Being Clear on Religious Liberty

Indiana passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which is fundamentally the same as the federal RFRA and the RFRA’s in force in 19 other States – and liberals went ballistic. Given the rapidity with which the outrage spread, I can only presume that it was all orchestrated – liberals, at any rate, not being given to doing anything until they are so ordered by the liberal leadership (no liberal wants to get out in front just in case the Party Line turns out to be different from personal opinion). As to why it was orchestrated – I figure that the left is trying to gin up its base for 2016 and this is just the start of it, and as Democrats have zero chance of winning Indiana in 2016, it makes the perfect target for liberal slander and hatred. Expect more and more of this sort of manufactured outrage as time goes on – Hillary’s only chance (other than the GOP nominating Jeb) being people upset over nothing rather than paying attention to what is happening.

Still, there is an actual issue here. Liberals are attempting to frame it as a replay of Jim Crow – the RFRA, it is alleged, will allow a “straights only” lunch counter and this will be a horrific violation of homosexual rights. The truth, of course, is completely different. The purpose of RFRA is not to harm anyone, but to protect the rights of a minority – in this case, a religious minority (orthodox Christians). Jim Crow was different – that was laws which required the treatment of non-whites as second class citizens by all and sundry. RFRA is just a way out if someone tries to get someone to do something in violation of their deeply held religious beliefs. It would not allow me, if I were a baker, to refuse to serve homosexual customers – it does excuse me from participating in a same-sex wedding by making the cake which will be consumed at that wedding. If I were a baker – and being that I am Catholic – you could get just about anything you want form me…but you couldn’t get a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding. There are other sorts of confections you couldn’t get from me, as well…I probably would not want to bake a cake which, say, proclaimed some dogma of Christian Science. You just want a cake – you got it; you want a cake which requires me to sin: it ain’t happening.

And that is all RFRA does – it allows me to not do something for you. If I am not doing something for you then I am also not doing anything to you. I am not violating your rights by not providing a service. In fact, if you were able to compel me to do something for you, then not only would you likely be violating my religious beliefs, but you’d also be forcing me into involuntary servitude…and slavery is explicitly prohibited in our Constitution.

I would never dream of asking someone to do something against their conscience. I’d never ask a pacifist to serve in the army. I’d never ask a Jew to provide me a ham sandwich. I’d never ask a Muslim to sell me some wine. It is just plain and simple courtesy that I do this – it would be the height of arrogant oppression if I were to demand that everyone do for me as I wish. We do live in a pluralist society – in the United States there really are all kinds of people and the only way such a society works is if everyone respects everyone else. Doing it any other way just leads to anarchy, oppression, a disintegration of the ties that bind and a risk of complete societal breakdown.

Live and let live – wise words to live by.

It’s The Lies, Stupid

A quote from Theodore Dalrymple via Mark Steyn via Ace of Spades:

In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control…

At the end of the day, it isn’t my business if someone wants to believe or speak lies. I am not the world’s truth enforcer. Lies, for the most part, are pretty easily discerned once a person takes a little time to think about them. If someone is so intellectually lazy that they won’t take the time to figure out if something is true or false, it isn’t up to me to do anything specific about it. My duty starts and ends with merely trying to tell the truth as best I can determine. The problem comes in with what Dalrymple is talking about: the social enforcement of lies. Anyone trying to compel me – or anyone else – to lie is very much my business.

Our people on the left, of course, live on lies – their who worldview is based upon a set of falsehoods and only via falsehoods can they advance their cause. The problem we all have is that our leftists don’t just leave it at that – they insist we all join in their lies and affirm them positively in the public square. If I won’t say that affirmative action is continually needed in the United States to correct the inherently racist nature of American society, then I am a racist – I’m evil and have to be shut up and shut out of the debate. I can only enter the debate if I subscribe in advance to a falsehood – that America is an inherently racist society. It is a long list of lies that the left insists upon, as well: everything from “only white people can be racists” to “there’s a wage gap between men and women due to sexism” and a thousand things in between must be agreed to, or I’m out. If you ever wonder why our leftists are so strident against us it is because of this refusal to join in their lies…our refusal marks us out, in their minds, as evil…and you don’t sit down and chat with evil, now do you? Additionally, of course, if the lies are exposed for what they are, then the left as a political force is finished for good.

