July 3, 2015
We have blogged before here at W4 about the shutting down of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the Oregon bakery that refused to serve a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.
The latest news took even me by surprise. The unsurprising part was that their $135K fine has been confirmed by the relevant elected official. I'll let readers know if I find out about a genuine crowdfunding campaign to help them.
Here's the bizarre part: Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has reinstated a "cease and desist" order that was voided even by the administrative judge in the case (the judge was on board with the $135K fine). This cease and desist order says that they may not publish or publically make any declaration of their intent to fight the case. Such statements, says Avakian, violate the portion of the public accommodations law that says that you can't express an intent not to offer services to members of the protected class.
It may be relevant here to point out that at the moment Sweet Cakes by Melissa doesn't exist. It's been shut down successfully by the leftist bullies' lawsuit. [Correction: My impression that the business had ceased to exist altogether appears to be incorrect, as the business still has a web page. I am now unable to find the link that I recall stated that the business had shut down. My guess is that they shut down their storefront and are operating out of a private home and that a report on this was the route by which my error arose. They still have a web site. Their web site says, "We here at Sweet Cakes strongly believe that when a man and woman come together to be joined as one, it is truly one of the most special days of their lives, we feel truely honored when we are chosen to do the cake for your special day." It is noteworthy that Avakian did not target this "discriminatory" statement on the web site but rather the statement, "The fight is not over" on a talk show. Maybe he just didn't get around to censoring the web site.] Nonetheless, according to Avakian, to go on a talk show and say, "The fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong," as the husband, Aaron Klein, said, is to make a discriminatory statement and violate a law. [Edited]
July 2, 2015
In the wake of the most recent SCOTUS lie against both law and nature, there have been calls from the left for stripping tax exempt status from all religious institutions, especially "bigoted" or "conservative" ones, including churches. This one is typical of the hostility and anti-religious bigotry of such pieces.
My own take is that such a move against churches per se will not be the very next move in the left's playbook. I think we can guess somewhat how that playbook will go before getting to churches by what is already happening.
June 29, 2015
"Remember these? Words. They have meaning."
Today, the Supreme Court handed down a 7-2 decision in Burgermeister v. Hodgepodge that relied on those precedents to eliminate political donations on behalf of families.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the majority, highlighting the corporate nature of family and the powerful necessity to keep corporations from interfering with elections.
Some people might wonder, at one time or another, how a lawyer like Anthony Kennedy could be appointed to the Supreme Court by a president like Reagan. Though it was, surely, an accident of monumental proportions, there were some extenuating circumstances. He did, at times, look like a conservative.
For example, Anthony Kennedy, in 1986, wrote this passage:
One can conclude that certain essential, or fundamental, rights should exist in any just society. It does not follow that each of those essential rights is one that we as judges can enforce under the written Constitution. The Due Process Clause is not a guarantee of every right that should inhere in an ideal system.
The fact that the 1986 Kennedy himself soundly defeats the stance of the 2015 Kennedy (with vastly greater cogency) is too rich an irony to pass up. And Justice Roberts refuses to pass up the dig: the quote is in his dissent, with attribution, of course.
This is an invitation to all our readers to search through the opinions and dissent for other zingers, bon mots, and tasty tidbits. Post them so we can all enjoy!
June 26, 2015
square circles have been ruled to be precisely equivalent to circular ones.
It is with pleasure that What's Wrong With the World presents a guest post by Peter Johnson of the Acton Institute. (Bio at the end of article.)
(Intro. by LM.) This essay is especially timely in light of the breaking news that the SCOTUS has given homosexual "marriage" its own Roe v. Wade, another vast abuse of the Constitution to further the ends of the "Church of Sexual Liberation" represented by Fr. Fatalism. There is no question that today's decision will further the demise of Free Will in America, both by the suppression of the freedom of those who dissent from the Church of Sexual Liberation and by the further enslavement of men, women, and even children to the passions and fads represented by that Church.
Our thanks to Mr. Johnson for providing us with this essay at such a timely moment.
Free Will: A Eulogy
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the life of Free Will. I am Father Fatalism, pastor of the St. Sanger's Sexual Liberation Church here in New York City.
Although it had been many decades since Free Will set foot in my church, I maintained a close relationship with him and have come to deeply admire his idealism. His optimism never faded, even as he suffered greatly in his last years.
I met Free Will many years ago. He was an old man when I met him—more than 3,000 years old—a crotchety, stubborn guy who still spoke with a Greek accent so thick that one might think he had only recently left the land of his birth.
June 25, 2015
Apparently, now that the left and the right have joined forces to start removing Confederate flags from public display, some commenters have started suggesting we need to go after street signs and statues next! This is basically insane. As bad as the Confederacy was (and of course slavery was even worse), given its integral role in American history, it just does not merit such scorn. And many of their leaders and heroes were America's leaders and heroes as well.
