Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday and the End of Religious Liberty, 2015

A reader sent this along.  For a Good Friday meditation.  Given the shift away from the First Amendment we've seen this week, it was apropos.  As Christians we remember that there is the eternal that we look for.  Unfortunately, many are using that to avoid standing up to the problems of our age.  I don't agree with all of the viewpoints in the following, but there is enough spot on accurate assessments of the decline of liberty in the US, that I thought it would be worth the read.  

Happy Good Friday. 

"We no longer live in that society." - Kevin Willliamson

For instance:

No, we don't live in a society where it is safe to be unpopular. Or in other words, to be a Christian holding on to the Faith in its fullness, which always included the ancient Jewish morality that their desert-dwelling God gave to them. And it's going fast. It won't be long before Christians are back in the catacombs, or in a more American fashion, put out on a reservation somewhere in the Badlands. Oh, come on, maybe I'm too extreme, you say. Maybe.

But you know – about the fiasco in Indiana, where they passed a law designed to keep mom and pop stores from being sued by gays, and all Hell broke loose – I keep thinking that the people, the average everyday people, the people I grew up with, the people my father knew, you know, Americans, will just rise up and put a stop to it all, all the idiocy, all the special pleading for deviancy, and now all the authoritarianism that deviancy is forcing on us. 

I'm still waiting. How am I to raise kids in a world like this? We live in a sick and decrepit world where Islam emulates its reprehensible prophet by beheading people like it's the seventh century, where a Russian bigshot threatens to nuke Yellowstone in order to blow up the North American continent (have you-all heard of that one?), and where in 20 years gays have gone from a Libertarian pleading of "leave us alone" to an Authoritarian diktat "we will sue you out of existence if you don't conform". It's a world were we old-fashioned Christians and Jews are told we shouldn't judge. I guess we're just to let a secular state judge us instead? That means the reservation for us – or the reeducation camps. 

If you don't believe me I'll email a list of comments by gays that pretty much lay out their program, but here's one, from the gay Advocate, from 1985, in fact, "The teaching that only male-female sexual activity within the bounds and constraints of marriage is the only acceptable form - should be reason enough for any homosexual to denounce the Christian religion". And then there's this info from Canada, which has federal hate speech laws, and where currently a priest, Alphonse de Valk, is under indictment for Hate Speech. His crime? Teaching and preaching the Catholic faith as it pertains to sexual morality. (For background, from 2008: And more recent developments: ) And apparently several cases like this exist in the UK. 

And of course the hypocrisy of it is execrable. Naturally he was turned down, but the Mainstream Media chooses not to make a big issue out of this because, of course, the bakeries in question are Muslim.

It's getting Old Testament time: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20 (Even then, they had this all too human tendency to call bad good and good, bad.)

A personal story: I've worked with a number of Lesbians in the publishing biz, and some gays, but life in the office was one thing. One time ol' Josephine and I were in a bar on High Street in Columbus, an average sort of place we hadn't visited before, out speaking Irish with each other after work, checking the various bars round about. Three young office worker-type women were at the end of the bar, and after a while it was plain they were getting drunk. I told Josephine I thought they were maybe having a mini-class reunion. Wasn't long, though, before they were kissing each other in a serious way. Soon they all three went back to the bathroom. Ol' Josephine couldn't believe what she was seeing so before we left the place she went back to check it out, and yep, an toilet orgy was underway. And of course, Mike Finn here will tell you how it was in the downtown Lazarus store back 30 years ago, with the gays doing their thing in the store's bathrooms. I know they had to close a road-side rest down on Route 33 some decades ago because the gays wouldn't stop using it as a hangout. (For some interesting gay-related statistics,  see: "Intimate violence greater for gays, lesbians than heteros")

But things have progressed beyond such old-fashioned, small-time events. There's more afoot, more to it. As Paula Ettelbrick, (ex-legal director of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund), says, “Being queer means PUSHING THE PARAMETERS of sex, sexuality, and family, and in the process transforming the very fabric of society…”. 

Of course, you can say that you know many gays who aren't like that. I know others say all the Muslims they know aren't jihadis. Yes, and I myself can say I've known a number of Germans over the years and none of them were Nazis. It doesn't mean anything, because with human beings, a minority organized, ruthless, and prepared to be brutal, always dominates the peaceful majority. I've seen this in grade school classrooms and read of it occurring throughout history. That's just the way humanity operates. Unless such groups are stopped by intentional, coordinated action, they always win. 

Oh brave new world that hath such creatures in it....  Lent may be over, but then again, a more permanent form of it may just be beginning.

