Friday, August 30, 2013

Moving in the direction of ancient Rome? Looks like it is in New Mexico.

Al Mohler hit the nail on the head when he discussed the recent New Mexico court decision forcing a Christian photographer to compromise her religious convictions and participate in a same sex "marriage" ceremony if she wanted to use her gifts as a photographer to make a living.  What's at stake is the fundamental principle of religious freedom, a key galvanizing principle for the founders of our nation. 

Mohler points out in the NM case the jarring concurring opinion of Justice Richard Bosson who presented what was at stake in the court's decision and then comes to the exactly wrong conclusion.
The most amazing language found in the decision of the New Mexico court is not in the main opinion but in the “specially concurring” opinion of Justice Richard C. Bosson.

Although Justice Bosson concurred with the decision against them, he seemed to understand the plight of the Huguenins:
As devout, practicing Christians, they believe, as a matter of faith, that certain commands of the Bible are not left open to secular interpretation; they are meant to be obeyed. Among these commands, according to the Huguenins, is an injunction against same-sex marriage. On the record before us, no one has questioned the Huguenin’s [sic] devoutness or their sincerity; their religious convictions deserve our respect. In the words of their legal counsel, the Huguenins “believed that creating photographs telling the story of that event [a same-sex wedding] would express a message contrary to their sincerely held beliefs, and that doing so would disobey God.” If honoring same-sex marriage would so conflict with their fundamental religious tenets ... how then, they ask, can the State of New Mexico compel them to “disobey God” in this case? How indeed?

After asking exactly the right question, Justice Bosson then proceeded to give exactly the wrong answer—and to give it in a way that is both elegiac in tone and tragic in result. Since Elane Photography is a business offering services to the public, it cannot operate on the basis of the Huguenins’ sincerely held Christian principles. According to Bosson, the New Mexico Human Rights Act trumps religious liberty rights when the two come into collision.

Justice Bosson then acknowledged that his reasoning “is little comfort to the Huguenins, who are now compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering. It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views.”

That language is breathtaking. Justice Bosson acknowledges that this decision will compel the Huguenins “to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” But, he insists, the State of New Mexico will compel them to do just that.

Then comes even more shocking language. Justice Bosson asserts: “At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others.” So this is a matter of the justices balancing “contrasting values”?

Compromise, Justice Bosson argues, “is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the moving parts of us as a people.” That compromise, Justice Bosson wrote, is just a fact of American life: “In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.”

So the price of citizenship is the denial of religious liberty when the Christian convictions of this couple run into a head-on collision with the “contrasting values” of others. This is a “compromise” that requires the Huguenins to give up their convictions or go out of business. What does the “compromise” require of those who push for the normalization of same-sex relationships and the legalization of same-sex marriage? Nothing.

Some compromise.

The same-sex couple in this case did not contest the fact that there were many other professional photographers available to them. Indeed, they hired another photographer after Elane Photography declined. But they still pressed for the force of law to require all commercial photographers to provide services for same-sex ceremonies. And they got what they demanded.

That is the true nature of the “compromise” that Justice Bosson argues is “the price of citizenship.” His language about the Huguenins and their plight is moving and respectful, almost an elegy. But the decision itself is a denial of religious liberty and the constitutional guarantees of religious expression and free speech.

Justice Bosson asserts that “there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.” The New Mexico Supreme Court has now made clear that the price to be paid by many is the forfeiture of their religious liberty.
How is this moving in the direction of ancient Rome?  Then there was the expectation that a person had to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods to remain in good standing with the Roman authorities.  Today it's not Roman deities but the gods of political correctness.  That is if you want to continue to make a living as a photographer.  Certainly we're not where Rome society was at but one can see a similar trajectory.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Facts about the 1963 Washington Civil Rights March and story behind King's speech.

Here's an interesting post on the history behind the 1963 Civil Rights event in Washington DC 50 years ago.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, an event widely credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965). Here are nine things you should know about the historic civil rights event.

1. The official title of the event was "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." It was organized by the "Big Six" leaders of the civil rights movement: A. Philip Randolph, Whitney M. Young, Jr., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., James Farmer, Roy Wilkins, and John Lewis. Bayard Rustin was chief organizer of the march.

2. Although the organizers disagreed about the purpose of the march, the group came together on a set of goals:
• Passage of meaningful civil rights legislation.
• Immediate elimination of school segregation.
• A program of public works, including job training, for the unemployed.
• A Federal law prohibiting discrimination in public or private hiring.
• A $2-an-hour minimum wage nationwide.
• Withholding Federal funds from programs that tolerate discrimination.
• Enforcement of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution by reducing congressional representation from States that disenfranchise citizens.
• A broadened Fair Labor Standards Act to currently excluded employment areas.
• Authority for the Attorney General to institute injunctive suits when constitutional rights are violated

3. On the day of the march, more than 2,000 buses, 21 chartered trains, 10 chartered airliners, and uncounted cars converged on Washington. All regularly scheduled planes, trains, and buses were also filled to capacity. Although organizers and officials planned for a crowd of about 150,000, over 250,000 crowded together on the National Mall.

