Poor silly man, d’you think they‘ll leave you here to learn to fish?
Lady Alice to Sir Thomas More, A Man For All Seasons
Contrary to the popular idea that the success that the gay rights movement has had through the imposition of gay marriage by judicial fiat means the ending of a culture war, this is actually the beginning of a much greater one, as Robert Tracinski, a secularist, at The Federalist is wise enough to understand:
On Friday, city officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, informed Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers and proprietors of the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, that they would be required to perform gay weddings or face fines or possibly jail time under the city’s “public accommodations” statute. Their religious views are expected to adjust to the edicts of the state.
So it’s official: a new religious orthodoxy is sweeping across the nation, imposed by government and backed by force. It’s a religious orthodoxy required by secular authorities for a secular purpose, but no matter. Heretics will be found out and forced to recant.
No one ever expects the Secular Inquisition.
Except that we actually did expect it. In fact, it’s inherent in the fundamental basis of the left’s arguments for gay marriage.
I’m speaking here of the argument for gay marriage. It may be hard to remember now, but not very long ago there were compromise proposals for same-sex “civil unions” that were legally equivalent to marriage but under a different name. Gay rights activists consciously rejected these unions in order to specifically demand the use of the term “marriage,” insisting that the state legally recognize and enforce the equality of these marriages with old-fashioned, outmoded heterosexual ones.
Personally, I have no problem with gay people getting hitched, having weddings, and saying that they are “married.” I don’t have any religious objection, on account of not being religious, nor do I think gay marriages, given their very small numbers, will have any particular impact on the state of marriage as an important social institution. (Which, alas, has all sorts of problems of its own.)
But the test of liberty isn’t what happens to people who agree with the intent of a particular edict. The test is what happens to people who disagree.
That brings us to the reason why gay rights advocates insisted on the government granting same-sex unions the title of “marriage.” The theory behind this was that homosexuals suffer from a lack of social acceptance, and gay marriage would put the government’s imprimatur on their status as social equals—along with the promise that this equality is to be backed by government force. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
The late great Art Carney, who rose to fame for his comedic portrayal of Ed Norton in Jackie Gleason’s The Honeymooners television show, also had a flare for drama. I recall one role in which he played a character being told by the police that they they had a right to search his house without a warrant. His response has always stayed with me: “Not unless I made a mistake this morning and woke up in Russia instead of the US. !” That is precisely my reaction to this story that Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reports on:
The city of Houston has fought a pitched battle to enforce its equal-rights ordinance, but in an ironic twist, they may find themselves afoul of the First Amendment for doing so. The ordinance has come under fire from a number of quarters, but perhaps none more determined than Christian pastors who see the law as a threat to their ability to preach. They have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the law, and city attorneys in turn demonstrated exactly why they feared this in the first place:
Houston’s embattled equal rights ordinance took another legal turn this week when it surfaced that city attorneys, in an unusual step, subpoenaed sermons given by local pastors who oppose the law and are tied to the conservative Christian activists that have sued the city.
Opponents of the equal rights ordinance are hoping to force a repeal referendum when they get their day in court in January, claiming City Attorney David Feldman wrongly determined they had not gathered enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. City attorneys issued subpoenas last month during the case’s discovery phase, seeking, among other communications, “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”
Pastor Hernan Castano received a subpoena and believes his sermons are protected by the First Amendment.
“For a city government to step into churches and ask pastors to turn in sermons, it’s gone too far. This is not what America, the nation is about,” he told Eyewitness News. …
Some signatures were acquired at churches which make the sermons fair game, according to City Attorney Dave Feldman.
“If they choose to do this inside the church, choose to do this from the pulpit, then they open the door to the questions being asked,” Feldman said.
Again, that argument might work for issues about the petitions, and possibly even the mayor, if it was tied to their tax status and electoral activities, assuming the city could assert jurisdiction on those points. Those topics might be defensible in a discovery demand, too, although that would come from a court motion rather than a subpoena from the city attorneys. But when it comes to their positions on LGBT issues and “gender identity,” that’s a different kettle of fish. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
The contemporary left gives lip service to freedom of speech, but where they are in power they actively seek to ban the speech of those who disagree with them. We see this clearly on campuses where speech codes, anathema to any concept of freedom of speech, are the order of the day. It is no accident, as Marxists used to say, that representatives of the Democrat party are busily seeking to jettison the concept of free speech when it comes to elections. Kevin Williamson gives us the details at National Review Online:
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Dissent is the lowest form of crime. If you are a drone in the hive of the Left, it is possible — easy, in fact — to believe both of those things at the same time.
