Sunday, March 29, 2015

Do the critics of Indiana Gov. Pence have no shame?

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence did a thing that fewer and fewer Republicans seem willing to do any more: stand tough on a traditional values issue in the face of opposition. Last week he defied the increasingly aggressive Tolerance Police who mis-characterized and flat out lied about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act he signed into law.

The new law is almost identical with laws in other states, including Kentucky that protect people's First Amendment religious freedoms against violation by people, such as the ACLU, who while they are absolutists on the free speech part of the First Amendment are dubious about the freedom of religious exercise part.

It is ironic that the ACLU, which now is in favor of the First Amendment only so long as it doesn't get in the way of gay rights groups forcibly imposing their beliefs on other people, actually supported the same legislation when it passed the U. S. Congress in 1993 (called "RFRA").

The bill reimposes the "strict scrutiny" rule (also called the "Sherbert Test") which basically requires government to have a darn good reason to violate someone's freedom of religion rights. This was the rule in place until the Supreme Court's Employment Division v. Smith decision in 1990, which lowered the standard.

Congress passed its 1993 RFRA to reimpose the higher standard, although the Court came back and said that it only applied to federal government cases. Since then, 19 other states have reimposed the higher standard in their own states.

Does it seems strange to anyone that the very people who are always talking about the high wall between church and state don't seem to have any problems with the state breaching that wall in order to harass religious people?

In one of the funniest moments in the debate over the same bill here in Kentucky two years ago, the ACLU, after having just argued in favor of the right of Amish buggy riders to use some other safety sign than the orange triangle on the basis of this strict scrutiny standard, they turned right around and argued against the Kentucky Religious Freedom Act that proposed to bring back that standard!

The ACLU lost that debate in spectacular fashion: with the legislature passing it and then overriding the Governor Steve Beshear's veto in several bi-partisan votes.

But what was so instructive is what the ACLU and groups such as the Fairness Alliance said would happen if the bill passed: Landlords would turn away gay couples, women would lose the right to birth control, gay rights ordinances would be invalidated, and abusive priests would be able to elude legal investigation.

In one legislative hearing, the ACLU's Derek Selznick claimed that the law would allow churchgoers to challenge parking tickets given during church services. (Never mind the fact that parking is not even monitored on Sundays).

So let's get one thing clear: None of these things has happened. Not a single, solitary one. They were wrong.

These things never happened when the courts used this test before 1990, they never happened after it was reimposed at the federal level in 1993, and they haven't happened in any of the states that have passed such laws.

But instead of fessing up to their blatant distortion of such religious freedom laws, these groups have simply amped up their dishonest rhetoric, charging Pence with signing a law that will allow businesses to refuse service to gays.

What they mean of course, is that the law might not allow gay organizations to force religious business owners to force their social agenda down the throats of other peopel as they are now trying to do with a T-shirt business in Lexington, KY, where they are trying to force a Christian business owner to print T-shirts for a gay pride parade.

Well, here's for the hope that the law does apply to theses cases. Just last year, the Supreme Court recognized that Hobby Lobby did not have to comply with Obamacare's contraceptive mandate. Whether state courts will apply Religious Freedom Acts in the same way is not certain, but let's hope they do.

Religious business owners don't deserve to be bullied by people who seem to want to force everyone else to agree with them.

As soon as Pence signed the law, numerous groups began publicly hating on Indiana—and on religious freedom, threatening to boycott the state for passing the law. Pence should tell them all to take their hatred and their lies somewhere else and let Indiana alone.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Is human nature an endangered species?

There are certain things that we all used to take for granted. There were no debates about them because almost no one disagreed about them.

Up until about 15 years ago, no one would have thought that marriage was anything but a relationship between a man and a woman—not even gays. This was a time when the biological sex you were born into the world with was actually considered an indication of your gender.

And you wouldn't have to go back even that far to find yourself in a time when everyone expected that boys would use the boy's bathroom and girls the girl's bathroom.

But today, on issue after issue, the traditional view of human sexuality is being challenged. No longer are we allowed to believe what everyone in every culture in every era of human history has believed until just a few years ago.

