“I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”
Pauline Kael, Film Critic for The New Yorker, December 28, 1972
When it comes to our politics the divisions in our country are often deplored. What really should be deplored is that one side of our politics, leftists, tend to lack the imagination to conceive how anyone could possibly in good will disagree with them.
Case in point Gail Collins’ op ed in the New York Times entitled “How Could Anyone Vote for Trump?”.
Why isn’t she leading 3 to 1? This is not a normal race between a Democrat and a Republican. One of the candidates has made it clear that he has no attention span or self-control. World security experts in both parties are terrified by the idea of a Trump presidency. He’s screwed small contractors in his business dealings and bought dumb presents for himself with money from his charitable foundation — a charitable foundation, by the way, that appears to have been managed by a team of gerbils. Also, he keeps changing his positions on critical issues and has paid settlements to people alleging he discriminated against them on the basis of race or not being attractive enough. Continue reading
Bravo to Professor Stephen Bainbridge:
To elites in his circles, Kingsfield continued, “at best religion is something consenting adult should do behind closed doors. They don’t really understand that there’s a link between Sister Helen Prejean’s faith and the workd she does on the death penalty. There’s a lot of looking down on flyover country, one middle America.
“The sad thing,” he said, “is that the old ways of aspiring to truth, seeing all knowledge as part of learning about the nature of reality, they don’t hold. It’s all about power. They’ve got cultural power, and think they should use it for good, but their idea of good is not anchored in anything. They’ve got a lot of power in courts and in politics and in education. Their job is to challenge people to think critically, but thinking critically means thinking like them. They really do think that they know so much more than anybody did before, and there is no point in listening to anybody else, because they have all the answers, and believe that they are good.”
“If I said something that was construed as attacking a gay student, I could have my life made miserable with a year or two of litigation — and if I didn’t have tenure, there could be a chance that my career would be ruined,” he said. “Even if you have tenure, a few people who make allegations of someone being hateful can make a tenured professor’s life miserable.”
Polycarp wasn’t threatened with people making his life miserable. He was threatened with being burnt at the stake. And he refused to deny Christ. And he went to his death thanking God for allowing him to be counted among the Church’s martyrs.
I am a sinner who is far from perfect. But I refuse to be a closeted sinner. So I am going to continue teaching and writing about Catholic Social Thought. And I’m going to go on having a picture of St Thomas More in my office. And I’m going to go on having many books on religion in my office. And I’m going to go on wearing my ashes to class on Ash Wednesday. And I’m going to go on pushing back when people infringe on freedom of speech and religion, especially on campuses.
And if my colleagues don’t like that, all I can say is “Come and Have a Go If You Think You’re Hard Enough.” After all, if I may be forgiven quoting the great reformer, “Here I stand; I can do no other.” Continue reading
Instapundit gives an example of the type of established churches we have on many campuses in this land:
DISRESPECT WAS EXACTLY THE RIGHT ATTITUDE WHEN FORCED TO ATTEND A POINTLESS, MAN-HATING POLITICAL EVENT: VT players accused of disrespect at sexual assault support event.
Members of the Virginia Tech football team have been accused of acting disrespectfully at a campus sexual assault awareness event.
Players were required to attend a Take Back the Night event on March 26. The event was organized by a campus female activism group and featured sexual assault survivors speaking about their experiences as victims. Multiple attendees accused the players of infringing upon the “safe space” the event is intended to foster, according to The Roanoke Times.
Take Back the Night is a national organization that seeks “to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and all other forms of sexual violence.”
Several attendees wrote letters to the student newspaper, the Collegiate Times, complaining about the players’ behavior. The players arrived late, said they did not know why they were attending the event and spent much of the time looking at their phones, the letters said.
“[T]heir judgmental remarks made it very hard to feel safe,” one wrote. “When survivors took the stage, there was nothing respectful in the way the football team took it, especially in reference to transgender survivors. I am deeply offended and horrified by the disrespectful nature that the players displayed.”
Honey, you’re a caricature. Your pointless, politicized event got all the respect it deserved, and then some. Generally speaking, captive audiences aren’t especially appreciative. More here: “Womanspace at Virginia Tech, a campus organization for feminist activism, has coordinated the event at Tech for 26 years, with this year’s version featuring speakers from the transgender community as well as survivors of sexual assault.”