Free speech just won an important victory in a federal courtroom, though it is shameful that the case ever even had to go to court. Ohio had enacted a plainly unconstitutional law that empowered a government panel to determine whether criticisms offered in political advertisements were sufficiently true to be permitted in the public discourse. Those who have followed the IRS scandal, the Travis County, Texas, prosecutorial scandals, or Harry Reid’s recent effort to repeal the First Amendment will not be surprised that this measure was used as a political weapon against a conservative group, in this case the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List. SBA List criticized a Democratic House member for having voted for the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA), noting that the law will implicate American taxpayers in the funding of abortions, an entanglement previously minimized through measures such as the Hyde Amendment. Despite the fact that the ACA regime would, among other things, permit federal subsidies for abortion-funding insurance plans, the Ohio Inquisition ruled the ad impermissible, and banned it.
Fortunately, an Obama appointee whose ability to read the letter of the law had not been utterly drummed out of him ruled that the Ohio Inquisition obviously violated longstanding free-speech protections, the First Amendment notable among them. Last week, a similar case in Minnesota came to a similar conclusion.
Democrats pushing the measure to repeal free speech pretend that it is a campaign-finance measure, but the only criteria it establishes for Congress to ban an advertisement — or a book, or a film, or a television show, or a magazine — is that money is expended in an attempt to influence a political outcome. Under those rules, the Ohio Inquisition’s successful move to ban billboards critical of an embattled Democratic congressman would have been totally acceptable under the provisions of a gutted First Amendment.
The Ohio Inquisition, and the Minnesota Inquisition, and Harry Reid’s war on the First Amendment are hardly isolated episodes. Consider that the same Texas prosecutor that has indicted Governor Rick Perry on two felony counts for the so-called crime of exercising his constitutional authority to veto a bill — a bill providing funds to that prosecutor’s office — is now preparing to indict University of Texas regent and whistleblower Wallace Hall, on charges of . . . hmm.
The charges against Mr. Hall are odd even by the standards of Rosemary Lehmberg, the vodka-pickled Texas prosecutor whose videotaped tirade after a DUI arrest — she threatened to have sheriff’s deputies jailed if she was not given special treatment — led to Governor Perry’s veto of funds for her office, on the theory that he could not in good conscience sign off on funding for an agency under such non-credible leadership. Mr. Hall is accused of leaking private information regarding academic records; short of that, prosecutors want to charge Mr. Hall with the crime of leading people to “speculate” about certain information protected by privacy rules. For the record, I should note that, though I never have spoken to the man, the party to whom Mr. Hall is accused of leaking information and whose speculation he is accused of encouraging is me. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Kirsten Powers, who is rapidly becoming my favorite liberal, casts her eye upon leftist tolerance and finds that it is an oxymoron:
Don’t bother trying to make sense of what beliefs are permitted and which ones will get you strung up in the town square. Our ideological overlords have created a minefield of inconsistency. While criticizing Islam is intolerant, insulting Christianity is sport. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is persona non grata at Brandeis University for attacking the prophet Mohammed. But Richard Dawkins describes the Old Testament God as “a misogynistic … sadomasochistic … malevolent bully” and the mob yawns. Bill Maher calls the same God a “psychotic mass murderer” and there are no boycott demands of the high-profile liberals who traffic his HBO show.
The self-serving capriciousness is crazy. In March, University of California-Santa Barbara women’s studies professor Mireille Miller-Young attacked a 16-year-old holding an anti-abortion sign in the campus’ “free speech zone” (formerly known as America). Though she was charged with theft, battery and vandalism, Miller-Young remains unrepentant and still has her job. But Mozilla’s Brendan Eich gave a private donation to an anti-gay marriage initiative six years ago and was ordered to recant his beliefs. When he wouldn’t, he was forced to resign from the company he helped found.
Got that? A college educator with the right opinions can attack a high school student and keep her job. A corporate executive with the wrong opinions loses his for making a campaign donation. Something is very wrong here. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one.
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
I have read science fiction since I first learned to read as a child. I enjoyed the exposure to new ideas and the frequently iconoclastic opinions, many of which I disagreed with, by the great authors of the field: Asimov, Heinlein, Anderson, Dickson, etc. Their imagination and writing skills took me far away from the small town in which I lived and enlivened my life by revealing to me that books could be tickets to strange worlds and stranger people. They helped to teach me to like to read and to like to think, both of which I have found handy throughout my life. It is sad then to see that science fiction in this country is now beset by those who wish to impose a stifling political orthodoxy on it. John C. Wright, a science fiction writer and a convert from atheism to Catholicism, gives us the details:
If you are a fan of science fiction, you know how shocking that statement is. If you are not a science fiction fan, I salute you for having better things to do with your time than read stories about space princesses being rescued from bug-eyed monsters by stalwart and clean-limbed fighting men of Virginia; but please let me explain why this is shocking.