In thinking about what I want to say in response to my fellow statue-destroying citizens, I realized I couldn't say anything more original than Civil War veteran Charles Francis Adams Jr., the great-grandson of United States President John Adams, and the grandson of president John Quincy Adams. (His father was not slouch either -- lawyer, writer, politician, and diplomat (Lincoln’s foreign minister in London and key to helping keep Great Britain neutral during the war). He gave a famous speech (famous for the times) in 1902 to the Phi Beta Kappa society of the University of Chicago called "Shall Cromwell Have a Statue?" The whole speech is excellent and I recommend you all check it out -- it seems like everything old is new again. Here is how that speech starts:
June 23, 2015
Words almost failed me when I read this story, but pretty quickly I found some words.
Short version: Elderly woman has a fall and is paralyzed and also in a lot of pain. (Yes, we have a problem with pain management in our medical system.) She keeps saying she wants to die. Her also elderly husband gets a gun, loads the gun, kisses her one last time while she's asleep in the hospital, and shoots her dead. He also tries to kill himself, but the gun jams, so he's still alive. After long pondering, the prosecutor declines to prosecute (we're not talking recommending mercy upon conviction but declining to prosecute altogether) and issues an ethically and legally incoherent statement saying that the man isn't a murderer and that's why he isn't prosecuting but that the refusal to prosecute is in no way an endorsement of assisted suicide.
This is in Nevada, by the way. Not in Belgium, Switzerland, or even England.
June 22, 2015
[Note that I have modified my position. See this comment.]
Was the Confederacy exclusively about slavery? Did the South have nothing to be proud of before they were defeated by the North?
Of course not. I know plenty of Southerners, some of whom love the Confederate flag, and not one of them approves of slavery. They are proud of the South without being proud of slavery. Duh.
Yet that's how the latest clamor to take down the Confederate flag makes things sound. The clamor is loudest from the same people who insist that nobody is allowed to tell anyone else who they are, what they represent, what gender they are, or anything else that defines them. They now insist on telling Southerners that their symbol represents one thing, and one thing only, as if they have the right.
By those standards, those same people should insist that we stop flying the American flag. No country can be proud of its heritage.
And that's ridiculous, so to Hell with them.
Let it fly.
June 21, 2015
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.
I recently read about an Internet atheist who has said something to this effect: "I don't think it's really wrong for me to lust and hate. Those are just mental attitudes, and I can control them."
In pondering what, if anything, to say about Dylan Roof's vile murders in Charleston recently, that particular bit of pernicious foolishness from the atheist seemed relevant. Of course, the atheist was saying it deliberately in contradiction to the words of Scripture and of Jesus Christ. Nah, never mind all that "keep thy heart with all diligence" stuff. Never mind "He that hates his brother is a murderer." Never mind "Out of the heart come murders." I can harbor whatever thoughts and attitudes I want, because they're "just thoughts" and I can control them and not act on them.
Dylan Roof didn't keep his heart, and murder came out of it. (South Carolina does have the death penalty, and he deserves it and ought to receive it, though it seems that South Carolina's actual use of the death penalty is currently tied up in lethal injection red tape.)
His evil leads me to reflect a little bit on web sites, obsessions, and keeping one's heart.
June 18, 2015
Perhaps nowhere is the proverb "By their fruits ye shall know them" more borne out than in the area of "assisted reproduction" and surrogacy. It is a general area where I myself at one time thought it was possible to take a pro-life position as long as one always acknowledged the humanity of the child and never went along with deliberate destruction of unborn children from the embryonic stage onwards.
But after further thought I eventually came to the conclusion that deliberately conceiving children in laboratories or in any manner outside of marriage, even asexually, is intrinsically wrong. The fruits of assisted reproduction and surrogacy were part of what got me to take a second look, though the final conclusion is supported philosophically.
Here is one of those evil fruits.
June 15, 2015
Two policemen in Overton, Texas are hereby nominated for the "Dumb as a Stump" Award, for people in public doing the dumbest things. The "code enforcement officer" and the police chief, working together, became even dumber than either one individually, though it was a close-run thing.
In this case, they shut down a lemonade stand being run by 2 girls, ages 7 and 8. Their offence? Health code violations, of course: potential spoilage in the sun requires special handling, you know.
NYU Professor On Spokane NAACP Controversy: Some People Can Be Trans-Racial
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBS News) — The president of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP is being accused of falsely portraying herself as a black woman, but an NYU professor said some people can, in fact, identify with a race other than their own.
As CBS2’s Weijia Jiang reported Friday night, Rachel Dolezal was asked in an interview if she was African-American, and was clearly taken aback as she answered, with the remark, “I don’t understand the question.”