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Hitler and Stalin

The History Channel is about to premier a new documentary series about the World Wars and the hook seems to be how the one effected the other, especially the leaders.  The ad campaign is starting to cause some grief in how they portray Hitler and Stalin.  For Hitler, the tag lines are “World War 1: Made him a madman; World War 2; Made him a monster”, while for Stalin it is “World War 1: Made him a man; World War 2; Made him a tyrant”. People are correctly pointing out that Hitler was a monster – and Stalin a tyrant – long before World War Two came along.

I don’t want to pre-judge the History Channel show – it might be good; I was intrigued when I saw an ad for it tonight – but it is clear that, as per usual for documentaries, it won’t get it exactly right.  This is because film documentaries can’t get it right – time constraints prevent a full airing of all relevant facts, even when the documentary maker is determined to be as truthful as possible.  To really explain Stalin and Hitler would take many hundreds of pages of closely typed information and to fully understand, the reader would already have to be familiar with a great deal of history leading up to their era.  Most people simply lack this – and always will.  Except for people with a genuine love for history, it just gets tedious (after all, who is going to want to get into the life stories of Georg Ritter von Schonerer and Victor Adler? Well, if you want to understand Hitler fully, you kinda have to – and then understand the complete intellectual collapse which was represented by Schonerer and Adler – who got together at one point to hammer out a social reform program only to go their separate ways…Schonerer to be the grandfather of Nazi Pan-Germanism and anti-Semitism, Adler to be the founder of the Austrian Social-Democrat Party…with the added kicker that Adler was Jewish). It is, in short, hard to nutshell people like Hitler and Stalin.  And just about impossible to do a proper study of the men in a television documentary.

And, so, if anyone is expecting the History Channel’s new show to really provide insight into such men, you are doing to be disappointed, even if the actual show itself is interesting and, at points, informative.  But there is a real danger in taking such people in a superficial manner as it can lead to gross misunderstanding of how they came about.  Remember, while people can look back in horror upon them, it must not be forgotten that at one point tens of millions of people followed them…and, especially in the case of Hitler, followed them with extreme devotion.  People really believed – and while we can comfort ourselves by asserting (correctly) that such people were tricked by scoundrels, we still have to think about just why they were tricked.

There are pat answers, of course – all of them sharing the basic fact that they are wrong. In the case of Stalin, the general line goes that he hijacked Leninism and fooled people into thinking he was the proper heir of the great man. For Hitler, it is asserted that he nursed German national pride which as bruised after the German defeat in World War Two – and both men selected enemies whom the people could hate with wild abandon (Hitler and the Jews, of course; but Stalin and the Kulaks, as well). There is some truth in that, but not even close to the actuality. The more important thing I’ve discovered, from my very extensive reading and long reflection, is that both men got on because the people they tricked had nothing else they actually believed in.

This, to me, is the key to understanding all the horrors we have subjected ourselves to this past 100 years.  Most of us believe nothing, and so believe anything that comes down the pike.  Solzhenitsyn put it neatly when he said the problem of the 20th century is that we had forgot about God.  Not having anything real to repose our trust in, we have given our trust to one charlatan after another.  Not all of us, of course – a few have had the saving grace of believing in something and thus keeping a clear eye.  Of course, a great deal of precisely such people were mown down in the death camps of Hitler and Stalin.

People like Hitler and Stalin, like all good con artists, insert into unbelief something to believe in.  Something which seems neat, logical and covering all bases.  These two men used terror as a means of reinforcing their deceptions, but terror wasn’t needed all the time – and in Hitler’s case, was hardly needed at all, in the sense that most Germans weren’t terrified by the Hitler regime, but delighted with it (unlike Stalin’s, Russia, in Hitler’s Germany people could come and go pretty much as they pleased – Stalin dared not let anyone out, while Hitler was certain that any Germans he allowed to travel out of Germany would come happily come back…in the end, Hitler was the more astute liar than Stalin). But Hitler and Stalin weren’t alone – and they have their legion of successors in the modern world.  People who give people lies to place where faith in God should be.

We can solemnly intone “never again” about the horrors of Stalin and Hitler, but unless we start to believe, in overwhelming majority, in something that is true, we’ll continue to be hoodwinked in large and small matters…and the rise of another megalomaniac mass-murderer is going to remain just around the corner.

