Thursday, October 23, 2008

Opposition to California Proposition 8: The usual hatred coming from the Left

But they project their own hatred onto others

Next to the presidential election, California Proposition 8 is the most important vote in America. It will determine the definition of marriage for the largest state in America, and it will determine whether judges or society will decide on social-moral issues.

In 2000, 61 percent of the voters in California, one the most liberal states in America, voted to retain the only definition of marriage civilization has ever had -- the union of a man and woman (the number of spouses allowed has changed over time but never the sexes of the spouses). But in May 2008, four out of seven California justices decided that they would use their power to make a new definition: Gender will now be irrelevant to marriage.

As a result of this judicial act, the only way to ensure that we continue to define marriage the way every religious and secular society in recorded history has defined marriage -- as between men and women -- is to amend the California Constitution. It is the only way to prevent the vote of one judge from redefining marriage, as was also done in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Which is why Proposition 8 exists.

But even though California voters decided by a large margin to retain the man-woman definition of marriage, passing Proposition 8 will be a challenge. First, the attorney general of California, Jerry Brown, unilaterally renamed the proposition as it appears on California ballots. It had been listed as "Amends the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Brown, a liberal Democrat, changed the proposition's wording to: "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Initiative Constitutional Amendment." The reason for this change is obvious -- to make the proposition appear as a denial of a basic human and civil right.

Marriage has never been regarded as a universal human or civil right. Loving and living with anyone one wants to live with are basic human rights. But marriage is actually a privilege that society bestows on whom it chooses. And even those who believe that any two unmarried people who want to get married should be given a marriage license should regard as wrong an attorney general changing a ballot proposition's language to favor his own social views. What Brown did was attempt to manipulate people who lean toward preserving the definition of the most important social institution in society -- people who have no desire whatsoever to hurt gays -- to now think of themselves as bigots.

According to Sacramento Bee columnist Margaret A. Bengs, "a recent Field Poll analysis found" that the new wording by Brown "had a 'striking' impact on those newly familiar with the measure, with a 23-point swing against it."

What we have here is truly manipulative. Four justices create a right, and then a sympathetic attorney general renames a proposition so as to protect a 4-month-old right that no one had ever voted to create. And the left accuses the right of imposing its values on society.

The second hurdle for Proposition 8 is even greater: the multimillion dollar campaign to label proponents of Proposition 8 "haters" and to label the man-woman definition of marriage as "hate." Or as they put it: "Prop 8 = Prop Hate."

It is apparently inconceivable to many of those who wish to change the definition of marriage that a decent person can want to retain the man-woman definition. From newspaper editorials to gay and other activist groups, the theme is universal -- proponents of traditional marriage are haters, the moral equivalents of those who opposed racial equality. As The New York Times editorial on the subject put it, Proposition 8 is "mean-spirited."

But it is the charge of hate (along with bigotry, homophobia and intolerance) that is the primary charge leveled against supporters of Proposition 8. That's why one major anti-Proposition 8 group is "Californians Against Hate."

Any honest outsider would see that virtually all the hate expressed concerning Proposition 8 comes from opponents of the proposition. While there are a few sick individuals who hate gay people, I have neither seen nor heard any hatred of gays expressed by proponents of Proposition 8. Not in my private life, not in my e-mail, not from callers on my radio show.

It is the proponents of same-sex marriage who express nearly all the hate -- because in fact many of them do hate, loudly and continuously. But hate in the name of love has a long pedigree. Why should our generation be different?

These charges of "hate" against proponents of retaining the man-woman definition of marriage do not speak well for those who make them. I, for one, find it easy to believe that most opponents and most proponents of Proposition 8 are decent people. There are millions of decent people who think marriage should be redefined. I think they are wrong, but I do not question their decency.

Why won't those who favor redefining marriage accord the same respect to the millions of us who want gays to be allowed to love whom they want, live with whom they want, be given the rights they deserve along with the dignity they deserve, but who still want marriage to remain man-woman?


You Know You're An Elitist If...

This election cycle has exposed an enormous divide across the country. It's not the divide between black and white; it's not even the divide between liberals and conservatives. It's the divide between elitists and the rest of us.

Elitism is a state of mind. Not everyone in New York and Los Angeles is afflicted by it, and not everyone from Jackson, Mississippi is free from it. Elitism is the feeling of superiority enjoyed by certain people based on their income, education, and nuanced value system. Elitism carries with it a strong hint of "sophisticated" Europeanism, as well as a large helping of atheistic skepticism. Worried that you're an elitist? Here's how you can tell if you are.