4. On the National Mall, over 100 portable toilets were set up along with 16 first-aid stations.Eight 2,500-gallon water tanks were set up, which fed some 21 portable water fountains. Additionally, spouts were attached to fire hydrants so marchers would have access to drinking water. Volunteers prepared some 80,000 boxed lunches -- sold for 50 cents each -- consisting of a cheese sandwich, an apple, and a slice of cake.

5. Event organizer Bayard Rustin recruited 4,000 off-duty police officers and firemen to serve as event marshals, and coached them in the crowd control techniques he'd learned in India studying nonviolent political participation. The official law enforcement also included 5,000 police, National Guardsmen, and Army reservists. No marchers were arrested, though, and no incidents concerning marchers were reported.

6. Representatives from each of the sponsoring organizations addressed the crowd from the podium at the Lincoln Memorial. Speakers (dubbed "The Big Ten") included The Big Six; three religious leaders (Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish); and labor leader Walter Reuther. Along with the speakers, the marchers were entertained by celebrities, including Ossie Davis, Joan Baez, Mahalia Jackson, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Jackie Robinson.

7. King was the last speaker because no one else wanted that slot (everyone assumed the news media would leave by mid-afternoon). King agreed to take it and planned to speak for 4 minutes (he ended up speaking for 16 minutes).

8. King improvised the most recognizable, memorable part of the speech that he is most famous for, according to his speechwriter and attorney Clarence B. Jones. Although King had spoken about a dream before two months earlier in Detroit, the "dream" was not in the text prepared by Jones. King initially followed the text Jones had written but gospel singer Mahalia Jackson yelled, "Tell 'em about the dream, Martin!" King nodded to her, placed the text of his speech aside, and veered off-script, delivering extemporaneously what is one of the most famous orations in American history.

What would MLK think about issues facing the black community today? Ben Carson has some thoughts.

With the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous civil rights speech at the Lincoln Memorial, a lot of articles are circulating on that speech, his civil rights efforts, and the state of civil rights today. Ben Carson has written an article discussing issues facing the black community today, specifically black on black violence, family breakdown, and school drop out rates. 
It is hard to believe that 50 years have elapsed since the famous “I have a dream speech” of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall in Washington. I was an 11-year-old child in Detroit languishing in the midst of poverty, but very interested in the strides that were being made in the civil rights movement.

I was the only black kid in my seventh-grade class and over the previous two years had risen from the bottom of the class to the top. My mother had forced us to read, which had a profound positive effect on both my brother Curtis and myself. I was quite optimistic that things were getting better for black people in America.

If King could be resurrected and see what was going on in America today, I suspect he would be extraordinarily pleased by many of the things he observed and disappointed by others. He, like almost everyone else, would be thrilled to know that there was a two-term black president of the United States of America and a black attorney general, as well as many other high government officials, business executives and university presidents.

Perhaps just as thrilling would be the sight of black doctors, lawyers, airline pilots, construction foremen, news anchors, school superintendents and almost any other position imaginable in America. The fact that seeing blacks in such positions no longer raises eyebrows is a testimony to the tremendous progress that has been made in America over the last 50 years.

There are some areas, however, where I suspect he might be less than thrilled. The epidemic of black-on-black violent crime indicates that there has been a significant deterioration of values in the black community. Not only are the lives of their fellow blacks and others being devalued by street thugs, but the lives of unborn babies are being destroyed in disproportionate numbers in the black community.

There was a time when blacks were justifiably angry that the larger community discounted their value, but now, ironically, many members of the black community themselves place little or no value on these precious lives that are snuffed out without thought. I think King would be waging a crusade against the marginalization of black lives in America.

Another area of great concern would be the fact that 73 percent of black babies are born out of wedlock. When this occurs, in most cases the educational pursuits of the mothers are terminated and the babies are condemned to a life of poverty and deprivation, which makes them more likely to end up in the penal system or the welfare system. This is a burden not only for the black community but for the nation at large.

Although I believe King would be very concerned for all parties in these tragedies, his energies would be primarily channeled into an attempt to give these young women the kind of self-esteem that would preclude their yielding to the charms of individuals who really don’t care about them and are only interested in their selfish pleasures.