Robert Heinlein is without doubt the leading writer in the science fiction field. He was the first to break into the slick magazines or into hardcover. Were it not for him, science fiction would still be languishing in a literary ghetto, no more popular than niche-market stories about samurai or railroad executives.
He was a gadfly. Heinlein’s two most famous novels are Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land. The first challenges the orthodoxy of the Left as much as the second does that of the Right. But in his day, few science fiction readers were offended by his or anyone’s ideas. Science fiction was proud to be a literature of the new and startling. A spirit of intellectual fearlessness was paramount.
A darker time followed. The lamps of the intellect were put out one by one, first in society at large, then in literature, then in our little corner called science fiction. What we have now instead is a smothering fog of caution, of silence, of an unwillingness to speak for fear of offending the perpetually hypersensitive.
Myriad examples exist. Orson Scott Card publicly expressed the mildest imaginable opposition to having judges overrule popular votes defining marriage in the traditional way. The uproar of hate directed against this innocent and honorable man is vehement and ongoing. An unsuccessful boycott was organized against the movie Ender’s Game, but he was successfully shoved off a project to write for Superman comics.
Got that? The award-winning Mr. Card, one of the finest science fiction writers today, was forced off the project because the dictates of his religious faith (not to mention his faith in democracy over rule by activist judges) did not agree with the political beliefs of the thought police.
No one accused him of attempting to write a Superman story belittling homosexuals, or belittling anyone. Sales would have grown, not fallen. This was not about money or hurt feelings. It was about this: if a man thinks what St. Paul thought about homosexual acts, he cannot write a children’s yarn about a friendly alien Hercules saving a spunky girl reporter from mad scientists or moon-apes. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Nothing is so unworthy of a civilised nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct.
From a White Rose resistance pamphlet (1942)
I am happy that Dale Price is back to blogging on a fairly regular basis since it gives me a renewed opportunity to
steal borrow blogging ideas from him. He turns his attention at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings to the insane purge going on within science fiction fandom of anyone who has political beliefs that do not coincide with the politically correct bromides du jour:
Orwellian group-think comes to real-world science fiction writing.
This is too brilliant! By Vecchio di Londra in the comboxes of Father Z:
Dr Caiaphas, the Judaean Head Shul Co-ordinator, apologized today for the unfortunate course the seminar had taken. “It was entirely unforseen. This speaker has a motivational track record, with his popular message of peace and love, and his relaxed and forgiving attitude to multi-choice personal lifestyles. But today mid-lecture he astonished us all with a stream of irrelevant social theory about divorce and remarriage, repeatedly using judgmental words such as ‘fornication’ and ‘sin’ and ‘adultery’: then he came out with that obscure remark about ‘making oneself a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven’ which was of course deeply offensive to all our many, many transgendered and undecided-gender students…
I should have stopped him when I sensed things were going badly, after his initial non-inclusive reference to ‘male and female’. It was all most un-Christian. I even had some students coming up to me afterwards asking me to explain what fornication was – obviously, they’d never heard of it before, and why should they: ‘Sin’ is an optional senior course at this college.
Many of our sophomores were in floods of tears, some were utterly traumatized. We have requested Jesus of Nazareth to take a sabbatical while we sort out his future speaking engagements. I’m sorry to say he has refused, rather intemperately flinging around terms such as ‘vipers’, ‘whited’ and ‘sepulchres’. We take particular objection to the word ‘whited’, as in this college we are proud that everyone may, regardless of race, as well as of sexual orientation or gender identification or indeed none at all, may expect an education that is supportive and above all totally without any tendency to discriminate… “ →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Hattip to commenter Phillip. Well, I think we can now say that a pattern has been established in regard to how Catholics who have the temerity to preach Catholic doctrine on sex and marriage at ostensibly Catholic schools are going to be treated by the forces of tolerance and the cowards who run the schools. Father Z gives us the details:
Another ‘c’atholic High School blows up when they hear the truth about Catholic teaching.
Yah… I want to be part of a Church in which high school students determine our morality.
First, look at The Prout School.