You're an elitist if you love Brokeback Mountain, but think that John Wayne movies are jingoistic expressions of outdated American machismo.

You're an elitist if you worry that Sarah Palin hunts moose, but aren't worried that Barack Obama wants to meet personally with dictators.

You're an elitist if you think Colin Powell was less "authentically black" than Barack Obama until Powell endorsed Obama.

You're an elitist if you think that only bitter people unhappy with their lives cling to the Bible.

You're an elitist if you quote the Book of Matthew to justify socialism, cite the Book of John to defend Bill Clinton, write off the Book of Romans as "obscure," or deride the Old Testament as a collection of antiquated messages about shellfish and animal sacrifices.

You're an elitist if you think that President Bush is stupid because he says "nucular," while Joe Biden is a genius even though he thinks the word "jobs" has three letters.

You're an elitist if you think Joe the Plumber's income and license status are more important than the question he asked Barack Obama.

You're an elitist if you believe that anyone who supports the standard of a married man and woman raising a child is a bigot.

You're an elitist if you think Bill Ayers is just a professor of English.

You're an elitist if you believe Bill Maher's new movie, Religulous, accurately depicts religious Christians and Jews.

You're an elitist if you love watching soccer and you're not a recent immigrant.

You're an elitist if you declare that no one's patriotism ought to be challenged - unless they're questioning why they should pay higher taxes.

You're an elitist if you think George Clooney is a great artist.

You're an elitist if you think Sean Penn is a great diplomat.

You're an elitist if you think Madonna is great at anything.

You're an elitist if you think it's unfair to question Barack Obama's association with Jeremiah Wright, or if you think that Obama's association with Wright is akin to his association with Tom Coburn.

You're an elitist if you worship John F. Kennedy.

You're an elitist if you're excited at the prospect of government intervention in the banking system in the aftermath of the subprime meltdown.

You're an elitist if you think Nixon/Reagan/Bush was the nation's worst president but Jimmy Carter is the nation's best ex-president.

You're an elitist if you hate Whittaker Chambers but love Arthur Miller.

You're an elitist if you believe Jon Stewart is non-partisan, but Fox News is an outlet for the Republican National Committee.

You're an elitist if you don't mind Sarah Silverman's language but can't stand James Dobson's.

You're an elitist if you worry what the Europeans think of us.

You're an elitist if you think public school teachers are qualified to inform your children about sex, but parents aren't qualified to teach their children basic math.

You're an elitist if you think the government should manage the health care system even though it can't manage to keep the tax code within a 10,000 page limit.

You're an elitist if you think transgenders ought to have their own bathrooms for privacy reasons, but public distribution of pornography is fine.

You're an elitist if you think that pro-life folks are fascists unmotivated by true sympathy for the unborn.

You're an elitist if you know what arugula is but don't know who Jimmie Johnson is.

You're an elitist if your name is Barack Obama. Chances are that you're an elitist if you support him and you aren't being hired by ACORN to do so, too.


British homeowners ordered to pay $100 to use their own garden gate by council

Nasty Leftist envy at work again.

Residents of a cul-de-sac have been ordered by their council to pay a $100 charge to use their own garden gates. Families living in Tyning Park in Calne, Wiltshire, have been told that they must pay the annual fee for access to the woods behind their homes even though hundreds of people pass through it free of charge every day using a public right of way.

Up to 300 children and their parents use the small strip of trees known as Bentley Wood, which are maintained by the town council as a public amenity, each day going to and from the adjoining John Bentley School.

Although the wood has open access at both ends, several houses in the street have gates backing onto to it to make access easier. But officials at Calne Town Council have resurrected a previously forgotten covenant allowing them to levy a charge for the access. Residents have been told their access will be blocked off if they do not pay. The rule dates back to when the 12 houses were first built in the 1980s but was only recently implemented.

It has left residents decidedly unimpressed. "I don't use the gate very much anyway, hardly at all, but the principle of thing is what gets me," said John Watkins, a resident who is leading opposition to the charge. "The other thing is that it could be a very important emergency access in the event of a fire, for example. "I believe it to be unjust, we need the gate to access the fence for maintenance."

He added: "What gets me is that the council don't maintain the trees in the wood. "A couple of years ago a branch fell on my shed causing a lot of damage. "In all the years the house has been built - we moved here in 1989 - we've never been asked to pay and it seems ridiculous."

Helen Plenty, a member of the town council as well as the local Conservative representative on the District Council, said the situation was "laughable". "The woods are open top and bottom, it is a very small patch of land," she said. "On a regular school day the children are up and down there from school to the main road and nobody bothers about that, it just seems that if you have a property that backs on to the woods apparently the law says you have to pay for it. "It is a bit of a joke really."