King was a huge advocate of education and would be horrified by the high dropout rates in many inner-city high schools. He, like many others, was vilified, beaten and jailed for trying to open the doors of education to everyone, regardless of their race.

If he were alive today, he would have to witness people turning their backs on those open doors and choosing to pursue lives of crime or dependency. I do not believe he would simply complain about these things, however.

Rather, he would be raising funds to create programs that would show these young people that they do have real choices that can greatly enhance the quality of their lives.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment for King would be the wholesale adoption of a victim mentality that makes people feel that they are entitled to being cared for by others rather than working tirelessly to create wealth and opportunities for their progeny...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Gay mayor and evangelical churches in Portland work together.

Here's a great video on how evangelical churches in the Portland area worked with the then gay mayor of the city.  Despite obvious differences on abortion and gay marriage, the mayor/government officials and the churches worked to address social needs in the community.

It looks like this sort of activity could work in other communities where folks sincerely want to work together on areas of agreement while agreeing to disagree in other areas.
"You can't choose how the mainstream portrays you," says Sam Adams, former mayor of Portland, Oregon, "but I was desperate and impressed with how evangelicals offered to help."

But desperation doesn't always drive cooperation, especially when the two parties disagree on abortion and gay marriage. Adams, in fact, is openly gay. Nevertheless, Adams and Kevin Palau, president of the Luis Palau Association, developed a partnership between churches and schools in the Portland area. They offer a model for how we can work together for the common good despite religious and political differences. Their examples gives us hope as Christians seeks to love our neighbors in settings increasingly hostile to the church.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A conservative professor responds to a personal attack by pointing out some of the craziness of the left.

Here's a Powerling blog post highlighting Mike Adams a conservative professor at public university in North Carolina.  A student thinks Adams should be fired because he's such an embarrassment to higher education because he believes, get this, marriage is the union of one man and one woman.  Adams has brilliant retort.  Adams asks the student who's really radical by pointing out some of the craziness which currently masquerades as academic.
It seems a student complained to Prof. Adams that he is “the biggest embarrassment to higher education in America.”  Prof. Adams’s reply to the student is reproduced here in total, so you can enjoy every splendid syllable of his smack down:
Dear Edward:
I want to take the time to thank you for writing and telling me that I should be fired from my position as a tenured professor because I am “the biggest embarrassment to higher education in America.” I also want to thank you for responding when I asked you exactly how you arrived at that conclusion. Your response, “because you insist that marriage requires one man and one woman,” was both helpful and concise.
While I respect your right to conclude that I am the biggest embarrassment to higher education in America, I think you’re wrong. In fact, I don’t even think I’m the biggest embarrassment to higher education in the state of North Carolina. But since you’re a liberal and you support “choice” – provided we’re talking about dismembering children and not school vouchers for those who weren’t dismembered – I want to give you some options. In fact, I’m going to describe the antics of ten professors, official campus groups, and invited campus speakers in North Carolina and let you decide which constitutes the biggest embarrassment to higher education.
1. In the early spring semester of 2013, a women’s studies professor and a psychology professor at Western Carolina University co-sponsored a panel on bondage and S&M. The purpose of the panel was to teach college students how to inflict pain on themselves and others for sexual pleasure. When you called me the biggest embarrassment in higher education, you must not have known about their bondage panel. Maybe you were tied up that evening and couldn’t make it.
2. At UNC Chapel Hill, there is a feminist professor who believes that women can lead happy lives without men. That’s nothing new. But what’s different is that she thinks women can form lifelong domestic partnerships with dogs and that those relationships will actually be fulfilling enough to replace marital relationships with men. I can’t make this stuff up, Ed. I don’t drop acid. Well, at least not since the late 1980s. But I promise this story is real and not an LSD flashback.
3. At Duke University, feminists hired a “sex worker” (read: prostitute) to speak as part of an event called the Sex Workers Art Show. After his speech, the male prostitute pulled down his pants, got down on his knees, and inserted a burning sparkler into his rectum. While it burned, he sang a verse of “the Star Spangled Banner.” I believe that stripping incident was almost as embarrassing as the other one involving the Duke Lacrosse team.
4. A porn star was once paid to give a speech at UNCG. The topic was “safe sodomy.” After her speech, the feminist pornographer sold autographed butt plugs to students in attendance. I’m not sure whether the ink could contribute to rectal cancer. I’m no health expert. But I do know it was pretty darned embarrassing when the media picked up on the story.
5. A few years ago at UNC-Chapel Hill, a feminist group built a large vibrator museum in the middle of the campus quad as a part of their “orgasm awareness week.” I think that was probably the climax of the semester, academically speaking. But they certainly weren’t too embarrassed to display a vibrator that was made out of wood back in the 1920s. Keep your batteries charged, Ed. We’re about halfway done.
6. A feminist administrator at UNC-Wilmington sponsored a pro-abortion event. During the event they sold tee shirts saying “I had an abortion” to students who … well, had abortions. That’s right, Ed. The students were encouraged to boast about the fact that they had killed their own children. That’s how the UNC system is preserving the future of our great Tar Heel state.
7. The following semester, that same UNCW administrator sponsored a workshop teaching students how to appreciate their orgasms. I learned art appreciation in college. Today, college kids are taught orgasm appreciation. I will let you decide whether that’s an embarrassment to higher ed., Ed.
8 A few years ago, a UNCW English professor posted nude pictures of under-aged girls as a part of an “art exhibit” in the university library. The Provost then ordered the nude pictures to be moved away from the library and into the university union. This decision was made after several pedophiles had previous been caught downloading child pornography in the university library just a few yards away from the location of the display. The English professor was incensed so she asked the Faculty Senate to censure the provost for violating her “academic freedom.” The faculty senate sided with the feminist professor. The provost was later pressured to leave the university.
9. A different feminist professor at UNCW accused a male professor of putting tear gas in her office. She was later caught putting her mail in a microwave oven. She did this because she thought people were trying to poison her with anthrax and that the oven would neutralize the toxins. She was not placed on leave for psychiatric reasons. Instead, she was designated as the university’s official “counter terrorism” expert.
10 And then there is Mike Adams. He thinks marriage is between a man and a woman.
So those are the choices, Ed. You can simply write back and tell me which of these professors, groups, or guest speakers has caused “the biggest embarrassment to higher education” – either in North Carolina or in America altogether. Or you can just concede that our system of hire education is the real embarrassment because it has been hijacked by radical feminism. And please pardon any puns – especially those that take the form of ms-spelled words.
Any person this clear-headed deserves our recognition.  Turns out he’s had to weather considerable attacks at the university for his heterodox views.  I think we’ll want to check back on his federal lawsuit against the university for its harassment.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Single fathers using surrogacy to get a kid. Excuse me, but what about the rights and best interests of children to be raised by their mom and dad??

