Opinions

I said it again the other day, but then I had second thoughts. “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion,” I said, but is that really true? Have you ever thought about the full range of opinions we’re implicitly endorsing by saying everyone is entitled to believe whatever they believe?

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A surprising enemy

Over at latimes.com, they’re reporting that the dishonestly-named “Defense of Marriage” Act has an enemy that may surprise you.

One of the nation’s leading gay-rights advocacy groups, the Human Rights Campaign, has formed a coalition of major companies calling for the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

It’s no surprise, of course, that the HRC in Washington would use its considerable clout to organize big businesses to fight DOMA, the law that excludes recognition of same-sex marriages.

What will be a surprise to many is that one of the first companies to join the effort was Marriott International Inc., which was founded by a devout Mormon, John Willard Marriott.

Granted, they may be more motivated by the potential for an increased consumer base—more marriages mean more honeymoons, and those honeymooners need a place to stay—but still, this is a great sign.

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More thoughts on gun control

I confess I have mixed feelings about gun control. On the one hand you have situations like the recent shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, where something clearly needs to be done to protect children against mass murder. That one seems like a no-brainer.

On the other hand, I don’t trust the 1% and I’m increasingly unhappy with the increasing subversion of democracy that is being used to turn our free country into a vast machine piping wealth out of the lower and middle classes and into the bank accounts of the very wealthiest, at the risk of financial disaster for the other 99%. Nor am I pleased with ever-encroaching “State secrets” covering up detention, torture, and assassination of “enemies,” including US citizens.

Is it possible that the Founding Fathers, in protecting the people’s right to keep and bear arms “necessary to the security of a free state,” were showing more foresight than expected? Fortunately, a comment on last Friday’s post gives me an opportunity to dig into this a little more.

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Bible distribution program in FL

The Christian Post reports that a conservative Christian group has begun a probably-illegal Bible distribution program in local high schools in the area.

Volunteers from a Florida-based group have distributed Bibles to the lunchrooms of several high schools in the Sunshine State.

World Changers of Florida, a conservative organization, distributed the Bibles on Wednesday, with a focus on high schools in Orange County.

There are apparently some restrictions on the program, but definitely not enough to comply with the First Amendment.

“Passive distribution means the Bibles may be placed on one unmanned table for distribution in a location where students normally congregate during non-instructional time,” reads the memo. “The representatives may only be allowed to replenish Bibles if they run out and must remove any undistributed literature at the end of the distribution day.”

Has the ACLU heard about this? Anybody got any copies of The God Delusion they’d like to make available for distribution in the same cafeterias?

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“Don’t treat us like we treat gays!”

Usually I leave the World Net Daily beat to Ed, but this came up in my Google alerts, and I couldn’t resist.

The European Court of Human Rights is set to deliver a key verdict early next week in a major case against the United Kingdom surrounding anti-Christian discrimination.

I’m not sure exactly how the UK managed to “surround” this alleged anti-Christian discrimination, but the four cases concern two women who were wearing crosses in violation of company policies prohibiting jewelry, plus a counselor who refused to provide sex therapy to gays, plus a borough clerk who refused to officiate at gay marriages. I’m not sure what the specific legal merits are in each case, though the reason this lawsuit is coming up in the ECHR is because the Christians have failed to win their lawsuits anywhere else. Then again, look who’s representing them.

“These cases are of a primary importance because they raise the matter of the toleration of Christians by the Western postmodern society,” explained director Grégor Puppinck with the European Center for Law and Justice, which filed a brief in the case supporting the plaintiffs.

The European Center for Law Injustice (excuse me, “and Justice”)? That would be the expatriate branch of the American Center for Law Injustice (darn, did it again), would it not?

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“Forcing” Christians to violate their religious beliefs?

Holy Antichrist, Batman! Hold onto your utility belts, because, as CNS News breathlessly reports, the Obama administration has found a way to legally force Christians to violate their religious beliefs, despite the First Amendment.

In a legal argument formally presented in federal court in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration is claiming that the First Amendment—which expressly denies the government the authority to prohibit the “free exercise” of religion—nonetheless allows it to force Christians to directly violate their religious beliefs even on a matter that involves the life and death of innocent human beings.

It’s a long screed that’s only missing one thing: any mention of any Christian being forced to violate their religious beliefs. What they’re complaining about is the fact that health plans have to cover contraception, which includes medications that rabble-rousers like to call “abortion-inducing drugs.” But this ignores the plain and simple fact that nothing in the Obama health-care program ever requires Christians to have an abortion. Christians like the evangelical founders of Hobby Lobby might not like abortion, and they might like to use their financial position to try and impose their religious views on their employees, but in fact it’s none of their business what kind of health care their employees choose to pursue.
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New year, same old hate

The Catholic Church in England has issued a broad denunciation of child abuse, including child sexual abuse, and called for a full investigation of any individual or organization involved in systematically molesting children or aiding and abetting in such molestations. Or wait, I read that wrong. The real evil they want to combat, according to the NY Daily News, is two adults being able to experience the same kind of loving, committed marital relationship as any other couple.

Roman Catholic leaders in England and Wales took to the pulpit on Sunday to rail against proposed legislation that would allow same sex couples to legally marry.

“Government policy cannot foresee the full consequences, for the children involved or for wider society, of being brought up by two mothers without a father’s influence or by two fathers without a mother’s influence.” Most Reverend Bernard Longley, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, told parishioners in a letter that was read aloud during Sunday services.

Ah, see, I knew there was something about children in there.

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Don’t ask, don’t say “I do”…

…is over.

Cadet Chapel, the landmark Gothic church that is a center for spiritual life at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, hosted its first same-sex wedding Saturday.

Penelope Gnesin and Brenda Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate, exchanged vows in the regal church in an afternoon ceremony, attended by about 250 guests and conducted by a senior Army chaplain.

via West Point chapel hosts its first same-sex wedding, Boston.com.

The New Bigots

Here’s an interesting transcript, published by newsbusters.org (“Exposing & Combating Liberal Media Bias”). It’s from an interview with Rick Warren on CBS This Morning, which newsbusters describes as “hounding” Warren on his anti-gay bigotry. Apart from one or two asides, though, most of the post consists of excerpts from the original transcript, including this particular nugget:

WARREN: The problem is that ‘tolerant’ has changed its meaning. Tolerant used to mean, I may disagree with you completely, but I’m going to treat you with respect. That’s what tolerant means. Today, to some people, tolerant means you must approve of everything I do. That’s not tolerance. That’s approval. There’s a difference between acceptance and approval. Jesus accepted everybody no matter who they were. He doesn’t approve of everything I do or you do or anybody else does either. So, you can be accepting without being approving. That’s an important point.

I originally wrote this as an exercise in imagining a society in which Christians were “tolerated” the same way Christians have traditionally “tolerated” gays, i.e. being given verbal “respect” while not allowing them to practice anything unless everyone else agreed with it. On re-reading the full transcript, however, I’m beginning to wonder if we’re seeing a shift in Christian tactics.
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