Prout principal will not resign after controversial assembly
SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Kathleen Schlenz of Peace Dale knew something was wrong when her daughter, Anna, arrived home from school Friday.
The Rev. Francis “Rocky” Hoffman, a priest of Opus Dei, [I know him.] an orthodox division of the Roman Catholic Church, and executive director and radio host of Relevant Radio, a Catholic radio network that broadcasts on 33 stations in 13 states and online, had spoken to a school-wide assembly at The Prout School, where Anna is a junior. The speech was being taped to be broadcast on Relevant Radio at a later date. “She was most upset about the divisive and offensive language regarding divorce, homosexuality and even adoption,” Kathleen Schlenz [Follow her doings all through the piece. She’s really something.] said. “None of the parents or faculty knew it was being taped to be aired. They were essentially held hostage and told to clap after this man’s responses to questions, even when they didn’t agree with them.” Father Hoffman was on retreat and unavailable for comment before the Independent went to press Wednesday. On April 10, parents received a letter of apology from Principal David Carradini since Friday. [sigh] In the new letter, Carradini announced he would not resign.
“Many have questioned why I did not stop Fr. Hoffman when I sensed things were going badly,” Carradini wrote. “I have offered three explanations to various audiences; the truth is I do not know why I did not stop him:. Though I sensed, and shared, the distress of your daughters and sons, and of the faculty, [and Gaia] I did not see its depth, as I was in the front of the auditorium. I desperately hoped that things might right-end themselves, [?!? Really? Who writes public letters like that? ] and in that hope I did not stop him. [‘Cause that wouldn’t have added chum to the waters.] Parents who are crisis management professionals have instructed me after the fact in what I ought to have done. I am grateful for their guidance.” [He makes this sound like a school shooting. Were psychologists called into the school to help students deal with the trauma?]
Students discussed staging protests and pickets in response to the speech. On Monday, fliers that read “Homosexuals are bullied because of apathy. [Good grief. WHO’S being bullied?] Divorced people are bullied because of apathy. Adoptive children are bullied because of apathy. Are you apathetic?” appeared around the school. [What the heck did my old friend Fr. Hoffman say? Did he use… I can hardly bring myself to type this… The ‘S’ Word™?] Several Prout students and alumni tweeted about the matter. “Prout is now an unvibrant uncatholic community,” one said. [They are figuring that out?] “All the good things built up by The Prout School today just came crashing down around us with that assembly,” read another. [The party’s over, it seems. It all came crashing down. Was what Fr. Hoffman said as divisive and as bullying as this? Rom. 1:26-28, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”] Posts to Hoffman’s Facebook page appeared briefly, but were removed. In an email to Carradini, Kathleen Schlenz characterized Hoffman’s comments as “cruel, condemnatory, and wholly un-Christian.” [Could he have been harsher than the Bible? Lev 20:13: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” I’m just saying…] Beginning Friday, a number of parents, including Schlenz, went to Carradini with questions: Why was Hoffman asked to speak? Who approved it? Was he paid? Would the speech be aired? [Could his talk have been more challenging than Matthew 5:32 “But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”] Carradini referred a request for comment to the Diocese of Providence. [This is Bp. Tobin’s diocese, thanks be to God.] Friday evening, parents received an email from the school. “My intention in inviting him here was to have a priest articulate Church teaching in a manner that was pastorally appropriate, doctrinally sound, and deeply respectful of the trust the students showed in bringing these questions forward for answer. My prior knowledge of Fr. Hoffman and his program gave every reason to expect this outcome,” Carradini wrote. “My expectations, and those of the faculty and staff, were not met, and for that I am deeply sorry. Several of the answers provided were not entirely representative of the full breadth of Church teaching on a number of complex and sensitive issues. [Oh? What did he omit?] Several members of the student body, faculty, and staff – including me – were personally offended by his manner of presentation.” [It may be that the little darlings heard it for the first time and had a reaction.] In the email, Carradini said he would “address these matters with the entire school and to apologize for the offenses caused.” [What did Fr. Hoffman say that was so horrible? Was it anything like what St. Paul said? 1 Cor 6:9-10: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.”] That occurred Monday, in another school-wide assembly, during which school chaplain Rev. Joseph Upton, offered an address with a more welcoming message. [?] “You can imagine how very upset I was on Friday morning as I watched and heard Fr. Rocky’s presentation unfold,” [I am still waiting for a quote… in or out of context… so that we can know what happened?] Upton said, according to an email regarding Hoffman’s address sent to parents. “We know that many young people in particular struggle with participation in the life of the Church. And now a presentation seemed to provide more of a reason to give up on the Church? I was angry and I was sad.” [Oooooo.] Approximately 50 parents appeared at the assembly uninvited and met with Carradini after it finished. Schlenz was among them. When she reached Carradini by phone Saturday, she asked what he was doing to ensure the speech would not be broadcast and was told he had spoken to a board member of Relevant Radio. [So that no one can know what Father really said? What does that sound like to you? She doesn’t want people to know the truth.]
