Thursday, January 18, 2018







Celebrating Religious Freedom Day With a Court Victory on Traditional Marriage

Religious liberty and freedom of conscience won big at the Supreme Court last week, just in time for Religious Freedom Day on Jan. 16.

The justices declined last week to hear a legal challenge against a Mississippi law that protects citizens, small businesses, government employees, and charities from official discrimination by government if they believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.

The Mississippi law benefits people on both sides of the marriage debate because when a government can punish one group of citizens for dissenting from cultural orthodoxy, it can punish any group for any belief.

In declining to hear a case against Mississippi’s Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523), the Supreme Court let stand the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in the face of challenges by the ACLU and Lambda Legal.

Now a year after HB 1523 was passed, Mississippians know they are free to live according to their religious beliefs about marriage without fear of losing their livelihoods.

It’s a victory in a battle that never should have happened in the first place. HB 1523 was a direct response to the threat of anti-religious discrimination after the Supreme Court redefined marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.

During oral arguments for Obergefell, Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was asked whether religious institutions could lose their tax-exempt status owing to their beliefs about marriage.

“[I]t’s certainly going to be an issue,” he told the court. “I don’t deny that.”

Although Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion in Obergefell that those who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman do so based on “decent and honorable premises” and that “neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here,” Verrilli’s comments told a different story.

Verrilli’s remarks signaled that the government could use its powers to tax and spend to force its views of marriage upon citizens.

In the two and a half years since Obergefell, activists, local and state governments, and federal authorities have treated the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman with contempt.

Billionaire LGBT activist Tim Gill pledged to “punish the wicked.” Delivering upon his threat, government authorities have denied citizens across the country the right to live in accordance with their beliefs about marriage.

Members of numerous professions, including entertainment, counseling, emergency services, technology, farming, and the military, have been demoted or terminated from their jobs because of their beliefs about marriage.

The government also has targeted religious nonprofit organizations. Illinois, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia stopped contracting with faith-based adoption agencies because they would place children only with married moms and dads.

When the president of Gordon College privately wrote President Barack Obama to request a religious exemption from an effort to force government contractors to accept new views about marriage and sexuality, the school nearly lost its accreditation. Meanwhile, a local school district refused to employ students of Gordon College, and the city of Salem suspended its long-term contract that allowed the college to use the Town Hall.

Legislators in Mississippi responded to this wave of anti-religious discrimination by passing HB 1523. The bill protects individual citizens, public servants, businesses, and religious institutions from being penalized by the government for belief in traditional marriage.

But the ACLU and Lambda Legal sued on behalf of clients who claimed to be harmed by the law. Last June, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the plaintiffs had no standing because they failed to demonstrate that the law would violate their rights in any way.

The Supreme Court was right to leave the lower court’s decision intact.

These protections should not be controversial. Kennedy recently reiterated his call for tolerance of disagreement on marriage during oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the case of a Colorado cake artist whose belief in traditional marriage drew intense ire from state officials.

Admonishing Colorado’s state solicitor general, he stated that “tolerance is essential in a free society. And tolerance is most meaningful when it’s mutual.”

It seems to me that the state in its position here has been neither tolerant, nor respectful of [Jack] Phillips’ religious beliefs.

If federal, state, and local authorities would heed Kennedy’s call for tolerance and respect in Obergefell and Masterpiece, laws like HB 1523 would not be needed.

But as more and more Americans are forced to choose between their job and their conscience, both state legislatures and the Congress should promptly protect citizens from the new wave of government discrimination.

State laws such as HB 1523 and federal legislation such as the First Amendment Defense Act would ensure that the government cannot put anyone out of work for their beliefs about marriage.

Furthermore, what’s at stake here extends far beyond the marriage debate.

If the government can wield its power to silence opinions it disfavors, then everyone is at risk of being punished for holding the “wrong” opinions.

When Thomas Jefferson drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom that we commemorate today, he observed that Almighty God created the mind free and that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishment or burdens would beget only hypocrisy and meanness. This admonition bears remembering in our modern debate over the redefinition of marriage.

The residents of Mississippi are fortunate that their legislators got it right with HB 1523. Now, Americans in all 50 states need courageous leaders to stand up for their rights, too.

SOURCE





UK: The misogyny of #MeToo

The rage against Katie Roiphe exposes feminism’s hatred of women

If you want to see misogyny – real, visceral, woman-shaming misogyny, the kind that views women as incapable of thinking for themselves, or as possessors of such foul thoughts that they shouldn’t think for themselves – look no further than #MeToo.

Forget those tragic internet threads inhabited by men whose fury with women is one part concern about feminism and nine parts because they’ve never had sex; look, instead, at the thoroughly mainstream, celebrity-endorsed #MeToo movement whose fear of men is easily matched – outdone now, in fact – by its seething contempt for women who think for themselves.

