutional requirement"? Is it possible that many of these self-described liberals are unable to differentiate between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence?

How many of the states that ratified the First Amendment had official state churches?

Is there any relationship between the ACLU's love of communism and its hatred of religion?

For the answers to all of these questions, you can simply read Legislating Morality, by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. Or you can come back to class on Friday to hear me lecture on the topic of "legislating morality."


No Islamic Law in Minnesota, for Now

By Daniel Pipes

A week ago, it appeared likely that Muslim taxi drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport would win special dispensation to avoid transporting alcohol-carrying passengers. The Metropolitan Airports Commission had proposed to give those Shar'i-minded drivers an off-colored light atop their cabs, allowing them to remain in queue while customers with bottles found other cabs.

I opposed this "two-light solution," arguing in "Don't Bring That Booze into My Taxi" that it intrudes Islamic law into a mundane transaction of American commercial life. I urged readers who share my views to write the commission to make known their views.

On October 10, a few hours after my article first appeared, the commission met and reversed itself on the two-light solution. A press release issued later that day, "Proposed Taxi Test Program Canceled at Minneapolis-St. Paul International; Other Options Will be Considered To Improve Taxi Service," explained that public response to the proposed program "has been overwhelmingly against creation of a two-tiered taxi service system."

MAC executive director Jeff Hamiel noted that, based on public response to the proposed test program the test program (which never went into effect and will not be implemented)," it is clear that its implementation could have unintended and significant negative impacts on the taxi industry as a whole." Or, in the words of MAC's press release, "Some taxi service providers have expressed fears that people opposed to the program will choose other ground transportation options rather than take any taxi from the airport."

Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan further elaborated: Since the airport began making plans for the two-light solution, "we've heard from Australia and England. It's really touched a nerve among a lot of people. The backlash, frankly, has been overwhelming. People are overwhelmingly against any kind of cultural accommodation." That backlash, Hogan said, included 400 e-mails and phone calls.

I thank my readers, including those from Australia and England, who turned out in force and were apparently decisive in stopping this small but worrisome application of Islamic law.

Hassan Mohamud, vice president of Minnesota MAS, naturally expressed his disappointment in the decision. "More than half the taxi drivers are Muslim and ignoring the sensibilities of that community at the airport I think is not fair." But other Muslims publicly dismissed the drivers' fastidiousness. Mahmoud Ayoub, an Islamic scholar at Temple University, stressed that Islam bans drinking alcohol, not carrying it. "I know many Muslims who own gas stations [where beer is sold] and sell ham sandwiches. They justify it and I think rightly so, [saying] that they have to make a living."

The Free Muslims Coalition announced it is "disgusted" by the Muslim drivers' behavior, on two grounds: First, "Most Muslims don't agree that cab drivers are prohibited from transporting alcohol. Islam merely prohibits Muslims from drinking alcohol and those drivers are seeking to impose their religious values on others." Second, "When the cab drivers chose to drive a cab they entered into an agreement to perform a public service that is essential to the economy of any city. They have no right to refuse a fare because the passenger is holding a bottle of wine or other spirits." Kamal Nawash, president of the Free Muslims Coalition, added: "These taxi cab drivers basically think they're living in their own countries where it's OK to impose your religious beliefs upon others."

The MAC press release also contains information on another interesting point. The number of incidents has dropped drastically:

At the time discussion of the issue with the taxi industry began in May, cab drivers were refusing to transport customers with alcohol from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport 77 times per month, on average. However, recent changes in federal regulations now prohibit air travelers from taking most liquids - including alcoholic beverages - in quantities larger than three ounces through security checkpoints. Since the federal liquids prohibition went into effect in August, far fewer people are noticeably carrying alcohol through airports or subsequently being refused service by taxi drivers.

In a private conversation, Patrick Hogan specified that since the August 10 thwarted terrorist plot in London, there have only been about four incidents per month. Ironically, then, British Islamists plotting a terrorist operation in London effectively solved the problem for U.S. Muslims not wanting to transport alcohol in Minnesota.

For now, taxi drivers who refuse fares so as to avoid transporting alcohol will continue, as has been the case, to forfeit their place in the airport taxi queue and must return to the back of the line, in keeping with a MAC ordinance. But the Free Muslims Coalition correctly argues that this does not suffice. Cab drivers who discriminate against passengers with bottles of alcohol, it holds, "should be banned altogether from picking up passengers at the airport" and their hack permits should be cancelled.

Exactly. Islamists need to understand that the Constitution rules in the United States, not Shari'a, and Americans will vigorously ensure that it continues to do so.



Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and other characters have been converted to Islam in new versions of 100 classic stories on the Turkish school curriculum. "Give me some bread, for Allah's sake," Pinocchio says to Geppetto, his maker, in a book stamped with the crest of the ministry of education. "Thanks be to Allah," the puppet says later.

In The Three Musketeers, D'Artagnan is told that he cannot visit Aramis. The reason would surprise the author, Alexandre Dumas. An old woman explains: "He is surrounded by men of religion. He converted to Islam after his illness."

Tom Sawyer may always have shirked his homework, but he is more conscientious in learning his Islamic prayers. He is given a "special treat" for learning the Arabic words.

Pollyanna, seen by some as the embodiment of Christian forgiveness, says that she believes in the end of the world as predicted in the Koran.

Heidi, the Swiss orphan girl in the tale by Johanna Spyri, is told that praying to Allah will help her to relax. Several more books have been altered, including La Fontaine's fables and Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.

The clumsy insertions by Islamic publishing houses have caused controversy in Turkey, which has been a strongly secular state since the 1920s.

Other books contain insults, slang and rude rhymes which mock the president and the prime minister. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is Turkey's first Islamic premier, has called for swift action to be taken against the publishers. The education ministry has threatened to take legal action against any publisher which continues to issue such books. Huseyin Celik, the education minister, said: "If there are slang and swear words, we will sue them for using the ministry logo."



And there is no group suffering official discrimination like white middle-class males do

The vast majority of people in Britain are officially oppressed, according to a report that claims we have become a "nation of victims". The study calculates that 73 per cent of Britons are members of officially recognised "victim groups", including the disabled, women, ethnic minorities and homosexuals. Each group is given government support, including protective legislation. The report, We're (Nearly) All Victims Now, by the socially conservative think- tank Civitas, gives warning that the rise of a "victimocracy" undermines democracy because people are no longer considered equal under law.

"We have become a nation of victims," it says. "Victimhood today is a political status that is sought after because of the advantages it brings, including preferential treatment in the workplace, the possibility of using police power to silence unwelcome critics, and financial compensation. To be classified as a victim is to be given a special political status, which has no necessary connection with real hardship or oppression."

In October next year the Government is setting up the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, which merges the disability, race and equal opportunities commissions.

Many people, such as black women, are victims of so-called multiple discrimination. The report uses official figures to strip out the overlapping groups to calculate that nearly three quarters of people belong to one category or other. The biggest oppressed group is women, who constitute 51 per cent of the population and are protected by a range of legislation covering discrimination, equal pay and domestic violence. Ethnic minority men amount to 4 per cent; white disabled men 11 per cent; white male pensioners 5 per cent; and white, gay, able-bodied men, 2 per cent.

The report attacks the increasing tendency to judge crimes as more serious if they are committed against official victims - so-called hate crimes. Police have been encouraged to give priority to such cases, which the Civitas report says is undermining equality under the law. It cites the trial this year of the killers of Jody Dobrowski, a barman murdered on Clapham Common, South London, in October last year. Jailing the two men for 28 years, the judge said that the sentence would have been halved if they had not voiced any opposition to the victim's sexuality. "Is animosity to gays a worse motive than, for example, a calculated killing to silence a witness?" it asks.

It also states that claiming official victim status enables groups to silence critics, often using taking offence as a political tactic. The benefits of taking offence are so great in any debate, that it has encouraged the growth of "increasing touchiness" in Britain. However, the report gives warning that seeking victim status can harm the victims, denying them personal responsibility by always blaming others and undermining their self-respect


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