Father Z comments on the silencing of Sister Jane and his conclusions are sobering:
You probably saw my post Sister explains the situation. Spittle-flecked nutty, bullying, intimidation ensue.
Sr. Jane Laurel, OP, gave a talk at a Catholic High School. Hell broke loose.
If you want to sample her talks, go HERE. Her talk at the High School was “Masculinity & Femininity: Difference & Gift”. Presentations with that title are on that website. Listen to a few. At the High School, Sister included comments about homosexuality, divorce and single parents. Some people lost their minds. Read more here.
I suspect that what happened, to build this up into such a thing, is that parents heard vague reports – I say vague because teens are such great sources of accuracy in reporting – about her remarks from their politically-correctly conditioned children and, stung in conscience, got out the pitchforks and torches.
The nutty built up into grand mal nutty in the form of the increasingly inevitable “town hall” meeting.
Am I entirely off base here? Did Sister actually say things that were so outrageous, so unacceptable, so lacking in truth and in charity, that the resulting furor was appropriate, proportionate and justified? Really? Go listen to some of her talks using that link, above. Does it seem likely?
Now I read that Sister is going to have a sabbatical. HERE
It looks as if Alinsky’s Rules were at work here. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself. … Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
Look. This is just the starting line for some observations.
It seems to me that this sad episode is one of many which reveal the building in our midst of a mob mentality akin to that which drove the Salem Witch Trials. If you speak in public now with any clarity about the Church’s teachings on sexuality, marriage, etc., or avert to conclusions which rational people reach about the same derived from the Natural Law, you will be met with fury. “I saw Lizzie Procter speaking with the devil!” Well… bad example, since most of the people who will join the snarling pack likely don’t believe in the devil.
There is a new and twisted “normal” coalescing. This new “normal”, violating the dictates of reason, will prompt the more aggressive and ideologically driven to impose iron norms, which, when violated, will spark vicious attacks from the now easily manipulated mob.
Watching episode in Charlotte build, I had the image of one of those mobs protests a G8 meeting. In these mobs there are professional instigators, anarchists and so forth, who are dedicated to getting the crowd of the curious, the young, the dumb, the enthusiastic, etc., whipped up into a frenzy. Then, as the frenzy rises, someone pitches a garbage can through a shop window and the havoc begins.
What is happening in our society that accepts so readily the hounding to ruin of the head of some business because he says that he supports true, natural marriage and does not endorse homosexual unions?
Surely there is something of a mob mentality building, and swiftly. The speed is driven by the new phenomenon of social media arriving in your hand 24/7. It is also driven by the erosion of the ability of many to reason (thanks to decades of poor education) and incessant mass media exaltation of self-satisfaction and base carnality, which also switches off higher functions.
But there is also something of the demonic in this present movement. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
“The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.”
George Orwell, 1984
In regard to the firing of Brendan Eich by Mozilla after gay activists demanded his scalp for his donating a $1,000 in 2008 in support of Proposition 8, go here to Darwin’s post on the subject, it struck me as to the function such leftist witch hunts are intended to perform.
First, they help keep the perpetually aggrieved, perpetually aggrieved. Most leftists, in order to have power, must have constant agitation against enemies. The names of the enemy vary, but the function they perform remains the same: to give leftists a devil figure to rally against.
Second, a means of proscribing certain thought crimes. Most leftists are not content to win political victories, they want to drive their adversaries from the public square and punish them for their beliefs.
Third, abasement. The gay activists who began the campaign have said that they wanted Eich to recant and then they would have been content with him keeping his job. Confession and recantation by heretics is always a good thing.
Fourth, terror. Many leftists tend to view terrorism as not a bad thing so long as it is their terrorism. Just imagine how many CEOs cringed when they realized that in today’s America a man or woman could lose their job based on a political donation years ago.