 

The Death of Civilization

Here’s how they die, at least in the modern, internet era:  pitching romantic vacations in the hopes that someone might wind up pregnant:

Denmark has a lot of things going for it. Last year, the UN’s World Happiness Report crowned it the globe’s happiest country, citing the nation’s commitment to maternity leave, gender equality, biking, and drinking lots of wine when it’s cold outside.

Its economy is also tops, chugging out $211 billion in annual GDP despite its relatively small population of 5.6 million. Economic inequality? Not a problem. Income distributes more evenly there than most places.

But Denmark has a sex problem. (Re-evaluating that happiness ranking already?)

Well, it’s not exactly a sex problem, per se. It’s more like a baby problem. According to government statistics, Denmark posted a birth rate of 10 per 1,000 residents in 2013 — its lowest in decades. The nation’s birthrate was  9.9 in 1983…

And, so, a travel agency has worked a “Do It For Denmark” campaign – at the link you can view the mildly NSFW ad pitch.  Its all very cute and funny, but it also reveals the underlying problem.  For all our wealth and for all our civilizational obsession with sex, we ain’t having kids.  And here’s the problem – if a people doesn’t create new people, it dies.  Funny how that works, huh?

We have no stigma attached to shacking up without marriage.  No one would dare call a child born out of wedlock a bastard.  Our popular culture is saturated with sexual references.  We have a “hook up” culture among our young which appears to hold that sexual activity is just part of a movie/dinner date night.  Everyone is encouraged to have as much sex as possible…and yet birth rates around the world have cratered.  Often to the point where some nations are already losing population year by year.  What gives?

For most people it would all be a great mystery.  It won’t be for some – those of us who either back when already knew or who have discovered the truth: when you separate sex out from its marital and procreative functions (via pre-marital sex and various forms of birth control, plus abortion) you will get lots more sex, but you won’t get sex which has any actual purpose in life…and you’ll also get people who have grown to believe that sex is just a thing of itself, having no purpose beyond the actual sex act.  And then you’ll get cratering birth rates, welfare States in trouble (all welfare States are built upon the requirement of a steadily increasing population) and absurd ad campaigns to convince people to have sex with a purpose.

As I’ve said elsewhere, this is just the end of a civilization – a dying, liberal civilization which proposed to make everything just great for everyone as soon as we cast off all the burdens of the old, Judeo-Christian civilization.  Well, with abortion on demand, same-sex marriage and, now, human bodies being burned for fuel, I think we can say that the very last shreds of the old civilization have been cast off.  This is now the liberal civilization long dreamed of.  Here it is.  Do you like it?  Well, don’t get too used to it – its already dead.  It’ll be replaced – by a Judeo-Christian civilization…where people will not only know how to have sex, but will know what it’s for without having to be prompted by a slick ad campaign.

 

Mark Steyn, NRO, Liberal Fascism and the Conservative Coward

Taking note of the Duck Dynasty fracas, Mark Steyn wrote what we expected – a witty and devastating critique of a culture being bound hand and foot by liberal fascist control freaks.  To illustrate his point, Mr. Steyn noted a couple of old jokes from ancient times (ie, the 1970’s):

…Here are two jokes one can no longer tell on American television. But you can still find them in the archives, out on the edge of town, in Sub-Basement Level 12 of the ever-expanding Smithsonian Mausoleum of the Unsayable. First, Bob Hope, touring the world in the year or so after the passage of the 1975 Consenting Adult Sex Bill:

“I’ve just flown in from California, where they’ve made homosexuality legal. I thought I’d get out before they make it compulsory.”

For Hope, this was an oddly profound gag, discerning even at the dawn of the Age of Tolerance that there was something inherently coercive about the enterprise. Soon it would be insufficient merely to be “tolerant” — warily accepting, blithely indifferent, mildly amused, tepidly supportive, according to taste. The forces of “tolerance” would become intolerant of anything less than full-blown celebratory approval.