Here's another example of the radical "me" generation, e.g. single fathers producing kids through surrogates.  It totally ignores the right of children to be raised by their mother and father. Not to be treated as a commodity to fulfill the desires of adults.
Trey Powell's first name has an extra resonance these days. Though still a bachelor, he now presides over a family of three as the dad of twin daughters born six months ago via a surrogate mother.
"I feel so lucky every day," Powell said.

At 42, he's a new addition to the ranks of men who intentionally seek the role of single father. While some opt for adoption, others yearn to have children with genetic ties and are willing to invest $100,000 or more to make that happen.

There are no firm numbers of how many men have taken this route. It's clearly still a rarity, although Growing Generations, a leading for-profit surrogacy agency in Los Angeles, says its caseload of single men has risen steadily and totaled about 25 cases last year.

Experts say the driving force is generally a male equivalent of the "biological clock" that prompts some unmarried women to have children while they're still fertile.

"They say they've always wanted to be a dad, they haven't found a partner that they want to start a family with, they're getting older and just don't want to wait — the same things single women say," said Madeline Feingold, an Oakland, Calif., psychologist who has done extensive counseling related to surrogacy.

That was the case for Powell, a pharmaceutical company executive in Seattle who spent three years futilely trying to adopt.

"I was in an adoption pool for a year and half, didn't get any calls and got bummed about the whole experience," he said. "I just wanted to be a dad. Time was not on my side, and I didn't have the luxury of waiting for an ideal mate."

Before approaching Growing Generations, Powell discussed his options at length with family members and with people who'd been through surrogacy. There was a lot of self-interrogation.
"If something happens to me, who's going to take care of my daughters? Is this an egotistical, selfish thing?" he recalled asking himself. "I had to be sure it was the right thing to do."

Now, he says, fatherhood is the focus of his life — a transformation made easier because he often works from home and can afford a full-time nanny.

That level of affluence is a virtual prerequisite for men pursuing the option of fatherhood via surrogacy.

"We tell people to budget $125,000 to $150,000 for a single baby, and $150,000 to $175,000 for twins," said Stuart Bell, co-owner of Growing Generations.

Those figures include compensation of $8,000 to $10,000 for the egg donor, and at least $25,000 for the surrogate mother who gives birth after being impregnated with an implanted embryo.

Though male clients have the option of enlisting an egg donor on their own, Bell said most make their choice from a pool of women recruited by Growing Generations. The clients aren't told the names of the possible egg donors, but see videos of them and learn extensive details about their health, education and genetic history.
 And this of course is for those men with a lot of money.