The new view of human sexuality now being imposed on us declares that men and woman are interchangeable: that there is no meaningful difference between the two. The distinction between males and females, we are told, is arbitrary and socially constructed, and to believe anything else is discriminatory.

The reigning philosophy behind this new view of gender is called "constructivism." Constructivism is the view that the things which we have always assumed are basic to our nature—such as gender—are the result not of anything intrinsic to us, but purely the result of the environment we grow up in.

Boys are boys because, when they were growing up, they were taught to play with trucks and girls are girls because they were taught to play with dolls: Had we switched the trucks and the dolls, boys would be girls and girls would be boys.

If you think this sounds preposterous, just go down to your local university sociology department. There are people who actually believe this. In fact, it is the reigning academic paradigm in the social sciences today: There is no such thing as "human nature." Who and what we are—including (perhaps especially) our gender—is purely a product of our culture. Had our culture been different, we would have been different.

And though this sounds preposterous to those of us who believe in a God-given and perennial human nature—or plain biology for that matter, it is the view that lies behind the same-sex marriage movement, the transgender rights movement, and numerous other and more exotic beliefs championed by the "LGBT" movement.

You can now "self-identify" as any gender you like. And the thing about it is that you are no longer limited to just two genders. Facebook, for example, now offers 52 different gender categories for its users.

Indeed the number of gender categories seems to be limited only by the inventiveness of the human imagination.

No word yet from Facebook or anyone else whether we can arbitrarily choose a "racial identity" and decide which one we want to "self-identify" as. Just imagine what would happen if a White person decided to "self-identify" as an African-American.

"But wait," you say. "I thought gay rights groups thought that sexual orientation was inborn?" And that's true. Except on Tuesdays. Tuesday is the day that it becomes politically inconvenient to be a constructivist. It is the day when the political benefits of saying that gender is inborn exceed the benefits of saying exactly the opposite—like in court cases where saying that people are born gay helps you qualify for designation as a "suspect class" in anti-discrimination laws.

No one ever said consistency was a strong suit of the Cultural Revolutionaries.

Of course if you question any of this, you will be called a bigot. If you point out the inconsistencies you called hateful. And if you point out there is no good science to support it, you will have your sanity questioned. Under these circumstances, who is there brave enough to point out that the emperor has no clothes?

But this is the way ideology works; it is how cultural radicalism manifests itself. But this too shall pass away.

The gender ideology that currently dominates government, academia, and the media is having its day, but, like all such fads it will eventually be eclipsed by something else, hopefully better. That is the way of the world.

History has a way of correcting for nonsense, and human nature can't be wished away and will eventually reassert itself. In the meantime, we just have to keep articulating the simple and obvious truths about human beings. There will come a time when when they will be recognized as simple and obvious once again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PRESSER: Student speech stifled by Democratic Kentucky House

Family Foundation's press release today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2015

LEXINGTON, KY – The Democratic House killed a bill supported by a group of Kentucky students last night because they opposed an amendment attached by the Senate earlier in the day that would have protected students’ political and religious free speech. After saying their chamber was killing the bill, House leaders then blamed the demise of the bill on the Senate.

House Bill 236 would have given students an advisory role on superintendent screening committees. After being passed by the House, the State Senate attached the contents of Senate Bill 71, which prohibited schools from censoring students’ political and religious speech.

"It takes a lot of nerve for House Democratic leaders to blame the Senate for killing this bill after just admitting that their own chamber killed it," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation, which supported the free speech amendment.

"What we don't understand is why Democratic leaders supported the part of the bill that gave students a greater voice in school affairs but opposed the other part of the bill that protected students in voicing their opinions on religion and politics."

The students were part of a Prichard Committee-led initiative.

###

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Is the Sodomy Suppression Act a hoax?