And here is a copy of the article that was being referred to: 

The War on the Private Mind
By Kevin D. Williamson — April 1, 2015

There are two easy ways to get a Republican to roll over and put his paws up in the air: The first is to write him a check, which is the political version of scratching his belly, and the second is to call him a bigot. In both cases, it helps if you have a great deal of money behind you.

Tim Cook, who in his role as chief executive of the world’s most valuable company personifies precisely the sort of oppression to which gay people in America are subjected, led the hunting party when Indiana’s governor Mike Pence signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, while Walmart, a company that cannot present its hindquarters enthusiastically enough to the progressives who hate it and everything for which it stands, dispatched its CEO, C. Douglas McMillon, to head off a similar effort in Arkansas, where Governor Asa Hutchison rolled over immediately.

There are three problems with rewarding those who use accusations of bigotry as a political cudgel. First, those who seek to protect religious liberties are not bigots, and going along with false accusations that they are makes one a party to a lie. Second, it is an excellent way to lose political contests, since there is almost nothing — up to and including requiring algebra classes — that the Left will not denounce as bigotry. Third, and related, it encourages those who cynically deploy accusations of bigotry for their own political ends.

An excellent illustration of this dynamic is on display in the recent pronouncements of columnist and gay-rights activist Dan Savage, who, in what seems to be an effort to resurrect every lame stereotype about the shrill, hysterical, theatrical gay man, declaimed that the efforts of those who do not wish to see butchers and bakers and wedding-bouquet makers forced by their government at gunpoint to violate their religious scruples is — you probably have guessed already — nothing less than the consecration of Jim Crow Junior. “Anti-black bigots, racist bigots, during Jim Crow and segregation made the exact same arguments that you’re hearing people make now,” Savage said. Given the dramatic difference in the social and political position of blacks in the time of Bull Connor and gays in the time of Ellen DeGeneres, this is strictly Hitler-was-a-vegetarian stuff, the elevation of trivial formal similarities over dramatic substantial differences. The choices for explaining this are a.) moral illiteracy; b.) intellectual dishonesty; c.) both a and b.

Adlai Stevenson famously offered this definition: “A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.” We do not live in that society.

Barack Obama can run for office as an anti-gay-marriage candidate — which he did, more than once — and that is a ho-hum business, because nobody believed him to be sincere. Brendan Eich was driven out of the company he helped found for holding a substantially identical view sincerely — and that sincerity is an unforgivable sin in a society in thrall to the teapot-totalitarian temptation. When there is no private property — the great legal fiction of “public accommodation” saw to its effective abolition — then everything is subject to brute-force politics, and there can be no live-and-let-live ethic, which is why a nation facing financial ruination and the emergence of a bloodthirsty Islamic caliphate is suffering paroxysms over the question of whether we can clap confectioners into prison for declining to bake a cake for a wedding in which there is no bride.

The people who have hijacked the name “liberal” — the étatists — always win when social questions are decided by the state rather than in private life, because the expansion of the state, and the consequent diminution of private life, is their principal objective. The self-styled progressive sets himself in rhetorical opposition to Big Business, but the corporate manager often suffers from the same fatal conceit as the economic étatist — an unthinking, inhumane preference for uniformity, consistency, regimentation, and conformity. It is no surprise to see Apple and Walmart joining forces here against the private mind. There is a reason that the atmosphere and protocols of the corporate human-resources office are a great deal like those of the junior-high vice-principal’s office: All reeducation facilities have a little something in common. 

The ancient rival to étatism in the Western world is the church militant, both in its formal institutional expression and in the relatively newfangled (and thoroughly American) choose-your-own-adventure approach to Christianity. For the culture warrior, bringing these nonconformists to heel is a strategic priority. Gay couples contemplating nuptials are not just happening into cake shops and florists with Christian proprietors — this is an organized campaign to bring the private mind under political discipline, to render certain moral dispositions untenable. Like Antiochus and the Jews, the game here is to “oblige them to partake of the sacrifices” and “adopt the customs” of the rulers. We are not so far removed in time as we imagine: Among the acts intended to Hellenize the Jews was a ban on circumcision, a proposal that is still very much alive in our own time, with authorities in several European countries currently pressing for that prohibition.

“I expect to die in bed,” Francis Eugene Cardinal George famously remarked. “My successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” Perhaps it will not come to that. But we already are on the precipice of sending men with guns to the homes and businesses of bakers to enforce compliance with dictates undreamt-of the day before yesterday.

Yes, render unto Caesar, and all that. But render only what is Caesar’s — and not one mite more.
— Kevin D. Williamson is roving correspondent for National Review.

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