UPDATE: From the comments: “I was born and raised in Cuba. I have certain memories of staged rallies.” Continue reading
Recently Indiana passed and the Governor signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. By doing so Indiana joined a majority of states which have such protections for religious freedom. There is also a federal version of the act which was passed overwhelmingly by Congress in 1993 and signed into law by President Clinton. Here are the operative sections of both the Federal and State Acts:
A governmental entity may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if the governmental entity demonstrates that application of the burden to the person: (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
Go here for the complete text of the Act. States enacted their own version of the statute because the Supreme Court in 1997 ruled rightfully that the federal act was not applicable to state laws or local ordinances.
What does this have to do with GenCon, the gaming convention held in Indianapolis that I and my bride have been attending since 1986?
Well, homosexual activists have been busily portraying this statute as a license to discriminate against gays, and the head of GenCon decided to get on this band wagon. Go here to read the letter by Adrian Swartout.
The ignorance contained in the letter is simply stunning. Swartout is apparently bone ignorant as to the federal version of the act and how many states have similar acts. Swartout also is apparently ignorant of the fact that the Act could only be used if a government seeks to discriminate against an individual or business on the basis of their religion. The only possible applicability to homosexuals would be if a government sought to take action against a business that discriminated against gays. The only businesses where such a contention would survive judicial analysis would be those where the owners could demonstrate that their religious beliefs forbid providing a service, such as baking a cake for a gay wedding. The idea that this statute would have any impact on services provided to convention attendees in downtown Indie is simply farcial. Of course all the hoopla about the Act has nothing to do with the law or facts, but everything to do with the flexing of political muscles by gay activists. This tempest also demonstrates that religious freedom is simply not going to be tolerated by those who shriek loudest for tolerance.
A baker not wishing to be compelled to make a cake for a homosexual wedding might as well be a member of the SS according to Diann Rice a member of the hilariously misnamed Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Left merrily continues on its mission to stamp out every one of the freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights in the name of tolerance:
“I would also like to reiterate what we said in the last meeting [on Mr. Phillips]. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust,” Ms. Rice said at the July 25 hearing.
“I mean, we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination,” Ms. Rice said. “And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use — to use their religion to hurt others.”
Jeremy Tedesco, ADF senior legal counsel, said in a statement that Ms. Rice’s comments reveal an “anti-religious bigotry” that “undermines the integrity of the entire process and the commission’s order as well.” Continue reading
A popular tactic on the left today, and for the past several decades in this country for that matter, is to strong arm adversaries and shout them down. Faithful readers of this blog will recall the “feminist studies” professor Miller-Young who went berserk when confronted with a group of young pro-life women peacefully presenting information on abortion at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Go here, here and here to read about it. The following is an account by one of the pro-lifers present, Mairead McArdle, a student at Saint Thomas Aquinas College:
When the incident began I was using the sign in the “free-speech zone” to start conversations with people passing by. I began a calm, rational conversation with Professor Young, asking her what her thoughts were on our position and our sign.
Each time I tried to speak to Miller-Young, she would interrupt to yell at me. I also talked to at least three of the students who had gathered around. Because the situation was already hostile, however, and they threw insults me. Continue reading
For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.
One of the interesting fall outs of the rampages in Cairo and Benghazi is the calls by some on the Left for jailing people for exercising freedom of speech. Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy blog pointed this out yesterday:
That’s what MSBNC contributors Mike Barnicle and Donny Deutsch, the University of Pennsylvania’s Prof. Anthea Butler (Religious Studies), and of course the Egyptian government argue with regard to the movie that mocks Mohammed:
Prof. Butler: “Good Morning. How soon is Sam Bacile going to be in jail folks? I need him to go now.When Americans die because you are stupid…” “And yes, I know we have First Amendment rights,but if you don’t understand the Religion you hate, STFU about it. Yes, I am ticked off.” “And people do go to jail for speech. First Amendment doesn’t cover EVERYTHING a PERSON says.” “[T]he murder of the Ambassador and the employees is wrong, wrong. But Bacile will have to face his actions which he had freedom[.]”
Mike Barnicle: “Given this supposed minister’s role in last year’s riots in Afghanistan, where people died, and given his apparent or his alleged role in this film, where, not yet nailed down, but at least one American, perhaps the American ambassador is dead, it might be time for the Department of Justice to start viewing his role as an accessory before or after the fact.”
In a way this is an unsurprising development. The Left in this country, with honorable exceptions, has not been overly fond of the concept of free speech for some time. Speech codes seeking to hamper the free speech rights of conservatives and Christians have been a staple at many colleges and universities for the past twenty years. Conservative speakers are routinely shouted down when they speak on campuses. The recent attack on Chik-Fil-A by the Mayors of Boston and Chicago was merely the latest manifestation of the willingness of many on the Left to use government power to suppress views they hate. Continue reading