In a different interview, with Spokane CBS affiliate KREM-TV, she said: “Actually, I don’t like the term African-American; I prefer black. So, if asked, I would say, yes, I consider myself to be black.”
But her biological parents say that is not true. Her birth certificate lists her parents as Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal, who said their daughter has been estranged from their family and has been misrepresenting herself.
“Our daughter is primarily German and Czech and of European descent,” Ruthanne Dolezal said. “She’s white.”
The couple said their daughter is pretending to be someone she’s not, CBS News reported.
“Rachel has wanted to be somebody she’s not. She’s chosen not to just be herself but to represent herself as an African-American woman or a biracial person,” Ruthanne said.
But NYU sociology professor Ann Morning told CBS2’s Jiang that just like some people are transgender, others may be trans-racial – identifying more with a race other than their own.
Dolezal grew up with four adopted black siblings, and was briefly married to a black man.
“We’re getting more and more used to the idea that people’s racial affiliation and identity and sense of belonging can change, or can vary, with different circumstances,” Morning said.
Dolezal said the only ones questioning her identity are Larry and Ruthanne.
“I don’t give two (expletive) what they think,” Dolezal said.
“It’s more important for me to clarify that with the black community and my executive board than with people who don’t understand,” she said.
In the past, Dolezal has identified herself as a mix of black, white and Native American. She dismisses the controversy as little more than an ugly byproduct of family dysfunction, CBS News reported.
In a statement, the NAACP said, “One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership.” The organization said it stands behind her.
Oh, wait, I'm sorry, I grabbed from the wrong file. This is two verbatim excerpts of a CBS News article from June 12, 2015, "NYU Professor On Spokane NAACP Controversy: Some People Can Be Trans-Racial." My apologies. Sometimes it's hard to tell the reductio ad absurdams I'm inventing from the ones that are actually happening.
June 14, 2015
My strong feeling is that the solidarity of Christian denominations is an absolute necessity in our age. Protestants who can’t be bothered to stand for the liberty of Catholic schools might as well sign the amicus brief for gay marriage which proposes to extinguish religious liberty in America; likewise Catholics whose arrogance precludes raising a finger to defend dirty redneck or Latino Pentecostals can, while kindly pounding sand, go ahead and sign a loyalty oath to Pope Tony Kennedy and Chief Justice Roberts his red-hatted deputy.
There just isn’t enough room for maneuver anymore. The elite secular class of America is committed to crushing all Christian dissent on certain points of fashionable principle. That they have no actual principles is itself a point of principle.
Having been raised in an ecumenical home, I feel these petty preachments of parochialism most keenly. Let us stand together as men. The laughter of Mordor is our only reward when we quarrel.
In the latest issue of The Christendom Review I write at some length about Burke's supreme statesmanship, his consistency as a thinker, and his hard gritty work to changes men's minds.
His public utterances and letters are a treasury of the English language, but to understand the full lineaments of his statesmanship, we are obliged to reconstruct what he said and did outside the public record. Consider the Indian reform that concentrated his exertions for nearly a decade. We can say with confidence that the spring for the Warren Hastings Impeachment, long before Burke began the immense public effort of the trial itself, was a work of private persuasion. He had to rally a party around him.
Once he discovered the corruption and despotism prevalent in British India, under Governor General Warren Hastings, he went to work, first privately amongst his party, then publicly before the nation, to expose and reform it. He built an alliance for the ages: That intense Irishman turned the whole Whig coalition, ordinarily quite favorably disposed toward property and commerce, against the East India Company, a chartered establishment of commercial property; and then he took on the British imperial monarchy by the force of this coalition. The Crown had to cajole and buy the House of Lords in order to insure an acquittal for Hastings.
But parliamentary oppositions were here to stay. And that is no small thing.
Dissent organized within the integrity of the state but with contrary political goals and interests to the ruling party — this would be a new establishment in the political affairs of men. One of Burke’s lasting achievements, then, was the principle of patriotic partisanship: private party association rising to the dignity of the Loyal Opposition. The final integration of this Anglo-American principle would have to wait until the American Election of 1800 ended with Jefferson proclaiming “we are all Federalists, we are all Republicans,” but Burke was its earliest great vindicator. He “was the first to argue” — in the shrewd summation of Harvey Mansfield — “that principled behavior in politicians must inevitably be partisan, and that partisanship is not only occasionally necessary in emergencies but useful and respectable in the ordinary working of the constitution.” This was a new thing upon the earth, and the fact that we all take it for granted now is a measure of Burke’s genius.
This new issue also features an excellent essay by Beth Impson and a wide variety of poetry.
[By the way, if you think the sparse layout of the TCR's website (not unlike our own here at What's Wrong with the World), is out-of-step with the times, I can only reply that it's a heck of a lot better than fashionable websites that launch annoying auto-videos or incorrigible pop-up ads for crankish products.]