Fifth, intolerance. Most leftists love tolerance so long as their views are the ones being tolerated. Views they oppose are not to be tolerated. Little leftist morality plays like Eich are useful in making certain that it is clearly understood that tolerance is purely a one way street. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Hattip to Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy. Remember Mireille Miller-Young, an associate professor of “feminist studies” at the University of California Santa Barbara, who is currently charged with assault, battery and vandalism in regard to taking a sign from a teenage pro-lifer? Go here to read all about it. Now you would think that an institution supposedly dedicated to the pursuit of learning would have something to say about a professor who is apparently unable to control herself when confronted with views that she despises. Michael D. Young, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at UCSB did address it in this open letter to students. He comes out in favor of free speech, but somehow does not name the professor, the incident, and, echoing segregationists of the past, seems to blame the problem of intolerance on campus on outsiders:
Over the past several weeks, our campus has been visited by a number of outside groups and individuals coming here to promote an ideology, to promulgate particular beliefs (at times extreme beliefs), or simply to create discord that furthers a certain personal agenda. Some passionately believe in their causes, while others peddle hate and intolerance with less-than-noble aims. Whatever the motives and goals, the presence of such people and groups on campus can be disruptive and has the potential to draw us into the kind of conflict that puts at risk the quality of exchange of ideas that is fundamental to the mission of our university.
What is happening now is not new: evangelical types have been visiting UCSB and university campuses since time immemorial. What we see at UCSB today is simply the most recent generation of true believers, self-proclaimed prophets, and provocateurs. During the past few weeks, UCSB has been visited by various anti-abortion crusaders. Some have been considerate and thoughtful in promoting their message; others have openly displayed images that many in our community find distressing and offensive. We have also seen earnest and thoughtful religious missionaries, and we have seen proselytizers hawking intolerance in the name of religious belief. As a consequence of interactions with the more extreme of our visitors, students have expressed outrage, pain, embarrassment, fear, hurt, and feelings of harassment. Moreover, I have received requests that the campus prohibit the peddling of “fear,” “hate,” “intolerance,” and “discord” here at UCSB.
Those of you who know me are aware that I have strong views on the matter of intolerance. You also know that I hold equally strong views on the sanctity of free speech. If you have heard me speak at Convocation or at anti-hate events, or if you have seen me officiating at the Queer Wedding, you know that my message on both counts is clear. Recent events lead me to believe that this message bears repeating.
First, the principle of freedom of expression resides at the very foundation of our society and, most certainly, at the foundation of a world-class university such as UC Santa Barbara. Freedom and rights are not situational: we either have freedom of speech or we do not. We cannot pick and choose which views are allowed to be aired and who is allowed to speak. If that were the case, then only those in charge — those holding power — would determine who gets to speak and whose views are heard.
Second, freedom is not free. The price of freedom for all to speak is that, at times, everyone will be subjected to speech and expression that we, ourselves, find offensive, hateful, vile, hurtful, provocative, and perhaps even evil. So be it! Law and policy ban only an extremely narrow band of speech and expression — “yelling ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre,” for example, and child pornography. The price we pay to speak our own minds is allowing others to speak theirs, regardless of how oppositional their views are to our own. Our Founding Fathers — all white men of privilege, some even slave owners — got it right when designing the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Having firmly stated my support for freedom of expression, I hasten to follow with a lesson my mother taught me when I was a small child, a lesson that has remained with me the rest of my life and that I relay to our entering students every fall at Convocation. My mother taught me that just because you can say or do something doesn’t mean that you should. Civility plays an important role in how we choose to exercise our right to expression. We all have the right to say odious things, to display offensive slogans and placards, and to hurt and disrespect groups and individuals that disagree with us. The question is: should we? Should we engage in these behaviors just because we can or because they serve our political, religious, or personal agendas?
At UCSB, our students have proven that we are better than this. While it has not always been easy, time and again UCSB students have demonstrated that they can disagree about the critical issues of our time — fundamentally and passionately but within a framework of humanity and civility, respecting the dignity of those whose views they oppose. Time and time again, UCSB students have demonstrated that they understand their role in defining the character and quality of this campus community — revealing their unwillingness to lower themselves to the tactics of those whose agenda comes wrapped in intolerance and extremism.