Consider what has happened to Katie Roiphe over the past 48 hours. Roiphe is one of America’s most interesting essayists and authors, having come to public prominence with her precocious 1994 book "The Morning After: Sex, Fear and Feminism" and going on to write everything from cultural criticism to a book on famous writers’ dying hours. She is currently the target of a most extraordinary Twitterstorm – a furious, censorious rage not over something she has said, but over something people think she is going to say in a future issue of Harper’s. We’ve had precrime; this is precensorship, the violent-minded punishment of an author for what she might at some point utter.

The Twitterati heard whispers that Roiphe, in a March feature for Harper’s, will name the woman responsible for the Shitty Media Men list, a kind of informal blacklist of journalists and editors who allegedly behave badly towards women, and they went berserk. They said this would endanger the creator of the Shitty Media Men list.

Let’s leave to one side that it is entirely legitimate and in the public interest to reveal who created this frankly chilling list, to which anyone can anonymously add the name of a media man who they claim, or think, has engaged in sexual misconduct. For the supporters of a naming-and-shaming, rumour-riddled list of names of the like a Witchfinder General might have drawn up in the past to rage against someone who dared to name the creator of that list is of course hilarious, and speaks brilliantly to the double standards, deep sense of entitlement and ugly disregard for due process of #MeToo’s chief public shamers.

The more pertinent thing is that Roiphe has been so publicly shamed, and ideally silenced, by women who claim they want women’s voices to be heard. But not Roiphe’s voice, it seems; not that bitch; shut her down. The outpouring of hatred for Roiphe has been astonishing, even by the low standards of Twitter debate and 21st-century virtual intolerance.

Guardian feminist Jessica Valenti swiftly did to Roiphe what she accuses men of doing to female journalists: tried to silence her. She described Roiphe’s rumoured piece as ‘profoundly shitty’ and ‘incredibly dangerous’ and tweeted out the Harper’s phone number so that people could harass the magazine into not publishing this witch’s work. Sady Doyle, a writer for Elle, branded Roiphe ‘pro-rape’, which really just means evil, witch-like. A writer for feminist mag Bustle wondered if ‘Katie Roiphe’ is a ‘pseudonym shared by a group of 65-year-old men’, because any woman who disagrees with us correct feminists must be a man really, right? Just as any black person who votes Republican or Conservative is a ‘coconut’.

Elsewhere Roiphe was branded an ‘Uncle Tom’ of gender, ‘trash’, a ‘bitch’ of course, a ‘demon’, and a ‘danger’ to good feminists who simply want to keep criminalising men without the benefit of such archaic things as due process or legal investigation. And all of this came from women, from women who pose as pro-women. Writer Nicole Cliff even encouraged writers to pull their pieces from Harper’s and offered to pay them to do so – an explicit attempt to heap editorial pressure on Harper’s to pull Roiphe’s piece / silence the evil witch. Five writers pulled pieces from Harper’s. Self-censorship to the end of censoring a woman who disagrees with mainstream feminists – what a degraded spectacle.

After all this, following all the kangaroo-trying of Roiphe, it was revealed that her piece won’t actually name the creator of the Shitty Media Men list! The rage against her, the entire witch-hunt, was built on a rumour, on fear, revealing the febrile, positively pre-modern nature of so many of today’s outbursts of fury against holders of outré opinions. Thank God it isn’t the 1500s – Roiphe would be dead already, before we discovered that she hadn’t actually uttered the sinful words the mob believed she had.

But even uglier than the fact-lite nature of the anti-Roiphe fanaticism has been its misogyny, its weirdly feminist-cum-anti-women outlook. Roiphe, you see – like any other woman who criticises the new victim feminism – suffers from ‘internalised misogyny’. This deeply patronising idea holds that women do not really know their own minds and are easy prey to the allegedly misogynistic culture that surrounds them. It is feared that their dainty brains will be made self-hating through too much exposure to ‘the culture’, just as Victorian men worried that Victorian women would faint or die upon reading an outrageous letter or hearing a labourer say ‘fuck’. The same was said of women who voted for Trump, whom one feminist columnist likened to ‘slaves fluffing the pillows of their master’s rocking chair’. That is one of the most misogynistic things I’ve read in the mainstream press in years.

Any woman who criticises #MeToo can expect to be metaphorically attached to the stake. This week the wonderful Catherine Deneuve and other French cultural figures slammed #MeToo for being anti-men and demeaning to women’s agency. Deneuve was raged against, with Asia Argento, the actress who started the accusations against Harvey Weinstein, saying she has clearly been ‘lobotomised’ by ‘interiorised misogyny’. Shorter: the old witch has been morally corrupted. Women like Ann Leslie and Anne Robinson have also been demonised, by other women, for raising criticisms. This week the B-movie actress Blanca Blanco got in trouble for daring to wear a red dress to the all-black fashion and virtue-signalling shitshow that was the Golden Globes. How dare women wear what they want? Or express their opinions? Seriously, can these feminists who are raging against ‘bad women’, outspoken women, difficult women, hear themselves?

We are now starting to see that #MeToo is not a pro-woman movement at all. It is a highly politicised campaign driven by, and benefiting, well-connected women in culture and the media, who must maintain their alleged victim status at all costs because it is leverage for them in terms both of their career and their moral authority in public discussion. This is why they respond with such unforgiving, misogynistic fury to any woman who questions them – because these women, these upstarts, these difficult creatures, threaten to unravel the victim politics that is so beneficial to a narrow but influential strata of society today. And so these women must be silenced, cast out, written off as ‘damaged’ and not worth listening to; let’s just be grateful that the asylums such free-thinking women would once have been dumped in no longer exist.

SOURCE





American Cardinal: Homosexuality is 'Abnormal,' No Need to Apologize 'For Teaching the Truth'

Catholic Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis who now serves on the Vatican's highest court, said the "homosexual condition" is an "abnormal condition," and that there is no reason for the Catholic Church to "ask forgiveness for teaching the truth about sex and sexuality."

In a Dec. 21 interview with the Macau diocesan newspaper O Clarim, the editors asked Cardinal Burke, "In an in-flight interview, after the umpteenth question about homosexuals, the Holy Father [Pope Francis] said that we obviously must not discriminate and we have to ask forgiveness from these people for the way they are treated."

Cardinal Burke said, "I haven’t read the Pope’s text. What I can say is that this year I turned 69, and I have spent my whole life in the Catholic Church. I have never encountered discrimination against people who suffer from the homosexual condition."

"We know that we are dealing with an abnormal condition: God has not created us to have sexual relations with people of the same sex," said Burke.  "This is not a discrimination against persons. It is to affirm the truth of Christ, the truth of our faith."

He continued, "I must say sincerely, even though I haven’t read the words of the Pope, that I don’t see why the Church ought to ask forgiveness for teaching the truth about sex and sexuality."

"Rather, during my priesthood of more than 42 years, I have always found priests very compassionate in meetings with people who have had this difficulty and have suffered from this condition," said the cardinal.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

"The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided....(2358)

"Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (2359)"

SOURCE





New Zealand Census To List Only Two Genders

Gender bending madness has now become pervasive throughout western countries. We were told first that there weren’t only male and female which most people throughout human history believed there to be. There were in fact 76 genders, now that list has now grown infinitely. Most disturbingly it has evolved from just being the latest fad from social justice warriors to being enshrined in various laws. Most famously was Bill C-16 in Canada which made it criminal offense not to call someone by their preferred gender pronoun.

While Australia has not taken it to this extreme various arms of government have began to engage in the deconstruction of gender. With the passing of same sex marriage you can now choose gender X on the marriage form. On the 2016 census long before the legalization of same sex marriage you could choose gender ‘other’ on the census form. The Australian Bureau of Statistics stated this was done “in recognition of that fact that sex and indeed gender are no longer seen as purely binary options for response”.

But over in New Zealand they have decided to buck this trend with their 2018 census listing only two gender options male and female. Statistics New Zealand claim they made this decision after a series of tests on a third gender option and found that erroneous or deliberately inaccurate answers made the data unreliable. It is great to see some statisticians still with some common sense who recognize running a census based of feelings rather than biological science would not prove very useful.

Statistics New Zealand also does not ask any questions about sexual orientation. Both of these determinations have upset local LGBT activists in New Zealand with the head of RainbowYOUTH claiming “We need to know the size and location of our community” the reasoning behind this was so they could lobby for more government funds “Rainbow organisations are quite underfunded and the statistics would help us highlight to those in control of funding that there is huge need in our community”.

The decision of Statistics New Zealand is despite the fact that the new statistics Minister is Green Party Leader James Shaw who of course fully embraces the gender agenda. Shaw hoped that a new standard would be implemented before the 2023 census (let’s hope hes’s long gone before then) and also stated he could not override this decision “The Government Statistician is independent of the Government, and this is important to ensure we have high-quality statistics”. In New Zealand politics government ministers rarely override the decisions of the bureaucracy.

New Zealanders can now look forward to census next that will provide accurate and science based data for which decisions about government policy can be made for the next five years. The gender bending agenda can be resisted all it takes is returning to simple scientific reality.

SOURCE

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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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