Precinct 333

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Blogging May Be Slow

I'm facing a medical issue right now that may impact my ability to continue blogging for a while. I may post a bit, but could find my output continuing to be low. If the issue resolves itself, I should be back up to normal pace soon. If not, there may be a masked man with a scalpel in my future.

Prayers and good thoughts are appreciated.


Non-Discrimination Laws, The Way They Should Be

The city of Topeka, Kansas has adopted a new anti-discrimination ordinance that deals with employment rights. It bans discrimination against individuals based upon sexual orientation in city hiring -- but does nothing with private actions.

And that is as it should be.

Think about it for a moment. Government should not discriminate in hiring decisions. But private individuals and organizations have the right to set any ethos they desire. If one is religiously opposed to homosexuality, on what basis can the governemtn legitimately claim the right to override their free exercise of religion? Any law that required non-discrimination in private hiring would, in effect, be discriminatory against religious believers. That is not government's place.

Now some may object. They will argue that it is not right to allow discrimination by private individuals? A good example of this is found in the article.
"It does not matter what form discrimination takes, we should at every step attempt to prevent it," said Topeka lawyer Pedro Irigonegaray. "The issue here is equal protection under the law."
I would disagree. This law provides homosexuals with equal protection of the law -- and also provides those opposed to homosexuality with equal protection of the law. No one is violated by the law, and any "injustice" (if one exists) is a matter of private action, not public policy

Individuals have every right to import their personal beliefs into their business practices -- even if I find what they are doing to be repugnant. On that basis I also reject laws banning private discrimination against people because of race, religion, or sex (public accommodations as historically defined under common law excepted). If a gay bar wants to hire only gay employees, so be it. If WBLK radio wants to hire only black employees, I have no problem with that. That is a part of living in a free society -- people may use the freedom in a way I dislike.

That doesn't mean I support their discrimination -- it simply means I am "pro-choice" on such discrimination. I'm also "pro-choice" regarding patronizing such businesses.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Scalia Smacks 'Em Down!

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has been teaching at the University of Michigan Law School this week. His response to a questioner at one of his speeches illustrates perfectly why so many of us love him.

Scalia, who was at Rackham Auditorium to speak on the philosophy of constitutional interpretation, was asked by a member of the audience whether, if he had the chance, he would revisit his decision in the Gore-Bush 2000 election. Scalia cut off the questioner , saying, "I'm inclined to say it's been four years and an election. Get over it." That drew loud boos from the crowd. Scalia voted with the 5-4 majority in 2000 to cease the recount of disputed votes in Florida.

Yes, this drew boos from some -- but it is exactly the right response.

Oh, and by the way -- that was a 7-2 decision to stop the "make it up as you go along" recount. It was only 5-4 as to the deadline for finishing the recount.


Hook, Line, And Sinker

They call it the Fish Empathy Project. That is PETA's latest campaign. It's goal? To get us big bad carnivores to show a little love to God's finned creatures by not fishing or eating seafood.

"No one would ever put a hook through a dog's or cat's mouth," said Bruce Friedrich, PETA's director of vegan outreach. "Once people start to understand that fish, although they come in different packaging, are just as intelligent, they'll stop eating them."

Really? Tell that to the Koreans and Chinese!

But why are they seeking this goal (other than being fuzzy-minded leftists)?

"Fish are so misunderstood because they're so far removed from our daily lives," said Karin Robertson, 24, the Fish Empathy Project manager and daughter of an Indiana fisheries biologist. "They're such interesting, fascinating individuals, yet they're so incredibly abused."

Oh please.

Fortunately, scientists are ready to dispute this absurdity.

"Fish are very complex organisms that do all sorts of fascinating things," said University of Wyoming neuroscientist James Rose. "But to suggest they know what's happening to them and worry about it, that's just not the case."

Which is good. After all, I wouldn't want that fillet of sole or rainbow trout to have gone through an existential crisis between the water and my plate.

And even if they cannot get us to stop eating fish, the PETA people want "more humane" commercial fishing practices -- such as a requirement that fish be stunned before being filleted on commercial boats.

For a look at the "winners" behind this goofiness, jump back to Matt Forge's piece in the Entertainment section at Lone Star Times. And to think he didn't even need to work over with Photoshop the picture over with Photoshop!


Academy Of Intolerance?

A military academy is supposed to train strong leaders. Its students take an oath to uphold the Constitution, and should be prepared to respect the rights of all citizens.

Sadly, the Air Force Academy seems to be failing in that regard.

The problem, according to Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa Jr., superintendent of the Air Force Academy, is that non-Christian students are uncomfortable.

"Some students had a feeling that 'If I'm not a Christian, I feel like I'm having Christianity crammed down my throat,"' Rosa said.

According to Rosa, their level of discomfort is striking.

In surveys done in August, more than 30 percent of non- Christian students said Christian cadets are given preferential treatment, while less than 10 percent of Christian students felt that way. Only a little more than half of non- Christian students reported they "have not felt pressure to be involved in religion" at the academy.

But when it comes down to pointing out problems, Rosa would only name one.

For example, Rosa said that when the film "The Passion of the Christ" was in theaters, some cadets e-mailed their squadrons to suggest seeing it together. The film, a graphic depiction of Jesus' death, was particularly popular among evangelical Christians.

"People felt they were being coerced," Rosa said.

Good grief! They felt coerced by an invitation to view the movie with a group of their peers! Mel Gibson's film is the top grossing picture of all time, and was also the most controversial new release of the last 50 years. Of course people would suggest that their friends go to see it. And given the subject matter, it is no surprise that some would even use it as a tool of peer-to-peer evangelization. But to call an email from a peer that SUGGESTS that a group go to see the movie is hardly coercion -- at least not if you have a spine.

Rosa believes he sees where the problem arises.

Many cadets bring their family's religious values to the academy with them, Rosa said, and don't realize they might be crossing a line when they talk about religion with others. He said the academy intends to address the problem by educating cadets about tolerance.

"It's not mean-spirited. It's all they know," Rosa said. "We must ensure a climate free of discrimination and marginalization."

Ah, I understand. It is those darn Christian again. They aren't content to stay down in the catacombs. They feel like they actually have a right to come up in the sunlight and talk about their faith on the same basis they might talk about politics, football, or tomorrow's English exam. We'll just hold mandatory indoctrination classes, to re-educate these ignorant folks who think that it is acceptable to freely talk about God in 21st century America.

The frightening thing is that the general does not see the inherent contradiction present in his plan. In an effort to make sure that the minority's feelings remain unscathed, the majority will be told that the exercise of their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and free exercise of religion will be restricted via the establishment of the religion of tolerance.

And we inch forward toward the day when Americans of faith will find that they are a marginalized majority, unwelcome in the classroom, the government, and the halls of government.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.