And now we are tested once again, outsiders coming into our midst to provoke us, to taunt us and attempt to turn us against one another as they promote personal causes and agendas. If we take the bait, if we adopt negative tactics and engage in name calling, confrontation, provocation, and offensive behavior, then they win and our community loses. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
The madness and silliness that is the Obama administration continues apace. Father Z gives us the details:
From FNC (where there is also video):
Boys and girls at Grace Academy in Prosper, Tex., spent most of last Friday making homemade Christmas cards for bedridden veterans at the VA hospital in Dallas. Fourth-grader Gracie Brown was especially proud of her card, hoping it would “make their day because their family might live far away, and they might not have somebody to celebrate Christmas with.” “I’d like them to know they’ve not been forgotten and somebody wanted to say thank you,” Gracie told Gracie’s card read, “Merry Christmas. Thank you for your service.” It also included an American flag. But the bedridden veterans at the VA hospital will never get to see Gracie’s card. Nor will they see the cards made by 51 other students. [Get this…] That’s because the Christmas cards violated VA policy. “It really didn’t occur to me there would be a problem with distributing Christmas cards,” said Susan Chapman, a math teacher at the academy. [Nor would most normal people think that children’s cards for Christmas were double-plus-ungood in the eyes of the Obama Administration.] She’s married to a veteran and volunteers with the American Legion and other veterans’ organizations. On Monday morning the boys and girls were planning on hand delivering the cards to the wounded veterans. [I’ll be the vets would have liked that.] Chapman called the hospital to make final arrangements and that’s when she learned there was a problem. “I told him my students made cards, we’d like to bring them down for the veterans,” Chapman told the television station. “And he said, ‘That’s great. We’re thrilled to have them, except the only thing is, we can’t accept anything that says ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘God bless you’ or any scriptural references because of all the red tape.’” [VA: GOD NOT ALLOWED.] A VA official quoted the policy which is in the Veterans Health Administration handbook: “In order to be respectful of our veterans’ religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients. We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding.” Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Institute, said it was a new low “even for the Scrooges and Grinches at the VA.” “Targeting the benevolent work of little children for censorship is disgusting,” Sasser told me. “Do the Grinches in the administration of the VA really believe our bravest warriors need protection from the heartfelt well wishes of small children saying Merry Christmas?” [No, its the Obama mandarins who cannot bear that any views smacking of religion be permitted in the public square. This is all of a piece.] Andrea Brown, Gracie’s mom, was dumbfounded by the news. “This wasn’t the country I grew up in, when you couldn’t say ‘Merry Christmas,’ you couldn’t say ‘God bless you’ or reference any scripture,” she told MyFoxDFW.com. She told the television station the boys and girls were heartbroken that the military personnel would not be able to receive their cards. “They couldn’t believe the people that these people they wanted to honor weren’t going to get the chance to see what they had done,” she said. The cards will not be thrown away — they are being shipped to Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio and to a private facility for veterans in Louisiana. Sasser said at some point, “does the VA have no shame?” “Mr. Potter from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ wouldn’t even ban little children from wishing our veterans Merry Christmas,” Sasser said. [But this is Mr. Obama’s VA.] →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
A&E has caved and Phil Robertson will remain on Duck Dynasty:
As a global media content company, A+E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s home and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principals.
That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson. While Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the “coarse language” he used and the mis-interpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would “never incite or encourage hate.” We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold.
But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about.
We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty. These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.
Hattip to Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings. I have never watched Duck Dynasty on A&E, and before this week only had the vaguest idea that it is about a family that manufactures duck calls, is rich, rural and devout, with the men looking like a road crew for ZZ Top. It became a mega hit, and this week the patriarch of the family was fired because of comments he made about homosexuality in a magazine interview. Go here to read the interview in GQ. The family has put out this statement:
We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E’s decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Phil would never incite or encourage hate.We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right.We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family.
So far so predictable. We live in a country which lauds freedom of speech in theory, but in practice if you deviate in your public sentiments a fraction of an inch from the PC cant of the day, the forces of love and tolerance will attempt to gut punch you if they can. No more formidable practitioners of that art exists than the gay lobby, the “love” that dare not speak its name now being the “love” that wants to ensure that its critics dare not speak at all.
I am unsurprised that it is feminist lesbian Camille Paglia who on the Laura Ingraham show had the best commentary on this latest eruption of the gay thought police. Paglia, who is an old time liberal who actually cherishes freedom for herself and also for those who disagree with her, has been outraging leftist pieties for decades. Go here to listen to her appearance with Ingraham.
Robertson has been suspended from Duck Dynasty due to comments he made to GQ that have been deemed “anti-gay.” According to Paglia, the culture has become too politically correct.
“To express yourself in a magazine in an interview — this is the level of punitive PC, utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist, OK, that my liberal colleagues in the Democratic Party and on college campuses have supported and promoted over the last several decades,” Paglia said. “This is the whole legacy of free speech 1960’s that have been lost by my own party.”
Paglia went on to point out that while she is an atheist she respects religion and has been frustrated by the intolerance of gay activists.