Wesley Pruden at the Washington Times is monitoring the heart rate of social liberals in California where, according to media reports, gays are being threatened with becoming casualties of the "Sodomite Suppression Act" which may soon be put on the ballot there:
Life can be good inside a bubble, where the sun always shines, life is a bowl of cherries and it comes with whipped cream and no calories. You could ask almost anyone in San Francisco, where the only disappointment inside the lavender bubble is among the gay caballeros who don’t get to carry the six-foot papier-mache penis to lead the annual Gay Pride Parade.
Of course the measure, which calls for the execution of gays, has exactly zero chance of going anywhere. But the actual threat of something is completely irrelevant when it comes to promoting the idea that gays are an oppressed class.
Nobody outside the lavender bubble takes such nonsense (or tasteless joke) to be a serious threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of gaiety.
In fact as far as I can tell, it isn't really gays who are hyping this effort as some kind of real danger to life and limb so much as it is the all-gay-all-the-time mainstream media who are always on the lookout for stories that reinforce their narrative that gays are an oppressed class of people who can't walk the street for fear of being beat up, rather than a class of people who regularly swept up in a wave of adulation for being gay.

Which is kind of ironic, if you think about it, since gays are not supposed to have any choice in their sexual orientation.

Actually, if I were a gay, I would be embarrassed by the absurdity of the media coverage of gay issues. Notice that you very rarely hear actual gays panicking about these kinds of things as much as you hear it from liberal journalists preening before the cameras as they officially condemn the sexual reactionaries threatening to undermine the Great Sexual Leap Forward that is even now bringing about a sexual utopia in which everyone will be considered (despite their obvious and undeniable biological differences) exactly the same and anyone will be able to do anything to anyone in any orifice they like.

I think this is discussed somewhere in John Lennon's song "Imagine," as well as in the U.S. Constitution, two works which, for liberals, are indistinguishable.

The media voices spouting their Diversity propaganda (squelching dissent as they go) need an enemy, even if they have to invent one, as whoever the Orange County attorney is who has made it easy for them in this case. It is they only way they can conduct their daily Two Minutes Hate toward conservatives, all the while portraying those to whom they direct their hate as being hateful.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bad science meets bad journalism on sexual orientation

We all know the narrative: Being gay is inborn. Science has shown this unequivocally. No reasonable person disputes this.

That, at least is how we hear it from the same people who for many years pointed to the Kinsey Reports of the 1950s that purported to show that around 10 percent of the population was gay, a claim that turned out to be completely bogus.

All this in the service of the ideology behind the sexual revolution. But when you hear the term "politicization of science," don't make the mistake of thinking that this applies to the inflated, misleading, and in many cases flat out false claims of people on a campaign to destroy traditional sexual morality.

The term "politicization of science" applies only to claims of those on the outs with the Gender Police, never to the own claims.

In a story last week, CNN again invoked gender dogma, attacking prospective Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson for being "wrong about how gender orientation works."

Now one measure of integrity of any report on what is good science is whether the report itself is good journalism. In CNN's story on Carson, the first question to ask is, "Does the story follow the recognized rules of reporting?"

After all, if a report on what is good science is not good reporting (which is easy to detect), it raises the question of whether the science reported on in the report is good science (which is harder to detect). If you're careless in your journalism, chances are you are careless in your appraisal of what you are reporting on: In this case, scientific research.

Alas, what we find with the CNN report, rather than good reporting, is advocacy journalism.

For one thing, any time journalists―particularly those without any hard scientific background themselves―use the expressions like "Scientists say," or "according to science," you should immediately downgrade the reliability of everything that follows to about a 2 on a reliability scale of 10.

With very few exceptions, "scientists" don't say anything monolithically. "Researchers" ends up referring to all the researchers who agree with the narrative on display in the article. On the vast majority of issues, some scientists say one thing and some another. And there is no such thing as "science" as one uniform entity. "Science" never says anything. It's like saying, "according to Wall Street" to express a reification of a collection of financial institutions and individuals. The term "science" in a statement like this is a careless and almost meaningless abstraction.

"But scientists say decades of research overwhelmingly shows sexual preference is inborn, not a choice," say the authors of the CNN story.

Nonsense. Anyone who says something like this should be disregarded immediately.

Then there is the matter of one of the most basic rules of reporting, which is the importance of quoting both sides. I realize that this rule seems to have gone down the toilet in today's journalism, but it hasn't diminished in importance in proportion to how it has diminished in actual use.

The only people quoted in the story were sources who supported the clear prejudice of the writers. No one from the other side was quoted at all.

In fact, here is the most amusing statement in the report: "Overall, the scientists with whom we spoke said they were shocked at Carson's arguments." The scientists with whom they spoke were all shocked? One wonders what the proportion of shocked scientists would have been had they spoken with scientists who were not shocked; namely, those on the other side.

According to science, there is a direct correlation between the viewpoints of respondents in any study with their own views. And researchers say that if you study only those who agree with you, there will be a high level of agreement between you and them.

Oh, brother.

Then there is what exactly counts as hard science. Here is a list of people quoted in the article, all on the same side:

* Gerulf Rieger, a lecturer in the department of psychology at the University of Essex in England
* Cynthia Struckman-Johnson, a professor of psychology at the University of South Dakota
* Robert Dumond, a mental health counselor who's testified to the Department of Justice
* Chris Hensley, a criminologist at the University of Tennessee

Other than Hensley, who criticized the one thing Carson was wrong about in his statement (and which he admitted), you have two psychologists and a "board certified and licensed clinical mental health counselor."

Not a neuroscientist in the bunch.

And since when did anyone (other than psychologists overly impressed with themselves) consider psychology a hard science? In fact, the only research Struckman-Johnson lists on her site has to do with sea tbelt and motorcycle helmet research, and research on texting among drivers. Exactly how a knowledge of seat belts, helmets, and texting translates into expertise in sexual orientation is unclear.

Then there is Gerulf Rieger, the only one quoted who actually has a degree in a field at least loosely-related to the issue with which the article is concerned. He has at least written publications on the issue of "sexual orientation," but the research listed on his site has nothing to do with biological or genetic predetermination of sexual orientation.

And, finally, there are the actual studies cited by the article that prove that sexual orientation is innate. These studies include ... Hmmm. Well, surely the article that claims that there are studies that prove homosexuality is biologically determined would cite actual studies that prove it. But, in fact, it doesn't.

It doesn't cite a single study.

The sorry state of the media discussion we now see on this issue has created a climate of almost complete credulity in which the claims of gender radicals are, with few exceptions (in fact, I can't think of a single one), accepted at face value.

Some day, the scientific community is going to look back on this debate―one in which they the prostituted themselves to gender ideology―with severe embarrassment.



Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Atlantic Monthly on G. K. Chesterton

From the Atlantic Monthly:
In his vastness and mobility, Chesterton continues to elude definition: He was a Catholic convert and an oracular man of letters, a pneumatic cultural presence, an aphorist with the production rate of a pulp novelist. Poetry, criticism, fiction, biography, columns, public debate—the phenomenon known to early-20th-century newspaper readers as “GKC” was half cornucopia, half content mill. If you’ve got a couple of days, read his impish, ageless, inside-out terrorist thriller The Man Who Was Thursday. If you’ve got an afternoon, read his masterpiece of Christian apologetics Orthodoxy: ontological basics retailed with a blissful, zooming frivolity, Thomas Aquinas meets Eddie Van Halen. If you’ve got half an hour, read “The Blue Cross,” the first and most glitteringly perfect of his stories featuring the crime-busting village priest Father Brown. If you’ve got only 10 minutes, read his essay “A Much Repeated Repetition.” (“Of a mechanical thing we have a full knowledge. Of a living thing we have a divine ignorance.”) ...
Read more here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Opposition to same-sex marriage up in KY

According to a new Bluegrass State Poll, opposition to same-sex marriage is up seven percent. Oh my.
[T]he percentage of registered voters in Kentucky opposing it has increased to 57 percent this month compared to 50 percent in July. 
A Bluegrass Poll conducted March 3-8 shows that support for gay marriage also has dropped, from 37 percent to 33 percent.
I was quoted in the story.

In a radio interview, Fairness Alliance director Chris Hartman said that the results reflected a fear by people who think the tide is turning against them. Wait a minute, the tide of people turning against same sex marriage is made up of people who believe the tide is turning against them?

Really?

Go Chris.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Inoculate your children against cultural barbarism with a dose of Rosemary Sutcliff

As a new cultural Dark Age extends its shadow over our culture, it is good once in a while to transport yourself back to a time when the old virtues went unquestioned.

In an excellent article from one of the best blogs going on one of the great historical fiction writers for children, Rosemary Sutcliff. Our family read her Eagle of the Ninth (recently turned into a feature film) and other books about Roman Britain:
Though primarily a children’s author, the depth and quality of Sutcliff’s canon resonates strongly with readers of all ages. As with numerous British children’s writers (Alan Garner and Susan Cooper, for example) whose formative years coincided with the struggle against Hitler, Sutcliff’s work displays clear distinctions between good and evil, right and wrong, civilized conduct and barbarism. There is no post-modern ambiguity, equivocating or hedging of bets here. We also find a firm commitment to the value of law and order (inherited from the Pax Romana) and an overarching belief in the significance and intrinsic worth of Judeo-Christian civilization. 
Her novels, at times, have a distinctly valedictory feel, almost as if Sutcliff herself was waving goodbye to what she recognised as civilization. 
Read more at the Imaginative Conservative.

House Democratic leaders holding Student Privacy Act

Yesterday's Family Foundation press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 9, 2015

LEXINGTON, KY – The Family Foundation said today that Democratic leaders in the State House who are now holding the bill should stop blocking SB 76, the Student Privacy Act. “There seems to be widespread support for this bill.” said Martin Cothran. “For House Democratic leaders to block it will be a disservice to students—and it won’t do much for their own political fortunes either to oppose such a popular measure.”

“Two of our Facebook posts on this bill have reached over 55,000 people, indicating there is huge interest in this bill,” said Cothran, a spokesman for The Family Foundation. “There is more interest in this one piece of legislation than anything we have supported since the Marriage Protection Amendment in 2004.”

Cothran pointed to news reports quoting House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) as saying the House would not deal with the bill. “The Speaker has indicated he doesn’t think student privacy is an important issue. We think many Kentuckians would beg to differ.”

SB 76 would ensure the privacy of students by preventing students of one biological gender from using the bathroom, locker room, and shower facilities of the other while still allowing local school administrators to accommodate transgender students.  It would also provide a safer environment for transgender students.

Monday, March 09, 2015

More scientific studies that tell you what you already know

The bad thing about worshiping at the altar of science is that you find things out weeks, months, sometimes years after everybody else.

There are countless examples of this, but the most recent is a story today in Forbes Magazine reporting on a new study that has found that spoiling children is bad for their character:
"A new study from The Ohio State University suggests that constant – and perhaps undue – praise for our kids’ tiniest accomplishments, or non-accomplishments, may have the unintended side-effect of creating an over-inflated ego."
The revelation is doubtless being received among the knowledge class that knows more than the rest of us like a bombshell.

But I have a revelation to make: I knew that helicopter parenting was detrimental to children before this study ever came out! I swear it. In fact, I have published my own findings on this very blog repeatedly. The only thing my studies lacked is footnotes, data sets, and pretentious scientific jargon.

Also the grant money is nearly as good.

It's all rather informal, you see. Based on something that the scientific community doesn't value too highly anymore: a lifetime of experience.

It doesn't count for much anymore, but it's cheaper, less pedantic, and you don't have to wait years to find out what everyone else already knows.

You can read the rest Forbes magazine article.

U.S. House Republicans abandon fight for traditional marriage before it's over

Just in case you thought the national Republican Party was standing up for your beliefs:
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – When the Supreme Court rules about whether to impose same-sex “marriage” on the entire nation, the House of Representatives will remain mum on the subject.
House Speaker John Boehner confirmed that the Republican-controlled body will not weigh in on either side of the constitutional issue.
“I don’t expect that we’re going to weigh in on this,” Boehner said at a press conference last Thursday. “The court will make its decision and that’s why they’re there, to be the highest court in the land.”
The House's decision effectively abandons the legal field to federal institutions that support the redefinition of marriage.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Family Foundation Facebook "Shower Ad" reach now above 22,000

Family Foundation's "Shower Ad" supporting Senate Bill 76 which would prevent schools from opening up girls and boys bathrooms to the opposite sex (respectively) has now reached over 22,000 readers.