Blaming the previous Liberal Democrat administration in the town for the decision to begin levying the charge, Mrs Plenty she called for the council to step in and either scrap the charge or make reduce it to a nominal sum. "The point is that many of the residents bought their homes with the gates already there," she said. "This has been a row going on for a year now, and it really is a daft stalemate."


U.N. Anti-Blasphemy Resolution Curtails Free Speech, Critics Say

Religious groups and free-speech advocates are banding together to fight a United Nations resolution they say is being used to spread Sharia law to the Western world and to intimidate anyone who criticizes Islam. The non-binding resolution on "Combating the Defamation of Religion" is intended to curtail speech that offends religion -- particularly Islam. Pakistan and the Organization of the Islamic Conference introduced the measure to the U.N. Human Rights Council in 1999. It was amended to include religions other than Islam, and it has passed every year since.

In 2005, Yemen successfully brought a similar resolution before the General Assembly. Now the 192-nation Assembly is set to vote on it again. The non-binding Resolution 62/145, which was adopted in 2007, says it "notes with deep concern the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of 11 September 2001." It "stresses the need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred, against Islam and Muslims in particular."

But some critics believe the resolution is a dangerous threat to freedom of speech everywhere. The U.S. government mission in Geneva, in a statement, told the U.N. Human Rights Council in July that "defamation-related laws have been abused by governments and used to restrict human rights" around the world, and sometimes Westerners have been caught in the web. Critics give some recent news events as examples of how the U.N. "blasphemy resolution" has emboldened Islamic authorities and threatened Westerners:

-- On Oct. 3 in Great Britain, three men were charged for plotting to kill the publisher of the novel "The Jewel of Medina," which gives a fictional account of the Prophet Muhammad and his child bride. reported U.S. publisher Random House Inc., was going to release the book but stopped it from hitting shelves after it claimed that "credible and unrelated sources" said the book could incite violence by a "small, radical segment."

-- An Afghan student is on death row for downloading an article about the role of women in Islam, also reported.

-- In December 2007 "a court reportedly sentenced two foreigners to six months in prison for allegedly marketing a book deemed offensive to Aisha, one of the Prophet Muhammad's wives," the U.S. government said.

-- A British teacher was sentenced to 15 days in jail in Sudan for offending Islam by allowing students to name the class teddy bear Muhammad in November 2007.

-- In February 2007 in Egypt an Internet blogger was sentenced to four years in prison for writing a post that critiqued Islam.

-- In 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered after the release of his documentary highlighting the abuse of Muslim women.

"It's obviously intended to have an intimidating effect on people expressing criticism of radical Islam, and the idea that you can have a defamation of a religion like this, I think, is a concept fundamentally foreign to our system of free expression in the United States," said former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Passing the resolution year after year gives it clout, Bolton said. "In places where U.N. decisions are viewed as more consequential than they are in the U.S., they're trying to build up brick-by-brick that disagreement with this resolution is unacceptable."

Kevin "Shamus" Hasson, founder and president of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a public interest law firm in Washington that opposes the resolution, said it is a slap in the face of human rights law. "The whole idea of the defamation of religion is a Trojan horse for something else," Hasson said. "When you talk about defamation, you talk about people being defamed and people being libeled, but ideas can't be defamed. Ideas don't have rights, people have rights."

He said the resolution is a shield for Islamic fundamentalists who retaliate against perceived offenses and want to make Islamic Sharia law the law of the land. He said the resolution passes under the guise of protecting religion, but it actually endangers religious minorities in Islamic countries. "Who could possibly be in favor of defamation?" Hasson said. "God may well punish blasphemy in the hereafter, but it's not the government's job to police in the here and now."

Paula Schriefer, advocacy director for Freedom House, a member of the Coalition to Defend Free Speech, agrees. "You have to remember that many of the governments that are pushing forward this idea are not democratic governments," she said. "Citizens of Pakistan or Egypt, who have been two of the ringleaders of this movement, are frequently put in prison or arrested. Even if they're not arrested, the fear of being arrested creates an environment of self-censorship."

Floyd Abrams, Visiting Professor of First Amendment Law at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, said that while Americans are protected by the Constitution at home, the U.N. resolution could affect those who travel to countries with anti-free-speech laws and isolate Westerners who oppose restricting religious dialogue.

Neither the Pakistani, the Indonesian nor the Egyptian missions to the U.N. responded to requests for comment. All three are members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.



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, OBAMA WATCH (2), EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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