Second joke from the archives: Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra kept this one in the act for a quarter-century. On stage, Dino used to have a bit of business where he’d refill his tumbler and ask Frank, “How do you make a fruit cordial?” And Sinatra would respond, “I dunno. How do you make a fruit cordial?” And Dean would say, “Be nice to him.”…

This caused the editor of NRO – Jason Steorts – to first make a tut-tutting criticism of Mr. Steyn for not understanding that being a meany is bad and then, when massive criticism was directed at Mr. Steorts, he just doubled down:

The point is basic courtesy, Mark. It’s that you could mount your opposing argument without insulting people. Sure, you have the right to insult people, but I can’t sympathize much with someone who exercises that right just to prove it exists, which seems to have been part of your rhetorical strategy. What I would like to de-normalize is boorishness, whatever its content…

And this, in turn, prompted a small comment from me:

No, Mr. Steyn cannot mount an argument against the left without insulting them. To disagree with them is, in their view, to be insulting. We’re not dealing with rational people, here. We’re dealing with people who are, in the largest sense of the word, insane. For crying out loud, they really think that its ok to kill a baby! When you’re dealing with that sort of irrationality, trying to keep it polite is the least of your concerns. Our job, as sane people, is to drive these people entirely out of power. We won’t do that if we try to pretend that lunacy has a proper place in the debate.

I don’t know Mr. Steort from Adam – until just yesterday, hadn’t the foggiest clue who NRO’s editor was, or that they even had one.  But the fact that someone like Mr. Steort is editing the on-line descendent of the magazine William F. Buckley founded to “stand athwart history yelling, ‘stop!” speaks volumes about how low we’ve fallen.  Per the comment at Red State, that has now been changed to, “Standing Athwart History, Yelling Okay Go Right Ahead (We Don’t Want to Offend Anyone)”.  Red State also noted that Mr. Steort is in favor of gay marriage, but that isn’t as important as the discovery, by me, that in reading Mr. Steort’s article in favor of gay marriage, I also discovered that he’s in favor of insanity, as well.  To quote:

…Romantic attraction is a unique type of desire in which a person is wanted in his or her unity and totality, and sexual activity is the unique expression and bodily dimension of such desire. The desire is thus unique in both its “inner” (“subjective,” “mental”) and its “outer” (“objective,” “bodily”) dimensions, and its fulfillment is intrinsically good…

If this is conservatism, then we’re in trouble.  Its basically a statement that “if it feels good, do it”…and its good.  As G. K. Chesterton noted, the purpose of Progressives is to go on making mistakes, and the purpose of Conservatives is to go on preventing the mistakes from being corrected.  A Progressive comes up with a completely stupid and insane idea and immediately puts it in to effect – when it all falls apart and destroys everything in its path, here comes the Conservative to say, “we can’t change it; it is part of the sacred inheritance of the past!”.  Mr. Steort exemplifies this.  I really can’t say this is a matter of stupidity, however; Mr. Steort is clearly not a dumb man.  But he just as clearly doesn’t want to offend against the liberal world view.  That would be bad.  It would get liberals mad and they’d say nasty things about you.  And, so, I’ll put it down as cowardice.  Much easier to write pretend-conservative pieces where you essentially concede the liberal argument while making small asides which claim you still respect and honor that old time religion.

As I noted in my small comment, liberals are essentially insane.  Not in the clinical sense where we could diagnose and treat them, but in the fact that what they propose flies in the face of facts and logic.  That what they propose, if really and fully implemented, would utterly destroy human life on earth.  People who think that babies can be killed, that tax increases cause prosperity, that crony-capitalism is a good idea, that government employees are altruistic, that a small elite can better decide things than people on their own; that a hack, Chicago politician is a new messiah – these are not rational views to hold.  Added to their irrationality and completing it is a mercilessness which knows no bounds.  You can rely on it that no matter how nice and polite we are, the left will still seek to destroy anyone who dares to dissent.  This is not a call for us to start being mean and merciless – but for pity’s sake, don’t just sit there and be a punching bag.  Hit back.  And keep on hitting because until we completely remove the left from all ability to effect policy in this nation, we will not be able to reform and save it.

America’s Shame

From KXLY.com:

WWII veteran Delbert Belton survived being wounded in action during the Battle of Okinawa only to be beaten and left for dead by two teens at the Eagles Lodge in Spokane on Wednesday evening.

Belton, 88, succumbed to his injuries Thursday morning at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office says Belton died of blunt facial and head injuries.

Witnesses say Belton was in the parking lot of the Eagles Lodge at 6410 N. Lidgerwood, adjacent to the Eagles Ice-A-Rena, around 8 p.m. Wednesday when the two male suspects attacked him as he was about to head inside to play pool…

We are not a decent nation when this can happen.  We are not raising up a civilized generation when this can happen.  He was 88 years old.  He was completely defenseless.  He was beaten to death by two fit, young men.  Two young men who, had we been raising a decent generation, would have been like Belton 60 years ago…brave and willing to sacrifice.  We used to turn out quiet heroes like Belton, now we turn out savages.

We’ve got to change, completely.  All this garbage we’ve been feeding on must be brought to an end…until such time as an old man can be safe and young men are raised up modeled on that old man.

A Same Sex Marriage Clarification

Last night I foolishly allowed myself to be drawn in to an argument with one of our liberal commenters – always a risky action and something I tend to stay away from.  But in that argument, upon reflection, I realize that I was not being charitable.  I was not giving the liberal his/her due, as it were.  To partially excuse myself, this was because I just didn’t have a mind to engage in that particular argument – regarding my views on same sex marriage – because the person I was arguing with either had never bothered to read the score or so articles I’ve written on the subject over the years, or was deliberately not taking in to consideration things I had actually written.  I was being hit with a straw-man argument bearing no relation to what I believe.  But, still, I was uncharitable in this argument and for that, I am sorry.   So, in reparation for this failure of mine, I’ve decided to briefly re-state my views on same-sex marriage so that the offended party last night, as well as anyone else, can freely argue with me on the point.

My views are as follows:

1.  Marriage is not a right.  It is a privilege assigned by society to some people in order that both our species and our civilization may be effectively propagated in to the next generation.  This privilege has heretofore in our society only been assigned to one man and one woman who are of age, not closely related biologically and not encumbered by any previous marital commitment. Whether or not we’ll alter this is not a matter of human rights.

2.  Same sex marriage, so called, bears as much resemblance to traditional marriage as plowing a field does to horse racing.  They both might have horses involved, but the activities are fundamentally different…the results are not at all the same.  Of nature, a traditional marriage will do what marriage is supposed to do – form a socio-biological unit which will naturally produce children and raise them up.  Same sex marriage will not of nature do this.  Same sex marriage and traditional marriage are not the same thing and to call them the same thing is, to put it bluntly, to lie.

3.  The fundamental problem, then, for same-sex marriage as it relates to me is that it is a lie – it is untrue that a same-sex marriage is just the same as a traditional marriage and so assigning to a same-sex union the same benefits we provide to traditional marriage (benefits which cost me, as a member of society) is to force me to be complicit in a lie.  While I have lied in my life – being a sinner, you see? – it is not for me to go along with something which I know to be a lie from the get-go.  Just because I have done wrong at some points in my life it doesn’t follow that it is ok for me to deliberately do something wrong elsewhere.  I cannot agree to legal same-sex marriage because I cannot agree to be untrue.

4.  The secondary problem for same-sex marriage as it relates to me is that even if I can avoid participating – by act or omission – in the lie, I am still under threat because when a lie is foisted upon the people by government fiat then the only way that lie may be sustained in the long run is by repressive measures.  We already see it in Europe and Canada where same sex marriage has been legal for some time:  activists seeking to fine and/or jail those members of those societies who dissent from the lie and assert what they believe to be true about same-sex marriage:  that it is an inherently disordered action.  Same sex marriage was recently legalized in Britain, for instance, with an exemption for churches – they don’t have to perform same sex weddings.  But already the activists who managed to get the legalization through are working on forcing churches to perform same-sex weddings.  It is very much a slippery slope.

5.  Given all of this, I have come to the conclusion that the best course of action is to separate Marriage and State.  All State licensing of marriage is to cease – apply the tax benefits accruing to marriage to children (this way, even a same-sex couple with children will obtain the same tax benefits as anyone else with children), but leave marriage entirely alone.  This is made an extra strong conviction in me when I realize that the destruction of marriage is my fault – mine and so many Christians like me who for so many years lived as practical pagans.  It is no fault of gay people when they want gay marriage after we Christians spent so many years gutting marriage with divorce, adultery, birth control, in-vitro fertilization and other anti-human horrors.  Adding an extra bit of zest in this is the final realization that State licensing of marriages is actually a degradation of marriage…calling the transient State to some how “sanctify” what God has joined together.  Absurd!  Make marriage a legally non-binding activity and there is no grounds for anyone to complain about what particular ceremonies any religion does to solemnize any union, at all.  We can all go our separate ways on the matter with no one offending anyone else.  An added benefit is that we’ll throw divorce lawyers out of work.

There, that is it.  Have at it.