“I think that this intolerance by gay activists toward the full spectrum of human beliefs is a sign of immaturity, juvenility,” Paglia said. “This is not the mark of a true intellectual life. This is why there is no cultural life now in the U.S. Why nothing is of interest coming from the major media in terms of cultural criticism. Why the graduates of the Ivy League with their A, A, A+ grades are complete cultural illiterates, etc. is because they are not being educated in any way to give respect to opposing view points.”
“There is a dialogue going on human civilization, for heaven sakes. It’s not just this monologue coming from fanatics who have displaced the religious beliefs of their parents into a political movement,” she added. “And that is what happened to feminism, and that is what happened to gay activism, a fanaticism.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
I stand in awe of this comment by Instapundit:
MEGAN MCARDLE: A Fight Over Contraception Won’t Help ObamaCare.
I gather that both supporters and opponents of the mandate think the Supreme Court will probably rule that corporations (at least closely held ones such as these two) are going to be granted an exemption from the mandate if they have clear religious objections.
Social media was on fire over this when it happened, and I confess that I am struggling to see why. There was a lot of outraged talk about how corporations aren’t people, of course, but a lot more about employers trying to control their employees’ sex lives, treating women as second-class citizens and so forth. To judge from these reactions, you would think that birth-control pills were a scarce resource that could only legally be obtained through employers. In fact, generic birth-control pills are available for $25 a month through a Costco pharmacy, $50 if you want a brand name.
“But that’s expensive for a young woman on a budget!” you are about to cry. And I am about to answer that it doesn’t get less expensive because an insurer buys it. Regular, predictable expenses such as birth-control pills cannot be defrayed by insurance; they can only be prepaid, with a markup for the insurer’s administrative costs. The extra cost is passed on by the insurers to your employer, and from your employer to you and your fellow workers, either by raising your contribution or lowering the wage they are willing to offer. There’s obviously some cross-subsidy from your fellow employees who don’t use birth control, but overall, there’s no particular reason to force insurers to cover a minor and predictable expense.
The administration didn’t force employers with a religious objection to offer contraception because it made financial or medical sense; they did it because it had great symbolic value to Barack Obama’s political base. And much of that symbolic value seems to actually come from the willingness to coerce people who object to buy the stuff.
Obama, and his supporters, quite clearly take joy in coercing those seen as enemies to do things they find objectionable. It is indicative of a deep psychological disorder. Call it the “smell the glove” presidency. . . →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
If you are a member of the NRA, Dave Perry, editor of the Aurora Sentinel, knows where you belong:
No more due process in the clear-cut case of insidious terrorism. When the facts are so clearly before all Americans, for the whole world to see, why bother with this country’s odious and cumbersome system of justice? Send the guilty monsters directly to Guantanamo Bay for all eternity and let them rot in their own mental squalor.
No, no, no. Not the wannabe sick kid who blew up the Boston marathon or the freak that’s mailing ricin-laced letters to the president. I’m talking about the real terrorist threat here in America: the National Rifle Association.
I’m not laughing. What the NRA did last week was no laughing matter. Aurora is a community that knows only too well the downside of prolific guns, of military weapons in the hands of crazy people, of a nation that’s gone so far off base when it comes to firearm regulations that common sense is beyond our reach. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report. Content advisory for the above video. Ms. Curry is unable to express herself sans F-Bomb. Is it too much to ask that colleges and universities not employ Professors, even adjunct Professors, who are complete morons?
A University of Buffalo (SUNY) professor was arrested for screaming obscenities at an administration approved graphic pro-life display. While cursing profusely, she accused the pro-lifers of being “profane.”
The video below shows the arrest along with the professor cursing and finally yelling out to surrounding students to tell her 1 p.m. class that she wouldn’t be able to teach that day because she was being taken away in handcuffs.
I contacted the media relations department at UB and they confirmed the arrest. John DellaContrada, Assistant Vice President for Media Relations at UB, told CMR that:
Laura Curry was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. She is an adjunct instructor of media study. She is entitled to due process under the law.
This was a display by a student club, the UB Students for Life. Student organizations are allowed to reserve space on campus for purposes of free expression.
The University at Buffalo strives to create an environment in which diverse opinions can be expressed and heard. As a public university, it is a fundamental value of UB that all members of the campus community and their invited guests have a right to peacefully express their views and opinions, regardless of whether others may disagree with those expressions. This includes the right of protesters to oppose the views or opinions of others, but not in such a way as to limit or prevent the speaker’s freedom of expression or interfere with university operations. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading